Friday, August 7, 2015

Rainy Weather Last Night and a Morning Full of Horsetail Clouds

My life got busy and I haven't had time to write. The summer has been sweltering and with 11 chickens now, we have to make sure they are okay all the time. Our garden was mostly wiped out by predators, no matter how much we tried to keep things going. I'm about to rip it all out and start over with a fall garden.

It is still beautiful here though, and these photos I took prove it.

Yesterday I was at a free concert in Apple Valley CA when the rains came down.  So the band had to call it quits after about 4 songs. But here are some rainy weather photos I took last night.

From the gas station on Hwy. 18.

Rainbow before the concert started.

Looming cloud during the sponsor speeches. By the time that was done, and the band took the stage, it  poured and no more music. Yes, thanking the sponsors is important, but considering the weather, they should have gone through them a lot faster and perhaps taken the photos another time.  Like next week during the last concert this summer.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Spring is Here on the Homestead

Today was a busy day on the homestead since both of us were here and we worked on things that are much easier to do with two people.

We went to the feed store and got a bale of straw. When we got home, Fletcher made some excellent guacamole for lunch.  We  had that with chips. As we were sitting there, he spotted a snake. It crawled past the trash cans and then past a chicken. She pecked at it's tail, but it got away and we saw it cross the driveway and head out for the desert. I don't want to kill them. They keep the mouse population under control.

Then we decided to tackle the garden. So we took all the old straw and free chicken manure out of the chicken coop. It filled a whole wheelbarrow.  All of that went into the raised bed garden box. Now that is ready to plant. I have onion sets that need to go in there right away. As I was taking the old weeds to the compost pile, I kicked a dried bit of cholla cactus and yelled out Tweezers.  Not your typical swear word but I sat down and my boyfriend pulled the ball of spines out of my foot with his knife.

Then we put new straw in the chicken coop and new pine shavings in the nesting boxes.

Recently I planted roses and today Goldie the chicken decided she likes rose leaves.  So I ran over to put chicken wire around the roses. I was mad! And I paid for it by not being careful with the chicken wire and cutting my thumb just under my right thumbnail. Ouch. I should have been wearing gloves.

This morning I started blowing eggs so I could use the eggshells to start seedlings in. I have 3 so far. Then back by the garden I found an old  pony pack so I can use that for seedlings too.

A week ago we pulled all the dead tomato vines out of the garden. I was surprised to find the rosemary, thyme and Greek oregano had survived the winter. We hadn't even been watering the garden box, since we thought everything was dead. Well, I should have watered it right away. I wasn't taking into account that we'd just ripped out all the bigger plants that were shading it.  So yesterday I remembered to go back there and hook up a hose and water it. And the thyme was burned to a crisp! Ack! The other two still looked fine though. So I guess they are frost resistant and somewhat drought resistant. Today and yesterday were the hottest days we've had since winter so I need to remember to water back there.

Three eggs from my own chickens.

My roses are still babies. This one was a gift from my neighbor. Hers are in full bloom.

End of the day. Chickens went to bed. And my mate is whipping up stir fry in his new wok.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Cleaning House

I'm going to spend the next 3 hours cleaning my house. I'll keep you updated. Tomorrow is my birthday and I'm tired of feeling disorganized and junky.

2:59 PM: So far so good. I got a sink full of dishes washed, and 3 tote bags of canned goods put away. My back is starting to hurt already. But I'm going to keep cleaning as long as I can stand it.

3:35 PM: Dishpan full of clean dishes dried and put away. Bucket full of dishes washed and pans put in to soak. Barely making a dent in the dishes so far. I just took some Ibuprofen for my back and now I need to sit for 15 minutes to let it work.

Just did another 45 minutes.  This time I washed all the pans on the stove and cleaned a very greasy stove top.

So far I've only done an hour and 21 minutes of cleaning. And it's dark already.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Houdini the Cat Explores

My cat thinks he is a panther and has taken to sleeping in the top of the joshua tree in my front  yard. He is like a sentry watching all the birds and chipmunks below. This morning I let the old cat out to get some fresh air and the new cat was in the mood to play tail tag. The old guy is too frail for those kinds of highjinks so I had to bring him back in.

Houdini is such a lap cat. Feral my ass.

Warming up in the sun

He's growing so fast.

Friday, November 21, 2014

November Morning at Shoebox Ranch

Today I took some time to clean up the yard, hang things up that the wind had blown down, play with the chickens, and teach the new kitten how to weave. He really wants to help with everything or nap in my lap so I can't do anything.

As long as it is pleasant out, I can work on my weaving in the yard. That way I can watch the birds and enjoy their songs. Soon it will be too cold to work on crafts in the yard, so I'm enjoying it while I can.
When I see the  horrible snowstorms New York and Canada are having, I feel so blessed to live here. My friend in New York got 8 feet of snow in one night. I guess that's when you find out if you really love your spouse, because you are going to be stuck indoors a lot.

Two fat hens.

Our whole flock in one photo.

This chicken wanted to be picked up this morning.

Impressionistic Weaving of Autumn in the High Desert

Houdini and I

Tricky to hold a chicken and take your own photo.

Houdini is made out of velvet I think.

Why did the chicken cross the hose?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Building My Outdoor Utopia

Hurry up and get ripe tomato.

Silver Dollar tree for the front yard.
You know I'm new to this whole chicken raising thing. So when the chickens hunkered down for a dust nap, I've seen that before and I wasn't really surprised. But when one red hen started yanking feathers out of the other red hen and eating them, I was a bit taken aback. Then the two black chickens started snacking on feathers too.

Maybe the red one is about to molt and that is how they help out. It seemed that the feathers came out quite easily and didn't seem to hurt her. She hardly seemed to notice. I still found it disturbing. So I googled up some answers. The most common answer is they lack protein. Ours get lots of mealworms so that doesn't seem likely. A few people said the chickens were bored. Ours have full run of a giant yard so I doubt it is boredom. Beats me. Does anyone else have a better answer?

This week I am working in 'Cactus Jack's Garden.' I got the most prickly cactus planted in a hole I dug a long time ago. Today I dug a new hole for the columnar cactus. In one small hole I already dug out about 10 medium and large rocks. My back can only take so much of that so I quit for the day.

There is a sweet spot between the heat of summer and the cold of winter here in the desert so I'm trying to get as much yard work done as I can handle. I just hope the tomatoes ripen before we have a hard freeze.
Happy autumn.

I got a new Silver Dollar eucalyptus tree for the front yard. I can't plant it until I get a tree stake, more potting soil and someone stronger than I am to dig more rocks out of the deep hole. I've wanted one all my life. I just love the leaves. For decades I didn't have my own yard. Technically I'm renting so planting trees here is a bit risky. We hope to buy the place, but lots could happen between now and then. At any rate, I'm living for the moment and planting trees.

In other good news, my bulbs in a container just sprouted. They don't look like ranunculus so they must be the irises.

Cactus Jack's Garden

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Shoebox Ranch Autumn Days

I made another Vlog yesterday about my daily life. I make them for my new account over on Vloggerheads but it fits this blog too so I posted it for my followers.
I loved the way the sun was shining through the comb.

Hens have combs too. They are just smaller than the rooster's comb.

What you lookin' at?