Sunday Homestead Update

This week was dill pickle canning week.  My friend gave me a simple and yet delicious recipe (I tried some at her house) and I canned 13 quarts of dill pickles.  I got the cucumbers and the dill at the farmers market again. All said and done, not including jars, lids, and rings (because they are reusable) it cost about $1.60 per quart.  Next week I think we are aiming at doing salsa.

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The Mama Hen Pen finally got a ramp to it’s door.  The chicks are 4 weeks old, and we normally don’t let them integrate with the free-ranging birds until 8-9 weeks because of the barn cats.  But we decided to give it a try and see what the mamas (Ruth and Eve) did.  We decided to only open it when we can sit out there and oversee everything.  We wanted to see if the mamas came out alone, or brought the babies with them.  And if they brought them would they be very protective of them.  Well, so far the mamas haven’t come out at all, nor the chicks.  But we will continue to open the door when we are in the yard and can watch them and we will see what happens.

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And because the big stall door slides shut at night to protect that pen from predators, husband made the ramp removable and installed hooks so it is easy to hang it up and out of the way so the door can slide shut.

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The liquid bandage is working!  Thank you Buffy and Aileen for the suggestion.  It is not totally keeping the flies off Tundra’s ear, but it is doing MUCH better than anything else we have tried.  He seems happy for the relief.

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The garden is doing very well.  We have continued to harvest peas, lettuce, and spinach all week.  The difference between the flavor of home grown salad vs store-bought is amazing to me.  I can actually prefer to eat my homegrown salad without any dressing at all so I can savor the full flavor of the different lettuce varieties.  The beans are covered with flowers and the carrot tops are looking big and healthy.  The Brussels sprouts are doing amazing this year.  They are huge.  And so far it seems the wood ash at the base of them and the cabbages is definitely working to deter cabbage worms.  Yay!

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My first round of turnips was ready this week as well, but unfortunately EVERY SINGLE ONE was totally full of root maggots.  :’-(

This happened last year as well.  We followed the recommendations for dealing with root maggots, but apparently they didn’t work.  We have one more thing to try, and I think we might try it this season, even if they don’t have time to get to full size before frost.  I’ll let you know.  I hope the beets are not infested as well, but they were last year.  They aren’t big enough to harvest yet.

We still have no tomatoes even kind of starting to ripen.  They are all super green.  This is what we have heard happens in our area – a tomato plant might put on fruit, but it never ripens unless they are in a greenhouse.  It still remains to be seen for us, but I think that we might just get too cold at night.  We had a few nights in the 40s last week, and from what I’ve read tomatoes don’t grow below 50 degrees.  And I have read that if a plant with fruit on goes even briefly below 41 the enzymes that cause ripening are killed and it will never ripen.  So if their progress is getting stunted at night over and over again, and the enzymes are being killed, then maybe that is why they just wont work here without a greenhouse.  Time will tell.

I cut back many of my herbs to promote one last growth spurt and I hung some to dry.   Others I layed out on paper towels on my stacking cookie cooling racks.

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We are gearing up for County Fair and are all very excited about that too.

Another great week on the farm!

2 thoughts on “Sunday Homestead Update

    • Currently only the two mamas and their chicks live in that coop. We call it the Mama Hen Pen. We are not sure what would/will happen if/when the hens bring the chicks out to free range. Will everyone choose to go back to bed in their regular places? Will some of the other chickens decide to move into the mama hen pen at night with the mamas and chicks? Will the mamas decide to take their chicks to bed in the other coop? We wont know until we see what happens. We have never given them the option to integrate this early because we are concerned our barn cats might kill the chicks. The Mama Hen Pen is completely secure from the cats. And we have never opened up the Mama Hen Pen so that the free ranging flock had the option of going inside it. So far the mamas are staying put with their chicks and none of the free ranging chickens have ventured into the Mama Hen Pen. We shall see…

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