Tag: homesteading

Summertime

We have been busy.
Gandules packet

After posting some Gandules seeds and mealworms online for sale, we quickly sold out of everything. mealiesSo, we are going to expand a little. We are growing lots of plants, collecting seeds and expanding our mealworm setup. I have been busy redoing the website to make it more business-like and easier to navigate. I’ll continue doing monthly updates. Feel free to leave comments and email us with any advice or questions.

We had a sad day a few weeks ago when a fox attacked our chickens, killing 6. RIP CrossThank goodness for our neighbor. If she wouldn’t have run over, we would have lost them all. fox attack Luckily, we still have 5 layers left. Our 10 baby chicks should start laying in October. The sudden decrease in eggs has been rough.

This week, we began creating planters out of railroad ties. It is nice to have the plants contained in different areas. It’s been feeling pretty scattered around here. Tilling Front Corner

Brad rigged up a pump for the pond! With the flick of a switch, we have pond water shooting from a garden hose. This is very exciting! It’s nice to have an endless supply of water. The pressure is perfect, strong enough to hook up a sprinkler to it. Game Changer. pond pump

Thanks for following. Keep checking in on the site to watch us grow!

Mulberry Trees and Berries

We have 3 mulberry trees on the property. We chose them not only for the fruit but because they are fast growing and will provide shade in the yard where the kids play.

This is our first year getting mulberries and Colt can spot them from across the yard.

Colt Picking MulberriesThe berries go from green to white to red to dark purple, then they are ready to eat.

The dark berry in the picture below will be completely ripe tomorrow and it will be the first thing Colt asks about when he wakes up.

Almost Ripe Mulberries

We have been eating mulberries from two of the trees. The third tree was run down by a Power Wheels and has been slowly recovering.  It took a month longer than the others to get its leaves and has had white berries on it for awhile now. I assumed they weren’t ripening because of the shock…until I looked closer. White Mulberry Tag

They are white mulberries and already ripe. Duh. So we ate them.

White MulberriesSurprisingly, the white mulberries taste completely different from the very tart dark red mulberries. They are bland and have an almost vanilla or honey like flavor. I thought they were good, Colt did not.

There is some interesting info about white mulberries online so, it’s probably true, right?

  • A white mulberry flower releases its pollen at 350 mph making it the fastest known movement in the plant kingdom.
  • The male trees do not produce fruit but many still plant them as fast growing shade trees without the mess of the berries.
  • It is listed as an invasive species in parts of North America because they hybridize with the red mulberry trees and it is creating some long-term concerns for the species.
  • The leaf extracts of the white mulberry tree have been used to effectively neutralize the effects of a Viper bite.
  • There are all kinds of health benefits of mulberries too including treating diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, fevers, colds, joint pain and most importantly, premature graying of the hair.

Mulberries are very delicate.  As soon as you touch them, the juice stains whatever it touches.  They also rot quickly and should be eaten right away or preserved. This explains why they aren’t sold in stores.

I’ve heard the same two complaints about mulberry trees. They’re a mess and the birds eat all the fruit.  Hopefully, Colt will continue to get to the berries before the birds do, or before they fall to the ground. I’ll try to make sure the berries on the ground go to the chickens before being smashed in our shoes and tracked in the house. Until that happens, these mulberry trees have earned a place in my favorite plant file.

I’d like to get enough mulberries this season to make jam and possibly wine. If not, the cuttings sound like they root easily…we may have to add a few more to our collection.

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to keep checking the site for updates as there is something exciting in the works!

Gandules AKA Pigeon Peas

Gandules trees are easy and fast to grow.

Pre-Planning:

Plant your gandules seeds in a dry location. Once established, gandules have a long taproot that digs deep underground reaching water and nutrients. Hence, they don’t need much water.

Gandules become fairly large trees and only live 5-7 years, with the best production in the early years. So be prepared to chop it down one day. The long taproot will enhance your soil as it decomposes and releases all those nutrients it dug so deep to get. Then, use the nutrient rich leaves and branches for mulch. Win. Win. 

Planting the seeds:

Poke a hole in the ground with a pencil and drop in a seed or 2 or 3. Done. 

Cover with dirt. Water every once in awhile. 

Germination time (how long until it sprouts): 5-10 days.

Seedlings:

Once germinated, Gandules seedlings grow SLOWLY until it gets about a foot tall… then they grow more rapidly. Mine grow 3-5 feet each year.

They have beautiful flowers and attract lots of polinators.

Gandules FlowerThe flowers turn into seed pods.Flower to PodIf you want raw beans, pick the pods when they’re green and plump. Gandules Green Pod on Tree

Gandules Green Ripe Seeds in PodOr you can leave the pods on the tree to dry.Gandules PodsGandules Stages of PodsThe dry seeds can be cooked or planted.Gandules Dry Seeds

There are over 11,000 varieties of gandules. I have several, as seen above by the different colors and shapes of seeds.

Want some gandules in your yard?? Buy some of our seeds here!

 

Tour De Coop

Welcome. This is the pen where our chickens and chicken coop are housed. It has taken some time to get to where we are today, but we’re happy with the progress.

03222016 Coop Pen

This is how our coop started in July 2014. The roof lifted on hinges and the door opens for easy clean out. The waterer is a 5 gallon bucket attached to a nipple system. The feeder is a U-Shaped PVC pipe with feeder holes.

07272014 Coop

A few months later we added the back half. It now serves as the coop entrance. The earth floor is reinforced with concrete around the perimeter to protect them from raccoon and possum digging under it. The coop has a solar powered chicken door that opens at sunrise and closes at sunset, courtesy of ChickenDoors.Com.

11082014 Coop SideLater, we changed the slant of the first roof and added a small, separate pen on the side for introducing new chicks. 07212015 Coop Post ConstructionThe chick pen has a removable door (dark wooden square in picture below). While the chicks are small, we leave the door on so they don’t get beat up by the grown chickens. Once the chicks are big enough to mingle, we take the door off and the chicks can go into the main part of the coop, then out the automatic door to graze in the yard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We put in a deer feeder to feed the girls when we go out of town.

Gold SexlinkWe now have 10 chicks and 11 chickens. We are happy with our coop and our chickens and shouldn’t have to make changes to it any time soon.