Today, I worked on some project materials lists for our next few trips to the lumber store and listened to podcasts while I worked. Had a couple of good phone calls with my boys back in Ohio. This evening, I measured out a spot for our compost bin and scratched out a footprint for the first third of the final project. I’ve got a lot of tree roots to cut through and digging to get the spot level but the manual labor felt good.
Today is August 6th and I wanted to share with you our garden harvest so far, along with a few photos.
21 lb. cucumbers
4 lb hot peppers
2 lb. beans
13 lb. tomatoes
1 lb. trombocinos (we wanted to try one young)
65 lb. zucchinis
26lb of beets
Canning season officially starts today (for me). Today, starting with the first two straw bales of beets. Hard to tell from the photo, but there is just over 8 pounds of beets here. Will be a little less after cooking and trimming, so probably around six or seven pint jars. We shall see! We got more from our first two bales than we got last year. And there are four more bales full of beets ready for me to deal with after this. I’ll try to add some more photos as I go so that you can suffer through the cooking, peeling, canning process with me. Misery loves company! Ha!! (Seriously, I enjoy this shit.) ~ James
I haven’t had any issues with birds getting to my strawberries this year. Mostly because they’ve only just started ripening and I put plastic pinwheels in the bales to scare them off. Today, I decided it was better that the strawberries have protection from above. They can self-pollenate, but there are also gaps where a bee could get in and help out if they wanted.
As you can see, we’ve been busy making homes for our new additions. The adult rams have been moved to the lower pastures to work on those. Once these new sheep have passed quarantine, they’ll join our other ewe and the baby rams will be removed to their own pasture until breeding season.
The piggies are currently getting wire trained (they do not like the ouchie wire) and have a waterbarrel with a pig nipple to drink from.
The garden is coming along, though I am late getting my beans in. Tomorrow is another day!
Some of my starts had outgrown my indoor green house so I needed to move them outside. I needed to harden them off and I still needed to protect them from the wind, rain, and chickens. Cold frames seemed to be the answer.
I had never built one before but I needed one quick. I laid out four hay bales leftover from winter feed and set the plants inside on the ground. I have a piece of clear polycarbonate that I rescued from someone’s bulk trash day, a hardware cloth panel from a coop we took apart, and a tiny skid. The poly covers the plants overnight and when it’s chilly. The hardware cloth keeps the chickens out when I can take the poly off or it sits on top of if to keep the wind from lifting it. The skid provides dappled shade through the day and adds weight on windy days.
Cost of project: time
The piglets are growing fast and are going to need a little more space to stretch out. It’s not pretty and needs a tarp tacked on, but I can pull it with a rope and move it with the pigs.
This is the beginning of a greenhouse. There used to be a small tree and some flowers here but this is south-facing real estate and I need a place to put my starts when they outgrow the indoor greenhouse.
This is the first year I have made a concerted effort to start seedlings indoors. Other efforts were not as researched nor as prepared. This time, I followed the advice of Jack Spirko for using the mini-greenhouse and Barrina LED grow lights and Gary Pilarchik for tips on actually starting the seeds.
As you can see, it has paid off very well. 🙂
We harvested a little over 7 dozen Waltham Butternut squash last fall. We processed a bunch and froze them. They filled about half of our chest freezer. The rest, we kept in a box in a corner of the kitchen.
We have 2 dozen squash left over as of today, all still in good condition. Not to mention the squash waiting in the freezer. We lost a few to rot… maybe five? Not bad for 3 squash plants in straw bales.
The whole family of five pitched in and helped load and unload 70 bales of straw and place them into the backyard for our new garden. I’m so proud of our awesome kids and thankful for their cheerful attitudes while we labored.