Homestead update

While the rooster is plowing away on his hens, I carry pale after pale of water to the garden. We have several small plots and one that I am particularly caring for tonight. Fresh compost was spread over the top of a potato field. My wife needed her small pool cleaned out. So, why waste the water by dumping it into the grass nearby? I carried two five-gallon buckets time and time again to the rows of potatoes and watched as it traveled down the small trenches to the foot tall stalks that have grown over the last month. Its crazy to think that our last frost was in the middle of June.

There is a short list of plants that survived that ordeal. Tomatoes, potatoes, okra, pepper plants, beans, beets, radish, and strawberries. The plants that died overnight include; tobacco, peppers, bush beans, soy beans, corn, and tomatoes. In the cases where the same plant is mentioned different varieties handled the frost differently. The better boy tomatoes did better than the cherry tomatoes. Bell pepper plants didn’t do so well as the jalapeño. I was surprised to see Okra was still standing but maybe its those stubborn southern genes.

The soil is slowly coming together with fresh compost being added as the bins break down and are turned. Currently one bin is the home to volunteer cantaloupe. I also noticed that a rare blue butterfly is fond of the coffee ground tossed in and I have found their chrysalis hanging from the sides of the bin. When the lawn is moved large piles of fresh grass are added to the bins. The chicken runs are raked up and the coops cleaned out to added their manure to the pile. Then there are the rabbit cages. Our buck is a white and brown dwarf rabbit while the doe is a giant grey/ black variety that rivals the cat in size. Unlike the feces of most animals their waste is spread out over sections of the garden to break down with the weather.

After hours of work, planning, and designs the root cellar roof is still leaking. Three layers of plastic, a wooden framed gutter to direct the flow of water, and several inches of dirt did nothing to stop the incoming flood that continues by the entryway. My next option… build a metal roof over the cement one. The trial of the Hobbit roof is over and I don’t know how Bilbo Baggins ever kept his collection of maps dry while living in that hill.

The chicken massacre of 2021 finally came to an end after I ran netting over the top of the run. A hawk feather was found in the run after one of our grey chickens disappeared except for a fist full of feathers. It would appear this one put up a fight and was not going peacefully. RIP young grey chicken. Our current number stands at 16 and I think we will stay there for a while. The last four to have joined the flock finished their hazing phase and are now running around in the chaos. It will still be a while before any of the new chickens start to lay eggs.

In addition to the rabbits, we have there are the wild hare that run amuck on the property. There seems to be a large number of rabbits on our 15 acres and I haven’t seen any signs of coyote since winter. I’m not going to complain since rabbit taste better than coyote. We have partridge and turkeys as well. Only in a few cases have I see large flocks of turkey, lately the sightings have involved a Tom and a few hens. On rare occasions I will see a hen with baby turkey following behind. The deer are doubling their numbers again. The bucks have been busy with most does being accompanied by a fawn and the one doe with twins running around in my back yard. Even with all the gun shots I heard last winter the deer population doesn’t appear to have gone down at all.

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