Thursday, January 31, 2008

The View in January

January Views, originally uploaded by maggies farm.

I try for daily photos, but somedays the opportunity seems to slip right by. Almost a month of photos.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

And now for something completely different

ruby crowned kinglet, originally uploaded by maggies farm.

This post has nothing to do with seeds! (Unless you count bird seed.)
This little tiny bird has been visiting the feeder for about a week. I couldn't get a good view of her to identify her. She's pretty cute.

Do you know they make hanging nests out of moss, lichen and spider webs? It's true. I bet she's ready for spring too.

I'm being buried in seeds

Really. Another order arrived from Burpee yesterday. It was sitting by the back door where our friend, UPS Man, always leaves packages. Monkey was very excited thinking a grandparent had sent her something (which they tend to do) until she shook the box. "I think it's seeds," she said, rather deflated as she handed me the box. I had the same feeling. We got over it with an ice cream sandwich.

It must be the general winter doldrums that settle on me every time this year. I feel like spring will never actually arrive. February just takes forever, doesn't it? And with a hurt back, I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that all is well be the time I need to plant. There are a million (ok, slight exaggeration) things I want to be doing right now involving pitchforks, compost, animal bedding, brush piles and chainsaw, but I have to wait on someone else to do it. Frustrating.

I did notice there were a heck of a lot of peas in this order. I'm not that fond of them. However, Charlie, Monkey and tailgate customers are.)...

Mammoth Melting Sugar Pea
Super Sugar Snap Pea
Oregon Sugar Pod II Pea
Wando Pea
Cherry Belle Radish
French Breakfast Radish
Watermelon Radish
Habenero Pepper
Red Delicious Pepper
Hot Jalapeno M Pepper
Detroit Dark Red Beet
Bloomsdale Long Standing Spinach

That may be close to the end. I know there is still a small order from Pinetree Gardens (Which I love because while the seed packages tend to be small, they are inexpensive. I can try new things without too much financial burden.) and the potato order will arrive in the not too distant future. I'm most excited (truly!) about the mushroom order. We will be starting some oyster mushroom logs over in the woods. I will be marching over every inch of that forest hunting for morel mushrooms this spring. We do have one spot where we found them before, but I'm sure there are many more in the new woods. I was tempted to order spore, but it was very expensive and from the northwest. And I'm such a local nut, I'm wary of introducing an outside source for what nature can provide right here. Although I doubt morels from Washington would be classified as exotic invasive in the southeast...

I do miss my greenhouse. This time last year there were lettuces, spinach, radishes, peas and new potatoes growing. Charlie promises that construction will start soon on the new one. But I'm not holding my breath for it to be ready for any early plantings this year. We are way too busy (or rather he is) at work. The site is ready and I'm planning an elaborate herb garden (culinary, medicinal and heirloomy) all around it. Keep fingers crossed.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Seeds, seeds, seeds

I was excited by the first seed order arrivals. Now I have decided to never give Charlie that responsibility again. You see, he has been itching to order seeds for some time. And this year, I let him. Never again. I tend to practice the art of purchasing seed with some restraint, taking into consideration cost, labor and return on my investment. Charlie saw it as an opportunity to sample everything. Luckily we have the extra garden plot to plant this year. Unluckily most of the labor will fall upon me and my newly slipped disc. Hopefully back pain will be under control before spring planting commences. Keep all fingers crossed, please. Here's what arrived over the weekend...

From Baker Creek Seeds
Golden Wax Bean
Roma II Bean
Jacob's Cattle Bean (I saved some of these for seed, but we went through them so fast)
Dragon Tongue Bean
Greasy Grits Bean (got to grow greasy beans if you live in Appalachia!)
Albino Beet
Flat of Egypt Beet
Tonda di Parigi Carrot
Atomic Red Carrot
Cosmic Purple Carrot
Lunar White Carrot
Amarillo Carrot
Mexican Sour Gherkin
Suyo Long Cucumber
Penny Rile Cowpea (I saved some of these for seed...I guess we'll have more)
Cayenne Long Thin Pepper
Rouge d'Hiver Lettuce
Golden Marconi Pepper
China Rose Radish
Japanese Minowase Daikon
Chinese Red Meat Radish
White Icicle Radish
Helios Radish
Green Zebra Tomato
Spear's Tennessee Green Tomato (love this!)
Principe Borghese Tomato
Flame (Hillbilly) Tomato
Marina di Chiogga Pumpkin (I had wanted to try this one)

From Earl May (Charlie worked for this company when he was young and just had to order seeds)
Ruby Lettuce
Forest Green Parsley
Cool Breeze Cucumber
Mrs. Pickler Cucumber
Sweeter Yet Cucumber

And if that wasn't enough, these arrived from the Cook's Garden
Vit Mache
Trionfo Violetto Pole Beans

I'm worried. Perhaps it will all seem much better when the days get a little longer and a little warmer... For now, I'm waiting on the Burpee order. There's no telling what will be arriving. Oh the trepidation!

Oh and I still haven't ordered any chicks! I have to get on that this week. It's time to replace some of the older hens and I have a few friends that want to get in on the order. Charlie wants to raise some meat birds this year. It looks like I'm going to be one busy farm girl.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Blogger ate my post...

So here I go again, only condensed (I really do need to work...).

The mailman just dropped off a small packet stuffed with seeds from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.

Stupice Tomato
Hungarian Italian Paste Tomato
Eva Purple Ball Tomato
Cossack Pineapple Ground Cherry

Monday, January 21, 2008

Thoughts of Spring

The weather here has been, to say the least, miserable. We've had a couple of nights in the single digits. On nights like that I worry about the chickens' combs. The Sussex and a few others have single combs that seem quite susceptible to frost bite. Last night Charlie had to shoo the ducks and geese out of the goat shed and into the chicken house. He said goats and waterfowl were all huddled together in a disturbing way. Everyone made it through the night o.k. and with temperatures climbing into the high 30s, we may even be able to get water running to them this afternoon. We've carried buckets down to them several times a day the last several days.

While Winter has been reminding us of its existence, the promise of gentler weather has arrived in the form of seed packets. The first of our giganormous seed orders have arrived. We will be not only gardening our rather generous garden, but another 40' by 80' plot donated by a neighbor this year to meet market and our own needs. So we have room to experiment and continue on with old favorites.

From Appalachian Seeds we received Black Prince and Akers West Virginia tomatoes. There is a six packet minimum in the seed order that Charlie somehow got around. I've been thoroughly happy with the seeds and plants I've gotten from them in the past. This was also the original source for Black Prince that I loved so much. I'm looking forward to it again and have plans to save seeds this time.

From Johnny's came:
Maxibel French Filet Beans
Jade Bush Green Beans
Alibi Hybrid Pickler Cucumber
Green Bibb Buttercrunch Lettuce
Graffiti Purple Cauliflower
Cheddar Orange Cauliflower
Purple Haze Carrot
Chioggia Beet
Full Moon Pumpkin

The Touchstone Gold Beet is expected to arrive at the end of February and Russian Red Garlic will arrive for planting in the fall.

For now the garden sleeps under mounds of goat and chicken bedding and rows of matted oats.
But soon, it will be time to play!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

What I do on Snow Days

moebius scarf, originally uploaded by maggies farm.

I just finished this little scarf. You see, I received several skeins of handspun yarn for Christmas. The only problem was that no two skeins have anything (color, weight, animal source) in common. So I have to come up with projects for one skein. It's soft merino, comfy and toasty and it took no time to knit up on US13 needles.

So I'm ready for the second winter storm warning in 3 days (although the 1/2 inch that's fallen in the last hour or so might be all there is).

Oh, and next time I try to take a picture of myself remind me to put on some makeup or something, jeez.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Be Prepared

In the unlikely event this should ever happen, I think we should be prepared.

Oh, and the first seed order has arrived at the office. I'll post all about it soon!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Another snow day and time to take pictures

female cardinal, originally uploaded by maggies farm.

I don't think the weather was as bad as forecasted, but we did have a snow day today. There is still snow on the ground, it's just not very fun to play in. We've had rain and sleet on and off for a large chunk of the day.

What do we do on snow days when the snow is there, but not "sleddable"? Well, let's see. Monkey has built a fort out of blankets, couch cushions and several chairs. Apparently she plans to sleep in it and never let boys enter.

Snow Days are also Pajama Days. Around noon, Charlie looked up from his laptop and said to me, "Hey! Take off your jeans. We only wear pajamas here!" Silly me. He even went to the barn in his pajamas this morning.

I've been outside and played with the goats, threw a frisbee for Gigi and took some photos. I should be working (like Charlie did all day), but it's a snow day! Oh, it's also a good day to watch birds at the birdfeeder. Enjoy Mrs. Cardinal. She doesn't attack my car like her mate does.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

My favorite view from the weekend

12 January, 2008, originally uploaded by maggies farm.

Freezing fog is an interesting phenomenon.

Onto other thoughts -

Dear Republican Candidates advertising for the South Carolina Primary,

Will you please stop telling us what good christians you are and talk about where you stand on some of the issues. There is really a snow ball's chance in hell that I would vote for any of you, but it's annoying to think that you believe the only thing Southerners care about is your faith and your belief that life begins at conception. Economy? War? Health Care? Come on! I think it is truly time for a revolution...


O.K. I've had my rant and now I'm off to shower and go to work. Back later with my general avoidance of politics.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Pretty Boy

pretty boy, originally uploaded by maggies farm.

If only I could figure out who his parents are. He could be almost anything, although as a chick he looked like a pale speckled sussex. He looks nothing like one now. He does have a single comb.

Pretty Boy is from the surprise hatch at the end of summer. That's him on the right of the photo. I still can't seem to get a photo that does justice to the colors.

He's turned into a rather fine natured, and somewhat shy rooster. He has the deepest crow. I think we may just keep him out of the stew pot and in the barnyard.

I figured it was time for a farm animal to get a post. It's been a while.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

snow bunny

snow bunny, originally uploaded by maggies farm.

Monkey finally gets some real snow - her first in two years! Generally snow days mean icy roads in the morning and slush by noon.

Snow Day Pizza

My aunt sent the Monkey a pizza making kit for Christmas. Today was a snow day (we've got about 6 inches and it's still coming down), so we made pizza for lunch. I know she visits the blog regularly, so I thought we'd share some pizza pictures. Monkey is a regular pizza queen. She did almost all the work. Somehow I ended up doing the washing up. Typical.

starting the yeast
Mixing the dough

mixing dough

Starting the yeast

kneading dough Kneading the dough

deep dish pizza!

A little while later... pizza! Which would you like - Pepperoni or Mushroom?

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year

cardinal, originally uploaded by maggiesfarm.

I was out taking photos with the new camera in the woods today. A half an hour later, I was inside with a nasty episode of Raynaud's. So, Charlie removed the screen to the back window and I played with the new telephoto lens while the birdies visited the feeders. This guy likes to hang out and look cool. He also likes to attack the mirrors of my car and has been known to sit inside when the sunroof is open. Weirdo.

We've stuffed ourselves on black-eyed peas (Penny Rile - an heirloom variety we grew in the garden this, I mean last year), corned beef, greens and cabbage. Charlie swears there'e a corned beef New Year's tradition... I ate mostly peas. It's back to work and school tomorrow, unless of course, our weatherman is actually correct and we get several inches of snow. I'm beginning to doubt it. At least the temperature dropped today and it felt a little like winter.

Happy New Year everyone!