Hopes for an early summer harvest

With plans for a trip to Peru this summer, Austin and I have our fingers crossed for an early summer harvest. So far, so good.

We have a few pests to tackle (or endure) — mostly pillbugs, slugs and spider mites. But other than that, our garden is thriving. Sunflowers are popping up everywhere; some are volunteers from sunflowers we had last year, and some are from seeds I planted that were moved around by the recent rains. The best laid schemes of mice and men, eh?

I took some pictures of my discoveries on my evening exploration and found a whole lot of cool things to share… including a snake! These days the garden changes daily. It’s quite an incredible transformation from the generic suburban backyard we had before.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

New additions to the homesteading library

IMG_3644

Here are the books I’ve collected thus far.

In the last couple months, I’ve been putting together a homesteading library for myself. This is my research project for the next year, which will help inform the novel I am writing about farming the suburban sprawl.

Also, these are some pretty mouth-watering reads for my inner informational text loving nerd.

Continue reading

A Brooding Hen!

IMG_3598Sad news about our rooster, Sketch — he had to go live on the farm. Fortunately, that’s not a euphemism for killing and eating him. He was really sent to live on a farm.

One of our neighbors complained to us about his crowing, which was loud and frequent. I love the sound, but not every neighbor does. I think even our kids sleep better without him waking them up early in the morning.

The four hens he left behind seemed a little more fearful right after he was sent away. Instead of roosting higher up in the coop, they found more secure spots in nesting boxes. Then a few days later, their little chicken brains forgot him. Now they are back to sleeping on the square hay bale.

Continue reading

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!