Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Another gap in updates

And I have no excuses.

So, let's see...what has happened? I'm going to start by apologizing for not having any photos to accompany this post. I received a new netbook for an anniversary gift from my wonderful husband, and all my photos have been transferred to it. Unfortunately, this update is coming via my work laptop - and there are no more photos in my photo folder!

So yes, we had our 7th anniversary since I last posted. I can't believe it's been 7 years - it seems like only yesterday that we were putting the wedding together. It's been a wonderful 7 years full of adventure and love.

Speaking of love - Skylark is still off getting hers. We took her to the farm where we bought her to be bred. As of last weekend, she still had not gotten any. She actually wasn't showing signs of estrus, so the herder was going to put a marking harness on her and put her in with the bucks. A marking harness is a contraption used for goats and sheep (and perhaps other animals?) where it leaves a colored mark on the female once she's been bred. This color will correspond to the buck with whom she copulated (at least, that's how I've read it works - we've never used one). So, we are hopeful that we'll get her back to our farm soon. In the meantime, Buddy and Pepper seem to be bonding well enough. Funny thing is, Pepper has gone into estrus twice since we got her, so it's odd that Skylark has not. We are tracking Pepper's cycle on a calendar so when we find another buck, we'll know when to set up her date.

My H finished the new chicken run and we set the coop up outside last weekend. I did take photos - so I'll do a photo 'show and tell' post later. It's a cute little coop for the 5 new birds and the run is in the corner of the goat area. Once they are a little bigger (and once the weather clears), they'll get to free range with the other chickens, safe from the neighbor's dogs.

And the neighbors dogs... they have three. Two pure bred jack russells and a very old lab mix. The lab is like 15 years old now? He's pretty deaf, but he gets around well and seems happy. The two jack russels are a terror. One of them is obsessed with our chickens. She got ahold of one once and did some damage to it (it survived), but since then, she's crazy about them. She's also pregnant. The neighbors didn't get her (or her half brother) fixed soon enough, so there is a litter of jack russels on the way. At least they are purebred - hopeful they'll be able to find homes for them. She offered us one, but with chickens, it would be a disaster. I am looking forward to puppy breath though!

We have been steadily planting, transplanting, pruning and cleaning in prep for the growing season. Our greenhouse is full of tomato and pepper plants, our boxes have lots of spinach, lettuce, peas and onions planted and sprouting. We also put out the brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts & kale) already. And we had one brussels sprouts plant left from last year that is about to flower. I'm thinking that I'll save the seeds since it's the only brassica we have that's flowering - it think that will work. Normally, brassicas all cross-pollinate and need like a mile of separation - but since this lone plant is all that we currently have at that stage, it might work. We'll see. The garlic is doing well and the few onions from last year are now blooming. I'm not sure what to do with them except pull them up. I think a little research is in order.

ALL of our fruit trees are budding like mad! We should have a bumper crop of pears, plums and apples this year. Look for a post about me losing my mind come next fall! ;-) We have added a number of trees to our orchard this year. In fact, I think we are now officially out of room! We have planted a nectarine, a peach, two honey crisp apples, a red d'anjou pear and two new sweet cherry varieties (I forget the specifics) trees. We also have a fig tree and a green/black tea bush to arrive next month to be planted. Lastly, we have purchased some asparagus root stock and will be putting in our first bed very shortly.

In the meantime, between all the planting, building and tending to animals...we are getting in shape. My husband is working on weight lifting and cycling in an effort to drop a few pounds to ride the Crater Lake Century in August, and I'm kind of putzing along on my triathlon training. I'm eating as he is, also hoping to lose weight, but my training is centered on swimming, running, biking and full body/core weight training videos. My first tri is May 8th and I hope to do two others this summer (reserving the right to back out if I end up hating this one!) and the Crater Lake Century as well. Wow, that sounds exhausting, doesn't it? Good thing its FUN! I can't believe I'm about to make this public - but it turns out, I REALLY like swimming. Who knew? Certainly not my swim coach back in 8th grade! :-b

I've got all kinds of photos to post (taken with my new birthday camera!), so I'll come back and do that as soon as I get a chance. Look for photos of the new coop/run (and the new birds!), of garden progress and of things blooming all over the place...

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