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Thursday, March 28, 2019

2019 Homestead Goals!

Silly duck! I just gave them water in this
bowl and he decided it is time to bathe!
Finally! Spring is here! The Pussywillow tree has started to bloom, the trees are budding, and I've caught a few peeks of green coming from the ground as my perennials have decided to make an appearance! 
This time of the year has it dreaming of what we would like to get done around here. 

5 goals at this time in no particular order are:

1) More raised beds- These turned out to be invaluable for me last year. Both for ease of weeding, gathering, and so I didn't have to kneel too much.

2) Moving Lt. Dan the Wonder Goat out of the garden after we burn the prairie. Also, making his door opening a wee bit bigger. He has grown quite a bit since we got him.

3) Make a new portable coop/revamp the old one? This is still up on the air. In the meantime, Mr. Awesome make a poop board, move the roosts for more room for the girls, and we will have two separate entrances for the seasons(Alternating to give the grass time to come back).

4) Fix siding on house/scrape/paint house/put windows in back rooms.

5) Make temporary porch on the back of the house until we are ready to take back steps out.

I have been gathering my seeds and am anxious to start planting. Every year I end up planting too early. This year I didn't start crazy early. I have a handful started. I am planning on embracing Winter Sowing next season. 

I spurlged and bought a few bulbs of Dishplate Dahlia's and another type. These I will keep in the fenced in garden. It makes no sense to plant too many things around the house as I originally wanted to. Chickens don't care how carefully you organized and planted seeds and bulbs. For them they see you digging in the dirt and they are thinking, "Crazy Human is finding food for me!" or "Crazy Human is making a nice spot for me to dust bathe in!" I've thrown in the white flag and decided to keep the garden for pretty stuff. 

We (Do you like that "We"? What I mean is Mr. Awesome will...) work on the roof issues too. Terry was able to borrow a lift to fix the loss of the slate tiles on the roof. He patched on a side and will begin working his way around. There is hope we can borrow this for another week. It has been super windy or rainy. 

Rainy reminds me of getting stuck in the driveway. Yes, I got stuck! Not just a little stuck but "Holy moon pies! What did you do!".  It was a mess but thankfully Mr. Awesome was able to use the winch to get me out. Check my Instagram feed on the left side bar for a picture of the pit I made. Did I mention we need to have a load of rock delivered to help? 

When Terry came home his face was priceless. I was a bundle of nerves but that melted away when he saw how badly Randy was stuck (Yes, we name a lot of things around the house. Jess named Randy- it's her car. Honestly, we can't be the only people that name, "Stuff"!) 


Find me here-
amazon.com/author/melindakunst
I have been writing again and hope to have my fourth book ready for print before the end of the year. I'm really excited about this one. To be honest, this is going to be my favorite so far. If you haven't heard how we had gotten started our homesteading journey you will like this! The story is a mix of our homesteading adventures as city folks and a sprinkling of how doing this saved my sanity during hard times. Check out my Author page for updates and appearances- Melinda Kunst Author


There are more goals but these are the few we are talking are starting on now. What are you working on? 

Care to connect? Find us on FB God's Breath Farm

And don't forget to check out our YouTube channel Blessmeplease09 on YouTube! I've found several videos I had forgotten to upload and now we have 100+ multi-niche videos available! I believe I have another handful that needs to go up soon too. Betcha didn't know I'm a procrastinator. 


 


Perhaps you know a woman that is in emotional pain from loss, abuse, suicide, or depression please view my blog at www.hopewhentherewasnone.blogspot.com and I have a support group for women that you can connect with, find it on my FB page Hope when there was none


Rhett & Miz. Scarlett- Cayuga Ducks


Have a great day!
BIG HUGS!
Mel



Sunday, March 3, 2019

Polar Vortex, damaging winds, and frozen combs

We are all so done with winter here! We survived the Polar Vortex! Temps fell to 46- here! I threw extra straw in the coops and Lt. Dan's house. I wrapped the Abbey (duck truck) with a bit of plastic and blue insulation sheet on the outside to help with the drafts. Believe it or not those chickens and ducks stayed out during that weather in the run! 

In the coop, I took more blue insulation sheets and positioned them along the windy side to help cut the wind. These birds stayed in! We didn't let them out at all. 

Dan happily shared his house with about 6 other chickens that made a break for his casa before the weather was too frigid the day before and so they were locked in with him, which worked out so well for us because we worried that he would be alone and cold. Those wee feathered friends kept him company and warmth! The only thing that I noticed two roosters have frostbite on their combs. I am so grateful that we didn't lose anyone!

Inside we were keeping warm the best we could. I hung up heavier curtains on the windows, blankets on our front door and everyone bundled up. Our furnace had a hard time keeping up and few weeks (thankfully) after that deadly weather snap it expired! 


We had a repairman come out to look at it and he didn't feel right to put it back together and to somehow rig it to work for legality reasons and of course, we didn't have the funds for a new one. Mr. Awessome dug out the kerosene heaters and we once again bundled up. It was a long nerve-racking week! We scrambled to find what funds we could and luckily an angel came through and lent us with what we were short. There's more to that story but that is it in a nutshell!

Next came warm weather then cold then warm and then windy! We had 40 - 50+ mph winds that knocked off siding, slate tiles from the roof, and blew outdoor stuff away. There was a plan to take the siding off anyway so we could scrape and paint the house so we kinda felt lucky to have the help with that! The roof is another sore spot that will need to be addressed soon. We do have our pans strategically placed in the attic to catch the drips but need a new roof. Sadly, most folks don't do payment plans unless it is through a finance company. With our credit, not the best, we are thinking of getting the Farmstay/Airbnb up sooner to help save up for the repairs. 

There is a possibility we may get that up and running this Summer instead of next. There is still a lot to do before we give the thumbs up for this plan. But it has been fun to find items for the bus and planning of some other sort of building. We have an idea of where the primitive spots are going. Those will be for campers that bring a tent and camp out in a designated spot.  I am gathering local spots for entertainment and sightseeing as well as local delicacies to share with guests. This part is exciting!

Soon more garden planning, seed starting, and writing book 4! This one will be about our homestead experience! I hope to have it ready to publish by the end of the year. I still have two other book ideas percolating in my mind but need to finish my other first.  I'm pretty excited to have a writing workshop next month, blessed to have several interviews sharing my story of my past, and working on more interviews and speaking events. Find out details on what is upcoming here- My Author page .

How has your winter be going? 

BIG HUGS!





Thursday, January 10, 2019

Happy New Year... Come on Spring!

It was my idea to wear our stylish tree hats. If you know me well enough this is no big deal. You're used to me. Mr. Awesome has grown used to the antics and crazy ideas. God love him!

I shouldn't be complaining about the winter. We have been pretty blessed so far. I do need to say that I am not sure how to dress. Two days ago I found myself outside picking up things in the yard wearing a hoodie. 

The holidays were good to us. It's nice and quiet with the kids coming by with the baby. I call them kids, but they are adults. Seems weird to call them anything but kids. 

Mr. Awesome and I have been dreaming about Spring and changing up garden planning. Seed catalogs are already sprinkled on my kitchen table. My seed container has been filled. And we have been brainstorming ideas for combating the wild range of insects and pests that have come through the garden. When we are done with one infestation another comes and takes its place. 

Lt. Dan the Wonder Goat has finally warmed up to us. I think he was mad at his other goat mommy for giving him away. He was pretty stubborn about ignoring us for about a month. Now, he is quite a character. He comes to beg for food and pets, mainly food! 
In my infinite wisdom, I didn't think about the damage he would do in the garden. Now, I did have an idea but the assault on my unsuspecting Elderberry was horrific. We really need to hustle him out of the garden soon. The area we thought of has our grape vines and he has already made a nice dent in those! Farm fail?! 


Fencing is HIGH on the list of things to do with him. Finishing buttoning up the house as well. We have a pretty drafty place. If the winds come out of the north the curtains move and you can feel the breeze. Mr. Awesome had the idea of using plexiglass as temporary window coverings and where he has done this the result is wonderful! We have 15 more windows to do! And before you ask, these are new windows. They are not original. They are poorly installed and caulked. 

The hens have started laying. Now, by hens, I mean 3 hens and a random duck have been laying. Which is a bit frustrating for us. We considered throwing some in the pot but don't wish to do so to the ones laying. I think they are doing it on purpose. 


They are smarter than you think. Which brings me to the other issues at hand... They are eating their eggs! I have tried putting golf balls in the nesting box and so far some wise hen decided she would rather play with it out of the nesting box and I found it in the chicken run. There are a few more tricks we can try. One is to fill an egg with mustard. I'll let you know how that goes.
I decided to try the "Deep litter" method over the winter and I tell
you, I am not a fan. I like the premise but I am a bit OCD when it comes to the coop. Now, I'm not talking the white glove test, just stinky and look wise. I've read there is no smell. I haven't experienced that yet and it could be due to the fact that ducks are really messy. We also do not have a poop board under our birds. I have cleaned a bit of it a few days back. I couldn't help myself! I moved about half of the litter out and placed it in a pile about 5 feet away from the coop. My hope is the pile will heat up, the chickens will dig and find bugs that were drawn to the pile for warmth and a yummy win for them!  

I bought 2 bags of pine chips and tossed a nice layer on top of everyone's areas. I'll do that again tomorrow as the weather may turn into a bit of snow. Time for flock blocks too! Flock blocks are these wonderful HUGE seed and mineral blocks for birds and this helps out during poor winter weather where we may not get outside to let everyone out right away. 


Did I mention I can't wait for Spring?! Do you have plans for your garden?