Monday, July 26, 2010

Garden growth-usual happenings-and the future

Well, we never did get that nice all night rain we really needed, but we have managed to finally get some decent rain on and off over the past week. It's still been unusually hot and humid, though yesterday was a nice break. 95 degrees just isn't normal for Ohio, and this humidity? WOW There have been days that it was so bad that I was drenched in sweat just walking to the garage. The forecast for this week calls for 80's and not the 90's like we have been dealing with. Hopefully they're right, but they seldom are.

Last week was however, a great week for freebies. We ended up with twelve more chickens through someone that Lisa works with. We added the new layers, taking our flock to 18, thinned out some of ours, and added others to the freezer. As it stands now, we have the 18 layers, two more I'll be returning to the main run today, the same five mille de fluers, and four more hens to butcher; which will bring the total freezer count to 22 this year alone. I just hope the egg orders keep going strong now that the flock is larger than ever. The last time we had a larger flock, the orders all but stopped and we had to get rid of some

Besides the chickens, I got around 60 cinderblocks that I plan to use for a few new raised beds, a roll of poultry netting, some 4" drainpipe, a camp toilet, misc lumber pieces, a chicken tractor, and a bunch of misc nuts, bolts, hinges,latches, link pins, and other goodies to add to the garage shelves. After all these years of making fun of my dad, I finally have came to terms with the fact that I inherited that packrat gene from him. LOL

Granted, I don't keep parts from a tractor that I haven't had in 15 years, or snow tires from a car I got rid of 30 years ago like dad did, but I try to keep a lot of other things on hand. I have two 4x8x1ft deep wooden shelf units in the garage full of nuts, bolts, washers, screws, nails, pipe fitting, electrical fittings, wire staples, hinges,latches, pins, and all kinds of other handy little items. Anytime I start a project, or have to repair something around here, I check what I have on hand and rarely need to get anything but lumber. Just the other day when I was repairing the freebie chicken tractor, it needed a door on one end. I had the piece of plywood, hinges, screws, and even the hook latch. I didn't have to buy a single thing. I even have 2 pairs of pneumatic wheels & tires that I'll be putting on it today that I took off of an old compressor in dads barn. I even scrounged the motor off of it for another project I have going. I love having all of this "stuff" here when I need it, and 90% or more of it I have for free. I do need to thin things down a little, which I've already started,but I'll be sharing some with a friend who has little of their own "stuff" stock. I just HAVE to quote my dad on this one....."thats not junk, its good stuff!".

The garden has started producing fairly well, though some things are still slow since we got everything in so late. We've been picking squash, zuchinni, blackberries, and green beans almost daily. As of the last picking yesterday, we've taken 136 3/4 pounds of produce out of the garden, not counting greens. I just won't bother weighing greens since we only take out a salad or two at a time. While for some that may not sound like much, for us on this one acre, it's pretty impressive for no more than we have been able to pick so far. I figured out the amount of eggs so far this year too, and came up with a total of 164 dozen. Add that to the 22 chickens in the freezer at an average of 3lbs each, and we're getting a helluva lot of food off of this place. It's funny now to look back at that first year and that tiny 10x10 garden when we were happy with just a few quarts of green beans to can. We've grown here more than either of us ever imagined back then. We had no idea that we would someday be literally out of growing space or have chickens. At first, this way of life was an obsession, but now it's just how we operate from day to day. Things next year, like I have said in the previous post, will be growing even more when we start using some of my uncles land. We've talked quite a bit on what exactly to plant there, and decided on things that we can, for the most part, plant and leave alone. Corn, potatos, etc. Anything that needs watching or daily picking will stay here. With the open space here then, we'll triple the amount of tomato's to make sauces, soup, and juices. We'e still kicking around wheat and oats, but thats VERY new to us and we aren't sure about the work or details. We'll be researching that more before we decide.

When we were out running errands on Saturday, we stopped to visit my uncle and see how he was doing. He doesn't do well with this heat so I wanted to check. We sat and talked about a lot of things, but when we started talking about planting and doing things there, he told us stories about what my grandparents did there when he was young. They had chickens, pigs and a dairy cow. There were blackberries, blueberries, and elderberries all over the property. He told us that the property next door had a HUGE blackberry patch, but the newest owners bulldozed them over when he started bringing in loads of soil & fill to level it out. He remembered spending days picking berries for grandma to make jam and jelly, and how he and my dad sold extra berries to get things they wanted. Dad sold enough berries to get himself a real AMRY puptent, speeping bag, canteen, knife, and mess kit to camp in the woods. I have that WWII mess kit now. My uncle saved his money to buy a .22 rifle and ammo. We talked about all of that and how they used to trap muskrats in the old creek for extra money. I love hearing those stories from him and from my dad. It not only makes me almost see what life was like back then, but always brings a smile to their faces as they remember their youth. Even though I'll be in most likely y 50's when we take over, I hope to make just as many fond memories on the land. It's strange how yesterday I had the thought that I will be there on that land when we can celebrate 100 years of our family on it. OK granted that's 19 years down the road, but I plan on having a bit celebration. Hell, I'll even make a nice sign to put out front. "The W farm-celebrating 100 years"

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