Coop, Sowing, and Trees

We started work on the chicken coop . Actually, we re-started it. For some reason, our corners weren’t coming out square so we unscrewed the entire base frame and checked that the cuts were straight. The 2nd try was better. The lesson in this is that a tiny mistake can cause big problems that compound later so it’s best to be precise from the outset.

We got the base built and sunk the legs into the ground. I tell you what, men can have manual labor- I am not cut out for digging post holes. I’m gifted in other ways.

So next step is to frame up the walls and get them together. Our progress is slow, one weekend at a time, but as I’m told Uncle Clem would’ve said, “One at a time’s good fishin’.”

Then I set to work seeding he garden plants. The Back to Eden garden is cake. It’s so easy to work and there are gorgeous worms in the dark soil now! Not at all like the dirt in the place we were attempting to dig post holes- that stuff is all rocky clay.

In addition to planting the Back to Eden veggies, I planted some shade-loving herbs behind the house. These seeds I got from Heirloom Seeds and they’re about at the end of their storage life so they got planted.

In this bed is cilantro, Italian parsley, sage and oregano

In this bed from left to right I planted horehound, chamomile, and bee balm

I worked around a rose bush that I’m not sure I want to keep- it didn’t look as if it had ever been pruned, so I pruned it and I decided to leave it as a sort of experiment.

We also planted some more trees in grow bags. They’re fabric pots that are biodegradable. This way we can take a year to decide on final position before we commit to planting them permanently. I recommend this if you’re looking to get trees and let their root systems mature a bit because the pots allow for oxygen to get to them. That way, when you finally do plant your trees, not only have you had time to see which areas get the most sunlight and are the most well-drained, but the trees will have heartier root balls prior to permanent planting. Also, you give your baby trees a chance to be brought in from outside should birds, or deer become an issue.

So far, we have 2 dwarf Romeo cherry trees, a nectarine, three Dunstan Chestnuts, 3 American persimmons, and 2 southern Crabapples. The crabapples will work to help pollinate our regular apple trees, when they arrive.

We decided to grow chestnuts as an alternative to grains. We have oodles of intended uses for them from grinding for flour, to using as supplemental feed for potential livestock, to roasting on an open fire. But what drew us to the Dunstan variety was a desire for a tree closest to the American Chestnut that isn’t affected by blight. We got our trees along with the persimmon, sawtooth oak, crabapple in a 10 tree set from Chestnut Hill Tree Farm. They have a really cool history and my husband’s inner nerd was prevalent in the decision to go with the Dunstans over the Chinese variety.

It’s been a lovely week and we will be continuing to establish the ol’ homestead some more Sunday afternoon after church. For now, I’m going to enjoy a respite with my little ones. šŸ˜Š

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