The Homestead Monthly: July 2015

Cukes in crock Feature Image
What a Difference a Month Makes!

The garden is in full swing- we’ve been eating kale, lettuce, summer squash, and peppers for weeks! The tomato plants are heavy with green tomatoes that should be starting to turn color any day now. And just yesterday I spotted a tiny little broccoli crown forming- which is late… but I’m just glad they decided to show up at all.

Garden end of june Garden Aug

We harvested our first hill of potatoes for dinner the other night, and I’ve starting picking carrots for fresh eating. We have the most incredible carrot variety this year- they are such a deep purple they are almost black (read: loaded with good vitamins) and they are supposed to be a good keeper.

And it hasn’t been without a challenge- we’ve been battling cabbage moths, blight, aphids, and now just this week the squash bugs showed up. I think we’re mostly winning though.

We also have herbs planted all around the homestead (I like to work them into the landscaping where I can) and we have a good amount of mint right now, which prompted me to make these Chocolate-Dipped Mint Leaves!

Berry Harvesting
Last year was a bad year for berries in our area, so we didn’t get to preserve many. This year we had a tremendous berry season. Our patches are not yet established, so we visit some local pick-your-own farms for our supply. We picked about 20 quarts of strawberries and 70 pounds of blueberries. Mom and dad helped pick too!

Dad picking blueberries

We’re not big jam and jelly people, so freezing is our preferred method of preservation. And we dehydrated some too! For instructions, and more ideas on how to preserve blueberries, check out: The Complete Guide to Preserving and Using Preserved Blueberries

The Lone Turkey
I know some farmer’s and homesteaders are a little more hard-hearted than we are (I can understand why). We’ve had a turkey living in our bathroom for over two months now. And he’s really no trouble- in fact, he’s as sweet as can be and very quiet. But he smells. No matter how well and how often I clean his cage, he smells. And it’s getting worse. The problem is, he’s attached to us, and I knew this would happen, but we really didn’t have a choice. He was the only one that hatched, and needed our protection and company until he was big enough to hang with the chickens.

Turkey 2 months

That time is starting to happen. We’ve been carrying him out to the the chicken yard every morning and putting him in a fenced off portion of the chicken run. He is safe but can interact with the rest of the flock. Then in the evening we bring him inside to sleep in the house. I suspect the roosters would go after him if we let him run free with the chickens.

I see the light at the end of the tunnel though! Hopefully in another couple weeks he will be big enough to hold his own. And I’ll have my bathroom back. No more barnyard smell and random meal worms on the floor.

Knock on Wood, We Might Have a Honey Harvest
Last year was our first year keeping bees, and it was a rough one. We didn’t take a drop of honey, not even one taste. Heck, one hive didn’t even make enough for themselves to get through the winter. We began wondering if bees even really made honey…

Side Note: In this photo, what happened was a chunk of honeycomb broke open, allowing honey to drip down the frame. The bees immediately rushed over to it and started sucking it up. See them in a line down the frame? Every drop is precious.

Honey comb dripping

Well this year has been different. We have two hives brimming with bees, and one overflowing with honey. Anything can still happen of course, but from the looks of it now, we hope to harvest enough for our needs for the year, and then some! It’s so much more exciting to be a beekeeper when the prospect of harvesting honey is actually on the table!

Now that we’ve had chickens and honey bees for over a year,  I wrote about the ins and outs of Raising Chickens & Honey Bees Together!

 

Enjoy reading about what’s happening on our Homestead?
—> June Homestead Monthly
—> May Homestead Monthly
—> April Homestead Monthly

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—> September’s Homestead Monthly

—> August’s Homestead Monthly

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