Sunday, June 23, 2013

Too steamy for garden party!

We hosted our tea this afternoon.  And a steamy steampunk party it was!  In fact, too steamy to comfortably be outside playing croquet.  But we had a lovely time anyway.  A few photos before I go clean up.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Putting on the gloves

I've resorted to welding gloves to gather eggs.

Zeva, our gold laced Wyandotte has gone broody.  However, since I just added 4 new pullets to the flock I'm not really eager to let her try to hatch out any more chicks.  Hence the welding gloves.  She is pretty vicious when I try to steal her babies... or at least what she thinks are her babies.  poor thing. I hope that she'll get over it soon.  At least I noticed her out with the others when I opened the coop.

In other news, we are frantically doing landscaping/weeding/yard work as well as cleaning the house.  We're hosting the Iowa Steampunk group on Sunday afternoon for a Tea/Garden Party.  You know, croquet and cucumber sandwiches. It should be fun... assuming the weather cooperates. We're currently forecast to be in the mid 90's on Sunday afternoon.  That's awfully hot to be wearing a gown outside.  We'll be sure to take lots of photos.

I'm still battling rabbits and deer in the garden- and chipmunks.  Grrr.... chipmunks!  I planted my three sisters.  And then, a few days later, noticed that nearly every single seed had been dug up and eaten.  I've had hardly anything planted from seed survive in the garden this year.  sigh.  But at least my tomatoes have recovered and are doing well.  But I need to weed.  Always weeding.  it never ends.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Muddy Day!

Today, Justine and I completed the Iowa Games Mud Run.  Whew!  What a challenge.  Mother nature has been 'helping' on the course and there was more mud than expected.  In fact, they had to alter the course because some areas were under too much water to be safe to have people run through.
So we did about 3 miles in mostly shin deep mud or knee deep water.  Only having the mud two to three inches deep was heavenly.

I'll be honest, we both struggled.  But, we weren't the only ones struggling. It was tough going out there.
Here are a few photos of the day.  And, yes, I'm posting photos that are not at all flattering.

 Prior to the run, we are clean and happy.
 Justine donned her muddy paint, ready to tackle the world.
 And we're off!
 Coming up on the finish.... This is some of the shallow mud!
 We haven't even had water yet- why are you taking our photo?  I look like I really want to kill someone!
Finally... happy to take off the shoes!  We both made it through with our shoes intact.  We saw many, many abandoned shoes along the way.  We wondered at the race start why so many people were running barefoot... now we know!  Next time- barefoot it is!!  Shoes become a liability in knee deep muck.

But like they say...  What doesn't kill us makes us stronger.  One month to go before zombie race!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A day trip to the farm

We took a day trip to see my parents on the farm yesterday. With all the rain and storms they had three trees go down, falling from the creek bank into the orchard.  Dad had worked to get them cut up already but at his age, he doesn't need to be hauling that much wood.  So, we all loaded up and made the trip.  Many hands make light work and with all our teenagers and V and I working, we had the brush moved and the firewood hauled and stacked in seemingly no time.   I teased Justine that it was our strength training workout for the day.
Speaking of training... Justine and I have been doing training runs, getting in shape for the zombie apocalypse that's coming sooner than I imagined.  We're doing a 'trial run' next weekend and doing the Mud Run in Des Moines.  I think it's supposed to rain next weekend so that will mean more mud to run through.  Joy.  We did invest in trail running shoes that have better than average tread.  Good for running through mud and up and down slippery hills.

The garden is growing.  We did manage to get everything planted last weekend.  And I noticed a few little cucumbers popping up out there.  Mom gave me a few extra eggplant and tomato starts that she didn't want.  Not that I NEED more plants but one of my deer ravaged tomatoes isn't coming back very well so I may replace it.  Now if only I can manage to keep the baby bunnies from devastating the rest of the garden.

The fab four pullets have integrated pretty well into the rest of the flock. They're not exactly mingling yet but they appear to have achieved a 'mutual tolerance' policy.  Abbie (our dominant hen) took it upon herself to bother them for most of the week.  Not exactly picking on them, but standing there, giving them the 'stink-eye' if they moved toward the feeder, chasing them off the roost, things like that.  But, we made sure they had plenty of unmolested time to eat and she seems to have gotten bored with watching them so they're becoming more adventurous with the flock, even running into the mix to grab strawberry hulls when I toss them in.

Yesterday's harvest:  8 eggs, a bowl of strawberries and a handful of radishes.  I've replanted lettuce but it may be a challenge to keep it from the bunnies.

We continue the battle with chipmunks.  V has been picking them off with the air rifle but they continue to create havoc.  I've pinned deer netting over the strawberry bed but they still manage to get in and eat the strawberries.  Grrr!  And they dig in the plants on the porch.  sigh.  But we will persevere.

 And... it's raining again today.  Looks like my garden plans will be put on hold and Justine and I will be running in the rain this afternoon.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Still here

I'm still here.  I haven't fallen off the face of the earth... much.

I'm recovering from a bout of bronchitis that knocked me flat for about 5 days.  I knew I was coming down with something on Friday last week but we still went out to dinner and a concert for our 27th anniversary anyway.  Not a great idea.  I spent the rest of the night coughing and by Saturday morning was feverish and felt like I'd been run down by a 16 wheeler.  I spent the entire holiday weekend down and out.  I missed work on Tuesday and when I went in on Wednesday my co-workers sent me home.  But I'm feeling much better now.

In homesteady news, I did manage to get the little chicks (or as V calls them- the Debutantes) moved out to the coop with the rest of the flock on Monday but left them in the kennel for 'introductions'.  Today, they were released.  So far so good.  Abby, our dominant hen has been picking on them a bit- but not too severely (at least no blood!) and River (the bottom of the pecking order) also took a few swipes at them.  Mostly, the rest of the hens seem to be ignoring them.  I can live with that.  I was worried about integrating them into the flock.

And we had a birthday here.  My middle child is now 16!  How did that happen?
Justine made his cake.  Shaped like a fez.  It was awesome.  Aren't big sisters great?!

I've gotten my little tomatoes replanted (as many as I had replacements for) and put extra chicken wire cages around them for protection. A few are still little stumps and I'm not sure they will recover.  We'll see. I desperately need to get the rest of my garden in but the weather has not cooperated. We had close to 4 inches of rain over the weekend and storms keep coming through on a pretty regular basis.  We've had the sirens go off several times this week and had 70+ mph winds.  Nothing like the folks in Oklahoma!
I'm hoping that tomorrow it will be dry enough to get a few things done.  We agreed to help my friend Jim with his garden by tilling up a patch for him but it has been too wet.  Maybe tomorrow afternoon.

Later this coming week, after the boys are out of school we're hoping to head down to my parent's farm.  They have had bad weather there as well and have 3 trees down that we're going to help them remove.

What a crazy spring it has been.  I hope you are all safe!