Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Little Homestead Update

Five duck eggs yesterday and they are getting bigger, but only 2 eggs today.

Five chicken eggs also- 5 for 5, that's what we like to see

Quick comparison on size.  Now my chicken eggs are usually Jumbo size and the duck's eggs are not far behind now. 

Our first cucumber-YAY!

I just noticed that this sunflower is yellow on the outside and red on the inside, which is opposite of the picture from the last post but both are on the same stalk. Our God is so creative!

These daylilies are a pale peach, though I'm realizing in this picture, they almost look white.

A former teacher posted this on my fb page and I just had to share it.  
I'm not this redneck...yet!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

So What Do Duck Eggs Taste Like?

We've been getting this question a lot lately so we decided to scramble up some of our duck eggs and have the whole family try them out.

Some of our duck eggs from the week.  The duckies have been laying 2-3 eggs each day and today I got 4 eggs.  They are still not as large as I would like them to be, but they are getting bigger. 

The "girls" didn't want to be left out of this blog post.

We also had our first sunflower open this weekend.  I just love sunflowers.
You can't be sad when they are around. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

It's Growing

Yesterday, I posted this picture of this cucumber in our garden.

Tonight, I walked out and noticed it had almost doubled in size

And then I found this one on another plant that I didn't ever see yesterday.  I guess that's what happens when we have 85 degree days...summer is here!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Urban Foraging

Urban foraging is becoming a buzz word in the world of self sustainable living.  One of the perks of urban homesteading is that people in cities and towns throw away so much!  I'm always on the look-out for bags of leaves and yard debris (much to the chagrin to my husband and son, the girls still like to be my "spotters" for bags on the side of the road).  Yesterday, I was at the grocery store and they had a giant trash can for people to put their corn husks in (why they do this, no idea).  Anyways, I noticed the trash can was full and there was a stock boy there to empty it.  I asked him if I would take it home and after when he gave me a quizzical look, I explained it was for my compost.  He readily agreed and happily loaded the bag into my cart. On the way home, I spotted some bags of leaves on the side of the road and viola...giant compost pile. 

The days' haul

Look at all those beautiful "greens" just waiting to be composted

Oh...a bonus!  Three perfectly good tomatoes and an avocado for the ladies to enjoy while they were mixing up the new giant compost pile. 

 Do you know how hard it is to get a picture of chickens eating a tomato that is not blurry?

Really hard...they go crazy for those things

Finally, success!

Chloe found a bouquet of posies today in the field behind our house...a forager in the making (love it!)

I've also let my neighbors know that I will readily accept their compostable material.  I have several neighbors and friends who bring me buckets upon buckets of their table scraps, much to the sheer delight of the chickens and ducks.  I also often find bags of stale bread on my doorstep, which also is enjoyed by the animals.  I've also helped neighbors clean up their yards and mulch up branches and leaves for them with my mulching machine and then use the mulch in the garden.  The point is, in the city, you have to be a bit creative, but once the word is out, many other people are happy to have a place to recycle/compost their waste and in the end, everyone benefits. 

Homestead Update

I can tell its summer.  Not only am I behind in blogging but most of the blogs I follow have been posting a lot less as well. Just too much to do and lots of daylight to do it in.  They biggest news on our urban homestead is the ducks have started laying.

First eggs found out in the garden

Also found some in the tunnel to the garden

I penned the ducks up a few nights and they eventually got the idea to lay their eggs in the duck house...though not exactly in the laying boxes.

Week 1's duck egg harvest

This is a chicken egg on top and a duck egg on bottom.  I expect the duck eggs to be double in size once they start laying for real.

The other harvest right now is blackberries. I planted a few canes last year and man, are they producing!

Essie finding blackberries!

The harvest isn't great yet, but its enough for the kids to find and eat.  I love hearing them say, "wow, our garden is great this year."

Everywhere I look, the fruit of our labors are starting to show.





and more tomatoes

For all my fussing with the tomatoes this year and losing 50 plants to frost in April, I still think we'll be up to our ears in tomatoes in another month or so.  I ended up buying some plants, had some given to me and had even more in my in my little greenhouse so we are back up to about 50 plants.  (can you say SALSA!?!?!)

I leave you with a final video of the ladies.  Almost every day I let them out of their pen so they can roam with neighborhood. Don't worry, the neighbors are all on board and some even feed them now.  They wander back to our house at dusk and if I leave the door open, they put themselves to bed.  Seriously, chickens are the easiest animals to care for. 

The sweet lady that lives 2 doors down feeds the ladies on her back porch.  I love to hear her talk about how her mother always kept chickens.

Another perk of having an URBAN homestead is you can enlist the neighborhood children to help.  I had a flat of marigolds to plant around the garden so I called in the kids that were around the house and the job was done in 5 minutes.  And, they kept asking for other jobs.

One other homestead project I needed done was replacement of the single rain barrel.  My family decided to visit last week so of course I had to take advantage of the time my Dad was here.  He had major back surgery last month so my brother-in-law Jeremy was enlisted to help as well.  The fitting around the nozzle broke and in the end, my Dad and I decided to just replace the whole unit, now that we have some better ideas for rain barrels. 

Finished project

Monday, June 10, 2013

Odds and Ends

We finished school this year on a high note as all three children will be moving up a grade next year.  Holding them back this year was not an easy decision, but it was the best for them in the end.  Each one has matured tremendously this year and while reading is still a struggle, all 3 have made great strides.

Kids showing ribbons and medals from Field Day at their school

As soon as school was out, the kids started attending day camp through our town's Parks & Rec. (LOVE IT!)  The first week of camp was track & field week and Essie won the long distance race for the girls her age and came in 3rd place against all the girls (grade 1-5).  I told her she's going to be the next Flo-Jo, whom of course she didn't know, but after a quick search on Yo*tube, Essie is now training to be an Olympic runner (ok, maybe not, but she was impressed with Flo-Jo). 

August 15, 2012

May 30, 2013

I had to take this picture for Matt.  He beamed with pride when I showed it to him. He is one of the biggest Indiana Jones fans I know and now he's turning his children into fans also.  I had asked Chloe to come help me outside and this is what I found. 

Chloe & Essie looking all grown up
June 9, 2013

Happy Birthday, Amy!

Sunday was Amy's birthday, but we celebrated on Saturday night with a duck cake for our little duck farmer.

Birthday girl

 A happy birthday celebration turned tragic when Amy slipped on a wet tile and cracked her head.  Nothing like celebrating your birthday with a slight concussion.  Never a dull moment in our house! Mom is recovering just fine.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Truer Words Have Never Been Spoken...

Homestead Update

After a miserable spring with 3 late season frosts that killed off 50 of my tomato plants, spring or more appropriately summer, has hit the Bluegrass.  The garden is finally taking off and the ducks are huge now.  I expect them to start laying around July 4th.  The chickens are WAY too demanding with their free-range time and have warn a path around the neighborhood.  We now have several neighbors/friends dropping off their kitchen scraps throughout the week so to say my "girls" are spoiled is an understatement.  Egg production has slacked a bit due to rising temperatures.  The girls definitely tolerate the cold better than the heat. Below are a few pics of the girls roaming the neighborhood.  I usually just let them out in the evening while the kids and I are out and then they wander back at dusk.


My sweet hubby helped me fix my single rain barrel.  We bummed some cinderblocks that the neighbor wasn't using anymore, leveled the ground more and now its tall enough for me to fit a bucket under.  The pressure out of the hose is better also, since its higher.

We also had to cut the existing gutter and attach a flexible hose 

Garden and Duck update

Also, in case you missed it, the girls were the lead photo on the Chive's Daily Morning Awesomeness yesterday:  Please ignore all the other crap on that website but I thought it was funny that the girls were the lead photo.  They are famous!