Saturday, July 14, 2012

Finally, a Blog Post!

So, Friends, it's been a while since I've posted. And even longer since I've posted about the homestead! As you may have read in my previous post, I'm a bit laid up, so I haven't been able to do as much as I had hoped to this summer; however, chicks, kids and gardens still grow whether or not Mama is hale and hearty or down for the count!

Remember this little one? Jenny was hatched by Alice in April. Jenny wasn't one of
Alice's eggs, though. She was one of Fanny's, our Buff Orpington.

And this is Alice and Jenny, now. Jenny is in the background, not happy that
Mama is out having fun while she is still in the run.

Back in mid-May we received 12 "Easter Egger" chicks from our friends, whom we shared an order from a hatchery with. Unfortunately we lost one within an hour of receiving them. I'm not going to name any names as to who the furry culprit was that perpetrated the heinous crime of chick-icide, but needless to say Merlin was relocated to my husband's folk's house until the chicks were too big to snatch out of their crate.
Merlin: furry, cuddly bundle of love. Guilty of crimes against chick-manity.
11 little balls of feathers, just bursting with multi-colored egg potential!

"Why you let that vicious thing near us, lady? She bad, bad, bad! You wait 'til I grows up,
I'll peck her eyes out, I'll pull her whiskas out! I'll...I'll......I'll poop on

"Don't listen to her, she'll never remember a thing! 10 seconds from now she'll
forget that she's a chicken!"
Well, those little ladies have grown, too! They are very pretty, but are the true definition of "chicken"! As in, they jump, startle, huddle of run like crazy at every little new sight or sound. They are now outside in the "old" four wheeler shed where my DH put up some fencing so that they have their own little run. We tried to put them in with Alice and Jenny, but they made a big hog pile in the corner of the run and refused to move. Amazingly, they didn't kill the poor little one on the bottom!

This is Ashley (Named by Teddy Bear). She's the only lady without
a "beard", the fluffy feathers under her chin.
"I cannot bear to have my picture taken! {sob} I have a naked chin!"
Unfortunately, my DH and Wheels discovered that one of our ladies is actually a gentleman. Nuts! But we should have expected it. Last year, out of 24 chickens, 9 of them ended up being roosters. Not sure what we're going to do with him yet.

Now, my gardening goals had to be down scaled because of my surgery, and then again because of my second, unplanned surgery! But my DH really has been a dear and has weeded, watered and mulched for me with the help of his mom and Princess. We didn't get the yield I was hopping for on the green bush beans, but the corn and tomatoes are doing very well. We lost 3 hills of zucchini thanks to our flock of feathered garden marauders, but we used the space to plant some more bush beans. Here is the garden:
Box #4: Beefsteak tomatoes and bush beans. I planted marigolds in the corners of all the 4x4 raised beds to help with pest control. It really seems to be working, too.

Box #3: Big boy tomatoes, bush beans, carrots and basil.

Box #2 only bush beans and 1 straggly Roma tomato. I'm thinking of planting some annual herbs in here. I don't have as much basil as I would like.

Onions in the fore ground, before being weeded! Our corn, 3 varieties: popcorn, Ruby Queen (it has red kernels!) and regular sweet corn. This is our first year growing corn and I'm praying it does well. If not, at least we'll have cornstalks for autumn decorations!

This is 8x4 box #2. I planted bush beans, Roma tomatoes and carrots. The soil has too much clay, so it was a bust on the bush beans, but the carrots are doing well. We'll have to fix this bed before next spring.

The pumpkin and zucchini hills before being weeded and mulched.

A zucchini plant in the front and a pumpkin in the back after being weeded and mulched. We use newspaper with bark mulch to weigh it down. It makes a HUGE difference!

The spot in the middle that is bare of mulch is where my DH and Princess planted more bush beans. They have come up since they were planted.

My "Early Girl" tomatoes on the deck. I bought these as seedlings. I have 4 of these and 2 of Wheels' Roma's on the deck, along with herbs.
This 2 catnip plants that came back from last year. They are HUGE! I've had to cut 11 stalks off of them because they were shading their neighbors so much. My Darling Hubby bought me the impatiens after I had my hysterectomy. He and Princess planted them for me. What surprises me about the catnip is how shallow the soil is in the spot, yet these plants are doing better than the ones in my raised bed!

Wheels' "pizza" garden that he started from seed. All of the kids have "gardens" that came it kits that they started from seed. These are the only green peppers that are growing and doing anything! I really need to change how I start my pepper seedlings for next year.

I'm still hoping to can this summer. With the tomatoes I would like to make ketchup and tomato sauce. I'd also like to can green beans again, but I may need to but some from a local farm for that. I might also be able to can some corn if we get enough. The zucchini will be shredded and frozen for zucchini bread and I'd like to can some pumpkin.

So, that's what's "growin'" on here up on our hill. Hope all of your livestock and gardens are doing well, too!


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