Around The Home Update

Sorry I’ve been a little off schedule here lately. Lots going on. I thought I’d just give you guys a random update on the happenings around our home…

So, I’ve scheduled Ms. Porkchop to go to the butcher on this coming Monday. We still have no idea how in the world we are going to get her there!

I suggested to my husband that we lure her into the back of the pickup, and keep her in with a camper cover, but he made a good point saying that she would bust out all of the windows before we could even get out of the driveway.

Oh yeah. That won’t do. If we kill her before going to the butcher, it would make transporting her there much easier, not to mention save us the $30 kill fee. But I don’t know how long she can be dead before they get her. I’ll have to call and ask. We may be able to borrow a livestock trailer from somebody, too. It should be interesting, either way!

Between the puppy and a fox, we’ve lost all but two hens and Dirty Wilson. Now I’m only getting one egg a day!! That really stinks.

But, a friend of ours just blessed us with five more babies, so that will help, though I’m pretty sure one is going to be another rooster. If so, he will probably end up being our first home butchered chicken. It will be a while before the new hens start laying.

My husband has been working hard at putting up a new fence around the garden. Remember the cheapo chicken wire one we put up? Yeah. That didn’t work out so great. We bought some 4′ tall welded wire fencing, some 4×4 posts concreted in at the corners, and some metal stakes to reinforce between the posts.

It’s looking really good, and I’m so glad to finally have a proper fence around the garden! Plus, we’ve extended the garden area, oh, I don’t know how much, but it’s quite a bit larger than before. I’d like to fill the space with more raised beds.

There are countless projects to be done around here, as always. I’d like to have a nice chicken run built, and a proper coop, so that the chickens can still semi-free range, but be more protected. (I’m tired of losing my hens!) There are trees I want cleared out to make room for a small orchard. I have plans to terrace the slopes in the yard, so that I can use the space more wisely and create more planting beds. Ugh! I could go on and on.

Today we visited a farmer’s market, and I bought a bushel of green beans (more on that to come). I’ve been busy canning. It’s frustrating to have to buy produce from other gardeners, when you have a garden yourself! One day I’ll get there.

I feel so burdened with stocking our pantry with canned goods. I want to can SO many things! I’m really hoping my tomatoes do well, as I’d love to make a lot of ketchup, spaghetti sauce, and salsa in particular.

We’ve been enjoying my dad’s pool as well. I really want to teach the kids to swim by the end of the summer, at least Jada anyways. It’s such a blessing to have my dad just through the woods on the other side of the lake.

He’s far enough that we still have to drive, but it’s wonderful having a gorgeous pool all to yourself, surrounded by nothing but nature as far as you can see. An hour or two at the pool a few times a week has been a nice break on these hot days.

Oh, this morning I walked down to the lake to pick blackberries again. I was hoping there would be more ripe berries this time. When I got to the patch, I was disappointed to find that a bunch of the blackberries had already been scavenged by other creatures.

I bent down to begin picking what few ripe ones there were, when I suddenly heard a crazy, high pitched sound, kind of like a whistle, just a few feet away from me, and then a huge crashing through the trees. I jumped at the commotion, and stood there startled for a few moments!

What the heck was that?! I’m guessing it was a very large deer, though I’ve never heard of a deer making that sound before!! My husband laughed, and said it was Big Foot whistling at me, then running away. Ha ha, Jerry. Whatever it was needs to stop eating my blackberries!! I haven’t even picked enough to fill one canning jar.

Well, that’s my life at the moment. There’s a huge crate full of green beans calling my name, so I guess I’d better get back to work! Hope you guys are enjoying your own every day happenings!

8 thoughts on “Around The Home Update”

  1. the chicken tractor is so cool 🙂 I just googled chicken tractor and I got several different ideas…Thanks Caroline
    Kendra you have no idea how much I appreciate you doing this blog…This is my first year homesteading and I need all the advice I can get…Thanks

  2. I suggest a chicken tractor for your chickens. We had the same problem the first year. If you are very clever, make a tractors the same size as your raised beds then in the winter you can put them on the top to clean them out for you and add their own special fertilizer. A picture is worth a ton of words, but I will try to explain.
    We make PVC “hoop houses”, very cheap and simple. Make an 8×8 or 4×8 frame on the ground, brace corners. Then we put some long screws sticking up out of the top at an inward angle and set 10 ft PVC (the smallest, 1/2″ maybe?) over the screws to form an arch. cover the whole thing with chicken wire stapled to the wood frame. The door on the end is a bit tough, we sometimes just attach it at the bottom and bend it over securing it with a bungie. As long as there are no gaps it keeps out predators. Leaving an extra 1-2 foot of chicken wire hanging out on the sides keeps things from digging under and you can use it to stuff any gaps if the ground is uneven. Lastly add a couple of handles to pull it- one on the side one in the front. We use a piece of wire with a scrap piece of pvc handle so it doesn’t cut your hands as you pull. Add a laying box of some kind- an old 5gal bucket with the back partially cut out to grab the eggs and attach it to one of the front braces. I am sure there are pictures online. we use these for meat birds and the smaller ones for chicks. Put a tarp over at least half- the entire thing when it is cold or when used as a brooder. We just hold it down with step-in posts.


  3. Whatever you do, DO NOT kill your pig before hauling her to the slaughter plant!! Pulling a 300 pound literally dead weight hog into the back of a pickup, is no picnic! In this heat, the meat will spoil quickly, especially if you do not gut her. That’s why the old timers did theirs in the fall. Not to mention the flys and other crawlies!

    Also, do not feed her for a couple of days before you take her to the slaughter plant. It cleans out her intestines and helps the slaughter plant workers keep your meat a lot cleaner!! Of course, give her all the water she wants.

    The best way to transport her, would be to borrow a trailer. It’s always better to load them the day before you have to haul them, so if they don’t cooperate, you are not running behind. By not feeding her, you could tempt her with a little feed and she may hop in the trailer for you. Otherwise, build a sturdy chute out of pallets, old doors, etc. Have your husband use a piece of plywood to shoo her where she needs to go. (It works better if she can not see through the chute walls and the shooing board.) Be ready to brace the plywood so she can’t back up or turn around. Hogs are very strong, like little bulldozers. So be careful! You don’t want a broke thumb or hand!

    You’ll be so glad when she is dropped off at the slaughter plant and they call you in a few weeks to pick up your delicious home grown bacon, pork chops and ham! : )

    Hope this helps.

  4. Thanks so much for the update. We’re pretty busy here too! We’re having as many problems with our goats as we can handle right now.

  5. Wow, busy busy! Can’t wait to see what the green beans look like. I don’t have canning supplies yet, so I am freezing things.


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