Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A month of weather woes

Surely we must have broken records for lack of sunshine in May. I think I remember one and a half days when it wasn't raining, foggy, drizzley or cloudy. And the slugs loved it. And they multiplied and multiplied, so my early morning ritual became don the rubber gloves and saunter thru the gardens doing slug patrol. Into a pail with salt water they went, by the dozens and dozens. I started prowling about at 11 at night with a flashlight and my trusty pail. Horrible nasty creatures, so vile even the laying hens wont eat them.
May had its good points however, like a Mother's Day visit to Corn Hill Nursery for a great lunch of real food, and a trunkful of plants, hardy roses, raspberries, black currants, and coming home, a terrific roadside sale of perennial flower plants dirt cheap.
Our next wwoofers, Armandine and Richard from France joined us and we tackled loads of garden chores, setting out tomatoes in the greenhouse when it rained,
setting out plants outside when it stopped..
Everything was covered immediately before it could be chomped on by the slugs.
A family with a 4 year old came by to visit. The little boy was impressed with all the ice cream buckets in the garden and asked wide eyed, "Wow! Are you growing ice creams?"
The little meat king chicks arrived and Freckles loved them immediately. 21 days before pickup day at the feed store we borrowed some fertilized eggs from the farm next door and put them under Freckles who had been broody for a week or more. On day 21 several were beginning to hatch and make peeping sounds, which causes a hormonal shift in the hen to change her from setting mode to mothering mode.. They all went with us in a box to the feed store where we picked up 8 chicks, a day old, and slipped them into the box. Freckles thought, "Great! Instant family!" and pushed them all under her wings. The neighbor got his hatchlings back and Freckles was none the wiser. One of the best things about meat kings is that they will eat slugs.
And now we have our last wwoofer for the spring season, Konstantin from Germany. A wonderful lad who cheerily tackles any job that comes along.

He was exceedingly cheery when we put his very first lobster in front of him! I think we enjoyed watching him figure out how to eat it as as much as he did chowing it down.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

First week of May projects

A huge dump truck unloaded this pile of topsoil into our prepared flower bed (sort of into). Our valiant wwoofers shoveled and raked it into place, until it was all tidy and ready to plant.

Tall perennials like hollyhock and sweet peas will go in the back, then cosmos, lilies and dahlias. There will be lots of room for edibles like nasturtiums and johnny jump ups to pretty up my restaurant salads.
We finished boarding in the roof of the log cabin and worked on the gable ends.

Tess got an all over haircut from the scissor wielding girls. She is due for a bluegrass transplant to fix that receding hairline.

Alina cleaned out the dead leaves and sticks from last fall, that were clogging up the pond.

More potatoes got planted, the weather still unseasonably cool with much too frequent rain.

The crew put together the trellis for the scarlet runner beans, which I planted this morning. They are always so pretty covered with red blossoms and alive with hummingbirds.

Dr Brian came to listen to Big Red's vitals, finding dirt in the gas a likely cause of her loud and rather startling backfiring.
There's always the never ending transplanting to do when the rain starts again.(The red ring is to pass the hose through to keep it off the plants)

The girls cut out new mesh fabric covers for the ice cream buckets that will protect the newly set out transplants from slugs, cutworms, and cabbage moths.
The fence for the meat hens was rebuilt, ready for the chicks arrival later this month.

The carpenters learned how to put on 3 in one roofing shingles.
..and posed with Prince Charming in the doorway of his new house.
      Our wwoofers left today on their way to new adventures, new skills, new experiences. Whoever is lucky enough to host them next will surely feel as I do...in a world seeming to be spiralling out of control we are so encouraged by the enthusiasm, creativity and strong work ethic of these young folks, who are not afraid to get their hands dirty out in the real world .

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Beginning to look like a little house..

Our neighbor with a big bandsaw ripped one of our cedar logs into four pieces of quarter round, one to fit in each of the pig trough corners to finish and strengthen them. We bartered eggs , salad greens and jam. The young crew assembled the rafters as I measured and cut, and sometimes measured and cut again.
Next came the door frame which the forewoman cut too tall and the long suffering patient and polite crew disassembled so it could be cut and re made shorter.
Chain saw Brian came and cut out the doorway for the pieces to add to his kindling pile.

Next the crew gathered bags of moss from the woods and chinked all the cracks.

The trim boards and roof went on pretty fast with three hammers going. Tomorrow we'll go get a few more boards from the mill to finish up where we ran out of lumber.