i’m living

It’s been forever and a month since I’ve posted here.  For the record, I started some great ideas, and never finished them.  Does that count?  No.  Okay.  Let me say I’m living.  Sometimes better than others.  What is my point?  Everything.  Also, I’m in a weird and funky mood, so bare with me.

Farm first.  The piggies are off to market…all four of them.  We have sold our dairy goats because I have nursed five children and milked two does for three seasons. I really needed a lactation break.  We miss our gals, but they are loved on by a family with more time than I.

Homeschooling has been going well.  I really need to post some reviews on here and YouTube.  I’m loving our system with workboxes.  Some of our curriculum is worthy of its own post.  Would you like that?  Do you care?  I know you do because somehow with all my random rambling, you still come back.  *muah*  I love you.

Nick has a new career. UPS.  That’s a big deal.  We’re still praying he gets onto a permanent position after the holiday season.  He really enjoys the work.  The pay is good and the benefits are great for a family this size.

Our precious poodle Luke died about a month ago.  If you follow me on Instagram, you saw a photo tribute to him.  We all miss him so much.  Nick and I have confessed to each other never being this sad over a dog before.  It has been hard.  On that note we are looking into adopting a puppy in the near future.  Stay tuned for lovableness.

I have been busy growing my new YouTube channel.  Have you subscribed yet?  I would love your support.  I have lots of grand plans for getting back on track here.  Thanks so much for staying with me.  I appreciate your support and love always.

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humble homesteading: our garden prep

Over the years, I’ve attempted gardening on several occasions.  I’ve grown things in tiny peat pots, bought from the nursery, and direct-sowed.  Varied success has resulted.  This is our third spring here at the farm.  I think we’ve finally figured out what works for us and what works in our area.

First we till and make ditches.  Luckily, our neighbors are gracious enough to loan us their machine.  We then flood each ditch and fill in low points.  I also like this done because planting is easier when it’s wet.  It’s also better to plant in moist soil.

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Now for planning.  I like to sketch up the plan so I know what and where I’ll plant.

Planting time comes next.  After each row is planted I flood the ditch again.  Notice we plant in the ditch- not the hill.  This give the plant a great soaking.  The soil stays moist for 3-5 days (depending on the weather), and it catches all the rain during monsoon season.  We stomp the hills down to make a sturdy walking path.

We have a few garden boxes set up.  I’m making one of them the permanent strawberry patch.  Onions are in one, and the other will have pole beans soon.

We spent two eight-hour days in the garden this weekend.  I’m so glad it’s almost fully planted.

I filled the rows with seeds.  Every child had some part in the prep and planting.  Little ones love dropping seeds into the holes.  Nobody likes pulling weeds.  Me either!  IMG_1567IMG_1587IMG_1589IMG_1594

We have found through trial and error that I can’t grow peppers or tomatoes from seed too well.  I’m working on it.  For this year we decided to buy plants from the nursery.  I buy bulbs for onions and garlic.  Everything else is seed sown directly into the ground.  I’m worried about the carrots coming up.  I had no success last year.  Any tips for carrots?

Here’s our list of what’s in the ground right now:

pickling cucumbers, corn, tomatoes (variety), peppers (sweet and hot variety), bush beans, watermelon, cantaloupe, carrots, romaine lettuce, blue dwarf kale, zucchini, spaghetti squash, onions (red and yellow), garlic, asparagus, herbs (variety), pie pumpkins, and eggplant.

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By the end of next week I hope to add:

potatoes, blueberry bushes, raspberries, black berries, pomegranates, strawberries, pole beans.

What are you growing?  How do you adjust for your climate?

 

 

 

safe house for hens

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We have worked very hard this week.  We finally made a huge yard for our chickens.  After two years of them pooping on our porch, and all over the concrete barn, they are fenced in.  They are still free-ranging by definition.  The decision will also make it safer for them and easier for us.

I went back and forth about this.  I wanted them to roam, but I wanted them to stay out of my garden too.  They had free-range on our whole twenty-acres, then five, but they never utilized more than a hundred foot areas anyhow.  So space didn’t seem as important anymore.  Safety was also a concern.

There are many, many coyotes where we live.  We hear packs of them almost every night.  The hens now have a yard within a yard.  Double safe.  Now that they are laying solely in the coop, our Pyrenees dog Leia cannot eat their eggs.  That’s her favorite.

She is 100% trust-worthy with the hens, but boy does she love eggs.  She is patrolling happily, and making the safety of our animals even more secure.  She is a sweet and clumsy thing, but her bark is ferocious; she knows those coyotes are bad news.

The kids find it more convenient to check eggs when they know exactly where they’ll be.  Those hens used to lay everywhere.  In the hay, in the coop, in the back of Nick’s truck, in buckets, in twine, everywhere.  Easter egg hunts loose their excitement when everyday is hunting day.

Guess what?  I can now plant flowers to my heart desire too.  Things are always coming along here at the farm.  What improvements have you made lately?