Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Garden update 26.02.2014

The winter in Germany has been a strage one. It was cold and very windy but apart from maybe 3-4 days we had no snow. The first part before Christmas was rather wet, the second half was dry. And now the temperature is getting warmer and on some days it seems as if spring is early. It is very difficult for me to not be tempted by those warm and sunny days and start on the garden. In fact, I have to hold my self back, as I would love nothing more then to go outside now and start planing. But alas it is still only the end of February and for the majority of things I will have to wait until end of March to fully start.

That didn't stop me to do some work today though. I have cleaned out the strawberries that I planted last fall and cleared the weeds that seemed to haven taken a life on it's own. I have then added fresh straw in between the strawberry plants. The reason behind this is two fold, the weeks will not grow that quickly and the plants are a bit more protected, also when strawberries are on the plants, they will not sit on the wet ground but dry. It's an old thing my grand-ma used to do. While I was at it, I also took some time to clear the weeds from the onions. I planed onions in fall last year and they came out a few weeks ago. They will be for an early harvest in June/July.

Now for this week, I have planned to build a new compost and to cut the cherry tree and potentially some of the other trees. I am also spending some time on Saturday to start on tomato seedlings indoor and work on the cold frame.

What is going on in your garden so far?

Sunday, 23 February 2014

33 years old

my new jacket

It was my birthday this Sunday. I celebrated it small, with family, a neighbor and a very good friend of mine. Simple, just the way I like it. The weather was gorgeous, the sun was shining and I was able to see the snow drops and crocus coming out. I had made chocolate cake the day before, a recipe that I had not done in years but I craved a good chocolate cake. It came out beautiful and tasted amazing.

I hope that you guys had a great Sunday too.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

This & That

The week was busy and the weekend even busier. I had a first aid course 2 nights a week for the last two weeks, which did not finish before 10:30pm on those nights. Being a morning person and usually asleep by 9:30pm at the latest, I was not too happy but got through it never the less. I baked crackers and bought the first seeds. It's war here and spring is in the air. I doubt that we will any more snow, so that I will be able to start planting out side in the next 3 weeks. There are a few other things that I want to prepare in the garden before I start planting. 

On Friday night I had the annual meeting of the local history and residents club of our village. To cut a long story short, I was voted in as the new president of the club. I really don't like public speaking (never liked it in my old job at CVG either but it was a part of my role) but got through it and the feedback I got from the members so far was so positive. I could not stay too long as I had a sport shooting competition  on Saturday morning. It was the county championship. The competition went ok, sure I had better days and better results but it's the beginning of the season and for that the result of 378 (out of 400) was more then OK (even though I wished it was more), I qualified easily for the stat championship in June and I even won the title of county champion. What more can I ask for? The rest of the afternoon I spend baking a cake and reading.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Meet the cast

I put an ad in the newspaper over the weekend that I was looking for a 6-8 month old doe. After it turned out that Blacky is indeed a boy and the litter that was born a few days ago was dead, I wanted another doe to a) bring new blood in and to b) not put to much strain on Mia and overbreed her. I got two calls on Sunday afternoon and agreed to look at both does. 

On Monday I went to check out the first doe (I named her Maya). She is the same age as Blacky (born June 2013) and is a German Giant. I took her home with me the same evening. I also took home her daddy who I got for free. I am not sure what I will do with him yet, as I am quite happy too keep Muckel and Blacky as bucks and as a purebreed he is too large for me but I might cross him with Mia and then sell him.
Maya - 8 month old German Giant

Maya's daddy - currently Mr No name

Today I looked at another doe and took her home with me as well, she was born in August and is now 6 month old. She is a cross breed, which makes her ideal, not too big and not too small, just perfect. I have named her beauty.
Beauty - 6 month old cross
Let's see how the three of them settle in

Thursday, 6 February 2014

It wasn't meant to be

Life and death of a homestead is a part of the homesteading journey. When Mia was pregnent the first time, I was a nervous wrack, would she be a good mom, would the babies freeze, would she eat them... She was a great mom and I was please about this.

I have bread unsucessfully at the end of November and then again bread her in January. I expected babies around the 4th of February but wasn't sure if the freeding was sucessful or not. I am still a novice at this and can't tell if a rabbit is pregnant or not, so any litter is a bit of a suprise game. Well Mia didn't do any of the usual nest building stuff and the 4th passed without any babies. So yesterday I did a bit of background learning on breeding rabbits and planned to do another mating on Friday and/or Saturday this week.

When I got out this morning to feed the rabbits. I noticed that Mia just started to nibble on something. Turns out it was a baby. Mia gave birth during the night to three babies. Unfortunately they were all dead by the time I checked on them at 6am.
I think it was a combination of things that did not enable them to survive, it was quite cold, Mia didn't build a nest and I am wondering if it was my mistake that she didn`t build a nest because I didn't clean her cage a day or two before she gave birth. Last time I did clean her cage 2 days beforehand but she indicated that she was building a nest at that time, so I knew. This time she gave no indication and I din't know....

I will mate her again on Friday/Saturday as planned. I have learned a bit more on the breeding and pray for better results this time.

On a side note.... Blackie turns out to be a boy.... now I am looking for another doe that is about 9 month old to breed him to.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

An so it starts

"Anyone who thinks gardening begins in the spring and ends in the fall is missing the best part of the whole year; for gardening begins in January with the dream" - Josephine Nuese

I completely agree with Josephine Nuese's quote and have spend the last few evenings over a piece of paper, thinking and dreaming what I will plant where it will go and so on. I have looked at the seeds that I still have and am doing seed test with them, I am writing what I still need to buy in terms of seeds. I have planned when to start seedlings indoors, when to move outdoors, when to start work on the garden... You get the picture... I just love this part of the year

Sunday, 2 February 2014

It's been a month

It's been a month since my last post, to be honest I didn't mean to go this long without posting anything but it seems the January just kind of slipped away. So what happened in January:

- I enjoyed a month of only home cooked food and daily smoothies

- I baked some cakes 

- knitting and sewing

- I participated in sport shooting competitions

- we got some snow (finally) but not enough to make me really happy

- I started to pick up voluntary work again (firefighters, youth training) and there is one more thing to come

- I had several dentist appointments and had my tooth removed

- a poorly dog in the house and weekly trips to the vet for the last 3 weeks or so

- busy with work as usual and doing tax returns for myself and the family

- I have been hoping for baby bunnies but it does not look good 

- had another negative pregnancy test :( 

- making plans to add another doe to the rabbit mix (turns out Blacky is a boy)

So, how was your January ?