Work and Rest

I am a little behind on my blog and that is because it has been very busy around here!

A quick update:
We lost our Golden Campine hen, Cutie Pie. While I never confirmed why she died, she exhibited symptoms consistent with one or two known viruses that kill hens. My other hens are fine. I believe they were vaccinated as chicks, but that does not guarantee none will ever be affected. It was a very sad day and we buried her next to Shadow. We miss her.

Cutie Pie
Cutie Pie

We have been busy, as I am sure you have been, with planting, mowing, weeding, and all that comes with Spring.

We spent one day tidying up around the shed where the clutter accumulates. We also ran chicken wire all around the bottom to keep the hens from laying under there. I pulled out nearly two dozen eggs that they hid from me! Finally, our egg supply has been replenished. 🙂

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Our weather in Oklahoma has been strange but pleasant. The winter seemed to drag on and we have enjoyed a very pleasant Spring. Here it is almost June and while I sat outside last night night I could have easily worn a hoodie and been comfortable.

We are taking a few a days to rejuvenate around here so we worked hard to get some projects done before our break. It has been pretty dry though. Last week I really could have mowed but was holding out for that rain that was promised. Then Sunday evening it came and it rained most of the day Monday as well. There was a break in the rain Monday morning so I fired up the burn pit and finally burned the huge pile of limbs from the two trees we cut down. It took a while to get it going since everything was wet but it did finally catch. We also burned a pile of scrap wood. While that was burning, Deac trimmed up some branches on the property and created yet another big pile! It sure looks nice out here though.

Here is a picture of our very first strawberry and isn’t it perfect?

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We wanted to turn over another part of the garden to plant but our tiller has been nothing but a source of frustration. Deac abandoned it and began turning it over with a shovel. It took him a good 2-3 hours, but he did it. The following day, I went in and pulled out all the grass he dug up, tilled it by hand, and smoothed it out. We decided to wait and use it for a Fall garden. Therefore we have a little time to plant it. There is also another space next to it that we will turn over. At this moment I have it covered with black plastic to kill off the grass.

The garden is looking good! I have had a seemingly  endless supply of lettuce and it has been hard to keep up with harvesting and eating it! The cool temperatures have made for a great crop. I spent hours weeding as the grass had taken over. I uncovered all of the basil hiding under the blanket of carpet grass and, to my delight, I have four varieties of Holy Basil coming up! I will finally have my own homegrown Tulsi Tea. That is so exciting.

The Lemon Balm has exploded in the garden and I dug up a few plants, gave one to a friend and transplanted two more in our sitting area. The Morning Glories have also propagated millions of babies! I pulled out what was in the garden, but just outside of it in the chicken yard is a massive patch. I am going to let it go.

The rain was such a blessing! There is nothing like rain water. The plants have flourished. The strawberries produced a few sweet treats, the sunflowers are getting huge, the cucumbers and beans really took off, and the okra and tomatoes, wow! It is so exciting to see the garden come to life. Over the next week I am raking up leaves from the edge of the woods and mulching the garden with them. Since I weeded I now have bare dirt that needs covered.

After the rain
After the rain

I have a voluntary pumpkin plant or two in the garden as well. These plants came from seed that came from huge pumpkins last year so I look forward to seeing what they produce. However, one massive plant has covered two of my strawberries so I may have to remedy that.

Deacon saw a DYI potato box and decided to make one. This method will supposedly produce 100 pounds of potatoes. That is a lot of food! We got a late start but decided to put some seeds in it anyway and see what happens. As the potato plants grow he will add more sides and add more dirt until it reaches 4 or 5 boards high I believe. Then, we pull potatoes out as we need them.

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Potato Box

We also added two worm towers to the garden. We took two approximately 2- 1/2 foot PVC tubes, 4″ diameter, drilled holes all around them, then buried them. We will stuff kitchen scraps in them and attract worms. We could purchase worms and put in them as well, but we have a lot of worms around here. Whenever I find any though, I put them in the tower. They are covered with a terra cotta plant saucer. We followed (for the most part) this method.

The vines that we purchased this year are doing fantastic! The ones from last year are not doing so well. We are contemplating why. Maybe they were not properly cared for over the Winter or maybe they were inferior vines. The blackberries and raspberry plants are doing well and so are the peach and apple trees. I imagine the day when we will be able enjoy the fruit they produce.

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Shiraz Gravevines

Our field is full of Yarrow this time of year. I avoided mowing several patches so I could harvest it later which I did Thursday before mowing. The bunches are hanging in the kitchen drying. Yarrow is medicine. It is a cooling diaphoretic, classic hemostatic and antiseptic used for treating bleeding, internally and externally. It is a bitter tonic and antispasmodic and will improve digestion if taken before a meal. The flowers are sometimes used in the manufacture of wine and beer. There are several varieties but the white flowered Yarrow that grows in poor soil and needs little water will produce the most potent medicine. Other varieties are inferior. I plan on making my first extracts this year.

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Yarrow
A nest found in the Yarrow.
A nest found in the Yarrow.

I think that is enough for now. I am going to enjoy the next few days and try to relax a bit. It has been a very busy couple of months and a little breather will be nice.

My Day Lily bloomed after all that wonderful rain!

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Peace ‘n Chickens Y’all!

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