Sunday, March 26, 2006

Watching the Mountains Turn White

From our house, on top of a knoll, we have a 360 degree view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I am watching the snow from a snowless vantage point. I can see that the mountains to the South and East are covered and that snow is only just now beginning to develop on some of the ones to the North. In the West, the tops are still green.

This is odd, because precipitation usually comes from the Northwest here.

It's chilly, but not very cold and the wind is picking up. I've noticed just a few snowflakes in the air. We had rain yesterday and some the day before, and it had the effect of setting my mind at ease, as it's been so dry for so long. The grass has greened up just a bit.

The vegetable garden's tilled, with good composted goat manure added. Peas and garlic are planted outside; greens and tomatoes are doing well in the greenhouse. I got an Earthway seeder which I need to assemble. Then I'll plant some beets and cabbage outside. For those of you who don't know, a seeder is a wheeled gadget which has seed plates inside a hopper. You put the seed in the hopper and then walk down the row with the seeder. It places the seed, properly spaced, in the garden row. I've always wanted one, so now will see just how well it works.

Annabelle (the cow) is in labor. Her udder is large and full. I've been watching her for days and hope all will go well.

Yesterday, we moved hay with the big tractor, rearranging the remains of a round bale in the barn so that the reserved kidding stalls all have a fresh supply. The cows also got a new round bale out in the pasture. I've been raking and cleaning out the other stalls in preparation for the expected kids. As I was trimming hooves, I noted the ear tag numbers of the "done" goats on the chalkboard we keep there. When I looked closely, I realized I'd actually put down the date when the buck, Hubba Bubba, came to visit: November 14th. That means we aren't expecting kids until April 13th, give or take...

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Fruit Trees in Bloom

Yesterday, in the seventy-something temperatures, several fruit trees and a magnolia burst into bloom. I think they're beautiful enough to memorialize in photos. Now, I will really be worried about untimely frost and freezes. I was also lucky enough to see about twenty wild turkeys trotting and flying through one of the resting pastures. I'm really happy that we're creating a good environment for this type of wildlife on our farm.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Marching on...

The goats have all gotten CDT boosters as of this morning. We're expecting to hear the patter of little feet this month, so that's an important task. I've trimmed the hooves of twelve goats so far. That's 48 hooves. There are a lot more to go.

I've gotten lots of practice on my small Massey Ferguson tractor since yesterday. I'm almost proficient in the use of the bucket to scoop up manure from our huge pile from last year, and placing it on the vegetable garden. It's got a rototiller, too, so I then engage the tiller and till in the manure, preparing for Spring planting. I've got a new asparagus bed readied and will plant that and the seed potatoes this afternoon after a little rest.

It's always to learn a new skill and I'm happy to be able to do this at my advanced age. Speaking of this -- a new friend, who is less than a year younger, gave me a tour of her farm on the back of an Arctic Cat ATV this week. Yikes! She drives fast. Over hills, up and down, over streams and rocks -- we were flying! It was scary and fun, but my back hurt from riding with both legs over (like riding a horse.) The ATV I'll buy will have nice, civilized bucket seats. I've pretty much decided on the one I want and will let you know when I can actually purchase it.

We're at the end of the fencing project. The waterers should be installed early this week.

I've been buried in paperwork, developing spreadsheets to record farm expenses and income and getting it all ready for doing this year's taxes.

In the greenhouse, seedlings are up and I'm already transplanting tomatoes into individual pots.

There are plenty of signs of Spring around the farm now.