It was a long, hot summer, but the homestead is finally getting a break from the heat.
Every year we try to do one thing that improves or makes our lives easier on the homestead. This year was the year I finished putting up weed barriers on the walkways between my raised beds. It’s helped immensely to keep the weeds down. Now I don’t waste so much time weeding.
I’m also in the very early stages of improving my soil. There’s a post coming up that’ll get into it more deeply. If you want to improve your soil, you’ll want to read that one!
Goats: The goat herd has grown, but I think this is definitely it. We’ll keep enough to keep us legal for our agricultural tax exemption, and we’ll downsize after the girls have their babies next year. The babies sell fast. People have even left their phone numbers with me asking to get first dibs on new babies next year.
I’m keeping at least one Nubian and one Boer doe, but I’m on the fence whether I’ll keep Captain Jack, our Nubian buck. He’s gorgeous, but kind of a pushy jerk. Ray Charles (our Boer buck) remains sweet and well mannered despite his massive size and horns.
It’s a conundrum though because even if we get rid of Jack, Ray will still need a friend in his pen. (It’s much easier to keep the boys separated from the girls until necessary.) Maybe I’ll buy a new Nubian boy and bring in fresh blood. We’ll see.
The girls have not come into heat yet, which is surprising since last year they came in early. It must be soon though because the boys reek to high heaven. They are in rut which makes them a tad unruly.
Quail: This was a failure. 🙁 It was incredibly hard to keep them safe. Even with extra protection, one raccoon still managed to get his hand inside the small diameter wire and pull out a quail piece by piece.
Chickens: Predators killed nearly all our chickens. Only two hens are left. We decided to change breeds and bought Americauna. Unfortunately one breeder sold us cross-breeds because those hens lay white eggs, not blue or blue tinted eggs.
I found another breeder who raised nothing but Americaunas. I bought two hens and a rooster and they are as show-quality as I’ve ever seen. They’re not old enough to lay yet. I have high hopes, especially since I took a leap of faith and paid more than I ever thought I would for chickens. LOL!
Wish me luck that these pay off!
Garden: It was a so-so year. Squash borers destroyed my squash AGAIN. I planted a few squash again later in the year, and they’re doing fine, but not producing any fruit. Next year I plan to cover them with fine mesh cloth and see if that helps. I am determined to prevail over those squash bugs.
The loofah plants are growing like crazy. If you don’t know what loofahs are, they’re the hoity-toity scrubbers you see in the cosmetic aisles.
I’m thinking I might sell packages of seeds this winter.
I planted them late in May and they’ve nearly taken over my entire fence. They were aggressive vines in SE Texas, but they’re much more manageable in north Texas.
I haven’t yet harvested sweet potatoes, but the three slips I planted have swelled beyond their 4 x 8 foot bed. That’s them in the picture on the right. I’m not a fan of sweet potatoes but Greg and the dogs love them.
The pepper plants are big and lush but did not start producing peppers until late in the season. I blame myself. I put them in a new area that had a little more shade than the rest of the beds. I won’t make that mistake again.
The new cherry tomatoes I planted (Sun Gold) were terrific! Not only did they produce through the worst of our heat, but they’re still producing. Recommended!
My other new trial has been a Persian cucumber. Like all cucumbers you can not let them sit on the vine long, but when they’re small, they are absolutely sweet and delicious! Another recommended variety. Of all the cucumbers I’ve tried, this has been my favorite for fresh eating.
I started a fall garden. A few tomatoes, some brassicas, and some chard.
The Home Guard: Iko turned nine this year. It’s hard to believe. He doesn’t look nine to me, though he has mellowed. He constantly gives us hugs. Iko is not too fond of jumpy kittens, but if Jazz doesn’t bother him, he won’t scream like a little girl.
Nana recovered from her knee surgery far faster than the last time. We’ve had a hard time slowing her down. She’s supposed to be recuperating for at least another month, but there’s no stopping her now.
Jazz got neutered 10 days ago. He is now free to go out if he wishes, but so far he prefers my lap. I feel bad that I can’t pet him as much as I’d like. Every time he rubs up against my face, I get welts. Apparently, I am allergic to cats. Oy.
Jazz is such a cuddle cat though. Our last cat liked sitting next to us, but this one wants to be hugged and loved on. He can’t get enough of us. It’s very weird in a sweet kind of way. He’s very vocal too. Constantly talking when we walk in the room, or purring the moment he’s on our laps.
Maybe he’s grateful he got saved.
I’m grateful for the cooler weather. In north Texas, fall is still hot, but there are pumpkins on people’s porches now. That’s how you know it’s fall.
How is it over by you?