Wednesday was over 80 degrees, and right now I’m watching snow blow in.  At least it’s blowing fairly gently.

A couple weeks ago we got 50 (well, I think I counted 52.  But I paid for 50) Cornish Cross Broiler Chicks.  A.k.a. “Meat Mutants.”  They’re definitely growing!  We put them in the hoophouse (this post includes a picture or two of it), but this time Hubby rigged up a nifty system for me.  He put in some wood frames (old ‘workbench’ pieces, laid sideways) and put his black plastic pickup bedliner on top.  This makes it much easier for this growing lady to check on and manage them!  They’re big enough to flap and get themselves onto the wheelwells, and possibly over and out completely, but, being mutants, they’re content to sit and metabolize.  So far.
We (by “we” I mostly mean Hubby!) built two Square Foot Gardening Boxes – both 4’x8′, but one is double-depth – for potatoes and carrots.  As I joked, we did indeed put plywood bottoms on them, and they ARE propped up on cinder blocks!  Not high enough to keep from bending by any means, but high enough to stay out of reach of the Evil Weed.  As long as I keep an eye out, that is…
I found some reasonably priced peat moss, and had been purchasing different compost mixes/blends when I found them, and only had to acquire the vermiculite for the ‘special’ soil mix called for.  I finally found it at one place – $30/bag and I needed 4 bags!  *cough choke*  I cried a little, but I bought it and got all 14 cubic feet of it into my trunk (along with a couple cf of compost!).  I spent Sunday sunburning my arms, neck, and ear, and mixing 1/3 of it for the shallow garden box.  Let’s just say that I overdid it physically, and somehow tapped into my emotional energy, because Sunday was NOT a good day, unless you like dissolving in blubbering pools of saline…
I’ve planted 8 “squares” of lettuce, 13 squares of potatoes (Russian Banana, Yukon Gold, Red, and a couple Kennebec).  I’d like to do a few more of potatoes, if I can find some seed (not the tentacle-ridden russets I have in abundance), and haven’t gotten around to the carrots.  Or starting a few necessary items indoors, either.  Though Big Sister is thrilled that the pinto beans she planted in a drinking cup have sprouted, as of today.  Maybe I should put her to work with the pumpkin, basil, and cilantro seed?
Hubby is going to rototill for tomatoes and corn and a couple other ‘outside the box’ things, but couldn’t get the rototiller to stay running (what else is new?).  He decided it was having carburetor issues, so stole the carburetor off of our push mower (which *I* use to mow the, uh, weeds in the garden..), and that worked!  For the rototiller, anyway.  He hasn’t done much of the tilling yet, but we have time before those things go in.
I rigged a simple pattern and made 2 little summery dresses for Organique yesterday.  The other girls have ordered the same, but I don’t have any good patterns for theirs, so am trying to adjust a pattern based on some of their existing (hand-me-down) dresses.
More to do:
Soon I’ll make more of the garden fence ‘chicken proof’ and install the Mutants in a penned off section within the garden.  Then we’ll get some baby turkeys and maybe a few geese, and see if we can’t keep them alive too.  
I’m dreaming about a motorized chicken plucker for Mother’s Day (doesn’t every Mama?), but while we have most of the parts to slap one together, the rubber “fingers” (kinda important) are about $100 – and we don’t have those.  Complicating that dream is the fact that we still only admire the van as we walk past it (but we have the title now!), and both Hubby’s and Little Artist’s birthdays are within 2 weeks (I failed to get anything for my 14-year-old neice on Wednesday, and a cousin turns six tonight… gifted with things the girls wish to ‘bless’ him with. :[ ).  I’m thinking a box of Crayola 64 and some nice coloring books/pages might do it for the girl, but Hubby won’t be so easy to please. 🙂  I don’t think a new gas grill is in the budget, but my ‘hates scrubbing broiler pans’ gene would love for him to get one!
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