Seeing Double!

Welcome to the world, little ones....  Mamacita and Maggie each welcomed twins in early May - a boy and a girl each!


Cute as ever and growing well!  I think it's time we picked some names now that we've had a chance to get to know them a bit....

Mamacita's twins

Mamacita's twins




Maggie's twins....  (with daddio Murray photo bombing)

Colorado Sunset

Kato basks in the glow of another beautiful Colorado sunset...


My New Calendar Arrived!

Since I didn't receive a calendar for Christmas this year I got to pick out my own!  This is the one that struck my fancy out on Amazon Prime (my absolute favorite place to shop).  

Cute, eh?  

Stay tuned for February's pic' - only a few days away!  (can it really be?!)

RIP Ms. Underfoot!

Underfoot as a baby chick!

Ode to Underfoot


Our dear Underfoot

Corny, zipping to and fro'

We will miss you much!


Popping inside the chicken coop this morning to check in on the ladies my eyes immediately caught sight of something black, laying under the roost.  It was Underfoot, legs curled up under her with her head laying down to the side, eyes closed, her body cool.

My favorite chicken of the flock!  Doh!

She got her name because she was just that - underfoot all the time. She loved weaving in and out of your legs as you walked, bolting across the farm with her little legs when she saw you to say hi and check things out.  She was a Polish so her bouffant  hairdo got in the way of seeing things sometimes.  OK, most of the time.

I'll miss you Underfoot!   


Bring On the Cold, January - I'm Garden Planning!

Bring On the Cold, January - I'm Garden Planning!

2017 Seed Catalogs Are Arriving!

The excitement and hubbub of the holidays may be behind us, but there is still something to look forward to in the cold of January, folks - Seed catalogs and garden planning!  WAHOO!!!  Don't get me wrong - I do like the cold weather and snow.  All seasons have their beauty.  But I do look forward to the days I can be outside working in the garden until 930 at night with my flip flops on!

While my garden is nowhere near the size of some it is plenty large enough to keep me busy!  I do my best to take into account companion planting and crop rotation recommendations when planning but sometimes I find something really is just handy growing in a particular spot and I just run with it.

I'm generally not dead set on specific varieties of veg' - trying new types is fun and as long as they grow well and taste great I'm good.   One exception to that rule is tomatoes - we must have Brandywine and Supersweet 100s - the former for me and the latter for my daughter.  They're our favorites.

2016 North Side of the Garden - each line = 2 feet

Here was last year's plan - well watered from when I had it with me during planting last spring.  I did shake it up a teeny bit on the fly so it wasn't planted exactly to the plan but for the most part it is representative of the layout.

The garden is broken up into two sides of a path that runs through east to west.  The path is actually large enough to get the tractor through a wide gate into the grassy fenced area around the house.  We keep the path clear so we can bring the riding lawn mower through and the occasional camper when we have guests in town.

The turkey coop is over by the Blackberries.  It was the first year I planted zucchini next to the turkey run and it worked quite well  - shading the area a bit and of course providing lots of yummy pickings very close by.

Looking back at the garden last year the tomatoes did not do well at all.  We had a very late start to the garden due to the cool and moist spring.  The garlic I had planted the fall prior did wonderfully - though i will say it would have been better if I had kept up on my weeding better.  In my defense we were working on ~3k linear feet of fencing all summer so time was short and with animals waiting for more roaming space the garden definitely took second fiddle.

Looking back at the plan it looks a bit random with some raspberries intermingled amoungst the veg'.  I did that as I had planted a variety of raspberries there that I was hoping would thrive but in the end the did not.  So veg' it will remain in that northeast section of the garden.

2016 South Side of the Garden - each line = 2 feet

The south side of the garden is there most of the veg' is....  in the Southeast corner I have my wee little greenhouse that grew a wonderful batch of grass and weeds last year courtesy of the fencing project :)  

I got the little greenhouse at Murdocs last year during their fall clearance sale - a pretty good deal!  It's not a uber fancy one but it is strong enough to withstand our 70+ mph winds here so I can't complain.  Oh, wait - except for more space.  Which I WILL have one day - more on that another day ;)  To secure the greenhouse I attached it to a frame of 6x6 posts that are chained on to the big ground anchors used to keep hay tarps from flying away.  Solid man.

This is the year I'm going to focus on using the greenhouse for to start my seedlings - just need to get a heater to adjust for the cold nights we can get.

On this side of the garden last year the squash went wild!  Great production.  And it was the first year I let them wander along the ground versus growing them vertically.  While they did great growing free for all I am going to return to growing vertically as I think it saves space and keeps things more healthy and easier to pick.

In years past I had the corn, beans and pumpkins on the south side of the sheep barn.  With that location now fenced and the sheep enjoying the space I need to find a new spot for the corn and pumpkins!  (beans will be in the garden proper this year)  I'm tempted to take up part of the grass around the house for it - the corn would help dampen the noise from the road a bit too.  Double duty.

2017 Garden Plan - Version 1.  1 square = 4 square feet.

2017 Garden Plan - Version 1.  1 square = 4 square feet.

This year, my plan is on one page :)  The northeast corner of the garden is in the upper left hand corner.  Nothing earth shatteringly different really.  I think the biggest change is that the beans are back in the main garden and I'm planning on planting a significant amount of basil and placing it right where I tend to walk into the garden.  Oh, and finally a dedicated herb garden over by the chicken run - I'm not waiting any longer to decide where the right place is.  Hopefully once the perennial herbs establish themselves (I'll fence it off while they get started) the chickens will have little effect on them.  I'm thinking the usuals - sage, oregano, marjoram, chives, thyme (of a couple varieties), fennel, dill, summer savory, borage, mint (in pots of course to avoid the spread).... 

Why so much basil?  Because I simply adore the stuff and love walking through the garden smelling it in the air.  (I'm thinking of making a super stock pile of pesto for us to enjoy all winter long).  And I know others love it too - I wanna spread the love!

My approach on gardening is to plant enough for friends, family, bugs, critters and our family. 

I am considering growing the beans and squash over tunnels I make from livestock panels this year, if I can swing the expense of the panels.  I think it would look neat, provide additional shade and overhead protection for the poultry and make it a cinch to harvest when the time comes.  We'll see!  Only a few more months to go! 


Treating The Chickens....

Treating The Chickens....

Just like us humans, chickens need a little something yummy here and there as a treat!  Can you imagine life without a bit of chocolate or whatever your guilty pleasure may be?  (for me personally it's Sour Patch Kids.  YUM-O!) 

In the winter, this can take the form of heads of cabbage, hung from the roof of the chicken run - a great opportunity to play with one's food!  Watching the chickens move their heads back and forth with the rhythm of the cabbage as it swings back and forth can be a riot.  I always put one head of cabbage higher than the other to add variety, too - it's hilarious to watch chickens jump a bit to get their treats (and good exercise for them!)

The turkeys aren't as into cabbage as the chickens and they ADORE melons so I looked for a watermelon to treat them to, instead.  Holy Smokes!  $10 for a half of a small watermelon!  On second thought......  hehehe....  Not surprising given it's winter I know but I didn't think it would be that bad.  So, they were treated to a heavy dose of dried mealworms and a little scratch mixed in instead - all of which they devoured.  [the cantaloupe and honeydew available were rock hard]

Happy chickens.  Happy turkeys.  Happy me!

Selfie Time!

Selfie Time!

A few extra minutes in the morning is a rarity 'round these parts so when I found myself with about 25 extra this morning (GASP) I seized the opportunity to hang out with my sheep peeps! 

Murray and Maggie were the first to greet me - surprise, surprise.  After playing on the pile of hay bales I sat down to give them some rub downs.

I think this may be the second selfie I've ever taken - not too shabby I'd say! 

Guss was noticeably attentive to my interactions with the sheep this morning, at one point coming withing a couple feet and bending down to get a better look at what we were doing.

While still timid, Mamacita is definitely warming up to me - letting me touch her nose briefly this morning, all under the watchful eye of Guss.

I think this is a beautiful photo of the two, glowing in the morning sun.

Kato was basking in the orange glow of the sunrise as well this morning!  After the subzero temps we've been having lately I think this change in weather is very welcome by this ol' chap - those old joints can't feel great even with the regular dosage of anti-inflammatories. 

Perhaps he was still somewhat sleep this morning.  Or maybe he thought I was bringing him his favorite treats, Fig Newtons.  Or perhaps he was enjoying our one-sided conversation as I sat next to him on a big stump.  Whatever the reason, he stayed put until it was time for me to head to the office and let me get much closer with the camera than usual.  Thanks Kato :)  Made my morning!

A Bit Chilly!

A Bit Chilly!

Kato and Mamacita enjoy the falling snow from the barn....

Kato and Mamacita enjoy the falling snow from the barn....

Brrrrrr!  Mother Nature is throwing another cold front at us, this time with some snow thrown in!   While no longer forcasted to drop a foot, we'll get a decent accumulation by the looks of it so far.   So glad I got those new tires a couple weeks ago!  No fishtales make the pain in the pocketbook a bit more bearable.

Above 0 degrees!  Not too shabby!

Above 0 degrees!  Not too shabby!

We're still above 0 degrees which is a big plus - balmy compared to the negative 14 degrees a couple weeks ago.  Big Ash Farm's Manager of Social Media was out doing the snow dance earlier in the hopes of a snow day tomorrow ;)

Speaking of social media, I learned something new today from said Manager of Social Media - #hashtagging!  I've seen and heard of it but will fully admit I didn't know how to actually DO it until our dinner conversation this evening.

Gave it a shot on a post to Instagram after the dishes were done and lo and behold - it worked!  How slick!  Thanks dear daughter of mine ;)  I am now even more hip than I was before.  haha!

Playing With Zippers!

Playing With Zippers!




While squatting to give Murray and Maggie their evening rub downs yesterday, Murray started nibbling at my jacket zipper.  In no time, moving his head up and down with zipper in mouth, he was repeatedly zipping and unzipping my jacket!  Up and down, up and down... When the zipper went too low and he couldn't bring it back up on his own,  he pawed at me as if to ask to help make it work again, which of course I did.  After which he continued to zip and unzip my jacket!  Up and down, up and down!

At the same time, Maggie had taken my front pocket zipper in her mouth and went about zipping and unzipping the pocket!


It was hilarious!


I managed to get a bit of it on video.  Hope you get a kick out if it as much as i did!  ;)