Petunia (the fawn) seems to be doing very well. She's eating 6 times a day now down from 7 times and around 32 ounces of formula. She be getting bumped down to 5 times a day soon and will then be getting more formula at each feeding. Her feeding schedule keeps me busy and close to home!
Last Friday I picked up 5 Guinea chicks and four of them are doing very well and growing up so quick! Sadly, one died a few hours after I brought them home. That was the second death in two weeks here on the homestead. Earlier in the week one of our Barred Rock hens was killed by one of the roosters. We're pretty sure it was Junior as he has displayed far more aggression and violent behavior than Chip. More than likely he will become dinner before too long.
I've been 99% vegetarian since 1989 but have eaten a few (mostly freshly caught) fish in just the past few years. Now that I live 250 feet from a lake full of fish it seems sill to not use that very local and healthy source of protein. Along those same lines I've decided that I will also share in the occasional rooster since there is no way we can keep every rooster we end up with. We're already at four out of 28.
The garden is coming along. I've been a bit frustrated by the crazy amount of spring rain which was keeping me from planting and then drowning what I had planted. It's dried up just a bit and my water logged tomatoes are recovering well. I also finally attached a foot high strip of chicken wire to the welded wire fence all the way around and so have (I think) made the garden area rabbit proof. If I had done that a month or two ago I'd have lots of nice lettuce and spinach to eat now. As it is I have a little that survived and just planted a good bit more. Live and learn.
Most of our fruit trees and bushes are doing well. The notable exception are some of our Apples, the Golden Delicious. Their leaves are covered in bright orange spots which is Cedar Apple Rust. From what I've read it does not actually infect the tree but stays on the leaves. We've got LOTS of Eastern Red Cedar in this area so there's no getting rid of this. I'm not sure if we'll be able to get fruit out of these trees or not and will have to do a bit more research. Some of the other apple varieties are resistant and show no signs of the rust.
On a positive fruit related note, the Currants and Gooseberries are all doing very well and even have a little fruit on them! I don't expect a real harvest this year but I think this bodes well for next year! Our peach trees are also doing very well and already have peaches on. I suspect that I probably should have pinched them off to encourage growth of the trees but I didn't and they are half grown peaches now so I'll just let them go. I still need to get the blueberries and elderberries planted though they are doing great in their pots.
Last, we've nearly got the kids cabin finished. It has taken a bit longer as the past two weekends were slow in progress due to me having poison ivy all over my hands and a very sore back and also Greg had plenty of other work around here so he got a bit distracted. The inside is almost finished though and the remaining painting and then carpet laying will be happening today and tomorrow. I suspect that the interior will be 100% finished by Sunday and that a few items will be getting moved in this weekend. The exterior still needs trim, caulk, soffits, and paint. Kerry and I will likely be doing the painting with the kids sometime in the next week or two. Also in the next week or so we'll be getting a load or two of river rock for the designated swim beach on the lake.
The next big project is building the largest of the cabins for Kerry and Greg. Greg cleared the area with the tractor and will be marking off the posts so we can drill holes and fill with concrete. I suspect we'll have that done by the end of the month and that we'll start construction of the cabin at the beginning of July. Our hope is to have the shell of it done by mid to late July and interior work done by mid to late August. We'll see.
All in all I think we've made a good bit of progress in the past year. With each month the site looks more like the little eco-village we want it to be. Last but not least, I'm pretty happy with my level of involvement in town. I've mentioned before that I've been doing layout and writing a weekly permaculture article for the The Madison County Crier and I've also been helping out a bit as a board member of the Fredericktown Revitalization Initiative. I'm chair of the design committee of the FRI and there's much more that I need to do on that but I knew that summer would be a time that I'd have to focus energy on homestead projects. I was also hoping to start a free workshop series on food forests, ecological gardening and permaculture to take place here at the homestead but so far have not had alot of interest. There are a couple people and it may at least warrant one or two meet-ups or an extended, informative tour around the homestead. We also had a no-till garden seminar back in April which went over pretty well.