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Posts Tagged ‘homesteading’

Husband and I are both new to homesteading, and pretty much all the skill necessary to do all of this stuff.  Neither of us have an serious experience with building things.  The skill saw purchase I made a few weeks ago has opened up my world in that regard, and I recently made the rabbit housing and some other small things around the barn yard.  It's been very empowering.  Well, yesterday I relinquished said saw to my husband who built two more raised beds for us! 

My friend Jess and I used her friend's dump truck to pick up some super loam (loam with compost mixed in), which will fill the beds, as well as the tires for the potatoes, as I'm determined to try that method one more year. 

I'm also going to spread some around the coops.  The coops are situated on the free fill I got last year from the State cleaning up the side of the road.  The soil isn't good, it's filled with salt and other road side "stuff", but it was free and did fill what I needed.  So I'm going to put some "top soil" on there so I can plant some wheat grass.  I decided to plant wheat instead of traditional grass.  It's an experiment, but I'm excited.

Dumptruck 

I did some thinning today. When I planted the spinach, beets, tat soi and spring turnips I seeded heavy, so they are all growing in very thick rows.  I needed to give them some room to grow so they will thrive and for the beets and turnips they need space to grow their root veggies.  I didn't finish all the rows, so I have some more to do tomorrow and the next day, but I have almost 1/2 pound so far! 

I cleaned all the thinned greens and will be frying them, as is, in some butter!  I did a small sampling of this last night, and it worked brilliantly.  Roots and all.  Easy, nutritious, fun and from my yard!  Let the harvesting begin.

Thinning

Hyacinth kindled!!  Hyacinth was bred and it didn't take the first time (with a buck who was unsuccessful with all the does he was bred with that session), and then she was bred again, and had a "false pregnancy" where she nested, acted like she was going to kindle, but didn't.  Finally, on the third breeding, all went well, she looked pregnant, she nested and pulled hair, and this time she gave birth to 9 little babies!!  They look great!

That brings the count to 42 born this Spring!!  Calliope is pregnant and due in mid June.  She is the next to go, so we have a little time before any new kits arrive!

I let Mama Muscovy and her happy hodgepodge out to play in the yard, today.  They were so cute.  Mama did a great job of showing them around, keeping them safe, and giving the Cayuga Drake "what for", when his nosiness got a little close for comfort.  She is a good mama! 

It's funny to see all the different size ducklings.  The largest 5 are only 1 week older than the others.  It's really amazing the difference one week makes.  The Solid colored are Cayuga ducklings and the Brown and Yellow are Muscovy.  They will be brown like the mom when they are fully feathered.  They will be beautiful!

MamaMuscovyProud 

MamaMuscovyGrass

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I've decided my mama brain cannot handle as much as I'm throwing at it, especially in my knitting.  I'm a pretty experienced and capable knitter, usually.  Lately, things have been going a bit awry.  I told you about the big one, but I started Buttercup, and have already made a few mistakes.  Grrr.  Okay, step back, and take a deep breath.  Time for a knitting cleanse.  I don't want to stop knitting, as I love doing it, and it's so portable and fun to do.  Besides it makes me a more patient person when I'm out and about having to wait in line, or for an appointment to start, and a less jumpy passenger in the car.  So, instead I'm going back to knitting 101 projects.  Small, Fast, Simple, Obvious Construction.  No brainer type projects.

My first, this fabulous wash cloth.  I love knitted wash cloths, but I don't love how bulk they can be.  I stumbled across a blog where the author shared that same opinion, and had a solution.  The Not Your Ordinary Knitted Dishcloth pattern was perfect, for my cleanse, and the finished product is just the kind of cloth I'm looking for.  I used some Baby Yellow Filatura Di Crosa Dolce Amore that I had sitting around, instead of buying crochet cotton.  It's so soft and delicate.  It would make a marvelous baby washcloth.  But I'm keeping this one for myself, for my face.  I'm sure I'll knit more of these.  They work up fast even though they are on small needles.

Washcloth

For when I'm over my cleanse and onto bigger projects again, this adorable Knitting E-zine has some great projects.  They are all free!  They look adorable.  Mostly little girl patterns, but they do have a little boy vest, a great knitted lobster and a mama messenger bag. 

Chicken update:  The Buff Orpington's are on their way from Mt. Healthy Hatchery, and should be here tomorrow.  The Dorkings are doing well, have full wing feathers.  I moved them and a couple guineas, to the big brooder pen I made a couple days ago. The Guineas all look good today.

Brooderpen

I made a brooder pen in my garage, instead of doing a brooding house.  I wanted to find a way to do this without spending any money, and I wanted to be able to do something with it when I was done.  This is what I came up with.  I had 2 boards, one plywood, another pressboard, both 4×8.  The pressboard is the back, the plywood I cut in half and used to make the ends.  I had another used piece of pressboard, that was big enough for a low front.  I divided the pen in half to separate my breeding stock birds (dorkings) from my meat birds (orpingtons).  I will have to add some height to the divider as they grow, and the front will have chicken wire across it when that time comes too, but for now, the 20" height is enough to contain them.  No money spent on construction! 

NewHome 

Don't they look happy!?

What will it be when I'm done?  I'm going to cut the back in half, and add (this I may need to buy) ends to create 2 3 sided square structures.  I'll put a pallet covered with chicken wire in the bottom of each, and chicken wire on the front, and use them to hold chicken manure/shavings/compost pile.  The wood will face the road, I'll paint them and all that will give me a nice clean, pretty yard, with easily accessible manure piles.  I have so many painting projects I want to do this summer.  We'll see if I actually get to them.

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Dad’s hat came out great.  It looks very warm and manly.  I hope he likes it.The pattern is from the book “Knitting with Balls”, the title is a bit much but it does have a few cool patterns for men, which are not as readily available as patterns for kids and women.  There is a sweater that I intend to make for Husband.

Tonight was my first mug of hot tea since last winter.  I love tea in the winter and it’s finally cold enough to switch from iced to hot.  My favorite tea still remains Shooshy La La Chai.  I wrote up a recipe last January for Oatmeal made with the tea, which is a delicious way to start a cool, crisp morning.  The tea is available from The Portsmouth Tea Company.  If you are not local you can buy it online, but if you are local you can keep an eye out for their new store front.

While drinking my tea I worked on a new project that I started yesterday.  I found this vintage baby undershirt pattern and the perfect alpaca silk blend, so I had to get started.  The yarn is just delightful to knit with, and the pattern is fun.  I started yesterday and have the front right almost done.  I’m also working on socks, and have decided that I need to make up another small project bag.  I have one that I bought on Etsy but have since found tutorials online, so I need to make up another.  The projects with the really small needles really need to be protected in my great big “purse”, which is more of a duffle bag that carries all my necessities, knitting, random toddler toys and of course my camera.

All this relaxing came after a busy day which culminated in a near chicken catastrophe.  We let the chickens out of their coop/run area to frolick on the property for about 1-2 hours before they go in for the night, which is about 6:30 now.  We have never done this when we were not going to be home, but after letting them out I realized I’d forgotten an important errand, so off we went figuring we’d be home shortly after the girls would go in the coop on their own anyway.

We did arrive home around the time expected and when I went to close the door I found that somehow the girls had broken their roost, so they were all huddled in the corner squacking and pushing to get be the one furthest in the corner.  Well, all except 4 that is.  2 were perched on a random piece of wood that sticks out from the nesting boxes, one was in the other corner, alone.  I’m guessing she’s lowest in the pecking order.  And I did not know it until I did a temporary fix of the roost, put all the nervous girls on the repaired roost, but we were missing one.  Elizabeth was not in the coop!!  I ran inside grabbed a flashlight and started to look on the road, fearful she had gone too close.  Not there, looking around I finally noticed her perched on a bent over stem of a sunflower, alone in the garden.  I was so happy to see that silly little bird.  I scooped her up, to which she seemed quite pleased, and placed her on the roost with the rest.  All 12 safe and sound, ready for sleep.

I had another, more fun, experience with the chickens today.  I opened the doors to the nesting boxes this afternoon to check for any late morning eggs and saw Eleanor in the box!  I quickly shut the door, after apologizing for the interruption.  About 45 minutes later, when I let the girls out for their afternoon frolic, I found an egg in that box.  It’s fun to know which birds are laying, as I haven’t known until now.  However, I did notice that there were eggs that were brown, but had white specks in them, and this egg did too, so not only do I know which bird is laying, I now know what her eggs are hers.  She’s a Black Australorp and the only of that breed we have.

I’m realizing I really like raising chickens. They get a bad rap as being stupid, and I guess there is no denying they have a certain deficiency when it comes to thinking through a situation, and are very much creatures of habit and instinct, but they really are neat little animals to spend time with.

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