April on the Homestead

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Whoa... a new month! Around here it's roaring in, with gusts of over 50 mph predicted. I love where I live, but this isn't what I love. At least it's warming up. We got our first thinning from the cold frame greens for our salad last night and I got more lights up for the burgeoning seedlings yesterday.

Today's a run into the big city in the afternoon, not much else planned.

North of Heber, AZ(Zone 6b)

You know what they say about March, "In like a lamb, out like a lion." LOL

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

{{snort}} yeah, well last month came in like a cub and went out with a roar...

How's tricks out your way?

none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

cant believe its April already ! ? wow
my dh is starting a job in china and will leave next week. Lots to do before he goes :(
got to get that dern door up. I have a zipper door i think that will work. ? with alot of tape LOL did ok last year.
i was hoping to build this one and have it last for several years , that ain't happening . If it makes it t hrough the spring i will be happy LOLLLL
will end up a chicken run
next year i hope it will be a better design. :)
yikes 50 MPH winds !!! ok i won't complain about our mild 20 mph winds here
off to get busy

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Well, the high winds didn't happen (for a change), just our usual 35 mph spring breeze. We got snow instead... nothing to be happy about, just a dusting. But it made that little spring breeze cold. And I'm getting tired of cold...

Gotta pick up more goat milk today, pastuerize it, get hay, stack it, hang more lights for all those little seedlings...

Hey Tay... I've got a lot of projects like that... hmm, that didn't come out quite like I planned (as I watch a donkey demolish something I though indestructible, or something else shred in the wind)... as Edison said, there are no failures, it's just discovering what doesn't work until you find out what does. LOL

How long is DH going to be in China? What a lousy time to have to go... don't they know it's spring planting time!? =0)

Jay

North of Heber, AZ(Zone 6b)

Don't know how hard our winds blew yesterday but enough to make Screamin' Mimi (my wind generator) scream, but not howl like the week before when it shrieked all day and night. No rain, it just looked like it might. It's like being on a life raft in the middle of the ocean, you can see rain happening all around you but not on you, where you need it. We had a beautiful, sunny day on Tuesday, and another one today, just to keep the growing things confused. At least the weather was so unpleasant yesterday that I didn't go outside much, just stayed in and painted street signs. We only have two county street signs, at the entrance to Antelope Valley, although the county did make us a map. But without street signs, the map doesn't help a lot. 8^) So about 7 years ago, when I moved up here, I started painting street signs. They need to be repainted every few years, like now. I put them on short posts (scrap wood, whatever I can scrounge, usually about 2 feet tall) stuck in 8x8x8 cement blocks, so when the cows are "in", they knock them over, and the winds can knock them down, too. Before my signs, people would try to give directions such as "go past 12 juniper trees and turn left, go 9 juniper trees and turn right," etc. Not everybody likes the signs, some of my neighbors don't want to be found! ;^D

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

Weather here was good yesterday. It's nice out now but supposed to have a few showers this afternoon and rain tonight. We could do without it.

Yesterday we went and visited some friends who are having a hard time and brought them a few things. Turns out it was very timely as they are having relatives visit this weekend. God knows all about what we need. We fed the 4 horses on the farm while we were out that way. They have plenty of graze so the feed is not needed but we like to keep them coming up to be petted so we can catch them when we need to. We also brought 7 bales of hay from the farm to a guy who has too many horses and they are looking bad. He had a mare die of tetnus a couple of weeks ago. I had never seen that happen though I guess it's easy enough to contract. I need to have all mine vaccinated, I guess. It's always something.

Eggs in my bator are due to hatch tomorrow. Need to get my brooder ready. I also have to do a bit of work on my chicken yard here at the house. Just a bit of rearranging and cover the top. We are planning to be away for a few days at the end of the month and I like to make it as simple as possible for the people who feed for me. I don't leave often because I have so many animals. They tie me down a bit but the satisfaction they give me more than makes up for it.

I have to get some more plants seeded. Local calendar says to plant taters on the 5th. I need to get my cages ready for that.

Have to send a BD card to my DGS in La. He turns 6 tomorrow. Hardly seems possible. He's doing well in school now since he is on medication for ADD. He was having an awful time before. Only in kindergarten and had been tossed off the bus twice. He is doing good now in and out of the classroom. DS doesn't like that he is on the meds but it was the only answer. Teacher didn't have the patience for him and I know he is a handful but she could have gone a lot farther with him than she did. One of those situations where she might be better at a different vocation. Not everybody makes a good teacher. Doesn't mean they are bad folks. It's not an easy job by any means.

Gotta get to work. Need to do some research on canning. I want to put up some of my veggies this year.

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

9* here this am... sheesh. But it's supposed to be warm and WIND-FREE today... so once it warms up I'll be out in the garden, turning in compost and laying out the new beds for the high tunnel. We did get all the rest of the little bits and pieces needing to be done on the frame before the cover can go on and fribbled about whether to start that, but yesterday's light wind was getting breezier and it started to snow flurry, and I'm leaving for a week tomorrow, so we decided not to start that as we might not have time to finish it before I go. Bummer.

I saw in the paper where both in the states and globally farmers aren't planting as much this year, so grain prices are expected to go up 5%. Farmers aren't planting because they can't get the credit for seed, and probably don't want to get any farther in debt than they can help. I sure can't blame them. But I'm thinking this is the year I start to figure out how to grow a grain crop for household use. I got some hull-less oats to try.

Stuff in the cold frame is coming along, we got a second thinning of greens for salad. =0) And all the up-potted plants are doing fabulously. Can't wait for a juicy fresh from the garden tomato!

Jay

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

We had a thunderstorm last night but it moved through quick. No damage. It was 40* this morning but it's getting cooler. It is supposed to freeze the next couple of mornings and we are supposed to get snow. The locals call this redbud winter. I'll cover my broccoli and my strawberries. The rest of it should be fine. Next cold spell they call blackberry winter then we should be in the clear.

I had 9 chicks hatch out of 21 eggs. None of my bantam eggs hatched. We went to the market Saturday and bought 5 mixed big stock chicks that were only a few days old. I put them in with mine and they are all doing well. I had 1 chick I had to keep apart from the rest for a couple of nights. It had a cripple foot from being in the egg too long. It is doing well this morning though the inside toe is still turning back. It is walking good and the others are leaving it alone. As long as that continues I will leave it in with the others.

I need to get to the post office and send out some seeds. Then I have to get to the barn and get the work done before it gets too cold. I'll be on my own today as DH had to go to the hospital to be with one of our church members for surgery. I have to go for parent teacher conference this afternoon and then weigh in for the diet contest. I sure hope I have done better than the last 2 weeks. I have tried to eat more but not fattening stuff. I am very discouraged.

Have a good trip, Jay. Is it another one of your seminars?

As far as the grain goes, you might want to do a bit of research on buck wheat. If I remember right, I read it was a good grain for the home gardener. Let us know what you find out. Have you made anymore cheese?

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Yup, it's another seminar. At least this one I can drive to, rather than having to fly to N. CA. Just a short trip over the mountain. =0)

Oh, bummer about the bantam eggs, but it was fun lurking on the others hatching over on P & L. You've earned your first stars or stripes or whatever it is that Hatch Commanders sport on their caps... LOL

I've got some cheese abrewin' now; hopefully the curds will be ready before bed. Then we're going to try to make whey ricotta from the whey... er, sounds kinda redundant, don't it. =0) Anyway, supposedly if you heat the whey up again, the protein will coagulate out and voila! ricotta of a sort. We shall see... the dogs love the whey in their dinners. Wish I had chickens to feed whey-soaked grain to; that's supposed to be really good for them.

I'm not a huge fan of buckwheat, but the key to health is variety, so I'll look it up. I'm thinking barley should do well up here, too. Little plots to figure out how to grow things, harvest and thresh the grain. More educational than necessity at this point, but one just never knows what one will NEED to know someday. =0)

Hope the weigh-in is encouraging! Love to see some pics of your flock here! And your incubator set-up. =0)

Jay

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Here's my tougher-than-daffodils pansies...
Just a little spring for everyone. =0)

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none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

Hello everyone
Glad you didn't get them winds Jayryunen. :)
Cajun yeah on the chicks . Sorry the bantam eggs didn't hatch. :(
Azgrammie i hope you get some good weather in, sure sounds like you need it.
To bad farmers wont start to realize that pasture is the way to go IMHO. :) but i m not a farmer, so i m sure my vote don't count LOL
but i do wish they would look into pasture more than grain. Sorry to hear the grain is going up for the farmers and things are getting to tight for them. Its a sad time for them . I hope things look up for them soon.
Cajun your such a good person to bring your goodies to your neighbors :) way to go
Love the daff's i did find deer in my flower bed. GRrrr. Dh scared them off but not until they grunted and rejected the idea at first iwth a look to say " ummm who care about you buddy " LOL
the Gh is up but i hope it holds LOL just alot of tape and more tape . So far so good. Its a low budget Gh . For sure. :)
have a great day everyone
sue

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Tay, I can't eat pasture. LOL I eat pasta! Tons of pasta. And bread. And cookies. Probably too many of those. =0(
Higher prices for grain means higher prices for cookies and that makes me kinda cranky about once a month. LOL
Great to hear you got your GH up... we were talking about using paint balls to run deer off on another thread... at least you'd have op-art deer, the first in your neighborhood. LOL
I've been reading a great batch of articles on porta-hoopie GH and walk-in tunnels. If anybody wants a copy, I'd be happy to send it, just Dmail me your address. Lots of great ideas. =0)
Also read today about how yearly additions of compost and manure to the garden can lead to levels of phosphorus and potassium being too high over time. Uh-oh.

none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

LOL to funny on the cookies
to tired right now to think
but will reply on that offer tomorrow
oh by the way i got your seeds and yours on are the way :)
hugs
sue

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

Jay,
Can you flavor your cheese? If so, at what point do you add things to it?

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

Sue,
Do you have some pics of your GH? When does your DH leave for work? Are the kids well now?

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Cajun, yes, we've been adding some herb blends we got from the same place we got the culture. They've got a wonderful 'herbs de Provence' with lavender that we've really been enjoying. The favorings are added after the curds have been drained. Or, if you freeze some, I add it after defrosting.

What's your favorite cheese flavoring?

Oh yes, definitely pics of the GH, Tay. =0)

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

I was thinking about garlic and green onion.

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Oh Yum! Too bad you don't live next door. I'd definitely bring you some. =0)

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

I couldn't stand the wind you all get. All that constant movement would have me as nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rockers! But I would like to be a cheese trading neighbor.

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Oh, I was thinking of out there... LOL because the wind about makes me irritable enough to chew nails. It was really nice today not to hear it moaning and rubbing along the walls of the house, to not hear all the various rattlings.

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

My aunt and uncle lived in Enid, OK and the wind always blew there too. We spent a week with them when I was 12 and I have never felt the need to go back there. A gentle breeze to ease a hot day is all I need in the way of wind. It's nerve racking for me. We don't have much wind. Lots of times you can hear it in the trees on the ridges above but you don't feel it in the valleys and hollows. That's the best of both worlds. That's what it's like at the farm and the barn. Here in town it's different. We live in a wind tunnel between two mountains. It doesn't blow all the time but when it does it channels through here and takes everything in it's path. We have lost 3 yard tents to it.

Do ya'll get many tornados out your way? We get a few but the mountains always sheer them off before they get going too good.

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

We're not supposed to, 'cause we're close to the mountains, too, but a couple years ago a twister touched down in Cimmaron, NM, just up the road from us and also at the base of the mountains. So there's just noooooo telling anymore.

You ever read 'Giants in the Earth'? Great book about settling the prairie and I seem to recall one of the characters going bonkers from the wind...

I can definitely relate some days.

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

I haven't heard of that book but that is a subject I enjoy. I am reading Farmer Boy again. It's from the little house series. I've read it a million times it seems but I enjoy it every time.

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

There's a great scene in the book... the homesteaders are finally getting their feet under them and locust come through, stripping the place, even eating the clothes off the clothesline. Just gives one a real feel for how tough it really was out there.

I've got to get around to the little house books... {{shaking head}}

Just read, last fall, about the Mormon migration from Ohio to Utah. Hoooo-weeeee, that was somethin'!

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

Especially using those hand carts! They were determined folks.

I'm off to bed. Have a good trip.

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

They were inspired folks, for sure.
Thanks and night-night...
=0) Jay

North of Heber, AZ(Zone 6b)

My great-great grandfather, a Civil War veteran, homesteaded in Nebraska near the town of Minden. His daughter, my great-grandmother, with her husband James (a Scot from Canada), and newborn son bought railroad land near her father. When she was in her 70's or 80's, she wrote her memoirs of life as a prairie settler. (She must have kept copious notes.) They really had it tough! Her story has been written up at least three times, plus various articles in the Nebraska Historical magazine. The first two books are entitled "Luna E. Kellie: Pioneer - Politician - Publisher" and "Dreamers Betrayed: The Life of Luna E. Kellie: Pioneer - Politician - Publisher". They were written by a second cousin of mine, E. Jean Iden, and consist mostly of Luna's memoirs, with the second being a more formal version of the first with lots of related stuff added (political activities and family). In 1992 the third version was printed, entitled "A Prairie Populist - the Memoirs of Luna Kellie", by Jane Taylor Nelsen. It is more polished and is available on Amazon Books. Another writer contacted me (and many of Luna's other descendents) a few years ago, said she was writing a book about Luna, and she was surprised to hear that there were already three other books extant!

Luna's story of day-to-day life in a sod hut is very poignant. Her description of the "hoppers" eating everything in sight is especially interesting. It is hard to imagine how they survived, but Luna &James not only survived but had thirteen children. She published a newspaper to reflect the politics of the Farmers' Alliance, and she and her eldest daughter set all the type & printed it themselves. Luna was elected secretary of the Farmers' Alliance and so was active in politics, very unusual for a woman of those times.

Didn't mean to go on at length about Luna, but she fascinates me and I feel very close to her as I try to "homestead" here on my own. The "Dreamers Betrayed" title stems from the farmers' relationship with the railroad, who first enticed settlers to come out and buy land from them, and then made it nearly impossible for them to make a living, shipping their produce on the railroad.

The same thing happened to my late husband's great-grandparents, who bought railroad land near Las Vegas, NM, lost everything, and went back home to Indiana in poverty.

Jane Taylor Nelsen did an okay job but made some errors. For one, she claims that Luna's daughter Lois, for whom I am named, typed up Luna's memoirs in 1975. Grandma Lois did not know how to type! She gave me Luna's manuscript and I typed it, then returned it to her, then she gave it to Jean Iden. The original is now in the Nebraska historical museum (can't remember the museum name, although my brother & I went there in about 1995 ).

Sorry for the length of this post but I could go on and on!

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

THANKS for going on and on... absolutely fascinating stuff! I'd love to read the books. I did read one, though I don't remember if it was fictionalized or not, about two women in S. Dakota (?) who started and ran a paper to support their homestead... most of the local papers in those days were purely for the purpose of printing homestead claims. My own local paper, teetering on the brink of non-existence, probably got its start the same way.

Yeah, the railroad land... I'd like to know more about that little angle. Clear up to the present.

Reading/knowing about how it was really helps me connect as I do my little scratchings in the earth. The sense of insignificance within the vastness, the isolation, the beauty and the brutal indifference of nature.

Came across a lovely line last night about how a tree shows the shape of time...
Blessings,
Jay

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Interesting story, thanks. Lots of strong pioneering women in my family too.

I've been doing lots of genealogy again. It's fascinating how people went and where, when they got free land for fighting wars, and when the homestead act first started. Even my grandma (whom I remember) homesteaded a quarter-section in Colorado with 2 of her then-unmarried sisters. Tracking some individuals backwards is harder because Virginia once went all the way to the Mississippi River, and Connecticut went almost as far...

none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

ok but don't laugh ok
TA DA

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none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

close up of my superior tape job .

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none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

inside
it felt good getting inside , it was windy wicked and snow cold out. Just a bit of moisture but that is to be expected with all the rain we have had and now this cold snow stuff .

Thumbnail by taynors
none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

here is the garden bed
i got twelve.
i have one more to do ,but that would make 13 and i m not going there, ain't gonna do it. LOL :P

Thumbnail by taynors
none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

just don't ask darius about my hammering skills LOLLLL

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Sue, I only said you hammer like a girl, LOL!

Is the GH homemade from cattle panels? Looks good, and much better than mine. (Mine is invisible.)

none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

yes its a cattle panel house style. i changed the design and made lots of boo boo's . I figure its a learning curve. :)
i know i hammer like a girl . LOLLLLL :)
it will do for this season. I hope. Gorilla tape works wonders. !!

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Sue, why didn't you save those logs left from building the house to start an outbuilding? They are pretty expensive for garden beds...

none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

cuz i hammer like a girl LOL :)

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

Sue,
You could cut them all the same length and make a chord wood building. No hammering required. LOL

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