State of the Homestead: September 2016

Another season done. I’m gronana at hay barn2wing a winter garden but nothing taxing, mostly greens and the brassicas. The garden did great this year, but it came to an abrupt and inglorious end when deer figured out how to go around the iris barrier to get to my soybeans, strawberries, greens, and beans.

It was a massacre!

They didn’t touch the squash plants. They left that to the squash beetles which devoured my plants like a plague. I couldn’t pick them off fast enough so I had to pull all the vines. I’ll be curious to see if anything overwinters. Wherever I plant squash and cucumbers next year, it won’t be in the beds I used this year.

Every time I think I figured out how to defeat a garden foe,
sookra, 2016mething new comes up to test my mettle.

Garden: Greg and I have talked about setting up a little produce stand outside our fence line nextΒ  year. We wanted to do it on the honor system but I don’t know if it’ll work. One bad experience and that would be the end of that. We’ll talk about it again next spring. It would be a nice way to earn a little extra cash.

We were talking to the guy who sells us hay. He used to sell his hay on the honor system but he lost a beanslot of stock last year. I can’t even imagine stealing someone’s livelihood. That’s beyond despicable.

Rabbits: My three rabbits are doing fine. It was getting pretty hot for a while which is the most dangerous time for a rabbit. We were cooling them off with a fan 24/7 and bottles of solid ice. The worst is over (I hope).

I’m afraid the male rabbit I was holding back might not work. He’s older than the female I held back recently and he’s still puny. He’s got his mother’s beautiful blue coat, but unfortunately he inherited his father’s small size. I’m on the lookout for a replacement.

Chickens: We sold all the Marans, which leaves us with a few pure breed Australorps. We also have backup chicks. The boys will go in the freezer, the girls will be allowed to grow up and be sold as laying hens next year.

The chickens went into a premature molt a couple of weeks ago. When chickens go into molt, they lose their feathers and stop laying eggs. I think it might have something to do with the two weeks of gloomy weather we’ve had. A couple of them are laying again, so I hope I didn’t miss my window of stockpiling eggs for the winter.Buttercup feeling at home

Goats: The Nubian girls are settling in great. They’re getting bossed around by our Boer doe, but that’s normal. She’s the dominant one. We are really liking the Nubians. I’ll have to wait to see how they look full grown, but they definitely have a sweeter temperament than the Boers.

freezer meat, 2016
Freezer Meat, coming to a BBQ near you.

Freezer Meat, the goat, is destined to see goat heaven in a couple of weeks. Although we can process a goat in under three hours, the cooler the weather, the better.

I’ll probably sell the other male kid next year and that will leave only Ray Charles. Despite the horns and the heft, he’s pretty laid back most of the time–as long as you don’t have a feed bucket in your hand.

Right now the males are in rut and they smell atrocious. Ugh! I can barely stand to go into their pen.

smelly boys
Smelly boys!


On the home front: We finally finished our hay barn. We still have the front to put up but that will only take a couple of hours. We wanted to get it done over the weekend, but both of us were down with sinus headaches.

The big job was loading and UN-loading 42 bales of hay. Boy, were we sore the next day.

We went to Canton, TX Trade Days in search of rabbits, quail, and a piglet, but came home empty handed. This isn’t the right time of year to look for animals, but it was a pretty day and we wanted to give it a shot.

The next big project on my horizon is to refinish the floors. Greg is fighting me on it, mostly because he doesn’t want to do the work, but I really don’t think it’ll be as bad as all that. It’ll certainly be easier than painting the ceilings. At least my neck won’t feel like it’s locked in a vise.

The only hard part will be the sanding. If he can help me with the sander–and moving furniture, I can stain and varnish the floors on my own. I really would like the house showroom ready for the holidays.

How about you? Are you shifting gears as the weather changes? Any new projects on your radar?


This post may contain affiliate links. Clicking on these links cost you nothing, but they do help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting MariaZanniniHome. I appreciate you!

All original content copyrighted by Maria Zannini 2016 - 2018.


  1. I love the idea of a farm stand on the honor system, and I bet most people would follow the “rules.” Unfortunately, there’s usually someone who won’t. My writer’s brain starts imagining someone stealing fruits and veggies, not because they’re being jerks but because they’re hungry, they need to eat….

    We’ve got some house projects going on – putting together bookcases, moving furniture, purging the book collection. We’ve got lots of pictures/art to hang still, and lots of organizing – closet, pantry – to do.

    • Madeline: I do spring cleaning, but I’m likely to be more gung ho with fall cleaning. I just want everything nice in case of unexpected guests.

      I like purging and organizing once a year. Makes me feel like I’ve made a clean start. πŸ™‚

  2. We had our front yard landscaped this summer, so this fall we want to plant bulbs. There were some tulips in that location, but they were several years old and not doing as well as they did when we first bought the house. Plus, I’m sure they were dug up during the landscaping. I can’t wait to see how everything looks next spring!

    • Sandra: I’ve never had much luck with bulbs, not in Texas, but my mother’s bulbs (who also lives in Chicago) do beautifully. I know you’ll be happy with them. I think they like a solid dormant period which they can’t get where I live.

  3. Lots of work you guys do, but the efforts do pay off. I would think with trying to sell something the honor system way (which should be respected) that people who are hungry or short on cash would justify taking the products without paying for them, thinking perhaps if you have to sell, you must have enough for yourself. It would be interesting to do some research and see how people who have to pay for parking spaces through a machine left at the parking lot, how many take the chance not to pay, realizing that someone can’t monitor the parking lot 24/7, otherwise there would be an attendant there. Know what I mean?


    • Linda: And that’s the thing. I do plant extra for the animals that happen by. If only I can convince them to share instead of taking everything. I felt as if I had opened a buffet.

      re: Freezer Meat
      At least I gave him a name. Last time you were mad at me because I called him No-Name.

      Besides it looks like he got a reprieve. I had read that it would be better to wait until the boys are out of rut because their smell would taint the meat.

  4. The work! I’m breaking out into a small sweat. I hope you never go to a care home,Maria. You’ll be the discontented one, looking for things to do. I also hope Heaven has a giant garden but with minions to do your bidding. πŸ™‚

  5. Mike: This is either vanity or delusion talking, but sometimes I find it very hard to believe there is more time behind me than in front of me. Aside from the fact I can’t get off my knees as easily as I used to, I can’t see myself slowing down. Logically, I should and will, but it’ll be a hard blow for me when it happens.

Say a few words for our audience.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.