Chickens, And Ducks, And Gardens, Oh My! Part 2

 

There are days when you feel young and full of life, and then there are the days that make you feel a lot older than you really are. 🙂 I just turned 39, but I usually feel older or younger than that. I’ve heard Joel Salatin say that the average age of farmers in the US nowadays is 60. I’m glad we are starting earlier than that because boy! My body needs some prep work! I’ve been very active for most of life, except for the year right before having my first child at the age of 35. Oy! And it’s been a battle uphill ever since. All the hoeing, weeding, mulching, hauling, planting, shoveling, watering, loading and unloading, feeding of animals, etc, etc, is definitely making me a lot stronger! But meanwhile…. I go to bed aching every night. 🙂 Feels so good!

My father-in-law sent a wonderful Gorilla Cart and my husband gave me some barbed wire and thorn proof gloves, both of which I am so excited about! These are tools I’ve been using every day since. You know you’re a farmer when you love getting a utility wagon and work gloves for your birthday. Hahaha!

Here are a couple updated pics on the ducks and chickens….The ducks are now getting to free range and they go a little farther away from their coop every day. They like to follow me around and I have a call they usually answer to. Makes me so happy!

The chicken coop has been painted with leftover exterior paint from the house. So it matches! I enjoy little things like that. 🙂 Soon it will also have the Home Grown on the Range logo, which I am currently working on.

And now let’s move on to the garden! The original plan was to get the hoop house up within the first month, so it would be ready by May. Hahaha! Feel free to laugh with me. It’s okay. 🙂 I remember writing back then that plans seldom pan out as you planned… And getting all the pieces for the hoop house, as well as cementing the supporting posts into the ground (because we have very sandy soil here), is taking a LOT longer than we anticipated. We are still plugging away at preparing the hoop house components in between everything else… I had no idea you could buy the components to build your own, which cuts down on the cost a great deal.

However! We have gotten a LOT done! The backyard is sprouting and hopefully we weren’t too late in planting. I used to think, “There’s four of us! No big deal. We can do it ALL, no problem!” Well, even with four of us, everything takes time. 🙂 As anyone knows who wants to make their hobby their full time job, you have to stretch yourself. I planted 50+ raspberry bushes a few weeks ago that are finally starting to grow new leaves. Thank you for the birthday surprise Sweetie! Raspberries are my favorite fruit, but preparing and weeding a bed long enough for 50 plants was exhausting. Each species of plant has specific needs and will thrive in different conditions, so there’s a lot more research involved than I expected.

Up until now, I’ve always looked up some basics and then gone by trial and error. Well, now an income is on the line, so the bar is a lot higher. I don’t think I’ve stated this before, but our goal is to replace three full-time incomes. That’s no joke. We’ve been researching and brainstorming for years and now it’s time to test what we’ve learned. Hopefully, Lord willing, we will all soon be working from home together.

A lot of people tell me they don’t have a “green thumb.” I’m here to tell you there’s no such thing. 🙂 I never had plants or was even interested in growing anything until I turned 30 years old. Nowadays all you have to do is look online; just type in “how to grow…” and you’ll find all kinds of help. The key ingredients are how much light, space, and water the plant needs. And if you prefer to talk to someone, go to your local nursery; they can help you figure out what plant might be easiest for you to start with and what to do with it. Just give it a try! I have learned it’s just a matter of practice, like everything else. The same plant will react differently in a variety of surroundings, so even if you follow directions and it doesn’t go as you expected, just tweak your process a little bit. I know that’s kind of vague, but there’s a learning curve just like when you’re learning to ride a bike, read a book, or any other new skill. Even if you don’t have a yard or some soil to work with, there’s pots you can put on your windowsill or pots you can put on your porch. There are even tower garden options you can put inside or outside for people with limited space. Try something new and enjoy the process!

Here’s some of the progress in our garden. First, our experimental beds, hugelkultur style.

We are trying something new to us, though I wish we had heard of it a long time ago, because it should prove to be amazing! The logs go in the ditches, then get covered with straw, small branches and leaves, or whatever else you have, before getting topped with soil. It’s supposed to save you a ton of water, provide its own heat and compost already built in, and save your back because you don’t have to bend over as much during harvest time. Amazing, right?! We have planted part of it, but the debate is still raging on whether we should put anything on top of the soil or not. The ground cover is my job, self deligated because it’s a great all over workout with the shovel and wagon. 🙂 My glutes have been sore for weeks! I’m almost done now…

So our garden is a bit behind. Oh well. It’s a good thing we all had a lot of gardening experience already, or this would be much harder! A good ground cover of shredded branches and leaves should help everything grow a little faster and in the meantime, we can focus on getting more ducks and maybe some goats. 🙂

Are you ready to try something new that you’ve been afraid of or put off because you’re not sure what to do to get started? As a good friend of mine pointed out lately, getting started is the hardest part. Even if it doesn’t go perfectly as expected, what do you have to lose? If you choose not to get started, you could be losing a lot. And you’ll never know how much you lost. 🙂 You can do it!

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