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Raised in a Barn…

Day-to-Day Life of a Country Mama

Looking Ahead 

I have a lot of work ahead. The next two months are going to be a blur. In the garden, I need to turn the extra area for planting. I have another round of seeds I need to start, but then the rest will be direct sow. I need to get a second trash bin started for compost. The other container has come along nicely, but needs to not have fresh material added for a bit. I also need to decide on a place for a possible asparagus patch. 

The market starts in two months. I’ve been stirring up batches of bath bombs all winter to have a good stock of them. I have made up new products, which means new labels and signs. I’m also thinking of taking some crochet goods to sell, adding new displays to my list of needs too. 

On top of all this are the regular needs of our little family, spring cleaning, and sorting through my inheritance of cookbooks and other odds and ends. I think I’ve got a handle on how to get it all done, but please bear with me if my posts get a bit sporadic. Life can get crazy at times and it looks like this will be one of those times!

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Pruned Peaches

I finally got a day to go out and prune the two peach trees I planted last year. It almost pained me to cut anything off after loosing the other three, but I did it!

 I have been trying to find time to read on pruning this winter. I finally did a little last month and learned that I should have pruned the peaches last year upon transplanting them. They should have been taken back to “whips,” meaning all branches removed completely and a couple inches taken off the top. 

After looking at the state of their branches, I decided it would be good to start fresh. I took my hand pruners and pocketknife out and set to work. I removed the branches as close to the trunk as possible. Then, I used my pocketknife to smooth the cut down to be even with the trunk. This is supposed to promote quick healing. 

I hate seeing them look like sticks out in the yard, but I think this was the best thing to do. Now they can continue growing with a stronger foundation and root base. And I get used to cutting healthy, but undesired branches. 

Leftover Chicken 

One of my favorite ways to use up leftover roast chicken is chicken salad. My chicken salad is very simple. I take leftover roast chicken and dice it up. I mix it with my homemade sweet zucchini relish and mayonnaise. The flavor varies a little depending on the seasonings I used when roasting the chicken. It adds a nice little change from time to time. I love it with crackers or as a sandwich. Caroline and Savannah even helped me eat this batch. 

Good Distraction 

Savannah can be a little demanding once she decides she’s hungry. Especially in the morning. Since she loves pancakes that is her frequent chant after she has been up for a little. It is difficult to convey the need for patience while batter is stirred up to a three year old. Of course, I also don’t want to have it made in advance and prevent her from learning to wait. Because of this, I have come up with my own distraction for her. 

I’ve started putting her to work. She stands on a step stool at the counter and helps me add ingredients and stir. I figure the best way for her to learn to appreciate the time and effort put into making food is experience. It also keeps her busy and her mind off being hungry. It’s even fun for me because I like involving her with making breakfast. 

A Must-Have

In my quest to get back into sewing, I decided to make a few things around the house. One said item is a couch cover to cut down on the number of toys I have to fish out of our foldout. I am fashioning it after a quilt using denim and plaid. I bring this up to explain that I am cutting out a good number of blocks. Those who have done this know it takes longer to cut everything out than it does to sew it together. 

I was talking to Mama (the quilter of the family) about starting work on the cover. She pulled out her gadget below, telling me I needed to get one. She then told me to take it and try it out since she wasn’t using it with her current quilt.


It is awesome for cutting out bulk amounts of blocks and triangles. I straightened and folded my material as perfectly as I could. Then I cut sixfold strips. Now I can unroll and stack a number of strips together to cut into individual blocks. The work is moving along well! I’ll definitely be picking one of these up. 

Sprouts

In the week since I started some seeds, I have seen broccoli, onions and leeks come up so far. Now comes the bigger challenge for me: keeping them alive and thriving. 

I’m hoping this year my seed starting past experiences will pay off. Since I got back into gardening, I’ve been having trouble getting my sprouts to maturity. I am trying to stay proactive. I’m checking multiple times a day that soil is moist and my trays are shifted to receive optimum light inside or moved outside if possible. Maybe this will be the year that I actually get my cool weather plants to grow!

I am regretting not getting more of the grass cleared for increasing the garden last fall. The ground is staying too wet and cold right now to do any work. I can’t complain though because we are still under our average rain fall. It’s good to see the ground still have a lot of moisture. It is also good to see this because I’ve been reading about dirt quality. Absorption and retention of water are attributes of good dirt. 

I’ll be keeping a close eye on the sprouts and preparing to jump on ground work as quick as conditions allow. Good luck with your starts!

Wonders of the Sky

People would probably think I’m nuts. Standing in slippers, sleep pants and a coat as I watch the eclipse this morning. At least I can say I had the good sense to watch it from the garage window so I wasn’t standing out in the wind too. 

I’m not sure if a everyone in my family has as much a fascination with such things as eclipses and meteor showers as Papa and I do. I remember Mama at least joining in our madness growing up. I wish I could remember which is my earliest memory of being bundled up in a coat and blanket to watch. Because, of course, it seems like the best stuff always happens in the coldest months (the solar eclipse last year excluded). All I know is I’ve had a lot of fun standing in cold places with my parents watching some amazing sights over the years. 

I watched the eclipse as long as I could, until the pink peak of it disappeared behind the trees. It was incredible to see. I look forward to the girls being old enough to share this with. It is one madness I definitely want to pass on.

Tea for Caroline 

I’ve been enjoying a cup of herbal tea with my breakfast for the past month or more. A week in I started wondering if I could get more out of my favorite tea bags than just my one use. Then it hit me. So now I steep my cup of tea, then place my tea bag in a second cup of hot water to steep a lighter version for Caroline. With her being just over a year old, she doesn’t need it to be as strong as it normally would be. This second cup gets covered and set in the fridge for later. She has been loving it! And I love it because it’s good for her too. 

Change in Plans 

When you have animals, plans can change quickly. This was driven home to me as I sat in our farm truck parked by our house. I had a riffle in the seat beside me and a baby monitor on so I could hear if the girls woke up. I was watching our brand new calf, waiting to see if the threat was completely gone. 

I had just gotten both the girls down for their nap when I heard Raleigh, our blue healer, barking out near the cow and under-an-hour old calf. I got on to him and called him back to the house. While I was putting him on his chain, I heard a slightly distressed call from the cow and looked up to see two Mexican vultures moving in. I let him back off and ran back in for a gun. Another cow ran over and helped chase them farther off. 

I walked out with Raleigh and a riffle. The vultures flew on off, but they kept making the occasional pass over. Raleigh and I hung out in the tree line for a bit. After awhile, I decided they had moved on. I decided to hang out in the truck until the girls woke up. 

Now I’m back in, eating the dinner I had to reheat after I came back from guard duty. It’s a good thing I got more cleaning done in the morning than I had planned since I lost about an hour and a half. I do have a new appreciation for how much Raleigh hates and chases off birds though. 

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