Recent weeks have been busy. The kind of busy where I pause momentarily to pray the dinner blessing with my family, wolf a few bites and keep working, the day's work always draping over into tomorrow as well. I rose bright and early this morning to see Husbandman off to conquer his Professional Engineer licensing exam. 8 hours of testing sandwiched with 2 hours of driving and almost 2 hours of testing protocol and instructions. He'll be gone for about 14 hours today and come home blitzed. His dinner request? Ice cream. And I just might comply. :-)
The garden has been doing great. I get to pick lettuce or greens a few times a week. Some fruit is set on the tomatoes. Even have a cucumber on the vine. I planted an exorbitant amount of collard greens and swiss chard. Most is still quite small. I also am trying again on onions, this time in pots. I put about 8 little seedlings in a 3 gallon pot filled with compost. I intend to keep them going a long time and hope they bulb out. Other attempts at onions were thwarted by them taking too long to grow that, come late spring, I had to rip them out to put in something else. The pots will remedy that hopefully. I also decided that I flat out need more garden space. Husbandman and I took a stroll figuring out where it could go. We decided on a place and I've been watching the winter shade... which is far too encroaching. It would be fine in the spring but its already almost entirely shaded most of the day and we're 2 months from the solstice. Back to the drawing board. This is where homesteading gets creative.
Given the previous post, this coming weekend, the one where Husbandman will be wallowing in brain fog, is basically our only chance to work on partition fencing in the pasture. I desperately want to get some grass seed down during the next rain, but not until we have the pasture split so I can keep the animals off the tender grasses. We have a long fence down the middle, most of the way down. We intend to fence a common area that includes the barn, the turkey hutch and the main gate. Then leave openings to the 2 paddocks with a single gate between them. Move the gate from one paddock to the other while the herd is feeding in the common area and the move is complete. I definitely think we can complete it in a day, but Husbandman is desperate for a free moment. And his back is bothering him. And the budget is a bit tight to be buying a big roll of fencing. I don't know how much to press the issue and how much to just sit back and let it get done in January instead.
Today's job is canning, canning and more canning. I have a friend at a church with a pumpkin patch and I've collected a few that were starting to go bad. I salvaged much of them and have pumpkin puree in the freezer and pumpkin butter in the crock pot to can. I also have 40lbs of pears that I purchased to process. I've been waiting for the promise of cooler weather to steam up my kitchen with the canner. Today holds that promise. And if it doesn't deliver, then I get to sweat. Its got to get done today. May be getting a lot more pumpkins this weekend and I gotta be ready!
We're still waiting for Dulcinea to show signs of kidding. I had her due last week and she's not at all bagged up, nor even that big. So much for using sores on her hips to determine pregnancy. And we were too slow in doing something with our buck and Helen is now pregnant. She delivered in January of '10, September of '10 and will again in March of '11. This is way too hard on her body. I'm very upset by it but I never expected her to go into heat 4 weeks after delivering when she was still giving almost a gallon of milk a day. I feel horrible about it. We've decided to get rid of Copper and hold on to Willy (who we haven't been able to sell despite our attempts). If Dulci has a buck, we'll keep her's who would have greater genetic diversity from the rest of the herd. This would buy us some time to get our bachelor pad completed before immediately impregnating Dulci as well. I just hope we can move Copper without him ending up on a table.
Yesterday, a friend with a tree business dropped off about a dozen HUGE oak logs. MUSHROOMS! I'll slice these logs in half, drill holes in the flat sides and pack them with innoculated sawdust (that I have yet to order... add that to the to-do list) and set them in that once-completely-useless shadey section. What logs we don't use for mushrooms, I'll chop and store for next year's firewood. It was alive just yesterday so its perfect for mushrooms but not so great for the immediate winter. Sharpen the axe, I found my new workout regime!
The girl child is up now. Its just a matter of time before the boys follow. Then I can really start my day. My seemingly never-ending day. At least I'm not taking a never-ending test. God bless my superhero. I'll add pictures later.