Every year we go to the family cabin for Independence Day aka ‘Fourth of July’.
The weather is almost always a mixture of thunder and lightning storms and extremely HOT sun. Every year we come back from the cabin to our gardens seemingly double the size and fruit beginning to grow.
Lightning puts nitrogen into the ground, the rain feeds the roots and the sun feeds the leaves. It’s a perfect storm. Hehe. Literally.
This year on our ‘extended vacation’ we came home a few times to feed the animals. Coming home to them always makes me appreciate the life I have. I literally am living the dream life I never knew was my dream life.
Remember the window box I built for the chicken coop?
It was filled with red cabbage, red kale and lemon thyme with a pop of red salvia for color.
Look at how well it is growing! Who knew veggies could be SO PRETTY?!
Now for what to do with them. 🤔
Kale freezes easily and could red cabbage make pretty sauerkraut?
Do you use these veggies and herbs for anything unique?
So last week I spoke about the Kelley Farm.
I have always been amazed at the fact that they let their sheep run wild with little to no fencing.
This year I got the gall to ask how they did it. Last year I asked so many other questions about sheep I had to limit myself. This year I asked sheep and with the answers I got, we gained enough confidence to try letting the sheep ‘free-range’.
On one of our ventures home to care for the animals we let the boy sheep free-range. It was so nerve wracking. There is always a fear that the sheep will run away. For the price you pay for sheep, this is terrifying. Plus the fact of the bond you have with them.
The sheep were like dogs. Getting into everything. Shaun chased the baby chickens every time they came out of the coop. It was so funny, he would frolic to the babies as soon as they were out of the coop. Then he would herd them into the coop.
The boys filled their tummies with fresh grass and couldn’t be happier. It saved us a days worth of grass-collecting.
Instead of spending money on hay we have been weed whipping talk grass for the sheep to eat. It is a lot of work, but worth how much money we save. Our ultimate goal is to let them have a fenced in area to eat all while letting them out with us – this will help tame them.
Even in the one day free-ranging our lawn, Friedrich the ram, was coming up to me for head scratches.
Maybe we turned a new leaf and our sheep will become even more friendly with us.
Keep it in Your Pants... For Now.
We have had Babydoll Southdown Sheep for just under a year.
In that year, our males (one ram, one whether) have been separated from our ewes. They always sit across the fence from each other and baa.
As soon as the boys were let out they ran to the girls to sniff them out. 😂
In November we will breed our sheep, but until then… they are star-crossed lovers.
It is very amusing to see them try to interact through the fencing. Sniffing each other and following one another down the fence line.
Our chicks are in two groups – 1 group of ten that were raised by momma hen and 1 group of five that were raise in the brooder.
The group of ten free-ranges in the woods and the group of brooder chicks hang around the coop.
They stay in a basket on the ground or on the ladder roosting bar I built. Except when the other birds are free-ranging, then the brooder babies get the nesting box roosting bars.
In the coop there are three places to roost: on the ladder, on the nesting boxes and in the rafters.
I am not sure the level of difference between the rafters and the nesting boxes, but the ladder is for the lower pecking ranks. There are chicks on each of the levels within the coop. So funny how that works.
The pic above is of the brooder babies taking advantage of the nesting box treatment.
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Last year I bought one raspberry bush.
I naively put it alongside the silo, unaware of how fast they takeover an area. I also grabbed three plants from my brother-in-laws house last year to add to the collection.
They took off.
I had no idea one plant would turn into ten. They’re almost already choked out in this area. 😱 We moved a few over to the big garden.
Hopefully by next spring we will have a good start to a raspberry patch and a strawberry patch.
I found wild blackberries too. Maybe I will move some over. 🤔
Look at our small garden!
Tomatoes, peppers, peas, beans, zucchini, squash, cucumber, pickles and Swiss chard.
The peas and beans are having a hard time because them damn chickens keep scratching them all up. Ugh.
The cherry tomatoes are getting fruit, harvested a zucchini, and the peppers are starting!
I LOVE summer harvests. Maybe this year we will be able to can some veggies to eat throughout the winter.
The children eat so many cherry tomatoes I barely bring any inside.
What are your favorite things to harvest from the garden?
If you ever have any questions, or ideas for future blogs, comment below or shoot me an email!
From the farm,