Saturday, June 6, 2015

Friday Roundup

Time for our Friday Roundup, where we post what things we've accomplished (big or small) during the week that moves us incrementally toward being better prepared.

It's Friday night as I begin this post, and Saturday morning as I finish it. In fact, it's a long post, so bear with me as I summarize our week's activities.

Unlike a couple weeks ago when we accomplished precisely nothing, this week has been tremendously productive. Isn't it funny how some weeks are like that?

At any rate, here's our activities for the week:

• We had a new calf born to Rosy, a little girl. She looks so much like her mother that I've named her Minnie, as in Mini-Me (remember Austin Powers?).

I got photos of the birth from start to finish, so I'll put them up later as a separate blog post.

• We got a huge amount of work done in the garden. Here are last year's "viney tires" (where I grew sprawling things like melons, cucumbers, etc.). The tires were still weed-infested from the winter. Don and I weeded them clean and planted tomatoes rather than vines.

This year I (cough) cheated and bought seedlings from a local woman.

I planted one per tire...

...and mulched them.

• We dehorned little Adina, who was born last week.

Then we returned Dusty and Dina to the rest of the herd.

• The strawberries are just starting to ripen, so we've been picking. We're not yet getting the great gushing quantities we'll get in two weeks or so, and for the moment we're all greedily hungry for fresh ripe strawberries, so we're eating them as fast as we pick them. Delicious bliss.

• I finally got around to mulching the new blueberries.

The young plants are doing beautifully and some even have a few unripe blueberries on them.

• I'm still doing a lot of weeding, gradually working my way through all the tires to prep them for planting.

I came across this large mother wolf spider, her back furry with tiny babies.

I scooped her up and tossed her outside the garden so I wouldn't accidentally bury her in dirt as I pulled weeds.

Gradually the garden is taking shape.

• We (mostly Don) got the drip irrigation hoses reinstalled in the tires...

...and tested the system.

• I got out all the seed potatoes I've been saving all winter and got 16 tires' worth planted (about 320 or so). Because I had so many, I didn't bother cutting them up into pieces with one eye per piece.

This strange sight (I called it the "Medusa crate") is our one remaining crate of potatoes harvested from last fall. These were stored in the darkest, coolest part of the house, which the potatoes evidently took as a sign to sprout like crazy. Obviously we need a root cellar for optimal storage, which we don't have.

While they're too soft for eating, they're perfect for planting. Since I didn't need any more seed potatoes, I gave these to a neighbor who is just getting around to planting his garden.

• Don brought me up loads of compost from last year's awning-cleaning and dumped it on a tarp in the garden for easy access.

• I got some of the compost moved onto the corn tires.

Corn is a heavy feeder, so I put two wheelbarrows' worth of compost on each tire and worked it into the soil.

You can see the contrast between composted and un-composted tires.

I only got three (out of twenty) tires done, so I'll continue working on that this week.

• Don got the drip system laid out in the potato onions (planted last fall)... well as the five other tires I had planned for carrots.

• Yesterday afternoon I got all the carrots planted, about 400 seeds (hopefully they'll all grow).

• Don started on a long-overdue project, removing some ratty falling-down fencing in order to replace it with sound, well-built fencing. It's an ongoing project but he got an excellent start.

Now it's your turn. What did you accomplish this week?


  1. Harvested some very nice yellow squash from my garden, and tried a recipe that proved very satisfying and delicious.
    Discovered oat milk is great on cereal, but does not make great non-dairy 'ice cream'
    Used a small portable jump-start to get my car( (with a dead battery) going when there was no one around to help. This proved an awesome 'prepper' item!
    Discovered potato plants that looked good on top, had nothing going underground and pulled them out. No sense watering, and space can be used productively.
    Purchased a military 'life-straw" for get home bag. Redid bag based on new info and weight reduction.

  2. Pulled last of onions. As we feared, the rains throughout May caused about 80% to rot in the ground. Dug potatoes and found a better than expected harvest. Pulled weeds in the garden. Husband tilled all of the empty areas to prepare for late season planting. That not planted will get a heavy mulching of shredded leaves until August when we plant the fall garden. Otherwise the Central Texas summer heat will cook out all the humus in the soil leaving it powdery and not very productive. Picked our first cucumber of the summer. Getting lots of tomatoes, though not very pretty--again resulting from the continual rains. Still have some squash and zucchini coming in but it is slowing down due to heat (90+). The fall chard bolted and needs to be re-planted.
    Finished a prayer shawl and delivered it to the church to be used as needed. We have several women knitting or crocheting them and keep several in stock all the time.
    Celebrated a friend's birthday with a dinner out--rare for us as we like home best.
    Both husband and I had doctor's appointments. Somehow these always come in clusters.
    Read Mark Steyn's book "After America". Sadly seems too accurate for comfort.

  3. I finished planting my garden and got mulch around many palnts of tomato and peppers.

    I picked up my new to me chevy 4x4. spent all day Thursday detailing the ineterior. took my time.

    Finished up my blacksmith forge. Just need to paint the legs and base so they don't rust. Can't wait to try it out this coming week.

    found some morrels growing by my garage. Quite the find.

    Otherwise general maintenance around the place.

    Can't wait to see second part of Dons response to the urbanite.

    Carl in the UP

  4. Survival mode here. Illness. Our order of freedom ranger chicks came in. I planted some seeds in hopes something grows.... because if I don't at least get them in the ground they don't stand a chance. It's hard when 2 babies are down sick and so is daddy. Throw up bug in June? Why not. But my books came in the mail so I'm doing some reading when I can. Putting food by is invaluable!

    Learning in NY

  5. Hope everyone gets better soon!

    - Patrice

  6. well we were busy as well. planting our garden, not as big as yours but 150' X 50'. we live at 7700 ft elevation so normal last frost date is June 1st.
    we have a question for you, we BATTLE moles all the time, so do you have any wire or mole guard under your tires or do you even have mole issues?
    we won't use poisons as we have free range chickens and other animals and don't really believe in poison, so i use the exhaust from a riding lawn mower and a steel flex hose into there open mole hole and let it run about 30 minutes and that takes care of them, BUT it is a constant battle they appear to breed like rabbits!

  7. Won my battle with that tenacious raccoon. Mwuah ha ha. (No, we didn't shoot him. My industrial strength fence did the trick.)

    Located another thicket of wild black raspberries way out back behind the old shed.

    Just Me

  8. I signed up for unlimited kindle books. Spent 3 days rereading a bunch of Jerry D Young books. I really like the way he writes. Got the tiller repaired. My son had borrowed it and he did not know about non ethanol gas or stabilizer. I had to run it with the choke on about 3/4 of the way to keep it running and finally something broke loose and that was it. My fault as I did not explain these to him. Have way too much grass in the corn but it is still too wet to till.

  9. Lame week. Got the kids doctored up for the year (very rarely sick enough to rate a 'sick call;' we've had two of those in five years and both were actually frivolous, being more due to a failure of confidence in my diagnostic capabilities than the actual severity of the child's illness). I will take advantage of the annual physical for as long as we can possibly get it.

    Got another two dozen plants in the garden, and some ornamentals planted out front. NOT my thing-- not much of a feminine woman, I'm afraid-- but they keep my MIL happy. Maybe I will find the time to experiment with steam distillation and at least get SOMETHING useful out of those geraniums.

    Cleaned MIL's apartment from top to bottom. Which is good, because she's due to arrive the day after tomorrow.

    Got the needed materials (more t-posts) to put up another 20 feet of trellis for cucumbers and tomatoes. We're still getting chilly nights here; everything seems to be growing at a snail's pace. It will probably take off like a manic rocket in about two weeks. Last year I all but gave up on the tomatoes...

    ...only to find that they shot up and out overnight.

  10. Began the week with a visit to our son's apartment about 1 hour away. Took him some freezer beef and canned meats so he is well stocked again. Being a bachelor the canned meat is really handy for him. Took meat chickens (21) to butcher on Tuesday, picked up on Wednesday. Chest freezer is now full, 300 pounds of beef and 21 (avg. 6 pounds) chickens. Nearby dairy farmer delivered our newest addition, a 10 day old Holstein bull calf. He will become freezer beef in 2 years. He will hopefully be joined by a stall mate soon. Replaced a dead peach tree in the orchard. Repurposing a metal framework into a run for the turkeys. Weeded some garden and flower beds. Sprayed weed killer around buildings and woodpile. Moved pullets to chicken tractor. Gave turkey pullets their own pen. All of this in a week while babysitting my 4 yr. old and 1 yr. old grandsons daily, and hubby works a fulltime (12 hr shift) job. I love the longer days to accomplish so much more. Rebekah (farmgirl21962)

  11. Question. With your strawberries (and blueberries) Do you do something to them in the winter to keep the roots from freezing? We haven't been able to keep anything over winter in raised beds. Your winters are harsher than ours are (KS). I'm curious. Are the tires themselves somewhat insulating?

    1. I successfully over wintered strawberries in the mountains of Wyoming at 5350 elevation. A food of pine straw smashed down helped. Not every plant lived but by fall, each of my beds was overrun again. I had to remove the bedding if we had a warm spell in October to prevent them literally burning up.
      Not sure if you can get pine needles but they work and are acidic which the berries love. Of course, the snow we got helped insulate, if it had been cold and now snowy I think we would have lost more. Maybe whatever kind of straw you can find, heavily laid upon the beds.
      Gods Blessings to you and all your endeavors.

  12. Finished reading The Contrary Farmer. I didn't know that I existed in the male form, lol! Also finished Humanure book...don't laugh until you read it, the information on the myths surrounding composting are reason enough to own this book.
    Not much in the garden other than we are harvesting berries from the strawberry plants I moved from Wyoming and planted the first week of November last year when the temps went from pleasant to below freezing in a day. Made mental notes to move the oregano and sage that was transplanted to an area that doesn't get as much water. The carrots and onions I transplanted are busy getting ready to seed.
    I need to get more dirt to throw on the potatoes. Hope it's not all plant and no spud. Going to see how big a mound we can make and what it produces. I like experimenting.
    The pond is all but dried up. Our place in Wyoming is wet, wet, wet with rain, but we are just not getting it here in north Idaho.
    Our fertilizer machines, the Fjord Karrina and the appendix Jones are busy helping us out making fertilizer. I am serious. This land has been used and left and it's amazing the crop of weeds we have growing in the clay. We need to pasture animals just for the manure they are applying to the ground. Weed control may eventually end up being goats. Right now it's pulling and machete.
    The Black Jersey Giants are growing and I am happy to write I have 12 hens and 3 roos. The roos are the friendliest. I'm fine not making these into pets, the other chickens think they are invited to every grilling we have and spend their afternoons pecking at the back door.
    There's so much left to do, I can feel overwhelmed but I tell myself that God led me here, and He knows how much we can do and how much will be left every evening. We will be where He wants us to be when he wants us to be there.
    Looking forward to three days of learning about the Constitution, with the last day focusing on state sovereignty. It is the end of my social studies homeschool for this year and the beginning of my son's next year of home school social studies. It's a great prep for him.