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Update - Yes, We're Still Here! The Good and the Bad!

Wow! Sometimes life just flies by - has it been over 2 years since we have posted?  Guess so.  We will try to update each area separately.  Most blogs over-glamorize homestead life. We will spend some time updating both the good and the bad in each category.

The Garden The good: We are still raising a good garden each year. It seems like our main crops are lettuce, spinach, cucumbers, potatoes, squashes, and tomatoes. We still use a slightly modified Mittleider method which means yes, we do add some fertilizers.  Patrick is an engineer by day-job and we can guarantee you that our little bit of fertilizer a) add less salts and b) has a lower carbon footprint than all "organic" gardening you can compare it to.  We also utilize our home-grown chicken, rabbit, and goat manure/manured hay for soil building and nitrogen.

The bad: We lose our sweet corn almost every year to raccoons. We have decided that they are smarter that we are. Also, we could not get peanuts to germinate last y…
Recent posts

Difference Between Store Bought and Home Raised Eggs

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here we go:

David Bradley Walk Behind Tractor and Engine Swap

"A scythe is great for your back but very hard on your patience" - Patrick at Far Better Farmstead     
It all started when it rained 80 inches this summer. Yes, I said 80 inches! Needless to say, I didn't get to put up much hay with my scythe and rake. I did do one good cutting, but should have got 2 or 3 and even the one cutting didn't cover the whole field. As much as I like the scythe, I started wanting a quicker way to cut a small amount of hay. 
My fantasy rig is my old 600 Ford tractor with a sickle bar, rake, and old square baler. I sold the 600 several years ago and have regretted it every since. My second fantasy was a BCS or Grillo walk behind tarctor. You can get a sickle for them and many other implements as well. Both options are out of reach of our budget right now, so that's why I call them fantasies rather than options!
As I searched around the web, I found out that Sears used to sell a walk-behind tractor called the David Bradley. It was made fro…

Whizbang Wheel Hoe After a Full Garden Season

Is summer already gone? It is so hard to believe that September is half gone. Despite lots of hard rain, about 75 inches here, our gardens did very well. I have been planning a post on the gardens (and lots of other posts, too) but we have been very busy just enjoying life here on the homestead.
Anyway, the one new tool we used this year that really stands out is the Whizbang Wheel Hoe. The picture above was taken after a full garden season of almost daily use. The handles darkened a little from our dirty hands and the blued finish on the blade wore off with use, but the hoe held up wonderfully.
How did it perform? Superbly! If you "stir" the dirt with it every other day or so, there will be no weeds. There were times we didn't do that, even for a full week when we went on vacation, and our garden was the most weed free that we've ever had. We still had to use a regular hoe between the plants, but this thing is very quick and easy down the rows. 
Herrick Kimball sel…

Easy Harvest Totes

I have been wanting to build one of Herrick Kimball's Whizbang Garden Totes (see page 37 of his awesome new book for instructions). However, this time of year we have so much to do that I haven't had time. The girls to have some nice metal baskets for their bicycles and these make a great home-sized garden totes. I use two of them at a time, harvesting into one and then washing into the other. The grating is small enough to catch all the small stuff, but large enough to easily let out the dirt if you place it directly under the garden hose. (Our red pontiacs are starting to get big!)




This idea was shared on the Homestead Barn Hop #117.

Compost happens

I have always wanted to have my own compost. I have read articles, books and different other materials to try and learn how to make compost.  I felt overwhelmed by all the information: mixing the correct amount of greens, container to hold my material, turning, and so on.
Composting seemed like so much work.  I didn't really want to put the time, money,and effort into those new task right now.  So I decided not to pursue it at the present time.  Wait until I was more confident on how it worked and had more information and money to start up my compost.   You can imagine my surprise when I discovered compost right on my own property and I had helped to make it happen.

Nigerian Dwarf Update

The kids are now about 4 and 1/2 months old. They are fleshing out quite nicely. Unfortunately our buck, Bilbo, didn't make it but the girls are doing well.