Garden update – July 29th

The garden is still growing. I need to be a little more diligent in weeding. We’ve been getting a slow harvest this week. Its also located in a spot that retains water, so we are looking at making some improvements next season.

The tomatoes are coming in slow.

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I think my cucumber plants are done.

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The squash is slowly starting to come back again, i do have some babies on there.

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The peppers are slow.

Okra is coming in but slow.

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Look at that watermelon plant! I might need to get them off the ground, they look to be rotting.

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I am not sure if we will get any pumpkins off the volunteer plant or not.

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I am not sure if we will get cantaloupe or not- it is blooming with flowers- but I don’t see any little melons!

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The second potato bag is growing, i am going to wait a little longer and add soil so more plants have time to grow.

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How many chickens?!?

Currently I have 2 coops, and I have 2 separate ages of chickens. We have a friend that has a batch I am going to get shortly- but that means building another coop. Now I am trying to decide where to put it and how to build it.

In my one coop- which we are expanding the run on soon- I have my lone first chicken Spaz and I have 3 Golden Comets, and 3 Cherry Eggers. Spaz is about a year old- and the other girls are right at reaching 6 months old. Right now we only get one egg almost every day from Spaz, I hope the others start laying soon.

Spaz is still queen of the coop- although they are getting along better now. Once we expand there should be some more room for some more girls in here, once the reach a bigger size.

In the smaller coop that we just expanded with run space- I have 18 hens. Well I may have 17 hens and a roo- I am not sure yet.

They are loving their space, and I did take 2 pictures of my “rare” breed from the hatchery. He/She is so beautiful- has 5 toes and is tufted. It has gray-white feathers up top and then the back is red/green and black, and some feathers on half of it’s feet. So beautiful. I have 2 Buff Orpingtons, 2 Barred Rocks, and 2 Rhode Island Reds, they are the ones I may move to the big coop when they get a little bigger. Then I have 3 White Cochins- 2 passed on me right before we expanded the run, 3 White Jersey Giants- and 5 Easter Eggers, and then my rare one. I am thinking I may keep the Easter Eggers on their own and get a roo next spring. I am hoping to breed out and have babies and then be able to sell them. But in order to sell them, they will need to be separated so they don’t have barnyard mixes. We will see what the future holds- for now I just love them all the same!

 

To Can or Not to Can…

That was my question last weekend. I had some strawberries that had thawed in the fridge- so I knew I had to get those done. I had a bunch of cucumbers that needed to become pickles as well. My mistake was the middle of the day canning- I definitely heated the house up- but my problem is I am too tired at night to do it, so I wanted to make sure I could get it done. So onward I went. I ended up with 10 jars of jam and 8 jars of pickles. Well 8 jars of jam in the pantry and 7 jars of pickles in the pantry. We gave one jar to family, and ate one jar of jam, and then have a jar of pickles in the fridge. I am hoping that my cucumber plants keep growing some so that I can make another big batch of pickles.

We mostly eat slices- but this time I will try to spear some as well and see how it goes. I did happen to get some pictures of the process this time. The pickles were a little bit of a faster process but all I smelled was vinegar for awhile! I did use a different process to make the jam this time and it came out much better. I use my hand blender to squish the strawberries- so we didn’t have chunks, and we had much more juice stuff to be able to make more jam. So I will wait until this fall/winter and make more so it doesn’t heat up the kitchen so bad.

This was on Saturday so Sunday I made waffles so that we could enjoy our jam! I am using the mix we have left, and then we are going to delve into making my own waffle/pancake mix.  Yum yum!

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DIY- Trim Goatie Hooves

So this weekend, I attempted to trim both the goat’s hooves. Now this was quite the job and took Sheldon, Hubby and I to get this done! Sheldon had to watch to make sure that we did not get disturbed by the loose goat. I need to plan a little better- and make a separate area to do this- also a milking stanchion, but to later plans. For now I know the goats needed to be trimmed. A friend of ours has goats- and some people I know do not trim them at all! But it is like fingernails- I know they had to feel better after!

To plan- I bought a pair of these from Amazon- (Sorry Y’all- I did not get many pictures!)

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They worked wonderful- and look at all those uses!

I did watch a few YouTube videos and read some articles from other bloggers- maybe next time I will get more pictures and be able to post more. I did not want to take too much off- goats have quicks- so if you cut too much- you can make them bleed. Therefore they will need to be done again in about 4 weeks or so. Most of what I heard- you need to trim them every 6 to 8 weeks. It can prevent hoof rot- and more. I think this is more for show goats- BUT I know I don’t want them to get sick- and it looks like it almost hurt to have to walk on funky hooves- so maybe more for me than them.

They both seemed to be happier a little after- although they did not want to come near us for awhile. They don’t hold grudges long y’all. I found the easiest way to trim was Hubby helped catch them- one at a time- and then we rolled them onto their backs on his lap. It worked really well as they did not scream as much and they got loving as I was messing with their feet. I did the front first and then the back. I trimmed little by little and they probably needed more- but I started to see what looked like part of the quick/foot. So I will trim them again in 4 weeks and each time I will get better and soon become an expert!

They do seem to be happier when they walk!

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Look for that post soon! Also look for a goat expansion post and update- we may be adding more to the herd since Kevin and MJ are half brother and sister and really can’t breed together! I may let them have one set- BUT MJ is 7 months old, and Kevin is 6 months old.

Potato Bag- Part 1

So I ordered 2 potato bags to try and grow some potatoes. I am pretty sure I made some mistakes- so here it is- we tried to harvest some potatoes- since the rain battered the plants down- they didn’t get to flower. Mistake number one- Make sure the potato plants flower first!

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I did start another bag- and placed less potatoes in there- mistake number 2- don’t put a lot of potatoes in there- they end up rotting! So we are going to try this new bag and learn from the mistakes and go a little different!

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This was our harvest- most of them rotted! I only got 2 baby purple potatoes, and the reds were disintegrated! The germans seemed to do the best! Learn from the mistakes and work better next time! PLAN, PLAN, PLAN.

Mistake number 3- I added more dirt to cover too soon and didn’t give all the potato plants time to grow.

Let’s see how this next bag grows! I know I planted them late- but we can still see!

Any potato tips for me?

DIY- Poop Catcher

So safe water for animals is VERY important. We clean out and scrub the waterers for the chickens once a week. I need to deep clean the dog and goat waterer soon- but I digress.

We made the girls the cup bucket waterer so I didn’t have to worry as much about fresh water during the summer- well let’s just say they have a roost above the bucket- and it got covered in poop! OH, and how I worried it got in there- so cleaning the bucket was a must! I scrubbed it out- and the hubby and I made plans to adapt.

We rescued the metal trash can lid from the trash- and hubby drilled a hole and cut the handle- now I have a poop catcher yall! It looks so gross now- but no poop in the water! It will have to get scrubbed soon though!

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Garden Update- July 15th

So the garden has halted a little, dare I say. I am praying I don’t have a one time huge harvest- that would be a little much on my weekend homestead. A lot of canning would have to be done on the weekend!

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This is the volunteer pumpkin plant. We do have one looking like it is growing- but it also looks to be rotting! I hope we can get a pumpkin or two by October! It is taking over a good part of the yard!

The watermelons are blooming and spreading on the yard! It took me so long to train them to grow this way! I can’t wait for more to grow and so we can eat them up!

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The tomatoes are growing very much, the low ones are not doing well- they are rotting from too much water. It looks like they will all bloom at once! Uh oh! But still it takes a lot of tomatoes to make salsa!

The pickling cucumbers and the cucumbers. I think my cucs are waning! I am still getting some, and I hope the pickling cucumbers pick up some more- so I can make plenty of pickles!

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I was able to harvest 2 squash- I do have to do some weeding- but I was able to nurse it back to health! Maybe some more squash soon!

Peppers are still growing! I have been putting up the banana peppers to pickle. I did have to place some support on 2 of the plants- the rain has been kicking our butt lately!

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The okra is growing tall- but no harvest yet- and it seems the ants are taking over! I need to get them off my plants!

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I don’t know if we will get cantaloupe- we will have to see!

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The pear tree needs some trimming and love- but it is still blooming- I am hoping to make some jelly!

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The harvest from today- some pickling cucumbers- one baby tomato- 2 squash- one cucumber- some more banana peppers- and a pepper! Soon maybe soon!

How does your garden grow?

 

Weekend Update- July 9th

So we got a lot accomplished this weekend. I worked on Saturday, it was just half a day. When I came home, I checked on the garden and was able to pull some harvest out. This is not a complete picture but it is everything I have right now- we are working on eating and getting ready to can some.

The cucumbers- the banana peppers (squash is from a co-worker, mine is not ready yet)- and pickling cucumbers.

We got the whole burn pile gone- and also trimmed the tree near the garden some so that it gets some more sun. That brush got burned as well. So no more huge pile in my yard- yay!

We did 2 other small projects- those are posts on their own.

We also got the building cleaned out and reorganized. YAY! It still needs a little work- but at least we can walk in there- and we can find what we need. No before and after- sorry!

The babies- well they are not so much babies anymore- so next week we are expanding.

Life is never dull on the homestead! More projects for next weekend!

2017 Goals- June Check-In

So on this post here, I listed my goals for 2017. We will probably be adding more as the year goes on- but here is June’s check! Did you set goals? How are you doing? See the updates in red! Check out my progress- January Check-In February Check-In March Check-In April Check-In May Check-In

  1. Personal- Quit Smoking. It will save money and my health. This year I am dead serious on quitting smoking. I am also trying to make the switch from caffeine or other drinks to strictly water. That is a slow progression as I tend to get migraines when I lose the caffeine. (I have been drinking more water since it is so hot out and we have been doing some more work. The goal for July is to get down to only one 20 oz a day, and then I can cut from there. As far as smoking- no progress 😦 Maybe this month.)
  2. Quail-Finish the quail coop. We did get started with the coop- but it needs to be finished. We are also looking at buying some more babies. I would like to raise and sell eggs/babies. (I am looking to modify the coop- and then I will order some chicks, or hatch out my own. This is a fall project. We may not go for Texas A &M, I am having a hard time finding them local- or I may since that is the case.)
  3. Chickens- Build a bigger chicken coop- and get some more chickens. I have 2 separate breeds, and have not decided whether I want roosters or not. (I have 27 hens still- and the expansion is coming. We are looking at how I will separate the girls- and we may build another coop. I am not sure if I want to raise to breed or not. I do know we are looking at next spring doing a batch of meat birds.)
  4. Gardening- Start an herb garden. Plant some fruit trees. Start some seeds and a small garden to manage so we can save more money. ( The garden has been going great. I am looking at planning the fall garden and we will be doing some more planning for the Spring as to placement and a bigger garden!)
  5. Small Home Organization and Projects- Organize the shed. Clean out the rest of our stuff from my in-laws. Declutter a lot of stuff. We have a few renovation projects to complete, which we already have the supplies for. (We have organized the shed some. I will have to go through the holiday supplies, and narrow it down. We are looking at doing some projects in the fall since it will be cooler. We have also gotten the feed/garden shed which will definitely help.)
  6. Save More Money! (I am looking at options to do this automatically each week- and a different way to track this.)
  7. Food Preservation- I got a gift card for Christmas- so I bought a dehydrator. We will start with that. I am also stocking up on canning supplies so I can start with some water bath canning. I have a flat top stove- so we have to look and see if our model will allow us to can, otherwise I will find something else to do. ( We are looking at canning some pickles and more jam soon.)
  8. Cook From Scratch- Right now I am working on getting rid of some premade things in the pantry, but we will start slow with that and making our own bread.
  9. Rain Barrel- Get the rain barrel set up. This does involve buying some gutter guards- but we have material to build a stand for it to sit on. (We do have a basic setup on the barrel- it’s not hooked up to the house but we are looking at placement, and other options for the house. We are saving to buy some materials to continue this project.)

How are you doing on your goals?