Things seem to be expanding quickly on the homestead! I expected this to be the case while getting our homesteading family set up but it will probably slow down as fall arrives and we settle down to wait. Waiting for plants to grow and animals to mature! While there are some projects that we can rush, mother nature isn’t one of them! This is probably a good thing since the kids have recently started virtual school and that takes up a good bit of time.
Homesteading Family – What We’ve Done This Month
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Planted More Fruit Bushes
While the blueberry and blackberry bushes have been doing fairly well they were only the start of our little berry patch. This month we added raspberries and grapes to our homestead… and while I was at the tore I saw kiwi plants.
I never knew there was a type of kiwi plant that would grow here in Georgia but once I saw them I had to look into it. Turns out that hardy kiwi is pretty tasty and will indeed grow here in the south. So I bought thee and planted them. With hardy kiwi, it turns out you need both a male and a female plant to get fruit so I settled for two females and one male. If they do well I may add more females next year.
Started Laying Out An Outdoor Herb Garden
I loved my indoor hanging herb garden in our old house – unfortunately, it was custom built for that particular window and there is not a suitable replacement here. However, since we have so much more room here I can easily install and outdoor herb garden!
I spent some time pulling up the grass and laying out an outline. I chose to place it next to the deck because we plan on creating a patio stone walkway/grilling area in that section of the yard and how convenient would it be to just pick your seasonings as you grill? I will need to level the bricks, buy some soil and new plants to fill it with as I gave away my old plants when we moved (they were more indoor varieties anyways). Buying new plants may have to wait until spring however as it might be too late in the season to start them now. That gives me time to really be sure of the design and make sure that everything is nicely leveled!
Built An In Ground Fire Pit
This was one of my husband’s pet projects this month. After he stumbled across a YouTube video about building a Dakota fire-pit he just had to build one! It seemed like a pretty great addition to our patio/grilling area so we went ahead and built it. Digging through our red clay was a challenge and a half – and leveling everything on our sloped backyard was also a bit of pain.
After all of that work however I’ happy to say that we are really pleased with how well it works. It’s fr more efficient than other fire pits we have had in the past and the kids give it a 10/10 for its s’more making capabilities. Once we start adding the patio stones to the rest of the area we will likely add some sand under and between the stones to further level them out. Until we settle on a permanent stone pattern and design however, we are happy with its current functional state.
Alright so for once, adding an animal to the homestead wasn’t my idea. I went to TSC for feed and when I came back with the cart Keith and the kids had a guy putting ducklings in a box. I mean … I didn’t say no. They eat the same flock raiser I feed everybody else and will be content with a kiddie pool and resting spot in the coop so it’s not like adding them will be too much of a headache! Besides…duck eggs are an intriguing possibility!
They are really cute. Even if the kids named them Leviathan, Megladon, Kraken, and Siren. Welcome to the homesteading family my little monsters!
Added More Pullets
Since our straight run Black Copper Maran chicks turned out to have more roosters than hens in it (only 4 hens) and TSC had some blue egg layers in on the same day the kids and husband discovered ducklings we went ahead and got 5 sexed chicks. These ones should all be girls and they all look different so the kids already named them. They seem stuck on a mythical/monster theme however because our sweet, tiny newly hatched chicks are now known as Cerberus, Warewolf, Wendigo, Medusa …and Dawn. Dawn got lucky I guess?
Built The Quail Duplex
Since we knew our current hutch would be too small as our birds grew we went ahead and built a double-sided Quail hutch with plenty of room. This should let us have two separate colonies and plenty of eggs. In the future, we will need a grow-out pen for the quail destined for the dinner table but currently, we are focused more on the eggs.
Bought and Incubator and Some Fertilized Guinea Eggs
We new that an incubator would be in our future and since the quail are being stubborn and not laying yet (my husband now calls them the freeloaders) I went ahead and ordered some Guinea eggs. Hatching shipped eggs can be tricky and it’s possible a lot of them won’t hatch but I wanted to give it a try and we really do need a bigger flock of Guinea’s. It’s likely that our females won’t start laying until next spring as Guineas tend to be seasonal layers but now that they are free-ranging a good portion of the time it’s also likely that we might lose a few between now and spring.
Guinea’s are the most unpredictable members of our homesteading family and truly are not the brightest of birds…however they have already alerted the flock to hawks several times and had the whole place running for cover so I’m calling them worth it. Even if one of them managed to escape and refused to come down off the roof for half a day before finally giving in. Hopefully next month I will be able to report on some new guinea keets.
What Our Homesteading Family Is Currently Working on
- Finish Up A New Rabbit Hutch – We are halfway through building a double hutch. In reality, they are cages on a frame and all we need to do is add the roof and siding, so it shouldn’t be long before we finish it up (weather has kept us from completing it so far!)
- Expand the Quail Flock – We are still waiting for our Quail to start laying. I originally planned on hatching some of their eggs but if the Guinea keets hatch well I might order some of the blue egg layers right away since we have already completed the expanded Quail hutch.
What’s In the Cards For Our Homesteading Family Later?
- Continue Planning an Orchard – Will have to wait until closer to fall before any saplings we buy will be delivered. We still haven’t figured out exactly what we want and should probably get on that! t least we have decided where to plan them right?
- Continue Fencing the Pasture – This will likely be an ongoing project with the goal of having it completed by next spring. The smaller pasture we already have should be more than big enough for Luna and Cyra!
- Continue Planning and Building A New Chicken Coop – Like the pasture, this will likely be an ongoing project. We already have the plans but since there is no rush on this we will probably do it in pieces to spread out the material bill.
If You haven’t been keeping up with our homesteading journey so far you can do so with the following posts and make sure you keep reading to see what we’ve done this month! You might also be interested in our Homesteading Pinterest Board!