First, an introduction: This scary guy (my new header) is the troll who lives beneath the bridge in the "Three Billy Goats Gruff", drawn by Kale. He now lives on our upstairs hall light switch. Awesome.
May Morsels:In the past few days it feels like someone waved the magic wand of spring over our little piece of the world.
Beech, lilac, birch and other early leaves unfolded overnight, the pear and cherry trees exploded with blossoms and the perennials are doubling in size each day. We put up the screen doors and have been throwing them open each morning to greet the morning warmth.
This is the time of year when our house is cold. We have a well insulated, radiant heated (by our woodstove, with propane back up) exposed concrete slab in our home. All winter we are toasty to over heated. But in the spring and early fall, when its too warm to warrant lighting a wood fire, the slab temperature drops quickly. Early mornings we find it is often a few degrees colder inside than out. It's a blanket breakfast kind of season. But by mid afternoon, with all the windows thrown wide open, its lovely. We're not complaining (much).
This is the season when the indoors shifts to out. When the end of the day brings toys and blocks scattered on the porch and lawn, when art supplies are hauled about in baskets, and the mess inside builds until a rainy day insists we clean up a bit.
(this one's for Clove)
Our chicks moved outside two weeks ago. As of last weekend they are off their light completely, and nearly all feathered out. Soon we'll begin the interesting process of introducing them to the old ladies. It never goes smoothly. Our system needs a bit of work. I'd like to set up some summer housing for the ladies that can be in the electronet fencing we got last year (the one they fly out of every time I put them in it). Then the new chicks can have the coop to themselves long enough to feel like its theirs, while the old ladies live in the orchard for the summer. Then they can all bunk together when the weather turns. Someday I'll get it all worked out. Until then we'll muddling through chick introductions, chasing chicks back into the coop each night (where they don't want to be because of those old meanies). Maybe this time will be different.
A couple of weekends ago Rob repaired the front of the fence. Some of the posts had floated up, and the chickens were beginning to sneak underneath it. The new set up is sturdy, and spiffy as all get out. I'm working on two rows of raspberries along side (with a path for mowing in between).
The garden is still mostly mud, with more green in the paths than in the beds. But its getting there. The garlic is up, the peas are up, lettuce is coming along. We had our first salad from the cold frame last night, along with fresh picked asparagus and chive pizza. Yum. This is the first year I didn't start any seedlings indoors. I put a bit in the cold frame, stuck the early stuff in the ground (peas, lettuce, spinach, beets, carrots, radish) and bought the rest of the plants from our good friend Polly over at Village Farm. Their seedlings are beautiful, and it feels a bit like magic to suddenly have big robust plants in a bed that was empty minutes before. Insta-garden. I think I like it, but I'm not quite sure. There's something about coaxing all those tiny plants along, nursing them through those early stages, then celebrating when they're big enough to leave the kitchen. Of course, Polly's seedlings are twice the size mine ever are, and far more beautiful. And, I didn't have to rearrange our kitchen for two months. Compromise. A girl could get used to it.
Our tadpoles hatched, and they are not salamanders! Hooray.
Its become an annual tradition for the kids to get me a fruit tree for our growing orchard each Mother's Day. This year it was a cherry, decorated with sayings about why they love me. Pretty great. For my special day I requested that we work outside in the yard all together. I started the day with a long, sunny run with friends, then showered outside in our newly re-installed outdoor shower. We all worked on finishing the cedar surround for the shower, planted the tree, mulched gardens, stacked wood, and finished the day with a BBQ at my sister's with her family and Mimi.
It was the best kind of Mother's Day. Uncomplicated with lots of outdoor family time, and good company at the end of the day.
Outdoor tubbing--after water is hooked up, before shower stall.
I love, love, love the new shower. Good thing too, because the next day we had our septic pumped and leech field dug up. We've been showering ( and peeing, and rinsing laundry, and doing dishes) out in the yard for more than a week now. They'll come put it all back together and fill it in after its all dried out--which would be quicker if the sun would come out for more than an hour at a time.
Fortunately, its not too bad thanks to this new set up. Maybe we just need a sink out there too. Hmm.
The buzzing ladies made it through the winter and are enjoying the pear blossoms. Two new nucs (small colonies with an established queen) will be making there way to the bee yard very soon. Tomorrow's project will be to get the hives in order for their arrival.