Category Archives: Spring

Friday Ranchday: Bluebird baby update

Last year my parents installed a bluebird box down by the horse pasture.  We saw a few sets of eggs in there and unfortnatly some dead babies due to ant infestation.  This year we used Tanglefoot on the box post and so far so good.  Yay!  Two weeks ago we noticed two eggs in the nest.  A few days later there were six.  Needless to say the mommy and daddy bluebirds are very busy this year.   Last week we came down and there were six little fluffy babies in there.

 Thursday Evening (6 tiny bundles of fluff)

Blue Bird Babies

A week in pictures of baby bluebird growth.

A week in pictures of baby bluebird growth.

Tuesday Evening. Feathers are starting to fill out.  I’m loving the little fluffy tufts around their heads.

 Friday morning.  The feathers have filled out even more.  You can see the one at the top right  is starting to get some blue.Baby bluebirds

 

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Signs of spring on the ranch

The blue bird nest is occupied again.  We are going to put Tanglefoot on the post this year in the hopes of not loosing any more babies to ants like we have in the past.
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The Eureka lemons are bursting off the tree.  I see lots of juicing in my future.  The biggest thing I am looking forward with on weaning is being able to drink lemonade again.
Eureka Lemons

The vetch is blooming like crazy.  This causes mass amounts of excitement from a certain 3 year old who think purple is “THE BEST COLOR EVER”!

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Finally, we have some very frustrated gophers who have discovered our newly installed raised beds.  They are trying their darndest to get in but to no avail.  Wahahahaha!  

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Life on the ‘ranch’

This year I decided to do soil solarization in the vegetable garden to hopefully kill the copious amounts of weeds and the gosh darned gophers.  It got so bad last year that I was a little tempted to use weed killer and I’m very pro organic. 

And the gophers.  Oh the gophers.  I made wire cages to plant the tomatoes in because so many of them got eaten the year before.  The gophers simply walked up the to plants, cut them down like a beaver, and then dragged them to their hole. Arg!

Since, no garden means no fresh veggies, my dad suggested we try a handing tomato planter.  So far so good.  The tomatoes are growing well (the weather is finally hot) and it’s fun to watch the plant try to reach up to the sky.  I’m looking forward to seeing how they do.  Cross your fingers for some yummy tomatoes in another month!
 
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My parents brought over a blue bird house a few months ago and soon there was a happy family living inside.  The coolest thing about this bird house was one side was hinged and when opened, a clear plexy glass panel showed what was inside.  Little birds!  This family has since grown up and ‘flown the coup’ and now the house is home to a pair of finches.

 
Baby+Blue+Birds
 

We have a HUGE lemon tree in the orchard and it is finally time to start picking.  Yay!  The next few months will be filled with picking and juicing and freezing the flavorful, tart, fresh lemons.  I’ve heard you can freeze the zest too which is worth a try.  Lemon Bars here I come! 

Lemon+Tree

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What spring brings to the country.

Spring has finally sprung here at Four Lease Ranch. It’s been raining so long that the weeds, especially the darned Star Thistle, are as tall as me. Let the weedeating begin!

When I went down this weekend to trim horse hooves, I found one definite benefit to all the rain. Their hooves were still nice and soft which made it possible to use the nippers, an action that will be impossible later in the summer. This was wonderful because I was a weee bit behind in the trimming and Dancer’s hooves were overly long. (Bad horsey mom!) You can see in the picture below how much I had to trim off one of his fronts. The long wet weather combined with moderate temperatures have brought on the flies with a vengeance! Whenever I am down with the horses I feel like I am being dive bombed by hundreds of miniature aircraft. I have put out fly traps galore but this is still what I come down to in the morning. Poor sweetie.
Luckily for Dancer, they make these. He looks a bit like a alien with it on but always comes right up to me in the morning and lowers his head for me.
Along with the (finally) warming sunshine comes the annual planting of the garden. This year we have planted tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, yellow crookneck squash, butternut squash, cantaloupe, corn, strawberries, cilantro, basil, parsley, and chives. We have some rather voracious gophers in the garden right now so I have my fingers crossed that everything survives. If anyone knows of any good ways to get ride of gophers that doesn’t include poison let me know. Please!
The sage plant from last year is doing well. It’s leaves opening and embracing the spring.
Three plots for basil, cilantro and chives. Note the darned weeds that I have already pulled/weedeated twice. Grrrrr!
Tomatoes. I planted a number of them in underground cages so hopefully they can survive the gophers.

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Now those are ‘baby’ carrots

I went down to the garden this morning to rescue a couple of garlic bulbs I had planted the previous Fall.  My dad was going to come over soon and rototiller the garden where they were planted.  After I dug up the garlic (which look more like green onions due to being so young) I remembered the carrot seeds I planted last October then promptly forgot about.  Further investigation reveled tiny green sprouts among the weeds.  A lot of careful weeding later, I had two rows of baby carrot greens.  Some thinning needed to be done (I hate thinning.  It reminds me of plant murder.) so I started pulling up the plants that were bunched together.  What do ya know, there were little tiny carrots developing at the bottoms of the greens.  I think these are the very definition of ‘baby carrots’.  🙂

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Another view.
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Very garlicky smelling ‘green onions’.  🙂
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Some pictures taken just because I had the macro lens on the camera.  🙂
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