Sunday, April 19, 2009

Working in the Garden

After church this morning, we spent the whole day working in the yard. The weather was just beautiful and we were able to get so much done. I've been wanting to free range the chickens but we have so many hawks and predators it hasn't been possible. I couldn't stand seeing the girls in the pen any longer so I opened up the pen door and let them out. They were so happy scratching beneath the pine trees and finding worms and bugs. Now that the weather is warmer I can be out more and so can the girls. Our twelve new baby chicks arrive at the end of May so we are looking forward to watching them grow too. We'd like to get some Guinea hens too-to help with the tick problem. If I get infected with Lyme Disease again my health would not be good so we're looking for some alternative ideas to eradicate the ticks. Since I've had allergic reactions to several of the antibiotics that they would use for Lyme disease, I'm really in a pickle for treatment options. Hmmm-Guineas or liver disease?
We're really trying to be much more self sufficient in all that we do and the
Guineas would provide some eggs too.
Happy girls foraging in the bushes and grass.

Chipmunk, Raisin and Cotton.

Rum, Raisin and Chipmunk helping me to dig a hole for some ornamental grasses. We divided up all of our ornamental grasses. They were so huge and really should have been done last year. We dug up eight plants and got over forty new plants. I planted at least thirty of them throughout our yard. We planted several by the chicken coop to provide some shade during the summer months. A few others were planted by the bird houses for them to use as nesting material. Some went into my front garden and the rest will form a lovely wall of grassy privacy around the fence by our swimming pool. We also divided many perennials and transplanted an ornamental cherry tree that was by the pond. Both waterfalls are now up and running and I can't believe how much I missed the sound of the rushing waterfall.

The filter water was extra murky this year. Larry pumped out the filter and sprays it on the grass for a natural fertilizer. It's always a very stinky job but one that needs to be done twice a year. We don't empty the filter completely as there is beneficial bacteria in the filter that helps to reestablish the chemical balance of the pond.
My happy Buddha overlooks my pond. This was a mother's day gift from my husband and kids several years ago. I'd like to get a windchime and pagoda statue to add to the Japanese theme.
We started to lightly feed our Koi fish. I'm always amazed that they do not eat all winter yet seem to grow. Once the water temperature reaches 50 degrees we can start feeding them. Each spring we add some all natural barley pellet cakes to the pond to help clear the murky water. The fish are natural mosquito control. We don't use any chemicals in our yard because of runoff into our well and pond.
You can see my water lillies just starting to come to the surface of the pond and the fish are swimming in the shadows. They were happy to have their first meal today.
Sludge from the pond. This will be the greenest spot on our lawn. Stewie our Labrador, had a lovely time rolling in the stinking mess.
Tae helped Daddy put the pond pipes back together.

We cleaned out some of the birdhouses getting them ready for a new batch of babies. Last year, the kids and I painted a few birdhouses in bright colors and put them all around our vegetable garden. They remind me of the colorful houses in the Caribbean.

And we noticed the squirrels chewing on the openings to the bird houses trying to enlarge them for their own nests. This is the most coveted birdhouse on our property. The sparrows and wrens fight for housing and are often seen cleaning out each others nesting material.

Our barn and chicken coop to the right. I'm hoping for some milk goats in the near future but hubby isn't sold on the idea.

The view looking back toward our house. All of our chairs are out for the homeschoolers. I love all of the huge granite boulders in our yard.

Morgan and our neighbor play some soccer and swing like crazy girls.

My lillies have grown about 6 inches in the last week.

The Piersis Japonica is in full bloom and just gorgeous.

The forsythia that I would like to remove from my yard. Although it's pretty in the springtime it is very invasive and takes over everything.

This was an old bridge that we used to have by our pond. The kids use it in their temple now. It leads to a cleared out area in the bushes and they made a table and chairs out of rocks and tree stumps. They even planted some lillies in there for color.

My willow tree is starting to leaf out and is a lovely shade of lime green right now. We are exhausted from all of this work today but it felt so good to be outside again. I love seeing our yard and gardens come together and the idea of providing for our family using our land. All of it is starting to come together-my hopes of having a small workable farm with maybe some goats, our use of natural cleaners and growing our own crops. It will all take time but I see a huge change in the way we live already. I encourage others to do the same. It's been a life change for our family but one that has brought us closer as we strive to be more independent and self sufficient. In will come.


Valerie Willman said...

Thanks for the inspiration. I have a MUCH smaller yard than you do. But we planted a garden in the front lawn instead of grass this year (Food Not Lawns) and have a worm bin and I'm REALLY hoping to sell hubby on chickens for next year.

Mom, M.Ed. said...

When I read this post I had to laugh to myself. We just planted a forsythia today--along the side of our front porch--in the hope it takes over and becomes invasive. We'd like to create a "natural screen" to avoid the neighbors. LOL!!

Love your blog...

homeschool mamma said...

Valerie-Good for you for getting rid of the lawn. Gardens are much better. Go for the chickens. The eggs are delicious.

And forsythia will definitely make a very thick privacy border.

Sara said...

What a lovely yard you have! It all looks wonderful.

homeschool mamma said...

Well gee-thanks so much.