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Homesteading: Springtime on the Homestead

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AZgrammie
North of Heber, AZ
(Zone 6b)

May 23, 2009
5:08 PM

Post #6587416

I haven't spent much time on DG lately, been too busy with gardening etc around here, also made a trip to AK for a week and then back to the Valley for 2 days. I have plenty of lettuce in the garden, and enjoyed all the asparagus. Pea plants are making peas, the corn is 5 inches tall, I planted the other half of the big garden with more corn for later on, and it is raining! I love it, even though it turns the local roads into sticky mud soup. Washed my car last week and it is now reddish brown from top to bottom, again. Moved 10 tomato plants out from the greenhouse into the garden, gave 5 to my DIL, and still have more than a dozen to put somewhere. Squash, pumpkins, & potatoes are growing, too. Don't know what happened to the "cool weather crops" I planted 2 months ago, they disappeared. The irises are all blooming beautifully. Must be spring!

Meanwhile, Big Momma the chicken is setting on a nest of eggs! This will be a first for me, I sure hope she can protect them from the other hens after they hatch. Big Momma and Brewster are Rhode Island Reds, but some of the eggs she is hatching were laid by my New Hampshires, same Daddy. I am sure she will love them all! Wish I had some duck eggs to smuggle under her . *^D
CajuninKy
Biggs, KY
(Zone 6a)

May 24, 2009
5:49 PM

Post #6591395

Sounds like things are going great guns at your place. I am a tad bit behind because of DH having to spend a week in the hospital. I'd love to see some pics of your garden.
AZgrammie
North of Heber, AZ
(Zone 6b)

May 25, 2009
2:41 PM

Post #6594815

How's the DH doing? Hope he is on the mend. I'll try to get some pix of the gardens today before the afternoon thunderstorms start. Strange weather, we usually get this in July/August, but I will take it!

I don't have a camera so I take pix with my telephone, then email them to myself. So it takes a while.
CajuninKy
Biggs, KY
(Zone 6a)

May 25, 2009
9:07 PM

Post #6596516

Whatever floats the boat. LOL I can't wait to see your place.

DH is doing much better. He has more good days than bad now so that is a plus. He still has to move slow and take it easy.
AZgrammie
North of Heber, AZ
(Zone 6b)

May 25, 2009
10:57 PM

Post #6596995

Good news about the DH, take good care of him!

I am attaching a picture of the Big Garden, which is big only if you compare it to my Small Garden, which is really small. LOL. The Big Garden is about 16 x 32, fenced with horse panels (for the neighbor rancher's cows) and chick wire (for the neighborhood bunnies). The uphill half (on the right) was planted with corn & squash about 3 weeks ago, and I just planted the downhill half a week ago. It is starting to come up but you can't see it in the picture. Can't see much of anything in the picture! The bushy things on the left are potatoes. Onions in front. That's my house in the background, and beyond that is the canyon, the land goes down sharply.

I peeked into the nest boxes and found that Big Momma is not the only hen setting, her sister Big Momma2 is also! Later today both hens came out to eat and I went and looked, and apparently they have been cadging every egg that anybody lays and setting on all of them. Must be 2 dozen eggs there. And I wondered why I haven't been getting any eggs lately! That's gonna be a lot of baby chicks! Anybody know how long it takes?

Thumbnail by AZgrammie
Click the image for an enlarged view.

CajuninKy
Biggs, KY
(Zone 6a)

May 26, 2009
3:08 AM

Post #6598141

It takes 21 days for the eggs to hatch. I have 28 in the incubator right now. I also have a game hen setting on 4 eggs.

Your fence looks sturdy. Do you have rows in the garden? I am gardening in my flower beds except for the new tomato bed. It is approximately 8 x 24 but my maters aren't doing so well. I have to work on them.

This message was edited May 25, 2009 11:11 PM
AZgrammie
North of Heber, AZ
(Zone 6b)

May 26, 2009
4:58 PM

Post #6600094

Cajun, I have "wide rows" that aren't as wide as they should be. In between the rows are dried weeds I picked last fall before they went to seed, so I'd have something to walk on when it gets muddy. My Small Garden is three sections of about 8x4 each, separated by cement blocks that I can walk on, but I need to put something at 2 foot intervals 'cause 4 feet is too far to reach. It is close to the house so that's where I planted the lettuce, tomatoes, & asparagus. It is inside the juniper-picket fence, plus chicken wire, so the critters can't get in.

I sure hope the fence around the Big Garden keeps ELK out of it! On Sunday I noticed that two logs from the fence around my acreage were down, so I drove around there and one was broken in half and the other almost was. Then yesterday I went hiking around my "front yard" and found the biggest elk prints I have ever seen, in the mud, had to get my "tracking" book out to see what they were. Each print had two smaller indentations after it, which turns out to be from dewclaws! (Who knew?) I think it was a big bull elk, out browsing in the rain. At least, he didn't get into the Big Garden to browse!
CajuninKy
Biggs, KY
(Zone 6a)

May 27, 2009
12:45 PM

Post #6603746

A guy like that would give you a year's worth of meat!
AZgrammie
North of Heber, AZ
(Zone 6b)

May 28, 2009
4:18 PM

Post #6609443

Yep. But (1) it is out of season (2) I don't have a permit and (3) I can't seem to bring myself to kill anything. Not even a free-loading non-laying hen.

CajuninKy
Biggs, KY
(Zone 6a)

May 28, 2009
9:04 PM

Post #6610527

I imagine they are raising calves right now. Do you have to have a permit seperate from a hunting license?

I had you pegged for an old cold hearted...uhmm... practical gatherer, like me. LOL I don't take pleasure in killing things but I do harvest what I can use and I never waste anything that has given it's life to sustain mine. I respect what I eat. I am going to bake a duck that I took from the creek in my back yard. Had one last week and it was delicious. DS baked it in a dutch oven with carrots, onions, garlic and orange marmalade.
AZgrammie
North of Heber, AZ
(Zone 6b)

May 29, 2009
4:25 PM

Post #6614076

Sounds yummy! I agree with you on "harvesting" in principle, and I remember that my grandparents had no qualms about killing a chicken to eat, or even the huge hogs that they raised occasionally. Guess I am too far removed from the farm!

Yes, you have to have both a hunting license (which I have) and a permit for each type of big game you want to go after (which I don't have). I think about the only things you can shoot with only a license are rabbits, cottontail & jack. The F&G dept here is very strict. My grandson is coming to stay here for 2 week in June and he loves to hunt, so I will let him get the rabbits and I will cook them, no problem. He just turned 14 so I had to get him a license, too.

Fish are different, they don't have personalities. I will be raising my own catfish this summer, so it remains to be seen whether I can callously yank them out of the tank without feeling like a murderess!
CajuninKy
Biggs, KY
(Zone 6a)

May 30, 2009
12:59 AM

Post #6615823

I have confidence in you. How do you cook your rabbits?
AZgrammie
North of Heber, AZ
(Zone 6b)

June 2, 2009
4:13 PM

Post #6631205

My post got lost.

What I said was the only way I have ever had rabbit was fried, like chicken, but I have lots of recipes. The F&G dept says you can even eat jackrabbit if you stew it for a long time!
CajuninKy
Biggs, KY
(Zone 6a)

June 2, 2009
8:23 PM

Post #6632256

I imagine one of those guys would be tough. I like domestic rabbit because you can eat it when it's very tender. Fix it any way you want. I like rabbit spaghetti, rabbit gumbo and grilled rabbit. But my favorite way to fix it is to cut it up in pieces like a chicken, put slits in the larger areas, stuff the slits with chopped onion, garlic and season salt. Brown it all very good in a cast iron skillet or pot. Cover it with chopped onions, garlic and just a bit of sweet pepper. then cover it all with water and cook it down slow. Then thicken the gravy with corn starch and serve over creamed potatoes. Delish!
AZgrammie
North of Heber, AZ
(Zone 6b)

June 3, 2009
3:43 PM

Post #6636129

Sounds delish, indeed! Yum.

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