Sunday Homestead Update

It has been a hard week at Willow Creek Farm.  We found out our baby will need to have three more surgeries in the next 4 months.  The first will be this coming week.  It was a big emotional hit for us, as we thought he was finally done with surgeries.  The day after the news I spent his morning nap sitting out by the little coop watching my hens peck around and knitting on my shawl.  The simple rhythm of the homestead has brought so much healing to us during the last 10 months of medical issues with our baby.  It has helped us slow down and try to enjoy each minute that we are not in the hospital.  Granted, we have had to make a lot of changes (and continue to) to keep the homestead manageable while we are at the hospital so much.  But we are grateful to still have what we do have and we find comfort in it.

We made our annual trip up to the high tundra at about 12,000 feet in altitude.  While there we saw this beautiful scene:

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Those are bull elk.  Their antlers re-grow each year.  During the growing process they are covered with velvety skin.  Then that peels off and they look like regular antlers.  Then those drop off their heads after the rut (breeding season) and they re-grow them in the spring.

Shrinking the Flock

We are paring down the flock again.

Last November we stopped our breeding program and selling eggs and shrunk the flock to just 14 hens and 1 rooster.  Since then we have decided that we need to have a small enough flock to just keep them in the lower small coop.  It is much quicker and easier to take care of the lower coop and with our current life situation of hospitals we need it to be easy.  So I have picked 6 hens that I want to keep (man that was hard!  I like all my hens so much).  We moved them to the lower coop and are watching them for a week to be sure they are all laying well before we make the final decision and sell the rest.  We have already switched one out.  By mid-week I am hoping to have the final decision and can call the people on my waiting list to buy birds and get the good ones sold.  A few of the older ones and ones that aren’t laying will be butchered for our freezer.

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Hopefully next spring we will be in a place to buy a bunch of new chicks and get up and running again.  But for now, I am enjoying having my girls closer to the house where I can see them and enjoy them more.  And the ease of care is a big plus too.  It will be really great during the winter to only have the one little close coop to care for.

New Kits On the Way

Today is day 31 for Justice, she is nesting like crazy, and we are excited to invite a new litter of kits in the rabbitry.

Garden Update – Three Weeks After the Hail

The garden is coming along nicely.  Several plants are thriving including the carrots, potatoes, peas, spinach, lettuce, beans, cabbage, and chives.

Unfortunately, the tomatoes are not coming back well from the hail damage.  We have one (out of 35) that is doing well and it is not even close to what it should look like this time of year.

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The rest are either struggling along, or just not doing anything at all.

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The Pumpkin Patch looks awful.  Of the 24 pumpkin and squash we planted it looks like one zuccini plant might produce for us.  And the herb garden is bedraggled as well.  Rough garden year.  But we are thankful for what is producing and doing well.

This is a perfect reminder to put up more than we think we need, and save more seeds than we think we need, because we never know when we will have a year that doesn’t produce.  We are blessed to be able to go to the store when our garden doesn’t produce for us – I think about what a big hit this would have been back in “the old days” when people didn’t have that option.

Speaking of “the old days”…

If Antiques Could Talk…

We recently inherited a really great piece of antique furniture.  I am often told I was born a century too late – I just love things from the 1800s and early 1900s.  We are not sure of the date on this hutch.  But from the research the family has done it is likely from the 1870s.  It was brought into the family in the 1960s and the wood was refinished.  I was excited to see it even has a dry sink!

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It is fun to think about what stories this hutch could tell if it could talk about when it was first used.  For now, it is making my dining room feel great!

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6 thoughts on “Sunday Homestead Update

    • We plan to. 🙂
      The biggest worry is our short season. 10-12 weeks frost to frost. So our plants barely have time to produce in the best of conditions, let alone with a big setback. But you never know, we might have a warm fall and they might surprise us! 🙂

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      • Get some 6mil plastic and pvc or electrical conduit pipe – can cheaply make custom sized hoop houses over your veggies to protect from and early frost. We purchase the long sections, then cut them to size and set in over the plots. When we see a news report of a possible freeze, we roll out the plastic and cover before dark (you can fill plastic bags with sand to ground them, or use ground stakes – a box of about 70 is not too expensive and can be used for a multitude of things). When the sun comes out or weather agrees, roll back the cover to one side and leave it there till you can harvest.

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  1. Very sorry to read your news that your little one will need more surgeries, especially as everything had sounded as though it was finally starting to settle down. Sending every good wish for a smooth journey through these operations and medical appointments.

    It’s been a really rough year for you with your baby’s health issues, the hail storm and having to down size your flock. Your optimistic and realistic attitude in the face of it all is inspiring. You’re right of course – we are so fortunate to be able to fallback on stores when things go wrong in a way that people in times gone by never could.

    Finally I absolutely loved the pics of your antique hutch and the elks – being surrounded by beauty and history always helps lift the spirits 🙂

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