Homestead News, Volume 3

Even with historic rainfall, it seems we have managed to stay busy on our homestead. There are a number of projects that are either ongoing, getting started or waiting in the wings for next week to arrive. Here is a rundown of some of our recent events.

 

Frank has wanted to put another layer of gravel on the road going up to the barn. We had this road constructed when we bought our place, but it was time to increase the gravel depth and width. This should do for this road for years to come.

 

We also wanted a load of gravel placed in the backyard so Frank could spread it out in our parking areas and in a number of other places. Unfortunately, the dump truck got stuck before it could make it down the hill. This necessitated dumping the gravel by the chicken house, which means Frank will have to make many, many trips up and down this hill to place the gravel in the desired place.

The dewberries are ripening, so my friend Grace came over today and between rain showers, we picked a few berries. I hope to pick many more in the next few days. By the way, yesterday and last night we got another 1.4″ of rain, and then today we got another 0.4″. But! This is supposed to be the end of it. There is no rain in the near forecast. Hallelujah!

We have had some issues with the egg turner in our incubator this year and were afraid we would have a very poor hatch rate. Today, the day before our actual hatch date, we already have eleven, no make that sixteen, new baby chicks. We were surprised and pleased with this development. Frank will fill you in on the details in an upcoming chicken story.

Our house was built in 1983 on a stem wall with floor joists. Over time it has settled in the middle and needed to be jacked up and leveled. It was hard to find someone to do this kind of work, but today two of our friends arrived and began this project. After this job is completed, they will be helping us replace some of our 30 year old carpet with new flooring. We are really looking forward to that.

Next week the window company will be here to replace our windows. Many of them are clouded over on the inside, and one on the north side lets the cold air in if it is very windy. This is another project that has been on the drawing board for awhile.

The pigs are growing, and will be given more room sometime in the coming week when we let them out into the larger pig pen. First we need to add a few stock panels up against the barn. The last set of pigs really rooted out a lot of dirt under the edge of the slab the barn is sitting on. We don’t want to allow any more of this dirt to be removed. All of the pigs are becoming tame enough to pat and scratch while they are eating, and occasionally when they are not. They greet me each time they see me, especially if I have a bucket in my hand. 

Easter on top, Bo in the house

Tomorrow our last two kids will be separated from their mothers for weaning. Easter, our Easter Sunday doe, and Bo, our little bowlegged wether will be joining the adult wethers, the teenage wethers, and the billy goat. The teenage wethers and Patch, another young doe, have been separated from their mothers for eight weeks now. One Stripe is Patch’s mom, and she is no longer being milked, so Patch will be rejoining the doe herd tomorrow. I will be glad to have her back with the ‘girls’ so I can give her more attention. She is already a very sweet, tame doe and I look forward to adding her to the milking line up next year.
 

Patch


Tomorrow morning Faith, our friend that bought Penny to milk, is coming over for a cheese making lesson. We will be discussing how to make soft cheese and making a batch of mozzarella. Faith has been reading a lot, but learns best by watching and taking notes. She is just beginning to put together a list of needed equipment and ingredients. We will have a fun time talking goats, milk and cheese.

The garden is growing despite all of the rain. The zinnias we planted in and around some of the vegetables are starting to bloom. And they are beautiful. 

It seems we are busier than ever, with much to do on our plates. Once the few projects I mentioned are complete there are about a half dozen more waiting to be started right behind them. We’ll let you know what they are and how they go. Life on a homestead always gives you many things to do. Some planned. Some not. Either way, you learn, you work, you live. It’s a good life.

Until next time – Fern

9 thoughts on “Homestead News, Volume 3

  1. I have been thinking about another no shampoo article, Deb, and it's also time to make another batch of kraut. I'll post an update on both soon. Thank you for asking.Fern

  2. It must have been your reverse dancing, Kymber. Well, probably not, but it is funny! It's interesting you say we are teachers. Teaching is our profession, even though we are now both retired. I don't think it ever leaves you, though. It's just who we are. It's always good to hear from you, Kymber.Fern

  3. Stay tuned for Frank's hatchery news. It will be forth coming soon. And, you're right, we are making headway on some of the chores. There are a few things that will have to wait while I pick berries. Some of them are so ripe they fall off the vine as soon as you touch them. I need a few more of them to make their way into my bucket tomorrow. And, Just Me, there is always time for goats. Especially if you like them as much as I do. Thank you for sharing.Fern

  4. It seems that we overlooked answering these comments, C.M. Sorry about that. And yes, we are still busy with gravel, floor leveling, making cheese, picking berries, hatching chicks, weaning kids…… But the sun is shining!!!! Yippee! I know you can't tell I'm happy, but I was in dire need of sunshine. It's great! Thanks for sharing.Fern

  5. really enjoy your updates. We also need to put a lot of gravel on our place. Lot of rutsand pot holes. What type of gravel did you use? When we ask people we get severalanswers. We live in East TX and have a lot of rain. I solicit your recommendations.Thanks and keep up with the great service that you provide.J

  6. Fern – thank goodness that it seems to be the end of the rain for you guys – maybe my reverse raindancing worked – bahahahah! you are right – there is always work to be done on a homestead – major projects, minor projects, daily jobs and surprises – it's just the way of living such a life! i am very glad that your chicks are all hatching – that's wonderful news! and i love your goats and pigs – i am sure they provide hours of the best kind of entertainment. you and Frank have certainly been busy and i love reading about all that you both do – you guys are both true teachers!your friend,kymber

  7. Yes, please — I wanna hear about the chicks! Hubby and I are getting ready to dive into chicken ownership and I always look forward to reading Frank's thoughtful articles on that. They are so helpful! Meanwhile, now that the rain is letting up, I see plenty of chores have piled up at your place. Finally, you can make some progress! Thank Goodness!Reading about your days makes me wonder if I'm ready for goats again. I loved my 2 Alpines so when I had them a few years ago. I miss their happy bleating and prancing in a freshly cleaned barn with fresh hay in the feeders…smile.Just Me

  8. Fern, I'm glad you'll be getting a break from the rain. You're right, you two have been busy with the gravel, berries, chickens, goats, pigs, and garden. I really enjoy reading about your lives and all that you've accomplished and learned. The pictures add a lot, too. Tell Frank I look forward to his chicken article.

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