So I am not going to take any pictures of the boxes- but I will list the contents. We have been so happy with the Homestead Box- and they have some amazing useful tools. We learn a new skill every month and add to our collection! Don’t forget to look at my past posts- and you can see all of the great boxes since we have joined! We get the Pioneer box- it is 110 a month- and it includes everything- but there are 2 smaller levels if you don’t want to invest that much either. It is such a nice surprise to get the box in the mail and get to open it and see what theme/surprises are in store.
So here is January’s theme- Tree Care.
This box worked out wonderful for us because we planted some fruit and nut trees in February. We started an orchard somewhat. There is a local farm that does a tree sale every year- and I have been saving and planning to buy a package. So we have 2 peach, 2 pear, 2 fig, 2 apple, 2 plum, 2 pecan, and 1 almond tree. We got those in the ground, and they start as bare root. Right now they are starting to grow leaves and we are oh so happy.
The contents in the package were as follows-
A Fanno 8.5 inch folding saw- 24 inch tree circles, the book How to Prune Trees and Shrubs, Monteray Fruit Tree Spray Plus, Monteray Complete Disease control, Falci Pruning shears, 2 24 inch spiral tree guards- and Jobes Organic tree spikes.
We are so excited to start an orchard and learn more about pruning and care for trees! So this was a great box, and we really enjoyed this since we were about to start an orchard!
This past weekend was a time of craziness- uhm fun- uhm it was quite a busy weekend. We didn’t really have plans since the girls just started back to school, and I have been sick. Saturday I decided we were going to go to a local farm a little while away and pick some peaches, apples, and figs. I love going to pick anything and was thinking about what I would do/can with all the fruit. Well- when we got there- because we have had sooo much rain lately- there weren’t any apples or peaches ready. But they had figs- so I decided we would pick some. We had to watch because the bees and yellow jackets and all kinds of stinging/flying insects love these bushes. I was a little worried- if I get stung I blow up y’all. I didn’t get many pictures- but Sheldon, hubby and I almost filled a bucket. We bought some more local honey and hubby wanted to try some new jams. I got a watermelon- so the chickens definitely enjoyed some of that as well- because why not share? I will be making some watermelon and fig jam this weekend I hope!
I took a nap- and then send hubby for some Chinese food for supper. Nothing delivers where we live- despite the fact we are about 15 mins from town, either way. Our little town used to be a bustling town and it’s history is quite interesting. We have a little general store- not much in it- but it has been here forever. We used to have a post office- but they closed it down a few years back. So all we have is the little store and a volunteer fire department. I digress- I went outside to smoke after dinner- and my poor puppy doo’s whole face was swollen- as in you almost couldn’t see her eyes. I freaked y’all! The after hours on the vet was closed- it was after 7 pm- so I had to call the Emergency Vet Clinic a few towns over.
My poor Dixie’s face- and this is after some Benedryl to stop the swelling. As I was talking to the Tech- we gave her some Benedryl and was getting ready to load her up. I couldn’t see any marks- so that means it wasn’t a snake or spider, that we could tell. I was so worried about getting there- I fell in the yard, dusted off. She is fine now- she got a steroid shot- and by the time we were home- the swelling was almost all gone. I was happy she didn’t look like a manatee any more. 2 more days of Benedryl though- she is good now- but oh how I was worried. This is my almost 12 year old baby! We have had her forever and she guards the chickens and goats like a champ.
Fast forward to Sunday, where I didn’t get up until almost noon! I was so mad! Half the day was gone! Got laundry started and we went ahead to Tractor Supply to get feed for the animals. I buy all my feed there. I finally decided to go to the doctor since I laid down for a minute and couldn’t stop coughing. Bronchitis- 2 shots- a breathing treatment- and some heavy antibiotics and I am just now starting to feel better. I procrastinate bad yall! And yes, I rushed my pet before I went myself- that is just who I am. We did go to Walmart after since I had to pick up a few things- and we don’t really have a reasonable grocery store here.
Needless to say, we had a very hectic weekend, didn’t get much work done- and I am still ready for rest. But back to normal- school is in session and we are finally starting a routine back!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
I don’t know if we will get cantaloupe- we will have to see!
The pear tree needs some trimming and love- but it is still blooming- I am hoping to make some jelly!
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?
Working hard in the garden these days..
The potatoes are doing great, although the storm knocked one or two of the plants over. I hope we get a good harvest.
I finally got my blueberry bush, raspberry bush, and my kiwi plant in buckets for now. A little late, but at least not wasted. I am hoping all the rain doesn’t ruin them.
The volunteer pumpkin plant is huge!
What is this? It was a volunteer plant.
Trellising is hard yall! Took me all day to get all this done. So worth it though, i will definitely plan better next year!
I believe this lil buddy is cilantro!
Can’t tell what that lil buddy is yet!
Got my first pepper yall! So exciting!
I hope hubby has been harvesting while i am gone. We’ve had cherry tomatoes so far, and now a pepper!
How is your garden growing?
But a peach tree!
So there has been this little tree growing on our property line, and I kept trying to figure out what it was. Well this weekend the neighbor was mowing his grass and stopped by- we advised him we were about to plant some pecan trees. He told us this was a peach tree, I didn’t even know it had buds! I am so excited and beside myself! How frickan awesome! I am going to have to stabilize it so it will grow straight and mulch, clean up under it a bit. It honestly looked just like a stick in the ground the whole time we lived here! I just left it there to see what would grow, and I am so glad I did! I just wonder how it got there! How awesome!
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 April’s check- in since today is May 1st! 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
- 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 less caffeine because it is hot outside and I get dehydrated quickly. Although thanks to the hubby for reminding me to drink! I have gotten on a shorter cigarette instead of the long ones. This week I am knocking one off of my morning routing and morning break at work. Little progress y’all!!)
- 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. (Having trouble finding some more of the Texas A and M, but I am determined. We did get her to start laying again! We are going to have to move the coop, and do some work with that!)
- 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. (The babies are doing well, and we are trying to get them integrated into the big coop as I will have 20 more babies come the week of May 8, post update coming this week.)
- Gardening- Start an herb garden. Plant some fruit trees. Start some seeds and a small garden to manage so we can save more money. (We have some major work done in the garden, and I am going to look at some more trees, and possibly replacing my rose bushes. I am slowly learning as I go.)
- 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.
- Save More Money!
- 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.
- 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. (I got rid of frozen fries, and am working on more things slowly. I think my goal will be one thing a month- so now I have to figure out what I am going to work on for May.)
- 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.
I expect yall to keep me on task with my goals! Right now, the weather has put a halt on projects. The much needed rain Alabama needed is here. But these are my goals for the next 2 or 3 months.
- Finish the quail coop. (So we can move Sunshine into a proper home. Plan is to get at least 6 more girls and one male so we can have babies.)
- Set up the rain barrel. (This should have been done already- but no biggie because we would have had to drain it soon so it wouldn’t freeze- and any tips on helping it not freeze would be helpful.)
- Rearrange the compost pile and finish the other bin for it.
- Make the plans for my bigger chicken coop. ( Plan is to get at least 6 more chickens, and 2 roosters, I may be separating the girls so I can eventually sell eggs or babies with their breed specific.)
- Clean out the shed- and reorganize it. (So I can store more things in there.)
- Help my mother-in-law get the shed and little house cleaned out. (Which means going through and decluttering some of our things- which may mean I find the rest of my Christmas decorations!)
- Make the herb planters.
- Plan out the garden.
- Order the fruit tree package from a local farm- they normally have a sale in January.
- Work on building a backdrop for the girls and us to shoot, whether it be arrows or bullets- we are going to try to practice.
I am sure this list will grow bigger as some things get checked off- and as the weather changes so we have more things to do. Do you have any plans for the next few months while the weather is cool and there is not much to do?
We discovered something neat a few weeks ago, we have a pear tree on our homestead. One that is already producing and has been here for awhile. We are still in the planning stages of where I want to put everything and getting ready to add to our homestead. I have started researching how to prune fruit trees. We are planning on getting some fruit and maybe some nut trees, but I want to do my research before we add some.
Want to hear a funny story about how I discovered I had a pear tree? We were standing outside talking about placement of the kids trampoline and swingset, when I told my husband- We should just cut down that tree and get rid of it. He looks at me and says that’s a fruit tree- I looked at him like he was crazy. So I walked over to it and we discovered it was a pear tree. So needless to say I tried one- it was so sweet and delicious. I am still trying to figure out if it is a canning tree or not. It was sweet, but the pears were harder and didn’t get soft like the ones you buy in the grocery store. But tasted just as good, well better.
And now I want to cry since I had the kids pick a bunch and fill a five gallon bucket up- well this momma had a brain fart and the bucket got left in the rain, so they all rotted. I do share it right now with the squirrels, whom seem to only want to eat one bite, and knock them onto the ground. Next year I will be more prepared to get them and actually can some or make some preserves. My wishlist of supplies is growing.
By the way, if you have some information about what kind of pears and some pruning help- go ahead and contact me. I am always up for learning!