Jungle Chopping

I can see why some people just abandon their gardens once everything starts to grow up toward the end of the season. This was our rookie effort, and hopefully years from now we won't have so much grass and weed growth after the days of harvest.

I spent a good amount of time pulling out tomato cages (that part took the longest), digging out soaker hoses, and moving various objects out of the garden. Finally, I went in there with my mower and chopped it down. Hopefully next week I can get in there wit a garden tiller. Brandi is hoping to put in some tomatoes for the fall.

Here's before and after:


This weekend I hope to mow the garden down (it's a big bush right now!) and then till it with a friend's garden tiller. I anticipate it being a pretty big job, at least for me, since I've never used a tiller before. Plus, the garden isn't exactly small. Of course, by city standards the 40 x 20 garden is enormous, but by country standards it's probably just about below average in size. Regardless, it's a jungle right now, and I've got to take care of it! (And Brandi wants to plant tomatoes.)

Homestead Stuff

I think the last time I reported on this blog, I indicated that we were thinking of getting four pullets. Well we got 'em. The gal I bought them from told me the breeds they were as she was handing them to me, but the only one that registered with me was Rhode Island Red. They all seem to be pretty normal birds, and they all ought to be laying within 1 to 3 months, tops. So that'll increase our daily egg count, which badly needs a boost.

Our hen count is now 11. Well, if you count our bantam (miniature) hens, it's 13, but of those 13, only 8 are currently laying. Realistically, our family probably needs about 20 laying hens; we'll get there one day. We also have one normal-size rooster and one bantam rooster.

Our baby ducks are getting big. We've got eight of them, and we'll end up eating probably five or six of them when it's all said and done. The others we'll keep around for eggs (in the spring time) and to hatch other ducks to repeat the process. It's a satisfying feeling to know that those eight baby ducks were conceived, hatched, and raised by their mother on our farm.

I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned the fact that I love mowing the lawn. Of course, it all has to do with my riding mower! Seriously, though, it's one of my favorite chores. I mow about 3/4 of an acre, and that's our "lawn" area (our neighbor mows the other portion of our property with his tractor; the bumpkins call it shredding). I've finally got the route and routine worked out for the part that I mow, and it takes about 1.5 hours. The first few times I did it last year it took me every bit of three hours, but that was because I was having to get used to a riding mower and I didn't have a good mowing route worked out. As I was riding the mower yesterday, I thought, Winter's coming. What a bummer, I won't get to mow anymore.

So the chores I completed over the weekend were mowing, collecting hay from our field, moving some chicken tractors (cages) around, and doing some general reshuffling in our barn. Not very glamorous, but definitely very satisfying.

Speaking of hay, we learned last year that hay can turn into a very valuable commodity in the winter time. There was a time last winter when we would have killed for some hay. Some friends of ours who keep larger animals had to end up buying some hay, and the hay dealers got to the point where they were rationing how much hay you could buy. So we learned that it's best to stock up on hay while you can.

Here are a few photos ...

Brandi holding our first melon a few weeks ago:

A couple of baby ducks, and the mother hen (top right):

All eight baby ducks:

Our Livestock Guardian Dog, licking his nose: