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Valentines and Rats
We celebrate St. Valentine's Day and take stock of a rat problem.
February 20, 2016

It was time to take the delphiniums out of the frig this week and place them in a dark place until they begin to sprout, then I can move them to the light.  While I was in the potting shed today I noticed an enormous amount of rat droppings.  I had been noticing a few piles here and there inside the chicken coop and shed, but nothing like this.  This was a mystery to me, because I always put the chicken feeders back in a metal trash can at night and rake up any birdseed that drops to the ground.  When you have livestock, you have to make provisions against a rat invasion by cleaning up any litter.

We quickly solved the mystery.  It had to be the old abandoned farm behind our property.  It used to be an old hog farm, with large corn cribs and abandoned hog pens lying around.  Well, recently the farm was purchased and the new owners started tearing down all of the old buildings, throwing away the old pens and corn cribs, essentially sending an entire colony of rats marching down on us, the nearest property with outbuildings, water, and a source of food.  Egg production stopped in the coop.  The girls were terrified, and nearly every building was being overtaken by holes and rat droppings.  Something had to be done.  It’s a shame I can’t re-gift them back to our new neighbors.

We started by setting traps and waiting by the holes.  Dobby ran down the largest number of rats and snapped their backs with his teeth.   I think he may have gotten rid of them.  I hope.  Otherwise we will have to find us a Pied Piper.  Anyone know one?

Every year my husband, Marty, makes us all a Valentine’s Day cake.  This year he made two, one was in the shape of a sheep, with a heart on its rump.  He knows how I love my sheep.  I also got some lovely flowers on the day, and I got the kids their usual potted hyacinths and tulips – a nice Valentine’s Day tradition, I think.

I wandered around the house looking at all of the Valentine’s Day decorations.   For me it’s another pleasant, yet subtle, reminder of Easter.  The little stop animation cartoon, Here Comes Peter Cottontail, by Rankin and Bass, has a little Valentine’s Day segment towards the end that I always loved.  At the skating party are little heart shaped lights strung all around the rink.  In my own kitchen I kind of mimic this across the pegboard, and it can’t help but bring a smile to my face every time I see it.

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January 1, 2017

Between Christmas and New Year's Eve I remain busy, but New Year's doesn't really feel like a new year changing to me.

December 25, 2016

We celebrate Christmas Eve and I find time to rust tin snowflakes for gifts.

December 17, 2016

We keep up the Christmas card tradition, deal with icy runs, winterize the cement benches, and enjoy the babies' new eggs.

December 10, 2016

We finally learn the secret to citrus tree success and start the Christmas season with good will.

December 3, 2016

I try my hand at bakery quality spritz cookies, and end the busy week with Marty's birthday.

November 26, 2016

My busy week begins with Meg's birthday and includes Thanksgiving and a Christmas turnover.

November 19, 2016

Unseasonable weather occurs while I prepare to shut down the garden

October 31, 2016

We have our traditional Halloween bash, while winterizing the garden and helping build onto a barn.

October 8, 2016

I discuss rearranging cheap bouquets to maximum effect, and we start work on a project dear to my heart.

October 1, 2016

The unseasonably long growing season is making me reconsider how I winterize my garden.

September 26, 2016

Bulb and new roses arrive, while Marty and I finish some projects.

September 3, 2016

I reassess my native plants and redistribute the wealth.

August 27, 2016

I repaint our living room rug, raspberries come off the vine, and butterflies fly all around

August 20, 2016

I briefly discuss canning tomatoes, meanwhile, the sheep and I encounter a baby rabbit rummaging around the willow tree.

August 13, 2016

I discuss my tips for cost efficient sidewalk repair, meanwhile, Marty makes a bench.

July 23, 2016

The baby chicks become mini acrobats. We get a bumper crop of peaches, make some basil olive oil, and gather fresh garden carrots

July 16, 2016

We work on upgrading an old flowerbed to a more colonial look.

June 27, 2016

I celebrate my birthday with a new batch of baby chicks.

June 18, 2016

We get the sheep some hay and I begin harvesting our cherry trees.

June 4, 2016

I discuss old fashioned roses, close the greenhouse, and inspect the orchard for spring damage.

May 14, 2016

I give everything a fresh coat of white paint, and the kids give me a lovely Mother's Day tea.

March 12, 2016

Marty and I give the pool fence a colonial look with chinoiserie inspiration.

March 5, 2016

I prepare for the next season while encountering some problems with my seedlings. This year may be a trouble year.

February 27, 2016

We celebrate President's Day, while I turn some old baskets into new Easter decorations.

February 20, 2016

We celebrate St. Valentine's Day and take stock of a rat problem.

February 13, 2016

Planting annual flowers, tomatoes, and peppers. Plus, I begin decorating the mudroom.

February 6, 2016

The sheep are done with winter, while I put up decorations for February.

January 30, 2016

The last round of seeds arrive and I get started sewing some new yard outfits and repairing my old egg wreaths.

January 23, 2016

After a hectic week, I begin making rag rugs for the kitchen, an easy craft that will be easy to clean.

January 1, 2017

Between Christmas and New Year's Eve I remain busy, but New Year's doesn't really feel like a new year changing to me.

December 25, 2016

We celebrate Christmas Eve and I find time to rust tin snowflakes for gifts.

December 17, 2016

We keep up the Christmas card tradition, deal with icy runs, winterize the cement benches, and enjoy the babies' new eggs.

December 10, 2016

We finally learn the secret to citrus tree success and start the Christmas season with good will.

December 3, 2016

I try my hand at bakery quality spritz cookies, and end the busy week with Marty's birthday.

November 26, 2016

My busy week begins with Meg's birthday and includes Thanksgiving and a Christmas turnover.

November 19, 2016

Unseasonable weather occurs while I prepare to shut down the garden

October 31, 2016

We have our traditional Halloween bash, while winterizing the garden and helping build onto a barn.

October 8, 2016

I discuss rearranging cheap bouquets to maximum effect, and we start work on a project dear to my heart.

October 1, 2016

The unseasonably long growing season is making me reconsider how I winterize my garden.

September 26, 2016

Bulb and new roses arrive, while Marty and I finish some projects.

September 3, 2016

I reassess my native plants and redistribute the wealth.

August 27, 2016

I repaint our living room rug, raspberries come off the vine, and butterflies fly all around

August 20, 2016

I briefly discuss canning tomatoes, meanwhile, the sheep and I encounter a baby rabbit rummaging around the willow tree.

August 13, 2016

I discuss my tips for cost efficient sidewalk repair, meanwhile, Marty makes a bench.

July 23, 2016

The baby chicks become mini acrobats. We get a bumper crop of peaches, make some basil olive oil, and gather fresh garden carrots

July 16, 2016

We work on upgrading an old flowerbed to a more colonial look.

June 27, 2016

I celebrate my birthday with a new batch of baby chicks.

June 18, 2016

We get the sheep some hay and I begin harvesting our cherry trees.

June 4, 2016

I discuss old fashioned roses, close the greenhouse, and inspect the orchard for spring damage.

May 14, 2016

I give everything a fresh coat of white paint, and the kids give me a lovely Mother's Day tea.

March 12, 2016

Marty and I give the pool fence a colonial look with chinoiserie inspiration.

March 5, 2016

I prepare for the next season while encountering some problems with my seedlings. This year may be a trouble year.

February 27, 2016

We celebrate President's Day, while I turn some old baskets into new Easter decorations.

February 20, 2016

We celebrate St. Valentine's Day and take stock of a rat problem.

February 13, 2016

Planting annual flowers, tomatoes, and peppers. Plus, I begin decorating the mudroom.

February 6, 2016

The sheep are done with winter, while I put up decorations for February.

January 30, 2016

The last round of seeds arrive and I get started sewing some new yard outfits and repairing my old egg wreaths.

January 23, 2016

After a hectic week, I begin making rag rugs for the kitchen, an easy craft that will be easy to clean.