Friday, January 29, 2010


Today I saw a small flock of birds of a type I've never seen before, the Eastern Meadowlark.

They're calling for very cold rain, freezing rain and "ice pellets" starting tonight through Saturday evening. I'm wondering if we should conserve energy/wood and stay up at the big house more or less for the duration, or what. I don't think my Focus wagon will make it up and down the mostly dirt road if it is slicked with ice. We may have to borrow the red truck to check on the cat.

Wilhelm is currently scraping the dirt road to try and get the road somewhat less holey before we have more precipitation.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Beautiful day on the farm!

Wow! it was a gorgeous day in SC today, the thermometer down at the cottage read a high of 62.

Polka has a cold, which is no good, but no fever, so we spent a lot of time outside today, picking up sticks and pine cones, and assorted trash off the patio (it's something like 25'x20', so there's a lot of area to pick up), threw some of the sticks into the pond, went and looked at the horses, played in the mud, and we both took a good nap!

While outside today, we saw a heron, a red shouldered hawk, assorted blue jays, mocking birds, crows and turkey vultures.

When we were getting ready to go up to the big house for dinner, Wilhelm heard something large moving in the dry pond site in front of the cottage. There have been poachers/trespassers in the past, and no one except family currently has permission to hunt on the land. Also, there are wild boar in the area, and Wilhelm and Buddy have seen sign fairly close to the cottage.

This weekend is shaping up to be both cold and wet, which means Wilhelm and Buddy probably aren't going to be doing a whole lot, and I'm probably going to be cleaning house. It's astonishing how much dirt gets tracked in when we're heating with wood. Even with sweeping just about every day, it's still a mess.

The guys pulled an old tractor tire over next to the small garden for raised bed gardening. Since what we have is basically clay, it's really difficult to grow root crops, and I LOVE fresh radishes and carrots. I meant to measure the tire to figure out how much soil we need to fill it, but got distracted by nap. :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hello and welcome!

I'm Magpie, welcome to my homestead blog!

PLEASE NOTE: all people's names, with the exception of celebrities, have been changed to protect the (sometimes not so) innocent.

Last March, we moved from Durham, North Carolina to Newberry County, South Carolina. That was a HUGE change for me, since I've lived almost all my life "in the city" (well, except for my high school years, when I still lived pretty close to town).

Now, I'm in the county, close to the interstate, but a 20 minute drive from pretty much anywhere.

We are living in the "cottage" on my husband's (Wilhelm's) parent's property.

There's a pretty big garden at "The Big House" (the in-law's, for whom I need code names), a much smaller garden at the cottage, a dozen horses that aren't doing much of anything except being decorative and eating hay and pasture, a deaf Boykin spaniel named Beau and a gray cat named Lakshmi. Oh, and my almost 3 year old daughter, Polka, who is usually my joy, but sometimes makes me want to pull out my hair!

We'll be getting a couple of goats from a friend as soon as his goats stop dropping kids (and we have containment for them), and we'll be getting a few chickens in the next month or so, too. (The Chicken Book and Goats: Small-scale Herding for Pleasure And Profit (Hobby Farms Series) have good info on both of these subjects)

I can't wait for the greenhouse to get here! It was purchased from a family friend some months back, but not moved because it had serious brambles in it, now the property it's on is too wet to move it.

I made my initial seed order a few weeks ago and can't wait to get them started. I went ahead and did a couple of  Bright Lights swiss chard seeds in a window box that gets a lot of light. Here's hoping it doesn't get too cold!

That's about all for tonight!  Thanks for stopping by!