Sunday Homestead Update

The Herb Garden

We have been working on constructing the container herb garden.  It is right along the outside of the garden fence, near the lower chicken coop.  I have been collecting various vintage containers and pots from flea markets and here and there and we have finally put it together.  I transplanted the herbs we do have from the garden over into their containers.  The rest are empty and awaiting their herbs next spring.  I LOVE how it turned out.  We are only missing one more container, and an old shingle-wood sign that says “Herb Garden” like the others I have around the farm.

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One great thing about doing a container herb garden in our climate is that I can move all the perennials to the mud room when the really cold part of winter hits and thus keep them alive.

It seems like a lot of the last year, being that it was our first year at the farm, was spent building necessary things.  I was able to add a few things here and there that were just because they feel good and look good.  Like all the old signs I made for everywhere.  Not that the buildings and stuff don’t look good, they are great, but I’m talking more decorative and making it unique to us.  This is the first project that has felt 100% just to let out my inner-artist and make an area that feels like us (and is functional too).  This is us.  If we were a herb garden, this is what we would look like.  I might not be making any sense, so I’ll just leave it with the fact that looking at this garden makes me smile.

Mint

I have tried for years to get some mint going.  I know it is possible here in our climate because my grandmother used to have a mint patch that we would go pick from for our tea parties with her when I was a kid.  I have tried starting from seed, and finally this last year I broke down and tried buying an established plant from a nursery.  Every single time something has gone wrong and the mint has never made it into my garden.

With the container herb garden finished I decided to give it another go.  I found a friend who had a spreading patch of it in her back yard that said I could have some cuttings.  I decided we would try two different methods.  First, we dug up some whole plants, root ball and all.  Those I transplanted into the wheelbarrow in the above herb garden picture.  They are not doing that well, but they might make it.

The second method was to cut off the top of a plant, with several layers of leaves.  Then bury the bottom node in a starting tray, water, and cover with plastic and leave it alone.  After about a week they are supposed to have formed a root system and be ready to transplant.

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So far those are looking very good.  I am going to give them probably two weeks to be sure they are really established before I check for roots and transplant them.

Baby Hat Knitting

We have 4 babies coming this fall in our circle of friends and family.  So I have been sewing and knitting away at baby gifts the last few weeks.  These are the hats I just finished knitting.  An apple and a pumpkin.  I am very happy with how they turned out!

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And here are the two blankies I have made.  These are a long-time tradition in my husband’s family and we call them “Warm Fuzzies.”

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Battle for the Eggs

Last week I told you that the chickens had given up on the nesting shelf we built them in the sheep stall and decided to lay on the floor in the stall and the dog was eating the eggs.  So we built a dog-proof nest box that sits on the floor in the stall and were waiting to see what would happen.

We kept the farm dog closed in the barn for a few days in a row so that we could be certain exactly what was happening to the eggs.  I am happy to report that, thus far, the new plan is working.  A few hens are happily using the new dog-proof nest box, the rest are using the coop nests, and the dog is no longer eating eggs because there are none he can get to.

He is a picture of the nest box we made.  The hen can go in all the way, but the dog can’t get his head around the corner into the laying area.

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Unwanted Guest

We had an unwanted guest in the garden last night…we think it was a rabbit.  The garden is, for the most part, protected from deer, elk, rabbits, and large rodents by the fencing we put up.  However, we have not finished the last terrace on the upper part of the garden yet, so the fence up there is not as secure as it will be in the future.  We thought it was good enough, but apparently not.  We found a place where a rabbit scooted under the chicken wire along the bottom.

Luckily, it was very particular about what it ate.  It got into the green beans, and one of the cabbages; completely ignoring the lush heads of lettuce and the delicious carrot tops just a foot away.

We found a pile of cut off green bean leaves, stems, and even beans in a pile in the walkway next to the bean box:

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And one of the cabbage was definitely nibbled from its perfect round shape into a mess: 12We will be re-securing the fence today and hope to get around to finishing the terracing and last garden boxes soon so that the whole thing is very secure.

6 thoughts on “Sunday Homestead Update

  1. I find it amazing how small an opening a rabbit can get though. I had one in my garden one year and went in with him to chase him around and find out where he got in. He squeezed through the 2″ X 3″ fence. I added chicken wire after that. Laura is right on the hats, they just aren’t my style.

    Ed

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