Gardening,  Homesteading,  Projects

Hello Again!

Wow, I feel like it has been ages since I have written anything for the blog. ¬†I know I don’t have to, but I feel like I should explain myself ūüôā ¬†Before I get into that, I just want to let you know that I will also give you the run-down on what we have been working on around here! ¬†I’m not going to include more than a couple of pictures this time, because I have to do so much of that elsewhere on the blog…

I have decided it is time to take my writing to the next level, and really try harder to reach more people, so we switched the blog from a site to a one instead. ¬†Well, there’s a learning curve, so that has been taking time, and I’m still getting used to the differences. ¬†And when we were transferring everything over, the pictures did not make it through the transition (long story, but it was our own fault), so now I have to work on adding them all back in. *sigh* ¬†I have a couple of posts that the pictures are back into, but I still have to go through and label them all, and then there are many, many other posts to go back and fix. ¬†So I apologize if you are looking around and wondering where all of the pictures are. ¬†I am going to go through and add pictures¬†into the more recent posts first, and then work on the most popular ones, and then continue to fill in the remainder. ¬†It could take quite a while, but once it’s done, I’ll let you know. ¬†Good news though, I just figured out how to get my pictures to function the way I want them to within the blog!

My theme from WordPress functions differently in .org than it did in .com, so things look a little different, and I’m still trying to figure out how to get it working just like I want it to, so I hope you will bear with me. ¬†This change in platforms means that I do not have any of my former subscribers (with the exception of my Facebook following), so if you were following along before, you will need to subscribe to keep up to date or at least type in our url to find us. ¬†I’m really understanding why so many people recommended starting off with instead…

But I digress. ¬†Yes, the blog has been underway, and since it has been a bit of a stressful transition for me, I have needed to take a bit of breathing space. ¬†Good news though, ¬†my two 5-in-1 fruit trees for the secret garden finally came in. ¬†They are just tiny little things, and honestly, they just look like sticks poking out of the ground, but they appear to be healthy and I think I should start seeing some growth in the next couple of days. ¬†One of the trees is a 5-in-1 pear tree, and the other is a “fruit cocktail.” ¬†I guess technically, the fruit cocktail one isn’t a 5-in-1. ¬†I think it’s 6-in-1, but two of the different things are different varieties of the same fruit. ¬†The description reads:

“Pick 6 delicious varieties from this unusual tree! Plant our Fruit Cocktail Tree when you don’t have room for an orchard. Pick nectarines, peaches, plums, and apricots all from the same tree.” ¬†

I have yet to get my pineberries planted that I ordered through that same company, but I plan to do that today or tomorrow.

After¬†my last intentionally published post (I had one accidentally publish last week…oops!), I began working on digging up the flower bed alongside the garage. ¬†If you remember from some of my other posts, I had said how difficult it has been to keep the yard looking clean, what with flowers spreading here and there and grass growing up in between everything. ¬†Well, the chickens attacked my flower beds while we still had them free-ranging (grrr), but we got that under control, and then I was able to work on the flower bed by the garage, because we had the same issue with that flower bed as the one that runs along the south side of the house. ¬†I put a simple boarder edge on to keep the grass from creeping in, dug everything up, pulled all of the grass and plants, and replanted the plants. ¬†Now I’m just waiting for them to start to flourish. ¬†They are doing alright, but they got stressed after the transition, which was my own fault. ¬†We had skies that were ready to burst with rain for over a week, and the rain never came. ¬†I should have just watered like it was sunny out. ¬†Oh well! ¬†Everything is still doing fine. ¬†After planting was done, I pulled woodchips from our pile (of free chips) and mulched with that. ¬†I have to add some more because the chickens got out one day and scratched them all over :/

In an effort to get more of the yard cleaned up, I started to dig up and transplant the remainder of the perennial flowers that grow on a small hill where the old well used to be. ¬†Eventually, I think I want to plant some hydrangea bushes there, but for now we’ll leave it barren, except for the blueberry bush that is growing there. ¬†I had to dig up some hollyhocks, and I think daisies, and then there were some raspberry canes growing like weeds over there. ¬†I dug up some of those, and then I finally replanted the canes on the back of the property this past Saturday. ¬†I don’t know if they’ll make it, because I had let them get stressed, sitting there for 2(?) weeks, and I didn’t dig a “proper” hole for them because it had started to rain while I was working and my allergies were acting up, so my eyes and nose were dripping profusely. ¬†At least that hill is “clean” now. ¬†Don’t get me wrong, I loved the flowers, but it was really just beginning to look weedy last year, and I don’t have the time to keep something so “wild” looking nice.

The lawn was mowed twice since then. ¬†The last time I mowed, I ran into more issues with the blades not spinning right. ¬†Yeah. ¬†I really love that mower, but the deck has given me so much grief since last growing season. ¬†Last year was not a good year for me and mowers, and the aggravating part is that it’s not like I don’t know what I’m doing with them, it was just one of those things like “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” ¬†Anyway, I’m rambling. ¬†It always feels so good to give the lawn a trim…the yard looks much cleaner when it’s cut.

I received a Mother’s Day gift from Scott “and the kids” a little early…fig trees! ¬†They aren’t native to this area, and are only cold-hardy up to a zone 7, so these will have to be planted in pots and kept indoors during the colder months (probably the basement?), and will soon go outdoors for the summer. ¬†I still have to do some research on how to properly care for them, and I need to get some larger pots for planting, but they’ll make a neat addition to our operation here! ¬†On Mother’s Day itself, we went to church, went visiting with my mom (Scott’s mom was out of state at the time), came home and grilled hamburgers, and took the rest of the day easy. ¬†We watched A Dog’s Purpose as a family, and yes, I’m pretty sure I cried. ¬†The kids all had their own ideas of things they wanted to get me for Mother’s Day. ¬†Pumpkin picked out some very pink lipstick, Peanut picked out “Cake Batter” chap stick, Miss Lady picked out some glittery purple, pink, and blue nail polish, and Doodles got me a candy bar. ¬†I love how they all said “I thought you would like this” (i.e. ¬†I really liked it, so I picked it out for you…). ¬†Oh, and I took Miss Lady to JoAnn Fabrics that day. ¬†We picked up some materials that I needed for some projects, and I let her pick out some fabric for some pajamas that we will make for her sometime in the near future.

Oh, before those fruit trees came in, I had to cut down a dogwood bush in the secret garden. ¬†I would have left it, but it wasn’t really working for me, so I decided to replace it with said fruit tree. ¬†I also had to cut down a lilac bush in the chicken run. ¬†I admit, it felt¬†wrong to do that, but it was impeding the growth of two of our apple trees, and when it comes down to it, the food is more important than the flowers. ¬†Well, the next day I went out to clean up all of those branches. ¬†I got the lilacs cleaned up, but as I was working on the dogwood branches, I ended up getting the 4-wheeler stuck. ¬†Honestly, I didn’t really quite think it through when I was driving it where I did. ¬†Hindsight 20/20, right?

I ordered rye flour for making rye bread the other week, though I haven’t made any yet because I haven’t found a recipe that seems right. ¬†I ended up ordering Sally Fallon’s Nurishing Traditions cookbook, which I think has a sourdough rye bread recipe in it. I’ve been wanting to get that cookbook for years now, and it was finally time. ¬†Actually, ¬†I think I found a rye bread recipe I will try soon, so I won’t have to wait for the cookbook, but I’m excited to read through it anyway.

I suppose I should give an update on all of those plants I’ve been working on transplanting or planting around here…do you remember the black walnuts? ¬†Well, they were doing okay, but now it seems as it if the ones I planted so purposefully might not make it. ¬†However, some of the others are doing fine. ¬†I’m going to have to go back out and possibly replace some of the¬†ones in the “nut grove”, but we’ll see. ¬†I’ll give it some more time yet. ¬†And the willows? ¬†Remember those? ¬†Well, that experiment was only a little successful. ¬†The ground was still somewhat frozen in places, and I think things just struggled. ¬†Thankfully, I didn’t spend a ton of time on that project. ¬†And thankfully I have a willow tree that Scott cut down last spring that started to grow back profusely after he cut it. ¬†I am going to take cuttings from that, soak them until they begin to root, and then I’ll transplant them back where we wanted. ¬†Either way, we are still a little better off than we were. ¬†Then there were the strawberries. ¬†Those were dug out of our veggie garden, and transplanted to a raised bed, and also into the Secret Garden. ¬†They mostly seem to be doing well, and some have even set up flowers, so we might get some strawberries this year ūüôā ¬†But the thimbleberries? ¬†They didn’t make it ūüôĀ ¬†So if you know of a place where I can get some of those plants for free, let me know! ¬†I’d love to get some more planted here. ¬†But that’s how planting things goes. ¬†You win some and you lose some. ¬†Honestly, we probably could have had better success, but between my allergies and Scott’s, we have spent the better part of May indoors, and all of those plants went straight to the back of my mind. ¬†Our allergies get better in June, so pretty soon, we should have an easier time staying on top of things. ¬†Lesson learned: Don’t do anything outdoors that requires special attention during the month of May!

Scott and Tiffany checked on the bees last Monday, though I didn’t tag along for pictures this time. ¬†It was about to rain and somebody needed to watch the kiddos, so I stayed indoors with¬†them. ¬†It wasn’t ideal conditions for checking on the bees, and it ended up being a bit chilly, but it appeared the bees were okay. ¬†They said it was hard to say with it being colder out (bees don’t like cold). ¬†They’ll go back again on Thursday to check if the weather is cooperative, and I might go with to get some more pictures.

E thinks the new chicks are pretty neat, as do his older siblings. Peanut is holding one of our new meat chicks ūüôā

On Wednesday, our first batch of meat chickens came in!!! ¬†We are crazy, so we decided to order 50 this time, and about this time next month, we’ll be getting another batch of 50. ¬†We may do another 50 a month after that as well ūüôā ¬†They seem to be doing fine, although one died yesterday. ¬†It appears it was trampled by the other chicks, and got dehydrated. ¬†We tried to help it out, but it was just too weak. ¬†That was sad, but I’m starting to get used to these loses (not that it makes them less sad…I’m just more accepting). ¬†Oh, and a few of our chickens seem to have disappeared, including our rooster, McMuffin. ¬†I’m not sure what got them, but there was no sign of attack anywhere, so it was something sneaky, or an aerial predator. ¬†But it’s not all bad news. ¬†I think the rats might be dead! ¬†We had at least 2 somewhere in the chicken coop, and I put poison in places where I knew they passed through without it endangering the chickens. ¬†I haven’t heard their scuttling around recently, and that’s always a relief.

As for our vegetable gardens, there’s a little bit of progress happening. ¬†Living where we do, we can’t really plant anything outdoors until about this time of year because we get the occasional frost at night through mid-May. ¬†I had also been dawdling because I really wanted the fencing around the garden before I began, but that project has just not been moving as fast as I would like. ¬†We did get a few of the wooden fence posts in on Saturday morning, but there are many, many more posts to put in before the fencing goes up. ¬†And I can’t put in the metal t-posts by myself because I’m not tall enough. ¬†This is all a job for Scott to do, and it’s just not realistically going to happen until his allergies ease up. ¬†In spite of my desire to have the fencing up first, I did begin to do some work in the garden. ¬†I planted two rows of carrots (there will be more to come), and I transplanted some lettuce and spinach that I started in the basement, and they appear to be holding up after the transition.

As I said before, the whole blog transition has been difficult, so rather than sit in front of the computer in frustration, I have been spending extra time reading with the kids. ¬†We’ve been reading “The Rose Years” books, and read through 2 of them last week! ¬†Right now we are on “A New Dawn on Rocky Ridge.” ¬†I’m trying to make use of this time to get in a few sewing projects as well. ¬†I have been doing a little bit of sewing with the kids, but I am also working on a few things as a surprise for our blog readers, something I am hoping to have all set to go by mid/late June, hopefully when the blog is in better shape. ¬†And I’m working on tying up some loose ends on some other projects that have been sitting around.

I think I’ll be heading out to work on digging up plants here and there while E is sleeping! ¬†Let me know if you have any questions. ¬†What have you been doing the past few weeks? ¬†Don’t forget to leave your comments!




  • Michelle

    Your new blog looks great! Those learning curves can be so stressful! I’m wanting to update my theme, but that’s one of the reasons I haven’t gotten it done yet. I’ve seen ads for those fruit cocktail trees. I’ll be so interested to see how that works for you. I guess I better resubscribe! ūüôā

    • Spring Lake Homestead

      Thank you, Michelle! I actually like most of the differences between my theme in .org, but it’s mostly trying to figure out how to get things to work like they do through .com. Take pictures for instance…the whole process for putting them in is different, and my pictures need to be resized before uploading. I just figured out that when I do put them in, there is a thing I can select on the picture “description” to put the picture in as a small, medium, or large image, or to put it in as a gallery or a slide show. .com had that option, but it was presented completely differently. You can play around with a theme before publishing…there is an option to preview the theme before applying it, and then you can see what you like and don’t like. As for the fruit cocktail tree, I had a neighbor once who had one, but she chose a poor planting location, and it never fruited for her, so I’m hoping I have better success! Thanks for resubscribing ūüôā

  • Lacey

    Thanks for updating!

    Too bad you’re not closer to the Oregon coast – we have thimbleberries growing wild around here!

    I’ve been thinking about making the jump to as well, but I’m not sure I’m smart enough, lol. Me and the computer only barely get along! Please let us know how it goes ūüôā

    • Spring Lake Homestead

      Thanks for checking back in ūüôā

      Yes, it is too bad…I’d gladly take you up on them! They can grow around here, but they mostly grow a few hours north.

      As for making the jump, I’d say that if you are thinking about doing it, the sooner the better. I’ve got so many posts to “fix” now that I’ve made the change…had I done it months ago, I’d have a lot less work. If you’ve got a little spare change, there are companies that will handle the transition for you, though we did it on our own. Thank goodness my husband is a computer guy, or it would have taken me significantly longer. I don’t dislike the format of .org versus .com, but it’s an adjustment. It does give you a lot more flexibility in what you do, so long as you are willing to take the time to play around with it. Good luck if you do make the changes!

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