Around the Homestead: May

Are you a wanna-be homesteader?  Me, too!  I have accomplished some of my homestead goals, but still Ihave a large bucket list!  Come and see what’s been going on at my growing homestead this month!

Meet the birds…

I now have a total of twenty-one hens, one rooster (oops! he got sexed wrong!), four ducks and two Guinea hens!

Ziggy the Rooster

 

Our hens are a mix of Black Austrolorp, Americauna, Dominique, Cuckoo Marans and Rhode Island Reds.  The two Guinea hens have taken to our White Peking ducks.  If the ducks are around, Guinea’s aren’t far behind.

My Mallard’s are full grown now and have beautiful feathers.  I still keep them contained in the run where they swim in their little kiddie pool.  I would love to let them swim in our pond.  I fear for their safety given our pond is full of snapping turtles.  We built the ducks some houses out of 50 gallon Rubbermaid totes.  They were easy to do, simply cut a hole in the side, fill with straw and pop on the top!

Duck house DIY

A second home…

Not the fanciest…but it works!

 

I built another run that measures about 10 ft by 30 ft.  The plan for this is two-fold.  My plan was to use then hens to fertilize a plot for next years garden and save on feed.  The girls have been doing a great job of fertilizing and tearing up the grass.  I added some straw mulch in the run yesterday to give them a softer spot to lay on.  I fashioned two old pallets into a makeshift roost for them.  The top of the run is covered with tarps to keep them cool and to ward off hawks.   So far, then hens seem to be enjoying their new home.

Happy Hens!

Visit the gardens…

My gardens are coming along.  Watering is a huge issue due to the oppressive heat and lack of rain here in Georgia.  My water source is less than optimal right now due to not having an outside spigot.  That will hopefully be repaired this month!  For now, every morning I run the hose through the back window to the kitchen sink and hook it up!  How redneck can you get?  Good thing I have a well!

The front garden…

Rhubarb

The front garden ended up with rhubarb, strawberries, pole beans, sunflowers, watermelon and onions.

Pole beans

The rear garden has potatoes, cucumbers, squash, corn, peppers, eggplant and tomatoes.

Corn, cucumbers, and squash!

Tomatoes, eggplant, peppers!

 

Sadly, most of my seedlings didn’t do well, but it was a great lesson in growing plants from seed.  I will try again next year!

Gifts from the garden…

I found a surprise in the front yard on top of an old stump…..wild blackberries!

Growing wild!

Not only have they showed up there, but they are growing all over a brush pile near the pond!  I love when plants just grow naturally in the yard.  I have three blackberry bushes that are trellised in the front yard as well.  My blueberries look awesome this year and the plants are loaded with berries.  My grapevines are also doing well and it looks as though we should be feasting on grapes in a few months.

Overall, the gardens are coming along as planned.  I did forget to plant greens!  A quick trip to Anderson’s will remedy that though.    I also started a small herb garden in a shady front garden.

Lavender, parsley, oregano, rosemary and thyme are currently growing in the garden. That parsley up there needs to be harvested!  Again, keeping the plants watered has been a labor of love that has been greatly rewarded.

Getting wild…

I also decided to let the front two acres of my property grow a little rampant this year.  There is zero sense in mowing an area that I just don’t use.  In the next year or two, I have big plans for that area as a pasture…wink! wink!  My fruit trees are still small and having a bigger orchard is certainly on my bucket list.  We have a deer family that visits our yard twice a day.  Once at dawn and then again at dusk.  I know most people don’t encourage deer to be around because they like to eat everything, but so far it has not been a problem for us.  Plus the kids love to see them.  The dogs don’t even mind them anymore!

Growing and learning…

Adapting to a minimalist lifestyle, cooking with real food and living more intentionally has been the game plan this last month.  Despite living in South Georgia, I have not turned on my air conditioning yet!  I am utilizing fans and outfitted my rear windows with a product I found at Lowe’s that blocks heat…more on that in another post!  I love being able to hear all the sounds of nature with the windows wide open all day.  The best sound is our rooster’s half-hearted crow in the early morning.  He just found his voice, but I can in a few weeks he will wake the whole neighborhood with his crowing!

The kids have really enjoyed spending time in the chicken run.  Trying to catch Guinea’s has become quite a sport!  Madison always wants me to catch a duck so she can hold one.  Despite their waddling, they are hard to catch!  We even started collecting feather’s to use in crafts.

What’s going on at your homestead?  Please share your comments, links, and photos!

 

Sue

 

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