Homesteading Basics: A Good Day to Get Our Hands Dirty

homesteading basicsMother's Day means a late morning snooze, a little breakfast in bed, and then another glorious day on our homestead. Homesteading basics include doing things in a timely fashion, with regularity.

Livestock need clean water, food and clean pens. The garden needs water and weeding, the bees need a check-up for syrup and wellbeing and the dump run has to take place.

A lot has happened the past few days, and these additions are slipping nicely into our daily routines. The biggest change is the inclusion of six new egg layers into the flock to replace the broilers who have been returned to a 'destined for the kitchen' status.

Wendie and I placed our order at the feed store the other day, and last night, we picked them up.

Integrating Our New Chickens

homesteading basics
We had decided that we would replace the broilers that were temporarily saved with actual pet-variety breeds. We chose two New Hampshire Reds, two Rhode Island Reds and two Black Sex-Linked hens. 

The idea was to wait for dark and slip them into the run with a flock block, but seeing that they spent an uncomfortable amount of time in their cardboard transport box, we decided to home them temporarily in the summer coop.

We had prepped it for the broilers, but seeing as how it would be another two weeks or so until that moved occurred, the new layers are now sitting pretty and getting acclimated to the homestead in their very own, very nice, little coop and run. 

The summer coop was the first one we built when we moved to our spread, and not being sure on the predators in the area, we built it to be nuke-proof. 

Heavy gauge 1/4 inch fencing top, sides and bottom, with an over-layer of chicken wire as well as below the run. It's a rectangular cube of deterrent, and as long as the egg door remains secure, nothing can get in without opposable thumbs. The new hens will stay here for a week or so to put on some weight, then we'll do the late-night integration into the existing flock.

Our Garden Progress

homesteading basicsOur lettuces continue to come up strong, as we've gotten to a point where the girls are delivering the excess to neighbors (along with our extra eggs). 

After 25 days of germination, the parsnips are finally sprouting. It's our first time planting these, so we were starting to get a little worried they wouldn't show up. As of yesterday, we have little seedlings popping up.

The radishes are filling out, though they're still in the dicot stage. Our bush-variety sugar snap peas are going like gang-busters, and the turnips are looking healthy. 

Garlic, Walla-Walla onions, thyme and chives round out our sprouted veggies, and we're still waiting for the potatoes and carrots to break the surface. When June rolls round, we'll be ready for peppers, squashes and tomatoes.

Landscaping and Hardscaping

homesteading basics
Last week, we picked up an order of railroad ties to build in a staircase down to the lake, and will have a few left over for terraced planting beds as well. 

It's a partial shade location, so the plan is to plant in some hosta and such. Today, we're picking up our peach trees and the remaining should be arriving any day now. Dwarf apple, pear, cherry and nectarine trees, with some flowering shrubs and fruiting perennials will complete our postage-stamp orchard.

The last day of May, our second package delivery of bees are due. These are carniolans, a standard honey bee suited for our New England, zone 5 climate. 

Speaking of bees, we finished up the second hive and sprinkled ground cinnamon to deter ants. Believe it or not, it works like a charm. Those that were stealing syrup drippings ran like the dickens.

homesteading basicsWith Wendie re-visiting the Nigerian Dwarf Goat infusion to our homesteading basics, we're looking at laying plans for a pen and goat barn on the other side of the garage. 

The plan is to get three, but knowing our family, it might push to four or five. We'll have to see where the wind takes us.

We love sharing our homesteading adventure with you all, and truly enjoy hearing your stories. Please join the conversation below, and as always, remember to subscribe for more homesteading basics goodness!


Kim said…
I can't wait to see how your terraced garden comes along! It's a great way to add more growing space in hard to use areas.
WT Abernathy said…
The plan is to work on it this weekend. Fingers crossed the weather will improve!
Tamara said…
Thanks for sharing your updates on your homestead, and for sharing your posts on the Farm Fresh Tuesdays Blog Hop!
WT Abernathy said…
You bet! It's always good to have plenty of blog hops concerning homesteading and small farm life!
Your property looks amazing! Seems you work hard and have a great plan in place! Keep up the great work!
WT Abernathy said…
Thanks Ann Marie:) We always have the welcome mat out for friends if you're ever in our neck of the woods:)