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When life bites you…

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… bite back.

Sorry for not updating in a while, things have been crazy around here. Silver spent a week in the hospital due to his toe getting infected (after 2 years of a wound not healing isn’t being diabetic fun?). Then we have spent every Tuesday heading back up there to see the foot doc there. Silver’s a vet so he has to go to the VA hospital and it’s a 3 hour drive one way. so any trip up there is a waste of a day.

Our pig caused us some major problems since that day and a person who attends church with my girls came by to put up a hot wire to keep her in her pen. So it makes her learn how to climb out of the pen. After this occurred we could not keep her in her pen at all and all kinds of fun started happening.

She:

invaded the neighbors yard

ate most of my garden

ate 6 chickens (broke into their pen)

started swimming through the septic pond

So, unfortunately when we discovered her eating chickens we had to put her down and with her swimming choices we could not use the meat. We’re hoping the pot bellies don’t have as many issues, the “church guy” has been pig sitting in exchange for 2 of the castrated males.

My peach tree has given up sometime after we got flooded last month. The apple trees seem happy however though. I am digging up whatever the potatoes have produced, I am not expecting much as they all died off during the rain too.

After all the rain we lost a goat, one of our females once all the deluge stopped looked like she was ill (I think she had a cold from all the water). It was a pity as we had hoped for babies from her as it was our milker. On a good note however Momma gave birth on Saturday to a healthy young buck. This morning I spotted him starting to play, so we’re glad he’s doing good. I need to retarp the goat house today however as we’re due rain tonight and tomorrow.

We picked up a injured kitten from an abandoned house a couple days ago, he has a bad leg. We also discovered he had a screw worm in his cheek, we pulled that out Saturday once we found our tweezers. I have to spend the next few weeks trying to take my garden back, as once strawberry started going after it I let it go wild hoping to salvage it. My cucumbers are ok and my sunchokes though she pushed the stalks all down they are still alive.

Hope things have gone well for you.

Be Well, Be safe, and Blessed Be…

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Life and Garden Update!

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So sorry for not posting in a while.  Life is hectic, strawberry is still getting out of her pen so she now has a date with the freezer.  Won’t be till close to Thanksgiving but still.  The “last straw” is when she got all the way to the front of our property and to get her back Silver made a chain leash to go behind her front legs so we could at worst drag her back.  Well.. she dragged him.  Not good for a 56 year old with RA and diabetes. *sigh*   Also doctors put Silver on insulin, odd thing about that.  Last few mornings with his shot the night before his blood sugar has run high.  Last night he forgot to take his shot and is was much lower, go figure.   Sadly however, his toe is no better and might  actually be a lot worse.  So bad it might have to be amputated.  We’re waiting on the VA  to contact the podiatrist so he can go back to seeing him.  The VA drives me nuts sometimes.

Another downside, for those of you who know.  While I am trying to get us “food sustainable” here , right now we are not.  Also because of living on disability we get Food Stamps.  We just went up for re certification, was told a worker would call for an interview here back on Friday at 9am my time.  Ok, no problem.  ..yeah, I sat in the house all day waiting for that call.  At about 10 am I tried to “talk to a person” via their various phone numbers.  Yeah, nope sorry.  Seems you can’t talk to a person, but I did wind up leaving 2 messages on their  “person call worker” interview option.   So it’s possible we’ll lose our food money.  Plus side is it’ll be when our garden is producing and we have eggs so I’m not terribly concerned.  However it irks me.

As for the garden…

I have PICS!

This is my acorn squash, we are hoping to have a lot of these for this winter, I have put some marigold seeds in the center to both attract pollinators and to make the insects that don’t like them to run away.  Funny thing is I planted these about the same time as my zucchini and look…

Definite difference in size there.  The zucchini  is smaller right now.  Though I know it will catch up eventually.  We’re planning on drying over have of what we produce of these for animal feed this winter.

Here is one of my bunches of snow peas (I got my first pod off them this morning!), they are loaded with flowers though not many pods just yet.  I’m hoping they finish before the Cherokee purples and the lemon cucumbers get too big or the peas will be coming out.

Speaking of the tomatoes…

If you can see, just past that pea is one of my tomatoes.  They are starting to flower already!  We’re definitely waiting on these to produce fruit.

This is one of the bell peppers, it’s also looking like it’ll flower soon even though it’s not very tall yet.  I am debating pinching the first flowers off to let it grow more.

My pole beans have sprouted, we’re hoping for a lot from these for chili making this winter.  Also this is one of two varieties of dry bean we are growing.  I planted tiger’s eye as well.  They grow as a bush however and can also be eaten as a green bean.  I don’t have pics of those as they only just started coming up.

Here are the cucumbers I planted for pickling.  If we have an over abundance of the lemons don’t do well we’ll be eating these too.  They were planted next too the pole beans.  I am thinking of growing some kale for the rabbits and the chickens for winter on the other side of these.

Now, this “mess” is my spinach patch.  It’s really taking off after the rains we got this weekend.  Seems to be very happy.

These, would be the sunchokes.  They seem to be a prolific as I have heard and seem to be growing just fine.  That is a two foot stake in the foreground, so you have some prospective.  I have discovered that I have a few surprises in my sunchoke bed however.

Apparently, there were some tomato seeds in the chicken manure I added to this bed.  I staked two of the tomatoes this morning.  However, it seems there are five plants growing in my sunchoke bed and they seem very happy.  So I will let them grow where they are.  Also I have no earthly idea what kind they are as I  grew three different kinds last year.  So I will wait and see what they produce, here’s to hoping they are edible at least.

I thought I’d share this.  It’s one of the wild roses from around here.  Seems all the blooms came out white on the roses this year.  It’s wonderful to walk past this and take a deep breath in.  I do wish I knew why they all are white though.  Last year they were all pink, so maybe it’s yearly change?

Oh one of the rabbit moms had her littler and it seems she had between 6-8 babies, they have a date with the freezer in 2 months.  (yes i eat my rabbits and if one bit you they wouldn’t be cute anymore)

Well I need to head back out and weed some more, happy gardening!

BE Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be…

Sunday Morning Chit Chat

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Good Sunday morning (for those of you in my neck of the woods). We’ve had a fun weekend so far, my girls were both gone yesterday morning. One went turkey hunting (didn’t see anything of course), her first time hunting too. The younger one was on a choir competition trip for school after which they went to 6 Flags. We have moved my birthday present (3 tractor tires) out to the garden and have started filling them with soil.

Friday I think it was I planted some bush green beans, in another week I’ll plant more. I am planning on putting cantaloupe’s into one of the large tires. The tomato bucket Silver set up, the tomato is starting to curl up and you can tell it’s growing. Still have lots of hope for that plant. WE were suppose to have a week of rain and it didn’t happen most of the rain had missed us so I had to water my fruit trees for the first time since planting them.

We set up a sprinkler we bought a month ago this morning. We had bought two of them but we discovered one of them didn’t work. So right now as I write this I have a sprinkler watering my garden. I do know that technically watering passively near the base of the plants is suppose to be better, however Nature waters the Earth from the sky so I personally feel as long as I make sure I water early in the morning (like before 10 am) and the sun light isn’t strong the plants should be just fine with overhead watering.

We have almost used up the truck load of top soil and all the composted sawdust we have on hand. I am hoping we can go tomorrow and get more sawdust, however we are suppose to help out a neighbor get his log splitter back from the mechanic so I don’t know if we’ll have the gas to do both before Friday. Helping the neighbor when we promised too is more important in my mind anyway.

I should be starting to pull lettuce out of my garden today as well as some spinach, The spinach isn’t doing as well as I thought it would but it might just be the amount of water it has had so we’ll see. I’m waiting on my transplanted tomatoes to put on some new growth, I am glad they haven’t wilted as they were very leggy. My peppers seem to be happy even though we had some cold nights. Thankfully none of the nights was below or at freezing, however we did brush near those temperatures.

Getting some greens out of the garden now is going to be a good thing as Silver had his yearly check up and the Doctor at the VA wants to put his on insulin because he’s not keeping his blood sugar down. Well since we had to tighten our belts when it comes to buying food lately we’ve haven’t been eating good for a diabetic of late so food from the garden means it’ll lower the blood sugar amounts. I have discovered watching his testing that is the heavy carbs are cut out (rice,pasta,potatoes) and only have nice healthy veggies (mostly greens) and a nice piece of protein his blood sugars run almost normal. I just have to be diligent with it and make sure he doesn’t cheat any.

Still waiting on our goats to give birth, and since I’m not sure when Oreo got them pregnant I am going to be surprised. I have ducklings coming soon and in a couple weeks Strawberry will have a new pen. We still need to find her a boy friend though. Why is it people always are selling what you need when you can’t afford it?

Well hope everyone has a good Sunday.

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be…

Looks like a short Work Week

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Seems we’re going to have rain all week starting tomorrow, which means no mixing dirt for plants as it’s to hard to do when the dirt is mud.  So we’ve been working our butts off this morning trying to get as much as we can done, thankfully it has been cool out today.

Hey Dogwood season is in full bloom:

I was worried she wouldn’t bloom this year as she didn’t last year, but see.  She’s putting a good show on this year for us.

So today’s work started with a tomato in a bucket, which if you haven’t heard of them is you grow a tomato in the bottom of a 5 gallon pail hanging from something so the air can flow around it good and no need to stake.

We picked up a “patio” cherry tomato yesterday:

It’s very dense in growth and has some flowers on it already, I am hoping it’ll be good for snacking tomatoes for Silver and the girls so I can can the garden ones.  So for starters you need a 5 gallon bucket with lid, you flip it over and cut a hole in the bottom:

So you do need to know that if you are doing a started plant that is firmly rooted (like in a peat pot) you make the hole smaller than the diameter of the whole pot.  Just big enough to fit the plant threw.

You do need to be careful when feeding the plant threw the hole to make sure you don’t yank too hard on it.  Oh, we are doing this across two sawhorses so we can stand the bucket up for filling without hurting the plant in the process.

The soil you fill the bucket with should be fairly “airy” so it won’t turn into a rock over the growing season.  Which would not be good for the plant:

This soil is half topsoil and half sawdust which will also retain water in dry spells here.  Now once Silver filled the bucket past the bottom of the peat pot I dug out some egg shells to crush in and he got some wood ash and sprinkled it over it.

So after that we filled it the rest of the way (eggshells are for calcium to prevent blossom end rot) to the very brim so that if turned over onto it’s lid (don’t for get to put the lid on) it’s not shifted any.  Now if you have a plant that was in a say “six pack” or doing it from seed you’ll need to leave it inverted until it is rooted well enough it won’t fall out when you turn it over again.  We left our’s inverted while we figured out how (as in with what) we were going to hang it.

We’re hanging it from the outdoor kitchen and we have no eye bolts nor do we have any strong hanging brackets right now.  However, we do have a bunch of nylon belts with the double metal pieces that is the buckle.  Effectively strapping so we strapped it to one of the 2X4’s on the outdoor kitchen.

That location should get enough sunlight for it to grow well.  It is now done aside from it growing, make sure the lid is no longer attached as that is how you water the plant.   I am thinking of sprinkling moss rose seeds over the top of the bucket as they do trail and it should be pretty as well.

..hmm this is turning out to be a long post.  But oh well…

My garden is moving along nicely.  I had a Oh my Gods moment over the weekend as my tomato seedlings started drooping and were getting burnt by their light.  So they went out into their bed.

They did get a bit of a hair cut though as they had gotten leggy and I needed to bury most of the stems, good for more roots so they should grow very well.  though I do see after planting (only half a bed full) why I’d want 25 for my size family.  ..and here I only had twelve to start with.  The bell peppers went into the ground too because for some reason they were bending over, I never experienced that in peppers before so i rushed them out too.
I do wish they were bigger before planting them but It happens.

When we got the cherry tomato I picked up a couple more plants that I wanted as well, first up is an egg plant.  I love eating these but I don’t know enough to grow it from seed as yet nor grow more than one plant in case it doesn’t do well.  It is a Black Beauty:

This was the largest and best looking plant they had and it had some bad leaves on it that I am hoping will be ok as it grows.  We also picked up a mammoth jalapeno in the hopes we can have stuffed deep fried peppers again.  However last time I grew these they were hotter than normal jalapenos.  It is planted FAR from my bell peppers so no cross pollination in my herb garden.

I felt since we had a red colored tub it’d be perfect for a hot pepper to be planted in.  The last plant we picked up is an herb that I swear I will keep in a pot in the house this winter so I don’t need to buy a fourth one.  A new Rosemary plant:

I had heard it was possible to grow them outside and they’d survive winter’s here, yeah it didn’t last… TWICE.  So we bought another one and it’s staying potted and when we get a green house it’ll prob spend the winter in there.  So aside from us trying to get the rest of the beds done up and the last two planting tires filled the hard garden work is almost done.  Then we’ll move onto the “add to the soil as it grows” time.  Then the “stuff” we’ll pile onto the beds this fall.  I have bean plantings in my future and cantaloupe once my last two tires are done.  If my squashes don’t come up by May first I will replant them.  I was trying to see how early I could honestly plant since average last frost here is April 15th.

As for that tomato bucket please note the buckets are HEAVY with all that soil in them so be careful hanging them when you do.  I think I pulled some odd muscles when I lifted it, man did that hurt!  We got it in place though and it’s not budging until late fall.  I do know that Silver had a couple of those before I moved in with him in NY, they sat on his porch all summer long and produced so many that no one could finish them all and they were throwing some out.  I’m hoping it does as just a good of a job.

How you aren’t in bad storms or flooding right now.

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be…

Homestead Happenings

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Yesterday right before getting a little bit of rain we planted 8 potatoes in those tires I lined up in between my fruit trees. (yes 8 even though I have 7 tires) They are Yukon Gold’s as I’m hoping for some nice potatoes out of them. It’s also a trial on what I see/have seen from some other homesteaders using old tires to grow potatoes. Especially after any time I did a potato “bed” my chickens would get loose and wind up digging through the patch and eating them. Guess what chickens love potatoes.
My peas are starting to grow faster, and I am hoping for a good amount of peas off of them. My spinach is starting to set true leaves and the onions are coming up now as well. I am hopeful that I will be thinning the lettuce in a week. I had to rebuy my Dark Star zucchini as I could not find the seed packet, thankfully a lot of local stores carry Seeds of Change and they had them in the display. For the most part I do buy my seeds from Baker Creek but this one variety I happen to really like and Baker Creek doesn’t carry it.
Yesterday had some interesting happenings on Craigslist here, I’m not sure if it happened near you or not. However, due to it being April 1st some idiots decided to post some fake free items with other people’s phone numbers. I was caught by one as if it had been real it would have benefited us a lot here. I do hope however the person didn’t get many calls. I don’t understand why people would do something so asinine though.
Yesterday we went and got another truck bed load of composted wood from the lumber mill (free is good in this case). We did mix in some of the sawdust with it to help keep it a bit more loosened. It will soon become part of new beds that will grow as time goes on.
…and speaking of that “style” of gardening I did find the video of Ruth Stout’s garden on youtube. I had forgotten that someone did a video on here in the 1970’s. I was very excited to see it, her methods are very simple and if you take hers and add in lasagna gardening and regular no till it makes wonderful soil.
We have a few days of rain ahead of us (yeah spring), so we’ll be working as weather permits us to here.
Be Well, Be Safe,and Blessed Be…

Garden Sprouts

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I went out this morning between rain drops and this is what I saw:

 That is a pea.. and it’s not the only one either, seems so far half of the peas have sprouted and I’m waiting on the rest.  I can’t wait to see them climbing all over the place.

Then there is this:

There is a row of spinach seedlings there.  I am sooo excited.  I have lettuce sprouting too but the pictures did not come out at all what so ever.  I know my red current did survive and is putting on growth big time and the willow I planted last fall near my pond is alive as well and greening out.

I LOVE Spring.

BE Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be…

Step 2 Gardening in Spring

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SO another nice day here in the southern Ozarks, and I finished doing my spring prep on one and a half of my beds (the short ones).  I also did some planting in them too.

This bed was done with the hay from the goat pen like the pea bed was and also the composted saw dust.   Fun thing about that composted saw dust though is we’ve been mixing in chicken manure and wood ash into it for a few weeks and it’s made it a bit more “airy”.  The foreground half of that bed is planted with onions (yellow) and the back half is lettuce (red romaine).

The bed is the furthest “back” one we have, and the plan is when the lettuce is done I will be putting my zucchini in there.  I planted the onions close together so they could give us some small green onions.

This is the other portion of the bed:

This is my spinach that I [planted.  I had forgotten I had gotten spinach seeds!  I was a nice suprise when I found them getting my lettuce seeds out.  I am hoping they grow well.  Everything from the stick to the right is spinach.

Also one more thing:

This is going to be my herb garden as where I stood to take this pic is where our outdoor kitchen will be built.  I am planning on having Silver “box” the buckets so that they look better.  This way the herbs don’t escape or take over my whole herb garden (love mints don’t you?).

That’s it for now.. we’re getting ready to have a cook out in this nice weather!

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be…

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