Thursday, January 5, 2012

Another year down...

"If you don't like something, change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it."
--Mary Engelbreit

Happy New Year!  I'm a few days late, but welcome to 2012 :)

It seems like at the end of every year, I say something like, "2011 just flew by!!"  Since I say that every year, that must just be how every year feels.  Fast.  So, 2011 just went by like another year :)

I am very optimistic for 2012.  I'm not making any "resolutions".  But I am going to make a conscious and genuine effort to stay optimistic, and always think positive.  I've learned over the last couple of years just how much power there really is in positive thought.  I believe that my positive thoughts and positive energy can also affect people around me.  I know it sound cheesy but if everyone made an effort to think an act more positive, it really can make a difference.  Maybe I can bring a little extra sunshine to Penrose :)

It's still the beginning of winter and there is snow on the ground of our house, but I already find myself looking forward to the Spring.  I'm already anxious to get out and work in the garden.  I signed up for the Colorado Master Gardening program, and class starts this Wednesday.  I'm stoked!  I decided not to do the volunteer route, so I will just go through the classes, and then have a certificate at the end of it.  (I won't be an official Master Gardener).  We talked about it, and my main focus is going to be our garden.  I don't know how much of my time it is going to occupy, so I wasn't prepared to commit to the hours.  BUT, if I choose to, I could volunteer another year, as long as it is within the next 3 years.  I signed up to take the classes in Fremont County, but I ended up being the only person, so they are sending me to classes in El Paso County.  I think it actually turned out better this way.  The classes in El Paso are actually taught by live instructors, rather than watching on video feed.  The class is also bigger (last year I think Fremont County had 4 people, this year there are about 40 in El Paso - also including the 2 people who signed up in Pueblo).  I haven't sat for a full day in class, or even at a desk, for awhile, so I think having more people around will help.  I'm hoping there are some other like-minded people in the class that I will get along with.  I am sure everyone will have something to learn from each other.

We also decided to get our field leveled and seeded this year.  If we can get it growing well this year, we will hopefully (crossing my fingers!) be able to get goats within the year!  I am very excited for that.

While I am looking on the bright side of things.... we had really strong winds about a week ago.  I was slightly afraid one of the chickens was going to blow away, maybe even Daisy.  BUT.  We had this ugly, dead tree on one side of the garden.  I'm guessing the previous owner didn't pull that wire thing off the root ball when he planted the tree... (like we found on another dead tree we pulled out a little while ago).  Anyway, the day after the storm, we noticed that the wind blew this dead tree clean over.  Which, really, helps us quite a bit.  Thank you Nature!!

Our 6 chickens are doing awesome.  We get 4 to 6 eggs per day now, and they are a variety of colors, making for a very pretty egg basket :)  There's something so cool about pulling an egg out of the nest when it is still warm.... you can practically feel the life inside.  It may be silly, but sometimes I'll hold the egg out and say to the chickens "good chickens -- thank you!".  Go ahead and laugh.  When I go outside, they all run over to check me out.  A lot of the time they squat down and let me pet them for a few seconds.  We've handled them quite a bit while they are young so they don't just run away.  They aren't really like my pets.  They still don't have names.  But they are each a little different, I can tell them - and their eggs - apart.  They aren't pets, but they aren't food either.

Enjoying a nice dust bath

So for now I will enjoy the nice days when they come.  I don't mind the snow at all -- the more snow we get, the more water we get next year!  Our first year in Penrose was a drought year, and it still had it's beautiful moments.  I'm sending out the positive vibes for a lush, green 2012 in Penrose :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The chickens are finally earning their keep around here.  

We got our first brown egg last week -- a broken one.  The next 3, also broken (one of them was even a double-yolker!).  Add some oyster shell to their feed, and put some extra wood shavings in their nest boxes, and..... 

 Voila!!  Our first edible egg!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Another reason shake hands with your neighbor

I've been battling a cold for the last week.  Now it is just a lingering, annoying cough, that always seems to strike at the wrong time.  Earlier today, I was at Customer Service at the store when a serious coughing fit came on.  I'm literally handing the woman money and trying so hard not to cough that my eyes are watering.  She looked genuinely worried.  I could barely choke out "thank you". 

I hurried to the bathroom and locked myself in a stall, coughing the whole time.  I was in there about 2 minutes, coughing... waiting... coughing.. thinking to myself I'm going to have to bag the trip and go home.  Then I hear someone outside the door say "Goodness!  Do you need a cough drop?"

Slightly embarassed, and still coughing, I leave the stall, and try to say something that sounds similar to "yes, pelase".  I see the woman with the voice digging in her purse.  She looks up, and I am pleasantly surprised to see that she is my neighbor, Deb, from 2 doors down.  She took 1 cough drop (the best kind apparently, and you can only order them online, she says), and gave me the rest of the package, saying I need it more than her.

I don't know if it's something about the small town, but I run into people I know in Fremont County more than I ever have out of it.  Today I was grateful that the woman who saved my day turned out to be my neighbor :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I went through a minor egg shortage last week, and had to resort to buying a 6 pack of store bought eggs -- still "cage free" (or so they say), but my idea of cage free and their idea of cage free are probably a little bit different.

I've got eggs again, but I had 1 store bought egg still to use.  One of the eggs in this picture is store bought, and the other came from farm chickens.  Bet you can guess which one is the fresh egg.

(ps, I cracked them with the same force.  I cracked 7 more farm fresh eggs after this picture and not-a-one of them broke like the store egg did)

Monday, October 17, 2011

I'm back... and better late than never :)

Well, it goes without saying (but I'm saying it anyway) that I have neglected this blog. Initially, there was always something else to do instead. Then, enough time passed and we had done enough that I didn't know where to start, so, I didn't. But I am here now and going to work on the blogging motivation over the weeks and months ahead. I am a work in progress. Always will be.

We have now lived in Penrose a full year. I think often about how much has changed about our lives since we have been here. I freaked out a little before we moved down here. We were going through the inspection phase, and the worrier in me took over and I was scared. I remember wishing then that I could just see into the future a year and see if we really would be happy here, then I could easily make a decision. Well, here we are, a year later, and I am happy (and relieved) to say that I have no regrets :)

Despite being a REALLY dry year in Penrose, we managed to have a pretty successful garden. In addition to being an extra dry year, it was also an extra buggy year. Squash bugs quickly became my nemesis. Although the flea beetles, cutworms, horn worms, and ants (millions of ants) are not far behind on the list. At least now we have a little help with the bugs.....


We got 6 week old chicks in July from a feed store here in Penrose. 3 of them are Aracaunas -- they lay the pretty easter eggs. The other 3 are Black Sex Links. They are a cross between the Rhode Island Red, and the Barred Rock. When you mix those breeds, the females come out black. They are now 5 months old, and none turned out to be roosters :) Still waiting on that first egg! (this is where we usually joke about them either laying an egg soon, or becoming, well, chicken... hehe). We decided it's better if we don't name the chickens. I just refer to them as gold, brown, grey, black, black, and blacker.

I love having the extra animal life around here. Chickens are more entertaining than you might think they would be. Especially in the mornings when I let them out of the coop and into their run. They run and jump around, flapping their wings and going chest to chest with each other, like they're trying to show who's tougher. I think they're trying to burn off some extra energy from being cooped up all night -- pun intended :) (that joke may never get old).

Chicken stare-down!

Now the garden is winding down. We are still getting tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers, and there are still potatoes waiting to be dug out. We also planted some late lettuce and a couple of other cool crops. Next year by this time we hope to have a greenhouse. I want to extend the garden season as long as possible. There is, and I suspect there always will be a project to work on outside, and now we have to use our warm days wisely while we still have them.

Here's a few pictures of our garden progress....

And as of last Friday...

It was our first year in Penrose, and our 2nd ever garden. Kelly and I have both put in a lot of hard work, and it looks and feels to me like it all paid off. I'm pretty proud of both of us for that :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Happy 2nd day of Summer :)

It's been just about 9 years since I graduated high school (D'Evelyn class of '02!). I'm not really in regular contact with anyone from high school, but I always like seeing people I knew back then who are now doing something I think is awesome.

Like this! This is Steve Mudd doing his cover of One Republic's "Good Life". Very awesome, Steve! (and I'm not a One Republic fan!)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Hello blog. It's been a bit.

I am loving this Spring weather! Although I could do without all the wind. Everyone keeps saying this is windier than "usual", but we are still waiting for it to calm down and give us (and newly planted tomatoes!) a break.

We have made a lot of progress in the garden. It feels really good to get outside and work in the sun. Vitamin D is doing me some good! I have probably done more hard work in the last month, consistently, than I've ever done. I'm not saying I've been lazy, I just haven't had this kind of hard work to do. It feels really good to see that I can really do it. I've underestimated myself. Also, if you told me 3 years ago that someday my idea of fun work would be shoveling trailer after trailer of composted horse manure, I would have laughed at you.

We have our 7 raised beds dug in and filled with soil. We also have 2 tire "containers", and 1 small book shelf that was turned into a raised bed and filled with onions and garlic (better late on the garlic than never). 5 of the raised beds are completely planted, 4 of them have green stuff sprouting, and 2 have hoophouse frames on them. I like to walk around the garden and examine the beds, checking to see what I have missed.

One of the 4 hops plants we planted has sprouted! It's actually up past that wood block now :)

Last weekend we went hiking around Beaver Creek, here in Fremont County. Daisy had a blast. Turns out she might have some water dog in her after all!

My loves :)

This weekend we are taking off and heading up to our property in Park County. We haven't been up there since last year, and I am looking forward to getting away for a few days. I'm also looking forward to a few naps with the camper window open and fresh breeze blowing in :)

Everyone have an enjoyable Memorial Day weekend :)