Monday, April 25, 2011

Happenings on our Homestead

 I love Spring! The excitement of things growing again and it being almost time to garden again is so fun! I love the wildly variable weather, the sunshine and the rain and even the occasional snow. I am so glad God gave us seasons.

I have been having fun lately doing springy activities. Last week I finally planted my seeds -the ones that need to be planted ahead of time inside.
 I planted tomatoes, peppers, watermelon, cantaloupe, stevia, some flowers, broccoli, kohlrabi, cabbage and probably some things that I can't remember now. I also repotted my aloe vera. I had four little plants in a little pot. My sister Anna and I have been learning how good they are for you and so I want to encourage mine to get bigger so that I can really use them. I also repotted my banana tree that was desperately needing some new dirt and a new pot. I am hoping they all grow and flourish!
 I decided to set them up on top of my fridge to sprout (I did have to do some stacking to make them all fit but as soon as they get very big I will move them to a southern window). I discovered that a few of them have already sprouted. I love it when they are quick like that!
 Another of those Spring jobs that needed done was turning my compost pile. Here is the "beautiful" collection from the winter. I have two bins (that I made from pallets) side by side so I just flipped it over into the other one, while adding some rabbit droppings (Clover is gracious to supply those) and other natural matter from our garden cleanup.        

Aaron helped me work on the compost bin. His motivation was the fact that we get to babysit a baby goat next weekend and we thought we might be able to turn the empty bin into a temporary shelter.
 I love the concept of composting  because God turns our yucky scraps and the weeds we pull up into good rich dirt. We like to use that dirt on our garden and to put around our fruit trees.

Speaking of fruit trees, The plum trees which my Dad ordered for me along with his order came on Thursday. We planted them in our yard. Now we have 3 apple trees, 2 cherry trees, 2 plum trees, a grape vine,a couple of wimpy blueberry bushes, a few raspberry bushes and strawberry plants which feed the chipmunks. We aren't getting any fruit yet -except a few raspberries last year and there were two apples on one tree last year but some animal ate them before we could- but there is a lot of potential and I am excited about the possibilities!

 Another "homesteading" (?) project was our venture in making candy from our maple syrup. A neighbor came over and we had fun messing with a couple different recipes. It all tastes yummy but not everything sat up properly. Oh well, live and learn. This recipe did work well.

And as far as this picture.... We are so enjoying the pussy willows we picked some to have inside. I love the way they look and the natural rustic feel they add to our home.

I am linking up to:
Homestead Revival

New Life on a Homestead
The Prairie Homestead


Sarah @ Sarahndipities said...

Fun! We started our planting, too! And your compost bin looks A LOT like ours!!! Love it! This past weekend we 'babysat' our neighbors little bummer lamb. The kids loved it!

A Heritage From The Lord said...

You have a lot going on, looks and sounds very exciting and soon to be very rewarding! I planted all my seeds about a month ago and I am sooo anxious to plant them outside and see if they survive Lord willing:)

Jamie said...

You are busy bees,I need to make a better compost pile.I am just afraid I won't know what to put into it and really what to do.
I do have a chicken manure pile.
Any advice??


Melia said...

I love reading your posts! Gets me all excited and motivated! I was able to already put our seedlings in the ground because it is warm here in GA, but hail and terrible storms damaged most of them. Although I am very excited about just starting over and replanting! Can't wait til it is time to harvest some yummy goodness!

Nola said...

My seedlings are sprouting too. This year I am trying broccoli. They are so tall already! My tomatoes are all mostly sprouted too.

I know this doesn't apply directly to this post but I was wondering if you have any ideas for good handcraft type stuff for kids (the one I want something for is a girl and 5 but very good at fine motor skills). I started her on some plastic canvas and a fairly blunt craft needle with yarn and she's doing great at that. Any ideas on what else to teach her to do? Eventually of course there are more complicated things but I want to start simply so she doesn't get too frustrated. I just thought you might have some ideas you've used with your kids.

Nola said...

Oh oops I also meant to mention that I am particulary looking for ideas she can do herself (with a bit of instruction first from me but then do it mostly on her own) and something not too messy and something portable like for car trips etc. but any ideas are good.

Abbi said...

Thanks everybody for stopping by! I love reading your encouraging comments.

I am trying to think of some good ideas along the line you are wanting. What do you think about those pot holder looms? Would she be able to do that. My kids have enjoyed that. After we run out of the loops that come with them then we just cut loops from old tights or socks.
She also could probably embroider. It might not be very neat but that is not really the point, the point is her learning how to do it. Working with felt is pretty fun for kids too. It is a forgiving material because it doesn't fray. We have had fun making finger puppets with it.

I don't know if that helps or not. The plastic canvas does sound like a good idea.
I guess thinking from personal experience, when my kids are that age they usually do more work with paper and cardboard. They have always liked to cut a lot and then color and tape. I save all sorts of stuff like styrafoam meat trays (washed of course), all sizes of boxes, spools, etc. I have them in a cupboard that the kids can use basically whenever they want. That keeps things economical for me and they have a lot of fun. That can be rather messy however and not so very portable.

As far as teaching sewing, that is something that takes a little more of my attention. All the older kids have learned to use the sewing machine but Megan hasn't yet. If she wants to help I will let her take out pins and such, give her fabric scraps that she can cut and play with.

That is just what we do. Hopefully that might help in some way. :-)

Nola said...

Thanks Abbi that does help A LOT! I appreciate you getting back to me. I think the pot holder loom idea and I actually have an old one (I forgot about it, its from when I was a kid) but has no loops left. I will have to try cutting some more and get her going on that. The felt idea is a great one too because of the fraying like you said. Thanks for all the ideas!

Nola said...

After I wrote the above comment I googled the loops idea and I found this:

If the link doesn't work you can get it from googling "make your own potholder loops from tshirts" and its the second link.

How to make the loops from old tshirts! Amazing! I thought you might want to see it.

Abbi said...

I finally got around to checking out the link- That is a pretty neat idea! Thanks for sharing it. I had made loops from knit shirts before by cutting the sleeves in loops but this allows you to use the whole shirt. Cool!

Abbi said...

I am sorry that I missed getting around to answering your question earlier.
Anyway- I am not terribly scientific about my compost bin but here is what I do: I put in my kitchen scraps such as potato peels, moldy bread, apple cores and other veggie and fruit scraps. I don't put any meat, egg or oil products in there. I also put in weeds that I have pulled, manure and leaves and stuff like that. Every so often I flip it to stir it. It breaks down over time. You could add your chicken manure to it as well.
It is really pretty simple- I hope you give it a try!


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