Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Growing garden and uh...chickens!

Things have been gearing up in the garden. Just a week ago I left to go out of town and left the garden in as good of shape as possible. I tried to tie the vines of the butternut squash plants and melon plants to the arches, and give the tomatoes extra support by tying them to their cages. Imagine my surprise when I returned yesterday to find that my plants had pretty much doubled in size!!! The pumpkins are sprawling, the butternut squash plants have little miniature squash on them, there are little yellow crookneck squash growing, and several blooms on my tomato plants! And I have peppers ready to pick, along with greens, and oodles of herbs! It's amazing, and I am loving every minute. I have posted pictures at the link below to see the progress of the garden.

So I guess I should mention our OTHER addition...chickens! I will never forget the day Kris sent me a text while out of town and asked what I thought about having chickens in the backyard. The reality is, I had never given it much thought. His prompting led to rigorous searching on my end and pricing things out. We ultimately decided that since the laws were gray concerning raising chickens for eggs only within the city limits and the price was high to build a coop and get everything started, we would wait a year or so before considering it further. Then, one day, out of the blue, a friend of a friend sent me a facebook message to let me know that she had 4 hens needing a home. Her dad had built the coop, and the hens were about a month away from starting to lay eggs. She gave me a really great deal for all of the supplies and the hens. Later THAT DAY we were the proud owner of two Barred Rock Hens and two Buff Orphington Hens. So far, they have served as great entertainment to my family and today we received our very First egg!!! It has been so fun and we are looking forward to our many adventures with Peggy, Goldy Locks, Aretha, and one that has yet to be named. If you have good suggestions, let me know!

Click for pictures!

*PS all my law abiding friends in Nashville, please know that I studied quite a bit about the laws around chicken ownership in Nashville. The laws are very gray, and fortunately I have great neighbors that are excited not frustrated about their presence. So we're going to tread lightly and hope for the best.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

How is it June already?

I had hoped to keep this blog updated about life on the Donegan homestead, but time has gotten away from me. Suffice it to say that things have been busy. I finished school at the end of April and walked across the stage to get my diploma in May. I can't believe I now have my masters degree. It feels great to be done, and I'm sure it will come in handy someday. (Just not right now.) The girls are growing too fast and keeping me fit. A stranger commented about how small I was for having two little ones, to which I replied "Well, look at them! I chase them all day long and lug them around." Later I also remembered that rarely do I get a chance to eat due to trying to get THEM to eat. But, alas, that's the life of a mother.

Life on the "farm" has been great! Our garden is growing and growing. Here is a list of everything growing at my house right now: Basil, Cilantro, Parsley, Dill, Tomatoes, Butternut Squash, Zuchinni, Yellow Crook-neck squash, Asparagus, Beets, Radishes, Strawberries, 2 types of grape vines, Carrots, Pole Beans, Kale, various types of greens, onions, various types of potatoes, lima beans, cucumbers, cantaloupe, bell pepers, jalepeno peppers, pumpkins, watermelons, 4 blueberry bushes, 2 golden raspberry bushes, 2 red raspberry bushes, several blackberry bushes, a peach tree, and then the following flowers are also involved in my raised beds: marigolds, nasturtiums, cosmos, daisies, and zinnias.Phew, that's a long list. It's been fun to watch things growing and climbing up the trellises I built. Ainsley is my big helper and likes to look over the plants with me every day.

My garden has truly become a haven. I enjoy being out there to pull out weeds and observe the progress of each plant. I'm sure Kris is getting sick of me pulling him outside to show him how the beans have climbed another four inches up the trellis. Yet, it truly does excite me to see each little change. Gardening gives me a since of productivity and providence. I feel like I'm taking care of my family through growing food for us.

Today, I signed up for a meat Csa through Walnut Hills Farm. I have gone through them in the past and absolutely love them. When I walked up to their booth today, they greeted me by name as a long lost friend. I couldn't believe that they had remembered me after five months. It felt good to be that important to the people raising the food that my family is going to eat. My hopes are that between the meat Csa and our garden, I won't have to do much additional grocery shopping.

Additionally, I pulled out the cloth diapers again on Thursdsay. I had taken a break from them while student teaching because I didn't have the time or energy to put into them. However, I decided it was time to give them a whirl. So, we are well on our way to becoming self-sustainable, which is very exciting.

So for now, that's the news from our homestead. I hope to make another update soon with some pictures. Enjoy your hot beginning to the summer.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

It's Time!

Spring is here in full force...there is evidence of it's presence all around my house. My peach tree has little tiny peaches forming, my blueberry bushes are starting to get little buds on them, my dogwoods are in full bloom, and most importantly...our raised beds are completely built and planted! I had meant to track that progress on here, but they went up very quickly. Kris had a very limited time that he could help with them because he's been super busy and out of town a lot. Last week, he went out of his way to till the space and shovel out dirt for the beds. Then, the two of us laid the block on Wed. and Thurs. (I think?). Then, on Saturday, some amazing friends helped me fill up the beds with dirt. On Sunday, my mom and I planted everything and I laid down the pea pebbles and walking stones to make it complete. It is a dream come true! I couldn't be more pleased with the result! I can hardly wait to see everything grow and fill up the space. Until then, it's on to the berry patch this weekend....

Here's a picture of the finished product...but if you click the following link, you can see more pictures of the progress as it occurred. http://www.flickr.com/photos/23879031@N08/sets/72157626258592194/

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Family Photo Shoot!

Yesterday, we had the privilege of having family photos taken by Sarah Beaty, who owns Eyeris photography. We had such a blast walking around Bicentennial Mall and enjoying the beautiful weather. I was surprised by how great the girls were! The biggest issue we had was Ainsley wanting to run around and not sit still, but what else would you expect from a two year old? Unfortunately she did finally take a pretty good tumble and scraped up her knees, but again, what would you expect?

Here are a few of the shots that Sarah sent us to give us a small taste of what she was able to capture. We'll get several more in about a week and a half. :)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Oh Spring...

I love the spring. I love the smell in the air, the slightly crisp mornings, the sound of the birds in the air, and of course the little sprouts from my perennial plants coming to life again after the cold winter.

Yesterday, Kris and I mulched our front and side landscaping for the first time, ever! This was a huge deal to me. It is actually starting to LOOK like a landscape. I planted most of the plants when we first moved here in 2007. Some of them were just bulbs or twigs. Now everything is starting to fill in and actually look like it should. I am anxious to see everything once it really takes off this year! In order to mulch, I had to go through and weed everything completely to the best of my ability. That was a much bigger task than I had expected it to be. I have come to find that I HATE weeding. Especially crab grass, which seems to have roots that are impossible to find.

Today, I moved some seedlings into bigger trays and planted some more seeds. The front room of my house is bursting with green and brown. I'm sure Kris will be glad when our little makeshift greenhouse makes its way outdoors.

I am hoping we'll get the block delivered for our raised beds soon, because I am on spring break this week. We were hoping we'd get to build them then, but without the block we're stuck. However, we're getting the block for free, so I won't complain on the timing. I will just find other gardening projects to do this week. I have more bulbs to plant and monkey grass to thin and move, that should give me enough to do during naptimes.

If you want to see some pictures of my garden projects as they are now, click here : http://www.flickr.com/photos/23879031@N08/sets/72157626258592194
I will try to keep it updated as the season progresses!

Until next time, happy spring!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Iris Walking?

She's not walking yet.  However, it would appear that this child will be taking off in the near future. At various times over the last few days she has let go of what she is holding on to, stood for a long time, and even tried to take a step forward. Part of me can't believe she's trying to do this when she is only 9 months old. On the other hand, I'm glad primarily because Ainsley and Iris are starting to play together. With Iris able to walk, she'll be able to keep up with her big sister and they will be able to bond and play together even more. Ainsley, watch out!

On a separate note, I took Ainsley to Lockeland Design Center, where I am student teaching in Kindergarten, for their family math night. She had a blast and we were able to share some one-on-one time together. I needed that after yesterday. She had woken up from her nap and was really sad. She came and curled up in my lap and didn't want anyone else to be around me. I just held her for a while, not sure of what was wrong. I finally asked her if she wanted to come with me to get the mail. Her response was "Yes, because I'm sad." I asked "Why are you sad." Her reply, "Because I missed you all day." Talk about melting your heart in an instant. Thus, it was great to bring her with me and let her feel like a "big girl" at school, helping her mama. Jenny (the amazing Kindergarten teacher that I have had the wonderful privilege of sharing a class with for the past 8 weeks) was so sweet to let her be there and allow her to play with the puppets and read her books. Ainsley also helped clean up afterwards by picking up all the glue bottles and wiping off the tables.

After Family Math Night, I decided that Ainsley and I should do something special. We stopped at the drive-thru of McDonalds and picked up some shakes to bring home. Once we got home, we enjoyed them with my Mom while watching American Idol (my mom's favorite!). If I had been following my normal routine, Ainsley would've had to go to bed immediately afterwards because it was already past her bedtime. I'm learning though, and sometimes you just have to be flexible and enjoy life. I was having too much fun with her to let her go to bed! We did exercises in the floor, giggled (a lot!), rolled into each other, and then read several stories.

I can't fully explain the change when you become a mother, but it truly has been the best thing that has ever happened to me aside from marrying the love of my life. I am reminded each day of how truly blessed I am to have this amazing little family.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Iris Crawling

This is a bit late, but here is a video of Iris crawling! It is too sweet not to share. 
She's growing up TOO fast.