Friday, June 12, 2009

Updates

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.




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Monday, June 01, 2009

Orphaned Fawn

FawnMeet the newest resident at the permaculture homestead. Saturday morning my friends Karen and David were using a tractor in one of their fields and came upon this little fawn who ran to a nearby creek and then jumped from a rock ledge into the water eight feet below. David used a chain to rappel down to the water and retrieve her. By the time they got her back to the field she had been handled by the both of them and they were afraid to leave her alone for fear that her mother might not take her back due to any left over human scent. They left her in the care of friends but as it turned out those folks were not able to keep her so they brought her here just before sunset.

She was pretty freaked out as you could imagine. As of late afternoon Sunday she was settled down and fairly calm and starting to drink the formula for baby goats which also works for deer. It goes without saying that she is quite adorable. This morning after feeding she nuzzled up under my beard between my neck and chin and let out a series of squeeks. That's a moment I will never forget. I could get used to this.


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Chip and the Girls

I've now got all of our flock together. 29 birds, five of them are roosters the rest hens. When all the young ones start laying we will have 20-24 eggs a day. It is very nice to have the five that are laying now. We've got five guineas ordered and will be getting them sometime next week. Chip


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Garden a'growin

With the recent rain and now very warm weather the garden is really coming alive. The tomatoes have not looked very good due to the flooded soil but now that we've gotten a bit of a lull they are perking up and starting to look pretty good. I've got four different kinds of basil coming up as well as zinnias and cosmos. Squash and melons are now planted around the corn bed. Sweet potatoes are in as well. I still need to plant more squash and cukes as well but things are moving along. Oh, and I've got all of the comfreys from the initial planting out around the fruit trees.




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Another cabin almost complete

We did not get much done on the kids cabin this weekend as I was having a problem with my back and could not do much. Greg did get a small covered front porch on. Next week I expect that we will get the rest finished: trim boards, soffits, electrical, and the downstairs paneling. Last will be painting inside and outside but that probably won't happen right away. Oh, and landscaping will also need to be done. I'm hoping to put in a variety of native wildflowers along the sidewalk and the front fence which will eventually get built. I'll be posting images in the next update. It is an adorable little cabin, something out of a fairy tale.




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