Monday, May 26, 2008

Previous plans.....

This is a repost from my private blog...It was orginally written on 4/22/ somethings have fallen by the wayside. I haven't gotten the garden in like I had hoped because every extra minute has been spent trying to find a new place and it seems silly to plant a bunch and then leave it. I've reposted this because I have new readers that are not aware of my "slight chicken obsession...." No no, I do NOT have a problem!

So here they are....Buff Orpingtons...and if you don't believe the name here is a link to go to the hatchery to see....I could not make this up people!!

BTW, in case you wanted to know, but were afraid to ask...a pullet is a female bird, that has not yet matured to a laying "HEN" They are hens once they start laying.We will be getting 3 baby Buffs (second picture) in about a week. They will be Buffy, Muffy, and ahem Stuffy.I will post pictures of building the "Chicken Tractor" as soon as I actually get around to assembling it.I have gotten quite an education on Chickens in the past three weeks....ask me a question...I can answer most of them. If the smell is really bad then you are running them in the same area too much and they don't have enough organic material to eat. If you "free range" them, (A chicken traction is a modified free range because they aren't really free but they are grazing like a free range chicken) you only need about 1/3 the feed as penned chickens and the green material keeps the amonia smell at bay. You can put diatamous earth down and it will kill all pests not only on the ground and not hurt pets or chicken, but you can feed it to the chickens and it will keeps them from getting worms on the inside too! Plus you can put it on your dogs bedding and in the carpet and it will pierce flea eggs and fleas. (We had a really bad flea issue last year, so this is great information!)

So this is what I am doing this summer. If I can't have a proper farm...I am going to "Homestead" the property I have. I am not the only crazy surburban farmer out there either. There are whole forums that I have been reading,, and some others I can't think of right off hand. So far....this weekend I dug up about 140 splits of lillies and sold them. I have people coming tomorrow to pick up about 60 more. I may sell about 40 more after that, but then the rest I am going to relocate to another area of the 'farm' to regrow and multiply, so I can sell splits again next spring. Who knew??? In their place right by the front of the house is going to be the strawberry patch. Strawberries are a crop that you plant in a somewhat permanent place because it's the second year that you get the best batch. You don't really plant seeds, and once you have good plants you shouldn't need to buy them again. The "mother" plant sends out "daughter" plants on a vine (kinda like a spider plant) and then you cut the vines and you have new plants. TADA!! There are everbearing which means that they give you a small amount of berries all season long and then there are June bearing, which means...they bear most of their crop in June. All at once so you can put up jam. Which is my plan. I have 10 everbearing, and 20 June bearing plants. They are close enough to the house that we can cover them to keep the birds off. I am thinking that the lilly rizomes that I missed this year will pop up again next spring and then I can dig them out of the patch. That's a good warm patch next to the bricks, and very close to the hose, so we can keep them well watered.

The Boy and I have already started over 30 tomato plants of 3 different varieties, 10 pepper plants, and 12 brussel sprouts. We also have a red potato sprouting for the potato crop, and have started a yam as well. The left rear yard will be the first place we will run the Chicken tractor as we will be planting corn over there. Corn really takes a lot of nitrogen out of the soil, and chicken poo is....nitrogen!! Plus, this is one of the sunniest places in the yard, but somewhat wet too. The tractor is 4 foot by 8 foot and should be in each area only a day or two. So I figure if we get them out there by May 12th and being they will still be little, keep them on each patch 2 days. ...we can plant each patch 4x8= 48 corn stalks. x 2 each week, for 3 weeks. so let's do that math...ummm...288 stalks with an average of 2 ears each. 576 ears of corn...hmmm...perhaps I need a bigger deep freeze. 'course, I will maybe sell some...but mostly, I want to put up food for our family. The seeds will cost about $7, not a bad return. We will also plant POPCORN! Also on that side of the yard we will be planting a "sunflower house." You plant sunflowers about a foot thick in the shape of a box with the middle empty and a space on one side. Then after they are up about a foot, you plant climbing beans and cucumbers between them. Within a few weeks you have a house for THE BOY to play in.

Also already accomplished...this weekend! I posted on Craigslist not only my lillies to sell, but that I wanted to buy blackberry, black raspberry, red raspberry and blueberry canes or brambles. I had 3 very nice folks offer to give me some! So I went out to one guys house and he gave me about 12 red raspberry starts, and 6 blackberries. I have someone else that has black raspberries that I still need to go get. SO....I pulled up my roses out of the weed patch behind the barn and replanted them in the headless goose garden (a whole 'nother odd story!) . Then THE BOY and I wet down about 8 weeks worth of newspapers and laid them out to smother the weeds and grass. This will eventually breakdown, but the roots and leaves from the weeds will become organic material and the worms will work their way up through the papers. Then we haulled 6 loads of compost from the woods. It was all our leaves last fall, but the snow and Chuck the buck and Zoe the doe made the pile into some beautiful dirt!! And dumped it in rows/mounds around our new bushes.


I need to get a few barrels to start saving rain water for the gardens. I should be able to get a few of these free from a restaurant throwing them out. I found plans online to make them into irragation with a faucet at the bottom. Plus, you can also mount one with a wagon to move about your garden to plant. Now I know you are concerned about the misquitos that will try to live on the top of the water. How will I keep them at bay?? You get feeder gold fish from the store and put them in the water. Now only will they eat the eggs, but the bugs, and alge that starts to grow. TADA! (If you get fingerling (which are the kind you eat) can grow them all summer and then have them for your table in the fall too! I'm not sure which I will do yet. MY MAN likes wild fish...I prefer them to be square, and breaded with cheese!

The next thing that we need to do is to get the next huge bag of newspapers and get the garden area covered. MY MAN found a bunch of scrap wood for me, so we will likely make some raised beds for the garden, but in the meantime, I can get the beginnings of the "lasagna" garden going. I also need to cut back the asparagus plants and mulch them really well this week. This will be the year that we will be able to get edible asparagus from the garden. Most of the garden will need to go in on May 9th. Although there are some items that can go in now even though the final frost date hasn't come yet. Radishes, carrots, lettuce, onions, garlic can all go in now. I will be doing companion intensive gardening. That is where you interplant companion plants. Some plants LOVE each other, some HATE each if you do this you have to really know the enemies. Garlic is good near roses. It actually makes the blooms smell sweeter, and not because there is stinking garlic nearby. There is something in the allum. So I will have cucumbers in two of the corn patches. Cucumbers are climbers and when they DON"T have fruit they do fine in the sun, but once the fruit starts to set, they need more shade...well, so you plant it with the young corn...both get the same amount of light at first. The cucumbers climb up the corn and then the corn shades the cucumbers when they set...and another bonus is that racoons won't step on the vines, so they won't be raiding your corn! I will be planting both the salad cucumbers and also pickling cucumbers. I am going to try pickling this year. Both sweet and dill.In the other corn patch will be peas....same theory as above. With the tomatoes will be the carrots. They need the whole season to grow. Plus, if you leave them in the ground until after the first frost (actually up until Thanksgiving as long as there isn't a "hard freeze") they actually get sweeter with the cold.We'll have another set of sunflowers with winter squash growing on it. And a teepee in the middle of the garden both for pretties but also to train more winter squash on. We will also have zucchini, pattypan and rolly polly squash. We will only grow 3 or 4 pumpkin plants off to the far side, so they can grown nuts over the fence. There will be a salad garden with spinach and lettuce, radish. The onions will be grown in a seperate area. I will grow both green onions (I like these best) and full size onions for cooking and for MY MAN's hamburgers. I am planning on doing both yellow sweet onions, and red sweet onions. I will grown 1 plant of hot peppers for salsa and also two tomatillo plants. We love our salsa. I will be canning salsa this year too.Then there will be the bean patch....this will equal the corn field. We will have four tractor lengths of green beans, two of yellow wax beans. We will have peas growing with the corn, and climbing green beans too. There will be two tractor lengths of lima beans, harvested early as we prefer the smaller beans. I also want to look into navy beans to dry because we like to have bean soup in the winter time.What am I forgetting....potatoes, which I mentioned. We will grown both the small red boiling potatoes and also Idaho (ok, Idaho by way of Ohio) spuds. We will also do one yam plant, but our family doesn't care much for them so...I also mentioned tomatoes. We will have heaps of these as well. We will be growing yellow tomatoes, plum tomatoes for sauces, red tomatoes for eating fresh, selling, and salsa. We are also going to grow cherry tomatoes.I'd like to plant a pecan tree this year as well. We may not get to get nuts from it because we are looking for another house that has more land and more room for MY MAN's business.

He's backed up a month right now, and doesn't really have room to have more wood than two beds worth. He would do well with more space.Finally, there will be THE BOY's Garden where he can plant whatever his little heart desires.WHEW! Is there any wonder there is dirt under my nails that I can't get out???

Posted by Rea at 12:14 AM

Niki said...
I really like that a lot of this can be done with Z's help. You can turn it into science lessons on chemistry (canning and pickling), botany, biology, life cycles, engineering and many others. Plus it lends itself to art projects, home ec, industrial arts and business.Good job.BTW - i still think you stole the name of your chicken breed from a 50's crooner; not everything on the internet is true.
April 22, 2008 7:34 PM
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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

First entry...where we are...

Stuck in Westerville! We are looking for a new property for the homestead. We just can't stay in Westerville anymore. Between the neighbors and the high taxes (for a school system we don't use) it's time to go.

We've been looking for somewhere about 20-30 minutes from church / work (for me), within about 5 minutes from a highway (I71, SR23, SR161), with a MINIMUM of 2 acres (I'd prefer 5) with a pole barn / workshop that is about 1000 square feet. And at least 10% less in cost (but you know more is better!!) These are the absolutes. The "nice to haves" is another barn / building for animals, additional acreage, house about 1800 sq feet. Some trees and a fence already in place. A pond and windmill. And boy-howdy if it already had some alternative energy (solar, wind, or a wood fired water furnace) I would be tickled something pink!

So this is what we are praying for. That and that we would quickly find a buyer for our home while it is still FSBO that will pay a fair price, so we can afford a down payment on our dream and maybe a bit left over for paying off debt...or buying a cow!

Yes, my obsession with chickens has now turned to cows. Now that I know I am getting my "mini-flock" at the end of June, I have started looking at all the ends and outs of cattle-dairy and meat. I don't know nearly as much about cows...yet! But I found a really cute one on Craigslist (have I mentioned how much I >heart< Craigslist??? Here she is...

And she matches the chickens!!

I will post what is going on with getting the Westerville house ready to sell and the little "homesteading" things we are doing in the meantime to keep me content....did I mention we made homemade butter to go with our homemade wheat bread??? Hence...the need for a dairy cow.

(Yes, I realize to normal people I seem odd and somewhat insane currently, but I promise....this is normal...are you scared now?)