Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Who'd a'thought?

Last night, I came downstairs from folding the laundry and Rich was watching TV. He had paused the screen, saving something for me to see. "Watch this," he said. "You'll never believe it. We're part of A Movement."

It turned out to be a commercial, I don't remember for what, but it talked about the "Home Farming Movement," and showed people happily tending a few tomato plants, in perfect rows, in perfect black dirt, with children cheerfully helping. We're at the forefront of a Movement with a capital "M." How'd that happen?

Rich said he felt like Crocodile Dundee, looking at the tiny garden plot depicted in the commercial. "That's not a home farm," he said and pointed out the window. "Now that's a home farm."
The future garden
We don't have perfect black dirt and even rows of weed-free plants, and our children don't cheerfully pitch in with big smiles on their faces, but it's definitely looking like a Home Farm.

Rich has been working on the fence since last fall. The big swingset was taken away a few weeks ago by a family down the street with young children who will appreciate it. (That family deserves it so much more than we do: they spent a good week sanding it down, power washing it and painting it. I can see it in their backyard when I drive by, and it looks brand new.) And this past weekend, Rich borrowed a rototiller from a neighbor and cut up the sod and weeds within the fence. That's almost 2000 square feet of future garden space, people. (Or should I say Home Farm Space? I need to remember we're on the cutting edge.)

Now we just need to rake up all the clods of grass, get some topsoil delivered, and layout the actual rows within the fence. Gee, that's all? So far, I raked about a quarter of the space. It's pretty tough going--certainly more of an upper body workout that I am used to. This farming thing might turn out to be hard work, you know.

I did the easy part though: I order lots of seeds, and got a bunch started. Seedlings
I've started seeds for tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, kale, choi and broccoli, and I have to start some more soon. But at this point, the only things our Home Farm is producing is lettuce...
...because I bought this awesome pot at Home Depot, and, of course, eggs.
All the little banties have taken a break from laying since early February, but Jackie (above) and Daisy have kept going, each of them giving us about 5 big brown eggs a week. Lenten Friday dinners have been yummy souffles and quiches, courtesy of the two Big Girls. I have to wonder what kind of sacrifice we are making, giving up meat for Friday, when the alternatives are so luxurious and delicious?

I am hoping that the banties will start laying again soon, now that the days are getting longer and spring seems to be here for real. We need to snap Lily out of being broody.
Broody Lily
She's been sitting in the nesting box, warming nonexistent eggs, for about 6 weeks now, and I don't think that is good for her health.

For the entire month of March, both Lily and Audrey sat in the nesting boxes, while the other three enjoyed exploring the fenced in garden area. We started calling them the 3 Musketeers. Then Audrey snapped out of her broodiness and joined the group, so now they are the Four Musketeers.

Melanie hasn't done the broody thing at all, which is surprising.
Melanie poses
I'm not complaining--I hate it when they go broody--but it is interesting that she hasn't felt the call to sit on a nest.

Now that we are getting ready to make the fenced in area into a real garden--I mean Home Farm--the chickens can't go in there anymore, so we are going to snake some wire fencing through the woods near the coop and let them wander in there. We think this will be much better for them than a fenced in pasture-type area, because there is lots of fun stuff to dig around in. Also, because we are going to attach in to the coop, they will be allowed to walk in and out, so they can go in on their own if it rains and if they need to go lay an egg. All in all, it's a much better situation than what they have had before, and it's a far cry from the confinement they dealt with during the snow of January.

Right now, I have the wire fencing temporarily placed, but I have not secured it to the ground very well. As a result, I keep looking out the window and finding Daisy outside the enclosure and trying to figure out how to get back in.
Daisy Houdini
We have taken to calling her Daisy Houdini. I don't know how she is getting out, and I need to before I make this fencing more permanent!

In other news:

1. We survived two school plays. The plays were very good, but the last few weeks of practices before their respective performance weekends were completely and totally exhausting for the entire household. I am not sure I am cut out to be a Stage Mom.

2. Hot Pink shawl complete!
Celaeno 1 Celaeno 2
It's gorgeous, but will I have the guts to wear something this bright? Maybe I should have thought of that before I started knitting it?