What a beautiful, quiet start to the day, coffee in hand, sitting on the porch swing. The birds are chirping and singing; the chickens are cackling, and Daisy is calmly taking it all in.
Happy Birthday America
I have often been asked why we don’t move closer to my place of work, why drive the 500+ miles a week? It’s because I really like where we live. It’s mornings like this that make me smile and thank God that Linda and I were given the opportunity to purchase this land in 1987. The opportunity to change this plot of Earth from an empty field, to a home that we could raise our two children on.
That was the same hope men and women had when they started sailing to this continent many years ago. It was the same hope men and women had when they started west in covered wagons. They just wanted their own little spot on Earth to call home.
I’ve had this discussion several times with friends. It’s extremely frustrating to get caught behind these drivers who are oblivious to the fact that there is anyone but themselves on the highway.
I drive I-91 from Greenfield, MA to Springfield, MA daily to get to work, and along with the reminder to “Use ya blinkah!” the electronic signs along the highway will occasionally flash a message about the left lane being used for passing only. Until drivers start being cited for it though, this will continue to be an issue.
The left lane is for passing, not for cruising
You slow-driving, left-lane hoggers know who you are.
Thank you to all who have made the ultimate sacrifice in protecting the freedoms we have here in the United States of America. Freedoms that many on this planet do not enjoy. Freedoms that many take for granted. Memorial Day is not a day of celebration, it is a day of remembrance. A day that so many will never again have with their families and friends. So while you gather, while you mow your lawn, while you kick off summer with a trip to the beach; just take a moment to say thanks to those who are no longer with us and think of the lives, no linger with us, this day is for.
Having vacation days to burn before the end of the fiscal year, I took a couple of days off recently to get a few little things done around the property. Our weekends have been pretty booked, and when they haven’t, mother nature hasn’t been helping in the weather department.
We are doing our regular raised bed garden this year but have decided to also try “straw bale gardening“. Our friend Heidi told us about her success with it last year and we figured we would give it a shot. We started by prepping the bales about three weeks prior to planting. The chickens have been producing plenty of nice, nitrogen rich, fertilizer since last summer, so we used a layer of their compost on top of the bales and soaked them down every other day with rainwater collected from the barn roof. Once the weather finally turned for the better and we were reading to plant, the bales had started to breakdown. We have a few tomato and pepper plants going and are excited to see how they fare.
We watched YouTube videos on the subject and here is just one of the several we watched. This one is by The 52 Week Gardener
Next on the list was doing something to protect the chickens from aerial predators like hawks and owls. We looked into various ways of doing this and settled on running stainless steel wire side to side across the top of the run.
The wires are about 12″ apart from each other which doesn’t allow the birds to fly down into the chicken run. Their wingspan would be too wide. It may be hard to see in this photo, but if you click on it you can see the full resolution version of it. We haven’t had an issue with flying predators, but after taking precautions for fox, raccoon, etc. with electric fencing and buried wire around the perimeter of the run, we decided we didn’t want to leave “death from above” to chance.
It’s nice to be able to get outside and accomplish a few things again. Welcome Spring!
In our house, we don’t refrigerate unless they have been wash. Occasionally the hens will leave behind a dirty egg and it just has to be washed. Otherwise, we load them into the “metal hen” our neighbors gave us as a gift… I think they felt bad that the wintered in the FLA while we battled a very cold, New England, winter. We can’t wait for retirement, but that’s an entirely different story.
Check out this article on how things are in Europe. With all the precautions that are taken in the US, the instances of salmonella are less in Europe. Interesting…
Spring has the critters moving and this bear is pretty interested in the bird feeder, (video 1) and the camera, (video 2). He has been around for a few weeks now and I actually encountered him one evening outside our barn. He was joyfully munching away on the bird feeder he has ripped down from it’s “protected” spot hanging from the end of the barn rafter. Still don’t know how he manged to get that one down. <head scratch> Anyway, we stared at each other for that frozen moment in time that seemed much longer than the 1.25 seconds that it actually was, before he ran off into the woods.
Well, now that we have him on film, it’s time to put the feeders away for the season.