Sunday, February 12, 2006

Got Snow?

This was the scene looking out back earlier today. We'd been getting snow since before dawn. A beautiful sight but a little too nippy for a walk with the low temperatures and blustery wind, though by the time I took this photo it had died down a bit.

We were treated to a comical sight by the bird feeders in the lilac bush by the back door. The juncos were burrowing in the snow to get at the seeds on the ground, squabbling and bickering like a flock of hens. They made quite the amusing spectacle: feathers puffed out on fat round bodies, topped with tiny mound for a head, with a startlingly bright yellow-orange beak that appears to have been stuck on almost as an afterthought. Dwayne thought they looked like miniature penguins shuffling and trundling about.

Despite this new onslaught of snow, our hope for spring remains. It's hard to believe that what lies dormant now will soon be teeming with activity in barnyard and garden. I've spent the past several days searching determinedly through catalogs and websites for seeds to order. That was my goal for the week. Yesterday the deed was consummated and in a short while my mailbox will be jammed with brightly colored envelopes filled with possibilities. I'm sure my experienced agrarian correspondents will be slightly aghast at the sheer number and variety of seeds I ordered in my feverish naivete, but here is a list, and scold if you must!

Melons - American - Golden Honeymoon
Melons - American - Golden Jenny
Beans - Old Homestead (Kentucky Wonder Pole)
Broccoli - Romanesco Italia
Brussels Sprouts - Long Island Improved
Corn - Golden Bantam Sweet Corn
Carrots - St. Valery
Cucumber - Japanese Long
Peppers - Hot - Cayenne Long Thin
Lettuce - Forellenschluss
Lettuce - Lollo Rosso
Lettuce - Gentilina
Melons - European - Boule d'Or (Golden Perfection)
Melons - European - Charentais
Greens - Assorted - Wrinkled Crinkled Cress
Onion - Yellow of Parma
Oriental Greens & Cabbages - Komatsuma Tendergreen
Peppers - Sweet - Topepo Rosso
Peppers - Sweet - California Wonder
Parsnip - Harris Model
Italiko Rosso Dandelion
Radish - Easter Egg
Chef's Choice Mixed Greens - Rocky Top Lettuce Salad
Swiss Chard - Five Color Silverbeet (Rainbow Chard)
Spinach - Bloomsdale Long Standing
Squash - Winter - Bush Buttercup
Squash - Summer - Lemon Squash
Squash - Summer - Striata d'Italia
Tomatoes - Red - Tappy's Heritage
Tomatoes - Red - Pantano Romanesco
Tomatoes - Red - Red Grape
Watermelon - Blacktail Mountain

I decided to purchase from the Baker Creek catalog so I could get everything I wanted in one shot, and I accidentally ordered two melons I had intended to omit. I do hear that a certain party in Minnesota may be expanding his operation to include seed peddling so that will be a future option to look forward to. If anyone knows of a source for heirloom herb seeds that includes a wide variety of medicinal herbs I would appreciate it. It seems that of all the places I've checked, the majority of the herbs are culinary although some do serve dual purposes.

Which puts me in mind of chickens. I'm having a very difficult time finding a hatchery that sells what I want except for McMurray's. I've narrowed it down to Plymouth Barred Rocks, New Hampshire Reds, and Buff Orpingtons. From what I understand they may all be used as both layers and meat. Online I can find nothing in this state; as a matter of fact, I can't locate anything in New England. How can I find a local farmer who will sell newly hatched chicks? I did find one only an hour from us who will have guineas in the spring so I'm excited about that. With all the tick (and other insect) problems we have here, I thought they would be quite beneficial.

And so, slowly but surely, our plans proceed. All in the Lord's timing and with His approval as we pray and seek His wisdom and guidance. "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. - Proverbs 16:9; Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails. - Proverbs 19:11"

As usual, I welcome and encourage (actually I beg and plead!) for advice......."Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. - Proverbs 15:22"........ All of you in this agrarian community are in the estimable position of being my mentors and guides, and I consider you my friends as well as we journey on down this road together, each at his own pace, but with similar aspirations.


Anonymous HolyMama! said...

i have no advice whatsoever - just wanted to let you know i enjoyed reading this!

11:53 PM  
Blogger HomesteadHerbs said...

Looks like you covered the entire spectrum of possible veggies! I don't have any recommendation about varieties though, as my experience has been with more southern, drought tolerant species.

Did you check out Horizon Herbs, they specialize in medicinal herbs and seeds.

12:56 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

Hi, and thanks for stopping by! It's nice to know that you were in the "neighborhood"!

Thanks for the advice! I will try Horizon for the herb seeds, as you suggested. We ordered seeds for all of our favorite vegetables. Well, most. Would you believe I actually restrained myself? :) I just told my son this morning that we'll be living on veggies and grilled meat all summer long! Yum!

3:24 PM  
Blogger HomesteadHerbs said...

I'm glad you found Horizon! They are great! You can buy the plant or the seed. I've found that sometimes the plant is easier to buy as getting all the conditions right for the seed to germinate (some are really picky) can be difficult.

I've got some arnica plants that are beautiful!

4:39 PM  
Blogger Walter Jeffries said...

I'm jealous! We got very little snow in this last storm. I didn't even realize it was a storm until I read about NY getting 2'.

You had asked about the greenhouse tunnel construction costs and photos. Here are links to the photos, here you are:

Chicken's house

Winter Pig Farrowing

In the back on the right...

I'll do more in the coming month I suspect.

Each sheet of 666 WWM costs about $6 - prices vary with the market and location - and makes a 5' long section. So to make a 20' long garden tunnel it is about $24 for the metal. I have contemplated using saplings bent over the ridge pole. I think that would work, but I had the metal because I'm going to do some cement work in the spring so until then it is 'stored' as greenhouses. :)

The plastic needs to be at least 10' wide and 12' wide is a bit easier to work with. It should be as long as the tunnel plus 10 more feet to close off the ends. It seems the cost of sheep plastic varies greatly. I got a 100' roll for $35 this time but other times it has been more expensive. I used up most of that roll on the many greenhouse tunnels and animal shelters.

That material can be rolled back up and saved for next year. Not leaving it exposed to the summer sun will make it last longer. Don't fold it as the creases break later.

7:14 PM  
Blogger Favorite Apron said...

We currently have Barred Rocks and they are not as good for laying as the Golden Buffs. They are much bigger, but still not worth the trouble (for us)to butcher. We raise 100 White Mountain broilers each summer for our meat. There is just so much more wonderful breast meat.

9:19 AM  
Blogger Emily said...

Thanks a million!

I'll keep your advice about the Rocks in mind when we buy our chicks, and will do some research on the White Mountains. Thank you so much for commenting!

4:05 PM  
Blogger larswife said...

Emily: Another good place to look is at Not only do they have loose-leaf herbs ready to go, but they also have some premixed herbs, and a wonderful library of reference books and guides. Something new they've recently added to their products is a water filter, which may come in handy at your place. Take care - Larswife

8:39 AM  
Blogger TNfarmgirl said...

Another source for medicinal herb seeds is Richter's in Canada- they have a website also. Just readin their catalog is an education!

7:31 PM  

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