I have this theory. I think many human beings live only long enough to see dreams completed and then they give up. If that’s true there’s a chance I might live forever.
Six months ago I might’ve said that the homestead was nearly completed to my satisfaction, and now it could be three years before I can say that again. I did something drastic—after conferring with my better half—to tear out the front yard landscaping and reimagine it.
I’ve always been inspired by those master gardeners who create these blankets of color and shape in their gardens. I am nowhere near that clever, but books and Google searches will help with my inadequacies.
I’m not a flower gardener, but I am a practical one. What better way to lure bees and hummingbirds than with a profusion of scents and flowers? Unfortunately, I’m very much a neophyte when it comes to flower gardening. My soil is on the alkaline side. I get bright sun in the front, and really hot weather six months out of the year.
Big box nurseries sell what’s profitable for them which isn’t always the best choice for our specific soils and climate. This is why I think it’ll be three years before I see a difference. Some plants will either have to be grown by seed or brought in by mail order.
This all started because my red tip photinias had come down with a fungal blight. I noticed it three years ago but I hoped some TLC could cure it. I didn’t know then that the solution most master gardeners recommend is to burn the plant entirely. You can’t even compost it because it could infect other plants.
My gorgeous 20 year old photinias had to be destroyed. It was a tough job but we got it done. Now I have to bring the soil back to life before I plant their replacements. Everything takes time.
Spring is critical for getting shrubs and trees in the ground. Once the temps heat up, I’ll have to wait again until fall or maybe even next spring. So I’m hopping from one project to the next with layovers when it rains or I collapse from exhaustion.
For the month of May, I’ve joined other like-minded bloggers for the Self Reliance Challenge where we share some of the things we do to live a more sustainable lifestyle. I hope you’ll go and visit them.
Here is a list of some of the bloggers joining us.
AnnMarie – 15 Acre Homestead
Nancy – Nancy On The Homefront
Kathi – Oak Hill Homestead
Robin – A Life in the Wild
Candy – Candy’s Farm House Pantry
Farmgal – Just another Day on the Farm
Ashley – Practical Self Reliance
ShawnaLee – Homegrown Self Reliance
Frank – My Green Terra
Lisa Lynn, our Host – The Self Sufficient HomeAcre
For those of you new to my blog, I live in north Texas with a Renaissance man for a husband, one sweet rottweiler, and a border collie who wants to rule the world. Greg’s workshop is completely off the grid. We garden with raised beds in an area roughly 20 x 50 which supplies us with nearly every herb, fruit, and vegetable we eat with the exception of nuts and avocados.
We raise chickens, goats, and now quail. Last year we raised one hog for the freezer. We’re sprightly for being in our sixties which we attribute to pure orneriness and a weird sense of humor. How else could we do the things we do?
This is what’s happening on the homestead this month.
The vegetable garden: Mother Nature toyed with us months after our temps should’ve been stable. For that reason, my garden is a month later than normal. Cool weather plants like greens, brassicas and peas were fine, but my tomatoes and peppers struggled with the fluctuating temps. To be on the safe side, I kept back a few seedlings indoors in case my first crop cratered.
So far, so good, but it’ll be interesting to see if the babied plants produce more than the ones that had to survive the cooler temps.
I finally started my loofa seeds because they really do need long, hot weather, but there’s not much to see yet. I feel confident starting my squash and cucumber seeds too.
I’m trying a new cucumber, commonly called a Persian cucumber. If you see small, narrow cucumbers at the store, they should be the Persians. They’re quite sweet and crispy. I’m hoping they’ll grow well here.
Another new seed I’m trying is the Sun Gold tomato. It’s supposed to be extra sweet. We’ll see and I’ll report back.
I am growing edibles and flowers together this year. I haven’t seen too much bunny infiltration but something did decapitate one of my young geraniums.
Surprise, surprise. I finally got plums on my tree! Loyal readers know I’ve had terrible luck getting fruit from my trees, so I’m hopeful this year.
My blackberries and blueberries are full of flowers so I expect a bountiful harvest. My poor strawberries after being brutally murdered by deer last year are making a small comeback. This year, to offset my losses, I’ve decided to plant strawberries in a couple different locations to see what deters deer the most.
The goats: My baby goats are leaving me. It makes me so sad. They were a pleasure to raise. The girls found a new home even before they were completely weaned. I’ve got two boys left and they are gorgeous. I’ll probably put an ad for them on Craigslist this week.
I’m still keeping Velvet, the Boer I thought was a cross. I completely forgot that Boers came in solid red. They’re so rare around me it never occurred to me that I could get a red. Velvet was sweet from the moment she was born, but her little sister turned out even sweeter. She was snapped up by a neighbor. She bought two girls, a Boer
and a Nubian. After visiting with them several times, I feel certain they’ve gone to an excellent home. That’s always a relief for me.
I know they’re farm animals, but you still want them to go to a good home.
The chickens: We lost six chickens to a predator until we could find where it was getting in. We are left with five hens and one rooster. We weren’t planning on incubating eggs this year but I think I might just in case we lose any more chickens before the year is out.
The quail: I was hoping for geese but came home with Coturnix quail. I had five females and one male, but that same predator snatched one of the females. That poor little thing. It breaks my heart she came to such a gruesome end.
I don’t know yet if quail are right for us, but we’ll try them this year and see.
Da dogs and us: I felt bad about this. The other day the door bell rang. I’m at one end of the house and Greg is at the other. Usually I let him get the door, because he’s closer–but nope–no Greg. I make the long trip from my studio, yelling at dogs that go berserk every time they hear a door bell.
They’re not mean, but they’re too excitable around people who could potentially be cookie dealers, so I usually put them up before I open the door. I don’t want them jumping on people who don’t know them. I no sooner put one away when the other one escapes. I did this several times–and still no Greg. Finally, I put them up and answer the door. That’s when Greg shows up. Figures!
It turns out to be a lady who was lost. She was looking for a street near us. It’s a private road and doesn’t have a normal street sign so it’s not surprising she missed it. I apologized several times for all the yelling–meanwhile the dogs are still barking.
Oy vey. Anyway, she mentions that her husband was taking her here to see a house that’s for sale. I didn’t even know there was any property down that road for sale. We welcomed her to the neighborhood–and invited her to come see us if they decide to buy the property. Just call us the Welcome Wagon. 🙂
We’ve been exceptionally lucky with neighbors at our current digs. They’ve turned out to be such nice people. It makes for such a happy neighborhood when you have friends in it.
Our properties are far apart and rather hidden by lots of trees so we don’t see each other often. Maybe that’s what makes the best neighbors. The nice thing is that we know we will help each other no matter the hour. That’s what friends do.
Do you like your neighbors? Do you have yappy dogs?