Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spring Has Sprung!

Spring has sprung in east Tennessee and about a month early. It was kind of weird to be plowing the garden in late February, but I'm not complaining. It seems like everyone I talk to was ready to get their hands dirty and start planting. Who could blame us? The prices for food have continuously gone up while the quality continues to deteriorate. I can't tell you how tired I am of spending good money on crap produce and processed food. The good thing is, people are catching on and the movement to grow, bake, and make your own is gaining momentum!

We have some newcomers to the ole' ranch - 5 Peking ducklings. They are simply adorable! Since I love to bake and they say duck eggs are THE BEST eggs to bake with, I'll be looking forward to trying them this summer. The little sweeties outgrew the indoor hutch in 2-weeks so Mike had to get busy building their permanent abode. we had a bunch of leftover materials from the dog house and chicken coop and an old building we took down, so the hutch is built from 98% recycled materials.  In the process of building the hutch, he decided to add a small duck pond instead of using a plastic pool. The new house is done except for painting and flower boxes he promised to add for me, but the pond is still in the process.

 I'll post pictures when it's all done, but in the meantime here is a picture of the little darlings in their temporary run. We'll keep them penned until they get bigger to protect them.

The chickens don't seem to mind the new additions, and they've all gotten along swimmingly (no pun intended). They eat together and hang out together and other than a few curious stares, we've had no problem integrating the ducks with the chickens.

Speaking of chickens! It's only March and we're already getting on average, eleven eggs a day from the lovely ladies. They barely slowed down during the winter months. We've been a bit more careful about leaving them out all day after the coyote incident a few months ago, but they get out and stretch their little legs at least once every other day. Keeping them out of the strawberry patch is always fun. We'll have to fence the garden this year to make sure they don't destroy the plants.

The garden is off to a GREAT start! I've got 28 San Marzano tomato plants started, 10 heads of cabbage, 8 basil plants, and beets all ready to go! I'll add beefsteak tomatoes and of course the yellow ones Mike loves so much. I can't WAIT for fried green tomatoes! Louie and I LOVE a good summer snack of fried green tomatoes with Ranch dressing. It's definitely a summertime favorite.  I've got a list of other stuff but this is what I'm starting with. The most important thing is having plenty of tomatoes to can for the winter. I'll be adding corn, cukes (for pickles), pumpkins, melons, banana peppers, and anything else I can convince Mike to let me grow!

Although the economy is still a mess and many people are limited in what they can do, I've discovered all kinds of wonderful things by simply not worrying about things you can't change and focusing on how to make the best of what I have.  Honestly? I've realized how much I've taken for granted all these years and how much we really do have. I'm loving the country life more than ever and look forward to the adventures this lifestyle brings every day!

Talk to you soon!

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