Another beautiful week on the farm!
Sorry for the picture quality this week – something about the sun while we were working on outdoor projects made for some pretty badly lit photos.
We have plenty of fall projects to get done before winter and we tackled some of them this weekend. First we dealt with some small odds and ends that seem to always be building up on a homestead…fix this little thing or that little thing.
Then, since we are borrowing a tractor right now, we wanted to get around to finishing the big onion/garlic patch project by getting all the compost moved over into the patch. The dirt and compost we put in there last year after building the new retaining wall had settled quite a bit. In some places it was over a foot too shallow.
As often happens, this was one big project that actually morphed into three big projects as we went.
As we were getting started we realized that to get the tractor into the barnyard we would have to figure out a way to get around the shed. It is hard to see in the pics, but there is quite an incline next to the shed, it drops about 2-3 feet over 5 feet, and we didn’t want the tractor to roll.
So to make a safe place for the tractor to drive we needed to build a little road with a little retaining wall (extra project #1). So we needed dirt.
Living on a mountainside there are always ditches that need to be dug to try to keep the water flowing down the hill and away from roads and buildings. So in order to get some dirt, we decided to dig a ditch (extra project #2) that needed digging to stop the water from the driveway from creating a big alluvium in our field. So we dug the ditch.
And we used the dirt removed from the ditch to build the little road to safely get the tractor around the shed.
So that we could finally get back to the original project of moving the compost from the barnyard to the onion/garlic patch. 🙂
One scoop out of the pile, and into the patch…only about 20 more to go!
We were SO grateful for the tractor. This job would have been a beast without it. While the compost pile and onion patch are only about 50 yards from each other, because of fences, steps, rocky hillside, gates, and buildings, the path we have to take to go from the barnyard to the onion patch is probably about 175 yards including quite a steep uphill portion. I can’t even imagine doing it with just wheelbarrows.
We got the entire pile moved into the onion patch, which felt great. We still need to smooth it out and dig the holes for the apple trees going in next spring (while we still have the tractor to dig them with). And some of the extra compost we have in there will need to be bucketed over into the veggie garden boxes.
There is still plenty to get done, and hopefully we will accomplish more in the coming weekends!
Alice and her 5 chicks moved into the lower coop this week. They love it! The chicks are handling the ramp just fine, it just took a little coaxing from Alice and a little practice and now they are pros. It is much nicer for them to live in this coop as opposed to the grow pen in the barn because it has an outdoor section and an indoor section so they can get plenty of fresh air and sunshine. Plus, it is fun for us because it is just out the back door, so we get to see them a lot more….and no one can look at a mama hen with her chicks and not smile. 🙂
I have been sick this week, which means a lot of knitting was accomplished while I tried to rest and recuperate.
I finished the Fish Lips Kiss Heel Socks and I wrote about them here.
I also finished this adorable little Christmas sweater for Mr. Smiles. The pattern is Snow is Falling Junior by Melissa Kemmerer. I purposefully moved the snowflakes up higher in the pattern so they would show better when the baby is sitting. He can’t walk yet, and I didn’t want the pretty snowflakes lost in the rumples of the sweater at his waist while sitting. So I moved them up.
Remember this hooded scarf I was making and then tore out…?
Well that is the yarn I used on the baby’s sweater. It is yarn made in our mill, from our livestock (50% angora from our bunny Oliver, and 50% CVM from our ewe, Violet). We lovingly call it “Violiver.” It is super soft and very warm, AND…this little sweater is now officially the first project I have finished that is made from fiber from our farm AND was processed in our mill. I have previously made items from our fiber, but it was hand-processed. So this little sweater is a bit of a milestone for us, and very special. I am sure Mr. Smiles will look oh-so-cute in it.
We cooked up the last of the squash from the pumpkin patch and froze it for delicious breads, cookies, and pies this winter. We really like the Red Kuri squash. The pulp and seeds are easy to get out and the ratio of good flesh to pulp is very good, with far more “meat.” And the flavor is like a mixture of a pumpkin and a butternut squash. The Golden Nugget squash grew good as well, but the ratio of flesh was not even close to as good, and the pulp and seeds were hard to get out.
Operation Christmas Child
We are packing boxes for Operation Christmas Child again this year with our church.
This will be the second year the kids are making these bandanna backpacks.
And they are also sewing facecloths into little cases to hold the hygiene items we are putting in (soap, toothbrushes, combs, etc).
It is kind of hard to see, but the cases have three pockets inside of them.
“Old Man of the Farm”
I will leave you with a picture of Jerry, our barn cat.
Since our LGD, Tundra, died in July, Jerry is now the “Old Man of the Farm.” Meaning that he is the oldest of the farm animals, at almost 11-years-old. He and Tundra were actually best friends and grew up together. At times we wondered if Jerry thought he was a dog, and if Tundra thought he was a cat. During the long cold nights of winter the two of them would snuggle up in the hay to sleep cuddled together. It was so cute. I am not sure who Jerry will be cuddling with this winter. Maybe the other barn cats. I am guessing Anya, the new LGD puppy, is too rambunctious for him.