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Archive for April, 2010

It was bound to happen.

Today we were cleaning up some of the piles we had left over from scything last week. The grass and stick piles have been laying there undisturbed and given the fact that the weather was a bit chilly I thought it would be a good idea to rake them up a bit instead of just sticking my hands into the piles… just in case some critter had decided to take up residence.

Good thing I took this precaution because sure enough… as I turned over the third pile there was a copperhead snake laying there and it was a pretty good sized one – about 2 to 2 1/2 feet long.

Now I don't mind having good snakes on the homestead but not poisonous ones!

YUCK! BAD SNAKE!

We pinned the snake down with the rake and used a shovel to cut off it's head. 

Fortunately โ€” for once โ€” Blaze wasn't the first one to find this critter. She was off exploring and didn't get in on the action.

Sorry, no pic. We wanted to get rid of it before Blaze figured out what we were doing.

You might want to do a quick Internet search to make sure you can identity the poisonous snakes in your area.

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Our little Blaze is a very curious puppy. She's constantly exploring her territory. Today while we were working in the garden Blaze, who was close to us, starting barking like crazy at something she found in the grassโ€” just like the other day when she found the turtle.

We could see it wasn't another turtle and, of course, we went to check that it wasn't a poisonous snake. We're not too worried if it's a snake as long as it's not a poisonous one except that we don't want her to kill the good snakes ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyway, this time it was Mr. Toad. Isn't it cute?

Toad 
(Click image for larger view.) 

Blaze was VERY curious but don't worry we didn't let her hurt it.

Blaze_toad 
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Toads are great to have in the garden because they eat bugs, especially slugs and snails.

Hmmmm? Maybe I should build him a toad house?

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Homesteading is really rough on work gloves. All of our recent gardening efforts have really taken a toll on our current set of gloves. I couldn't resist showing you a picture. 

Workgloves 
(Click image for larger view.)

As modern day homesteaders we just don't think it's right to deep six something that can be patched up and used a little longer.

Bob's (on the left) are especially beat up! He's just about ready to retire this pair because there's only so much duct tape you can use to repair them ๐Ÿ˜‰

Mine (on the right) still have a little life in them yet – only one thumb and the tip of a finger that's patched so far. Good thing too because it's really hard to find work gloves in my size (small). I'm always checking the racks where ever we go.

Fortunately we both have several spare pairs as back ups.

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For all of those of you who are dealing with last minute tax returns, I thought you could you a cute moment to lighten your load.

Blaze, "the hillbilly dawg", wasn't sure what to think about the big pile of dirt but, as you can see, she's discovered it's really, REALLY, fun to dig in it!

BlazeDigs2 
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BlazeDigs
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Now doesn't this look like one happy homestead puppy??! 

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As we've mentioned before, we've decided to use raised beds for our garden this year which means that we need to add several inches of top soil on the 4×8 beds we've prepared. We've had top soil ordered for quite a while now but it's been too wet for the big truck to get into where they dig it out.

We've been anxious to get more seeds started and even though we're not late yet it's getting close to the last frost date for our area.

AND… 

Yippee! It arrived today!

Dumptruck 
(Click image for larger view.)

We ordered about 13 yards of dirt but as you can see there are some roots and rocks that we need to deal with before we can dress the garden beds.

We initially thought that we would deal with sifting the debris out by hand but quickly realized that would be too slow so Bob built this sifter for the wheelbarrow to make our job easier.

Sifter2 
 (Click image for larger view.)

Sifting 
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 It sure makes the sifting go faster. We've already dressed 4 of the garden beds. 

Gardenbeds 
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We'll also be using some of the dirt for other projects around the homestead โ€” more to follow about that ๐Ÿ˜‰ but there's a chance for rain on Friday so the garden is a priority at this time.

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I was fooling around on the computer last night trying and played with some new wallpaper for my PC desktop. Hey! I could only look at the Microsoft default for so long ๐Ÿ˜‰

After playing with several of the photos that we've taken here on the homestead… this is the one I chose.

Hickoryhollowhomestead_w-paper001

If you like it too, you can download it here or choose from some of our other free wallpaper images.
 

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Took off to the woods this morning to hunt for morel mushrooms. We didn't have any luck finding any (DARN IT!) but we enjoyed the walk anyway.

Of course, Blaze (or as we've taken to calling her "Blaze – The Hillbilly Dawg) was having a great time scampering around, exploring her territory, falling off logs, and just being an energetic puppy in general.

Bob and I were looking at something on the property line but also paying enough attention to her to make sure she didn't get too far.

All of a sudden she starting circling one spot on the ground and barking and carrying on like crazy. We've never seen her act like this before.

GREAT we thought. We knew she'd found something and thought maybe she'd found a snake (hopefully not a poisonous one). 

So Bob grabbed a long stick off the ground and started poking under the leaves which as you see in the photo below were quick thick.

Hey, Blaze found a box turtle. Whew! No poisonous snake!

 Blaze_turtle
(click image for larger view)

We let Blaze sniff the turtle and check it out and then Bob held her hoping that the turtle would come out of its shell and take off again. Unfortunately, even after a good long wait, it only ever stuck out it's head. But it was fun while it lasted.

Turtle 
(click image for larger view)

We left Mr. Turtle alone and took Blaze off so she wouldn't bother it any more.  

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