I can't wait for our homestead to start mass producing!
We currently have 14 blueberry plants, and every day they seem to droop more and more. Several have branches that are nearly on the ground covered with "green berries".
Unfortunately, though, our stupid chickens got into our garden. Okay...sure, it's my fault. I haven't put up a fence to keep them out. But still...stupid chickens.
We had a warm spell this last week and the garden beds dried out a little--more the top layer. But even so, the chickens discovered the dry soil and decided they needed a dust bath in it! So, after the dust had finally settled, we had lost several plants. It was very discouraging, many of them were so fragile, it didn't take much.
I'll have to post some pictures. We've got beans, peas, radishes, horseradish, carrots, onions, kohlrabi, and much more. It's finally gotten warm enough that we're seeing some growth. Oh to get our greenhouse going! Then, we can have starts and get sprouts going and the ground quicker.
My wife and I had to make a trip to Southern California for a few days. It was so much fun to see old stopping grounds, changes, and especially old friends.
As we traveled down I-5, you cross two "cow fields"--our kids were blown away at the sheer volume of cows cooped up. Katelyn said they are sad cows. Later, we saw some cows roaming freely in fields and her response was "look, happy cows." It's so much fun to see our kids desiring healthy and happy animals.
But what really rocked my reality was the reminder of sheer concrete for miles and miles! It's crazy to think about "an unthinkable" happening where power, water, food, or electricity being shut down in such a huge area! It would truly be awful.
Oh to come back to our little farm, happy chickens, worms in our garden, and (soon) food popping it's way from the ground. How I long to have a view that is nothing but green, fields, and no concrete! =)
So, as we try to prepare for the worst, as well as "being smart" preparation, one concern Bekah and I have is our water. Without the city water source, our well vital to potable water. Fortunate for us, our property has a well with a hand pump on it! Unfortunately, the pumping mechanism (whatever the technical term is) needs a new leather ring/seal. This part is only a couple bucks, but without it...no water! So, while talking with the guys at Lehman's
, they asked about the condition of the rest of the pump. Ya, well...the pump hasn't been used for quite a while. One reason I know is from the two large wasp nests I pulled out of it just to get this part out! Now, I'm not sure what the condition of the entire pump is in. Here's what the inside looks like. Can you say "nasty"?? My question is, what in the world are we to do about the bottom of this thing?
I've been told a vinegar solution is the best to clean it out. Another told me to dump about a gallon of bleach--yuck! Though I don't like vinegar in anything other than my salad dressing...I think I'd prefer it in my water than bleach.
Well, first things first. A couple-dollar part is much cheaper than pumps! So, I'll start with the one leather piece and see if we can't get some water flowing.
We'll be sure to keep you posted as we figure this one out!
So winter is trying to be finished and, a couple weeks ago, we got several inches of snow! What? The Willamette Valley is not accustom to snow. Our family moved from Sisters to get away from Spring snows. And here it was.
Of course, the kids loved it.
So, not knowing what to expect for future weather, we've been trying to stock up on wood. It was only a few days prior to this snow that we picked up a couple trailers full of wood.
Then, the snow hit...my parents call and say a monster Oak tree and three Douglass Firs that fell from the snow load. We also found two posts on craigslist.org about more trees that have been taken down and the owner wanted them removed. In all, we've got our hands on several cord of wood!
The other job we slowly chip away at (no pun intended) is the Willow that was dropped several years ago. This is the other piece of cleaning up the property. And, just for the record...if you didn't know...splitting and stacking wood is a lot of work!
But, now I understand when people call it Spring wood. Spring IS the best time to gather wood--it's cooler to work in, more time to dry out, and I can rest every other day when it rains. My poor body is old and aches.
Our farm has been, shall we say, neglected for several years. Okay, in reality, it's not in bad shape. Our landlord's son has been maintaining the property, but the house has not been lived in for a couple years. To start with, we want to create a little curb appeal. Maybe this is our city-folk mentality we're still trying to shed...or maybe we just like a better appearance.
Either way, it was mowing and edging day. Of course, one thing led to another and we had to stop part way through to cleanup limbs from the past several winters. Our poor willow tree has been dropping "whispies", grass grows around them, and along comes my mower. The quick mowing led to picking up willow branches and making a fun fire.
What to do with the grass? COMPOST!
I've got a descent pile of compost composting. Katelyn's job is to take out the compost, and with the grass mixed in, it has that strong "rotting grass" smell that she doesn't like. But, there's a great amount of heat being generated...so that's a good sign.
Straightening up the hard, the edges, and making the place is fun and all...it just takes a lot of work. In reality, I want our animals to be my mower, my animals to be my fertilizer, and my animals to be my tillers. So, maybe I'm just wasting my time. But, when I think of the lovely compost...I'm pleased!