State of the Homestead: Fall Edition 2017

Life slowed down just in time for Nana, the border collie, to get hurt. We stopped all our other outdoor activities on the homestead and have spent the last two weeks keeping Her Royal Border Collie company while binge-watching Babylon 5 from start to finish.

The first week was a blur. I worried a lot because it took a long time for her to have a bowel movement, but once that was established, we felt safer that she was improving on schedule.

Because she injured herself while on duty herding the chickens back into the coop, I felt it only right that she receive the Homestead Congressional Medal of Valor, Border Collie Division. What do you think?

homestead hen in moltChickens: Speaking of chickens, we lost one of our roosters while they were free ranging. It was bound to happen. This is the time of year when coyotes and hawks are most bold. Now that the younger chickens are used to the older ones, I’ve regrouped them into one pen. They seem to have established their pecking order, so all is well.

I am a little peeved though. Just before Nana fell in battle, we put up a fence around my main garden. It’s kept the deer out but the chickens managed to get in. I haven’t yet seen how they get in. They’re either flying over the fence or squeezing through the holes. Greg wanted to get fence panels with the smaller squares, but that was more than twice the price. Still if they’re flying over, no fence will keep them out. I’ll figure something out eventually.

The hens are in molt right now. They’re bedraggled and scruffy, shedding feathers everywhere. This means no one is laying and their coop looks like a chicken exploded. I try to give them a little extra protein when I can so they can rebuild their strength for next year. As soon as I’m sure the last of them have finished molting I’ll do a thorough cleaning of their coop then fill it with extra deep litter to last them throughout the winter.

homestead goatsGoats: Everyone has finally settled down. For now, no one is in heat. Thank goodness! The boys keep pushing at their fence though. We really need to put something up as a brace. Goats are relentless and super smart at finding weaknesses in their pens.

Captain Jack has gotten taller, but still hasn’t filled out yet. Ray Charles, handsome as ever, smiled for my camera.

All the girls, except for Patch, the baby, have been bred. I don’t want those boys bothering Patch this early in life. That little girl is still a beauty, and very sociable.

Garden: The garden has pretty much been put to bed. I’ve got a few pots started with lettuces and a couple of late blooming tomatoes. In the raised beds, the okra and potatoes are still going strong. We’ll have fresh potatoes for Thanksgiving.

More than half my artichokes died. I don’t know if it was deer related or the blistering summer heat, but only three are left. They’ve lost some of their leaves and look puny, but are still very much alive. This isn’t their normal climate so I don’t know if that’s normal for dormancy or not. We’ll see if they make it to the spring.

I had a nice, long row of snow peas planted, but that’s how I discovered the chickens had sneaked into my garden. They’re gone now–the peas, not the chickens.  (shakes fist)

It’s a little late in the year to start over. My one regret is that I didn’t plant garlic. I really needed it too. My original plan was to try a couple new varieties for southern climates, but I never got the order in on account of a certain dog.

Ah well. If I find some organic garlic locally, I might go ahead and plant some of them so I at least have something for next year.

Da dogs: Well, you know about Nana’s misadventures, but Iko should get a medal for being so good-natured in the face of getting ignored lately.

Iko, patient as a saint

He’s always been like this though. He’s used to being second, and actually prefers it. If some dogs are alphas, Iko is definitely a beta. As long as he feels safe and gets fed on time, he asks for nothing. Instead of a medal, he should get a halo. He’s been so patient what with all the change in routine.

As I’m writing this, someone is target shooting in the distance. That always makes poor Iko nervous. He hates fireworks, thunder, and gunfire. Off to hug on him a little and let him know all is well.


What’s going on at your homestead? Have the seasons changed for you yet?

Anybody else a Babylon 5 fan? How about The Orville? Although it bills itself as partly comedy, it’s had a couple of deceptively deep-thought episodes. Last week they visited a planet where everyone was judged (and kept in check) by the mob mentality of a thinly veiled Facebook-style social media. Ridiculous? I’m not so sure anymore.










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  1. It sounds like everything is going well again on your homestead. Sorry about the rooster. There are a few places around here with free-range chickens and I always wonder how they survive, what with all the coyotes and bobcats and hawks and owls around here.

    Fall has fallen here. The leaves are changing and dropping off. The weather is cooler. (Finally. Yay.) Not sure I’m ready for winter yet, but I was certainly ready for autumn.

    • BE: Yes. Things have calmed down. Finally! We have a new routine on account of rehabbing Nana, but in another four weeks I can stop using the sling that helps takes the weight off her hind end.

      re: chickens
      The chickens usually have plenty of places to hide if they sense a predator near by, but someone must’ve caught this guy unaware.

      re: weather
      This is the time of year when temps go up and down. Today is nice, tomorrow is chilly, and the next day it’s back in the 80s. But fall is here…more or less. 🙂

    • Rebekah: Wow! I went to the link and read the article. I thought Facebook already created natural bullies forcing people to think their way or leave, but a government mandated social group. That’s even scarier.

      I do not understand it. People are so easily swayed. Maybe I’m a natural cynic, but I trust nothing at face value until I’ve had a chance to vet it through other sources. Time consuming, but that’s what happens when even CNN reports fake news. If a veteran news agency can’t police itself to get the real facts, what chance do we have against internet trolls who populate feeds with misinformation?

  2. Ray Charles has the sweetest face. Well, maybe after Iko. (More Iko belly rubs!) I’m glad Nana continues to heal. Sorry about the dear departed rooster.

    My whole gardening thing didn’t happen this year. All focus was redirected you-know-where. Fall has finally caught up with us. Snowflakes on the pumpkins and all that. I need to cut down all the unattended overgrowth before winter sets in.

    • Linda: I need to get out there too. Lots of brush to clear. It’s getting so we can leave Nana for longer and longer periods of time. I’m hoping after tomorrow we won’t have to use the cone of shame anymore. That’ll help.

  3. Jenny Schwartz

    I’m so glad Nana’s getting better! and thank goodness Iko’s a saint. A jealous dog added to the mix would be tough.

    I love snow peas, so I’d be contemplating a chicken dinner after the fowl assault on your vegie patch 🙂

  4. I agree wholeheartedly on Nana’s medal. Good girl and glad she’s recovering well.

    Hugs to Iko. Good on him for recognizing a change up in things doesn’t mean he means any less at all to you and hubby.

    Sorry about the chickens in the garden and too much cuteness with the goats 🙂

    Things have gotten chillier here in Temple, TX. Not sure what to call this weather but Texas weather lol!

  5. Before I forget, I haven’t gotten the email notices about your blog entries from yesterday or today (and I did check my spam folder). I know you usually post Mondays, Wednesdays, sometimes Fridays, Sunday with your menu so I always check in on those days. Did I do something wrong and change the setting? (I don’t remember getting any email to do so).

    I agree, Nana does get that reward. She certainly deserved it.

    Our homestead is doing okay. Finally cooking down. Air conditioner didn’t come on until after 3 o’clock today. That is a record!


    • Betty: I checked the subscription. It says it’s sending it to you, but that you haven’t clicked on any of the emails.

      Do you have another email address you can try? You’re the second person I know to have trouble getting mail to an AOL account. I read recently AOL was downsizing. I wonder if the changes are also affecting their email.

  6. I love Nana’s medal, and Iko is obviously a trooper. My male sheltie is the beta of our pair of pups, but he will turn alpha if anyone misbehaves around our female.

    My homestead is in a little better shape now that we’ve finished the post-Irma clean-up. I’m starting my pre-holidays house cleaning by having my guy help dust all the ceiling fans, light fixtures and hard-for-me-to-reach spots. I also need to pull out the dryer so I can get at all the accumulated lint, and other thing semi-annual chores.

    We’ve had two nights of mid-40F temps in a row, so the seasons have changed for us. I’m just hoping the trick-or-treaters don’t get too cold tonight.

    • Lynn: Oy. You reminded me I have to clean my ceiling fans too. I usually climb up on the ladder and give them a light waxing. I think it repels more of the dust.

      Our weather is up and down. Tonight it’s rainy and chilly. Tomorrow will be near 90. I’m sorry the trick or treaters missed the nicer weather.

      I’ve got a few more errands to run and a couple of more vet visits, but once that’s done I need to get at the heavy duty cleaning.

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