Hello All! I just had to include Snowball on here today, isn't he handsome? I realized today it's been quite a time since I last posted. Some things have been happening around here, and I've been very busy. Probably the biggest and in part scariest news is that I'm leaving my job. My boss and I were at an impass on something that just couldn't be resolved, neither side able to give in to the others needs. Therefore, I quit. I'm a bit scared about this as this is the reason we have been able to make it in this most tumultuous time in our lives for the last three years with Music Man's job opportunities drying up. But, he's gainfully employed at a job that seems steady (though we learned before that there's really NO such thing) and we're gonna be fine. I've decided to take the summer off and spend it steeped in my boys and their activities, gardening, raising my meat chickens and egg hens and generally getting reconnected to life. I've had so much stress at that job for the last 3+ years, it's time for me to take a breather. Then....in the fall, I'll start looking for something else.
Now, on to the other activities I've been up to here at the homestead. This is the birdhouse that Little Red made in Cub Scouts last year. It did not get any birds in it last year as it was set up too late in the season, but this year, we've a family of sparrows holed up and creating new feathered life. Little Red is loving the fact that he made a house for a family. He's my nature kid for sure. He can spend long hours watching bugs, learning about trees, or watching wildlife. He's got the the nature gene from Music Man and I, we both enjoy the same activities.
We've been very busy in the garden. This is the black seeded simpson lettuce coming up, I should be able to make a lovely salad from this over the upcoming weekend. Behind it is the failed kale. Something made a meal of it and my chard, and it wasn't growing well anyway. Not sure what it needs that it's not getting, but for sure it's kind of lame.
These are the onions in full gusto. These are walla wallas and choffras. I'm looking forward to having my own onions for the first time. I've never grown my own before, but wanted to take the plunge this year.
This beauty is my purple sage that overwintered and has been blooming like crazy for about a week now. It has beautiful flowers that the bees are very happy about. I've also seen butterflies on it as well. So lovely!
And here we have another herb perennial, chives. The lavender color flowers on this are also a big draw for the bees as well. This herb is great on roasted potatoes and in soups!
These are the potatoes peeking through their thick straw cover. They are growing like gangbusters and seem to be very happy.
Since most of the garden is on ledge, we needed to put in raised beds. This project took a lot longer then anticipated because not only did Music Man need to build the beds, but we then needed to get and then shovel into them many yards of compost and soil. We finally got them completed and here we have the beautiful tomatoes that my friend Laura started for me in her greenhouse. I have about 9 different types of heirloom tomatoes and 4 different peppers including jalapeno and red bells. The back bed is full of corn! I've never tried to grow this before either. Hopefully, we'll be enjoying some ears in August!
This bed has more tomatoes, leeks and baby pam pumpkins. I'm hoping to make pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving from our own pumpkins as well as storing some in the freezer for pumpkin bread in the winter.
This morning after my work was done (only 12 days left!), I decided to can some chicken broth. I boiled an organic free range chicken along with another carcass I had saved from a previous roasted chicken and made 7 quarts of stock. I freeze the bones from the chickens that I roast until I have enough, then make the most delicious bone stock out of them. It's full of beneficial minerals. This batch I'm going to freeze, since right now I've got ample room in the freezer having depleted the pork a bit that had it chock full before now. I also produced two bowls of chicken to use for soups and pot pie, or maybe some chicken salad sandwiches...the possibilities are endless! I have seen some of the other blogs that I follow put a running total of things that they have put by for when winter rears its frigid head. I'm going to figure out how to do that and do the same. I like the idea of it being tangible, more for myself then anyone else. I'm also going to figure out how much money it saved me by making and canning/freezing all of these things myself.
And I can't end without showing you this prim gerber daisy plant that my friend Laura gave me for my birthday! I love the salmon petals. This plant makes me smile every time I go on my deck, not just for it's loveliness, but also when I think of the person who gave it to me.
What have you been up to at your little homestead?