Thursday, May 17, 2012

May 17th and frost!

The view from my bedroom window this morning.  Couldn't believe my eyes!

Even with electric fence I had to put the peas in bondage...... 

Onions making their way through the blanket of maple seeds.

Blueberries looking good! 

The girls seem quite happy in their chalet.

Perennials are stunted this year due to lack of water.

will little rain the weeds have subsided too and that's OK!

Oh Look, the door to my studio! 

Garden is pretty well planted now onto mulching I have a feeling it's going to be a dry summer.
We look forward to peas, edible peapods, beets, radishes, onions, lettuce, many varieties of cabbage, runner beans, bush beans, chard, leeks, potatoes, loads of herbs, acorn squash, pumpkins, jers. artichokes, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, hot peppers, sweet peppers, carrots, tomatoes and of course EGGS!  

Monday, May 14, 2012

Chickens here!

It's been two weeks and loads of changes here in Paine Falls, more gardening than pottery the last two weeks.   Apologies to everyone I owe emails, phone calls and visits!!!!! 
 Enjoy the tour!

A flock of white crowned sparrows have shown up in the garden.  Along with gold finches, chipping sparrows, chickadees, rosebreasted grossbeaks.  The pair of baltimore orioles have returned to nest in the locust tree.  Yellow shafted flickers abound and even a few pileated woodpeckers this year.  The bird activity has been fantastic! 

Front beds are pretty showy at the moment.  

Clouds of midges have returned, don't mind too much as they are a sure sign Lake Erie is healthy again.  The night hawks are gorging nightly over head.

Don't mind the litter from the Cascade azalea.

Seems we are all hanging on by a thread these days.

Veggies are up!!  Eating lettuce by Friday I hope! 

Got a bit carried away with cabbage, kohl rabi and brussel sprouts! 
Electric fence is installed, both gardens this year! 

I have been walking around the old swing set for years.  Not wanting it to go the landfill I toyed with idea of a super trellis but then I always wanted chickens.  It took me a week but behold the chicken chalet, complete with ski slope!  I think it was easier to prepare for the birth of my children.  I could have bought the cute little chicken hutch from the Tractor Supply Store for $1100.00.  But no, I had to save a swing set and hey after many many many trips to the Home Depot lumber department and a personal relationship with lumber kid, the chalet only cost $549.00.  That did not include the chickens or their feed or gas or bandaids or time...... so much for my budget.  So much for free eggs.  I spent Mother's Day tightening it up to weather and varmits.  

Abby!  Home for the summer; how do you like your new room? 
The secret door where I will gather eggs.
Abby pointed out most Mom's and Daughters spend Mother's day getting manicures or going to the spa and we were bonding over the chicken coop.  Works for me!  Pretty sure I am banished from ever getting a manicure, in fact I am pretty sure I am on the wall of shame in the Very Fine Nail Salon.
And tomorrow we will be shingling! ( I need to YouTube how to hang shingles) 
 Now there is deep mother daughter bonding! 

High novice carpenter satisfaction here! 

Finishing touches were put together at 7 pm.
Best Mother's Day present ever!!  

The girls arrived at 10:30 pm!   Princess Lay-ah and Stewie.
I intended to get 4 chickens and came home with 10!  
I do not know how this happens but there is plenty of room.  
Standing in the street lights at E72nd in downtown Cleveland surrounded by asphalt, barking dogs, traffic and urban grit I was there to do a deal.  I slid the cash over the hood of my truck and I was given a large box and bag of stuff.  Yup, 10 chickens and a bag of organic feed.  I said; I'll take four.  He said; you're gonna want more, trust me.  I said; Really they're that good?  He said; you can't go wrong with more, you'll never even know you a few more.  I said:  OK, give me 10.  My other voice said;  Are you nuts, did you really just ask for 10?  I muzzled my other voice, hung my head in shame and loaded the box.  I drove away in the darkness, headed back to Paine Falls.  As I merged onto the freeway I looked at Abby and said:  How could you let me get 10?  She said;  I don't know, it happened so fast.  One minute you were sending me to the truck for the box and when I got back you were loading ten chickens.  Chicken madness and I need a program!   It used to be the place to pick up drugs and other illicit activities back in the day, now I was buying chickens, what has the world come too?  
 Blue Pike Farm. 
Two varieties, Cuckoo Marens and Plymouth Rocks.  Cuckoo Marens, how appropriate for this place!  

I let them out this morning and they knew exactly what to do!   The girls will not be laying eggs until August, good because I still have nesting boxes to build.   I haven't put the tools away just yet as they need a run to move around the yard.  I am thinking Hab-i-trail like the hamster used to have, hey I wonder if they make a chicken ball?   The coop is right next to the compost pile, hoping this is a brilliant move but stay tuned to that one.

Headed to the studio this morning as I have a show looming on the horizon (4 weeks!!)  Still planting beans, cukes and squash.  But first I am dragging a chair out to the coop and having coffee with the Peeps........ after all I am the head Chick :) 

OH and did I mention I got into the American Craft Exposition in Chicago?   Happy Dance!!!! 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

hello blog........

where have you been???  
Fingers are just warming up to the keyboard again, but in reality;  Head down and butt in the air, been a month!  
Blasted back from Boston and hit the taxes.  I hate tax season; it's not the mountains of receipts or piles of papers or even the forms.  It's the shear fact I live by the seat of my pants and really cannot figure out how I keep the lights on or the kilns going.  I am calling this the potters miracle, right up there with fishes and loaves.  Coming home from West Palm when Mr Mad Potter piped off:  Wow, I don't know anybody who works harder and has a harder time paying bills. Well thanks big guy, you can get out on the side of the road now.  By April 7th there will be pencil stubs shoved behind my ears, glasses perched on the end of my nose, empty aspirin bottle on the desk and I will be in my dark place.  I pencil in a week of moping, eating ice cream and laying on the floor next to the dog. Mope week always concludes with a me writhing on the bed trying to figure out why I can't get my jeans buttoned.  Blowing the dust off my garden books, walking around the yard, hunting for tools and gloves, I slap myself around and roll up my sleeves.  There's that Welgarian gene again (Welsh/Hungarian)....... work harder, it will be fine.  By the time you get to the end of the blog you will realize and understand the Welgarian philosophy.  

Here's the rundown:  
April 2nd - 8th:  sales tax, federal taxes, jury applications and off to buy a big fat eraser complimented with giant drum of aspirin.
April 9th - 14th:  Mope, eat bad things and screw myself into the floor, just like the dog........
April 16th:  gather the electric fence winding over the yard due to over zealous snow blowing (all 2 times last winter) by Mr Mad Potter.  Prep the patio bed to get the cool weather crops in;  peas, lettuce, radishes, chard and carrots.  High garden satisfaction!  
April 19th:  Attend the opening at the Wooster Functional Ceramics Workshop.  Had a great time seeing everybody!  and more eating bad things...... but if one is laughing and enjoying the company it doesn't count....... right? 
April 20th:  Sod busting begins in the way back........ no rain for weeks now, the shovel is not a pogo stick!   On my way back to the garden I notice the solomon seal blooming, natures way of cheering me on, it's a standing ovation in my book.
April 20th:  Attend Earth Day at the Cleveland Zoo!  Amazing and rallied to go home and keep sod-busting....... and build a chicken coop, order a mini cow, build a hoop house, start up aqua-ponics, get off the grid and grow so much of my own food I will never go to the grocery again! 

April 21st - 22th: sod busting continues and I am feeling my many years of walking erect.  
April 23rd:  So much for walking erect......... First groundhog sighting.  Drop everything and run down to the farm store and get another charger for the electric fence.  Get another Hav-a Heart trap too.

April 24th:  Celebrate 30 year anniversary; neither one of us could figure out how we got to 30 years.  We did the math and agreed 20 years for sure but then how did we get a kid 28 years old and another 21?
30 years really?  How the hell did this happen but we high five'd and had a great dinner! 
April 25th:  still no rain and sod busting goes on....... 

April 27th:  After a day on my knees I looked up to see the groundhog drooling, my arch enemy and in fact all underground rodents are now on my hit list, pick one.  Moles, Voles, Groundhogs; yard rats. 
April 27th PM:  Daughter #1 calls home to announce she has just been hired by Shortgrass Steppe Research and Interpretation Center  and joy of joys they do research on prairie dogs. (kill me)
April 27th PM:  Head down to Little Mountain Brewing Company and make 10 gallons of Rampant Lion Beer.  (to be bottled May 11th; 1- 5 gallon keg and 24 bomber bottles) 
April 28th:  Head down to Cleveland to tour Urban Gardens and Rid-All or the Green Ghetto project.  Came home ready to sell the house and move to Cleveland.  
April 29th: Back to my favorite store in the whole wide world; Home Depot and buy 16 - 8' fence posts, concrete and enough fence to wrap the neighborhood.  Butch went to the boat....... and that is how we endured 30 blissful years of marriage.  

April 30th:  Rain....... sweet, sweet, sweet rain!  It has been a month and our river was about dry.  It rained all day and into the night.  Should have gone to the studio but instead got my bread game on, greek yogurt and granola too.  Should be good for a month!  

The Patio garden planted, Yippee! 

Solomon Seal and Pink Tulips, Spring rocks! 

Part one of sodbusting.  Paths are in too! 

Starting the Berlin Wall....... stand by for sniper towers....

During the Urban garden tour, imagine my surprise at walking into the Galleria downtown Cleveland and what used to be Banana Republic is now home to a flock of chickens!  LOVE! 

Also in the Galleria, a chicken coop modeled after the Rock Hall of Fame, cute but so not practical.

growing kale and basil for the one restaurant left in the Galleria. 

The Rid-All Tilapia tanks.  Love the watercress filtration system.  


Check out the size of that kale and chard!! 

Watering system with reused malt containers from the brewery.

Best composting system ever!  

A rainy day = 4 loaves of bread, a pan of rolls, 2 1/2 pints greek yogurt, 1 qt. whey and vat of granola.

Bread and yogurt day! 

One vat of granola.  

My fantastically expensive yogurt incubator; crockpot in insulated travel container, old bath towel and free styrofoam packing container.  ( that a very expensive shipped woven vase broke in) 

Chickens arrive in two weeks....... back to the Depot :) 

Summing up a month of the crazies I am hoping to balance out pots, gardens, canning, chickens and daughter #2 moving home in a week.  Time to light a candle and tap the keg....... gonna be a summer here on my half acre!