Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Chicks

Impossible to see chicks

My chicks arrived on the homestead yesterday. 5 Black Sex-Linked females and 1 mystery sex Barred Rock. I’ve had great success with the two BSL that are part of my current flock. They are hardy and consistent layers of extra-large brown eggs.

Originally I was going to get all Barred Rock for my replacement flock but since I liked the BSL so much and since the Barred Rocks being offered were straight run (meaning they weren’t sexed) I figured why take the chance I’d end up with roosters. BSL it was.

I did get 1 Barred Rock though and I’m about 50/50 as to whether I hope it’s a rooster. They can be wonderfully helpful in protecting the flock by keeping an eye out for predators. They can also be anti-social shits. Only time will tell which we get.

In case you’re wondering why I need a replacement flock, these are aging out. They were barely productive over the winter and I basically fed them with no return. The two BSL were my only consistent layers and even they were only laying a couple eggs per week each. So I’ll cull the Orpingtons this fall as they are the least productive and the most fragile health-wise. I’m getting excellent production right now and that should continue until they go into molt. Based on last year that will be just in time for an Autumn harvest. And the new flock should be laying by then, so I’ll have plenty of eggs over the winter.

I know many people keep their chickens even as laying slows or even stops altogether, but these are livestock to me, not pets. I care for their physical needs, give them plenty of fresh air, sunshine, and free-ranges, then make the best use of their bodies when I deem it appropriate. These 3 will become nourishing and tasty stock that will help feed us all winter long. I’m comfortable with that.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Sunday April 5, 2020 Statistics

From The Times Union website:

Total COVID-19 cases:
• 113,833 in New York state, including 3,565 deaths
• 311,301 in the U.S., including 8,476 deaths
• 1,201,591 worldwide,. including 64,606 deaths. 246,152 have recovered
Well those are some sobering numbers. We are so lucky to be healthy, safe, and minimally impacted. Yes, we’re staying home and all our normal outside activities have been cancelled. But we ourselves and those closest to us are okay. 
I’m just going to be grateful for that.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Raided!

Went out this morning to do chores and discovered that a mouse had stolen my freshly planted sunflower and zucchini seeds. Can’t tell if they attacked the other seeds as they are simply too small to see amongst the soil. And the tiny holes left by the mice are too small to reliably tell if they raided a seed pod. So.

Chris is building me some seedling boxes that will shelter the seed pods. I’ll use metal screening to make a mesh top that should block mice yet allow light and easy watering.

It’s always something, isn’t it?

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Planting

I spent yesterday afternoon in the greenhouse planting seeds. It was glorious. The sun was warm coming through the roof, there was a light cool breeze blowing through the eaves, and it was just so peaceful. Also, productive; I got a lot done. 

All my 8-week plants
These were mostly peppers, sweet and hot, and tomatoes. They should be ready to transplant by Memorial Day which is when it’s warm enough to put tender plants in the ground up here. These are way more plants than I typically grow but since I’m starting from seed this year I wanted safety stock in case I don’t get good germination. And if they all do grow? That just means I can share with friends.

I’ll be planting my 6-week seeds today so that I can get those in around Mother’s Day. I also have hardy ground crops to plant in the main garden, radishes and peas, but need to figure out my layout first. That’s planned for this morning while I wait for the day to heat up a bit.

Inspecting the fall greenhouse beds revealed not only some lettuce sprouts, but this little guy.
It’s alive!
That is a kale plant. Couldn’t believe it. Maybe some of the others will resurrect as well.

Peer to peer veterans

We have a very active peer to peer veterans group in our area. Chris got involved this year and I got to go along on one of the project days.

It was a painting and pizza party. A bunch of veterans and family getting together to goof off, talk, and support each other. It’s amazing what gets shared when you’re relaxed and having fun.

This took place in February before all the social distancing went into effect. And I’m glad it did; now that people are self-isolating, having a group of folks that you can call up and chat with is incredibly helpful.

Plus it was just fun. Here is what I painted.


Cute, huh? It’s hanging by the front door. Chris (who is a much better artist than I) painted a more Autumnal scene so you’ll just have to wait for September to see his.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Chris’s Breeze shirt

It’s done!

And he likes it!


You know it’s love when he interrupts his driveway work to try on the new shirt.


The pattern again came together very easily. I did learn a few things.
1. When repurposing fabric, in this case a linen tablecloth, don’t assume it’s actually symmetrical. The stripes on one end were slightly longer than on the other, which meant my pattern matching front to back wasn’t exact. I fudged it but could have made it much easier on myself if I’d checked before cutting.
2. My serger is awesome. The pattern calls for French seams. They are beautiful and wonderfully functional in that they keep woven fabric from fraying. But they take twice as long to sew as every seam is sewn twice. Serging the seams also stops fraying and is done once. Much faster and I’m so pleased to be learning how to use this piece of equipment.
3. I love this pattern and am already planning another tunic out of some indigo dyed fabric I have in my stash. Just need to see if I have enough.

Tuesday March 31, 2020 statistics

From The Times Union website:

Total coronavirus cases:
• 67,384  in New York, including 1,342 deaths.
• 164,610 in the U.S., including 3,170 deaths.
• Worldwide: 787,631. Deaths: 37,840. Recovered: 166,276.
It’s been cold and rainy for the last 3 days. Temperatures in the greenhouse have been around 10 degrees warmer than outside temperatures but that’s not saying much. I plan to start my 8-week seeds on April 1st and to put some pea seeds in the ground. I’ll get my 6-week seeds going by end of week. I have high hopes but no experience with the greenhouse as this is our first season with it. Here’s fingers crossed that all this works and I don’t need to buy starts come May.
I’ve been working on Chris’s Breeze shirt and should have that finished today. Then I’m going to sew up some masks for home use. I’ve been wanting to sew some masks for use when cleaning out the chicken coop, gardening during allergy season (yeah, that’s pretty much the entire growing season), and mowing or working in the workshop. But I didn’t have a good pattern. Well, there sure are patterns out there now. And although we are staying home and therefore don’t need masks for off-property reasons, they will be handy around the homestead. My Dad even requested a couple. So I’ll get those done today too. I’ve got plenty of tightly woven cotton in my stash so I don’t need to buy anything. Always a bonus when taking on a project!
Otherwise today will be full of the usual—cooking (lasagna), critters, and projects (sewing, driveway maintenance, and moving the rain barrel).