I was remiss in posting my May update because we were just too busy working on our supremely awesome (but needing some adjustments, already) chicken coop. So, without further ado – here’s our homestead progress report in photo form:
Above: February | March | April
The most obvious improvement this month: we have a fenced yard…. and we even MOWED IT! hot dog!
Above: February | March | April
The pasture, i am happy to report, is greening up and has some good species still in tact… though heavily out numbered by weeds and wildflowers. I have a few hundred dollars worth of seeds in my pantry that i’m trying to figure out how to plant (without a tractor or tiller – guess the 50 lb bag of oats wasn’t the best decision…) that will be overseeded on the pasture and in the back yard area which is heavily compacted. I have a mix of daikon radish and some other soil busting cover crops, plus some chicory for forage. The best addition to the pasture is our new mobile coop. I need to tweak some things: put a better barrier on the nest boxes to prevent hay loss and re-do the entry door for easier opening on high grass, but overall we’re happy with it! I’ll post about our coop building and grazing/rotation strategy next week, but here’s a photo of the finished product (nest box side):
Spiffy, ay? The chooks seem to like it and are enjoying kicking about under the hoop house in the taaaall grass.We miss having the chickens up near the house and mingling with us, but not missing the fresh poo scattered everywhere. We’ll probably let the new pullets hang out in the yard for a while before we move them out with the big birds, to help further assist in their taming. I do, so love chickens – but it’s nice to look at them from far away too.
Another development on the homestead: DUST and lots of it. We were aware that we lived on a dusty road, traversed by frequent logging rigs. That doesn’t mean we were entirely prepared. I’ve planted a hedgerow to help combat the dust, but it will be many years before it will be truly helpful. I have plans of planting many trees: willows, fir, oak, ANYTHING along with tall native shrubs and tons of sunflowers in the summer. I may resort to irrigating the road and will investigate the costly ‘lignen treatment’ available in our county to be sprayed on the road. This aspect of our homestead is quite the downer: it’s finally sunny and warm but we’re coated in dust at the end of every day. Le sigh.
April wasn’t quite as epic as previous months with giant roof repairs or tree felling, but here’s a list of some of our April milestones:
- Put up a yard fence! The yard is now secure (minus 2 gates needing to be built) and we did a fairly aesthetically pleasing/ structurally sound job. Not bad for newbies!
- Mowed said lawn.
- Developed a pastured broiler plan using a Salatin style broiler pen and a CSA style cost sharing model. Then decided to hold off until later in the summer. We need a few hours of summertime left RELAXING not just building things. Go figure.
- Bred my rabbits! (technically in May) What fun to finally be a ‘real farmer’ and help implement the ‘miracle of life.’ I hope to have 4 nice litters of kits on the first of June.
- Designed, built, implemented our new pasture shelter/ mobile chicken coop.
- Butchered the rooster.
- Bought 14 chicks, who are all doing great (and who seem to include at least 2 cockerels, whom we may decide to keep)
- Bought the power drills of our dreams.
- Accepted the fact that i will not get a veggie garden planted in earnest: joined a local CSA.
- Pretty swallows are populating the boxes we built for them (though still also trying to re-populate their old mud nests in the eaves).
- Heat wave: dust. Pray for rain!
That’s all i can think of! Hopefully i’ll get a bit more time in May to do some more educational/useful posting on this here blog instead of just progress reports.
How’s your spring coming along?