Friday, October 31, 2014

Space Jellyfish!





Happy Halloween!

Today, I am spending the day setting up for my annual Halloween Installation.  This year's theme?

Invasion of the Space Jellyfish!!!

I'm attempting to channel the spirit of classic 1950s B-Grade Sci Fi movies, with large plastic "jellyfish" with glowstick eyes, a few spot lights, and some thematic sound effects.  I'll have my usual bonfire, booze and nosh for the grown-ups, and "real" candy bars and bags of chips for the kiddies.  Hopefully, the skies will stay clear and we'll all have a great evening, defending the world from...

Space Jellyfish!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

War Continues

Yeah, so the mice saga continues.

I opened another drawer, and out jumped this:





A rodent creature from the depths of hell.

Well, ok.  I exaggerate a little.  But, dang it, when you open a drawer and this thing leaps up out at you and then shoots at warp speed into the back of the cupboard, you too would scream like the first teenage slut to die in a horror movie.

You know you would.

I know I did.

I've reset the mouse traps and put all delicious things into hard containers or the fridge.  If any little monsterous mouse decides to come out from their secret passageways, I've told Miss Vida the House Cat to seek and destroy.  I've also told her to either eat what she catches or leave it for the dogs, but under no circumstances is she to bring it upstairs to my bed.  That is just unpleasant.

The last one, she left dead in my slipper.  A cold squishy mouse in your shoe is not a nice thing for your bare foot to find in the dark of early morning.

You know you'd scream about that, too.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Fiber Bunnies Update

You may remember, if you've read this little blog for a time, that I have two "fiber bunnies" in my Bunny Barn.  Mohair and Cashmere, the producers of large wads of pretty angora rabbit fiber.  Every year, they shed (or devolve into a hopping hair mat) and I gather up their fiber.  And I put that fiber into a bag, and put the bag away to be spun, in theory by me.

I do like them, but they are not really adding much to the Bunny Barn aside from wafting drifts of shed hair and quiet personalities.  They eat quite a lot, and poo (which makes the gardens happy) but they don't really contribute much.  So I'm starting to ponder: what is the future of fiber rabbits on this particular Farmlette?  I certainly don't maintain them the way that devotees of the fiber would.  Half the time, they hop about with dismal little clods hanging off of them.  (Please, don't think I'm abusing them.  I just don't comb them daily, which is what they really need, and hence, they hairball-up like mad.  And then I wrestle with them once a week or so to pull of the worst of the clods, and experience that everyone just loves.)  I have been wondering if perhaps, someone out there might want them for either wooly fiberliicousness or for a furry garden pet, producing piles of poo for a small backyard garden.  I suppose I should put an ad on Craigslist or the swap facebook page I belong to, and gauge interest.  They aren't show quality, by any means, but for someone who wants a couple little fiber animals or a backyard rabbit, they would be a great fit.  I've certainly gone more into the "meat rabbit" end of the rabbit keeping spectrum, and it just doesn't really seem to make sense to keep a fiber animal around just to have a fiber animal around.  With any luck, perhaps I'll find them the perfect home where they will continue to be spoiled and need to do nothing more than produce wads of glorious angora fiber and poo.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Time for Bulbs

With the mild weather, I thought I'd take advantage of the last weeks of growing weather and pop in a few bulbs into the Fairy Garden in the front yard.  It's starting to fill in nicely, and I am looking forward to larger hostas, pulmonaria, and foxgloves with plumes of candy-colored flowers next summer.

To me, the daffodil just sings "fairies" to me.  I already have a lot of Lily of the Valley, which should bloom in late spring, and I have swaths of violets in various purples and magentas which will also be beautiful spring color.  But it seemed like a few cheerful yellow daffodils might be a nice addition...so I picked up a couple bags and planted a few clumps of three-to-five bulbs in a grouping around the fairy garden.

Of course, planting the bulbs reminded me that I need to go through the garden with a leaf rake and take off the layer of fallen pine needles.  And once that job is done, I need to pull out the random clumps of grass that appeared in August and September, sneaking in after I had to head back to work with the end of summer.  Naughty grass.  Well, it shouldn't take long to yank it out.  The only remaining thing to do will be to trim back all the herbacious plants once they die back.  The front garden typically survives frost a little longer than the back garden, I think because of the protection from the house and large pines that create a little buffer zone, but soon enough, the temperatures will dip and the ground will freeze, and my little herby plants will be done for this year.  With any luck, they'll survive the winter and return in the spring.  I can already see that the borage had a great time seeding itself around and about.  Won't the bees be delighted with that!  Between the hyssop and the borage, they were happy little pollinators....and with a little luck, the crown vetch will also bloom next summer and boy howdy, it'll be a veritable pollen feast!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Captain Underplants!


My strawberry plants have decided, since the box elder tree fell, that they now would like to live, thank you very much.  Sadly, I have plans for where they have been and needed to move them.  After moving a dozen to one of the back garden raised beds, I still had some plants hanging out.  It was either smother them, dig them up and toss them, or dig them up and plant them somewhere.

Yesterday, while cleaning up in the back garden, I had a brainwave.  Why not put those spare strawberry plants in the perennial fruit & veg corner, underneath the espalier pear tree?  All that seems to want to grow under there is creeping nastiness (like ground mint, quack grass, and some rampant flowery thing with tentacles of doom).  So if I plant something that creeps, fills in nicely and provides me with fruit I want, wouldn't that be better?

A quick dig and replant later, and I now have happy strawberry plants under my happy little pear tree.  They should mix nicely with the expanding patch of Good King Henry (a spinach-like perennial herb), jerusalem artichokes, Egyptian Walking onions, and horseradish.  For a little insight on why underplanting with strawberries might be a good idea for your garden, watch this video:



Thursday, October 23, 2014

Hee Haw!


Do you remember this show?  Man, I LOVED Hee Haw!  I'm working on details for my Birthday Bash coming up in January, and I think I'm going to encourage silliness and jokes, corny of course, a la the show.  People popping up in a cornfield to tell some terrible joke that still makes you laugh...imagine how funny it'll be after they have a beer or two!

Folk music, good friends, good beer...man, I can hardly wait to turn 40!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sweet Treats


Thanks to a generous friend with a lot of apples, my chickens and rabbits have been enjoying the "wormy" ones.  They adore them!  Every afternoon, I toss a few into the chicken run and they shriek and race after them like tiny pterodactyls flying in for the kill.  And then, the eerie sound of peck-peck-peckity-peck-peck starts up like rapid fire pops.  It doesn't take them long to devour it, core and all....