Catching Up…


I’ve fallen so behind on everything that’s been going on around here. There are so many things I want to tell you about, and so little time to actually sit down and write it all out!

We’ve added 12 new chickens to our flock; 11 hens and one rooster. They’re Buff Orpingtons, and are the most gorgeous chickens I’ve ever seen! I’ll introduce you to them soon.

We’ve built a new chicken coop, and are almost finished with the run that is attached to the back of it. It’s really more of a yard then a run really, being approx. 30 ft x 16 ft. We’re covering the top with chicken wire to keep the hawks away. I’ll post pics of the whole thing, and tell how we built it when it is completed.

I’ve been busy canning a lot of firsts. There are still several recipes I need to share with you. I am waiting until I’ve opened the jars and tried the contents first though. I’d hate to give you a bad recipe… like my spaghetti sauce one!

I’m way behind on updating on how my garden has gone (or how it went!). We did really good this year with cucumbers, got 15+ pounds of tomatoes (though mostly cherry tomatoes), and a few small carrots. The melons all rotted before they were big enough to pick, the pumpkins never even grew at all, the corn was teeny tiny, and got eaten up by the bugs or dried out before we could get anything, the green beans were destroyed by bugs, the chickens dug up all of the lettuce… all in all, it was at least better than last year!! I haven’t dug the potatoes up yet, but I don’t expect to get much from them.

We got a rabbit recently. Gonna try to start raising them for meat.

Let’s see, what else…

Projects galore:

  • Fence in a large area for future goats and put together a shed my grandpa gave us for a goat barn.
  • Take the pig to butcher.
  • Clear out some small pine trees to make room for a small orchard.
  • Plant cover crops to help build the soil over the winter.
  • Terrace the slopes in the back yard for more planting area.
  • Move and enlarge my clothes lines.
  • Get the water stove hooked up and running.
  • Sew grass.
  • Build an enclosed area for the rabbits to range in during the day.
  • And on, and on.

And then there are the loftier goals, like digging a root cellar, constructing a green house out of old windows, and building a summer kitchen. But these things are years away.

I’ve had to force myself to slow down long enough to do school lessons with the kids every day. Sometimes it’s really hard to do! I haven’t been to visit anybody in months, though I do keep in touch with my other homesteading friends via the phone. Just staying busy with my day to day jobs.

Jerry has been trying to stay busy working as much as possible for his part time job, and trying to pick up side work here and there. I’m watching our financial cushion slowly deflating. It’s so easy to allow yourself into denial and to continue spending like that money will always keep coming in. One more month and we’re gonna really have to pull in the reins if things don’t pick up from here.

That’s it in a nut shell. As time permits I’ll talk more about these things and more in depth.

What have you been up to lately? Any special projects going on at your place??


Kendra
About Kendra 1103 Articles
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.

8 Comments

  1. Sounds like you are progressing even if you’ve had some setbacks. I’ve had to learn to look at my small improvements as progress instead of thinking of my long list of projects to do.

    Our small progress: We have cleaned a lot of redneck trash (broken lawnmowers and bicycles) out of the yard, gotten the Louisiana lilies planted along our weeping field line spots and the ducks are growing although they are not laying yet.

    Tell us a lot about the rabbits. That’s something I’m considering doing, too. And keep us updated on the chickens, too!

  2. Another idea for winter treats for the chickens–We plant a lot of the big sunflowers in the summer. When the heads are all dried out later in the fall, we cut them off and just keep them in an open container in the garage and put one in the chicken pen every once in awhile throughout the winter. They love eating the seeds! If you keep one back, you’ve got seeds to plant the next year’s patch.

  3. P.S. Mrs. D. mentioned beets…here, in Indiana, we have found that you can leave beets, carrots, and potatoes in the ground, if before the ground starts to freeze, you cover them with about a foot of straw. For the carrots. you’re supposed to wait until the tops turn brown (die) then cover. We harvested potatoes this past winter until March when we ran out. The thick layer of straw prevents the ground underneath from freezing and acts as a sort of root cellar for the crops. We also planted a lot of mangels this year.

    “Mangels (also known as stock beets) are considered too coarse for human consumption but are grown for stock feed.”

    They are a root crop that look like very large beets. Chickens like to eat them. Like the other crops mentioned above, you can cover with a thick layer of straw and leave in the ground, then you have them to give to the chickens throughout the winter to munch on.

  4. We too have been very busy. My blog has suffered this summer because of that. My grandson came July 4th and stayed 5 weeks with us. He’s 8 years old and it was so much fun having him here, though also lots of extra work. The garden did very well, thank the Lord for that, and we are working now at getting everything in before frost… except the beets.

    The only thing I canned this year was peach jam. Had plans to make pickles, but the cucumbers froze in the back of the fridge 🙁

    They are predicting frost for Wednesday night, so went out and got 1/2 of the squash in last night and will do the rest tonight after we go vote.

    So far we have put up in the freezer
    15 qt green beans
    10 qt shell beans
    1 qt dry beans
    plus we’ve been eating beans, tomatoes, summer and zucchini squash.

    We still have LOTS of winter squash, and LOTS of beets to put up.

    After butchering we had 275 lb of chicken in the freezer too.

    We’re thinking about asking a local farmer if we can go halves on a beef cow next year. We also would like to raise a couple pigs… one for the neighbor and one for us. They have said they’d be interested in that and we heard if you have two they grow faster because they compete for food. Also that way if they smell bad our neighbor will be thinking of future pork chops 🙂

    We’ve been trading eggs for milk from the same farmer and I’ve been making yogurt.

    I admire all you do with three little ones. I have enjoyed reading all about your successes and “challenges”. I hope the spaghetti sauce is a huge success this time for ya.

    Have a great day!

  5. Sounds like you’re keeping busy, but slowly making progress on the homesteading front! It does take time, as we have learned. We’re still adding young fruit trees and learning what garden veggies we need to plant more (or less!) of, although we’ve decided it’s better to end up with more that we need than less. The pigs and chickens will eat the extra, and we can also take stuff to one of our local soup kitchens, which are all feeding more and more people on a daily basis every day. They especially like to receive eggs, since it’s such a versatile item that can be used so many ways. The one I like to give to is currently giving out meals for about 100 families every day, plus there are a few more local food pantries doing the same. I’m just glad we’re able to give instead of needing to receive. We have Buff Orpingtons and have been VERY pleased with them. They are good layers, and also a larger variety if you need to butcher for meat. We added a young Buff rooster this summer, and he has been great (although really big!). He has never been aggressive at all when I’ve been in the yard with them. Like you, we are continually making plans for what else we want to do or change in order to become more self-sufficient. That’s great that you’re able to work on getting good pens/yards for the animals made. Having secure pens is one of the best investments to make. It’s a little bit of an investment initially, but so worth it. Like you, we have a chicken run that is actually a yard, and we’re getting ready to make it even bigger. They’ll be able to be pretty much free range without actually being free range! We also saved up and built a high tunnel a couple of years ago which greatly extends our harvest time. We had leaf lettuces up until Jan. 1 this past winter, then more ready to eat again by the end of March (we live in Indiana). It was somewhat of an initial investment, but we have never regretted it. You make it back in the produce you are able to grow earlier and later in the season. We haven’t tried goats yet…maybe in the future. We are constantly working to build up our soil, and have even bought loads of good composted soil from a local site that makes different types of soil and compost from yard waste, etc. We started out with very clay-like soil, and it is amazing the difference in the size and yields of our plants that are now being grown in the “good” soil! Again, some investment up front required, but necessary if you want to get decent harvests. Unfortunately, that’s been the hardest part, trying to save money for these things when there’s not usually much extra to spare, so it takes time and you just have to do things the best you can as you can. Anyway, this is way longer than I planned–mostly I wanted to tell you that Buff Orpingtons are a great variety of chicken! Have a great day!

  6. I know exactly how your feeling and I’m not even doing half the things you are! I told my husband the other day that I cannot wait for the first snowfall. No more mowing, pulling weeds, trimming. I can just stay cooped up in my house and hibernate, and complain about how I wish this snow would go away! I’ll say some prayers for you!

  7. I am praying for you and your family as you go through this time that money is tight. We have been going through the samething. I just have to remember God is in Control and this is happening for a reason He knows what He is doing and He will provide! 🙂 Thank you for your updates, can’t wait to see the chicken coop. How exciting! Have a wonderful day!

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