life on the homestead

Did I tell you I’ve been a practicing bread maker? This has been a fairly new endeavour. I’ve tried it before, but not made my family dependant on it until January. Occasionally I still buy bread, but mostly I keep the sourdough starter happy and make a couple loaves every few days. I won’t start selling the stuff. (There are local experts who would outdo me every time.) But I’ll happily feed my family.

I continue attempting water kefir. I don’t know what it is, but my water kefir goes to vinegar very quickly. Even an ounce a day of that stuff is just too much for my husband. Everyone else is definitely out.

I got me some chicks to care for…which I should be taking outside as I write. They’re young. But they’re eager for outdoor time.

Excuse me while I transport them to my homemade miniature chicken run.

Ok, they’re in. Couldn’t be a happier flock I’d say. The water changed daily, pine shavings tidied. Wow are they messy!

They looked like cute chicks for the first two weeks. Now they’re beginning to look like teenage chickens. They’re a bit gawky, pinfeathers arriving daily. Enjoying the sample of parsley and weeds thrown into their homemade run. I enjoy chicks but I could still eat them.

Violet is enjoying them just a bit too much today. I’m unsure if she’s trying to play with them or assist Meredith (one of our cats) with her honed hunting instincts.

The garden is sprouting. I may have added too much compost. The seeds in the compost zone are not sprouting. But the volunteer lettuces and herbs are growing to phenomenal sizes so early in the season.

The strawberry patch looks like it’s been there for an eternity, instead of a year.

I’m growing cucumbers up garden fencing alongside the strawberries. Squashes growing vertically too: butternut, acorn, winter, spaghetti. Watermelon, red and yellow, both seed from my cousin’s garden last fall. The beans climbing up bamboo tripods. If I have space and a place to go up, I will grow up.

Perennial gardens are deer-free since our 10 week old puppy, Violet, arrived. Yay Violet! You’re a keeper. (Though you have unnaturally pruned a hydrangea, dug up a veronica and attempted to dig up a lilac. Oh, and tipped a few pots, dug up the lawn, nipped at the chicks, and drew blood at Zach’s mouth. You seem to chew everything on site.)

Your puppy dog eyes are puppy dog eyes, so you can stay. You like your daily walks up the driveway, down to the river, around the yard. Even your herd of humans want to keep sleeping with you outside each night. Twenty five pounds at 10 weeks, you’re no stubborn slouch. (But you will be a handful if we don’t vigilantly train you.)

Carpentry projects are new for me. (You’ll never hire me out.) But we’ve built a birdhouse, Zach & I…

And Rachel & I have built a swing for her riverside ‘house’.

Chicken coop is up and ready to house the flock. The chicks can spend only an abbreviated time outside yet. Lettuce gardens planted, stumps situated, perches placed.

The walking path edge of the fruit orchard needed to be resown with clover. The plum, apricot, peach & cherry trees are nearly tree size. The elk-attacked apple tree, last fall, is now a greening stick. Perhaps we’ll eat honey crisp apples yet…

Alliums are in gigantic bloom, chives decorate the cottage garden, and peonies leggy but not pluming.

My favourite is also the deer’s favourite, the penstemon, gorgeous.

Despite planting out the entire greenhouse contents, I have seeded a few more watermelons, jalapenos, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers. Why not keep the greenhouse going?

I’m giving the rudbekia, lavender and baby snapdragons a few more weeks to grow before planting outside. I may have been too eager with the coneflower and forget-me-nots, as they seem to have disappeared. Violet?

In the greenhouse, I’m attempting root cuttings (so I spend less money at our neighbourhood greenhouse).

Creeping hydrangea, dogwoods, lilacs, potentilla, heuchera, butterfly bush, anise, hyssop, milkweed, bridal wreath spirea. I got my eye on your roots.

Time to sit back and enjoy the season with the cocktail-du-saison, the margarita.