Live Life Farm

Enjoying the simple things everyday

Month: April 2016

Color abound! | Spring Colors

Probably my most favorite season is spring. Everything is new, fresh, and alive. Sitting outside today all that I heard were thousands of songbirds. Winter in Michigan isn’t unwelcome but I’m usually ready to bid my goodbyes and start our spring ventures.  I suppose it doesn’t hurt that I also do not have spring allergies that I’ve heard are awful this year.

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My love of spring is mostly because of the colors and grandiose sunsets. It’s not uncommon after a sunny day to see a brilliant sunset in the evening. Even if we are out for dinner I find myself wondering if I can catch that last sunset of the day before it slips away.

We spent much of our time this weekend outside. The last few Michigan weekends have really been inviting. Warm, low breeze and sunny. I distinctly remember the opposite last year.  I feel as though God gave us this gift and I am ready to take it all in.

 

How was your weekend weather?

Asparagus is coming | asparagus

It’s official, spring is showing its first signs in our veggie garden. If you have never tried fresh asparagus from your garden you need to now! It’s tender and meaty and so easy to grow.  I have 3 spears peeping thru and expect more once it gets a bit warmer.

Asparagus is a really easy vegetable to grow and an added bonus is that they are a perennial! The male varieties tend to produce more but we chose the “Mary Washington” variety for its meaty substance. It tends to grill a bit better. The variety is your choice but I would recommend purchasing “bare root.”  The downside of production is that you have to wait a, very painful, 3 years to enjoy! Unfortunately,  we gave in and tried a few after 2 years and they did not fail our expectations. Additionally, soil preparation is vital.  Asparagus likes a well draining and fertile soil. Lucky for us, we have lots of great compost from our chickens, horses, and veggies. I recommend tilling the soil well and adding in your compost. You need a DEEP hole so be sure to till deep into the soil. Once prepared they are fairly easy to plant but spread them out. Every year they will spread.

Our asparagus garden is now 8 years old and thriving well. We continue to achieve a great spread and have more to eat and share. In the spring, we weed and prepare the garden bed. Once weeded we add a nice layer of nutritious compost (about an inch) and then I salt my beds. SALT!?!?!?! Yep, you read it right. I little “old wives tale” proved to be the easiest way to keep weeds at bay. Asparagus does not mind salt. This is somewhat of a controversial subject, I might add. Salt isn’t great for soil but I simply despise weeds and tried numerous other methods. It won’t eliminate weeds but it will help significantly.

The stalks you see are from last years crop. I am not picky about leaving those in. They add to the soil eventually. Here is one of the first tops showing.

peeping thru

These are so close to picking! I hope I can hold off enough to let them grow. There is something about picking that first asparagus. They do grow FAST so watch the ones that are close to picking. If it reaches 60+ degrees today they will be ready tomorrow to eat. They also “fan” out fast and will be inedible.

almost ready to cut

The bed is prepared. Still a few weeds to sort thru, but most was completed last week. The salt had a chance to disperse with the rain we had a few days ago. Soon, this bed will be covered in lots of asparagus. The best part? You really don’t need a ton of space to grow this perennial plant. It does well in limited garden space.

 

 

Happy Growing!

 

Spring camping in Lexington, Kentucky | Lexington

Who doesn’t love rolling green fields, beautiful horses, and gorgeous landscapes? Lexington, Kentucky has so much to offer in its artistic displays. This is our second time visiting and I am ever in awe!

All that said, I have never been so glad to have an RV until our trip to Lexington. It was a COLD blustery trip, even by Michigan standards (nevermind everyone in Lexington was talking about the Michigan snow!) We still had a great time and love the Kentucky Horse Park campsites. We stayed in campsite 11 and had a nice field behind our motorhome. Also, we enjoyed hearing horses behind us. If you love horses, this is the venue for you! An added bonus was Keeneland Spring Meet was going on!

 

Site 11 was a nice site. Even though every site is paved you will want to be SURE to call or be prepared for an unlevel site. We saw many tires off the ground which is not great for the jack system of an RV or trailer. You always want some weight on your tires. We did call and found this to be a nice, flat site. Added bonus was a nice little field in back for the dogs and playing soccer! The campground was clean and quiet with a nice camp store.  Security was very good and people were friendly and helpful. We were there when it wasn’t busy but they did have 4 areas to pump out and we never had to wait. The downsides include that the paths to the inner ring of the campground have no cut thru’s. You need a bike or golf car to get to the store, playground, and bath houses quickly.  Also, wood was $6 for a small bundle that did not burn well. Head to the Shell station and connected liquor store to get better firewood for $1 less.

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Kentucky Horse Park site 11

We arrived on Tuesday of Spring break and the campground was empty and trees in full bloom! All of the kids loved collecting pine cones and sticks for fires that we rarely enjoyed, it was just too cold and windy…..but half of the adventure is exploring. By Friday, these sites were nearly full.

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The campground had 2 very nice playgrounds that the kids loved to play on!

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The firepits were not as nice as the concrete fire rings at the Michigan State campgrounds. In fact, don’t count on the grill working. It was rusted solid! Luckily, we like using our tripod anyways!

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Cooking Hobie pies for lunch

Tiller thought he might enjoy one of our steaks!

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Steak time!

The absolute highlight was the ability to ride bikes from the campground into the actual Horse Park! Unfortunately, the campground folks told us we could take bikes anywhere in the park which is NOT true! Do not count on the campground folks to have knowledge of the actual Park itself.  You cannot ride bikes into the park, only in the Rolex area and showgrounds. Nonetheless, the stadium was totally empty and the boys had a blast riding in the stadium. The campground is located next to (and connected to) the Rolex cross country course. We loved looking at the course while riding bikes!

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Rolex Stadium jumping (Mounted games held this weekend)

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Rolex stadium

At the Rolex Stadium we enjoyed watching the Mounted games (pony division). Such a neat event and fun group of people!

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Dropping a cup in the bucket.

Pole-bending relay

Just down the road, via bike, we enjoyed the Spring Bay Horse trials. Cross country is off site, but the dressage and show jumping was right down the road from our campsite.

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Too many events to mention for the horse-minded. Spring Meet at Keeneland was a great time. Although we missed a few races due to rain, we loved the 3 races we were able to enjoy. The weather deters many from attending outside. To me, the rail is the only place to be! It was $10 for all 5 of us to attend (outside of the “Keeneland Breeze” and sodas we enjoyed). You can spend a lot more to wine and dine, but the thrill of the rail is very impressive. It’s also amazing to view the horses in the paddock prior to the races.

 

A close finish

Closing in

 

Mia and I are excited for the races to start!

Mia and I are excited for the races to start!

The amazement continues in Lexington! No trip is complete without taking a leisurely drive on the amazing scenic byway, “Old Frankfort Pike.” The views go on for miles and I have so many pictures of amazing farms. Below are just two of my favorite!

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If you love history and arboretums , I highly recommend heading to the “Lexington National Cemetary.” We love both, but also Geocaching. So we took some hints and tried to find a cache at the Henry Clay monument.  None was found, however, it was a great place to explore….and amazing in the spring.

As far as camping trips go, there was not much camping. We did more sight-seeing. And thanks to a friend, we were also able to enjoy seeing a beautiful farm in Kentucky. The 5 barns on-site were nicer than my home! The drive inside the farm was noteworthy, they must have miles of paved roads on just one farm. I was awestruck! This is just a piece of our trip that we enjoyed. Of course, no trip with children is without some mishap. Mia managed to come down with another cold and Mom forgot her nebulizer. So we had to make a few late night trips to get her meds (and another nebulizer that now resides in our RV, never to be forgotten). Overall, weather and illness could not deter the fun and beauty that is enjoyed in Lexington. We will be back for another spring adventure!

Time to bring out the RV | RV

I think we all have spring fever here as it is Spring break. I will say that nothing about this Spring break feels like Spring. We were blessed with a few inches of snow here in Michigan. Nevertheless, we are going to venture out and enjoy some time together as a family.

One of my favorite things to do is pack and prepare. It sounds odd but we really do like to get ready for an adventure. There is a lot to do before we head out, though. This particular “de-winterizing” proved to be no different as we found some roof seal failures to immediately fixed. Fixing a leak is important to protect your investment, preventing leaks is the MOST vital. We do love a product called “Dicor” that we use twice a year to protect leaks. Basically, you inspect the roof and add “Dicor” where you find any cracks. It’s self-leveling and can be used only when dry but at a variety of temperatures.

Damp rid is another product we love because it keep humidity down in the RV. We hang some in our closets and put the tubs around living spaces.



We also have a variety of checklists we use included to be sure our RV is in working order and ready to travel. Other things pop up as we go but below is a good start.

  • Check tire pressure
  • Install batteries
  • Dicor roof
  • Is the heat operational
  • Plug in fridge to be sure it is working well
  • Check necessary supplies
  • Check all compartments for leaks or evidence of mice
  • Start generator
  • Make beds
  • Change engine oil
  • Check antennas
  • Toss out Damp Rid containers

Then it’s time to pack up and hit the road! Many things I store inside for the winter such as liquids, glow sticks, medicine, food, etc. I also store sheets and blankets inside. Other than that we keep everything in our motorhome and make sure we set mouse traps. We also use Bounce sheets in cabinets to deter mice in the winter.

Is anyone else ready for camping season?

 

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