April 8 – What it looked like before I enlarged the chicken area.  I need to get them out of my garden area, as well as what used to be the chicken yard as that will also be garden this year  (I’m doubling my garden space!)

And after:

I gave them the line of spruce trees they like the hang out under, more than double the space the had, and lots of things to perch on.  The moment I opened the space the hens were out scratching in the leaves and dust-bathing under the spruce trees.  They have developed little holes in the dirt that fit a chicken perfectly and they were happy to have access to those again.

For us, pulled pork on homemade rolls.  I use the recipe for Pulled Pork for Two in Cooks Country magazine and a recipe for rolls I found on the internet (which I can no longer seem to find online, but I wrote it out into my personal cookbook).  I can’t make one without the other, so it turns into a rather long process, but always worth it.  It’s one of my favorite meals and is so gratifying to know how to make.

April 9

Tomorrow is my first spring riding lesson and my boots look terrible!  I finally found a place in town which has proper shoe polish (my choices til now have been brown or black.  My boots are DARK brown) and picked some up.  I had just washed off the left boot, which is why it looks darker.

Isn’t that something?  That’s one thing the army taught me – how to shine some shoes.  Well, that and to toss hand grenades, shoot an M-16, and slide along a rope bridge.

David got busy with the chain link fencing.  It was on sale and I bought another four 50 foot rolls.  The dog came back looking for my chickens yesterday, after I had improved their fencing.  The gate was open (I was gone) and he just walked up the driveway.  The chicken fence did its job, though, and then our dogs ran him off.  It inspired David to install the next 200 feet of fence.  It goes around the south side of the house, enclosing the new chicken coop (the blue through the trees) and the around to the back of the house.    Soon we’ll be enclosed and Phoebe can live her dream of remaining outside on the front stoop or watching the driveway all day.

April 10 – Riding lesson day!

First we have to groom.  It’s spring, the horses have not been ridden a lot in the past few months, so I got the fun of getting all that hair off Travler (their spelling, not mine!).  He seemed to be enjoying it.  I still have horsehair on my vest days later.

His mane, when I finished, reminded me of my friend Ken.

After grooming, saddling.  Guess whose saddle Izzy the barn cat is sitting on?

I lured her to the next saddle but she hopped right back over when I went to pick mine up.  Then she batted at me, grabbed my hand and bit a little (the way cats do) and finally I just scooped her up and moved her down to the end of the row.

Trotting on Travler is amazing, as he is a Missouri Fox Trotter.  Soooo smooth.  I enjoy being horseback so very much.

Oh,yeah.  It was snowing all day.  Cold air, warm ground.  Nothing stuck, but it was rather strange.

April 11

Windy day.  I repaired my various wind chimes and bells and they were singing.  Prayer flags were doing their thing.

April 12

The chickadees are building a nest in the top of this broken tree.  Makes me wonder if it’s the same pair that built in a tree next to this a couple years ago.  The bird looks upside down.  Right now they are taking away wood bits.  They lay 3 eggs (which must be tiny!) and take only 10-12 days to hatch!  Then another 10-12 days nesting.  I’ll have to keep an eye on this nest.  I didn’t realize it was in use such a short time.

April 13

Three words as to why I am preserving these Meyer Lemons.  Preserved Lemon Hummus.  Just the sound of it made my mouth water.  I already had the lemons (on sale for $1 for a bag of 6 or so) and had been planning to do this.  Then I found the recipe, and yeah, it had to happen NOW.  They won’t be ready for three weeks, but I’ll let you know how that hummus is.  I found all this in a roundabout manner because the blogger linked there, Alana Chernila, has a new book out that I want, The Homemade Pantry (amazon affiliate link).  The lemons are preserved in lemon juice and salt along with some bay and cardamom.  They ferment, so they’re pickled lemons at the end.  I’m curious about them.

April 14

I love the faces of these daffodils.  These are some new ones I planted by the Art Chalet.  Others I planted aren’t getting as much sun, so are slower to come up.  I’ll have daffodils around the place for weeks!  Next year I may try planting some tulips within the fenced areas in hopes the deer won’t be able to eat them.  I’m just very glad they don’t like daffodils!