May on the Homestead

Add caption
The big news on our backyard homestead is that our old hens have gone to Heaven (and our freezer). Although butchering brought about mixed feelings for both my husband and me, we felt good about the process. We knew we'd given the hens as happy a life as they could have and that we did a great job of butchering them humanely.
And when the big girls departed, our new chickens - now called pullets, because they are "teenagers" who haven't yet laid eggs - soon moved into the main chicken house and run. The new birds (Australorp breed) are such sweet little animals. They've never pecked us and they don't argue amongst themselves. Plus they have funny voices that sound a bit like a duck quacking - which always makes me smile. But they are also more timid than our
Movin' in to their new digs.
old flock. They hardly knew what to do in their new digs. After a few days, though, they began really enjoying having more room - and they are beginning to learn to love the weeds and table scraps I give them. We think they'll start laying sometime next month or so.

The garden is growing - but we've mostly had rain, so I haven't been out in it much. I'm still fighting off my arch nemeses - slugs and snails. They nearly killed all my cabbages and one of my grow bags of potatoes. I fought back with liberal applications of Sluggo and the plants are slowly recovering. Another of my potato grow bags is doing
We can't tell the new chickens apart yet.
spectacularly well; the foliage is healthy and huge. The final potato grow bag, which I kept in a shadier area (because it did very well there last year) has some sort of disease - probably fungal. I've treated it with an anti-fungal and am hoping I save that crop. I sure do have a hard time with potatoes!

In other bad news, my dear husband - thinking to please me - sprayed my dandelion patch with Round Up. Woe is me! I won't feel safe harvesting from that patch for at least a year - maybe longer. 

In the meantime, though, I'm begin to harvest
lettuce, kale, collards, leeks, a few peas, still more radishes, plus herbs. I've even harvested spinach - something I've never had success growing before. Some
Darn those slugs and snails!
of my tomato plants have green tomatoes on them. And my squash is growing. And - oh happy, happy, happy - my Arctic kiwi vines are have kiwi on them for the first time!

2013 Produce Totals

Eggs 374
Chicken 20 ½ lbs.

Beets 1
Calendula 4 lb.
Chives 4 lbs. Collards 4 lbs.
Dandelion flowers ½ lb.
Dandelion greens 35 lb.
Dandelion Root 2 lb.
Spinach growing under the peas.
Green onions 1 lb.
Kale 2 lbs.
Leeks 2 lbs.
Lettuce 1 lb.
Oregano 1 lb.
Parsnips 1 lbs
Passion vine 1 lb.
Peas 5 oz.
Radishes 6 lb.
Sage 1 lb.
Spinach ½ lb.
Sunchokes 40 lbs.
Wild onion 1 1/2 lb.

For the first time, both columnar apple trees have apples.
Growing lettuce in the columnar apple tree pots.

Part of the front bed, including blueberries, apples, potatoes, garlic, and calendula.
Lettuce growing in the main garden bed.
Chives. The flowers are edible, too, and taste just like...chives.

The kiwi vine with it's pretty variegated foliage.
Other gardeners weed before posting pictures of their garden. Not me!

No comments