Monday, May 25, 2015

Progress on the Homestead!

We've made a bit of progress towards getting the spring work caught up, but we didn't get competely there.

Friday evening:
A valiant attempt to come home from the day job early fell flat, but it was a beautiful evening even if it started late.  Friday is usually date night but De and I had several mini-dates through the week, and decided we'd had enough of eating out for the week.

The evening was spent getting some 2' tall chicken wire in place along the bottom of the woven wire cattle fence between us and the neighbor.  Some of the girls have been squeezing through the weave and roaming around the neighbor's yard.  They are wonderful neighbors (He's a cousin) and really don't care if the birds are there or not, but they have a relatively new young dog who is still very "puppy" and are not sure she is "chicken safe" yet.  Before I got home, one of the Red Stars had gotten stuck in the in fence and managed to rub off a patch of feathers under her wing, putting up a noisy fuss the whole time.  De and K (the neighbor lady) came to the aid of our avian damsel in distress.  Then somewhere along the line the puppy apparently got worked up with the chicken squawking and K's grandkids yelling, and took an obligatory nip at the bird.  We think she broke the skin, but there wasn't much damage.  De and K freed the bird, sprayed some Blu-Kote on her injuries, and held on to her until things quieted down.  The bird seems to be just fine, and K the neighbor is recovering nicely.  She felt so bad for the bird, we got texts over the weekend asked how the bird was doing.  In any case, we had the chicken wire and we got down to doing the job.

Saturday AM we cleaned out some more garden beds along with pitching the coop and starting another compost pile.  It was kind of one of 'those' mornings.  I had hoped to do a bit more mowing but the  tractor had a charging system warning light on and needed some 'love' it wasn't going to get that day.  I needed to do some tilling, but the tiller had a flat and I could not for the life of me find the tire inflation attachment for the compressor (I now have three and a desire to find a manual pump) so that section of the garden got worked up with the hoe.

Saturday afternoon we went into town to pick up chicken feed, a bale of pine shavings, and garden plants.  Sadly, late May is early for us to get the plants in.  Usually it's mid-June and finding just the varieties we want can be challenging, so we often settle for "that ought to be fine".  The good news is, at least this year, the other folks in the county are worse slackers than I am and we got all the varieties of all the plants we wanted.  We came home and got the plants in their newly 'made' beds, and also the opportunity to feel every last muscle we had that evening and the next morning.

That means we have in the ground:
  • Potatoes
  • Onions
  • Peas
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Egg Plant
  • Brocholli
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Cabbage
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Green Beans
  • Strawberries
  • A bunch of herbs
To go are:
  • Corn
  • Carrots
  • Parsnips
  • Beets
  • Zucchini
  • Yellow summer squash
  • Stripetti Squash
  • Butternut Squash
  • Cantelope
  • Maybe kale

Never seem to have a problem getting a team to fall out for bed clearing duty!!

Our first year for sweet potatoes.  We haven't a clue what we're doing.  Six starts (slips? plants?) in the ground.

Getting the tomatoes in!

The 'ol man taking a "breather"

An 'off' day spent worshiping in the morning and enjoying time with family.  No garden work got done, but we're both ok with that.  Family time is great and we need a day to 'heal' anyway.

Monday (today):
The tractor got fixed, the tiller got fixed, we got a few more seeds it the ground, and some of the garden tilled up before we got rained out.  We used the day to go a local Amish/Mennonite dry goods (and cheese and some produce) store where we stocked up on some need grocery items.  Then we went to an Amish/Mennonite hardware store and picked up a combined Mother's Day/ Father's Day gift to each other.  We bought a 'hand powered' reel mower.  Not real as is 'actually exists' (or the 'real' apposed to 'imaginary' for all you math and science folks).  Reel as in the blades are curved reel instead of flat.  We wanted something to mow a bit of the lawn near the house without having deal with a pull starting push mower or the tractor with the 60" deck.  Odd I know, but its a wonderful thing and we love it!

De with out new "Power Tool" - People power,  that is!

In other homestead news, Houdini (our escape artist) the Easter Egger has gone broody!  We're letting her set on three eggs, one of hers and two Red Star eggs, and will see how it all works out.  We haven't had a chance to candle them yet.  We see Fred (yes - he's still among the living) doing his rooster thing with the Red Stars and Orps, but not so much with the Easter Eggers.  I'm scrambling to get something around for her to hatch her eggs out in, since the nesting boxes sit about 18 inches off the floor of the coop.

Houdini all puffed out and doing the Mother Hen thing

With all the garden work and shopping and all, I still took a few quiet moments to remember friends from the Corps who never made it home, and all those gave all for the country and the rest of us who stood shoulder to shoulder with them.  Semper Fi, my Brothers and Sisters, from all branches!!

All in all it was a good weekend.  I'm looking forward to the time when the homestead can be my full time endeavor.

Col. 1:9-12,



  1. What a wonderfully busy weekend. And I always so enjoy your chicken helpers! It's not a post without a photo of them---keep em coming. Always good for a chuckle.

    I sure hope you don't have problems with the new dog. I've read so many posts where it ended up with a chicken slaughter. Keep a good eye out on your garden helpers. Hopefully the chicken wire keeps the girls in and the dog OUT.

    1. Sue, it was a wonderful weekend. No problem keeping pics of the chicken work crew in the blog, if I'm doing my thing (or ANYthing for that matter) I've got 'helpers' right there.

      I think the dog will be fine, but it's true you never really know. the chicken wire is helping, we put a hog panel in a open area that eventually get a gate so that helps some. The challenge will be the dogs (ours and theirs) kind of share running around the farm. She can come in the "back way" out the fields.

  2. Don't know how to break this to you, Mark, but when homesteading is your full-time endeavor . . . you're days will seem even shorter! (We're still trying mightily to figure out just why this is so!)

    The soil in your raised beds looks wonderful. Sure wish we could grow all those tomatoes up here by us. All we need is one good-sized hoop house! Someday, someday . . .

  3. You all have made fantastic progress. The garden looks really, really good. And so is your broody hen.