Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Even Amongst The Weeds, Life Is Good

One of these days I'm going to have to combine our farm blog with our family blog, simply because the two are now the same. It's something I am just in the earliest, tentative stages of doing, but it's most likely a project better suited for winter months. So for now, two blogs.

These last couple of weeks have flown by with projects, growing animals with growing needs, visits with friends, and days on the pond. Our garden is doing well despite the weeds, which we admittedly do not have much of a handle on this year. Next year we'll be in better shape for putting the garden in earlier, and at least this summer we're getting a feel for what it takes to ensure a successful garden, here. Still, the potatoes have been hilled, the corn is shin high, the kale is lush, and we've begun harvesting radishes and soon, greens. The beneficial flower beds are beginning to bloom, too.

Pests? Well, we have some, yes. Potato bugs, which we're trying to convince the ducks to eat (it's the herding them into the garden without freaking them out that is the issue, less so the bug munching.) And we have quite the population of ground hogs, though they so far only seem interested in the rampant bishop's goutweed (which is not in our vegetable garden, thankfully), which means they are allowed to stay. We have lots of chipmunks, too, but they are darling and important to forests, so really, it's only the holes they dig that are an issue. Alex said a chipmunk did wander into the duck pen through their run, today, which they were most displeased about, but Alex saved the day by shooing the confused creature safely out of their pen. I have nothing nice to say about the deer flies.

The chickens are five weeks old and the ducks, eight. Alex completed the chicken hut over the weekend and the chicks seem to love their newfound (protected) freedom, and the ducks seem to enjoy having neighbors. We're letting the ducks out in a protected run and they really enjoyed the nearly four inches of rain that Hurricane Arthur left us, and they've been billing puddles and talking as they do about their engineering. We know some folks let ducks range all over, but we're not comfortable with that and we want them as safe as possible from predators, so they get plenty of supervision. They really are entertaining, and if they think you aren't getting on with things quickly enough or visiting with them enough, they'll make this goose-like honk as if to say, "Hey, what's going on? Come talk to us!" The best, though, is the their happy, grunting, muffled quacking when they are enjoying themselves.

We're having some good, productive, summer days, here on the farm. Come see!

Chipmunk watching

This until dusk.

devil's paintbrush

yellow hawkweed

I like @superadamgalaxy's photos better, but this one is funny.

Alex did all the potato hilling, bless him. #organic

summer storm

Another busy project day of us all working together comes to an end with Olivia having made dinner. This rooms holds her contented, happy energy of making things nice for those she loves.

fun on the pond

duck walkies

the ducks on a walk

Pretty in pink.

Chicken hut is done!

Country road, a pickup, and the sunset behind us.





Thursday, June 26, 2014

This Spring On The Farm

There is never a lack of things to do on a farm. This spring (and now summer), in addition to putting in a large, proper garden (and weeding said garden), establishing flower beds and meadows, weeding, trimming, transplanting, and mowing, there is simply the shoring up, the cleaning out, the making way.

There is also the noticing. The observing. The taking it all in.

spring green

I love waking up to a tidy house and garden.

Spring in full swing.

pretty orange

It will be so rewarding to watch this area fill in with the white lilac, golden forsythia, Virginia sweetspire, hydrangea and red bud we planted.

On Memorial Day

The lady slippers are in bloom. #orchid #maine

deep purple

Inviting the bees to clean for us.

making

Olivia weeding in the garden.

woods road

little leaves

daisy patch

solstice house

lush

frilly

purple centaurea

pink locust

secret

One of the exciting changes here at Bradstreet Farm has been preparing for, then raising our ducklings and chickens. We had initially planned to just get chickens this spring, but after Olivia did more reading about egg-laying ducks, we put in an order for six female Khaki Campbells. Three weeks after our ducklings arrived, we picked up our 15 chicks. I posted lots more photos and details on our farm blog, so do check that out, too!

So far, so good - and adorable!

enjoying the pool

Olivia, Poultry Wrangler.

These girls are moving up to a larger brooder, also.

The ducks have been introduced to their pen (which is almost finished). #khakicampbell

outside time

The chicks are now three weeks old. See that Jersey Giant in the back, the cool black and white one Olivia has nicknamed "Skull Face"? She'll be all black one day.

The ducks are now officially out of the brooder (and our house)! #khakicampbells

They want what I have - dandelion greens covered in snails. Delicious. #khakicampbells

So far, we are all completely smitten with the ducks. They are wonderful animals. Hilarious, smart, energetic, sociable, and beautiful. And they eat slugs and snails, so bonus. Also? Starting around five months old, they will begin laying eggs and each duck can lay up to 320+ eggs a year! So, extra bonus.

We've named the ducks Odella, Jemima, Luna, Pippa, Millie and Tilly. We aren't able to truly tell them apart yet, though there is one that has a khaki green bill, so we call her Pippa, and Tilly has the darkest, seal brown head.

We have names for the chickens planned, as well, and our list includes suitably old-fashioned names chosen from both sides of our family trees. Gertrude, Bertha, Irma, and Avis are perfect hen names, don't you think?

As you can see, our days here are full- meaningful, beautiful, wonderful. We feel ever so slightly more settled, more entrenched with each project, with each accomplishment, with each nurtured plant or animal.  Everyday we feel more a part of this farm. It's a good feeling.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Man, Mostly Harmless, Celebrates 42nd Birthday And Discovers Life, The Universe And Everything

As we referenced Douglas Adams in our wedding vows (we celebrate 20 years of marriage today!), it shouldn't come as a surprise that I would throw Alex a particularly Arthur Dent-flavored 42nd birthday party (June 19). If you happen to not be familiar with The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, none of this will make any sense, but you should know that it is all completely hilarious.

Our geek teens, (it should also not come as a surprise that we have raised geeks), were actually the ones who started planning the party months ago, knowing that their dad only turns 42 once. (In case you don't know, the number 42 is a big deal in HGG.) So the day before we were to head to PortCon (see, GEEKS), we decorated the house while Alex went out to renew his license.

The teens and I had such fun gathering materials and designing ways to incorporate themes from the series. Adam put his graphic art skills to great use and made us all sorts of signs and labels, as well as Alex's birthday card.

42

Marvin The Paranoid Android
Marvin

life

the universe

everything

don't panic

mostly harmless

Babel Fish
babel fish

card designed by Adam

so long, and thanks for all the fish

the whale

oh no, not again.

surprise!

we apologize for the inconvenience

Did you remember your towel?
did you remember your towel?

love

he likes Marvin

tickled

The kids and I were really pleased with the results and with how tickled Alex seemed. It's become a tradition of sorts that we are preparing for PortCon on or near Alex's birthday, and we have gotten into the habit of giving him a few particularly geeky gifts. We spent the rest of the day and evening, happily creating, embellishing costumes for the next day.

Of course Alex had to dress as Arthur Dent for PortCon.

I forgot to post Alex's Arthur Dent from yesterday. #portcon2014

Olivia, because she's already the living copy of Princess Anna from Frozen, put together a lovely cosplay based on Anna's coronation gown.


Princess Anna, Frozen, for #portcon2014

And Adam, who is 6-feet 2-inches, opted to go as Hank McCoy, aka, Beast from X-Men: Days of Future Past. He looks pretty awesome in that retro 1970's wear, don't you think?


aka, Beast

We had a good birthday weekend, celebrating together and being out as a family doing geeky things. Happy 42nd, my love!

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