HOMESTEAD HAPPENINGS

On the homefront there’s a lot happening. Yeah, well guess it wouldn’t be normal if I didn’t say that everyone is busy. Sometimes I feel like a broken record, but tis a farm life. Fellow homesteaders would understand of even exhibit some of the symptoms! LOL

The duckies are keeping us amused with their cuteness.  We make sure to physically handle and interact with them on the daily basis. Handling makes for friendly, less high strung critters.

Working on a new LHITC calendar and it’s a challenge I tell you. Too many pictures to choose from. I could easily make one calendar entirely of animal, another of beautiful flowers and wildlife and another with harvest and garden photos. Last year, I started the calendars too late in the season so hopefully this year sales will be better.

The front porch farm stand is hopping – we have surplus honey, peppers, tomatoes, squash, eggplant, basil and more to sell.

On the canning front: we are putting up tomatoes, peaches and apples. Hoping for the long awaited summer “mother load” of peppers. The cooler than normal summer (we are wearing sweaters till about 10 am and back on they go around 5 pm) had kept the tidal wave harvest at bay at present. There was a harvest all right but was more like a trickle every day. Actually, I am not complaining. In fact, I think it’s better spread out then all at once. Especially for putting up, every day you get a little done and there’s not this mountain of vegetables towering in the kitchen. But the weather’s changed and summer it back so I expect the kitchen counter-tops to be chock a block full pretty soon.

Here’s another round up of pics from the urban homestead. Enjoy and hope all is well on at your home or homestead.

Taking five

Front porch farmstand ready for the day's pick ups

Boxes filled with homegrown produce for the front porch farmstand

Kitchen ready for canning

Water bath!

Putting up the harvest

Jordanne hangs with her girls

Checking in on the hives

Her ladyship

Snoozing

Cuddling

At the front porch farmstand kids enjoy fresh fruit instead of ice cream

Mr Fix It. Justin fixes the neighborhood kids bikes

What did you do this summer? Expand your garden, get critters, were there any new projects on tap, bettering yourself with any new skills? Care to share?

Comments(19)

  1. Dog Island Farm says:

    We did some serious expanding this year! We built two more beds (both are 42′ long x 4′ wide), planted 8 more fruit trees, tore down the chicken coop, relocated the animals and built a bigger one that included a goat barn and storage area, built a larger livestock run, built a rabbit hutch (got rabbits and goats and more chicks this year), and built new herb beds. We’re not done though! This weekend we’re starting our new greenhouse!

  2. Nancy R says:

    Hurray! I received my two ollas from you yesterday. They’re sitting on the bed waiting to be dug in. My fall garden will start to go in in a week or so here in very hot Florida. Not too much growing at the moment.

    I have a question, and am not sure if this is the right place to ask. How do you handle volunteer plants? I have quite a few volunteer tomato plants probably growing out the the compost I put down. They look quite healthy. Should they stay or go? Thanks. Nancy R

    • Jeni says:

      @Nancy R, Not to jump in to answer this, but I would personally keep them if they look healthy. I had a few volunteers this year and just let them be:)

    • Anais says:

      @Nancy R: Thanks for your purchase and support. As for volunteers, some we let just be and other we try to transplant if they are in the way. I vote stay!

    • Wendy says:

      @Nancy R, I had volunteer hubbard squash, and I’m thankful I didn’t pull the plants. While they straggled all over the garden, out into the yard, across the wood pile, out into the driveway and even into the road, we’ll have a huge haul of squash (a long term keeper up here in Maine) that will feed us all winter, and we wouldn’t have had any of it, if we’d pulled the “volunteers” :).

  3. kelli says:

    fun!!! we expanded our garden and made a water barrel. i’ve made fruit roll-ups and all kinds of yummy things with the summer’s bounty. i plan to can jam soon.=)

  4. Stacy says:

    So nice to see some of the “in-between” moments at the Little Homestead in the City. Zucchini are coming in and yellow tomatoes at our village home in upstate NY. Ate some nice sauteed stir fries at last night’s dinner and used the blender on the rest of the Zucchini to make Zucchini “milk” for the freezer. (Great for substituting milk in many recipes.) Wish we were set up with honey bees. That will come later. Thanks for sharing!!

    • Anais says:

      @Stacy: I read about zuke milk a few years ago – never tired it but thinking maybe I should!

  5. Jeni says:

    We expanded our garden this year too:) We also expanded the chicken coop to make plenty of room for the ducks we got in April and hopefully for the soon to come goats too:) We also made a rain barrel….and our neighbors think we are crazy because we have moved to the front yard for planting too. We haven’t taken any grass out (yet) but we are using the front flower beds for tomato plants, green beans, corn, radishes and carrots. This fall I really want to tackle learning how to knit, soap making, and many other things too.

    • Nancy R says:

      @Jeni, Jeni, thank you for answering my question. I too am planting etables in my front yard. I’m putting in gardens in place of grass, and the gardens are getting bigger and bigger. So far, just tomatoes and sweet potatoes in the front and a few fruit trees. But, I’m just getting started! I live in a very suburban area, but I hope to completely eliminate my grass in time. Nancy R

  6. Lori says:

    Some of your northern readers may be able to relate to my summer project: weaning myself off of annuals (tropical and sub-tropical vegies that we all take for granted as being normal to our diets). For a long time, I’ve been wanting to set aside a block of time to do further research on Eric Toensmeier’s book on perennial vegetables, as well as the Plants-for-a-Future database online. In order to become re-acquainted with plants our great-grandparents already knew about, I had to ask questions like:

    What does it really taste like?

    Do I need to do something special to help certain vegies continue as perennials?

    How invasive is it?

    What is its growth habit, and where will it best fit into the garden?

    What part of the plant is edible?

    What annual does it replace in my seasonal cooking scheme?

    Is it disease resistant and pest-resistant?

    Here’s what I came up with for my zone 6b garden:

    *Skirret is a classical alternative to annual carrots (with a lovely top like Queen Anne’s Lace);

    *Good King Henry (Lincolnshire Spinach) is a perennial alternative to annual greens (with a tall and stately growth habit);

    *Lovage contains the same kidney-cleansing phytochemicals as annual celery and parsley, and can be used the same culinary ways (but it is more pungent than the annuals);

    *Bulb-type onions are virtually all sub-tropical annuals; northern onions are virtually all cylindrical. Leeks are as mild as vidalias, as are the Egyptian Walking Onions. Leeks are perpetuated by allowing a few to go to seed or by replanting the unused sliced off bottom with roots intact. Walking Onions multiply both at the base and at the flowering tips. (I avoid annual long-term storage onions now because my favorite ones have been purchased by Monsanto.)

    *Sunchokes can be used in place of sweet potatoes and winter squash if the indigestible inulin starch is allowed to convert to fructose via a short period of root-cellar storage. It is a lovely member of the sunflower family (the international peace flower).

    *Husk tomatoes or ground cherries are the perennial version of tomatoes, but there is a need to distinguish between sweet ones and tomato-y ones. Each individual tomato has its own “paper lantern” allowing for long-term storage if desired.

    Those are just a few examples which can free the northern gardener from slavery to seed purchasing year after year, as well as the constant concern about the source of the seeds and about diseases and crop failures common to annuals.

    Blessings!

    • Chris says:

      Thanks for your research as I am in Zone 6 as well. A dear friend planted sunchokes in my garden last summer. They didn’t take off too well last year, but we left them alone. Now they are over 7 feet tall in my front garden bed! They haven’t bloomed yet, but looking forward to harvesting some this fall and will “cure” them as you suggested. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Ginger says:

    I did a huge experiment. I planted tons of sunflowers, because they supposedly taste like artichokes when steamed. The experiment was highly successful even if the steamed buds taste like garbage. The bees are loving the sunflower patch and making us oodles of tasty honey for bread baking, gifts, and herb tea. The sight is a delight to the eyes as well.

    I love the picture of all the filled jars in the cupboard. Oh, an the one of the cute kiddos.

  8. Annette Triplett @ CoMo Homestead says:

    This spring we built two more raised beds, so this season we’re growing in around 200 square feet instead of the 64 we had last year.

    We’re also considering getting bees next year, so I need to do my research on that and make sure it’s something we are able to commit to.

    Just last week I also attended a workshop on native pollinators and native plants. I’m starting to plan for an all native flower bed along our back fence to attract pollinators – and provide food for our bees if we do get them next year!

  9. Rob says:

    So glad I stumbled upon your site! Your photos are wonderful. I am definitely bookmarking you guys and can’t wait to learn more. You have a great site here, keep it up. We expanded our herb gardens this year, put up a greenhouse, and have started growing and selling produce from the front porch as well. We want to get goat’s but honestly have no idea how we can fit it into the ever so busy schedule. I guess in moderation’s, until we are ready we will keep buying from local farmer.

    • Anais says:

      @Rob: A warm welcome to you! Our urban homesteading journey has taken us 25 years. It’s all about baby steps – one step at a time.

  10. CE says:

    Around the garden there have been plenty of weeds to feed the compost pile. But I have spend a lot of time trying to learn about a law that Congress is going to vote on when they return from their summer break. It is S-510. Have you heard about it? It is a nasty clone of the same bill they tried to pass a year ago. Almost a million citizens responded so that last one got voted down. Now they are trying to say this egg problem is a good reason for the Food Safety Modernization Act (S-510) and the “protection” it will provide. I feel that many small local growers provide much more protection.
    Dr Shiv Chopra of Canada Health says of this bill:”If accepted S-510 would preclude the publics’ right to grow, own, trade, transport, share, feed and eat each and every food that nature makes. It will become the most offensive authority against the cultivation, trade and consumption of food and agricultural products of one’s choice. It will be unconstitutional and contrary to natural law, or if you like, the will of God.”
    Others in the food industry say it will make it illegal for gardeners to grow, store, share or trade foods or seeds. It does not spare small farmers, micro farmers or home gardeners. It would make it illegal to possess seeds and to give food to others ( as in giving to food banks or local churches helping people etc.) I though this all sounded just too crazy to be correct. A friend informed me that in other countries these laws are already in place. I looked into this and found they stem from the United Nations “guidelines” that the UN hopes to have in place worldwide. Have you had any feedback on this?

    • Anais says:

      @CE: Thanks for bringing the FOOD BILL up. I know it’s scary stuff. There’s certainly a lot of controversy surrounding the bill and we are watching it closely. I was hoping someone/one of our new contributing writers for FreedomGardens.org would do an article/post on the subject – sorta decipher the bill.

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