Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Four Reasons For a Vacation and Where is The Farm Fairy When You Need One?

Question: What is life without a vacation?
Answer: Busy

I love my life here on my little farm and operating a bed & breakfast in the middle of Michigan. What more could I ask for when it comes to a way of life. I wake up everyday to the welcoming committe of Purdy and the various critters outside who see me as a walking food bank. I see green everywhere from all the grass I mow. And when the sun shines I know the day is starting out right unless the temperature is in the 80's at 6am. From my kitchen window I see all that I've done, and unfortunately, all that still needs to be done.

So, why would I need a vacation? Let me count the ways:
1. Change of scenery - there are different shades of green elsewhere
2. To hear the distant sound of anything but Loony Tunes Farm
3. Change of weather - different degree of Michigan-like weather and a few more bugs
4. Rest from all that needs to be done - waiting for the Farm Fairy to chip in

John and I recently took a much needed fishing trip to Canada where we escaped from jobs, chores, cell phones, electricity and blacktop. And even though we were on vacation we still had a daily agenda of tasks we wanted to accomplish while we were AWOJCCPEB. Besides eating fish til we developed gills in place of our ears, we wanted to bring home our limit of Walleye, Northern Pike and Perch. 
The fishing was great (I caught the two largest fish: 36" Northern Pike and a 24" Lake Trout), we packaged our limit to bring home, and we didn't kill ourselves in the process of portaging across three counties with everything including the kitchen sink just to find that perfect fishing spot.
The secluded cabin we stayed in for a week was situated on the edge of a large lake instead of a noisy blacktop highway. The weather was mild and sunny on days we fished; cool and rainy on days we didn't. The wood-fired cook stove is always my favorite thing about retreating to the cabin in the woods and one day I will get one of my own to use in a summer kitchen.
I relish the time I'm able to escape to the wilderness with John, but there was something on my list that I have been wanting to do ever since he began taking me to the high country four years ago. And that was to mix a few colors and paint a view from the cabin. Not knowing really where to begin I'm glad I tried.
It was a wonderful vacation. Maybe next year the Farm Fairy will get things done while I'm gone. 

View from the window of Cabin 9 - Aug 2014

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Feathered Warfare

Raising chickens is an important mainstay of homesteading. The eggs and meat are well worth the effort along with the pest control they provide. In addition, when it comes to entertainment value, chickens are among the best in my book. However, in among all the good of chickens there is an ugly truth: not all traits of a chicken are good.
For example, they are drawn to blood. They are merciless in their attack upon a fellow chicken if it so much as shows a speck of the red stuff. I believe the idea of gang warfare began in the Chickenhood. If one feather duster has a problem with another, and if there’s blood, then feathers are flying and all chip in on the assault.
Yesterday when I left for the grocery store there were two hens, three chicks and one peachick in front of the rabbitry where they do not belong (that is a whole ‘nuther story I may write on later). When I returned, I found all six feather dusters right where I had left them. However, to my dismay the peachick was a mess. From the top of its head down to its back and around the sides of the neck, there was nothing but blood and muscle. Moreover, it was not difficult to point a finger at the responsible parties. All three chicks had blood on their beaks.
How it started would be anyone’s guess. However, I would venture to say it was one of the hens that started the pecking. I know this because I’ve seen her peck at the peachicks before when her three beloved brats did not get the food she thought they should have gotten. Maybe she pecked a little too hard this time and drew a spot of blood. It obviously did not take much for the chicks to take over for mom. And, what gets me is the peachick’s mama hen was right there, and in my opinion, didn’t do a thing to help her adopted child.
We humans, for the most part, are a funny lot of emotional beings. But I have seen instances in the animal world where the young are protected to the best of the parents’ ability. What, then, happened here in this case? Was the peachick’s mother frightened that, if she were to intervene the pulverizing of her youngster, she would be attacked next? Come on, the gang of three was 7 week old chicks!
I could lament on the fact that times have changed, but we’re talking about chickens here. They’re able to free range, are fed non-GMO grains, aren‘t crowded, live in clean conditions and they all know their rank and serial number. I guess I’ll never know the bloody truth of yesterday. Not unless someone speaks up, and I don’t think that’s happening anytime soon.

The assaulted peachick

Monday, May 5, 2014

A Bit More Sunshine

There was a brief window of opportunity to let the youngsters out to play in the sun. Mind you it was brief. But when it comes to Michigan weather we'll take brief and run with it.

Pita is growing like a weed, and Browning will soon catch up to her. They are both doing well and frolicking about like two little kids should.

I've been sick the last couple days and so Purdy and I sat by the hay bale and soaked up some rays.
The sun felt good, but my brain began a public debate with my body. The brain saying "There is so much to do".
"There is no energy to do what needs to be done", says my body.
"But you could at least try".
"I've been trying, and I'm sick".
"Sick is for wienies".
There was a moment of silence.
"Well, call me a wienie and start the grill. I'm not movin'!", exclaimed the body.
And there it is folks. Another wasted day.

Browning on the run

Pita in the foreground. Mom Pepper behind her.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Meet Browning

Back in mid-November I acquired an Angora doe from Spinning Moon Farm in southern Michigan. Goats seem to travel well in the backseat of my car and Britches (aka Peaches) was no exception. Give 'em a little hay, turn on some music and away we go.
Britches has adapted well, and today she gave birth to a 7.25 lb little buckling. Prettiest color so far here among the goat herd.
Little Browning seems to be in a daze about this whole birth situation. I get the feeling he doesn't quite like the place to where he's been transported.

Browning, Angora buckling 4-24-14

Britches, 9 yr old Angora doe

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Brown Eggs

After cutting the oval and painting my new egg sign I was able to hang it up today. 
What do you think?

Fresh squeezed brown eggs

Monday, April 14, 2014

5 Things To Do Outside During Rain*

Below is a post from a year ago. It seems rain is popular at this time of year.

I'm trying to look at the wet situation outside in a more positive light. Even though the light out there isn't all that positive. It's more like a dim light in a dark closet. Stupid clouds!

So, in an effort to exude a more positive outlook on this stinkin' Michigan weather I have come up with five things a person could actually do outside in the rain. Now, keep in mind, I'm not saying such a person would be in their right mind, or they haven't been smoking something illegal in most US states.

1. Take a shower.
2. Wash your clothes
3. Give the cat a bath
4. Dig little trenches to drain off the water
5. Put little leaf boats in the trenches and watch them go bye-bye

* Disclaimer: Please do not attempt if you live around neighbors. Check local ordinances for any required permits.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

16 Uses For Baling Twine

Oh, what a beautiful day it was! 

Peacock Sr
Waking up to sunshine can’t be beat. Add in the welcoming sounds from the animals and a good cup of coffee and you‘ve got a pretty good start to the day. And, its a toss-up as to who is the loudest in the morning. Between the horse, goats, chickens, peafowl and ducks, I think Ducky is the noisiest. In fact, she gets rather excited when she sees me first thing: she sneezes after she quacks. I find this trait of hers funny. Why would a duck sneeze? It made me think of the expression “nothing to sneeze at“ and where it originated. Take a look here because I’m sure you’ll find it quite interesting. I know I did, and now I’m beginning to think Ducky isn’t so cute.

Ducky & Dizzy

Trouble & Sandy sunbathing

As I sat in the sunshine for a bit this afternoon untangling baling twine that I refuse to throw away, knotting it together and then winding it onto a hose reel I got to thinking of the reasons why I was taking the time to bother. Well, let me count the ways:

  1. Use to tie the lid down when hauling something in a vehicle trunk
  2. Make braided lead ropes with clips for the horse, goats, cat, etc
  3. Use it to make a straight fence line, seed rows or plant a straight line of bushes
  4. Weave a floor cloth
  5. Tie newspaper bundles
  6. Crochet a rug
  7. Use it to tie packages.
  8. Make a fish net
  9. Use it for temporary clothesline
  10. Use it for tying down tarps 
  11. Hang the chicken feeder
  12. Use it for tying down tents
  13. Make a string trellis for morning glories
  14. Use it for string beans to climb
  15. Use wood and baling twine to make a trellis panel
  16. Use several strands together to make a hammock

I’m sure there are more uses, and I know there are some who would consider my reel of twine an eccentric habit. But it got me to wondering if anyone else would use my reel of baling twine after I’m gone. Naturally, I will leave it to my son. And I would hope he would gladly use it and think of me. But who would use it after him? He and his wife don’t have any children. Who is going to remember it was me that started that reel of twine? And why am I thinking of this baling twine as one of the two things I'd be leaving to posterity? Do I really want to be remembered as that crazy old woman who had a reel of twine and a sneezing duck?

Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Sunny Day

It was a wonderful feeling waking up to sunshine and mild temps this morning. And being able to work outside cleaning the yard from the long winter was a real treat. The animals also seemed to appreciate the warmer weather - it was in the mid-forties by mid afternoon. The ducks enjoyed playing in the temporary puddle pond east of the peafowl pen, and the chickens scratched around in the mud and old hay. The tail of Peacock Senior glistening in the sun is a burst of iridescent color in a drab landscape. The Angora goats with their heavy coats of long curls even found the sun welcoming.

Pita is growing well and full of energy. She will be a week old tomorrow. She has become adept at climbing on anything she can get her little feet on - including mom Pepper, and me. Looking at her shiny black curls I think of how gorgeous they will be spun into yarn.

Spending time outside almost erases the extreme cabin fever this winter brought on. But then all I have to do is remember we can still be in for more snow. I guess we're not safe until, say, August.

Pita at six days old

Pita standing still for a split second

Peanut ready for a haircut

Sadie has to stick her nose into the action

Monday, March 24, 2014

Meet Little Pita

One of my goats, Pepper, gave birth this morning to a little doeling weighing in at 3 1/2 pounds. I guess she couldn't wait til her due date on Friday March 28 and warmer weather. 

"What are you talking about?"

Pita, a couple hours old 3-24-14

part Angora goat with black shiny curls

Sunday, March 16, 2014

"It's Okay"

The mournful cry made my heart ache. It made me want to pick him up and tell him "It's okay - you'll be alright tomorrow". But how do I know that? Because they say time heals all things. And to believe that is easier said than done at the exact time the hearts of both mother and child are breaking.

I had the chance to catch Peacock Junior (now over 6 months of age) this afternoon in the peafowl pen. He didn't like the experience one bit! I didn't expect him to, and I anticipated a fight on my hands. After a couple of minutes and a few tail feathers missing (his, not mine) I had him under my arm in order to band him with last years color (red for 2013). But there was another reason I wanted to catch him. For one thing, Peacock Senior was pestering Junior every chance he got. And, I also felt it was time for him to go in with the other peachick, who is also in with the chickens. By doing this he gets accustomed to the way of the chickenhood so when I let the chickens out to free range he will follow their habit of going in to roost at night.

What I did not anticipate was the heart-wrenching cries between mother and son. It made me feel like a heel. I actually went out to the chicken house to see if my presence, at least, would sooth Junior. Yeah, right! What was I thinking? He couldn't care less that my heart was breaking too. So, I stood there like an idiot watching him pace back and forth; both mother and son refusing to go to roost because things weren't the way they were supposed to be. So, back into the house I went, listening all the while to the sad cries from the chickenhood.

So, we'll see if tomorrow is any better for Junior. It's not like he can't see mom - there is only a screen door between the two. But, for tonight I have to resist the urge to lug my rocker and a baby blanket out to the chicken house and cuddle Junior until he falls asleep. If he only knew just how much better that would make me feel.

Monday, March 10, 2014


With the warm weather (50 degrees), today was a great day for getting outside and spending some time. The blue sky, yellow sun and…green grass! Even though that patch of green was the size of a baby blanket I could have wallowed in it until the cows came home, if it weren’t for the water puddle right in the middle. Nope, didn't want to get wet. After viewing snow and more snow for three long months - even though it felt like seven - that patch of green grass was a sight for sore eyes.

In my world green is an important color. To me it means warmth. It means there is life after snow and cold. It means I can get out and play in the dirt.

Throughout the centuries green has played an important role in just about every aspect of human life. An insightful look at revealed some interesting facts about the color green:

  • In the middle ages social rank and profession were often denoted by clothing color. Merchants wore green.
  • In the 18th and 19th centuries the Romantic Movement was represented by green in literature and art.
  • In Medieval times green represented love, and young women who were unmarried wore green clothing.
  • In the US, ever since 1861 the color green has been used on the back of the dollar bill. Not only was it used to deter counterfeiters, but green did not show through the thin paper of banknotes leaving the faces on the front clear.
Here are some other roles that are represented by the color green: 
  • Nature, plants, environment, springtime, growth, regeneration, rebirth, life, renewal, freshness, hope
  • Money, Emeralds, Jade
  • Good health, vigor, vivacity
  • Safety, permission, system on, go
  • Restful color (suggested for bedrooms), reduce fatigue
  • Inexperience, immaturity 
  • Political symbol, flags
  • Gambling, sports, camouflage
  • Religion, holidays
  • Monsters, dragons, fairies
  • Poison, misfortune, nausea, sickness
  • Envy, jealousy
 If it was up to me, every day in my world would consist of green, blue, yellow and everything in between except WHITE!

Okay, Readers, if you had to claim a color to represent your world, what would it be?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

More Ways to Save on Your Electric Bill

I heard yesterday we have two more months of winter. Therefore, I thought I would add some more ways to save on your electric bill. I had mentioned among other things that if you had a sweater, it would help to keep you warm if you turned down your thermostat. You might want to add three shirts, a pair of long johns, knit cap, mittens, sweat pants, and two pair of thermal socks. Fashion is right up there with interior design when it comes to things we aren't concerned about at this point.

Here are a few more suggestions you might want to consider.

1. Go outside for awhile. It's amazing how much warmer the inside of your house feels at 63 when you first come in compared to -20 outside.
Inexpensive alternative: see number 2.

2. Visit a neighbor within walking distance. Someone else's house always seems warmer than your own. Chances are your neighbor is heating with wood. Or better yet, they're heating with wood and baking at the same time. Now where would you want to be?
Expensive alternative: drive to your neighbor's house.

3. Unplug anything that doesn't need to be plugged in 24/7. There are many appliances that steal electricity when not in use just by being plugged in. For example, tv, dvd player, vcr, radio, clock, modem, computer, and kitchen appliances. Its not difficult to plug something in when you need it and then unplug it when you're done.
Inexpensive alternative: see number 4.

4. Read a book. Turn the heat down more, grab several blankets, a thermos of hot tea and some reading material. Nothing takes us farther away from our current life in sub-zero weather than reading a good book. And its legal in all states.
Expensive alternative: move to Colorado.

5. Carry a flashlight. By doing this you can have all the lights off in your house and still be able to see where you're going. Or, don't use any light at all and practice being blind just in case you may need the experience one day. Note: this may not work if you live with someone else, or a dog. Stepping on a dog bone could cause some discomfort, but stubbing your toe and falling face first over the ottoman because someone wanted to add some excitement to the winter is not a good thing.
Alternative: save on batteries and use a solar flashlight. Then lock the other mammal in a spare room.

6. Turn off the water heater. This appliance can suck electricity faster than a spaghetti eater in a contest. Save the dishes and laundry for every other day or more. Only turn on the water heater long enough to get these chores done, and take a shower. Who needs a shower every day? If you work in a cubicle, who's going to notice?
Inexpensive alternative: set water jugs in a sunny window.

7. Take cues from the cat. Cats fend for themselves rather well and are excellent survivalists. Turn down the heat to where the pipes won't freeze and find the cat. You will have found a very warm place.
Alternative: sleep by the door with the dog.

* Again, Please Note: These tips are suggestions only. Don't hold me responsible if you were trying to plug the cat in instead of an appliance while all the lights were turned off in the house and the batteries were dead in your flashlight.

Monday, March 3, 2014

How To Save On Your Electric Bill*

For those of you who are set up to live without the electric company, I applaud you! I want to be just like you when I grow up. But for those of us who are bound by ball and chain to the electrical current running from our local provider, take heart. There are ways to lower your utility bill even though we are in the tight grip of Old Man Winter with Alzheimer's. It appears he forgot where he put his train ticket in order to get the hell out of Dodge. Maybe, if we all chip in we can carry him to the south pole. They probably wouldn't notice an increase in cold and snow down there...

Anyway, there are many simple steps that each of us can take to lower our electric usage such as turning off the lights in a room when not needed, opening the drapes to a south window on a sunny day and/or lowering the thermostat a few degrees.

But what if you've been as vigilant as the self-appointed Electric Gestapo, and you still can't seem to make much of a dent in your electric bill. Then I would say it calls for some drastic measures! Keep in mind the following suggestions are not for everyone. It requires an open mind, willingness to try, and an outlook on life as one long adventure to a Survivalists Weekend.

Ready? Many of these tips are multi-purpose. Don't scoff until you've tried 'em:

1. Lower your thermostat another five degrees. If you have carpet in your house, stuffed furniture, window curtains, short ceilings and a sweater, then a person can easily survive in 63 degree temps in their home. The softness of surrounding furnishings seem to help in keeping the chill factor at bay.
Inexpensive alternative: heat with wood that you have cut, hauled and stacked yourself.

2. Use heavy fabrics for curtains. The sheer lacy versions are for warmer weather. Get out the quilts, heavy blankets and sleeping bags to use as curtains over windows and doors in the winter. We're not in a home decorating contest at this point.
Expensive alternative: move to Florida.

3. Use rolled up rugs. One thing about winter is you will always find where the cold is sneaking into your home. And under the doors is one of the places it will leak. Rolling up heavy towels or rugs and placing them along the inside bottom of your entrance doors will help in keeping you and your floors a little warmer.
Inexpensive alternative: make the dog sleep along the bottom of the door.

4. Close off any unused rooms. If you don't need the space, turn your spare rooms into refrigerators. It may come in handy when the electric service fails. And, even if it doesn't, put your food in there anyway and turn off the fridge. This will also give you a chance to give the refrigerator a good cleaning.
Alternative: move to a one room hut.

5. Use the outdoors as a freezer. By placing your frozen items in ice chests and putting them in a safe northern location outside away from sunlight (or in an unheated garage/shed) you can turn off your freezer for a few months. This will also allow you to clean the inside of the freezer without rushing to get the food back in before it thaws. Note: the word "safe" is a key word here. Any type of animal will find a way to get to food if not stored securely.
Inexpensive alternative: go on a diet.

6. Keep blankets and throws handy. Place these throughout the house for chill attacks. Or just drag one around like its your security blanket. Sucking your thumb is up to you.
Alternative: where your one-piece jammies day and night.

* Please Note: These tips are suggestions only. Don't hold me responsible if your other half divorces you, your family disowns you, your neighbor wants nothing to do with you, your dog doesn't want to be your best friend anymore, and the cat finds a way to live with the neighbors. I'm only saying...

Chime in if you have found unique, out-of-the-ordinary ways to save on your utility bills. We can all help each other, even if we think you are a little goofy.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

How To Do Things

Old books - they are the keys that unlock the passageways of time long gone. To me, everything about an old book evokes a giddy anticipation similar to receiving a wrapped gift. The look and feel of the cover, often times with gold font and flourishes will denote what is inside. Sometimes the musty smell of an old book causes wonderment as to the house or building it has lived in. And then, opening the cover reveals the initial pages - maybe an inscribed name and year of when the book was bought or presented as a gift, and drawings in pen and ink are almost always wonderfully detailed. To sit down with a hot cup of tea, a soft woolen blanket, a reading lamp and an old book is the best past time ever. 

I have a friend who has been sifting and sorting, along with her sisters, through family belongings due to the death of their mom. Granted, it is never an easy job going through years and years of collected personal and family items left behind by the loss of a loved one. The duty can be overwhelming as well as time consuming. But in among the plethora of items a person may find there is always a few that open doors to the past and prove to be interesting and exciting.

My friend stopped by the other day to show me a book she rescued from a day of sorting and sifting. If she had not been present at the time of this discovery, a fatal death for this book was a surety. Her sister didn't think it was worth keeping. Now, keep in mind, what one person feels is something for the trash is priceless in the eyes of another. This is an aspect of human nature that is essential to preserving the past. 

The rescued book is titled How To Do Things by the Farm Journal and printed by the Wilmer Atkinson Company, publishers of the Farm Journal. The book I hold is not in the greatest shape - the front cover and part of the spine are hanging on by mere threads. The back cover as well as a page inside is missing altogether. But, oh what a find! Written in 1919 this book was a goldmine of ideas and how-tos for busy country folks who were handy with their hands and could make something out of nothing. There are numerous contraptions and ideas that, even today, can easily be made by hand and will work on today's farms and homesteads.

My friend left the book with me so I could read through and make a note of all I would like to copy. But after doing so, I realized I would need a couple ink cartridges for my printer if I wanted to print off all the information that I found useful. So, I turned to the Internet. There I found a couple copies had been sold and, therefore, unavailable. But looking further I discovered the book is now in the public domain. Meaning that if you click here, you will be able to access a free ebook version through Google Books in all its copied glory to keep for future reference. Or, even though its not the real thing, you can print off all 550+ pages to hold in your hot little hands.

Living in a throw-away world as we do some may consider this book dated and worthy of the trash, but to others and myself it is a volume of useful, common sense ideas worthy of a place on the kitchen table (or computer) for everyday use.

Strips of newspaper mark the pages of interest

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Do We Really Need More Snow?

We've had snow on the ground since November 2013. It hasn't melted like it has in previous years. Now, we have more.
An additional 8" of snow 2/18/14

Monday, February 10, 2014

How to Save on Your Grocery Bill

I'm a firm believer that you can save a few bucks on anything if you do your research. There are different times throughout the year when products from cars to electronics to housewares are offered at sale prices.

Now, what about food? We all need it to survive. So, I started wondering as to when would be the best time to buy groceries on sale. I did a google search and found through where Living Richly on a Budget blog has a printable version of when grocery items go on sale throughout the year. It includes the wide spectrum of brands and eats that people need and crave.

But personally, I cook from scratch and try to avoid processed foods as much as possible. Therefore, I need a list of raw and basic ingredients that I could purchase, and stock up if needed, when I know they are to go on sale.

I revamped the Living Richly on a Budget list to "my kind of items" (listed below; it may look a little screwed up but you get the idea) and put them in a spread sheet by month. Then I can see at a glance the whole year and plan accordingly. The items marked with an * can easily be grown and/or processed at home if you have access to the initial ingredients. This also applies to the majority of fruits and vegetables. And making your own in-ground root cellar allows you to keep root vegetables through the winter.

Doing a little research and learning to grow and process your own food can save you quite a bit on your grocery bill.

  J F M A M J J A S O N D Broth* - - - - - - - - x x x x Butter* - - - - - - x - - - x x
Canned goods* - - - - - - - - - x - -
Cheese* - - - x - x - - - - x x Coconut - - - x - - - - - - x - Coffee - - - - - - - - - - x - Cream - - - - - - - - - - - x Cream Cheese* - - - - - x - - - - - - Eggs* - - - x - x - - - - - - Evaporated milk - - - - - - - - - x x - Flour - - - - - - - - - - - x Fruit, canned* - x - - - - - - - - x x Fruit, dried* - - - - - - - - - x - - Meat: chicken, canned* - x - - - - - - - - - - Meat: grilling* - - - - x - - - - - - -
Meat: salmon, canned - x - - - - - - - - - - Meat: seafood - - - - - - - - - x - - Meat: tuna, canned - x - - - - - - - - - - Meat: turkey* - - - - - - - - - - x - Milk* - - - - - x - - - - - - Oatmeal x x - - - - - - - - x x Oils - - - - - - - - - - x - Organic foods* - - - x - - - - - - - - Peanut butter - - - - - - - x x - - - Pumpkin, canned* - - - - - - - - - x - - Salad greens* - - - - x - - - - - - - Spices - - - x - - - - - - - x Sugar - - - x - - - - - - - x Tea - - - - - - - - - - x - Vegetables, canned* - x - - - - - - - - x x Vegetables, frozen* - - x - - - - - - - - - Water chestnuts, canned - x - - - - - - - - - - Whipping cream - - - - - x - - - - - - Wine - - - - - - - - x - - - Yogurt* x - - - - x - - x - - -
J F M A M J J A S O N D Apples - - - - - - - - x x - - Apples, Gravenstein - - - - - - - x - - - - Apricots - - - - - x - - - - - - Artichoke - x x x x - - - x x - - Arugula - - - - - - - - - x - - Asparagus - x x x x - - - - - - - Avocado x x - - x - - - - - - - Avocado, Haas - - x x - - - x - - - x Beans - - - - - - - x x - - - Beans, green - - - - - - - x x - - - Beets - - - x x - - - - x x - Berries: Blackberries - - - - - x x - - - - - Berries: Blueberries - - - - - x - - - - - - Berries: Boysenberries - - - - - x - - - - - - Berries: Cranberries - - - - - - - - - x x - Berries: Raspberries - x - - x x - x - - - - Berries: Strawberries - x x - x x - - - - - - Bok Choy - - - - - - - - - - - x Broccoli x x x x - - - - - x x x Brussel Sprouts - - - - - - - - - x x x Cabbage x - x x - - - - - x x - Cabbage, Napa - - - - - - - - - - - x Cabbage, red - - - - - - - - - - - x Cabbage, Savoy - - - - - - - - - - - x Carrots x x x x x - - - - - x x Cauliflower x x x - - - - - - - - x Celery x x x - - - - - - - x x Chard x x x - - - - - - x - - Cherries - - - - - x - - - - - - Collards x x x - - - - - - - - - Corn - - - - - x x x - - - - Cucumber - - - - - x x x x - - - Dates - - - - - - - - - - - x Egglplant - - -   - - x x x x - - -
Fennel - - x - - - - - - - - - Figs - - - - - - x x - - - - Garlic - - - - - - x - - - - - Grapefruit x - - x - - - - - - - x Grapes - - - - - x x x x - - - Kale x x x - - - - - - - - x Kiwi x x - - - - - - - - x x Kumquats - - - - - - - - - - - x Leek - - x - - - - - - - - - Lemons - - x - - - - - - x x x Limes - - x - - - - - - - - - Melons, Honeydew - - - - - x - - - - - - Mushrooms - - x x - - - - - - - - Nectarines - - - - - x x - - - - - Nuts - - - - - - - - - - x - Nuts: Almonds - - - - - - - - - x - - Nuts: Chestnuts - - - - - - - - - x - - Onions - - - x - - - x x - - - Onions, red - - - - - x x - - - - - Onions, spring - - x - - - - - - - - - Onions, sweet Vidalia - - - - x x - - - - - - Oranges x - x - - - - - - - x x Oranges, valencia - - - - - - x - x - - - Parsnip - - - - - - - - - x - - Peaches - - - - - x x x - - - - Pears x - - - - - - - - x - - Pears, Anjou - - - - - - - - - - x x Pears, Asian - - - - - - x - x - - - Pears, Bartlett - - - - - - x x x - - - Pears, Bosc - - - - - - - - - - - x Pears, Comice - - - - - - - - - - x - Peas - - x x x - - - - - - - Pepper, Bell - - - - - - x x x - - - Peppers, Chili - - - - - - - - x - - - Plums - - - - - - x x - - - - Pomegranate - - - - - - - - x x - - Potatoes - x - - - x x - - x x - Potatoes, new - - - - x - - - - - - - Potatoes, sweet - - - - - - - - - x - x Potatoes, white - - - - - - - - - - - x Pumpkin - - - - - - - - - x - - Radishes - - x - - - - - - - - - Rhubarb - - x x - - - - - - - - Rutabaga - - - - - - - - - - - x Spinach x x x - - - - - - x - x Squash, summer - - - - - x x x - - - - Squash, winter - - - - - - - - x x x x Tangerines x - x - - - - - - - - - Tomatillo - - - - - - - x x - - - Tomatoes - - - - - x x x x - - - Turnips - - - - - - - - - x - x Watermelon - - - - - x x - x - - - Yams - - - - - - - - - x x x

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Cabin Fever, Anyone?

It's that time of year into winter, between sanity and the deep end, when the idea of counting the hairs on my head would make a perfect cabin fever commercial for Loony Tunes Travel Agency.

The snowdrifts between me and the outside world are getting higher with every passing day of cold, blistering winds that race across the fields west of me. I can handle the snow and cold when it comes to feeding and watering the animals, but when the wind piles the snow right where I want to walk or open the gate, then I would say it's getting a bit ridiculous. Every time I have to navigate over a snow drift or climb over the gate to water the horse I imagine myself as the abominable snowwoman on a trek across Siberia.

Fortunately, the animals seem to be taking this cold rather well. 5-year-old Miss Kitty races around like a kitten on caffeine, and the Peafowl still roost outside at night in the sub-zero weather even though they are provided with roosts inside their house. The goats with their long Angora fleeces munch on hay in their shelter like it was any day of the year. Out in the rabbitry Gizmo and Fuzz are coping with the cold. But then again they would prefer cold to hot weather any day. In the chicken house the chickens are taking the weather in stride and producing eggs after a short hiatus of mutiny in the chickenhood. I know Ducky and Dizzy will be glad for warmer weather when they can play in the water.

In the house, Moose (a Lion Head rabbit) and Herbie the chicken are totally unaware of the cold their kin have to deal with outside. They spend their days keeping each other company listening to the water circulating in the fish tank. With an occasional acknowledgement from Purdy the cat.

Purdy seems to know when I'm getting a touch of cabin fever. Between the two of us we have conversations that usually start by her looking up at me. "Are you staring at me?" I'll ask her. She quietly says "mew". I'll ask what's on her mind.  She responds with a "meOW". I ask her if she really knows what she's talking about. She reaches a paw to my face and quietly purrs.

I think I'll hold off a bit counting hairs...