Friday, April 17

Gardening and fostering

Our soil here on the hill is pretty compact and clay-ish and rocky. Two years of tilling and gardening haven't been so hot. Lotsa tomatoes and lettuces, some zucchini and that's about it. Weeds too. Grrr...

So this year, in our continual efforts to raise our own veggies and put down more roots (figuratively and literally), we've put in raised beds. I'm hopeful.

A very nice horse farm across the back fields kindly gave us as much composted manure as we desired which we then mixed with soil. I think we're on our fourth truckload of horsey poo. Good stuff, it is.

Kiddos helped too. Each of them have a 4x4 foot garden in which to plant whatever they like. Andrew has already put in his peas and this morning we put in red cabbage and leek plants.

Annaliese Kaelin and Andrew spent a good hour helping me put in the potatoes, reds and blues and baking ones. I'm sure they all have proper, fancy names. We just pulled some sprouting ones from the bins in the cellar, cut out the eyes and plopped them in. The potatoes did great last year without any raised bed so we threw them in the same way this year.

This morning we walked into our first foster class and found the kindly horse farmer there too. He and his wife's children are grown and they want to adopt a teen out of the foster system. Isn't that a beautiful thing? I liked him instantly, having just met him. How could you not?

School lessons are winding down around here. Some math and reading we'll carry through the summer months so we don't lose the footing we've gained, knowing there will likely be changes around the house and in our family this fall.

Baby ducklings have joined the household once again. They have made a little home in a wading pool in the garage. We've placed one of our khaki campbells in there too, trying to convince her to be motherly to them. These are more of the Pekings. Girls we'll keep for eggs, boys'll be duck a'la orange and such.

As for fostering, as some of you asked, we plan on taking in kiddos under two, with intent to eventually adopt. We've been told that they try as much as possible to place legally at risk kids with folks who want to adopt and so this is the road we're on. From the time they were little, we've always talked with our children about the beauty and struggles of adoption, knowing this was something we intended on pursuing. So after all this time, the kiddos are excited to be starting the process toward a new sibling as well.
How is your spring? Are your gardens in?
I'm off to enjoy the sunshine-y day. It is supposed to rain all next week. :(


Craig and Bethany said...

I'm wondering, what does, "Legally at risk," mean?

I look forward to more of your posts. Thanks.

Tesa said...

We put in two raised beds last year- and loved the results. The weeding was next to nothing... I still struggle to keep wildlife from nibbling, so my husband built a cover out of chicken wire for one of the boxes. The whole experience has been a worthwhile project. We are hoping to expand it a little bit as we can each year. I love your pictures.

NeeCee said...

My husband and I were foster parents to drug babies. That is how we got our son. He was a foster baby that we fell head over heels in love with.

Karen G. said...

Hannah - Glen and I have learned a little about raised bed gardens but he is thinking of trying something called container gardens. We have not had much luck with a regular garden - too many animals get into it even with a fence. I'll let you know how it goes. We plan on growing tomatoes, peppers and a few other things this year to see how it goes. I would love to grow potatoes but that is not in the plan this year. I might need some advice on how to do that next year. Glad to hear about your progress in foster care.

Me said...


Sometimes, I just want to walk into your pictures. The one with your little ones could be a beautiful post card. :0)

Thank you for the post, and good luck with your gardening. Our girl cat had decided that she likes beans and very efficiently finished off the leaves of the third stalk I have in my little garden...very disheartening, indeed. :-S

Me said...

Bethany, I think I'm using the term right, or the right term - legally at risk. It means there is a higher chance of parental rights being terminated. Maybe moms already surrendered parental rights for other children or has a history of drug abuse or mental illness...

Karen said...

I just started raised beds for our asparagus crowns. I saw you have chicken wire around your raised beds. So does that mean you have your chickens free range? Do they dig up your flower beds etc? I was wondering what you feed your chickens. Do you make up your own feed or do you just buy feed from the local hardware store? I want to feed our chickens properly to get the most nutritious eggs we can. How often do you feed etc. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I think it is beautiful and you will find adoption challenging and wonderful.
Your gardens look ready to be planted! We are having snow today so still waitng until next month.
God bless you in this new experience!

Me said...

Hi Karen!
Yes our chickens free range. Last year they got into the garden and ate a bunch of newly planted seeds. Grrrr... We just had up chicken fencing with steaks (stakes?) and they got in so Sean has blessed me with a sturdier fence this year.
We supplement their feed with local corn from a local grainery. They eat cracked corn, corn meal and kitchen compost during the winter. In the spring/summer/fall they can get a lot of their own food in the yard. We have hardly any mosquitoes or other bothersome bugs in the summer thanks to our chickens and ducks. Sean has had to put down stone mulch where we had regular pine bark mulch in the front of our home though because the chickens scratch it up and make a mess.

Patricia, so sorry you still have snow. It is still in the woods up by our little cabin too.

Unknown said...

Hannah, every time I come here my eyes just about bug out of my head for the parallel stories I find here. I think I noticed you have an Andrew and an Elle? Trying to think of which of my two kids had your kids names, and now that you are planning on fostering. We were foster parents for 5 years.