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Monday, February 29, 2016

Leaping Into Spring

Happy Leap Day everyone!

The past two weeks on the acreage have been busy ones.  The weather is bouncing between Spring and Winter, almost on a daily basis, literally.  We were 55' one day, 77' the next, and 42' the next.  It's hard on the soul, the body, and mind.  The upside is that your brain KNOWS the craziness will only go on for another few weeks.  Then we'll start bouncing between Spring and SUMMER!  HA!

Our 77' day was spent playing with the chainsaw.  Doc took down all the ratty, weedy, trashy cedar trees along our fence line. Now their remains lay along the edge of the hay field awaiting their final trip to the neighboring pasture for the Spring burn pile.  Doc did a great job wielding the saw, pushing it though the trunks like a hot knife through butter.  Although his sore arms the next day betray the ease of the task.

The wind finally took its toll on the heavy garden gate.  Doc made me a new frame which I covered in rabbit wire.  New hinges were added and I hung the gate.  This one won't catch the wind like the other.  It looks great as well.  In fact, the whole garden looks fabulous since we removed the top 2 feet of excess height from each post.  The girls enjoy digging for worms and bugs in the deep litter mulch and I am cruising through the seed catalogs like a woman possessed.  I'll probably still buy local, but it's fun to use the catalogs to plan.

This year the sorghum will be caged as will the tomato plants.  I'll skip planting peas and sweet potatoes, but I will plant far more onions.  I have already purchased the seed onion sets.  I will plant potatoes again, but not as many, as they didn't store well at all.  Peppers and cucumbers are a given.  Sunflowers are a must.  All that and I'll still have room to play with whatever else I want to experiment with.

We're still working on the foot stools.  "WHAAT? But I thought they were done?!  What about your last post?" I hear you.  Well the first day I used Doc's new bench, I pushed it out of my way, off to the side, with my foot.  The rough bottom of the feet caught on the carpeting and the end snapped at a weak point in the grain.  UGH, I felt terrible.

He took it apart and made a new end piece.  Which leads us to another product review.  While at the hardware store, I noticed a new Krylon product.  It's stain in a can, like spray paint.  Intrigued, I purchased a can.

I will NOT purchase it again.  It sprays on just like spray paint, thick and opaque.  Fine, it's stain I expected to have to wipe it a bit.  I did not expect to have to wipe it A LOT.  It puts out far too much product at once.  Spray too much on your item and you waste a great deal of stain.  The only place I did find it useful was on those rough ends that just eat stain, and in those tight spaces you just cannot get into.  The cap color isn't really inductive of the stain color and the name of the color doesn't help at all.  Sample bits, like other companies do, on the shelf would have been helpful.  The worse thing of all?  I'm on day 5 and it still feels greasy, not tacky, greasy.  NUTS!

I still need to get padding and reassemble the original bench. 

All of these projects completed and not one of them is on the 'get round to it' list.  But with the nice weather, it's getting harder and harder to focus on that darn list.  I just want to be outside and enjoy the warm sunshine.  The girls are loving the weather.  They are out almost every day, snapping the green tops off the emerging clover and catching the bugs that dare come out of hibernation early. 

They're almost all laying every day, which gets us nearly a dozen eggs a day.  Some mornings there's a line for the nest boxes. If they're needy, and lucky, sometimes they'll find a buddy who'll share their box, or leave in deference to their need.  If they are UNLUCKY, they'll come up against Our Rose. 

Rose, she's just magical.  She's a sweet hen as long as she's not in a nest box.  Her nickname is Ewok.  She really sounds like a Wookie, but since she's little we just call her Ewok.  IF anything; be it person, chicken, fruit fly, or ghost comes within 2 feet of HER nesting area, she puffs up to over twice her size and lets out the most interesting noise.  I know the other hens push her buttons just to get her to make noises and then run off giggling. 

In addition to the full henhouse, we also have a full incubator again.  We started with 37 eggs.  On day 7 we candled them for fertility.  13 eggs were infertile.  We are now on day 10 of 21.  The Maran chicks have all been spoken for and 14 more of the remaining 24 are spoken for.  I'll hold back on making a wait list for the rest until closer to the hatch date, or after.  The whole counting your eggs before they're hatched thing.

On the hatching note, UNL extension does an embryology 4-H class at local schools several times during the school year.  This next round, the Station will provide 5 dozen non white non buff colored eggs for the classrooms.  Each school will get a crazy colored egg from the egg house.  Many of the children have no idea that eggs can be different colors.  Zap's DNA is slowly spreading across the state. Scarier yet, some of those chicks will be half Zap, half ROSE!


  1. You are so busy Caryl. Sorry the varnish didn't behave.
    Incidentally some pictures seem to be absent towards the end of your post.

    1. The last picture is a video that you have to click to play. And even then it only works if your browser has flash installed (a blogspot quirk).

  2. You are leaping into Spring!! We are winding down into fall!!! xx