Sunday, September 30, 2012

The weekend at Celtic Classic

The last weekend in September will always find us at Bethlehem PA's Celtic Classic.  This 3 day festival just finished its 25th festival. My husband, in one band or another, has performed at approximately 20 of those festivals.  This year it was harder to spend the weekend away from the new house and all the work we still need to do at both places.
Blackwater sounded great.  They had some wonderful new arrangements and vocals.

In other news: OUR BED HAS ARRIVED!  (Not that I am excited about that.)  Monday night we finally slept in our real bed.  All this time we were sleeping in our camp bed; which is very comfortable for the weekend, but not the greatest for full-time.  I found a coverlet at a local thrift store that I love.  Its floral print says Williamsburg to me. My husband made the bed for me many years ago. Unfortunately, we had to cut 3 inches off the bed posts as our ceilings in the new house are much shorter than the ceilings in the old house.
Lilly insisted on staying in the picture.

 Next its back to work.  We need the washer and dryer at the new house.  I will be heading to the laundromat tomorrow morning to wash, but have 4 lines for hanging out clothing. I prefer to use the dryer as little as possible and the weather report looks good for line drying.

Forgotten memories

There is so much to go through that I have forgotten about.  Boxes stuck in the attic 20 years ago are like a buried time capsule, bringing back memories long forgotten.  More that 20 years ago I went to an auction with my mother-in-law for her aunt and uncle. At the end of the auction I bought about 8 boxes of canning jars, many antiques, for about a dollar, if I remember correctly.  Some of the jars were new enough to use, but most were just cool old shapes and sizes.  I know I made 2 jar lamps for my mother-in-law out of 2 quart blue canning jars.
 There are so many interesting lids.  I had forgotten about the lids on the right side of the picture.  There is a glass lid under the metal top that holds the glass down.  And I have always loved the zinc lids. 
 I also pulled out, what I had thought was, a quilting rack only to discover after all these years that it is really a curtain stretcher.  It was used to dry fragile lace curtains so they wouldn't need to be ironed.  Oh well, I never quilt anyway.  Anyone want a curtain stretcher from the 30s or 40s?

One of the best parts of moving is going through all the old pictures, letters, and cards the kids made me.  As I was packing up the file cabinet I was surrounded by images, memories, forgotten patients, and emotions.  Seeing all the birth announcements from couples whose baby I had delivered and reading all the wonderful words of thanks made me remember why I became a midwife.

I found a great mother's day card from my now 25 year old son.  He drew up coupons I could use for " a free care wash", "one hour of not bugging my brother and sister", and my personal favorite "one flea bath for brother"!  I think I may need to redeem one of those.  I also found a similar card from my 21 year old daughter which also had coupons, I could sure use a massage about now!

The saddest memory came from an old letter I found written by my father.  He was writing to tell me about the birth of my youngest half brother, and I think it was the only natural delivery he ever saw.  You could hear the sheer delight in his words as he described the pushing and then seeing the head.  And then "out popped Adam. Time 8:10 p.m."  I must have written to him about natural childbirth because he wrote "I think if we expect people to be 'sick' when delivering, they probably will carry out their role and be 'sick'.  That's just the effect of social pressure, the unhealthy expectations, you know.... So, we see what you were talking about.  Thanks."  This was in 1985.  My father died in 2010 and Adam died a few months ago.  So many memories came back from this one letter, and so many thoughts of lost promise and wasted time. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

The garden in September

I have been able to do a little bit of work in the garden at the new house.  Some things had to be done, like finally planting the blueberry bushes I bought a week or 2 before we found the house, and others I needed to do for my sanity.
Oddly, one of the first things I did in the garden was make something smaller.  There was a rock-ringed garden outside of the veggie garden full of balsam.  It also made it next to impossible for my husband to drive the lawn tractor, especially with the trailer attached, around that side of the garden.  So I pulled all the balsam, that was pretty much at the end of its life, and took away half the garden. I also found 2 peony bushes that were looking pretty sad for all the shade they had been receiving.  Then I planted the rhubarb, chives, and golden oregano I brought from the old house. Last night I planted grass seed on the section that is no longer garden.  Of course I dug up some bulbs, daffodils I think, while planting.  And I probably will have bulbs coming up in the new grass, but oh well that's pretty too.
 The soil here is amazing.  So black and loamy, with little shaley bits of rock.  And it keeps going down.  At my old garden I had built up the soil in the top 4 or 5 inches, but below that was horrible clay and rock.  It was impossible to dig a hole deeper that 3-4 inches without either using a large digging bar or taking half a day.  I was able to plant 3 blueberry bushes in half the time it would have taken me to plant just one at the old house.  I am going to love working in this soil.  I can't wait to try root crops!
 The fall gold raspberries keep producing more and more berries.  Last night I picked more than I had ever picked; and there are tons of berries still to come. 

 I brought some little lettuce plants from the old house.  These two varieties started years ago as Rouge d'Hiver and some other green loose leaf lettuce I have long since forgotten the name of.  They both have reseeded themselves so many times that I figure I have my own varieties now, so of course they had to come to the new house.
I also planted some lettuce seed.  A couple heirloom varieties, Cimmaron and Red Deer's Tongue, from Pinetree Garden Seeds, and some seed I saved from my lettuce from the old house.

 The cabbages, broccoli and brussel sprouts are growing nicely.  We'll see if I was able to get them into the ground soon enough to get a crop this fall.
The flowers continue to bloom nicely as well.  This border at the edge of the back patio is a study in blue/purple.  The purple mums are everywhere around the house and are welcome now that all the balsam around the house is at the end of its time.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The goats are here! (And how to build a transport cage)

Finally, the goats have arrived at the new house.  It was a long process to get them moved, starting with building a "cage" to keep them safe while we moved them.
We started with 2 goat panels from Tractor Supply.  They are 16' long so we cut them into sections to get them into the trailer. We also bought a pig nose ring pliers and nose rings to use to attach the panels together.
We cut one of the panels into 3 five foot long sections and the other into one five foot section and 2 four foot sections.  This left rough edges that were ground down until smooth.
 The nose rings worked really well to hold the panels together.
 Someone was not impressed.
The five foot sections were then attached on the long sides to form a square, then the four foot sections became the back and the door.  We hinged the door using removable clips.
Canvas tarps were added to give some protection from the wind while going down the highway.

 We built the goat cage and then got the goats used to going into it by feeding inside it every evening.  They jumped right in when it was time to move them.
Are we there yet?

 Once we got to the new place the goats decided that the trailer was more familiar and needed coaxing to get out,
 And, of course, the first thing Brigid did was pee.

 Yummm, brush to eat!
They still seem a little bewildered, but are eating a lot of brush. 

Update 1/18/2015-We made some improvements to the goat tote and documented them here:
Goat Tote Update

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The chickens have arrived!

Today was the big day we moved the chickens.  The day started last night when we got all the chickens we were moving into the coop (or thought we would until we found out that the Dominiques were sleeping in the trees, in the meadow and who knows where else).  We rounded up all but 2 of the chickens we would be moving in the coop.  Just before dawn I was able to get one more chicken into the coop and get the other one into the pen.  My husband was at the rental place at 7AM to get the car trailer we needed to haul the chicken coop/trailer.  Once the coop was loaded onto the car trailer I was able to catch the last chicken and off we went.
 Thank you Ted for hauling our coop around.

 It was funny following our chickens in their coop down the interstate.
 They were eager to get out after being cooped up in their coop until noon.  But first each one had its wings clipped so hopefully they will stay in the relative safety of the pen.
 First thing each bird did was start to eat grass.  Our old house was too shady to grow any strong grass. 

Home Sweet Home for the chickens.  Now on to building a cage for transporting goats!

Monday, September 3, 2012

So much to write about and so little time

The wild life at the new house is amazing.  This photo was taken early one morning after a light fog.  Spider webs were everywhere.  Every where you look there is life.  Between the birds, the chipmunks and squirrels, bees, butterflies, and even snakes there is always something moving, flying, singing, chirping, or buzzing. 
At first I thought these moths/butterflies had paint splotches on them, but they all couldn't have gotten into that much paint.
I am starting to get a handle on all the things growing on the property.  This plant is self-sown and planted by the previous owner everywhere.  They smell great and are pretty to look at.  We were told the plant was called "false lady's slipper" but a friend was able to find out it's called "balsam" (thanks Patty).  If any one would like seeds I probably have a bazillion!
The fall gold raspberries are coming in gradually.  The bees are eating more than we are.  The garden is about half gold raspberries.  I definitely need to make some new raspberry beds and move all the raspberries out of the vegetable garden.  Any one want any raspberry plants???
We have grapes! And they taste pretty good too.  We need to build some kind of support for them as they are using some arborvitae for supports right now.

The property is just beautiful and we are enjoying seeing it at all different times of day.  I am looking forward to fall.  We have a few trees that are just barely beginning to turn colors.
Here is our bridge over the little stream (after you pass under the huge magnolia)

And looking downstream:

And a little further downstream:
Upstream isn't as pretty; we have work to do there:

The view across the stream towards the blueberry bushes (the outhouse is hiding back there):
The apple trees, which desperately need pruning:

The cherry tree needs pruning also:
We've been able to get a little bit of work done inside.  I painted the inside of the corner cabinet, which had a paint/glaze interior.

Of course there is too much stuff inside the corner cabinet now. And I should have taken a picture with the door open.  We are getting things hung up on walls, have replaced a couple of light fixtures, and still have more stuff to take over to the new house.  But now we need to get back to work on the old place.  The septic system is getting closer, we had the perc test last week and now the system is being designed, and we've only spent $960.  Hopefully, when the system is complete so will the work on the house and we can get it on the market.