On the May Homestead

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Jump in and join us as we talk about our trials and tribulations on our homesteads, no matter how large or small.

We came from here.... http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1169190/#new

April showers bring May flowers Poem

April showers bring May flowers,
That is what they say.
But if all the showers turned to flowers,
We’d have quite a colourful day!

There’d be bluebells and cockleshells,
Tulips red and green,
Daffodils and Chinese squill,
The brightest you’ve ever seen.

You’d see tiger lilies and water lilies,
Carnations pink and blue,
Forget-me-not and small sundrop
Glistening with the dew.

We’d have fireweed and milkweed
And many more different flowers.
Mexican star and shooting star,
Falling in the showers.

And if all the showers turned to flowers
On that rainy April day,
Would all the flowers turn to showers
In the sunny month of May?

(found at http://flowerslovers.blogsome.com/2009/07/12/the-april-showers-bring-may-flowers-poem-and-april-showers-poem/)

This message was edited May 2, 2011 7:48 AM

This message was edited May 2, 2011 2:02 PM

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Dang, I forgot to add the picture when I started the first thread and couldn't go back and add it.

These Peonies are from last May, but this year's blooms aren't too far off.

Thumbnail by msrobin
So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)


I divided my peonies last fall and moved them... even so, I'll have a few blooms soon too.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Peonies are soooo nostalgic. We had them around the farmhouse of my youth. They will not grow here. It was said they were planted on all four corners to ward off evil spirits. Must have worked, I never saw anything more evil spirited than a brother... lol

Hoping for May showers and woke up to a drizzle. One tenth of an inch and cooler. Yesterday, I bushhogged for the first time this season. There is so little in the woods to eat that we are seeing lots of wildlife looking for food. My heart goes out to those with livestock as most have not had the first cutting of hay. Hence, more accelerating prices. It is a wild year all over.

Busy, buzzy hummers this morning. I guess they are hoping for May flowers too. Loved the poem MsRobin. Thanks for a good start to a fresh May!

Belle Center, OH(Zone 5a)

It rained again last night and dumped another 1.2 inches of water on the place. If this keeps up I'll never get the garden in. The chicken hut minibarn needs to be moved also, but the tractor would just sink if I tried to move it now. The weather is really getting me down.

Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

Happy May, everyone!
Your peonies are stunning, Robin. What a lovely homestead!

I'm going try and keep track of put up foods this year. I think, between family get togethers, holidays and company, I'm still not growing enough for a self sufficient food supply. For April I got 24lbs cheese, 8 1/2 lbs butter, 12 serving turnips greens and I've lost count of the eggs.lol We're still eating salad greens. I keep thinking it's time to pull them, then another cool spell prolongs them. I have squash blooming, just female blooms so far. But lettuce and summer squash producing at the same time...crazy!

Went to the North Texas RU yesterday. We had a great time as usual, but cut it short, because it was so stinking cold!

Your right, Pod. I talked with a few DG cattlemen/ladies at the RU and things are looking so grim for them in central TX. They may have to sell off. Makes me want to cry. I'm wishing some of Nik's rain to go to them.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

You know, thinking about it ~ it doesn't bode well in many ways.

I've seen many individual gardeners here on DG like NikB that can't get their gardens planted as it is too wet.
Here I've talked to many locals that aren't bothering to plant as it is so dry it would be futile.
Talked to family in MN yesterday and it is so cold, they haven't begun gardens yet either.

This is going to be a bad year ~ supply and demand wise. Prices will be incredible in the stores with fuel costs and crop losses due to freezes, tornados, etc.

You are doing well by accumulating even a portion of what y'all consume. Have you ever worked at it from another direction? Figuring out how much of everything your family eats in a year?

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

pod, I think you have a good point about supply and demand. Part of my concern (about foods) is that my half-sister and her daughter live in this house. They will eat nothing from my garden, only cheap store-fast food stuff. If the SH'sTF, I'm afraid I cannot feed them from my stores because I only put up enough for me anymore (since they historically won't eat it) and they have barely a week or two of canned/boxed goods stored.

Being hungry enough, they'd eat all my hard work, I'm sure... and where would that leave me? I do rotate most of my dry goods but need to do an inventory soon; not sure what I actually still have on hand... even in the freezers. I can NEVER keep a tally of the freezer contents despite good intentions!

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Thanks for the compliments. I love the peonies! I found the poem, but couldn't find the author's name. I did edit the post to add the source.

I think I posted that we ended up with 17" of rain for April and we already have 2 3/4" this month, with more rain forecast for several days this week. And the rain is really wearing on me. I don't think we've had but about 3 days of sunshine in 6 weeks.

Yes, it's gonna be a tough year. I've got about half of the garden planted with all the spring stuff and a few rows of summer squash and peppers. I have transplants ready for everything else except corn and beans. Afraid to put any more plants out because of the forecasted lows this week and afraid the seeds won't germinate in the cold wet soil. Luckily, my CSA members are all understanding. I had to postpone starting delivery at least one week.

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

A great chart for inventorying foods and supplies:

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Oh, I'm good at listing stuff when I put it in the freezer, and taping the inventory sheets to the outside. I just forget/neglect to mark off stuff I take out!

I use an Excel form I made eons ago.

Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

Robin, it sounds like you have a good bunch of members... meaning they have a grasp of how farming goes. It's not a guaranty.

Pod, I do have documented how much I need for the 4 of us, for an average week night meal. It wasn't till my brother and his SO stayed with us for a few weeks that I started giving thought as to how much food gets used at other times. I hope by keeping track of what I put up, and my expected crops, I may have a better sense of what I actually need for the next year. It should help as well, say, if tomatoes fail, then I need to make up for them with a larger fall crop.

Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

Hey cool!!! I need that form. Thank you!

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Cocoa_Lulu, how big of a garden do you have?

Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

We rearranged the kitchen garden and raised the beds this past winter...I think I have 358sf there, then we added 1/4 acre in one of the fields. Things like garlic, herbs, fruit trees and bushes are spread out... a bit here and there :0)

Do you think that's enough? I want to expand that 1/4 acre section to supplement the animal feed. But right now, our food is the priority.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

You might be interested in this video series; they do address animal feed in the latter segments. I was quite impressed, enough to put the book on my Amazon Wish List.

A Farm for the Future 1 of 5, thought provoking British documentary on what's in store for farms. It's NOT Doom and Gloom!

Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

Oh yes, I agree with everything she has to say. IMO, I think our food system and agricultural practices have already gone to H.E. double hockey sticks..

I am surprised mixed specie MIG grazing was not mentioned as an option for the pastures. That's part of our looong term goal.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

I have no clue what mixed specie MIG grazing is...

Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

Well, I'm lousy at explaining things. I'll try tho.
MIG stands for Managed Intensive grazing. An example is :
You could take 10 acres and divide by ten plots. Using an electric wire, you move cattle to each new plot. Cows can be picky eaters left on their own to eat at will. Forced into a small plot they eat more variety of grass, not just the choicest bits (this isn't as bad as it sounds.lol). Once they've utilized that small space, you move them to the next plot over.
In the plot that the cows left, you could follow with sheep or goats, they prefer to eat what cows don't, broad leaf weeds and browse. Sheep and goats don't get the same parasites as cows. Next in the chain would come a chicken tractor (the tractor would be just for laying) the birds would be free range. Chickens spread the manure left by the other animals and fertilize the field in a broader fashion.
Less pesticide, because your growing more species of flora. Less pesticide on the animals, because you are breaking parasite cycles. Fertilizer is natural. No herbicides. No trodding back and forth, wearing areas of pastures down.

There are many different ways of doing it...that's the basics tho.

Belle Center, OH(Zone 5a)

I think I am going to plant the old garden this year -it's on a slope and drains well. If I get three days without rain I can rototiller the whole thing and get everything planted for canning. I'll still have room for a 3-sisters garden, just not quite as big. Then the new garden I can get manured again, turned under, harrowed, and lasagnaed. Then in the fall I'll put down some more manure, cardboard, and mulch. Then next spring I would simply have to hoe out the furrows and plant. And add more mulch. I raise the lion's share of my groceries, and also provide for my mother, sisters, and their pantries. I can't really afford to BUY eatments. The weather really has me getting nervous about feeding all the mouthes I am at least partly responsible for.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Thanks for the explanation... I knew that process, just never heard it named!

Sounds like a Plan, Nik. Good Luck.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

I read the explanation of MIG and was ready to go buy cows, goats, chickens... what a good explanation.
I would probably buy a used car from you too. LOL!

Belle Center, OH(Zone 5a)

We have another 3/4 inch of rain since last night, and it's still coming down. 'twas supposed to be sunny tomorrow, but now they're saying few showers. GADS!! let's get dried out!!!!! I have to go get my meatbirds tomorrow, so I need to get the hutch finished today. Also I'm going to make a second compost tumbler today, but that only takes a few minutes. Then I'm going to start building AN ARK!!! Hopesully I can get all the animals 2 by 2 before the world ends. Sheesh!!

Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

Sheesh, that is sooo much rain! I hope there will be an unseen bonus to it all. Perhaps it will be a good year for the fruit trees? Last year my veggies were a disaster, yet the trees and berries did well. This year looks to be the opposite. I understand your worries, tho. I hate having a perfect plan...then the weather, bugs or animals refuse to acknowledge it!

Darius, there may be a better word for the process, other then MIG. I think MIG was coined by A&M. As far "mixed species" they seem to promote a mix of hybrid grass, rotations, just for maximum cattle production. But if ranching has a place in permaculture..it would be a mix of more animals and forage.

I loved watching the cows eat from trees, I suspect the trees, like deep rooted plants contain minerals not readily available in grasses. Surprising how much a cow can look like a giraffe :0)

Oh, and Aunt Pearl, how much would you like to spend the day chatting with her!

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

LOL, she was a hoot! (As was the old haystack saw.)

Curious that they said specifically the cows ate the ash trees. I have bookmarked his book on Amazon... maybe in June. ('Course lots of things have been postponed to June, probably can't afford half of them.)

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

LOL..loved Podster's comment on Cocoa_Lulu's explanation! I didn't know it had a name either, but that's what I'm planning on doing too if we ever get started getting the fence up, so we can start buying the animals. I think I've got our rotation plan figured out to where we build a hen house in the center with little exit doors that we can open whichever is needed to allow chicken entrance to a particular pasture.

Nik, sounds like you don't have much choice with gardening this year. I walked out to my garden and didn't know where to start. The few tomato plants I had planted look pretty pathetic. Tonight and tomorrow night are suppose to be around 40*, so I worry about the squash and peppers too. We got another 3" of rain last night. Only the 3rd and we already have the month's rainfall average.

Darius, how is your place holding up? Have you been getting all this rain too?

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

We've been lucky on the rain... still above average, but nothing like TN, KY and OH have been getting.

Rocky Mount, VA(Zone 7a)

Dang - hate it when I get so busy that I miss a thread jump - difficult to catch up! Have been rebuilding my computer, and trying to get plants in the ground, with the fact that sleep has become necessary at times as I have aged, there are truly not enough hours in the day.

Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

Isn't it terrible, Dyson. Every time there is a weather change..my sleep patterns change. I loss hours, instead of gaining them. ;0)

Yes, Robin! Podster always makes me smile! And I know who to call when I need to unload a car..or a cat..or a dog or two.LOL She's a softy like that! LOL
Robin, I saw a really cool coop on wheels that was a chicken tractor, slash, dog house. They had a LGD to protect the flocks during the day. I wish I had saved a picture of it.

Darius, I'll ask Joann, she's the lady I told you about that promotes real food and wrote the book on keeping milk cows as a family tradition. She lived, or is from England. I've been reading some of her suggestions for supplementing cows and some are based on english culture. let you know..

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

WhooHoo! Woke up to sunshine this morning! Not a cloud in sight. Since we usually are cooler by a few degrees than the forecasted temps, as a precaution, I did cover my peppers in the garden and my tomatoes, peppers and sweet potato that are sitting in trays outside.

Dyson, glad you found us!

Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

Yippe, let the sun shine!
Drats, I probably need to go weed today!

Darius, I was thinking about the ash today. And reminded of an interview I heard on the radio with an elderly gentleman. He was a kid working working on one of larger Texas gulf area ranches in the early 1900's. Longhorns were the cattle at the time, because they're thrifty and efficient at grazing scrub. He said that one year, during a drought they were told to go out and burn the spines off the prickly pear cactus. He went on to say that they did so well eating cactus pads, that they made a practice of it after that.

I got to wondering, if perhaps, what she meant in the video was we are overlooking free food sources for the cattle. In a time of clear cutting, bailing, transporting feeds, cleaning fence lines....The ash are available, the cows harvest for themselves and limbs can be brought down in times of drought.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Good point about overlooking free food for animals.

We are cool and overcast today, possibility of frost tonight.

Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

An enjoyable blog.


1871..To Prevent Crows from Pulling Corn
"Take a quantity of corn, soak it until it becomes soft, then string it on a horsehair or thread, one kernel to each thread or hair. When your corn is coming up throw this on your field. The birds will pick it up and swallow the corn. The thread or hair will stick in their throats, and in trying to get it out, they will scratch out their eyes. Be careful that your hens do not get at it."

Welll, so much for kinder, gentler times.lol

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

Go directly to jail, do not stop at go.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

I had read that about the crow bait a few days ago on his blog. It's gross, to say the least.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Forgot to add:

I'm whipped. We (sis, niece and I) went to Sam's, which is about 40 miles south, driving smack through the tornado destruction. Man, what a sickening mess. I took my camera but could not bring myself to take any photos. Must have been nearly 200 men working with chain saws, and more heavy equipment than I've seen in one place in a long time.

I know Alabama is many, many times worse and I cannot begin to really imagine it.

Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

Don't worry CountryGardens, I don't buy that for a minute. I've seen the chickens eat seed heads and get long wiry stems sticking out of their beaks. They manage just fine...someone had a serious crow problem to come up with such a twisted idea.

Sorry Darius, that is a mentally draining experience to see such destruction close up, more so then the newscasts.
I've been turning off the six o'clock news lately, it's getting to be a bit too much for the youngest here. They're aware, they just don't need to see it repeatedly.

Belle Center, OH(Zone 5a)

This is the second day without rain, I'm not sure how to act. We had a pretty heavy frost this AM, and there is still lots of water draining from the fields. But the sky is clear and blue as a robin's egg. I'm almost afraid to hope!

I am going to the hatchery this noon to pick up my meatbird chicks. After I have them ensconced in the brooder I am going to the old garden and starting at the top of the slope I'm going to till as much of it as I can. I'm going to put a couple BIG "no spray" signs up and hope for the best. My cole crops and main potato patch should already be in the ground!!

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

WhooHoo! No rain yesterday or overnight! I don't know what the low was, but it was 37 at 7 am. I covered peppers, tomatoes and squashes plants with 1 gal pots last night and the night before. Shouldn't get that low again...at least not according to the forecast for the next week. I'm going to try and get most of my transplants in the ground today. Nik, good luck getting your garden in.

Darius, I know how you feel about seeing the devastation. I can't imagine going through that kind of experience.

Cocoa_Lulu, you've really done your homework on homesteading.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

We had a substantial frost last night too. Thankfully not much has been planted yet. (or even started seeds)

I got a gift box of plants yesterday that included a small seedling of a bush chinquapin. It looked pitiful, as the woman who sent it to me said it would. I repotted it, and this morning it looks even worse and will probably die. Sigh. I really need one, as the one I planted 3 years ago won't fruit without another one nearby. She'll send me a couple of nuts in the fall to see if I can grow one from seed myself.

However, I'm not doing so great at starting trees from nuts. A few of the Chinese chestnuts I prepped grew itty-bitty nubbins in a bag of moist potting soil in the root cellar over the winter, as did 2 of the several shagbark hickory nuts. I planted them about 2 weeks ago, and something has dug them up. I suspect my cat, using the loose soil as a litter box. So, I have to figure a better way to protect new ones next year, assuming I can get any to germinate.

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