Sunday, April 15, 2018

Sunday Walkabout 4-15

Any thoughts of a frozen winter wonderland are but a distant memory after a couple of 80* days this week.

But, believe it or not, just last Sunday it was 22* and we were facing another in a series of storms that brought wintry weather despite the arrival of Spring weeks ago.

Monday morning was cold and snowy (again) and I didn’t relish the thought of enduring a roadtrip to the vet. Since puppies need almost as many vaccinations as children do, Karma was scheduled for an early morning visit.  Her incessant howling makes concentration a challenge. Potentially slick, twisty country backroads and impaired concentration could be a dangerous combo. The Boss took pity on us and we had a chauffeur-driven ride to the vet. I must say, it was the quietest trip Karma has ever made! Maybe it is because she’s outgrown the dog-box and sat in the back of the Xterra with her nose on the seat behind me the whole time.

headed to the vet

It’s hard to tell which she loves more, all the attention at the vet or the peanut butter treats. She got loved on by doctors, technicians and clients alike. Everyone loves her. (except that one cat patient) All my after-supper leash training has paid off and she was incredibly well-behaved. And, we only have one more visit scheduled to complete her vaccination regiment.

Karma is up to 36.7# at 15 weeks old!

With that chore out of the way, and the snow melted, it was time to work on other things.

We finally got the big broilers out on grass! 

they don't seem too excited

That meant that we could move the little broilers and clean out the shop. Getting that job done means not only does the shop smell better, but the compost pile grew exponentially. (that will come in handy later in the season) It had gotten to the point where the Boss had to put chicken wire around the chickie-pool to prevent would-be escapees from hopping out and wandering around the shop. It’s nice to have some sort of normalcy restored.

although a snowy April 9th is NOT normal
the very next day
(now, this is normal)

And speaking of normalcy…  

While I was in town, the Boss returned Angus to his summer home at the back corner of the farm.

Angus summers under the pines

apparently it's boring back there
so, he's taken to beating up the stocktank
Then we cleaned up the garden and he plowed and tilled in anticipation of potato planting.

tilling for potato planting
The potatoes were cut into smaller pieces and crated for easy transport. In case you’re wondering, by cutting the potatoes into chunks, you get more pieces to plant. More pieces to plant theoretically means a bigger potato harvest as each chunk should make a plant and each plant should produce a couple pounds of potatoes. The “eyes” on the pieces are the sprouts that eventually become the plant. Read more about growing potatoes HERE and HERE.

potatoes cut and ready for planting

Then it was off to the ‘tater patch for some planting. The chunks are plunked into the long furrows and then covered over with a hill of dirt. For years and years we did all this work by hand, raking for what seemed like days (it was hours plural), but thankfully now we are able to “work smarter, not harder”. You should read THIS.  In short order, the job was done.

hauling potatoes

the Boss had a little help planting this year

hilling (covering) the potatoes

all done

Now, we wait…

We should have new potatoes in all their tender deliciousness by mid-June! There is nothing quite like a freshly dug new potato.

new potato

Over the course of the week, we also worked the sheep, planted some onions and hauled transplants to the hoophouse. The brassicas left the warmth of the greenhouse to “harden off” prior to planting in the field. A quick check on the forecast indicates that they may have to make a return to a warmer environment as the temperature is forecast to dip well below freezing yet again. This is getting a bit much…this never-ending wintry weather.
waiting for mama

pulling green garlic for Market

red and white onion sets

Spring happiness
how to be a "sheep-hero"

heads-down grazing

handling broilers can be tricky
(and painful)

getting the broiler pen set up for the season

This week’s chores-before-market didn’t have quite the drama of last week. No Cujo-dogs, no barn chaos with leaping sheep and a yelling, swearing farmer. Things were going smoothly, and I was feeling pretty good.

I laughed out loud as I saw one hen up in the top of the henhouse. All the other hens were either roosting on the space provided or sitting on the floor. But, this one hen truly ruled the roost.

this one "rules the roost"

early morning henhouse

After an unfortunate incident during high school that involved a “fly-over bombing” from a seagull while visiting the beach, I am a bit leery of birds overhead. But, apparently, I was not paying enough attention as I left after opening the nestboxes for the day. Maybe my pride needed to be taken down a notch…

Because you can guess what happened.

I’m here to tell you…chicken poop hair styling/skincare products…not gonna make it on the open market. Nope. No way. GROSS!

Fortunately, a direct hit was avoided. But, it did require some soap AND a blow-dryer before I was presentable enough for Market. And, while no one else seemed to notice, I was certain I could sense a lingering odor all day.

But the weather for Market was beautiful.
leaving for Market

The Boss was able to secure music. Lots of folks who had been put off by last week's bad weather came out to shop. And, all in all, it was a wonderful day. If only we had a snappy comeback to the lack of product query…  I must say, this one bothers me a great deal. 

pretty tulips at the Market

Hopefully this week we will make some progress toward that end as we process the first batch of broilers, plant in the hoophouse and start the first batch of summer squash seeds.

early signs of Spring on the mountains
meadowlark courting song

daffodils in the front yard

only in the Spring do you see the shadows on the mountains like this

In the meantime, thanks for stopping by.

Have a Happy Sunday! 
a Karma smile to start the new week
Come back and “visit” again soon.

Wish you could visit the Market? Click HERE to see the Boss’ Facebook photos from the week.

If you don’t “do” Facebook…check out Flickr…


  1. Glad you were all ready for the market = I so enjoy reading of your exploits Barbara. The red colour of that potato is amazing.

    1. So glad to hear from you, Pat!
      For a long time all the comments had gone missing. So, I hope you weren't thinking I was being rude and unresponsive.
      Thanks for reading. And, thanks for your encouragement!

  2. Glad to see the Valley finally has spring too. Those of us in Norther VA are glad to see it as well, although we don't have as much invested as you. Enjoy the spring and I love reading your blog!

    1. Thanks for reading, Jean Ellen!
      Isn't it nice that Spring is finally here to stay? (at least I hope so)

  3. Hi. This is my first visit as I just found you from Weaver's post, thank you Pat. What a wonderful blog you have. I enjoyed reading of your farming lifestyle and that pooch is adorable. I'm partial to big teddy bear dogs.

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting!
      And, thanks to Pat for the connection. Always glad to meet another lover of big dogs.
      I hope you'll "visit" often.

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