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Monday, March 30, 2009

A Day for Health

Yesterday was exactly what I needed. While for some reason I had several things come my way as far as invitations my choice was to go riding with a small group on Sugar Hollow. And that I did... it was so enjoyable, although I was practicing my riding skills as apposed to riding for pure joy; it ended up being a VERY enjoyable ride. I rode with bare back pad and bridal something I needed to do for a very long time but never have anyone around incase I had a accident so yesterday was perfect. And while the ride went well, as I got tired and my signals worsened due to fatigue in the legs, and my little girl was less and less confidant and began to get jumpy on the ride, only little things I was able to handle but this also lessens confidence so she did not want to lead. I will have to work on this and take her out alone more often with a saddle of course so I am not getting into dangerous territory. But she and I have been riding mostly with Navarre on pony so to exercise him. I will have to make more time for her specifically. "Children" no matter what they are they demand so much attention!!!!

What a little time with your life passion can do to brighten the spirits... I feel as if I have been on vacation! Allowing me to make the most of a typical Monday that always knocks me off my feet.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Playing Hookie

While its still early in the day I know I’m not going to achieve anything I had planned. I’ve been asked to go on a ride with a neighborhood group. Something I have not done in months. So I’m blowing off the chores of the day to ride my mare that hasn’t had a good ride in over a month. I am looking forward to the ride; while I am sure she will put up a fight and not want to leave Navarre I’m up for the adventure.

Wish me luck! She’s an incredibly powerful girl, she’ll love it once I get her out and together with the other group of horses. She will then start to compete to see if she can’t be the lead mare.
This picture was taken months ago, and while she is NOT a Vanner she is a Saddlebred she is a wounderfully athletic horse and very fun.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Few Days Away.

While we are all at full speed, I’ve traveled to Nashville and done my basic rounds, gotten machinery, taken care of business and worried about the horses the entire time. It was raining the day I left and has been raining every sense. This is a good thing; although the horses get cabin fever and start to pace which is not good.
The picture is just some flowers out in the yard every spring. Cute ! but I can not take any credit for them, they came with the house.

I on the other hand had several things I needed to do this weekend that are not going to happen. BUT I did go to the property this morning and plant rye just to see if it was too soon after the chemical treatment. This was the cheapest seed I had so... I took ONE BAG and put it on the area I had used as a drive. Walked the area I want as a drive and noticed I am going to have to collect many rocks before I have the drive done or I will loose some of my beautiful rocks I will need for projects later. Besides a pasture doesn’t need boulders in the grass.

I have a plan for tomorrow but we will have to see how well the rain breaks. I’ll let you know as time progresses.

Good note... My trees are in pots and have had all this rain for days, along with my collecting rain from a small area of the roof to keep them watered as time goes on. We are on the right track

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Another Day...

While Mondays are always the hardest for me to have time to compose and post. Today Tuesday is not any easier... I am having to go home and take care of business, so I will likely NOT be posting till late Friday if at all. I will be back to writing as soon as I can.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Garden Work

While I have several things already planted, carrots, kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts, parsnips, and turnip greens. I decided to expand my garden this year with above the ground beds. That way I can control the weeds easier and create a path never mashing down my planting soil and messing up my beds.

I have a weird plan but I believe it will best use my space and give me a visual element a normal/country garden lacks with my boring rows and rows of things... I can only hope this works out as much labor is going into setting this up.

But I also have incredible things going on I am testing or growing other things for over at the property later. A friend gave me some grasses he split recently. I am so excited; as one of these is suppose to grow up to 12 feet, although they have been a disappointment to him I can only hope my brutal full sun spot will make them flourish.... I’ll let you know later in the year.

Spring has sprung! Thus this picture of the peach tree bloom. It is such an old tree and sadly neglected through the years it weeps much like an cherry in a Japanese movie. It is the one thing in the garden Jerry and I both enjoy each spring. I can only hope to have something as pink and lovely once our place is fully established

I am sure the next thing in our current yard to bloom will be the crab apple tree, it too is pretty but hacked to such a state it barely resembles a tree any more. I shall provide more pictures of it later as it turns to be pretty.

Sadly... many of my things did not make it through the winter. My old beloved Rosemary bush that had traveled with me to mid western states.... She finally passed as I will have to replace her and can only hope my next will last me the 10 years she did.

I too have lost my favorite cutting plants. My lavender although only 6 years old have all three decided not to weather the winter well and will need to be replaced. These three things sadly effect what little I had as my blue garden. I will have to rethink the spot but there are more pressing things during this planting season. I will let you know of my decessions later... possibly turning it into nothing but grasses could be nice.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Areas for food on the estate

Why am I showing you a picture of what appears to be the ditch? Because I have decided to focus on one area, and one type of tree each year. I have ordered my trees for this year and this is where I am going to put my apple trees. I have a good friend in the area that suggest I keep them at my house for the first year in order to allow them to adjust to the altitude as well as being able to keep them watered etc... much easier. I will then plant them next year! I will use the apples as treats for the horses, and food for us. I plan to dry them for off season keeping, I am planning a seller, but I also plan to use them for baking etc.. Just one more way I am trying to use each piece of the property for a purpose. The area in the picture here is well over 15 feet wide so I have plenty of room for trees down the center so traffic and horses do not bother them. While I have plenty of room here for at least 8 trees I have started with four and will decide as time and productivity proves what is best; after all there is no reason to put money into something we are not sure of. I will likely plan the ones I have choosen in their order of rippening, not in the order listed below.

What kind did I order?
  • Sheep Nose as they are an old variety thought to orginate in Connecticut in the late 1700's. Fruit is large, oblong (like a sheeps nose) ribbed, usually a deep black red when fully ripe. Prized for baking and desserts. Ripens September to October and good Zones 4-8
  • Winter Banana- Large clear pale yellow apple with a rosy-pink blush at rippening. Crisp, tangy, aromatic (but smells like a banana) I choose this one because it keeps well all winter till about April; but is also prized for making cider; allowing us apples in the off season Ripens Oct to November Zones 4-8
  • Ginger Gold- my absolute most favorite green apple! This is an early apple(ripens in August) that does not keep well except in perfect conditions but is so sweet and perfect for my taste I had to get it. One of the first eating apples of the season, fine textured crisp cream colored flesh ... perfect for salads but good multipurpose as it holds its shape when baked. Zone 5-8 but I had to have it ... I only hope it works well. Getting it started is going to be my largest issue.
  • Fuji - is by far my most favorite red apple! keeps well, holds flavor when kept properly. Ripens mid to late October. Zones 5-8

My goals are soon going to slow on the estate as this is the season for me to concentrate on my garden at the house, for our seasonal eating habbits! I can't wait to eat my first perfect tomato...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Perimeter Fencing

This is one of the most glorious things I have ever done. Having the fencing put up around the perimeter has made a world of difference in my mind. I somehow feel like I am on my way instead of just playing in the dirt.

Why I choose this type of fencing... I choose the RAM fencing for several reasons.

  • 1. It allowed my post to be at wider spaces... this was very important as with all the boulders around my land it was impossible to get all the post at the exact same 6 foot mark for a wood fence.
  • 2.This fence is suppose to have UV protection, so I choose the darker color to stay more in with the "natural" setting I wanted for my estate. So I LOVE that it is Brown and not snow WHITE.
  • 3. I do not have to replace boards all the time as the horses rub their butts on it and would have broken wooden boards.
  • 4. I do not have to re-paint it every other year spending much of my own time or money on esthetics.
  • 5. This fence is suppose to be stronger than a standard pine fence (which is what I would have done) as the rails are 5 inches wide but also have 3 cables running through them to keep them nice and strong.

From this picture you can more easily see the west wall, as well as the entry wall I had made reference too in my last post. My little red car is over there to give you an idea of space etc...

I am so excited.... I have to let you all know. In the mean time I have had a crew tearing down a barn in order to use the barn wood and make my barn look as if it fits better into its surroundings, not to mention it will save me some money with my building expenses.

We all have to do what we can, the lady that owned the place needed help cleaning it up and I need the wood from the structure. Not to mention with the cost of metal... all the scrap collected just paid for all my garden supplies for the year, gave me plenty of wood, gave me plenty of good metal roofing to protect my west wall or put on my barn. There were too many positives to mention in this one little post. But if you haven't noticed your surroundings this is the time you should!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Making a West Wall

First of all I have to say... the weather has been so perfect here I've been out doing important things instead of blogging.

Logs... Logs and more Logs... There were so many Poplar Trees I had them cut up into two foot lengths and stacked, almost like you would fire wood but in this case I created the west wall of my pasture.

I used some of the trees as post but also used found T-post to keep my wall nice and clean. While my picture is NOT a good one it gives you an idea of what it looks like until I can show you the entire pasture giving it a better perspective.

This is a better close up picture of the entry wall I had created to keep the pasture seperated from what will be the private drive area to the house. Also note all the wood shavings... the sawdust and chipping of brush I've used it to start making a planting bed and keep weeds down in this little area till I can give it some tender loving care.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Brush, Fencing, and LOTS of work.

While this is ONLY a picture of the property without the fencing it is amazing how well everything is starting to come together. Having all this open space is what allows me to vision the rest of the project. My next issues are getting the fencing up, creating a platform/level site for the barn, then pasture seeds. WE shall see how it goes. While working on the list above I also have to start planning on how to use the space more wisely for food and being self supportive. First thing on my list is Apples. An easy item to have that will take years before a tree produces anything so... Off to purchase apple trees wish me luck.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Clearing out a pasture

After clearing out a spot about an acer and a half; logs, logs, and more logs from trees we found and trees we cut. The issue here is, what to do with all the wood. The trees we found were of such an asset one can't put a cost on them. We found well over 20 full grown trees of Locus. IF you are not clear of what a Locus is... incredibly ... resistant to insects and ROT a treasure found. I quickly set out to have them cut to 10ft lengths and put into the ground for my fencing. I got well over 25 good fence post larger than a telephone post. What I had left I offered to the community and only one family wanted to make the effort to come get them. This family loaded a long bed truck full and came back for more NOT even making a dent in the supply of wood.

The Locus... well this turned out to be another matter. No one wanted it, no lumber yard would come and get it, because of my location on the mountain. The cost of shipping it to a lumber yard then having it brought back would have taken all the finances I had alloted to my task at hand. So instead I had it cut into two foot lengths and stacked amoung the trees to create my west side wall for the horse pasture. While this will NOT last forever it is beautiful from the road and allows privacy for our trails on the private area of the property.

While everyone talks about a simpler life (and this is after all my goal), but a simpler life is NOT one that is EASIER. Don't kid yourself and think anything simple is easy! It sounds that way due to the english language but simple is acutaly much harder. I have no machinery I can only pay or barter for work done. Stumps, stumps, and more stumps are my next issue.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Saturday Rainy high of 45/ cheap meal plan

Today is a slow day, cold rainy, and not much work. I have however been to the barn twice, and will need to go one more time. I have delivered manure to a friend for her organic garden/compost pile... I deliver a muck bucket full about once every three months; it is manageable in small amounts. I have also planted fescue on a spot next to the drive I have messed up while turning around my old truck. (I have to park it next to the house in order to plug it up on cold nights, and the nights are still just above freezing here) I dug carrots and onions out of the garden this morning to make a veggie dinner. A meal I eat several ways before it's all gone ...

  • Carrots,

  • pasta,

  • Italian style tomatoes,

  • cabbage and

  • potatoes to spread it out even more

  • and a dash of red pepper flakes.

Made for next to nothing I also eat this with eggs, balsamic vinegar cheese and garlic. A VERY healthy and tasty meal from the garden and what wasn't was on sale or in season and CHEEP. I do everything to taste and while is sounds strange the onions and carrots from the garden are so sweet it takes care of any cabbage taste.

If you haven't planted or tried to plant carrots... this is the time to try it. I had so many I gave some away and all three people said they were so sweet and perfect. I think they are I only hope they enjoyed them as much.

Getting Started.

This is what we started with! A piece of property that had not been touched for atleast 15 years. We did all we could to check out the property; walking it in the winter while things were not so lush, but there are always surprises.
After a while we started to take down some of the brush and multi-flora which had completly taken over.
We want to leave as much as we can natural BUT I needed pasture for the horses. While I am not cutting everything I cut only half of what is required to manage a horse. Leaving the rest for house, garage, and gardens.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Paradise Ridge Vanners

Just a woman trying to create from scratch a good life that consist of quality and self sufficent living.