Work Day on the Homestead

One of the biggest challenges of homesteading with 3 small children is… homesteading with 3 small children.

It’s almost impossible to get a job done without interruption making it take 4 times as long.

It helps a little to have my husband home helping, but we rarely end up working on the same task to completion. Usually, I end up doing something that can have me wrangling children while he does the harder manual labor, like tree cutting or mulch hauling.

Today, we focused on garden/ “orchard” preparations for winter. This entailed pulling out over grown and spent hedgerow flower stalks, digging out poke roots, weeding garden beds prior to mulching, and composting spent tomato vines.

While I was doing that, my husband was working on mulching our nut “orchard.”

I use the word orchard here in quotations, because 3 chestnut trees and 2 hazelnut shrubs, and 2 apple trees hardly constitute an orchard, but orchard is the end goal; so I’ll use the language that most encourages the end result and reminds me what we’re working towards.

We’re also mulching the entire strip south of the swale where our peach, nectarine, and cherry trees are. This will eliminate mowing around the trees and swale and hopefully encourage water retention and soil amendment to that area.

I’ve done a few asthetic things around the chicken run. I transplanted an elephants ear at the corner, and I plan on adding a few perennials on the west end of the run, just to make it look nicer. I’ve considered moving a climbing rose bush (Because it’s really inconveniently located right now) for the chickens to nibble– I’m told they really like roses.

We’re also working on finishing up the clearing out of the potager. This will require digging out sassafrass saplings, and kudzu vines… Ugh, the kudzu vines…

Interestingly enough, we found a 4 foot long snake skin a couple weeks ago near one of the big rocks in the potager. Obviously that has made me a bit more cautious about working that area, but I have still yet to see an actual snake. Only the shed skins. I suppose I can be thankful for that.

We’ve been harvesting and storing hickory nuts like crazy.

That’s one of the things that many homesteaders don’t talk about… There are seasonal jobs that come around each year. They don’t last forever, but the intensity with which they come and the immediate attention they require make you sick of doing that job and relieved when it’s complete for the season. That’s how I feel about hickory nuts right now. I’m utterly sick of looking at them. But, in case we ever need reminding what Scripture says about diligence, here’s a link to 20 verses on the subject.

So I’ll keep gathering, and storing until we run out of space.

We’re also harvesting the luffa gourds. Many of them are bigger around than my calf, which is fantastic. I’m really pleased with how well they did this year. I can’t say the same of my pumpkins or watermelons, but I suppose that’s just part of farming, you win some, you lose some and you’re at the mercy of the weather.

Unrelated to gardening, there are just flocks of jays and other birds descending on our dogwoods right now for the berries. I don’t understand the previous owner’s obsession with dogwoods, nor do I appreciate the state of neurotic frenzy the excess bird population puts my border collie into, but again, there’s not much I can do about it for now.

The chickens are slowing down production as the days get shorter, and we’re thinking through how we’re going to store the abundance of eggs we have. I don’t actually think it will stay an excess for long with the way we eat eggs around here, but I guess it’s always good to have a plan in place for storage.

This post is getting really long and I should get back to working, so until next time!

5 thoughts on “Work Day on the Homestead

    1. That’s too bad about the chickens. We settled on a fixer-upper house so that we could have unrestricted acerage. You win some, you lose some.
      The hickory nuts we plan to use like we would pecans or almonds.
      I especially like them in hickory brew, which is basically a kind of tea, where you crush them, shells and all and boil/simmer them in water. It is delicious, and I think if I could make it in the same quantity, I’d trade coffee for it! 😃

      Liked by 1 person

    1. This is the first time we’ve ever had any to store, so we’re not sure yet. We’ve considered submerging them in brine like they did during WWII. We’ve also considered coating them in tallow and just keeping them in cartons in our extra refrigerator. But, I think we may sell what we have this year.

      Liked by 1 person

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