Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday's never come soon enough

I am thrilled that it is finally Friday.  This week felt like it took forever!  Seth and I are keeping busy making a lot of plans for all the things we need to do during the week, and then usually crashing on the couch at night after dinner.  It's rough, I tell ya. 

Anyway, we have a lot planned for this weekend.  My mom arrives home from visiting my brother, sister-in-law, and niece in Portland.  We are going to pick her up from the airport late tonight when she returns.  We originally planned to go with her to Portland, but since I was in Baltimore for so long, I just did not want to travel already again.  So, we've postponed that trip until later this year.

On Saturday, we have a list of stuff to do around the property:
-Repair siding that flew off during a windy day
-Repair three tires for our boat and wheelbarrow
-Clean out the garden shed
-Fix our friend's Chevy Blazer
-Clean up the pontoon boat we bought in February
-Tear up some nasty carpet upstairs
-Maybe, maybe work on our taxes (ugh!)

Our cats are doing well.  Armando we think might be a girl, so that name might have to change.  She is still really scared of everyone and everything.  She at least lets me hold her for a little while though, and I've only been mauled once.  Okay, I only got a small scratch.  But I disinfected that scratch like it was a serious wound!

Frank (which I called Crosby in my last post) is our black and white cat.  He's really starting to grow on us.  But our German Shepherd thinks otherwise.  She is not a fan of cats.  This might be a long battle to get them to get along.

Otherwise, things are going well.  Some of my plants are starting to sprout, and I am coaxing them into becoming beautiful delicious veggies!  If the weather cooperates this weekend, I think we'll feel really good about all we were able to accomplish!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Seed Starting & Our New Cats

As I mentioned earlier this week, we were in the process of getting a couple of cats to help control our mouse population.  We picked up one cat on Thursday evening from a country home that had 6+ cats and at least one pregnant cat.  They needed to get rid of some.  These were true farm cats.  The gray and black tiger cat, Armando, is pretty wild.  It is not domesticated much at all.  Right now, it is scared out of its mind.  We aren't sure if it is a boy or a girl, but let's just go for boy for the time being.  We've put food and water out for him, but we don't think he's eaten anything.  He does not like to be held, so we're having a hard time taming him enough to make him feel more comfortable.  I'm just worried that if he doesn't eat or drink, he won't make it very long.  Poor little thing.

We picked up the black and white cat, Crosby, this afternoon.  This was the cat that I received the weird text message about.  He is more domestic, but doesn't seem to get along with Armando.  But he'll at least let you pet him and pick him up.  And he ate right away.  So, this is a new adventure that we will need to work on together.  I haven't had a cat since I was under 10 years old, and Seth never really had cats either.  We hope that these two cats will be mostly outdoor cats (unless the weather is awful, of course).  

In other news, I got some seeds started today!  I'd had really been procrastinating, but after a little reading and making a mess, I got 18 plants started.

I had already purchased this tray and seeding starting mix.  This is not regular potting soil, which I learned (after we had already bought potting soil).

First, I filled the tray with soil, added some water and mixed it around with an old pen.  I know, really professional.

Next, I set out the seed packets that I planned to put in each cell.

Then, I used these small plastic label sticks to label each cell.  This way, I will know what is growing when they start popping out of the dirt. 

Next, I took out two to three seeds from each pack and tossed them into the middle where I had made a small indention.

One pepper that I planted is the "Habanero Chocolate Pepper".  I think it is just called "chocolate" because of the color, but hey, maybe it takes like chocolate, too.  This was one of my fun purchases this year.

After all the seeds were put in the seed starting mix, I covered them over with some more mix and then watered them.  I don't have a watering can, so I just used a plastic cup.  I'm fancy like that.

Lastly, I covered it all over with plastic wrap.  This is to keep the heat and moisture inside.  The seeds will stay out on our enclosed porch.  I think they will get plenty of sun and stay warm out there.  They will require more water throughout the weeks also.  

I'm excited to see things grow by my own hands.  I'm even more excited to eat some stuff later this season!  Seth has promised that he will eat more vegetables from his own garden than he currently does.  He's not a huge veggie fan.

Otherwise, it has been a fairly quiet day.  Seth is working outside on our friend's car.  I'm switching between doing little chores and sitting on the couch.  Mostly sitting on the couch, if I'm being honest.  I love weekends, because I get a chance to relax and regroup.  And today, the weather is beautiful, which makes it even better!  If only we could have more weekends...Let me know when someone figures out how to make that happen. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

This and That.....and Cats!

I cannot believe how fast the days and weeks fly by.  We have been very busy at work and equally busy at home.  Here's a recap of some of the things we've been up to:

-We've purchased all the items needed for our seed starting.  I'm procratinating a little, because I don't know what I'm doing.  But, I guess the best way to learn is "hands-on".  So, sometime this week, I will get those seeds planted in their tiny homes!

-Vanilla Tea Latte!  What?!  Why didn't I ever know about this before today?  I'm normally a coffee girl, but decided to switch it up today.  Also, our local Caribou Coffee has buy-one-get-one-free on Thursdays, so I figured there was nothing to lose.  This beverage is delicious.  Everyone should run our and get one right now.

-We took my mom to I Love Lucy Live on Stage on Sunday to celebrate her birthday.  My husband, Seth, grew up watching all the classic TV shows (Dick Van Dyke, Gilligan's Island, I Love Lucy, etc).  And he has helped me to fall in love with those shows, too.  It was a great performance, and the actors and actresses really played their parts well! 

-I bought this BEAUTIFUL antique library table and antique typewriter stand a few days ago.  There is this fabulous little shop that sells vintage furniture and clothes at really reasonable prices.  The library table is going to go in our office, and right now, the stand is in our kitchen.  Because we have a 114 year old farmhouse, these pieces just fit it perfectly.  Now, if I could only get all our boxes unpacked from the move 5 months ago (don't judge).

Here's a picture of the table while it was still in the store.   I could not get a picture of the stand to upload - urgh!

-As I mentioned before, we have mice.  Although we have been controlling them fairly well, we really think getting a couple of farm cats will help us.  We are going to take a look at some cats tonight at a farm nearby.  Then on Saturday, we have agreed to take a cat off someone's hands.  It is a little bit of a weird situation.  Here's how it went down:  I posted an ad on Craigslist stating that we wanted some farm cats.  I got a response from a person saying they had a cat and to text them.  So, I texted them a few questions about the cat, but then it got weird:

Just very strange situation.  We've agreed to still take the cat, but I hope the cops don't come knocking on my door!

Alright, here's hoping the rest of the week goes well and no more weird cat situations arise! 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Spring is on my mind

I am so excited for Spring to be here.  It has been downright chilly here in Nebraska prior to this week.  On Sunday, March 2nd, the high was 5 degrees.  You can't do anything outside when it is only 5 degrees!  Thankfully, the forecast for the next week is much, much warmer.  Take a look at Monday! 

We are eager to get some seeds started for our garden.  I think this will be the week for us to get going, so the veggies will be ready to put in the outside garden when it is official planting time. 

Because of this cold snap, some of the things we have been dealing with on the 'ol homestead are frozen pipes, sky high propane costs, and visiting mice.  Let's start with the pipes.  As far as we can tell, the main floor bathroom was an addition to the house that was added in the last several years.
It is a beautiful bathroom, but the heat just doesn't flow well to it.  We have had the shower pipe freeze at least 5 times since we moved into the house in November.  One of our Spring projects is to remove the drywall behind the shower and see about insulating the pipes better.

Propane prices.  Well, this factors into the frozen pipes somewhat.  Because our house is heated primarily by propane, we watch the price of propane fairly closely.  What happens in the country, generally, is that you have a propane tank (500 gallons in our case) that you pay to have filled.  Then you use that propane throughout the year, until you need to fill it again.  Something crazy happened with propane prices this year, so we have been forced to hold off on filling our tank and crank the furnance way down.  Check out this graph that shows the spike.  To save money, we have been keeping our furnance at 57 degrees!  That is cold, people!  Brrrr!  However, one of the greatest blessings this winter has been that we have a wood burning stove that feeds into our heating ducts, so we have been able to supplement with wood to heat our house. 
And lastly, because of the chilly weather (and just the fact that we live in the middle of a wooded and field-filled area), we have mice.  Mice love to come inside and chew on stuff.  They have chewed on:  wicker baskets, lotion bottles, shoes, drywall, insulation, spray foam, oatmeal for bath soaks, etc.  They are crazy little creatures.  Seth has been great about setting out traps, and we've caught a lot of them.  But, I am hoping that as the weather warms up, we won't discover nearly as many.  I'll spare you a picture of the dead mice though!  Aren't I nice?
All in all, I am ready for Spring.  I'm sure it will come with a whole new set of challenges, but I am ready to leave this cold weather behind and experience God's creation of growth, new life, and warmth!