Raised in a Barn…

Day-to-Day Life of a Country Mama

Garden Adjustment

I am working on my plan for our garden this year. I have read about how, when planning a garden’s layout, the crops should be ordered from tallest on the north side to shortest on the south. This obviously keeps taller plants from shading the shorter varieties. Last year, I learned to consider more.  

My suggestion now: also consider the number of plantings and plant density. I ran into a problem last year when I didn’t think through my sunflower placement. I planted them on the south side of the corn. This was fine for the first crop of corn, but the second crop was shaded by the still maturing sunflowers. This year, I will try to catch any similar problems before I plant. 


Learning from Past Experience 

It amazes me that some of the best information I have on gardening is material printed 30-40 years ago. This was driven home to me again as I was getting a more specific plan together for our garden. 

The booklet above was put out in 1981. A farming friend in our congregation gave it to me and I’ve finally sat down to read it. It already appears to be a wonderfully concise collection. It has things that I (probably ignorantly) assumed I would have to guess at. I have already learned a lot like the estimated amount of seed needed to plant a specific length row. 

I have a lot of information to take in and apply in the following months. I can’t wait to get started!

Hunkered In

We are still hunkered in. It is supposed to slowly begin warming up starting today. In true Ozark fashion, there is talk of 60s for the weekend after this spell. What was really pretty about this morning (though the photo isn’t the best) is the frost on the trees. We had a freezing fog that has adorned all the trees with fuzzy white crystals. 

There’s not much to write about with staying in. I’ve just been cleaning and working on other chores like getting the freezer ready for the meat that will arrive in the next day or two. I also caught up on writing letters. I hope everyone is staying warm and safe. 

The Camo Set

This is the fifth set I’ve made this winter! And I’ve almost caught up with the number of my friends with babies coming. This friend is a hunting enthusiast. I thought it would be perfect when I came across a small leftover ball of variegated camouflage colors. 

I was right except running a little short on the color for the matching hat. I incorporated a black band to make up the difference. This had been my backup plan from the beginning, but I wish I would have had the foresight to add a matching band on the boots. I had held out hope that I would have just enough. 

Oh well. I still think it turned out pretty cute!

Good Snow

We are seeing the second day of the best snow we’ve seen in a while. We got close to 4 inches yesterday and it started again this morning. It is supposed to continue through the afternoon. I excited to see how much we end up with it. It will even stick around for a few days because isn’t supposed to be above freezing until Thursday. 

Part of the reason I’m excited about the snow is because growing up I always had one hope for each winter. I hoped for enough snow at least once a winter to warrant getting our sled out. My brother would take me down some of our bigger hills that I wouldn’t have been allowed on by myself. If we started to sled toward a questionable area (like a small ravine part way down one), then he would toss me out then bail. Later when he was off to college, I would go out with my little Pomeranian. Mama even went with me a couple times. It was always lots of fun. 

Now it comes full circle. Yesterday, I took Savannah out on the sled for her first time. We went down the slop in our yard and field. For most of it, I just pulled her around. She loved it until the snow got her gloves soaked and made her hands cold. I took her out again today for the same amount of time. I’m hoping to take her out once or twice more before it melts. Tomorrow won’t be an option due to how cold it’s predicted to be though. I want her to have fun not turn immediately into a popcycle. 

We’re back in the warm as it continues to snow even harder. I’ll have to get back to work for a while longer, but I’m glad we were able to sneak out and play in the snow while Caroline slept.

Passing of a Great Lady

I wasn’t sure I would write a post touching on her, but I’ve thought too much about her not to. Of all of my grandparents, my Grandma Tate (Papa’s mother) is the one I most want to be like for many reasons. She went through a lot, from the death of her father when she was a baby to memory problems late in life. She grew up in a poor family and raised one of her own that was by no means well-off financially. However, she also made the most of life. She was always positive and cheerful. 

Being a later grandchild, I only have stories of her being older. I have few memories of her husband. Grandpa died when I was 7, just shy of their 50th anniversary. She didn’t have the heart to cook as much once it was just her so I can’t say my love of cooking came from her. Not so much on gardening and sewing; Grandma actually worked as a seamstress for a time even. (In fact, with these two interests, I got a double dose from ladies on both sides of my family.) In her mid-80s, Grandma Tate was still putting in a small vegetable garden and tending her flowers at her home, where she lived alone. 

There isn’t enough room here to do justise to the details of her life. April would have been her 93rd birthday. She died a week ago tomorrow. We were blessed to take the girls to see her the Monday before that at the nursing home (she moved there just a couple years ago). Shorty after our visit, she declined quickly. I’ll miss those visits, but I’m thankful the end was quick and peaceful for her. I’m glad I ended our visit as I always did: telling her I loved her and that we’d see her again soon. 

Baking Days

I love baking, though I don’t often have time or reason for doing such. Yesterday was a dreary day and I had milk that was starting to spoil, both of which lead me to a mini baking frenzy. I stirred up muffins and biscuits for the week to come. (I would also have made banana bread but Savannah ate all the bananas.)

I used raspberries from our vines I had frozen for the muffins. I am intrigued by the way they always turn out blue. I include the juice from the thawed berries when I add them. Though the juice gives the batter a lovely wine color, the baking process changes it to blue. 

No matter the color, they and the biscuits turned out very tasty. My day was brighter and our breakfasts for the week are set. I guess it all worked out well!

Adjusting Naps

The girls are getting older (3 & 1 year-olds now) so I have been trying to adjust their naps through the winter. We’re making some progress. Caroline is only taking two naps on a normal day. She will soon be taking a short one in the late morning and a longer one with her sister in the afternoon. It’s hard to adjust sleep schedules, which means it’s not something I like doing often. Hopefully it won’t take much longer!

Fighting the Cold 

This is the coldest winter so far that I can remember. The past few days were cold enough to freeze the tanks of water over the little heaters we have in them. I had never seen that happen in the ten years we’ve been using them (unless, of course, someone forgot to plug it in…). 

In all the cold though, there is a bright side. Our cows are calving. The extreme cold seems to have mixed with the full moon to jump start the process. Two births in two days and another in labor. It’s so enjoyable to watch the new additions wobbling around. 

The weekend shows a little break with being in the 40s. It’ll be nice to get out in the garden again. I need to work some compost into the ground. Until next time, stay warm and safe. Hopefully, your year is starting well!

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