Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Another Busy Spring -- Oh, Hello Summer!

Despite the ridiculously long, cold, wet Winter, we eventually did encounter Spring.  And we were so happy to see her.  We had snow in April which is just not right.  Planting of vegetables had to be delayed, fruit trees suffered from hard freezes after they had already bloomed and were setting fruit, and the month just seemed as if it would NEVER bring some temperate weather.  Finally, as April came to a close, Spring finally found her season and claimed it.

We were eager to get outside and start working the farm.  But fate has her way of demanding we march to her rhythm rather than to the one we choose.  One of our projects slated for the Spring was a remodel of the front porch of the old farmhouse.  We have used the front porch for four years as a temporary greenhouse during the winter months.  This has been fine, but has required a lot of maintenance, as we've had to wrap the porch in plastic sheeting, inside and out, to hold in the warmth.  We decided to frame out and install sliding patio doors on all exterior walls of the porch.  This would allow us to have the doors open, with screens during the warm weather, and would allow us to close the porch up tight during the cold weather.

We secured bids, we awarded the bid, and then before the work could begin, Joe's mother passed away.  She would have been 88 in August.   We were happy that she and Joe's sister had been able to make a trip out here in 2012 to visit us here in Virginia while we were in the process of rehabbing the old farmhouse. RIP Olga.  We will miss your spunk and love of life!

Out to Dinner Their First Night in VA
Joe and his Sis Doing a Little Sightseeing
Ma and Sis, BBQ by the Pool
Joe's mother's passing meant that Joe had to return to California for several weeks to help his siblings begin the process of settling her affairs. I stayed behind, tending the farm, and overseeing the porch remodel.

Before Remodel
After Remodel, but Before Painting
We still need to paint the siding on the porch and build a small front deck, but the porch is very nice and much more functional now.

In June, while Joe was in California, a friend of ours, who we met on the eBay blogs in 2008, passed away from cancer.  She was only 47 and left behind her handsome, pre-teen son.  Sometimes life seems to defy logic.  Rest in Peace BunnyHoppinPhooPhoo (Tamara).  We will miss you, your wit, your art and your kindness.
RIP Tamara
Joe returned from California about a week ago.  In his absence, six of our hens went broody, and at the height of broodiness, there were 72 eggs being incubated by these hens.  Several black rat snakes later, we are down to four broody hens with a collective 47 eggs in their nests.  We hope to have some chicks actually hatch out over the next week or so.
Broody Hen
Eggs in Nest
Snake Retreating After Eating All the Eggs
Joe, Displaying One of the Snakes
Now, with the hens secured (hopefully) from further snake attacks, we are able to concentrate on all of the other farm chores that have been awaiting our attention.  We had four rabbits produce a total of 18 baby rabbits in April and May.

We sold our mother goat and her two kids, and bought another, seven year old goat for milking.  We get more than 1/2 gallon of milk a day from Pearl.  Our other goat, Whitey, keeps Pearl company and the two of them help continue the clearing of the brush from our woods.

Pearl is a Sweet Girl

Whitely, Enjoying a Snack of Hay
And, of course the dogs are having a blast, chasing every squirrel that dares flip its tail in their yard.  They root out the moles and bark at the snakes and the turtles.  They alert us to stray dogs, raccoons, deer, opossum, and whatever else calls our woods home.

Blue and Ruby... Fresh From a Mole Hunt
Miah, continues her patrol of the farm, the woods, the chicken coops, the goat yards.... pretty much anywhere there is action, we are likely to find Miah... usually taking a nap in all of the commotion.  I guess that's what a cat does when she reaches 15 1/2 years old.
Miah Snoozing in the Rabbit Barn

So, Spring has sprung and given way to summer.  I am looking forward to making more headway on our farmette, as we continue our adventure!