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Monday, June 1, 2015

Spring is a BUSY time in the Country

Mercy, land sakes alive I'm busy!

You can plan and plan and plan your long, cold, dark winter days away, but when Spring FINALLY does come, it seems to come all at once in this part of the country.  Which means everything seems to need tending to all at the same time.

Of course a great deal of that this year is because it is the FIRST year on the acreage.

The garden didn't just need tilled, planned, and planted like most Spring gardens, but it needed plotted out. It needed the 147 year old sod broken, tilled three times by my most gracious neighbor, posts put in, a fence installed, electric fence put up, gate built, boxes built, trellis put up, hay ordered. Then, and ONLY then, was I able to fulfill my winter plan of actually PLANTING the seeds. But not in the GROUND.  Oh no. 

There is a danger of frost here until at least May 15th.  Usually Mother's Day is a good bet.  But honestly, you're better off waiting it out, and then you still better be ready to cover the tender seedlings.  Tomatoes?  I don't even bother putting them in the ground until June 1st.  Of course, I started the seeds in the kitchen in the middle of April.  They just don't DO anything until not only the soil temperatures hit 74', but until the night air is warm.  So why risk it?  So today, I put in 28 various, long, leggy tomato plants.  They are planted laying down and very deep.  They are fertilized and deeply watered.  Tomorrow I will finish weeding the garden and lay the final thick layer of prairie grass mulch.

The broccoli, cabbage, scallions, shallots, grapes, blackberries, potatoes (both Viking  and Gold),and onions are going to town.  The corn is finally popping up after having to be replanted, as are the peas and green beans.  The umbrella sorghum, broom sorghum, cantaloupe, and giant dill are all just breaking the surface. The sweet potatoes look happy enough.  The banana peppers are struggling, and there is still no sign of the garlic or horseradish.

Then there is the orchard.  Normally early, early Spring is the time for pruning.  Mid-Spring is the time for spraying.  Not this this year.  We needed to plot the orchard.  Figure out what trees we wanted, and had to make sure each one was suitable for here AND had a pollinator partner.  They needed tracked down and purchased and hauled home.  I now know I can get 10 5-gallon 10-foot trees in my Chevy Traverse.  People look at me funny when I load that truck, but are shocked at what I can get into it! We ended up with 18 trees: 3 plum, 3 pears, and 13 various apple trees.

We found out, but are not surprised, that we need to put up deer fencing.  So that's another project.

We have a large hay meadow and clover field, which is now almost 3 feet high, (I LOVE clover) and that demanded that I put in a mason bee box and water station.

We were blessed with a mild enough winter that I was able to bundle up like a TaunTaun jockey and work on the coop. By February, Winter finally socked us with permafrost, which meant ANY digging, just had to wait until the thaw.

Wait, back up.  COOP?!  Yes, while I have been insanely busy with everything, everyday, my largest project was building a very large chicken coop.  I started with a tiny coop meant for small, urban/suburban flocks, the City Biddy Coop.  It was advertised as housing 4, but barely fit three.  (It's a good thing that our Penny went to Ha-wee-wee. But that is a story for another day.)  Well I wanted more than three, so I went bigger: MUCH bigger.  I went from 12 sq feet to 100, including the run- 200!  I also went from 3 chickens to 17!  I researched and asked what seemed like a zillion questions and settled on a coop.  I chose a 100 year old plan and just winged it!  I have many step by step photos and it will be a post all its own. So all of my patient backyardchickens.com friends, hang in there!

All right.  My break is over.  It's time to make dinner and get back out to the orchard.

Thanks for stopping in :)

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