Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

Flags unfurled for Memorial Day.
Gabe was hoping to wake at dawn to go fishing with Dad this Memorial Day Monday.  Instead, Marshal got the call at 5:30 AM that he had the second labor and delivery of the weekend waiting for him at the hospital.  He was shaking his head with the prospect of a long day of labor with the first time mom who wasn't even having strong contractions yet.  But by the time he was showered and dressed, lunch made, and breakfast on the table, the hospital nurses were calling him in a panic.  I learned later that this woman had her Memorial Day baby before I was even out of bed this morning.  Marshal came home just after lunch, and Gabe, so excited, got to go fishing with Dad after all.

The Paper Arsenal

I promised that I'd post Gabe's paper arsenal.  He started with the crossbow and then progressed to make a full supply of weapons complete with paper ammo.  It kept him quite busy for a good week or two.  Thought it might be appropriate to show off his craft today.  Being Memorial Day, a time to remember our many soldiers who gave their lives to defend our freedoms, one, the right to bear arms and defend ourselves, here's a tribute to Gabe's arms, although these will neither defend nor do harm.

A favorite Pistol

Another favorite gun.



Showing off the action.  The bullets flew too fast to catch!

Garden Tour

Calendula, parsley, two types of spinach, celery, leeks, and a volunteer sunflower.

Chard, spinach, kale, and a few radishes.

Chive, lettuces, onions, and carrots.  Learned that onions keep the carrot fly at bay, and lettuces like the former onion bed.

Read that peas and turnips are good companion plants.  They are going crazy together!

More bush peas and turnips and some rutabagas.  I have some thyme and sage at the corners to see if they repel some of the moths.

Strawberry patch

Corn and squash are up.  Pole beans are still to be planted to complete the 3 Sisters.

Water spigot view.

Filling the finch feeder.  At the end of the 35# of nyjer seed; it's not cheap.  Flock may have to move on, but we've enjoyed them.

Daddy's little farmer.

Gabe and I mowed and edged around the garden while Marshal delivered a baby this weekend.
And no garden is complete without the work of the honey bee.  A welcome sight.

Something New

Portabellas

My community has a healthy food buying club, HLBC, organized by a mom, that we privileged patrons order our food from twice a month.  We then pick up our boxes of fresh produce and grocery items, even bags of livestock feed on "market days."  On market day, leftovers from bulk orders are for sale on the tables.  This week there were portabellas, oh so fresh, and I'd already had an intrigued eye on those beefy mushrooms.  There is a recipe in Internal Bliss for portabella pizzas, and I used this online recipe for some tips too, as I added them to the grill with Grandpa's pasture-raised beef steak.  It made a pretty plate indeed with a side of our garden chard.

Chick Update

So far, so good with raising chicks.  The eight chicks graduated to a bigger box, roosts, and some outdoor time in the sun, and then first night out in the tool shed under the heat light.  We found that three week old chicks can be quite smelly, and we were tired of sharing our coop!
Chicks at the feeder and first roost. 1-2 weeks old.

Good roosters... hopefully roosting pullets, growing up to be hens, but a Rooster in the mix wouldn't be bad.  Gabe and I made a roost they could use all the way across the box.  They like it, as you can see.

The three week old chicks, Rhody, Rocky, Lizzie, and Chipper get some free recess time with Gabe and Lydia in the grass and sunshine.

Surrogate mama hen.  Gabe and Lydia are happy to be raising tame birds.

Diggin' worms to feed his brood.

Worm bein' served up.

Lizzie has the prize!



Saturday, May 19, 2012

State Bird

We have Goldfinches in the yard.  We saw pairs and small groups flutter through last spring, and Gabe was as delighted as I was to see them.  He even gave a little speech about goldfinches to fellow home-schoolers. 
This spring, Gabe was quick to point out the first sighting, and we exclaimed happily that the goldfinches are back!  When we were visiting the farm store about chicks, we saw a sale on nyjer seed for finches in a wheelbarrow at the front door, and thought, "Ooh... goldfinches in the yard...that will be fun."  (And we reasoned, the special feeder and small seed would be inaccessible to common cow birds that devour mixed seed in a few hours, as we've experienced.)  So we promptly bought a bag, and a feeder, and hung it in the apple tree.  We since, bought a second feeder with six more 1/2 price, 5 lb bags of nyjer seed.  We got finches!  A flock of 30-40 finches maybe, flew in and lit upon the apple trees.  They even filled the willow one day with their song.  Gabe called me out the door to listen.
In the trees...

Fluttering around the feeder...

Fluttering around the second more distant feeder...

On the ground...

Cheery, yellow, goldfinches...

Here and there, and everywhere.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Adventure

My Babies

My Hubby

Headed to brunch and whatever adventure we find!

Hiking Ebey Prairie





Coupeville Ferry and just a phantom of Rainier in background.

Olympic View

Headed to the Bluff Trail

Absolutely spectacular in every direction!






Headed home hand in hand.  Mt Baker view.