Garden Planning Tips

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I absolutely love garden planning, to the point that I tend to start thinking about next year before I’ve even put this year’s garden to bed. I even find myself slightly disappointed in the lack of “work” there is to do in planning these days – I’ve honed in on those tried-and-true varieties, and really gotten the layout of my vegetable bed down to a science. Really, it plans itself nowadays! Continue reading “Garden Planning Tips”

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Homestead Update: A Greenhouse

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One project that has been underway since March on our property is the building of our very own greenhouse – shed. This combination building was really an exciting project for me, as I have dreamed of having a greenhouse for years. With our growing homestead, we needed a space to organize the gardening tools, yard implements, our chicken bedding, feed and tools, as well as our new assortment of beekeeping equipment.  Continue reading “Homestead Update: A Greenhouse”

How to Keep A Garden Journal

I’ve been keeping a garden journal for several years now. Some years were more detailed than others, or I kept more frequent notes, and other years I only jotted down my varietals and a few early weather notes. Since moving to our current property, I’ve “upgraded” my note taking to include all homesteading things: wildlife sightings, chicken and bee keeping notes, gardening, weather, seed starting, and even our canning totals!

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Keeping a log or journal can seem like a daunting task at first – how do you get started? What do you need? I’ve found that over the years my needs have changed, and being open to adapting and changing your format is key to a successful journal.  Continue reading “How to Keep A Garden Journal”

How to Choose a Location for your Beehive

While my husband and I are still very much novice beekeepers (ahem, to date, we have only had our hives for three days), we hungrily read books and articles, scoured the web for beekeeping blogs, watched YouTube videos endlessly, and took a local Beekeeping 101 course. Eager to learn all we could before the arrival of our new neighbors, one of the biggest decisions we had to make was where to place the hives.

Continue reading “How to Choose a Location for your Beehive”

Honeybee Hive Set-up

Yesterday I prepared the site and setup the beehives for the honeybees we have coming at the end of next week.

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Happy hives!

Keeping honeybees has been a long time dream of mine, and I am so excited to finally be embarking on our own beekeeping journey! I cleaned, heat treated, and repainted our hive bodies back in February, during a nice warm period we had. Since then, we have ordered the few extra pieces we needed, and are now feeling ready for our new friends. Continue reading “Honeybee Hive Set-up”

April Update

Hello all! Just me, finally making myself post an update so you know we’re all still here. I actually have a slew of post topics and pictures ready, but we have been working all day and right up to bedtime on our various projects, so I haven’t carved out anytime for the blog.

What have we been up to? Well, a dear friend passed away a few months ago, and we were lucky enough to receive his old beehives.  My husband and I had always hoped this friend would be our bee-mentor when we were ready for bees, but we are happy to have and use his hives! We had a very warm spell in February, so while we boiled down our maple sap for maple syrup, we cleaned and scraped down the hive bodies and frames; removed wax moth cocoons, and heat treated everything to kill any bacteria or mites that could be lingering. After a fresh coat of a beautiful, pastel green paint, they are ready for our yard! Our honeybees should be here just in time for Earth day, as our pick up day is scheduled for 4/22! How perfect.

We will still work on developing our Mason bee community, and we have maybe 10 of our own cocoons from last year that should be hatching soon. We did order more cocoons, and I got the tubes out about two weeks ago, so they’ll have time to air out and not smell like humans!

As far as animals go, I would still like to get a bat house up for our local silver-haired bats, but I’m a little late to the party for those returning this spring. I’ve made it a goal for the fall, to get it up before winter, this way it will be aired out and ready for them when they return from migration.

Our five chickens are doing well, and all of our hens are laying. I picked my layer breeds specifically for their hardiness for our zone, as well as their egg color. We get turquoise, chocolate-red, and two shades of tan eggs every day, and they never get old to look at! They are just beautiful – it makes me think that people have no idea what they are missing out on when they purchase commercial eggs at the grocery store! So sad.

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We do have a big coop project ahead, which has been set back due to extreme flooding. With the snow melt off and all the rain we have had lately, the ground is absolutely saturated, and the water has nowhere to go – creating a trickling stream in the center of our yard, that flows straight down into the coop! The entire run flooded, and the chickens were up to their little knees in water and mud, poor things! We dug some channels and moved rocks to allow it to drain, but unfortunately, until the river in the yard stops, we can’t do much else! It’s also supposed to rain again for most of the week, which I hope changes. Once everything is dry, we have a plan to adapt the coop run so it drains better, and this doesn’t happen again. We had experienced minor flooding in that area before, but never like this! I hope it doesn’t last long,  but we put a wooden pallet in the run on top of the mud to give them a dry place to stand when outside, and much of the flooding has gone down at least.

This flooding reminds me of the failure of my massive corn and oat patch last year, which was just next door to our coop and between flooding and the squirrels, was a flop. My husband built the area up with stone, and found a (somewhat) local guy who builds greenhouses, sheds, etc., and he has begun building a greenhouse-shed combo for us. The frame is up, and we painted the door and window frames already. Just waiting for the siding and roofing to come in, and it’ll be finished! It’s coming out beautifully, and I am so excited to “move in” with my seedlings and gardening tools!

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Another big development that I haven’t shared yet is that we are expecting our second child this August, I’m about five months pregnant now. So we have been doing some house projects to prepare the baby’s room, move around existing furniture, and occupy my incessant need to be busy. We recently removed the wallpaper from our hallway and repainted it, it came out beautiful. I’ve done some knitting projects in the evenings, and made a blanket, some booties, and a little stuffed fox, for our new little one. I even adapted the fox pattern to make a little raccoon for our nearly 2-year old daughter, who just loves raccoons.

I’m also working on a painting project for my daughter’s birthday present, and I’ll post photos of it when it’s finished. It’s coming out really nicely, so I’m very excited.

All my vegetable plants and some flowers are now healthy seedlings, everyone is on track for this year’s garden.

We’ve also been busy with family and friend events, dinners and get togethers. We’re celebrating two weddings this year (of which either my husband or myself is actually “in”) so we have been occupied with various preparations on those ends as well.

I have some recipes to share, DIY project ideas, and more, so I’ll try to get those ASAP. But at least for now, you see what we’ve been up to in Woodford, and know some our springtime projects!

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