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Old 08-01-2016, 10:24 AM   #1
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Default August 2016 Garden and Homestead Thread

Arkansas is just hot and humid in the summer time and in my book August is the worst month. Around here that means working in spurts and resting often. I'm pretty pleased with the progress though to the untrained eye it kinda looks like a big scraped up yard right now. The next step is to get the new fence lines marked and t-posts in. This project is dependent on how much help is available to drive them in and that help comes on Wednesdays where there is a conflict of interest between my projects and J's projects LOL. We're trying to get her chicken yard set up so she can move her birds out of the greenhouse/entry garden area and the main garden area. The main garden area has been serving as a 'barn' since the beginning of the year. Sometimes you do what you have to do but soon I'll be able to start some cover crops and work that space back into what it was intended for. In the mean time it is serving a good and convenient purpose.

I haven't had much of a chance to work on the dozer but that will change once I finish the mushroom log project on Wednesday. There will be a total of 600 inoculated plugs drilled and sealed in logs or stumps. The varieties so far are Shitake, Blue Oyster, Pink Oyster, Pearl Oyster and Lion's Mane.

Some of the fruit trees have matured enough to give a light crop. That has been very nice and there is honey fruit wine bubbling in the fermentation tanks. It's not true mead since I've added sugar to the process but there should be a nice honey flavor along with the fruit.

Yesterday, I was given about 10 pounds of okra and so I pickled some of it and the rest was cut for stews and frying. The frying batch I breaded and lightly fried in beef tallow before freezing and bagging. It's delicious and I'm sorry to say that I ate my fill along the way LOL.

The cab of the bull dozer is air conditioned and it calls to me....
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Old 08-01-2016, 11:47 AM   #2
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I have huge, succulent blackberries this year.
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Old 08-01-2016, 01:02 PM   #3
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I have pots full of weeds. Maybe next year I'll get something planted.
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Old 08-01-2016, 02:18 PM   #4
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I do too Feather. I couldn't even handle doing our small container garden this year. So don't feel bad.

Our Alberta peach tree is loaded down. I had a tiny bite (it's too acidic for me to handle right now), and in spite of the pain, it was absolutely delicious. But we haven't had much success with the plum trees. When we planted them a few years back, I couldn't get the varieties I wanted and I'm not too happy with how these types are doing. They may just be slow to set fruit but if we don't see better results next year, we'll be replanting.

On the bright side, the fig trees are loaded down. I see lots of fig jam and spread in our future. DH loves Fig Newtons and his mom and I are going to work on a recipe I have for a homemade version. I'm curious to see how well it will go over with him.
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Old 08-01-2016, 03:17 PM   #5
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My perennial garden has almost completely 'gone over'... everything flowered ahead of time & IF we were getting decent rains, I could have cut everything back & possibly gotten a second, smaller flush of bloom from some plants.

I have a lot of cutting back to do but just don't want to work out in that hot sun. I did water this morning. I've been watering almost every other day - as per our city's schedule but it's not the same as proper rainfall. I watered this morning, will water again tonight & tomorrow, hopefully I'll wake up early enough to get some work done out there. It's looking pretty dreadful.

I'm hoping 2 lots of water today will mean the roots take in a good amount - less shocking when I cut them back & maybe, just MAYBE, I'll get a second, fresher flush of growth. Even new green leaves for 6-8 weeks would be nice.
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Old 08-03-2016, 07:52 AM   #6
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Heating up cheese wax this morning getting ready to plug some more mushroom logs
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Old 08-03-2016, 08:07 AM   #7
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^^^ There's a sentence I never thought I'd hear.

Monsoon season here. Tomatoes splitting and rotting before they ripen, everything wilting from fungus, weeds galore, mold all over... air so humid it is drinkable. The only good thing is brief respites from high temperatures.
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Old 08-03-2016, 12:37 PM   #8
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300 more plugs in logs! Today was shitake, Lion's Mane and Blue Oysters. Now the waiting game begins. Later we may add some but for now its on to other ventures.

I'm off to do some watering and see if I can get a handle on the irrigation system. Maybe do a little dozer work if I have time.
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Old 08-03-2016, 12:48 PM   #9
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BG I wish I had just a little of your energy. It makes me tired just reading about what you do.
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Old 08-03-2016, 10:24 PM   #10
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Feather, all I do is work a little at a time toward my dream.

I am so glad to get the mushroom yard started. That project has been weighing on my mind and as of today it is a reality. From here on out there are only improvements. P came today and helped the Mushroom Man and I finish. That third hand really moved things along. Afterward and after P unloaded feed for me, he worked with J the rest of the day finishing her poultry yard. They did a great job and now all it needs is a tarp cover and roosts.

As for me, I worked on the irrigation system for a couple of the gardens. I'm using commercial type sprinklers that have been fitted with PVC to fit T-posts. They have a radius of up to 45 feet and can actually be set up to make a complete circle. The fittings are easy and the adjustments (once you understand them) are a breeze. I have three main areas I'm working on and I'm pretty excited about how well it works. I'm looking forward to working on it more tomorrow.

I've been giving a great deal of thought toward the fencing related to keeping the public separated from the farm and my home and I'm pretty close to setting stakes to define that. With J's chicken project nearing completion, work will shift toward that focus.
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Old 08-03-2016, 10:57 PM   #11
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That's important... when you work where you live & live where you work, a measure of separation is essential - not just to keep the public away from No Go areas but as a mental or emotional barrier for you. You want to be able to walk through a gate or opening & KNOW you're away from your workplace... as much as you can be.

Sounds like plans are really moving along!
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Old 08-04-2016, 07:19 PM   #12
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Today the tractor arrived! There's so much trouble I can get into, I can hardly stand the thought Thank you, Max!!

Worked some more on the irrigation system with my uncle G. He also took me out to lunch and we did a little bit of 'junking'. Made for a nice day!

Looks like I may be making a deal of hogs for lumber. Keep your fingers crossed on that one.
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Old 08-07-2016, 08:38 PM   #13
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It rained and stormed off and on today so I spent some time cleaning house, putting up chilis and tomatoes, making a cobbler and dinner for friends. It was a nice break from the regular routine.
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Old 08-08-2016, 01:24 AM   #14
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I always look forward to reading your posts, bg. You are so positive and encouraging and full of energy and fun! I so wish I could learn to play with a dozer and tractor. What fun!!!!
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Old 08-08-2016, 11:57 AM   #15
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I'm building a life I love!

It's another rainy, stormy day...IN AUGUST!!! Hard to believe but glad to have it. Guess I'll be working on more inside stuff. Today I hope to get the business demo kitchen in better shape.
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Old 08-10-2016, 10:22 PM   #16
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Today started early and didn't stop until dark thirty. Wednesday's have become Farm days and sometimes there is an extra hand or two. Today there were three and OH BOY what things can happen with extra hands! J's tiny farm is coming together and looks like she'll be ready to move her poultry operation to her cabin in the next few days. She's very excited and so am I.

We also got the west ala Sepp Holzer style garden's electric fence in place now all I need to do is figure out how to deal with the red wasp nest I've discovered in the Charger so I can make it hot. With the new irrigation system in that area we'll be able to start planting right away!

It's been a long day and I'm ready for a good soak and a bowl of chocolate ice cream.
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Old 08-25-2016, 07:44 PM   #17
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The last couple of weeks have been crazy busy. Everything is moving forward though and after a couple of days of dry weather I was able to get on the dozer again. Yesterday and today I got in about 3 hours each day. Today I had to stop because of the rain...in August...hard to believe. But I got a lot done and now there's a road all of the way around the farm. I'm going to be able to get the new fencing up shortly. I'm using round rope type electric fence and all I can say is "Why didn't I do this earlier!!!"
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Old 08-25-2016, 09:33 PM   #18
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Why? Because you had 35 other urgent projects on the go & hadn't yet figured out how to clone yourself. Reading your homestead tales confirms what I always suspected - I ain't cut out to be a farmer.
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Old 08-26-2016, 12:51 AM   #19
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I could see you here, Sue! It's going to be a fabulous garden!

I'm busy being both the farmer and the farmer's wife LOL and someday I hope that will settle down. In the mean time, I really like both jobs and that's a good thing. I never dreamed I'd be learning how to drive a dozer and I have new found respect for people who do it for a living. Its no wonder they hurt! It takes every fiber of my body to operate that machine and respond to the movement of the equipment. I'm grateful to have the 'big' stuff already done and get to tweak things into position. Today I worked some on a small section of wet weather creek moving big rocks into place and digging out little ponds. The idea is to make it look like a little section of a lovely little river (even though it's pretty dry most of the time). Something else I am working on is making this farm incredibly accessible for me so I don't have to work so hard on daily chores. This dozer work makes things a little closer to that reality. I'll try to get some pictures up soon.

There are certainly times when this farmer stuff gets tough. I had one of those days last week when a mule kicked a pig in the head and she died in the night, in the pond. I knew she was in bad shape and if there had been someone here to help me process her I would have done it that evening. But she was eating a little and I thought I'd give her a chance. Instead, the next day I had to put on my big girl pants and wade into the pond to get her (YUCK). I had help that day so it wasn't a huge deal but I feel so badly that I didn't keep her safer through the night and that she was wasted. She was probably 150 lbs. That's the tough side of farming.

We had to deal with a possum this week. It was living IN the woodstove kitchen/mudroom off the greenhouse. That was tricky. After a bit of grass blower magic and a boatload of dust, feathers and little chicken bones (she had been eating J's chicks and feed) the possum played dead and I shoved her into a trap. A little car ride to a rewilding area and she was happy to scamper away into the woods. Now to get the mudroom mess cleaned up. Possum scat stinks.

I'll be happy to get that area back into business. J has been using it as a chick starting area and now she's moving all of that to her cabin and pens. I can see a light at the end of the tunnel and am looking forward to getting my gardens going again. I've had to focus on livestock and fencing for so long I'm not sure I'll remember how to do it. So Sue, if you'd like to come and be a gardener for a while I've got a room ready for you LOL.

D has taken over the office and book keeping and I am ever so grateful. She's like having a personal assistant. It takes a great deal of pressure off of me. The other associates pop in and out, help when they can and generally keep me busy helping with their projects. There's always something that needs to be done in order to make something else happen. This is where the farmer's wife comes in and I swear she's been slacking. What's with that?? There's wine that needs bottling, stock to make, lard to render and freezers to empty not to mention housekeeping. I swear that girl must be slipping off and taking naps or something cause she's behind and not holding up her end of things LOL.

I'm rambling. I'm tired. Guess I'll head for bed. We've got rain in the forecast for the next few days so maybe I'll get to take it easy.
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Old 08-29-2016, 07:36 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blue gecko View Post
I could see you here, Sue! It's going to be a fabulous garden!

I'm busy being both the farmer and the farmer's wife LOL and someday I hope that will settle down. In the mean time, I really like both jobs and that's a good thing. I never dreamed I'd be learning how to drive a dozer and I have new found respect for people who do it for a living. Its no wonder they hurt! It takes every fiber of my body to operate that machine and respond to the movement of the equipment. I'm grateful to have the 'big' stuff already done and get to tweak things into position. Today I worked some on a small section of wet weather creek moving big rocks into place and digging out little ponds. The idea is to make it look like a little section of a lovely little river (even though it's pretty dry most of the time). Something else I am working on is making this farm incredibly accessible for me so I don't have to work so hard on daily chores. This dozer work makes things a little closer to that reality. I'll try to get some pictures up soon.

There are certainly times when this farmer stuff gets tough. I had one of those days last week when a mule kicked a pig in the head and she died in the night, in the pond. I knew she was in bad shape and if there had been someone here to help me process her I would have done it that evening. But she was eating a little and I thought I'd give her a chance. Instead, the next day I had to put on my big girl pants and wade into the pond to get her (YUCK). I had help that day so it wasn't a huge deal but I feel so badly that I didn't keep her safer through the night and that she was wasted. She was probably 150 lbs. That's the tough side of farming.

We had to deal with a possum this week. It was living IN the woodstove kitchen/mudroom off the greenhouse. That was tricky. After a bit of grass blower magic and a boatload of dust, feathers and little chicken bones (she had been eating J's chicks and feed) the possum played dead and I shoved her into a trap. A little car ride to a rewilding area and she was happy to scamper away into the woods. Now to get the mudroom mess cleaned up. Possum scat stinks.

I'll be happy to get that area back into business. J has been using it as a chick starting area and now she's moving all of that to her cabin and pens. I can see a light at the end of the tunnel and am looking forward to getting my gardens going again. I've had to focus on livestock and fencing for so long I'm not sure I'll remember how to do it. So Sue, if you'd like to come and be a gardener for a while I've got a room ready for you LOL.

D has taken over the office and book keeping and I am ever so grateful. She's like having a personal assistant. It takes a great deal of pressure off of me. The other associates pop in and out, help when they can and generally keep me busy helping with their projects. There's always something that needs to be done in order to make something else happen. This is where the farmer's wife comes in and I swear she's been slacking. What's with that?? There's wine that needs bottling, stock to make, lard to render and freezers to empty not to mention housekeeping. I swear that girl must be slipping off and taking naps or something cause she's behind and not holding up her end of things LOL.

I'm rambling. I'm tired. Guess I'll head for bed. We've got rain in the forecast for the next few days so maybe I'll get to take it easy.
Whew! I am exhausted just reading all of that. Even with helpers coming in and out..........how the hell do you do all of that?????????
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