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I am officially an author at Heritage Homesteaders now. Yay! Go check out my introductory blog, soon to be followed by my first post!

From Alaska to Wisconsin – A Homesteading Transplant Takes Root

No idea why they chose to focus onย my boobs in the top picture, but hey… everyone has to have at least one good asset to look at, right? Made me giggle.

So far I have spent seven and a half hours in the garden today. I will spend at least another three out there before the day is over. This, my friends, is why I hesitate to get a job in the summer. I am putting more hours into the garden right now than I would at a full time job. It’s too bad I can’t grow money! We’d be rich.

I’m pulling peppers off of the plants now. So far we’ve eaten all of the ones I’ve picked, so I haven’t had a chance to freeze or can any. Tonight I am doing cream cheese stuffed, bacon wrapped Cubanelle peppers for dinner. Yum! So far it’s only the “hot” peppers that are ready to pick, but there are a lot of sweet peppers waiting in the wings, as you’ll see in the pictures below. I even spotted several tomatoes! It won’t be too long until canning season will be in full swing.

Another shot from the top of the chicken coop. Only a small portion yet to plant!

Another shot from the top of the chicken coop. Only a small portion yet to plant!

Two California Wonder sweet bell peppers.

Two California Wonder sweet bell peppers.

Count the Pepperoncini peppers.

Count the Pepperoncini peppers.

Jalapenos are starting to produce. Strange - I don't remember them being purple before. Wonder if it's impure seed or some deficiency in the soil?

Jalapenos are starting to produce. Strange – I don’t remember them being purple before. Wonder if it’s impure seed or some deficiency in the soil?

Cubanelle peppers... after I harvested a bowl full.

Cubanelle peppers… after I harvested a bowl full.

One of the few first tomatoes forming! Pretty sure this is a Principe Borghese based on its shape. I did label all of the tomato plants as I transplanted them, but apparently our permanent marker doesn't stick to popsicle sticks. They're all blank.

One of the few first tomatoes forming! Pretty sure this is a Principe Borghese based on its shape. I did label all of the tomato plants as I transplanted them, but apparently our permanent marker doesn’t stick to popsicle sticks. They’re all blank.

Notice anything missing? Yeah... the deer found the newly sprouted beans and had a salad. They also ate the tops off of some of the strawberry plants. Damn things. The fence just went to the top of my priorities for tonight.

Notice anything missing? Yeah… the deer found the newly sprouted beans and had a salad. They also ate the tops off of some of the strawberry plants. Damn things. The fence just went to the top of my priorities for tonight.

Two pickling-type cucumbers.

Two pickling-type cucumbers.

I put down weed barrier cloth in the soft fruit patch in preparation for some major mulching. I don't have the time or energy to weed that huge section in addition to the garden. I'll probably do the paths between the raised beds as well. Look at how tall the grass and weeds get in just a week if left unchecked!

I put down weed barrier cloth in the soft fruit patch in preparation for some major mulching. I don’t have the time or energy to weed that huge section in addition to the garden. I’ll probably do the paths between the raised beds as well. Look at how tall the grass and weeds get in just a week if left unchecked!

My husband has been working on the shed ever free moment he has, but I think tonight I might ask him to help me finish getting the fence finished. We’ve had the materials for a few days already, and thanks to the evidence I found this morning, I realize now that the fence should really have top priority over everything else. I don’t want to lose all of my hard work to some hungry, stinking deer. Anyway. The roof trusses are done, and all four walls are up on the shed. If we finish the fence, maybe by this weekend he’ll have the roof on and everything sheathed. I’ve been working hard in the garden so I can take a few days off of weeding to help him.

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Hope y’all have a great weekend!

 

 

The chickens spent their first night in their coop this past Saturday. I set up a ring of hardware cloth in the middle around the hanging heat lamp for the first few days because when we first put them in there they all freaked out and piled into a chilly corner crying. I left the box I carried them out there in for them so they had somewhere to huddle that was familiar. They’re still using it, so I figured it can stay a couple more days. Today I took out the hardware cloth so they could explore the entire coop. They seem a lot more confident and less scared. They are eating and drinking out of some old feed and water containers we had on hand, but I’ll soon be making some better ones. I absolutely LOATHE store-bought feed and water containers. They are inefficient, leaky, and annoying as all get out to clean.

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The coop still needs a lot of work. Once I’m done with the garden, I’ll get back to working on it. I still need to paint it, build dividers for the nesting boxes, finish plugging up the eaves that are covered in hardware cloth, and build gates for the run.

Speaking of the garden, remember that aerial shot from the top of the coop I said I’d do? Well, here it is.

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You can see the tiller sitting where I just finished tilling up the last bit of the garden. I started rowing it up this afternoon and the darn black flies and mosquitoes decided to come out in droves. I’ll get out there and plant the rest tomorrow if it’s nice. While I was up on the coop, I thought I’d take a few more shots.

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My husband has been working on this the past couple nights. He’s building a 14’x16′ shed next to the coop because we need somewhere to store the bikes, mowers, tillers, snow thrower, and all the rest of the junk that was in the chicken coop up until a few days ago. He works on that while I work on the yard and garden. Once the shed is done, maybe I can talk him into starting on the greenhouse…

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Pardon the mess around the house. I took the picture before I even thought of cleaning anything up. You can see part of the pile of junk from the chicken coop in the bottom right, along with the Volkswagen rabbit truck that my husband finally got running again. What do you think of the final color of our house? I like that it blends well with the environment around it. My husband has been painting, too, on top of building the shed and all the other tasks I’ve set him. Once he gets it all painted, we can start hanging the exterior trim. We’ll be doing craftsman style, white trim. The ugly yellow foam around the ICF basement will be covered with stone, though we haven’t decided which kind yet. Seeing as the fake stone is about $100 per 10 square feet… it may be a while before we decide.

You can see the orchard to the right behind the house. Our new trees are taking off. Looks like we lost our two peaches and two cherries from previous years – there aren’t any new shoots or greens on them. Que sera sera – that’s life on the homestead. Thankfully we bought four new cherry trees this year, and they seem to be doing great. The apples are all very hardy types, and are growing as if we didn’t just have a record-breaking cold winter. Maybe we’ll start seeing some apples in the next few years? One can only hope!

I’d say the garden is about 75% in at this point. Here’s what I have planted so far, with comments about how they are doing for my own future reference.

  • 2 Potato varieties
  • 4 Onion varieties – white are doing great, red varieties not so much
  • 4 Cabbage varieties
  • 2 Eggplant varieties
  • 3 Beet varieties
  • 7 Carrot varieties
  • 14 Pepper varieties
  • 9 Tomato varieties – planted ~80, lost 4 almost immediately, the rest are recovering well
  • Titan Sunflowers – 90% germination, short of seeds so can’t re-sow empty spaces
  • 2 Cucumber varieties
  • Mangels for deer/chickens
  • 2 Pea varieties
  • Parsnips
  • Leeks
  • Rutabegas
  • 2 Turnip varieties
  • 5 soup Bean varieties
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • 4 Basil varieties
  • 4 Strawberry varieties
  • 2 Currant varieties
  • Gooseberries
  • Cranberries
  • 2 Elderberry varieties
  • 2 Grape varieties
  • Aronia berries
  • Wild mint
  • Various flowers including Shasta daisies, Oriental lilies, lavender, marigolds, delphinium, liatris

What I have left to plant:

  • Summer and winter squash
  • Corn – sweet, dent, and popping varieties
  • Pole beans
  • More flowers including sweet peas, nasturtiums, zinnia, morning glories, bee balm, and various bulbs from my parents
  • Melons
  • Pumpkins
  • Rice
  • Radishes
  • Various herbs including dill, cilantro, parsley, and oregano

That’s a lot when I see it all in a list! Holy moly. This weekend I hope to finish the fencing around the garden, put up some gates, finish tilling the last patch and get it planted, and till/mulch the entire soft fruit patch. It’s going to be a busy weekend.

A view looking west in the garden.

A view looking west in the garden.

Cubanelle peppers.

Cubanelle peppers. Note the stressed out “old” leaves – transplanting them into the garden was a bit of a shock. Now all of the pepper plants are getting new leaves and recovering very well.

Jalapenos.

Jalapenos.

Purple Beauty sweet bell pepper.

Purple Beauty sweet bell pepper.

Red Marconi sweet pepper. These guys get 6-8" long and turn fire-engine red when ready. Yum!

Red Marconi sweet pepper. These guys get 6-8″ long and turn fire-engine red when ready. Yum!

Tomato flower.

Tomato flower.

Ping Tung eggplant. I noticed one of the Casper eggplants is blooming now, too!

Ping Tung eggplant. I noticed one of the Casper eggplants is blooming now, too!

Behind the tomatoes, this is where the peas, beans, carrots, turnips, and cukes are planted.

Behind the tomatoes, this is where the peas, beans, carrots, turnips, and cukes are planted.

Strawberries all have at least three leaves. I'm picking flowers off like crazy. I think my husband is upset, but he'll thank me next year. ;)

Strawberries all have at least three leaves. I’m picking flowers off like crazy. I think my husband is upset, but he’ll thank me next year. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Red Lake currant.

Red Lake currant.

Johns Elderberry.

Johns Elderberry.

American cranberry.

American cranberry.

Grapes. Still need to get the trellis up.

Grapes. Still need to get the trellis up.

Aronia berries.

Aronia berries.

Gooseberry plant.

Gooseberry plant.

Hope you have a productive, sunny weekend!

I’ll no longer be a vendor at the Menominee market, but I wish everyone there the best and I’ll try to make it back as a customer from time to time. I’m looking into other local markets. I’ll keep you posted as I figure things out. I’m open to suggestions if anyone knows of somewhere where I can sell produce and homemade goodies nearby.

I have another piece of news, too, that I have only shared with my husband and one friend so far – I have been offered a writing position for a pretty major homesteading website. They get traffic upwards of a million views a month. I would be writing one entry per month on a topic of my choosing, and in return I will get a HUGE boost to my own blog traffic and first access to panels and podcasts hosted on their site. I will continue to write for my own personal blog, of course, but this new venue will open me up to a much wider audience and more opportunities. When I started this blog four years ago I never thought I’d reach more than a few family members and friends. I’m very grateful to be able to reach so many more, especially all you fellow heathens – it’s damn near impossible to find other godless folks in my every day life. It’s good to know that even though I’m lonely, I’m not alone. ๐Ÿ™‚

Cross your toes and stab a forkful of His Noodliness for me! I could use some good luck!

 

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