Sunday, May 16, 2010

And now for May...

It's hard to believe May's already here and well gone! The trees are full of leaves, the spring march of blossoms is well on its way. Our Lilies of the Valley are up, the gooseberries, currants and raspberries have all set fruit. There are cherries on the cherry tree and we're waiting for the first blossoms on the apple trees. The Elderberries are coming on strong, as are the newly planted blueberries and clove(black) currants.

But spring has been odd around here, so the garden is just now getting into motion. We planted garlic last fall and it's growing like mad out there, Mike has cauliflower that is loving the cool spring. At the beginning of this week we had sub-freezing temps, though, and he thinks the parsnips took a hard hit. We're still waiting to see if they come back.

We had a touch of sadness hit Friday though; our doe Blue broke her back Thursday night during a thunderstorm. Rabbits are flighty, jumpy creatures and we've been aware that it's a concern, that we might find a rabbit had leapt up in response to thunder(or any number of the loud noises they make next door). Part of the reason we chose quanset style hutches was for that very reason. So, our dear sweet Blue is gone, leaving behind a litter of 4 week old kits that we're hoping are weaned enough to be okay.

Let's see...what else.

Our mama hen and her two chicks are doing quite well living in the rabbit side of the barn. She's teaching them to scratch and forage and they're just starting to get real feathers :) Soon they'll be ready for her to take them outside and the fun will really start. Mike thinks they might both be roosters *oy* but we'll have to wait and see.

We are finally getting some nicer weather though, the sun is shining, gentle breeze, comfortable temperatures that don't require layers!

Hope everyone's well, and we'll try to update more often! It's just hectic around here!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

First Cookout

We had a streak of abnormally warm weather in early April that just begged to be taken advantage of. So, on April 9th we enjoyed our first cookout!

So, we had steaks and grilled veggies...

Though when asked what she wanted Mandon picked a yes...that's what that is..

Then we made smores! Happy child, yes?

they turned out soooo tasty...

Though Mandon thought she had to rub Mike's head for good luck in order to guarantee a perfect toasted marshmallow..

See? mmmmm...

No pictures please....

Oh, alright...

Gorgeous, no?

Can't wait for the next one(hear that Mother Nature? we'd like real spring weather any time instead of the freezing stuff!)

Good People

The nice thing about friends who are farmers is they know just what you need when a hen goes broody. A rooster! And if you don't have a rooster? Then you get lucky to have a friend who does and will send you fertile eggs for that blasted hen to sit on!

My friend, Vanessa, was kind enough to mail us a dozen eggs for our broody hen to sit on. They arrived thoroughly protected and wrapped! What a gal! Our hen managed to hatch out 2 of the dozen...we think we didn't get more because she was chased off the nest a couple of days in. Stay tuned for pics of the adorable little buggers!

It's all egg-citing :) this post is wayyyyy late...

Some how I think it was a bit of a jinx to decorate my Easter egg as Humpty Dumpty...

Easter Morning....Mandy had fun, can ya tell?

Mandon's cute little lamb...that Pollux thought was his for a brief moment!

Look what I did!
Pretty pretty eggs :)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Too old for this?

Oh no....she went back to the toy box...
Are those barrettes?
oh dear...Dad's gonna owe me for this one...

Dad? Why am I in a crown?

you know we wore her out...
when she falls asleep in her pizza.

Changes coming a little early...

We always pick the best weather for things, you know that right? So...when a storm finally threw stuff our way this is what it looked like outside. Gorgeous and thankfully the foot that fell came over the course of three days.

But, that didn't stop the latest event from happening!

Wednesday Mike hopped a Greyhound to Ohio. Life being what it is and disregarding schedules and well thought out plans and the like, Mandy and Mandon's expected move date at the end of March was bumped up to last week.

So, Mike and Mandy picked up a moving truck, packed up her stuff and drove up through snow and wind and white-outs. They pulled into the driveway late Thursday night and by Saturday morning the truck was unloaded and dropped off a few miles away.

Believe it or not everything that's going to be unpacked has been and we're settling in. Mandon's thrilled with her room and having her 'Poppy' around.

The cats love that we have an extra couch and spend a great deal of time on it.

This was taken the evening we unloaded the moving truck...think we wore them out? I think the girls felt she was safe to lie near once she zonked! ;)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

You wanna know what!?!?

Hello everyone. This farm update will be a bit different. We recently received a survey from the US Census Bureau entitled "The American Community Survey" - now this is something I had never heard of before but, being it is a Census year, opened it up for a look. This "anonymous" survey starts out with the Census-required number of occupants and quickly delves into some incredibly disturbing questions. Like what, you may ask. In addition to questions (to the anonymous survey, remember) of name, age, address, DOB, phone number, ethnic origin, marital status, and sex, there's:

(Numbers are actual question numbers from the form).

(7a) How many separate rooms are in this house, apartment, or mobile home?
(7b) How many are bedrooms?

(9) How many automobiles are kept at home for use by members of this household?

(11a) What was your electric bill last month?
(11b) What was your gas bill last month?

(16) What do you think this house and lot would sell for if it were for sale?

(18a-c) (Paraphrased) Do you have mental or emotional problems? Have problems with stairs? Difficulty dressing or bathing?

(30) Where did you work last week? With street address.

(31) How did you get to work?

(33) What time did this person usually leave home to go to work last week?

(47a-h) How much money did you make last year? And from what sources?

So, you've asked me questions about my net worth, income, and when I leave for work and how many hours I work (I left that one out, sorry). Isn't this information that burglars need to know? And you want me to give it to temporary employees that make 10 or so dollars an hour?

I won't even go into details about the 243 laptops the Census Bureau has lost and how people have had their personal information "accidentally" posted on government websites repeatedly. Or how Scientific American recently revealed that "confidential" Census information was used to identify Japanese-Americans who were later interred during WWII. Or that Homeland Security has admitted using the (once again, "confidential") information for profiling Americans of Arab ancestry for profiling during Bush's "war on terror."

I also can't help but notice that some of the questions are part of the public record: How much is my house worth? Ask the tax assessor. How many cars do we have? Ask the BMV. How much money did we make? Ask the IRS. Where do we work? Once again, ask the IRS for W-2s. The other information is none of your business.

So, this 28 page form is supposed to be mailed out to 3 million homes annually on a rolling basis (at a cost of $120-$150 million/yr from the GAO). And it will enable (according to the handy-dandy pamphlet that comes along with it) "your community leaders from government, BUSINESS, and non-profit organizations to plan more effectively. Since when is it the American taxpayer's job to subsidize market research for businesses?

And if they are just using this information anonymously, why do they need your name, age, DOB, and PLACE OF BIRTH?

The Constitution (does anyone even remember it exists) allows for a decennial ENUMERATION of the population for congressional redistricting and apportionment. THAT IS ALL.

So, I have a couple of other questions: Why has it been around since 2003 and yet no one seems to have heard about it? Could it be that if they asked all of us these questions at the same time, we would assemble with our family and co-workers and decide that we weren't going to answer such intrusive questions?

And if it such a neighborly questionnaire (American Community Survey certainly seems benign, doesn't it?), why are you threatened with a fine for failure to comply? This is all a bit too "Big Brother" for me, (and yes Dad, I know they know when I brush my teeth, probably and what toothpaste I use) and we refuse to roll over and willingly cede our Right to Privacy. We are not "data sets." We are human beings and American Citizens!