An early spring nipped in the bud

The chickens were snuggled in the hay with a heat lamp, a classy upcycled NASCAR sheet protecting them from the chilly wind.

The chickens were snuggled in the hay with a heat lamp, a classy upcycled NASCAR sheet protecting them from the chilly wind.

Texas weather is predictably unpredictable. So, while I secretly hoped and feared (global weirding?) that an early spring had crept upon us after several days with highs in the 80s… I knew that Arctic weather was bound to come.

IMG_3275[1]That early spring got nipped in the pear-tree bud, which had just come out a tad before the snow last week. School shut down for two full days. Fortunately I dragged enough dry wood inside to keep the fireplace constantly going.

Once the snow stopped and the sun came out this weekend, the chickens were happy to also poke around. They’re quite scrappy and hardy! They kept producing eggs at a steady rate as well. We had to make sure to collect them each day. One egg was left untended and froze, expanding and breaking the shell.

It was a shame that I couldn’t do much garden work this weekend, but the snowball fight with my family made up for the disappointment of a lost workday. And, if nothing else, the moisture and weight of the snow is helping break down the massive amount of leaves we put into the wooden terrace beds to turn into soil for fall planting.

My only concern now is that we are hosting our wedding in the backyard in less than two weeks. I hope the weather turns more fair in time for us to garden a bit and enjoy the outdoor space on the day of our homestead nuptials.

See the snowball midair? Not bad for a selfie!

See the snowball midair? Not bad for a selfie!

Progress in the backyard gives me hope for hosting our wedding outdoors

For a minute or two, I was stressing about whether or not the backyard projects would be completed in time for Austin and my wedding.

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But then Cory and another guy showed up with magic masonry fingers! The stone steps down the hillside are almost complete and a good chunk of progress has been made on the retaining wall, as you can see in the photo I took this afternoon. Continue reading

We conquered the hillside with garden terraces

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Exhausted and pleased, we celebrated our new garden terraces with a fire in the fire pit and a glass of wine as the sun went down.

When you walked out the back door of our house, you used to see a small wood fenced backyard. Behind the fence, the ground slants steeply down into a drainage area. Pretty boring, and certainly unproductive.

See?

Before we took down the fence and began building, the hillside was just an unproductive rocky slide.

Before we took down the fence and began building, the hillside was just an unproductive rocky slide.

So, we’ve spent the last year making some improvements that will increase our food production and certainly our quality of living. The biggest change recently is the garden terraces pictured at the top of this post, which Austin and I built with the help of a couple friends. Continue reading

Standing on the summit of turning 30, I’ve set my goals. Let the ascent begin!

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Well, here we are. I am at the summit of turning 30. In three years, I’ll be at the peak.

And the question that has plagued me relentlessly since the season changed from fall to winter — a time perfect for self- reflection — is:

What do I want to accomplish in the next three years?

I’ve decided to write a book about urban farming with children, sort of a guide for beginners and parents to permaculture and homesteading.  Continue reading