Homestead Diary Week Ending April 29thPosted: April 30, 2016
On Saturday the kids and I traveled out to Homestead Buddy’s place again. They got to feed and pet bunnies, collect chicken eggs, ride on his ATV, and other cool things. I helped him fence the remainder of his garden. The sections of it where he had used the chickens to eat and scratch down the grass where very easy to break up with the broadfork. About 1/3 of the area had not been fenced before (we made it bigger) so we spread some tarps to smother the grass for a couple weeks.
I’ve read about chickens for a long time but it’s another thing to experience them first hand. I found myself talking to them “hold on girls” “save some worms for us” and other things, which got my buddy to say “oh yeah, you’re going to like chickens if you’re talking to them already.” When I first started broadforking, the chickens were outside of the garden area but in short order they became interested. I turned around at one point and all 12 of his chickens were lined about about fifteen feet behind me, just waiting. Soon they overcame their fear of the strange giant and happily pecked and scratched away right next to me. It makes me very excited for July when we start our chicken flock!
We also talked a bit about potential expansion if I try to maybe use some of his land as a base for either a market garden or production of a few staples like potatoes that I don’t have the space to justify. Need to do some research and some soul-searching to see if this is something that’s right for me and the family at this time.
Sunday ended up being a rest day. I took care of some baking for a family get together later in the day and then we mainly relaxed. My Dad got to get a tour of my garden for the first time in a while and suggested I should clean up my sidewalks better. There was still quite a bit of mulch residue which I cleaned up Monday. I ended up deciding to not permanently smother the grass around on my sidewalk strip bed. It takes a little more work to use the string trimmer to cut the grass but it’s much more comfortable to kneel on when weeding or harvesting and I think living borders do look nicer than wood chips. Quite a bit of the grass had died back so I used the last bit of my white clover seed to sow them. Hopefully by fall I’ll have a more diverse stand of greenery around those beds.
I have been experimenting with drying frozen cherries. If I can make them work acceptably, I will not have to rush and dry refrigerated cherries in our very short season. My first batch was halved, not meticulously oriented skin side down, and yield on 1 pound was 0.11 very dry (but yummy) dried cherries. Quite a bit of drip loss. I caught the juice on a fruit leather tray and peeled it off. Way too chewy to eat as a leather but in small bits it made for a nice sucking candy as the hyper concentrated juice rehydrated in my mouth. I might also try rehydrating it to use as juice.
On Wednesday I began setting up the rest of my irrigation system. I also sowed more chives, and some trial packets of flowers I had laying around just because. I washed some used pots I got from my Dad and used a good chunk of them for the comfrey root cuttings that arrived from Marsh Creek. I also spotted what I think is germination on my carrots, both the original patch planted much earlier and the patch sowed about two weeks ago.
Thursday my order from New Farm Supply arrived. It took about an hour just to unpack the box. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to use all of the plants but I found places for all of them that doesn’t feel forced. I’ll let pictures tell the rest of the story.