Thursday, March 28, 2013

Baby is Here !

   It was a pretty rough day but Caleb Jeremy arrived at 3:30 this afternoon. Katie had a long and difficult delivery but all is well this evening.
   He is 9 # 6 oz. and 21.5 " long.  A fine big boy.  What a blessing!  We thank God for his mercies.

  Proud Daddy and 2 boys.

Grandma, Brother, Aunt & Uncle and Cousins all crowd in for a peek.

   The new hospital here is very nice. We all got to be in the room this evening and take turns holding the little guy. Great family time.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Waiting for Spring......Waiting for Baby

  These are days of waiting and anticipation. A little snow on the blooms this morning but promises of consecutive days in the 70s next week.
   Katie's due date was Saturday. If Caleb does not arrive before Thursday, the doctor will induce on that day.

Daffodils and rose leaves in the snow.

See the neighbor's Bradford Pear trees blooming in the distance.

The cows don't mind a little white on the ground.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

New calf

  I looked out the window this morning toward the pasture and saw an unfamiliar little black blob. I knew Beauty was close to calving so I have been watching. This is Baxter, our first calf from our own bull, Buster. He is a dandy; looks a lot like Beauty's calf from last year, Biff. Nice big bull calf. She calved alone during the night and all is well.
  I expect my next post to be announcing a new grandson, Caleb. Katie's due date is Saturday.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

First Day of Spring!

    Welcome to Spring 2013! Except it looks a lot like yesterday, the last day of winter. Oh well, not too bad of a day.  About 55, mostly sunny and that ever present "breeze"...about 10-15 mph. Maybe you can tell, I don't like wind!
    We had a doozy of a storm pass through Monday mid-day. Jackson and I drove to Smyrna to pick up a load of mulch (the county gives it away in March). As we approached the site, the rain picked up into a virtual downpour; couldn't see very far. We sat in the pickup and waited as no one was in sight. In about 10 minutes the rain slowed to a normal shower and the guy on the giant Volvo front end loader approached and loaded the trailer. Very heavy, as it was wet, but we made it home. Rita called when we were near home and said there was a tornado warning. We found out later that a small EF-0 tornado hit about 10 miles east of us and took the roof off a barn and a house. No one hurt, thankfully.
   So I have been unloading the mulch on the flower beds.
Here is the berm with Knock Out roses, day lilies and monkey grass.

   Other signs of Spring include the blackberries. Last year we had a frost on April 11 and lost 95% of the crop. I am prepared with covering material this year, if needed.
  Signs of life in the new dwarf orchard. Here is the dwarf Elberta Peach.
  I promised more pictures of the chickens. They are running the whole coop yard now, although they scamper to cover when I show up. I had to sneak up to get these pictures. They are nearly 6 weeks old now.

   I hope all your Spring time activities are going well.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Plant while the sun shines

  It was a beautiful sunny day and 78 degrees today. A pretty consistent wind at 10-15 mph with gusts to 25-30, but it helped dry things out enough to roto-till and plant. More rain expected first of the week so I am glad to get the onions and potatoes in.
  I've heard it said that if you just pile up the right material and wait, you'll have compost. I didn't get fancy with this pile...mostly grass clippings and cow manure layered with some household stuff...vegetable trimmings and coffee grounds. I made the pile in the corral and put some hot wire around it to keep the cattle out, and this is what I found today:
  I put 4 wheelbarrow loads on the 2 beds where I was planting potatoes and onions. I had done the same thing last fall before sowing the crimson clover for the winter.
  I planted 3 rows in the onion bed on the left and 2 rows of potatoes on the right.

  I had 50 sets each of 4 varieties of onions: Walla Walla, Candy, Texas Sweet and Red Grano. Most of the potatoes are Yukon Gold with a few Red Pontiac.
  I bought the seed potatoes at the Co-op 2 weeks ago for 59 cents a pound. I like to pick out the golf ball or slightly larger sized ones so I don't need to cut them. I got a Gardener's catalog in the mail today and they had Yukon Gold seed potatoes for $16.95 / pound! WHAT ??
  I also planted 16 red Canna Lily bulbs today along the back of the calf shed.
  Feels good to get started after a long winter.  But oh my, I can feel it! These 67 year old bones are sore!
  The chickens were out-growing the top of the coop, so with warmer weather, I opened up the doorway so they could descend to the coop and yard below.  But they wanted nothing to do with it. I had to take 2 pieces of cardboard and reach into the back across the nests and force them out the door and down the ramp. Then they huddled together in the corner.
  I'll get another picture one of these days when they get used to it.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Rainy Day

  It is 2 PM and the big rain storm is past. 1.4 inches in the gauge and everything was/is a muddy mess again.

  These pictures were out the kitchen window about 8 AM. I had to go out about 1 PM to feed 2 round bales to the cows. The forecast is for a couple of cool 45-50 days now (as is usually the case after a rain storm moves through). And then a pretty consistent pattern of 60s and even 70s over the remainder of the month. That should get things popping!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Planting seed at last !

  Today was 67 and partly sunny, the ground was pretty well dried up from the last rain, and with over 2" of rain expected Sunday and Monday, it looked like a good time to get some seeds in the ground.
  I planted snow peas, leaf lettuce, spinach and carrots. This 2x12 is the only raised bed I have.

  I planted a 12' row of snow peas on each side of this woven wire fence in another garden bed.

  Even though there was a little breeze at times, I broadcast red and white clover seed on about 5 acres of pasture. The U of Tennessee agronomist recommends broadcasting by the end of February, so I had to get it done. The rain should wash those little seeds into the cracks and crevices where they can root. Got my exercise!  I did it with my handheld broadcast seeder. That was a lot of walking! 

  Also, I had been watching Craig's List all winter for a spike tooth harrow to drag the pasture with and spread out all the cow pies. I didn't find any, so today I "made do" with what I have.  I hooked the lawn de-thatcher on behind the mower and just ran around the south 2 acre pasture until the manure was scattered!

  It did a good job, so maybe I don't need a harrow!

I opened the gate to let the cows into the 1 acre "wet" pasture behind this 2 acres and next week I'll move the hay rings back there so they don't graze the new growth in this pasture until it gets started well.

  It sure felt good to get out and get some things done today. But I'm thinking I will be sore and achy getting out of bed in the morning!

Monday, March 4, 2013

16th Birthday Bash

  Here are some pictures from Saturday night's birthday celebration for grand-daughter Brittany, Sweet 16.

  The guest of honor

The proud parents, Wendy and Steve.

The proud grand-parents, Ray and Rita.

Uncle Dave was DJ and kept the tunes rollin'

Jackson and Grandpa

Jackson and Grandma

13 year old grand-daughter, Katie

  It was a really nice group of mostly young people from school, church and the neighborhood. A great time, and those kids danced nearly non-stop for 3 hours. Oh, to have that much energy again!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

In Like a Lion, or a Kitty

  March didn't exactly come in like a lion; more like a kitty, but hopefully it will go out like a lamb.
  Snow flurries overnight and off and on today, mixed with rain. I was just out caring for the 3 week old chicks and took another round bale of hay to the cattle. The ground is so saturated and way I can get in the garden any time soon. The 2 week forecast is for nicer than it has been but mostly a little colder than average, so patience is needed.  Maybe it will be a better spring than last year, which came early and then frosted on April 18, taking most of our blackberry crop.
  We're off tonight to oldest grand-daughter Brittany's 16th birthday celebration. Grandma Rita is finishing off a fantastic, fancy cake as I write. Promises to be quite an event! Here are Rita and Brittany, on the right side, at Katie's baby shower last week.