Sunday Homestead Update

Another great autumn week here in the mountains.  We got our first hard freeze, which pretty much finished of all of our sensitive plants.  We have been busy cleaning up the garden for the winter, working on minor repairs around the farm, and picking & canning apples.  The animals (and the humans) are enjoying the beautiful and cool fall weather.

Multiplying Strawberries

Our strawberries have been sending out runners like crazy.  We have pruned off so many that it is hard to believe.  We are happy to have them filling in the patch, since it was sparse, but there have been way more than enough to do that.  Hopefully in the next few years we will be overrun with delicious strawberries.  We are trying out catching some of the runners in pots to give to friends in the area that want strawberries, and to start another patch on our property.  Here is a picture of the strawberry patch in about June, and then one of it now.

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Vegetable Garden

We have torn out all the dead plants from the frost and cleaned up the garden.  We can’t do a cover crop because of our very short season, so we just leave the garden bare in the winter and add in compost each spring.  All that is left in the garden now are some lettuce we are trying to save seeds from, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and a few pea plants that survived the frost.  The difference in the pictures from a month ago to now are drastic.

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We are hopeful some frost will sweeten up the brussels sprouts.  They are looking good!

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Garden Box

The experimental screened-in garden box that we are using to determine if we can avoid leaf miners and root maggots in our beets, spinach, and turnips is doing great.  We have blanketed it on frost nights to keep it going.  The greens are big and beautiful, but no roots have been growing yet on the beets and turnips.  We have already harvested spinach from it.  So far there are no pests at all, although now that frost has hit I think the experiment is over because the pests have likely been killed.  But it seemed to work, so we will be using it next year, as well as building a tunnel cover in the garden for the plants we want to protect.  For now we are just keeping the box going hoping we might get to harvest more from it in a month or so if we can keep it alive with covering.

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Grapes and Potatoes

Our grape-vine gave us one nice little cluster of grapes.  We also added another grape-vine; the very cold-hardy Valiant variety.  Hopefully, next year we can get them both going well and see if they can produce well here.

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Our potato harvest was a flop.  We got 8 lbs of potatoes from 6 lbs of planted potatoes.  Back to the drawing board.

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Molting Chickens and a New Head Roo

The older hens are going into a molt.  Some of them don’t look too bad…like Henrietta here:

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Others…well, all I can say is – Poor Sophie!

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It was hard to make the decision to get rid of Boaz because of his foot, but we are happy to report that we now have a son of Boaz that has grown up and taken over the flock.  His name is Frodo and he is just as great looking as his dad was.  He is a good leader and is guarding the girls, finding them food, and being nice to us humans…everything we want in a roo.  He will be joined as a breeding roo by Rusty, who is camera shy.  But one of these days I will get a picture of Rusty for you, he is very handsome as well.  Here is Frodo ranging with some of his ladies.

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Apples

We were given the go-ahead to pick apples from someone’s tree.  Someday we hope to have our own orchard, but for now getting them free from somewhere they would otherwise rot on the ground is a great deal!  We will be canning them this week.

Sweater

My first ever sweater is coming along.  I have completed the body and am now working on one sleeve.  It is a very simple pattern made from the top down on circular needles.  It is building my confidence and making me want to try more sweaters.

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It has been a productive week enjoying our farm!

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