Saturday, January 31, 2015

Manure, Manure, Manure, Mulch, Mulch, Mulch

That's been my mantra lately, it seems.

Two truckloads of manure later, and I'm finally finished spreading manure for the season.
















It's a necessity, because this is my reality.  Red Georgia clay.  Do you see any good loamy soil in there?  Yeah, me neither.  It's a gooey mess when wet and rock hard when dry, and it's only about two inches below my soil line.  Raised beds are a must so I need material to fill those beds.  Enter, truckloads of manure.
















And, just when I've had enough shoveling mulch, I get to tackle this.



I've been complaining about needing mulch for months.  I've called every tree service in town who will deliver mulch for free if they are in your neighborhood.  It saves them a trip to the dump and a dump fee.  They put me on a list, and I never get called.  I had just mentioned to Nate that we were going to have to go to a place I know of where the mulch is free but you have to load it yourself.  Neither of us were looking forward to that because it means touching it twice, to load and unload.  Thankfully the utility company was taking down some trees in an easement up the street from my house that same week, and Nate asked them to drop a load in the driveway.  He thought he was being really cute though and asked them to drop two loads, so double the pile in this picture and you see into my future.  "I'll get her.  She won't ask for any mulch for a long time."  He's right!

Anyway, happy pitchforking,

Candace  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Personals: Lonely Casserole Seeking Lid

Casserole Personals

Lonely 1.5 quart Anchor Hocking Fire King Meadow Green casserole seeking completion.  I've been without my lid for many years, languishing in a cabinet, unused and forgotten.  I have recently acquired a new living situation where I am appreciated and loved.  However, I feel incomplete.  I would love to meet the lid of my life so I can fulfill my full potential.  Might I add I'm curvy in all the right places.  Photo attached.  Serious inquiries only.  I am not looking for a one-night stand with a Pyrex lid.  Signed:  Lonely Casserole

Response:

Dear Lonely Casserole:  I saw your ad and knew I had to respond immediately.  For I am a lonely Anchor Hocking Fire King 1.5 quart Meadow Green casserole lid looking for a forever match.  I too have languished in a cabinet having lost my mate years ago.  I long for hot nights together in the oven where we can make beautiful casseroles together.  Should you desire the same, you will find me at an estate sale on XXXX Road on January 17th.  You won't notice me at first, but I will be waiting on a table, a little dirty and ignored, not having received the care and treatment I've deserved.  You will almost pass me by on your way out the door, but fate has other plans.  Until we come together as one, Lonely Lid

Y'all, we have a love match!

    














Happy homesteading,


Candace

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Duck Spa


We have a small stream running through the back section of our lot, and more times than not, it has water flowing through it.  As you can see in my current header photo, the ducks love it.  When we fenced off our animal yard, we had to come up with a solution to bridge the stream yet still let water flow.  This was our solution.


It has worked well to keep everyone on their side of the fence, for the most part.  However, just on the other side of this fence is a lovely little pool of water.  It's shady and inviting.


It taunts the ducks, so they push aside the welded wire to partake.


Yes, we could screw down the welded wire along the bottom.  But really, how can I refuse entry to the duck spa?  Duckie Dale has to look handsome for the ladies.  

video

Sometimes he takes the ladies one at a time into this private alcove, but that's a video not fit for this blog so we won't go there.

Happy homesteading,

Candace

Friday, January 9, 2015

Feeding Rabbits Naturally



Within the last 18 months, I've transitioned my animals off commercial feed.  It's full of GMOs, and I want nothing to do with them.  I wrote about the chickens here.  But I have also transitioned my rabbits to a whole grain mix, forage, and hay.  One of my goals this year on the homestead is to beef up my rabbit forage in the yard.  There are already several native weeds and cultivated perrenial plants growing in and around my yard that the rabbits love.  I just have to harvest them.  Some of them are

Henbit

Purple Dead Nettle

Dandelion

Wild Violet

White Clover

Plantain

Yarrow

Comfrey

My rabbits also get to take advantage of my garden plants, like basil, parsley, dill, cilantro, marigolds, borage, mint, lemon balm. thyme, echinacea, fennel, various greens, and carrot tops.  They get clippings from the thornless blackberry brambles and the willow and apple trees.

Though these plants/weeds grow wild in my area, I don't have any in my yard, so I bought seeds this year to grow them.

Purslane

Sorrel

Stinging Nettle

Whenever I get the opportunity I put my rabbits out to forage for themselves.  This is my rabbit run area, and I plant it with PlotSpike Clover Blend, a deer forage.  I like this blend because it does not contain any rapeseed, which is the basis for canola, another GMO product.  While this photo does not show forage, the one below it is the same area once I seeded it.  It was full of clover and other good weeds.  Not only does letting the rabbits forage save me time, but it gives them the change to exercise and dig holes and be rabbits.  





























I also cut out the bottoms of some old rabbit cages and am able to move them around to different areas of my yard for additional forage.
















One plant I really hope to get going this year is Moringa.  It is a powerhouse of nutrients and will be an excellent protein source for the rabbits.  My region is borderline on successfully growing it, so we'll see how it goes.

If you want a more extensive list of rabbit safe plants, vegetables, and fruit, take a look at this one.

Rabbit Safe Plants, Fruits, and Vegetables
 
Some of what I grow is considered medicinal so I always check this list if I'm unsure of what I'm feeding, especially with nursing does as some of these can impact milk flow.

Medicinal Herbs for Rabbits

As always, when introducing a new food, do it gradually!  Rabbits have very sensitive digestive systems and even a small amount may be too much for your rabbit.

I'll leave you with some of my grow-outs munching at the bunny salad bar.

 













Happy homesteading,

Candace

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Finding My Mojo


Somewhere along the way last year I lost my writing mojo.  It's not that I didn't have anything to write about, because I did.  It's not that I didn't have the time, because I did.  As a matter of fact, I probably had more time than I ever had since starting my blog.  I just got involved with life and the blogging world slipped my mind day in and day out.  I even stopped reading my favorite blogs.  I slowly slipped out of the blogosphere in all ways until it was a blip on my radar.

It wouldn't disappear totally though.  That blip glowed faintly, resting quietly until I came along and gave it the energy it needed to shine again.  I needed to recharge and remember why I love the blogosphere and why I started my blog.   I began to wonder how Mama Pea was doing at A Home Grown Journal and Leigh at Five Acres and A Dream.  I missed Susan's wicked sense of humor at e-i-e-i-omg! and Carolyn's at Krazo Acres.  I missed reading about homesteads in other parts of the country and learning about how they deal with situations that would not be a part of my everyday life, like several inches of snow and a shorter growing season.  I missed being motivated and inspired.  I missed writing about my experiences and hoping I could provide some grain of knowledge to someone somewhere out there, and if not knowledge, at least a good laugh at my expense.

Looking back I realize I have been blogging for almost five years, and I don't aim to stop yet.  So, I hope some of you are still out there and are interested in reading. Because I'm interested in writing.

Happy homesteading,

Candace