Our weather has been somewhat of a roller coaster ride as of late. First we have temps below zero, then like tomorrow it is suppose to be near 60. No wonder we all are sick. A body just cant adjust to temperature swings like that as we get older. Not that I am old. Ahem! We all complain but in reality it is just winter time as usual. We are suppose to have nice weather tomorrow with some sunshine so I hope to talk Rodger into going with me to the orchard an trying to get our trees pruned. They are big enough now to need to start being shaped like we want them to be when they get mature. I just hope the deer have not damaged any more of them. It has been so wet it has been impossible to get in the field an hang the bags of soap scraps to deter the deer. It seemed to have worked last time we used it. I have a stash of Irish Spring soap that no one here likes so I cut the bars in quarters and put a piece in a piece of empty onion bag, tie the top, and suspend it from a nearby tree. The smell seems to keep deer at bay. At least as long as the soap last. I also have a lot of grapevines to get pruned as well. The ones in the big vineyard near our orchard will be big enough to require pruning this year. I also will take more cuttings to root for my friend Anna. I tried a few last year and they made roots and I got them re potted but overlooked them in watering during the hot dry part of summer and they died on me. Shame on me. I hope to get a bunch started this year so I can ship them off to her this fall to transplant in her garden. We try to get vines and trees pruned in February on a nice day when its not so cold we freeze to death but not so warm that the plants bleed. Although I did prune grape vines last year after they had leaves on them and it didn't even slow them down. Still had a huge grape harvest. I am going to be making another raspberry patch this spring too with shoot from the older plants I already have near the orchard. I just need to get the place plowed up and manure on it to set them in after they break dormancy this spring. They are very easy to propagate. All you need to do is dig up the small off shoots near the mother plant and simply replant it in a new location. Big plans I have. Now to see if the body can keep up.
I have sat here at the computer this evening pondering ordering chickens to get here around march 1st. Not sure what kind I will order just yet. I like all the hens I have now, just not sure how to go about ordering more like them. I surely don't want to buy 50 standard heavy breeds to raise and cull to keep a laying flock. Thas a lot of lil birds to feed an deal with. And did I mention how expensive they have gotten? Dang I got sticker shock. But that happens to me real often. Guess I lead a sheltered life or something. I have a young rooster with my hens now. I am thinking I might need to butcher off my old rooster and let the young guy take over the hens and see if I get more fertile eggs and just hatch some of my own. It for sure would be more economical AND I would get to pick the ones I wanted to keep for layers. AND I would still have what ever roosters I raise to butcher for making good stock to can. I am really low on canned chicken stock in the cellar. I guess because it has been a while since I raised standard breeds to use for stock. I have hens that I know will set this summer and I also have an incubator I can use to hatch some eggs. Surely from hens and incubator I can manage to get enough pullets to replace my laying flock by mid summer. So I can have new hens laying come early fall. It just don't seem right to not have laying hens on the farm for eggs and meat. Not to mention bug control in the yard. They will also keep snakes at bay too. Maybe between the chickens, Luna and the cats I wont have snakes come in the yard this year. I hate a damn snake. They always manage to scare the whiz out of me.
Not long now till time for the greenhouse to be put up. Time flys when ya try to take a break and hibernate in winter. I am just glad I can be home to keep things half azz going here. We surely are praying we have a good garden this coming summer. I still have a good bit of stuff canned from years past but I am not sure we can go another year without canning a lot. Last summer was a total bust on the garden. Its time for a good one this year. I am actually looking forward to being able to work in the garden some this summer. Gosh the past few years my health was so bad I could not get out in the sun and heat to do much of anything. Thank God I could eliminate some meds and end up feeling much better. Still cant do the lifting like I once did but at least maybe I can adjust to the heat a lil better and be able to help Rodger some in the gardens. IF the weather is as good as they say it will be then maybe we can get a few things done here this weekend to keep us ahead of the game. Some crazy weather man is calling for some crazy amount of snow next week so I will be house bound again I reckon. Maybe that's a good time to plan the garden, where to plant what, what to plant, how much of each to plant. Just silly things like that so I don't end up with tons of one things I don't really need a lot of. For sure need to start and plant more herbs this spring too. I somehow let my tarragon get chocked out by weeds or other herbs. Need more parsley, more chives, marjoram and savory for sure. Love the smell of marjoram. But if it snow I can make snow cream and contemplate gardens.
Jennifer ask in comments for a recipe for snow cream. Jennifer like more of my recipes its more a method than really a recipe. It all depends on how much you need to make or how many hungry people who like snow cream you are feeding. I usually just take maybe 2 cups of whole milk, add a lil sugar to taste, not too sweet, a lil vanilla to taste. Just mix it in and taste it till it is slightly sweet an you can taste the vanilla. Then stir in clean "white" snow" till it is the consistency of soft ice cream. And dish it up and enjoy. Just a nice treat for the kids or the kid in all of us. Like the saying, "we are all adults till someone brings out the bubble wrap". Or in this case snow cream.
If you are home, nice and warm and dry, thank God for your blessings. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.