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May 2017
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Updates From the Homestead – May

Well its approaching a month since the last time I “talked” to you all.  I found that I lied to myself and you all.  I’m not tired of talking about gardening and I miss it.  Though it has been a little refreshing to “unplug” from the matrix for a while.  I’ve come to a few realizations.  The first is that I’m not changing anything by “sitting out”.  I am reminded of something Bill Mollison said:

“So I withdrew from society. It took me about three weeks before I realized that I had to get back and fight.  You know, you have to get out in order to want to get back in.”

I’ve actually gotten a lot done.  Forgoing 12 hours per week in front of a computer and that happens.  There’s still people out there taking potshots but I’m no longer concerned with them.  Excuse me – I’m working here!

So without further delay here are some updates from the homestead:

The first is progress on the cabin.  I’ve been working about three solid days per week for the last three weeks to get up the pine v-board. I’m happy to say that I’m about 85% there.  The trailer below was full of the boards but now its about empty.

 

We are going full bore with the animals.  Despite some setbacks we are pressing ahead.  First the rabbits.  All eight kits survived. 

From this:

To this:

 

I’ve also started working on the underground rabbit hutch.  Its going to be for my buck (who needs to play it cool).  The first step was burying 5 – five gallon buckets (with the bottom cut out of all but one and screwed together).  Only one homesteader was stung in the making of this picture…

I then had to build the hutch and find a way to integrate this.  It wasn’t too hard as I had help…

 

 

 The next step is connecting the two.  That part hasn’t been done yet.

The chickens are doing well.  I wish I’d planned a little better and built a second paddock to rotate them into.  That will come in time.  I’ve already framed up a small coop/tower for the chickens I plan on running in the food forest.  I plan on fencing to run them up to the shrub layer.  The chickens will be the 8th layer!

I let out a few of the roosters.  I don’t really want to eat them but I need them for pest control and to pick through the rabbit droppings.  This is my tame barred rock.  His name is Cpt. Pecky.  Jackson didn’t name him…I did.  I like literal names and Cpt. Pecky pecks my feet when he is hungry. 

The gardening is slow going because I didn’t put a lot in due to all of the other tasks I have going.  I do have peaches growing on my peach tree.  I’ve also got grapes, blackberries, raspberries ripening.  My tomatoes are doing best of all.  Not a drop of irrigation with about 0.5 inches of rain in three weeks.  This morning we had fried potatoes (from the garden) and scrambled eggs (from the sebright hen).  I also plucked this bunch of turnips out of the garden. 

Here’s my seed mix in action.  I am constantly surprised by coming upon stands of turnip, mustard, clover, buckwheat, etc. in the weirdest places.  Despite the lax rainfall I mentioned earlier I literally still have muddy wet places in my food forest.  Needless to say the seedmix really took in these places. 

IMG_0435.jpg

 One of the most unexpected events was Gretchen bringing me a bunch of leaves and a berry from a tree she found not more than 30 yards from my front crop garden.  I recognized it immediately but did not really believe it.  Can you guess?:

The only thing I’m stumped on is what to name the homestead.  I’m thinking BLOOD RIVER PERMACULTURE since at some point I will be teaching here.  I’m putting up the front gate soon and I need to know what sign to order.  Suggestions?

And finally a shot of my little archer.  The force is strong with this one…

 

 

30 comments to Updates From the Homestead – May

  • Mike Caldwell

    That’s mulberry tree if I recall correctly

  • Jason

    Correct!

  • Erollins

    Jason,

    Looking good. Love the underground “Rabbit stud” warren and letting the roosters roam, but you better watch out, it’s starting to look like you’re becoming a “sexist” farmer.

    Possible name of homestead: “Observation ackers”

    Ed

  • Tom H

    Although I had only recently found your podcast, I really enjoyed it.  There will always be someone to put you down, but it says more about them than you.  When the time comes you find balance and return… you’ll have a loyal audience ready to listen.  The homestead is looking great!

  • Anonymous

    Looks like a mulberry to me…nice old-fashioned fruit!

  • There must be something in the air-  I put my hands iup and said “I give!” last month.   I had gotten to a point where I could no longer focus on what I wanted and needed to get done because I had become overwhelmed with the minutiae of too many concurrent projects.  I’m not sure when I’ll be back to work on my site, but for now I’m working on getting my life back into some kind of order.  I need to make sure that I’m spending my time in a way that supports the the well-being of my family and myself first – if not, I need to question why I’m doing it at all.  Hoping I can figure it all out.. 🙂

  • Mudhog

    Mulberry Creek. If you look around you will probably find many mulberry trees. Did you taste the black fruit? 

  • Oldcountryboy

    Glad to see you back. You and your family have been on my prayer list. Getting old have to make list. I have been checking back hoping to see new updates. Just to let you know you are appreciated. And the pictures of the tunnel is perfect timing. I am on vacation this week and wanting to build new hutch for rabbits and new chicken coop. Do you think at the far end could put into a shall barrel with good top for the females? God bless. And many thanks for what you do. 

  • Faerunner

    Looks like mulberry! We’ve got the most stunted, shrubby, jagged-leafed mulberry bush I’ve ever seen outside our home. Didn’t recognize it when we moved in and were planning to tear it out; it took two summers to realise the thing fruited at all and a little bit of searching to verify that this oddball is in fact a mulberry! But now that we know, I’m keeping it!

    Looks like you’re making great progress. Good luck with all of it!

  • Ben_R

    Mullburry!  I have one in my yard.  Glad your back in the saddle Jason.

  • Sherral

    Great rabbit hutch idea! I need to do something like that for my rabbits.

  • Jason

    I got the idea from Rick at Rise and Shine Rabbitry.  There’s a neat PDF on underground hutches I attached to the first show I did with him.

  • Jason

    Thanks Ben!

  • Jason

    I planted two mulberries on my property (this wasn’t one of them).  I started reading more and they really are fascinating trees – akin to figs.  Many grow trunk parallel to ground to establish better roots and more support.  This one is growing under a HUGE catalpa tree.  I never noticed it!

  • Jason

    Thanks and I appreciate that.  I absolutely am sure that the back could have a barrel or top access to it.  I really should have done that but in lieu of that I just made a shallow (about 3 feet) tunnel.

  • Jason

    Mulberry Creek – nice!  I’ve been looking but so far nothing.  I’m with you though, I’m sure there must be more.

  • Jason

    I couldn’t have said it better.

  • Jason

    Thanks Tom.  You are right.  I’ve devoted too much of my time to defending what I know and can see to be true.  Instead I should be learning more and conveying that information.  I appreciate your comments!

  • Jason

    Ed, good to hear from you as always.  I didn’t realize I was being sexist!  LOL 

  • Just a Guest

    “Mulberry Akers”

  • Matthew from Gooseneck

    Glad you are back! Now let’s put this behind us and get back to work! We have things to grow!

  • Mountain Oaks

    Glad to hear you’re moving forward with the homestead and things are getting back on track. I have to say in the couple of months that I listened to the podcast I have been able to implement so many new techniques. I’ve got ladybugs breeding like crazy on my aphids (they even tracked down the ones in my greenhouse which I was tempted to start spraying but instead did the water washing), I’ve got small tree frogs all over the garden coming from my new pond (which only took a couple of hours to put in), I’m watering a lot less than last year already…so, thank you for your help and please ignore negative comments. Go with your gut!

  • Revelgardener

    Glad you’re back!  How about the SS Homestead?  I came across the same berries last night walking down my street in Brooklyn.  My mother was with me, visiting from Wisconsin, along with my two-year old daughter.  I was very happy at this find so I asked her to help me pick these blackberries.  She said that’s what they call them but that they’re actually mulberries.  I’ll be  glad to pass this on to her.  I think the difference is size (blackberries in the store/markets seem to be much bigger) and the mulberries were a bit tarter.  I picked my daughter up to help pick them.  About two of ten made it into her pockets, the rest fell to the ground.  Now I have a bowl of mulberries on the counter, about to be my morning snack.  

    I just linked to some of your coverage on pests on my site (revelgardener.com).  Hope you don’t mind.  Your philosophy/approach seems instinctual, logical, practical, and smart.  Congrats on all the great progress you’re making.  The cabin looks great.

    p.s. when you say you have peaches, you don’t mean ripe ones yet, do you?  My peach tree seems very happy this year and I’m hopeful for a healthy harvest.  I don’t know how far apart we are, climate-wise, but I expect it will be at least a month or more before I see ripe peaches.  How about you?

  • So glad to see you back! Excellent about the mulberry tree (my parents have a whole hedgerow of them and they are delicious!) and thanks for the update on the homestead!

  • Anonymous

    Everything looks good!  Love all the pictures and mini-stories.  You are a productive dude!  

    And my guess was mulberry too.

    -Brian Gallimore

  • Laura

    I desperately miss your pod casts.  I feel I was in the matrix with tank downloading gardening into my brain and then someone pulled the plug.  I know there are other pod casts out there but none anywhere near as good.  

  • J.D>

    Love the pics and thanks for sharing.  I miss your podcast as well.
    J.D.

  • Riseandshinerabbitry

    Love, The rabbit underground hutch!