Garden Work Continues

Work continues on the garden spaces.  I tilled up the main bed and raked it into rows for planting.  I think this is where we will plant the carrots, lettuce, spinach, beans and peas.

Transplanted the zucchini into a raised bed as they were starting to be too big for the jiffy pots we had started them in.  They look pretty good in there.

I managed to lock myself in the greenhouse (not the first time). The wind blew the door shut behind me as I was watering some plants. Luckily I had my phone and could call for help.  Unfortunately this was of little help as Laurel had left her phone in the house to charge.  She was close enough that I could shout her name and she came to rescue me.

We also prepared the spot for the corn and transplanted the seedlings we started earlier last month.  They were starting to look not so good in the green house so in the dirt they go.

We took a bunch of hay and the garden tiller over to the last garden spot and worked it in as deep as we could.  Trying to get some compost and fluff up the dirt a bit.  We then layered a bunch more hay on top and watered it excessively.  Then a layer of landscape fabric and we transplanted the pumpkins into it.

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Tree Farm

Esther and I went to help out the people with the sheep on their tree farm.  They needed help getting pots in the ground and seedlings planted and watered.  We started the morning by rolling out a tarp and stapling it to the ground.

Then I helped to fill pots while Esther put the liner pot in the holes.  There were a few other kids around they they all followed her around for the rest of our time there.  Apparently they were fighting over who got to sit with her at lunch.

After the pots were filled we planted trees in them, placed some mulch around the tops and placed them into the liner pots.  Then I helped water them and we went for lunch.

It was a nice time, got to meet some new people and watch Esther interact with some new children.  She has a babysitting job in the future with this couple.  We got to go see the sheep before we left, much to Esther’s delight.

Raising the Roof

I’m a couple of days behind in my posts.  This was from three days ago.

Another cool and windy day here. At least it’s not raining. We had the chicks out in the morning for a bit when it looked like it was going to be sunny. It wasn’t long before the clouds rolled in and the chicks were piling up trying to stay warm.  We ran an extension cord and the brooder light out to the chickshaw to warm them up.  By lunch we decided to just put them back in the shed.

We were working on making some portable fencing using the hog fence and some posts. We cut the hog fence into 6 foot sections and attached them to the post on one end. We made hooks on the other and they simply hook on the opposite side of the post.  The idea is that we can set up the fence where we want the chickens to work and move them everyday.  Almost free range.

After lunch we tackled finishing the roof for the chickshaw. We picked up the wood the day before from Home Depot.  It took us 2 or three hours to coble this together and it is heavy!  I think the designer used plastic sheets for the roof, all we had laying around was metal.  When the roof is lifted the whole thing tips backwards.

So we added some training wheels to keep it from going too far back.  I still have to cut the extra tin off to finish, but the battery for my sawsall is pretty weak and I can only go a couple feet at a time before charging.

Just need to put the handle on for pulling and it’s finished!!

Rainy Day

Today, after three days of trying, we finally got our bottles to the depot for recycling.  Took them on Monday to find that the depot was closed.  Tried again on Tuesday and the lines were going outside the building (at all three depots in the area) and I didn’t have the patience to stand there for an hour.  So this morning we checked the hours and arrived ten minutes prior to opening…..to be the third person in line.  Sigh.

It was only a 20 minute wait and we walked out with $80.  Not too shabby.

They said on the radio this morning that it would not rain today, but just be overcast.  They lied.  Its been raining, off and on pouring, for most of the day.  We kept the chicks in the shed today as it is just a bit too chilly for them yet.

We made another trip into town to get supplies in order to finish the chickshaw as well as some groceries instead of gardening.  Sun is supposed to be back tomorrow so we will get back to it then.

So instead of the usual update I will get a bit personal with you.  We have had an acreage going on 5 years this August.  However, this year has been a year of first’s for us.  We’ve been talking about getting chickens and big gardens since before we moved here and never really got that vision off the ground.

First we stepped out, and over, our fears of failure.  Realising that failure is just a part of learning and its okay to fail we have grown in a lot of wisdom and confidence thanks to our little (big) journey.  Risks, big or small, can be overwhelming.  Especially if that fear of failure is present.

Second we had to get past the “being ready” phase.  We kept thinking we needed to have everything in place before we could get chickens.  That was a big stumbling block, but we just ordered the chicks and then got ready.  It was motivation to get these things finished and it turns out that they were not that hard to do (and did not have to cost a pile of money either).  Chicken coops from the store start at around $300, but we built the chickshaw mostly out of material we had on hand and spent less than $100 and took very little time.  It forces us to use our skills (some of which we didn’t know we had) and creativity to get things done.

Thirdly we had to work through our tendency to procrastinate.  I am especially bad for this.  My favourite saying is “Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow.”  The sense of accomplishment from a hard (or not so hard) days work is definitely worth it, and really isn’t so bad.  They say you can eat an elephant one bite at a time and that definitely applies if you have a long to do list.

We have come a long way and learned a lot about who we are and what we can do.  There is so much more out there for us and we are eagerly looking forward to what comes next.

Working Hard and Hardly Working. Slowly Building our Hobby Farm

Today was a beautiful sunny day!

We woke up early, and had an early breakfast, thanks to our lovely 13yr old who baked us muffins and made us coffee. Then we proceeded on with our outside errands.

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First we had to let the chickens out, and set them up for the day!  They were happy out on the grass.  We had them set up around our lilac bush, which has an ant hill under it and dandylions, and thistle.  Lots of work for them to do.

We wanted to transplant our tomatoes before the temp was to hot.  We decided to put them in the raised beds behind the house.  Until now we hadn’t planted anything here, just lots weeding.

Here are our tomatoes! Hope they survive and thrive.

We finished up around 11:00 and realized we needed to run some errands in town, added to the list buying some more mulch and soil. Being that it was already 11:00 we went inside to prepare lunch for the children. We were pleasantly surprised by the hard work our children did with out being asked they had tidied and cleaned up almost every room of the house.

Children are such a blessing I forgot to get a picture of that, but oh my what a happy mommy was I… I can’t even express how blessed I am and was.

The girls put out the seed bombs we had made a couple weeks ago.  No idea if they will work or not, but a good place to test them out.

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Seed bombs made from shredded paper and wild flower seeds.

We came home from town with six new strawberry plants, a Mrs. Honeyberry bush (to compliment the Mr. Honeyberry we bought a couple summers ago), a Lavender bush and some marigold flowers.  Apparently lavender and marigolds repel mosquitoes, so here’s hoping.

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Mrs. Honeyberry next to Mr. Honeyberry.

 

We made a new strawberry patch out of one of the garden beds by raking up a mound and covering it with landscape fabric.  We spaced them out and hope to soon have a good sized patch.  Titus was really involved in this process, shovelling dirt onto the fabric for us to keep it from blowing away.

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A very productive day today.

Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mom’s out there. The kids had been making plans for a few days and we actually did more celebrating on Saturday. They made cakes and gave presents, they really love their mom, and so do I.

I don’t always portray my affection or my appreciation to her very well, but she is a fantastic mother to our children. I am forever grateful to have such a wonderful wife.

We basically took the day off Sunday. By that I mean we cleaned house and did laundry. My mom dropped in for a visit in the afternoon and we had a great time fellowshipping.

It is good to stop and appreciate what you have and to be thankful for all your blessings.

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A great family photo from New Mexico.  

Test Drive

We gave the chickshaw a test drive with a temporary roof. We parked it in the main garden and put up the portable fencing. The chicks took to it really easily. We had a couple escapees, but they stayed close and we were right there to shoo them back in.

We also planted a little bit more. I’ve been reading about potato towers and wanted to give it a shot. Essentially a potato tower is a vertical garden. You plant a potato and every time you hill it you add a layer and by the time you harvest, in theory, you could have a 100 pounds of potatoes from a single plant! That would be fantastic.

We moved all the seedlings we started out to the greenhouse to harden. We will plan to plant them in a couple of days.

Yay for spring!!

Wheels Up!

Almost done! Got the wheels installed and just have the roof left on the chickshaw. I’ve scrounged every piece of wood on this thing from around the yard, but I’m going to have to go and buy a few 2×4’s to finish. The only thing I had to buy so far was the hardware cloth for the floor and front sides. So this project is on hold until the next trip to town, or I find something to disassemble.

We did some planting in the main garden. We put some beets and onions in the ground. The beets like cold and are frost resistant. It hit the mid-20’s (Celsius) today and looking at the 14 day forecast we are trending that way.

May have to break tradition and just plant.

Back to Work

Got back to work on the chickshaw today. The side panels and door are installed, so just the wheels and roof are left.

The chicks went out to graze again as well. They seemed pretty pleased about it. I put them in the portable pen made from gazebo parts, much easier than the roll of hog fence we were using before.

It is amazing how fast these birds are changing. New feathers coming in and a noticeable change in size.

I caught one on top of the plastic tub chirping it’s head off. A rooster? Won’t know for a couple of months apparently.

Also roto-tilled the garden space this morning. Put the overgrown grass under and just a mild stirring of the dirt, trying to keep the soil ecosystem intact.

So we are ready to rock and roll!

Dang Wind

We took a day off from outside work yesterday due to windy coldness. There was a fairly steady breeze (30 – 40 km/h) coming from the south east and it had a by of an edge to it. We left the chicks in the shed for the day as well as they are still to young for that kind of weather.

We focused on some inside work and did some planning for the garden instead. The forecast is favourable for getting back outside for the rest of the week.

Every day there is more green and that makes us happy.