Saturday, August 3, 2013

Catch up...

It's been a busy summer. It's August already!! And my garden, what is left of it, has gone to the weeds. There was just not enough time to maintain it with all the other projects that were competing for priority.

We finished the exterior of the coop. We have one more door to cut out and hang and then we can insulate the coop and hang the interior walls in the fall to prep for winter. Then, I will have my garden shed. I've been waiting for one of those forever! The new girls are fine, and we have the most gorgeous rooster. I haven't named him yet, as we only recently discovered she was a he. I think it had to do something with the spurs growing out the side of his legs and the fact that he is huge and showy. And riding all the hens. I think that was the giveaway.

The new girls are starting to lay. I put out the call for month to month egg shares. I already have a few folks signed up. I'll be happy if it covers the feed costs. Right now I purchase local organic non-gmo layer feed from the feed store in town. I am researching sprouted grains so I can move away from the corn/wheat/soy combo of the prepared feed. It will be more work but in the long run healthier and possibly easier. Especially if we could grow our own.

We had a scare in early summer with the trees. They all turned brown and lost their leaves. I thought they were goners. But with consistent watering and observation they have all bounced back. It was close though. I will be much more vigilant after the spring rains/snows stop to make sure I am watering the next batch we plant this fall.

The barn has received a second coat of paint and I started painting the trim. It's looking good. J cleaned out the tall grass/weeds next to the barn where we piled all our building supplies and wood scraps along with other odds and ends. The next project is to finish taking down the old fencing and barbed wire to open up the back area.

J was able to get me two large rolls of orange snow fence. I had an epiphany that our current location for the garden wasn't the best. It's hard to water, direct hot sun all day with no relief in high summer, and when they don't plant the fields behind us (like this year) there is no wind buffer or extra water to count on. While we were camping in the mountains a few weeks ago I realized the best location, which is now drought withered weeds, would be near the orchard. The house and trees offer wind protection and it is near a water hydrant. I will use the snow fence to fence in some chickens during the day to do their magic clearing the area and eating all the weed seeds in the dirt. I'll move the compost pile in there and they can go to town breaking it down further and burying it. Then in the late fall I will cover it with composted manure and straw to be ready for spring. Or if I'm ambitious I'll plant some winter rye to work in some nutrients and deter weed growth in the spring. This way we can take some time to figure out targeted irrigation rather than broadcast irrigation that waters the seeds. I am excited to heal that dirt.

In the old garden bed we will lay weed barrier and start planting rows of berry bushes. It is a better use of the amended soil than row planting crops that we can't water well.

Today I'll be heading down to the county fair to check out the animal barns. My neighbor, Tucker, who is my poultry guru, along with his mom Jody, will be exhibiting 19 animals from his menagerie. This kid raises everything! These are the times I wish I was in 4-H as a kid. I'm looking forward to the shows. I'm hoping I don't miss the auction, though we are not quite ready for pigs or goats. Need more fencing!! However, a barn cat or two would work, maybe (read a previous post on that topic!).

Settling into the farm has been wonderful. Last week I was on vacation, and while I had several soul reviving events like coffee and walks with girlfriends, the best of the week was the time I spent at home. Hanging with the dogs, making pie, cooking, puttering around and making things better. I painted the foundation of the house, which makes the house look a little more finished. I like this pace. I think this is the pace we are meant to live in. I have increased the energy on looking for a job closer. I have one car payment left and the next fiscal tackle is the student loans, along with fencing for the paddocks.

Things are good, and while the summer hasn't been filled with big trips or adventures, it has been immensely satisfying. Writing my other blog has also helped with my state of mind and overall satisfaction. Now, along with the fiscal goals, I have taken steps to get healthier, and shift more attention to home. These steps feel good.

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