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Weeding, Weeding, and More Weeding

Well, if you get a post by this title twice, I’m sorry. I published, and then it showed up nowhere that I could see! So, I’m redoing it. I’ve been too busy to take pictures recently, so I’m sorry I don’t have anything to share!

Things are going well, but they’ve continued to be busy. I spent 6 hours weeding with my mom the other weekend. There’s been a lot of days like that… hours and hours of weeding. We’re nearly past the worst of it at this point, but I still have another week of some heavy weeding to do before things slow down.

The gardens are doing well, though. The only crop I had an issue with was the sweet corn. I had terrible germination! I’m not sure what the cause was, but it could have been a number of things. I ended up replanting, and that all sprouted, thank goodness! There were some other areas that germinated somewhat spotty, so I’m transplanting things or filling in gaps as I have the time or energy or as weather permits.

My energy seems to be dwindling at the moment, so I’m not sure if it’s a 3rd trimester thing, the heat, or the low iron levels I have. They aren’t terribly low, but it’s enough that I can tell it throws me off from time to time. The heat definitely took a lot out of me, and I know I just need more naps at this point, generally. I’ve also been pushing really hard with the gardens lately, so the fact that I felt wiped out over the weekend isn’t really a surprise. I’m going to have to take a more steady approach through this week, because I have a busier schedule. I had to temporarily give up my daily walks until I’m not working so hard in the gardens.

I had a 32 week check today, and all looks good. Baby’s heart rate is good, my blood pressure and pulse looked normal, my weight is doing what it should be, and everything is measuring where it should be. They’re allowing me to do a much more relaxed appointment schedule since this is my 7th and I don’t have any history of issues and haven’t been having any problems, so the next time I go in is about a month from now. That might be the last one before baby comes!

Before I forget, thank you to the family member who sent boys’ clothing out this way over the weekend! It’s much appreciated. So many good items, and more than enough. We were able to share some with friends, too. Thank you!

Okay, I’m going to try and do this in an organized way…

The gardens are doing well, as I said. Everything of mine (except for that corn) pretty much came up. Our friends’ garden and my mom’s look great, the kids’ gardens are coming along nicely, and we’ve got stuff coming up for the animals, too. I’ve gotten the berry plants weeded, and they are looking healthy, and I picked up 2 more blueberry plants on clearance over the weekend that I have to pop in the ground. My kiwi plants are finally starting to come up, the garlic are putting on scapes, the fruit trees are looking great… the gardens are really looking like gardens!

I still have a serious round of heavy weeding to do in the next week. This is usually the final big push I have to do, leading up to Independence Day. After that, the plants are ahead of the weeds, it stays clearer between rows, and it gets to be a more low-level maintenance. I’ll share pictures in my next post.

I ended up planting sugar beets for a friend, we might throw in more corn for her here, and we’re still transplanting volunteer cherry tomato plants. The one bed that I need to give some attention to is the one I put a bunch of rows of carrots in. I need the seedlings to get big enough before I can work on it, but they’re sprouting, so hopefully I can get that in check in the next week.

The animals are mostly good. The black ducks, unfortunately, were attacked by something like a mink over the weekend and are no more. The kids were pretty sad, and I felt bad for them, but it’s sadly part of the cycle of things on a farm. The chickens are doing good and one of the hens hatched out 2 chicks! We got our meat chickens last week, and they’re all doing well.

The pigs are looking big! We’re going to have to add some reinforcements around their pen, because there’s at least one that likes to climb up on the fence, and they often climb onto each other to get their feed. But no escapes yet. My brother-in-law brought over some pig supplies that his stepdad gave him, and that’s been working out nicely, plus a neighbor gave us a different feeder that has been working better for the pigs. Friends and family have been bringing by a nice supply of food scraps, and we’ve been able to stretch out their feed, which has been a huge relief.

I’m not throwing a pity party here, but I have got to say, the state of the economy is pretty horrible, and we’re really starting to feel the pinch. I know the news keeps saying we’re at 12% inflation or whatever the current number is, but I did the math, and for my normal gas/grocery spending in a month, I would need an additional $400/mo. That’s over a 40% increase total between the two. The saving grace for us is that we have a pantry full of food. Animal feed is several dollars more per bag this year than it was last year. I think pig feed is up over $2/bag, and chicken feed is up more like $3/bag.

And that’s not mentioning the shortages! I know people are going about like things are normal, but quite frankly, they are not. There have only been a few people I know talking about it, but seriously. There are some items that are just not ever getting restocked in the stores. I don’t always go at the same day or time, so I know that these are not simply issues of when I go to the store.

On top of that, I’ve seen at least 10 fields locally that are now growing wheat for the first time, probably in decades. The typical rotation for most farm fields is corn, soy, and alfalfa. There are two problems with this. The first is that it shows that there is serious concern about what is going on oversees and how that will affect things here. The second is that it means that if farmers are not growing animal fodder, we’ll be seeing price changes in animal products, as well as shortages.

I don’t share this to cause panic, but I do hope people are aware of the things going on. I know a lot of folks in towns and cities don’t understand the impact gas prices have on farms and their production costs. I know that a lot of people don’t have reason to think or worry about fertilizer or grain or animal feed, but we should all be prepared for leaner times to come. If we don’t see them, then great, but I’d rather see people taking precautions!

But moving on…. Scott was able to get a little further on the new building with some help from our friend. Soon we should be able to put up the west side wall. The barn is coming down slowly but surely, and it looks like we’ll be able to pull it down by the end of the summer. The rest of the building will probably get completed sometime next month. We have the roofing material thanks to some friends who gave us their old roofing, so it’s a matter of time. The goal is to finish it by the fall.

As for family life, we’re busy as usual in our own way. I took the kids to the beach twice this past weekend, and we met up with my sister one of the times. We met up with friends and watched a movie and had ice cream together. The kids have been working hard with me in the gardens or helping Scott in whatever way they can. Scott just took the older boys on a dirt biking trip over the weekend, and they had a great time! No serious injuries, thank goodness.

I’ve got to prep for our Independence Day party throughout the week, and we have the Tea Party in a month to prep for. We’ve got all kinds of appointments in the next week, too! We’ve done less with the schooling recently just because the garden work takes so much time, but next month, I’m hoping to have a more balanced schedule again.

I’m definitely glad we got rid of the internet in the house. There are times when I feel a little… almost… lonely(?) without it, and yet it’s definitely for the best. I much prefer the actual phone calls with family and friends, I like that we don’t feel tied down or distracted, either. I like that it forces us to just plan and commit to things. If it’s on the schedule, it’s happening. If not, then it’s not! Life is simpler for sure. It really has come down to it being strictly something we need to do in order to take care of some basics, but we’re much happier without. Lots more reading and quality family time, time spent working or ACTUALLY relaxing!

And last, my friends and I have noticed that God’s working on something in our community! We’ve met 3 different families recently who are new to the area or looking to connect with like-minded families. I’m talking about in the last 3 weeks. People are not satisfied with the way things are going in the world, and they are looking for something that lines up with their values. These are all Christian/Catholic, homeschooling, homesteading families. It’s not exactly like that’s a huge group of people, but obviously, it’s a growing community. I’ve been hearing the same thing about different places throughout the country, and it makes me happy to hear!

Well, that’s all for now! I’m not sure when I’ll write again, as next Monday is Independence Day. But I’ll try to get pictures for next time. In the meantime, I hope you and your gardens are doing well!

Love and Blessings~Danielle

2 Comments

  • Susan Casper

    I was thinking about you today as I was doing my own weeding (only a fraction of what faces you). I wondered what is more difficult–bending old knees and an aging back or weeding while pregnant. I’m pretty sure it’s the latter, and in this heat, it must be a real challenge.
    I envy your ability to walk away from Facebook. We live so far from relatives and long-standing friends that cutting ties is hard–and I’d especially miss the family group as it’s the place where important news is shared. But I was one of the last to join Facebook as I knew it would sap free time.
    I look forward to photos–especially of the gardens and kids and can’t wait for the newest to arrive!

    • Spring Lake Homestead

      I’m not sure, but I think old knees might be worse… I say that as someone who has had some pretty unbearable knee pain at times! Bending sore or arthritic knees is no joke! The heat is definitely a bit much. If I get out early, I can manage, otherwise it’s pretty challenging.
      You know, I have found that I’d much prefer to write the good old hand-written note or have a phone call on occasion than to always be connected, but I get where you are coming from for sure! Those more disciplined than I can manage their online time better. I’m too easily “addicted” to things, and it sucks up too much of my attention.

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