A Short Drive & A Long Wait

We took the pups for a quick morning drive to let them see the snow since it still hasn’t made its way down here to us (yet).

It was so lovely to be able to get out again myself since I’ve been homebound for months while at the mercy of my wonky mast cells. I nearly forgot how heavenly it really is here:

We couldn’t stay out too long since we’re hosting a big Thanksgiving feast tomorrow and I have to make everything from scratch, including the bread for the stuffing, the pies and even the almond milk.

No cheating or short cuts here! Which means a lot of prep work today.

My three little happy pups are now anxiously awaiting for me to call on them to help with the cooking and baking:

It will be a long wait…

Happy Thanksgiving!!

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Our 10 Free Trees From The Arbor Day Foundation Have Arrived!

A few months ago we joined the Arbor Day Foundation and as a gift we received 10 free trees from them. After waiting for what seemed like forever, our bare root trees have finally arrived!

Yep, all 10 of them are in there! We opted for the shade trees and got one of each of the following:

  • weeping willow
  • red oak
  • pin oak
  • bald cypress
  • thornless honeylocust
  • tulip tree
  • red maple
  • sugar maple
  • silver maple
  • river birch

They are tiny little things (obviously) but they came well packaged and ready for planting right away. They ship according to your zone and climate needs, which is why we had to wait so long.

Planting them was pretty straightforward. The tiny trees are color coded to tell you which is which. They also have a great video tutorial to guide you through the process:

We put them in a bucket to soak for a few hours before planting them while the hubby used the tractor to drill all the holes we needed:

It took a bit to see all the colors because some weren’t as easy to discern as the others but we figured it out. Then we went about putting them in their places we carefully selected, following the directions above and placing rock rings around each one (so we don’t forget where they are and step on them!):

We also ordered a few other goodies at a discount from their nursery including a Japanese maple, a couple of emerald green arborvitaes, a rose of sharon and a peegee hydrangea. They threw in two free forsythias AND another free red maple with that order (yay!).

Those arrived last week in a big, long cardboard box and were tagged to tell us which was which (rather than color coded). We followed the same guide to prepping and planting them and they are all in the ground now.

It will be a few years before we really get to enjoy them, since they are bare roots, but the prices were great and we feel really good being members of such a great organization.

We’ll definitely be ordering more trees for our little homestead over the next couple of years and I encourage you to do the same.

Happy planting!!

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Backyard Farming in the Empty Nest: Replacing & Culling The Flock

In anticipation of culling most of our flock of chickens over the next few days, as well as the three fat Cayuga drakes we got for free a couple of weeks back (we’re not eating the Muscovies or turkeys yet – we are keeping them as breeders), we loaded up the coop with fifteen gorgeous little ten week old girls last night:

We bought them for just $3 a piece (!) from our local hobby farm and got a nice mixture of different Wyandottes.

We decided to go with this breed because they are cold hardy, good for both eggs and meat and are pretty friendly and docile.

At ten weeks, these are just old enough to introduce to the bigger girls (they’re already getting along well) and will begin laying by spring. Which means they should give us an egg-filled next year or two.

We decided it was best for us not to deal with baby chicks in the spring to raise to replace the flock because we don’t want to wait five or so months for them to start laying. We would rather feed these young pullets through the winter and just keep a handful of our best layers that we have now (who are still laying about half a dozen eggs a day thanks to using the artificial light system!) while the other ones who are older and less productive can go into the freezer with the ducks (yum!).

By this time next year we should have a nice fat turkey or two to butcher for the holidays as well. In fact, there should be plenty of turkey all year long once we get a few clutches raised.

This backyard farming thing is working out pretty well! My mast cells certainly appreciate our new, healthy diet and it feels good to get back to nature. It’s where we’re happiest here in our humble little empty nest.

🙂

 

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