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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Busy doing nothing

Well I guess I did get some little things done that had to be tended to. Got some of moms stuff packed up to move from her apartment and put in storage. She is gonna be at the nursing home a good while longer. She simply cant take care of herself and live alone right now. But we will take it one step at a time.
I would feel so much better if the weather would warm up a little bit so I can go play in the yard. I have been house bound for far too long. Even tho I do go out to therapy 2 times a week, that ain't like being able to work in the yard or get in the dirt. There is mud everywhere around here from the freeze and thaw of winter. Maybe march will bring us some better weather.
This week I am going to try and find someone around here who has goats and get a few black 5 gallon buckets of fresh goat manure to make manure tea for my seedlings. My plan is to drill about a 1/2 inch hole in the side of the bucket about an inch from the bottom, make a wooden plug to fill the hole, put a layer of large gravel in the bottom of the bucket then fill it about 2/3 full of fresh manure. Add water and let it set in the sun. With the dark buckets and a little sun to heat it up the water should drain through the manure and settle in the bottom of the bucket. Then after a couple weeks I can pull the wooden plug out and drain the tea into a water can for my seedlings. The tea would have to be diluted with more water to keep from burning the plants. The color when diluted should be about the color of tea you would drink, a light amber color. I made manure tea by accident a couple years ago and used it on my seedlings and had the best ones I had seen anywhere. They had a beautiful green color and stems the size of your pinkie finger. I have many plans. Now for getting em done.
Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Another day in the life

We woke this morning to a little more snow. Maybe 1/2 inch or so that melted by noon. Although it was a little cold outside the clouds finally gave way to some sunshine. It was too messy to do anything outside so I went to moms apartment to get some of her stuff packed and ready to move. She is going to be in the nursing home for quite some time I think and her grace period is up on her apartment rental. Now to find some place to store the stuff. It wont take long to get the furniture moved out and then move her personal belongings. She is doing pretty good with her therapy but she is having a really hard time with balance. She has a tendency to fall if she doesn't hold on to something and she doesn't remember to take these precautions. Just say a prayer for her and that she gets adjusted well to her situation. That is about all we can do at this point.
I was thinking today about my fruit and nut tree order. I may be in a predicament if the trees arrive soon. Our orchard land is too wet to plant in and well I just ain't ready for trees. I need to get some manure composting and round up some mulch material. But I can store them in the cellar till the ground is in some kind of condition to plant them. The same goes for the strawberries and blueberry bushes I have on order. All in due time I guess.
I think I am going to start collecting eggs from the dark Cornish hens and fill my incubators with eggs and then set the one hen that is trying to set. That way all the eggs will hatch at the same time and then hen will be in for one big surprise. While she is hatching I will put the babies from the incubator under her and let her have the brooder house to raise all the babies in. I am sure hens cant count and maybe she wont notice that she has more chicks than eggs that she set on. We shall see how that goes. I may be the one surprised and have to hand raise a bunch of little chicks. But it wont be my first rodeo.
Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Friday, February 26, 2010

Straight broccoli plants

My little broccoli plants look a lot better now that they have light. But dang it only takes a couple days for them to get leggy. I think now that they have light I can pull them out of this leggy stage by withholding water and letting the soil dry a good bit before watering them again. A friend of mine who owns a greenhouse and sells commercially told me that is how you get good stocky stem on plants is to let the soil dry almost to the point of letting the plants wilt, then give them water, doing this repeatedly will make the stems thicker. She also said a fan moving a gentle breeze across the plants will also make the stems much stronger. As you can see in the pics some of the herbs appear to be sown thicker in each peat pot. These are herbs that can be transplanted in little clusters to produce more leaves and less spread. All is well till someone falls knocks over the ironing board and lights in the night. lol Ah the hazards of starting seedlings indoors. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Yucky weather

The weather has been yuck for the past few days. We have light snow flurries, the heavy snow showers, woke this morning to about 2 or 3 inches of snow. That has all melted now, well really by early afternoon. Now the wet has all frozen over again. I guess we are all tired of the weather and are wishing for spring.
I started some seedling last weekend and they are sprouted and up thru the dirt now. Last resort was to get the fluorescent shop lights and hang them over the plant flats. I have to set the flats in the house as I don't have any other choice at this point. So I took the ironing board, which I don't use anyway, and used little "s" hooks with pieces of small chain and suspended the lights from the ironing board. The little hooks will fit through the holes from the underside of the ironing board and then you can raise or lower the ironing board to adjust the light closer to the plants. I only have things started that need to be started 8 weeks or more before transplanting to the garden. And I did start a few tomatoes and cabbage for really early plants. I have a swing set frame at the rental house that I can use for a temporary greenhouse frame but that cant be used till the weather warms a bit. With night time temps getting into the teens plants would freeze outside without additional heat. So for now I guess I will have to make do with my rigged operation.
I have a little dark Cornish hen that is wanting to set, and that cant happen yet. I have no where to put a momma and her babies to keep warm and safe from critters. If the weather gets better in a week or so and she is still wanting to set I may be able to get the pen built and get the other hens moved to the other chicken yard and she can set in the building where they are all living now.I would prefer to let hens raise babies than to do them in the incubator. Mother hens just do a better job with biddies than people do. We just have to wait and see what happens.
Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Nice for outside projects

The weather here was wonderful today. Sunny and in the 60's. With the help of the boys I did get out and get a few things done in the yard today. Some minor cleanup work. Got the trash out of the building that was going to be my summer kitchen. So there is less stuff scattered about and you can get to the corn to feed the chickens now. Rob used the wheelbarrow to haul some gravel to edge the west end of the house and flower bed, and back side walk. Then hauled a bunch more to do half the front walk way. I was told it was too muddy to work on the other side. I must get a chicken pen built and the laying hens moved to the other hen house. They are scratching up my flower beds and getting into stuff they shouldn't just like chickens will do. I got some new solar walk way lights that I need to get put in also. Lots of clean up to do all around the house.
I went to check on the rental house today and I think I have a water leak somewhere. The water wont pressure up and you can hear it spray under the house. So cant do any clean up or anything there till the water is fixed. Kinda depressing from where I sit.
Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Seed starts

The weather was really nice out today. Warm and sunny, kinda makes you think spring was really close. I had bought some peat pellets and starter trays for starting seeds that need to be planted really early. Also got some herbs started too. I have sown sage, chamomile, savory, marjoram, and basil. Also some lavender, leeks, celery, and red cabbage. Hopefully these will produce some early veggies. Today I sent my order out for several fruit and nut trees and blueberries. I ordered more strawberry plants to put in the garden. Once all these plants arrive I will be busy for a long time digging holes and planting stuff. As soon as the ground dries a lil we are going to get the peas planted as it was too wet to plant on valentines day like we have always done. Not much else really got done today other than the remaining shelves put in the root cellar and it is a little more organized. Sure makes it easy to find things. This has been it today. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Wondering whats next....

The weather was really nice today, warm and most of the snow has melted off. The county finally got out to scrape the packed snow and ice off our county road. There are still places where the road is shaded that is still snow covered. But for the most part it is easy traveling. Just a sweatshirt was comfortable today without a coat. We are supposed to get some rain this weekend and possibly some more snow showers the first of the week. But for now I can get outside without landing on my back side.
I had a doctors appointment in a town east of us and I think most all the people from here and there were at Walmart stocking up for the next little storm. I went to pick up a few supplies while I had other reasons to be there. We usually don't make special trips to shop for anything. We just get what is needed when we have to be out of town on other business. Both the boys will be home this weekend so we needed some snack foods to keep them happy for a few days. This Jason's trip home for his birthday which is on Tuesday the 23rd. He wants a cheesecake for his birthday instead of cake. So I will need to make that tomorrow. Rob and Amoy will be home sometime Saturday.
This weekend I am planning on trying to get my order together for some ornamental plants to put on the hill behind the house to prevent any more erosion. Also am going to try to order some more strawberry plants to get another strawberry bed started. I picked up some peat pots starter sets today while I was out so I can get some celery plants started. They take a long time to sprout and get started. I really want to get someone started on my summer kitchen so it can get done before spring and I can use the counters in it to set seed flats. Sure would make my life easier. I got a ton of things to do outside as soon as the ground dries some and I can get around without sinking in the mud. I need to purchase some fence wire to make a pen for the laying hens so they can be moved and the building cleaned for baby chicks in early spring. All this stuff has to wait on the weather. Not much gonna happen till then I suppose, just make more plans. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Winter is back with a vengence

The winter weather is back with a vengeance this week. We are supposed to get snow off and on all week. We had about 3 inches or so this morning when I got up. I managed to use the shovel and push most of it off the deck. Then we had another snow shower that covered it all back up again. This time it can stay till the sun melts it off. The wind was gusty and made it bitterly cold outside. The cats normally don't mind the cold as they are out running around all the time in all kinds of weather. I put their food in their bowl on the patio table on the porch near the little house I made them so the dog didn't get the food. They would eat for a while then when the wind gusted up they would jump in their little house. Come back out and eat more and the next wind gust was a repeat. Luna will find the biggest pile of snow she can and lay in it. She has a good heavy coat so she is loving this weather. She keeps busy all day chasing stray dogs off the place. For some reason people think this is the place to drop off all their unwanted pets. Most of the strays don't last long as the coyotes get them or they completely leave the area.
I have a hen that is trying to set in the hen house. I don't think I want her setting and trying to raise lil babies in this kinda cold weather. So we keep stealing her eggs. She waits for someone to lay then sits on the egg for a bit. Not sure she is ready to take to the nest because she gets off it for any little reason. She may have to wait a while before I let her set and have babies.
Not much else happening on the homestead for now, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Like Spring today, more snow coming

The weather was so nice today. Sunny and warm, one thermometer saying 55 degrees. We got out to get a few things done today while the weather was cooperating. I had bought 3/4 inch plywood to make more shelves in the cellar and they had been in the back of my truck for almost 2 weeks. The uprights were put in today and some of the braces to hold shelves. Need to get more screws to put in the other supports for the rest of the shelves tomorrow. We had to move all the sweet potatoes that were in feed sacks out of the cellar to get the shelves in. I was really surprised at how well they had kept. Not shriveled, soft or sprouting. I had also put about a half bushel of apples in the cellar as a trial run to see how well they would do. They looked like they were fresh picked. And in the half bushel I found 1 rotten apple. These apples have been stored in there since October, last fall. The really dark ones are Arkansas blacks and I dont remember what the others were. I also had several butternut squash in there and 2 cushaws that were in there just as a trial also. Those I fed to the chickens. They had been picked since last September and were in perfect shape. So needless to say I am really pleased with how well the cellar holds food.
It was warm enough today that I got out in short sleeves and swept the front porch off, and barefoot wondered on out to the herb bed. The ground was cool, but not overly cold. Now the rock sidewalk was different story, had to pick up the pace a little bit. Some of my perennial herbs are starting to come back. As are some of the ornamental plants in the flower bed. So I am sure spring cant be that far away.
I came in for a couple hours to do other things and when I went back out to hold the plywood so it could be cut to length the temps had dropped drastically. I had long sleeves on the second time and was freezing. Now the weatherman says we are supposed to get from 4 to 8 more inches of snow by Tuesday. Dang this is like march weather. If history repeats itself, which it often does, spring will be early and pass quickly into a hot summer. But spring I would take right now. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Where is spring?

Spring is not in the near future here like we hoped. We have had snow, rain, snow, melting, snow, cold, more melting and its still slick on the back roads. Although it was pretty cold today the snow did melt a good deal. I am thoroughly convinced that it does thaw a little bit every day in February like my dad alas said. The snow and ice melted off most of the deck today and you can see the ground in many places. Our county road is still very slick though where the snow is packed from traffic and most of it is shaded. Maybe by the weekend it will be mostly gone.
With the snow deep like it has been for a few days the pullets have been staying in the building. They wont come out anyway in the snow. It only took a few times of flying out in the snow and being befuddled that they learned. Luna likes the snow. She was on the deck earlier today and was laying in the snow as opposed to laying on the cleared decking. She gets bored if the chickens aren't outside. She has nothing to look after except the cats and they don't appreciate her efforts in the least. Not much else happening on the homestead in this weather. Just staying warm and inside. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I sure wasted this one

I have sure enough wasted this day. For some odd reason I woke up earlier than normal. Wide awake, no chance of sleep. Got up an had my coffee, had some breakfast, then got sleepy and went back to bed. Was woke around 11am by a call from a good friend. We talked for a bit and I thought I would catch the local news to check on the weather to see what nasty was coming our way. That was enough to qualify for another nap. Got up and fixed supper and now here I sit. Since some slight adjustments in my diet, my joints do feel less sore and achy. I have all but eliminated sodas and processed anything. And I do take some flax seed oil supplements along with vitamins. Flax seed helps the body reduce inflammation which I am sure will do some good. Where there is no treatment for my back problems this is about the only thing I can do to hopefully help a little. Of course the cold weather we are having doesn't help alot either.
We had snow last night, sleet this morning, rain this evening and predicted more snow tonight. Possibly 2 to 4 inches. If anyone wants it they can have my part of that. I really don't see planting peas this weekend as the ground will likely be frozen. We alas try to get them in on valentines day. But there will be another day I am sure. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Monday, February 8, 2010

Out of hibernation

Ya would think I was hibernating without my computer but that's not the case. I have been a little busy with odd an various things on my mind for the past several days. Am doing physical therapy for my arm and have exercises I do at home twice a day in addition to going the the physical therapist 2 times a week. And any repetitive use of my right arm does increase the pain a good deal. So I try to avoid that when possible. Also trying to adjust my diet to include foods that decrease inflammation and avoid ones that increase it. It would be easy to just take a steroid shot but I much rather not go that route. I don't think I need steroids accelerating osteoporosis. Now that I already have bone spurs on my spine.
I stopped by today after my therapy to check on mom and she is not doing as well as any of us would like. Myself along with the nursing staff think that maybe she has had a light stroke at some point that has been missed. This is often the case when older folks fall. The first late indication is altered mental status. And this is what she has going on right now. But she is still doing therapy even after falling again for the third time trying to get up alone. I think her chances of ever going back to her little apartment are all but gone at this point. But we keep trying.
I hope you all are staying warm and toasty in this nasty weather we have had for the past several weeks. We are supposed to get yet another snow and ice storm this week. Accumulations of 2 to 4 inches of snow. Dang we just got done with flooding from last week. So I am stuck inside for a few days more.
When I got home from therapy today, I went out back to let the hens out for a while. They went off their merry way and I played with Luna for a little bit and came in. Was online and heard the chickens start cackling and Luna run off the porch barking. When I got to the front door to see what the commotion was all about, I saw a big stray dog leaving the back yard and heading off into the woods with Luna hot on his tail. She stopped at the edge of the yard and stood her ground. The dog had either chased the chickens or startled them and those are her chickens and things are not allowed to bother them. She is such a good watch dog, she well earns and deserves her food. Not to mention lots a cookies. Her working just gives me peace of mind not having to be constantly watching to keep critters from killing my chickens. Be glad when spring gets here and she can have a bath, she stays dirty with all the mud we have here. Maybe if we get more snow she will get dry cleaned again like last time. Till then, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Home again

I made it back home today after 2 days of doctors appointments and a good visit with my youngest son Rob and Amoy. Rob went with me to my doctors appointments and I spent the night at his place because I had another really early appointment in Lexington. It made it much easier on my back to not have to travel 90 mile one way for 2 days in a row. Between doctor appointments I went with Rob to help him buy another vehicle because the trade in he was using was still in my name. I think I did pretty good negotiating for him with the salesman. He got a really nice vehicle that has every option that a vehicle could have on it. The only problem he has with his new vehicle is the cup holders are worthless. Where they are located you really cant sit a drink of any kind in them. This SUV has tons of safety features that I like, knowing that it does make for a safer drive for them. It has been cold for the past couple days so the heated seats really impressed me. I am really happy for him to have a newer vehicle to drive.
After getting Robs car all squared away and my doctor visits taken care of yesterday, we were pretty tired when we got back to his house. Had to get up early to get to my other doctor appointment this morning. The news there was not good as far as I am concerned, but I have to live with it. After looking at my MRI of my back the doc basically told me there is no treatment for what I have going on with my lower back. I have bulging disc, and degenerative disc disease in the lower back along now with some bone spurs on the vertebrae that are involved. So I am told I will have to live with the pain, try to keep my range of motion and mobility. He told me this will only extend the useful life of my back. He say mild exercise, stretches and meds an no lifting or strenuous activity is all I can do. This condition will deteriorate into arthritis of the spine as I get older. The bone spurs have occurred in just the past 2 years. Not really happy about all this, but I suppose I don't have much choice.
Finally got to talk to Jason for about an hour to catch up on all his doins for the past couple weeks as he has made it back to the lower 48. He got back into the states yesterday finally. Although he enjoyed his trip to Canada, he said he was glad he lived in the good old USA. Hopefully in the next week or so he can do a post here on his trip for us. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The day with Rob

It has been a long tiring day. Rob and I started out this morning to go look at vehicles for him. In the middle of that, I had to leave for one of my appointments with ortho doc. Then back to the car dealer for more negotiations. Haggle more, wait, haggle a little more, agree on deal, sign here, sign there, oh wait I gotta leave, I got another appointment for an MRI. Off we go, get lost going there, Jason called, he is back in the real world, back in the states now. Talked to him for a few minutes, got MRI done, then back to car dealer. OK I'm dizzy now from the running around. Finally got insurance and such finalized and drove off in Robs newer vehicle. This darn thing has all the options that are available on these vehicles. He has a Buick Rainer. I do like it, a very nice all wheel drive vehicle that I think will serve him well and with a good warranty. We both hope we will get to talk to Jason a little more tomorrow.
The weather has been fairly nice here today, but farther east we were supposed to get more ice and snow. I have been in just a sweatshirt today, no coat. Rob and I went to Red Lobster for dinner tonight, which I do love. Think I ate too much again. But I usually do when I go there. I love seafood but don't cook it at home.
Got another early day tomorrow, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Monday, February 1, 2010

Out having fun

I have to be in the big city for 2 doctors appointments tomorrow. So late this evening I decided to come on to Richmond and spend the night with Rob and Amoy. So we went out shopping which I am no good at. lol I did buy a few pieces of clothing that are not jeans or tees. Then off the find some drinks for the evening. I always like visiting their house, when I'm here I don't have be responsible for any thing. Just enjoy the visit. Rob and I are going to look for a vehicle for him tomorrow too as well as my appointments. He has had an older vehicle since he got out of high school. He needs a newer vehicle as he will be going out of state to do his internship. I get to be the negotiator in this endeavor. Should make for an interesting day. Or I will likely embarrass Rob and he will bring me home. Will let you all know how it goes. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.