Frogs in March

It has been a while since my last post due to work work and the associated travels. I was in Los Angeles for a 2-week stint, and JoAnna had a visitor on the farm for most of that time. Judy and Joanna went to culinary school together, and from what I hear, they had a good time while I was away.

When I returned, there were many improvements to the house in the way of decorations and such. Just before I left, we had a guy named Monty working to finish the interior trim as well as some other odd jobs. It makes such a difference to no longer see the rough edges of the drywall/wallboard/gypsum/sheetrock. One other big improvement we made was the addition of the range hoods. Now, JoAnna can see much better as she cooks on the stove. We installed two range hoods side-by-side since we plan to add a gas stove in the near future. Tonight, we put the bulbs into the left-side hood, and I also installed a shelf on another wall in the kitchen. Monty has been here again, starting yesterday, tiling the bath/shower walls. This is yet another job that I procrastinated successfully. I'm sure I could have done the job of sticking tile on the walls, and it would have been OK, but the tricks of an experienced worker make all the difference. The grout goes on tomorrow, and if there's time left in the workday, I'll find something for Monty to do.

I think it is safe to say that spring is on the way. Temperatures have been in the upper 60s for three days in a row, and the frogs have started singing. It seems like so long ago since it wasn't cold that it feels like a dream to be outside here with a warm breeze. The scent of pine is everywhere and the chickens are working their magic, scratching up their bug snacks. I'm hoping that the seven chickens we still have can make a bigger dent in the bug population since they will be here from the beginning of the season. Last year, they weren't free to range until June (I think) and by then the bugs had established themselves well.

The HughesNet satellite internet service has been working well for us so far. Download speeds are approximately 60-times faster than dial-up, though there are certain restrictions. I'm thinking about how I might disguise the futuristic dish-on-a-stick that stands in what will soon be our front yard. Maybe some kind of ivy plant?

For the past two days I have been reading about how to prune fruit trees. Last February, we planted nine trees - eight of which survived. I probably spent two or three hours researching the proper techniques for the types of trees we have; apple, plum, peach & pear. So, today I went out to the "orchard" and, in thirty minutes, had the job completed. I wish I had done some pruning and training last summer to get the trees off to a better start, but they aren't too bad. I'll be maintaining them better over this summer to keep them in line.

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