Homestead Monthly: May 2015

The homestead monthly May 2015
Garden o’ Plenty

In April we plowed up the garden and lightly tilled it to break up the sod initially. This month we fenced it in, built rustic black walnut tree gates, hand-turned all of the soil, raked it out and got it all planted.

Rustic garden gate out of trees and sticks. | Whole-Fed Homestead Monthly update

Our planting list this year: lots of tomatoes (like, 50 plants…anyone need tomatoes?!), including some really cool varieties (that I will be sure and talk about when they are ripe!); green, yellow and purple bell peppers; green and purple jalapeños; German Butter and red potatoes; three varieties of kale; celery; two types of (super awesome) broccoli and a unique purple cabbage variety; many different lettuce varieties, plus arugula and endive; five varieties of carrots; cukes; zucchini, Patty Pan, and Hubbard squash; marigolds, gladioli and three varieties of sunflowers; sweet potatoes; and tons of basil, dill and parsley. That should keep us busy enough for this year…

The Loss of a Rooster
Inspired by our injured rooster, Buddy, I wrote about how chickens have feelings too, and how we got to witness that first hand when Buddy was suffering and when we removed him from the flock to heal inside the house. At the time I posted that, he was still hanging in there. He continued to go downhill, and a couple days later, as animals often do, he let us know that it was time to end his suffering.
Chicken dynamics and the loss of a rooster. | Whole-Fed Homestead Monthly Update

With the loss of such an important member of the flock, it was interesting to see change over of power and shuffle in chicken dynamics. Otto (who was previously second in-charge rooster) took the head position, and in doing so has even been trying to establish himself as higher up than me. We are trying to work out our differences, often with the hose.

Sheesh does that guy run a tight ship! He was quick to take charge after Buddy left us, and he now puts the hens to bed around 5 or 6pm every night (even though it is light out until 9pm). He literally runs around, herding them like a sheep dog, chasing them back to the coop. There are a couple that are defiant, but gosh darn it if he doesn’t have 90% of those girls plus the other rooster on the roosts by dinnertime. It is quite the show, actually.

Spring Foraging
For the fourth year now, we went on our annual Morel & Asparagus Hunt. Last year we didn’t get a single Morel mushroom, so we were super-determined this year.

We arrived at our secret Morel spot and started searching. It took about 5 minutes before we found the first one, and after that it was like the heavens opened up and dropped rays of gold all over the forrest floor. We filled a grocery bag in about 20 minutes.
Finding Morels in Wisconsin. | Whole-Fed Homestead Monthly Update

The other half of our tradition involved getting some celebratory Rib-Eye steaks and having steak with sautéed mushrooms and asparagus for dinner. You bet we did!

What I’ll Refer to as the Duck Incident
So… you may remember me mentioning we had a duck sitting on a lot of eggs. Turns out, it was too many eggs, too many to keep warm and properly hatch. (Read the whole story here!) She sat on those babies for a full month, completely dedicated and leaving the nest only once or twice a day for a frantic swim in the pool and bite of grass before she high-tailed it back.

Naturally, I felt pretty bad that she put in all that work and wasn’t going to have any babies. And since it was my fault, I was determined to make it right. We found someone nearby with newly hatched baby ducks and brought home two for her, executing Operation Duck Adoption. This involved distracting her, taking all but three of her eggs, and leaving two peeping, scared ducklings in their place. Never a dull moment here on the homestead.
Introducing Baby Ducks | Whole-Fed Homestead Monthly Update

But it worked! There is always a risk with this sort of thing, that she won’t take to the babies, or even might try to hurt them. We had a video camera set up on her nest, so we got to watch the whole process unfold. How incredibly fascinating! It took them a couple hours to really bond, but after that they’ve been inseparable, and now they’re the most adorable little duck family! Thank goodness, or else I’d have myself two baby ducks to raise.

 

Enjoy reading about what’s happening on our little Homestead?
—> April Homestead Monthly
—> February/March Homestead Monthly
—> December/January Homestead Monthly
—> October/November Homestead Monthly
—> September’s Homestead Monthly

—> August’s Homestead Monthly

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