So it’s been awhile since our last project was completed, and things have been going smoothly for the most part. We haven’t done anything major, but have stayed pretty much constantly busy. Have you ever had one of those weeks (or two or three) where you feel like you never sat down but you can’t put your finger on what exactly you have accomplished? Yeah, that was us for the last couple of weeks. It feels nice to get some of that little stuff checked off the To Do list, but it’s not quite as satisfying as completing a large project.
One of the things I have been really needing for a long time is a place to keep my aprons. They’ve been cluttering up my entry way for what seems like an eternity. I never wanted to tuck them away out of sight, because they’re used just about daily, but I also was getting pretty tired of seeing them draped over the light switch. So I asked the Handyman to hook me up with a little place to hang them. He found a scrap piece of old barn wood and I scrounged up some cool looking drawer pulls at Hobby Lobby. One of the walls of our entryway is the exposed stone from the original exterior wall of the farmhouse, so that’s not a great place to hang things. The other wall is stucco over stone, which isn’t much better, but with his hammer drill and some patience the Handyman was able to make it happen. Cost: around $4.
I don’t like things to be too matchy-matchy, so this eclectic combination is perfect for me. The middle knob is a bit too small for my current purse, so for now it’s holding this gorgeous hand-painted hairy woodpecker sign that is painted on slate. And flanking that are my two aprons: the Roo Apron that I love, love, love, and my chicken apron. Oh guess what!! The Roo is now available in just a waist apron! It’s called … wait for it … the Joey! How adorable is that? I’ll be ordering one soon, so watch for another review post!
The chickens are doing great. They’re growing like crazy things, and eating up a storm. The chicken run is working out perfectly. They get a little morning sun in the back area, but are shaded during the hot part of the day. They love getting my kitchen scraps and the weeds I pull out of the garden. These girls can decimate a watermelon rind in about two minutes. I have also started landscaping the run a little bit, starting with some rhubarb! You can’t be a Pennsylvania resident without rhubarb plants in your yard. I will post pics of the landscaping when it’s all done.
Everything is starting to bloom here on the Homestead. I can’t believe all the flowers and baby fruits that I’m starting to see! Blueberries! It will be time to cover those soon, or we will have no blueberries and very fat birds. Honestly, I am so relieved to see that we have peaches and apples growing on our trees. It’s always scary when you have to prune so much dead or diseased wood off a tree like we did. We have been keeping a close eye on the leaves, and so far have had to remove several dozen that were showing signs of peach leaf curl. It doesn’t appear to be spreading any more, though, so that’s great news! Maybe there will actually be a post on making peach preserves this year. And it is so wonderful to see my earliest flowers starting to pop up. The miniature roses opened just this morning, and though they are small they pack a lot of color in their little blossoms.
In the next few weeks I expect to see blooms on lots more things, especially in my perennial garden. I have so many plants: bee balm, lemon balm, gooseneck loosestrife, evening primrose, firecracker vine, moonflower, hyacinth bean, false sunflower, penstemon, echinacea, rudbeckia, coral bells, black adder, mountain laurel, sarsaparilla, astilbe, lily of the valley, peony, rose of sharon, and hydrangea. I love spring! I try to keep a good assortment of native plants around because it helps the local bee population, and then something native is blooming for them all season long. I’d love to start keeping bees as part of our Homestead one day.
The vegetable garden is coming along too. The Handyman constructed a trellis for the climbing cucumbers, zucchini, and tomatoes using some scrap pipe from a plumbing job and some cord. I plan to support the vines with garden ties as they get bigger. The potato plants are popping up so fast. They really keep me on my toes, because every day I have to pile more soil on them so they are able to grow more potatoes. Next year I will trench them even deeper.
It’s hard to notice any changes when you see everything daily, but comparing them side-by-side makes it so obvious how much everything is growing!
Since we planted everything we have had the foggiest, rainiest, most overcast couple of weeks that I can ever remember having. It has been downright pathetic. This poor garden has had plenty of rain, but hardly any sun. Hopefully these last few sunshiney days and the nice weekend we have forecasted will give these little guys a nice boost.
In other, sadder news: We had our first big failure. Our ducks are gone. The Handyman was mowing the lawn while they were free-ranging (NO that’s not what happened!) and it must have startled them because they took off running and we haven’t seen them since. I am distraught. We live next to a pretty decent sized creek with plenty of riparian zone for them to hide in, and every so often I swear I hear them quacking from over there, but they just won’t come home. I’ve tried banging their food container, splashing in their wading pool, and doing everything I can think of to entice them to come back. The vegetation is too thick to try and track them down and catch them. I was optimistic that they’d get hungry and come home, but I guess the creek is just too inviting. With every passing day I think the likelihood of them coming back is getting smaller and smaller. I miss them. I will update if anything changes.