Ranch life update: the garden

Good morning! While winter was a time of planning, and resting, spring however, has been off to a busy start! We are finishing up our chicken coop and run, planting our garden and building a shop/garage. In this post, I’de love to share with you all that’s going in the garden.

Before spring began, we planted seeds to grow inside until warmer days came. They lined our kitchen windows and got lots of spritzing and encouraging words from us until last weekend where they got their place in our garden.

While the seedlings grew their roots indoors, Brian set up some irrigation for the gardens and he, and C planted potatoes and onions outside.

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While I was away on a girl’s trip, Brian and the kids pulled up A LOT of weeds and built up some rows behind the raised beds. We are planting some of the same things both in the ground rows, and in the raised beds. We’re interested in seeing where the plants thrive most. All our soil has some of our homemade compost added (read about how we made our compost bins, and some other projects here), with homemade cedar mulch (read about how we made our mulch here) on top.

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Here are the seedling babies, all grown up and ready to go outside. Most of them are tomatoes-cherry, 4th of July, and roma- and some are jalapenos. The seeds we have going directly in the ground are: okra, squash, cucumbers, green beans and melons.

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In another bed, we tilled up the soil, added compost, manure and some fresh dirt. We planted: basil, cilantro, strawberries, catnip, rosemary, dill and garlic chives. The strawberries were sampled, and the cilantro was sampled/eaten to the ground by the cows. Ugh. Our fence is easily compromised. But, the strawberry plants have recovered, and now they’re just being sampled by us. We have plans for a permanant fence -coming soon. (Read about how the cows convinced us to put up a fence)

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This is in the backyard, right below the porch.

Something we keep learning, like death and taxes, your plans WILL change. The weather will force you to delay, your tools will be broken, you don’t have that one thing you need, you measured twice but still didn’t get it quite right. It’s difficult sometimes (especially for two type A people …ahem) to roll with these punches. As a parent, it’s been important to model that that’s. just. life. (I am not always a great model for this, or for many of my other faults for that matter.) We are thankful to have these opportunities to improve this place for our family and hopefully instill the values we hold dear.

I recently found a list of “ranch goals” in a large binder of my grandma’s things. She passed away almost 14 years ago, and here we are on this ranch, trying to be good stewards and leave it better than we found it, and here are her words inspiring me, from maybe 20 years ago? 25? It’s typed on a typewriter for goodness’ sake. There were several, but here’s one that really got me:

“Quality of life…Our Earth, ranch and community to be better for our having been here.”

I have chills. In this season of hard work here at the yellow house, and on this ranch, these words from the past have been a beautiful and inspiring reminder of our purpose. It is our great pleasure to be here. To work hard and leave it, “better for our having been here.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

I hope your spring is off to a great start! Are y’all planting gardens? What are you growing?

Posts coming soon about the progress on the coop, raising the chicks and ducklings and the building of our shop/garage! See you then, I hope!

Thanks for reading!  -Steph

 

 

 

Summer, I love you.

Today is the last Friday of the school year for us and I am really excited for summer! Summer has always been my favorite season. Yes, I know, it’s hot. People always feel the need to tell me that.
“But it’s so hot.” Yes, it sure is. I’m a native Texan, this is my time. I love the heat, I love the pool, I love wearing flip flops, the lazy mornings, church camp, summer camp, fireflies, snow cones, running through the sprinkler, family vacations, grilling, keeping your pool pony tail for DAYS, reading tons of books, the beach, the lake….it’s just the best. I’ve always loved it.From my deep pit of teenage angst, I counted down the days until summer camp like a survivor on a desert island. Scratching a tally mark for each never ending day until I could finally be “rescued” and go back to where I “belonged” : Camp.  Mom, dad, sorry about being a dramatic and unreasonable teenager.

So, here are a few outdoor projects we’ve done just in time to be enjoyed this summer.

Bring on the Summer!

 

This swing used to hang out by my grandad’s pool. The tree we hung it from is a bit outside our dining room window and had a swing-worthy branch on it, for sure.

The swing is chippy, and a bit weathered but I liked the look so I gave it a sanding to smooth it out and sprayed it with water seal spray.

 

Brian did some research and found that the most humane way to hang something from a tree is actually by screwing your hooks into the branch. That way the tree can continue to grow around the screws. (Hanging chains over can dig into the branch) We screwed in the hooks, then used “s” hooks to hang our chain.

 

A “nature tea table where I can have a tea party with all my dolls” was requested by Ms. C. She and Brian drew up some plans, looked at some wood scraps and put this sweet little table and benches together in an afternoon. The benches are blocks of limestone, and the table is a stump with a board screwed into the top. C picked out a fabric scrap that we glued on and waterproofed. The animals and dolls have been talking about it ever since. It’s the best outdoor tea party any of us had ever been to. 😉

 

Over at the Ranch house, we re-mulched the bed and planted a few new native plants, like Mexican sage and rosemary, but also portulaca and sweet potato vine. This little chair has been broken for years, but we have had it stored away. We just knew we could think of something to use it for. I pulled out some screws, shimmied that pot in there and again, I waterproofed.

 

This old crock was another old treasure we’ve had for a while.

I just love that old fence. We are slowly replacing the fence around the house, but this fence stays. Since it’s elevated off the ground (it’s built on a rock wall), we’ll leave it for “looks” and sentimentality. There are pictures of us as kids, out by the pool and that fence is there. It looks much less “rustic”, but I just love how authentic it is and to me, it epitomizes the ranch house. “I’m hanging in there. I still work-kind of. I was built by hand, and built well.” Turns out even a well-built fence can’t remain functional for 60 years.

Anyone else favor summer? Do you like to be busy? Just hang out?

Whatever you do-remember, it’s hot. 😎

Thanks for reading!! -Steph

Adventures in Fencing

Hello little seedlings! Are you ready to go to your new home? You are?? I’m sorry, it’s not ready…

First, we have to drive in 7 T-posts.

 

We have to till up some soil.

 

 

Pull out  a hundred some freakin rocks

 

Roll out this wire fencing

 

Attach it with T-post hooks

 

Welcome Home!

Welcome babies! You are planted in nutrient rich soil, in a homemade raised bed, and protected inside a fence. Grow babies, grow!

(Originally Published April 4, 2017)