Homesteading Progress – more downsizing

Homesteading Progress

Change. Even when I want to make changes and accomplish enough to see it as progress, it’s hard. There’s a lot of change going on over here. Homesteading progress used to be adding a new milk goat to the herd, starting a rafter of turkeys that would replace themselves by raising their poults, increasing the garden, or working with a new restaurant when I was a market farmer. These days, downsizing is progress.

Early yesterday morning Steve and I caught and loaded nine of the ducks; seven hens and two drakes. That leaves ten here, and one of those has been named Bacon. He’ll be my first try at duck bacon as soon as I’m ready. I wanted to pare down the flock as we don’t need a dozen duck eggs plus a chicken egg or two a day, every day. When they aren’t on grass during winter they’re expensive to feed. Ducks are messy.

I put real thought into what I want the flock to be when I finished. I didn’t want to break up mated pairs or separate bonded friends. Yes, I’m that kind of softie. “I’ll keep her…” but I didn’t because as sweet as she is, she doesn’t fit into the long term plan. She’s living in her new home and being sweet for an adorable little girl who loves ducks. Homesteading progress, happening right here.

Making Way for Perennials

high tunnel, hay field, Maine, homesteading

perennial garden, homesteading progress, Steve spent this (Saturday) morning with a chainsaw and the bush hog, releasing more wild apple trees and bush hogging the field. Progress – the trees will produce more apples because they have room to grow. The field will become a gorgeous perennial garden that I’ll build over time. Have advice on perennial gardens? Please share. Other than mowing the field and putting tarps down to start killing grass, and making a tentative plan for a dry stream, I’m lost. I have a few herb and flower seeds to start, overwinter in the high tunnel, and plant out in the spring, but I don’t have a design or even a theme in mind yet. There will be paths and a bench. <–thinking out loud (PS Help!)

The logs are trees Steve cut down to let sunlight into the tiny food plot. They’ll be firewood.

No Garden in 2017

There will be no vegetable garden outdoors next year. No garden. That’s still sinking into my heart. The weeds are so far ahead of me I hate to even walk by the garden. It’s hairy galinsoga, the same damned weed I’ve battled for at least 10 years. As vegetables are picked I’m tilling the spend plants under and turning up weed seeds so they’ll germinate. When the last of it is done I’ll till it one more time and start planting a cover crop to control weeds and improve soil. When I turn the garden over in 2018 it will be smaller. I can grow most everything we want in the high tunnel. Next year I’ll buy a few things like beans and winter squash from a local grower.

In 2018 I’ll turn turn over strips in a garden covered in Dutch white clover. The weed pressure will be minimal. It will be worth being without the space next year. When I’m done with those strips they’ll be seeded with more clover and I’ll turn over strips in different places. Feed the soil, control the weeds, and save a lot of time in the garden!