Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Garden & Critters

Mark got the metal livestock water tanks from ranching friends for my raised garden beds. Since my knee replacement surgery, I cannot kneel which is a detriment to a gardener. The solution is the used water tanks. He cut out the bottoms, filled with about 6 inches of gravel and topped off with great topsoil. Perfect!

Friend Irene Thomas calls the corrugated livestock tanks - "country chic" - OK, I'll buy that. The ranchers use them for cattle waterers. They are just the right height for me to easily plant, weed and harvest. They are exactly the wrong height for rabbits. Other critters haven't discovered them yet so I'm hopeful.

Everything is in but the warm weather plants - tomatoes and peppers. I have lots of heirloom tomatoes and peppers to go in the ground soon. We also planted 8 blueberry bushes, 2 raspberry bushes, and a small orchard - 4 apple trees, 3 cherry trees, 2 pear and 2 peach trees. We want to be good stewards of the land, so we are replenishing some of the trees that have died or aren't long for this life.  Arbor Day was started in NE so we ordered several trees inexpensively from them. We look forward to touring their tree farm and conference center this summer.

The lilacs were glorious this year. Just stepping out the door brought wonderful scents from the lilac bushes.  And the cherry tree was full of blossoms so we are counting on another big crop of sour cherries for pies, jams and to freeze for later.  The little cherry tree was so abundant last year that even with friends sharing we had lots for cherry pies - plural. Yum!  The new trees will take a few years before we'll
be able to enjoy the fruit. We planted several non-fruit trees from the Arbor Day foundation such as sugar maple, nut trees, dawn redwood, serviceberry, etc. Most of our deciduous trees here are elms and some ash. We have a good number of cedars and pine trees but the elms and ash are vulnerable to disease and many are old.
THE CRITTERS: We started with 31 birds but now are down 2 guineas and 3 chicks.  The culprit was a feral cat.  The cat is no longer a resident of our place and Mark built a very sturdy chicken scratch run so they are now safe.  It was a dog run which he topped with wire to keep everything out.They are getting big, aren't they? More like mini-hens now. The guineas are free range and they cover alot of ground vacuuming bugs. They are funny things, always moving on their skinny legs, making screeching noises whenever they think they perceive a threat - including the postman, bluejays, and sometimes the wind. I welcome their craziness because of the good they do in the country.  I'm counting on them to greatly reduce the bug population.  One has made a nest and laid 9 eggs (at last count) under the horse trailer in tall grass so we'll see if they are good brooders or not.

We've also had wild turkeys hanging around.  They eat alongside the guineas on some days.  There is a young tom turkey living around here too. One day I looked out the kitchen window and saw a tom with his tail feathers all spread out and doing the courting dance in our yard.  Not something you'd see in Burbank, CA!  It was a magnificent sight. Was too engrossed to get a picture.

Check out the turkeys next to the swing. They are hanging with the guineas. Amazing thing to see.  Mark just tilled this area to re-sod, so I'm sure there are lots of juicy bugs for easy picking.

It will be a couple weeks before we have newborn baby horses. I'll keep you posted.


Janet said...

Love seeing all your pictures and what you are doing. You are so far ahead of us with things blooming and trees leafed out. But then we got a frost just two days ago. Weird weather.

Anonymous said...

Hi Delores,
What a great blog! Jason and I miss you both and need to plan a visit soon. I am glad you are loving the country life. Please send my love to Mark.

Karen in Colorado

Anonymous said...

Good Morning! Wow...........what a wonderful way to keep up with what you are doing. Thank you for letting me know. I'll put it in my favorites with other blogs that I check every day. Your place looks wonderful. I'm so glad to finally see it. Take care....hugs to you both. I have to be anonymous cause I don't have an account yet. ;o) Sandy In Winner

Faraz said...

Hi Delores,

This is awesome, you have no idea how much we enjoyed reading the Blog and watching the beautiful pictures you put on it. What a great idea.

I loved the bread... I want one :) I'll bring the wine :)

Please say hi to Mark, and please keep us updated.

Faraz from CA

Judy and Gary said...

What an exciting move for both of you...back to the "Heartland"! Enjoyed the pictures. Love to you both.