And Another One Bites The Dust

Nothin’ grabs your attention like hearing your husband shouting a hearty “oh YEAH!” from across the yard. It turns out snap-traps are the most effective bait/lure/repellent/poison/gopher-get-rid-of’er out there. We’ve tried being nice, but we have paid dearly in tomato, squash, beet, carrot, and bean plants. We have had to resort to murder. Muwahahahaa!

This one is dedicated to all of you gopher haters out there…

Score

Gophers: 393
Humans: 2

20130731-203306.jpg

An Outsider’s View of the Farm

I recently had an old friend, whom I hadn’t seen for the better part of ten years, come up for a visit. It was so fun to catch up and gossip about those awkward high school years, but the best part was that she brought her camera with her. Seeing your home from another person’s viewpoint is incredibly interesting. Mostly because they find the things you take for granted and make it more interesting!

My friend Kim took some absolutely amazing photos around the Frühlingskabine that she said I could share with you. I am trying to encourage her to open an Etsy shop to sell some of her prints because she so obviously has talent. Egg her on with me and I’ll send her a link to this post and some of your (hopefully) encouraging comments on her art.

20130727-174903.jpg

20130727-174914.jpg

20130727-174927.jpg

20130727-174937.jpg

20130727-174949.jpg

20130727-175000.jpg

20130727-175013.jpg

20130727-175032.jpg

20130727-175042.jpg

20130727-175052.jpg

20130727-175111.jpg

20130727-175120.jpg

20130727-175152.jpg

20130727-175202.jpg

20130727-175213.jpg

20130727-175221.jpg

Garden Love

Ah, the bliss of a summer garden. It is almost enough to make you forget about the barren winter. But let’s not go there today. Let’s think summer. With all the heat and 100* degree days we have been getting these last two months, everything in the garden has been going absolutely bonkers!

We have some amazing looking produce coming out of that 24’x32′ patch of soil:

20130727-152853.jpg
vertically trellised pumpkins, cucumbers, watermelon, and cantaloupe shading our lettuces, basil, and cilantro

20130727-153041.jpg
green beans and leeks

20130727-153130.jpg
green beans, tomatoes, beets (half harvested), and a freshly planted carrot plot

20130727-153244.jpg

20130727-153302.jpg
one of five pumpkins so far. This one is the smallest.

20130727-153530.jpg

20130727-153542.jpg
Parisian pickling cucumbers. For some reason, Parisian varieties grow very well here!

What is your best growing crop this year? Are you surprised that other things that are usually successful, aren’t this year?

Hopes and Goals for 2014

It’s never to early to plan the future, right?! Especially after a hard lesson learned. It is just nice to have something to work towards. A dream, a goal, a wish… Whatever it may be, the future brings hope and hope brings happiness. That is the primary reason I like to set goals for myself; goals provide a self-set path that leads to my ultimate dream life.

Goals for 2014

1. Own a home
Within the next year and a half, our main goal is to be able to purchase our very own house on land. I think that is a very basic goal for most of us DIY’ers and homestead dreamers and is also one of the hardest to accomplish. For the last seven years or so, we have operated on cash-only to help keep us out of debt and away from those tricky credit cards. Of course, the down side of this, is that until last year, we had no credit. Ick.

So our only purpose in life this past year has been to build credit, through financing various small items, to the point that we can qualify for a home loan. We are almost there and hope to be at the ideal credit score sometime in 2014. I think we can do it. Fingers crossed! Knock on wood! Salt over the shoulder! … Whatever it takes.

2. Build a gawrsh darn greenhouse
Right?! Now that we are closer to our first goal of moving somewhere permanent, we also need to make sure that any greenhouse we build this autumn can be reasonably disassembled. I think Bepa’s Garden‘s 6’x8′ greenhouse plans can easily be modified to disassemble into four wall pieces and two roof pieces. Either way, we need a greenhouse somethin’ fierce!

3. Dairy animals
We are pretty set on getting dairy goats, but we are always up for a new idea. This aspect of our life will have to wait until we have our own land, but it sure is fun to plan! Goats would be our first choice as they are smaller and more marketable to smaller homesteads. With any dairy animal, we will need to breed them –even on a small level– if we are to get any milk.

Goats do have their downsides, like: they are hard to contain, are notoriously mischievous, and are whiners. But would you have them any other way? Our second choice would be a mini dairy cow, but I don’t think that would be as much fun. Only time will tell.

4. Donkey!
Or as Trevor likes to say, ‘ba-donk-a-donk’. I don’t know. We have been discussing an appropriate livestock guardian for our future dairy animals. Raising a standard-size donkey is actually the first thing we have ever agreed on! Go figure. The horse stables around the corner boards two miniature donkeys that all three of us have absolutely fallen in love with. Since the horse stable does board donkeys, we could purchase one now, but we both feel that we should have our first goal of buying a house within our grasp first so that we aren’t paying for board for too long. We wouldn’t mind paying for board for an animal for a short time if an end was in sight, such as moving to a permanent home. Another thing we agree on! Amazing.

For you Facebook’ers who have been sending me advice on this, I am so thankful. This is going to happen. I’m just not sure when. It could be six months… or a year and six months. Either way, I am so excited that this is such a possibility. Our future donkey will be a dual-purpose longear which will (ideally) guard our dairy animals against predators as well as be trained to drive a cart! Fun stuff ahead folks. I visited our local bookstore and bought a book on guard donkeys and another on basic donkey care (which also includes driving).

5. Expand the Rabbitry
I think raising rabbits has really been my strong suit in all of this homesteading business. It is certainly my most successful venture. I’m not talking about money here… although it is nice to pass along an animal that I am proud of and bred myself. I am talking about being successful in raising rabbits throughout the whole life cycle. My rabbits have been flourishing on fodder since I started feeding it, my litters are healthier and bigger, I am confident in processing rabbits myself, and I am lucky enough to have found my favorite breed right out the gate. I can’t imagine raising any other type of rabbit. It just wouldn’t be as joyful for me.

Our Rabbitry is also to the point where I do not have any physical room to expand, but I would like to expand the meat aspect of our farm’s production. This last month with no home-raised meat in the freezer has been a bit depressing. But we can only do what we can, right?! And right now I am happy with the quality of life I can provide, which means not expanding until we have more physical room to do so. Which probably won’t happen until … you’ve guessed it! … we move to our own land.

Most of our goals for the future are waiting on the one event of moving to our own land. But considering how much we have done with a rented quarter-acre lot, I’m okay with it. I can wait. I generally like to dive in head first, but I have been known to be patient when it’s needed.

Trevor says that he has no doubt that we can accomplish all these goals because I always seem to get what I want. He doesn’t mean it in a demeaning way, but he has witnessed the fact that everything I set my mind to, I accomplish. The power of thought is an amazing thing. Say what you want about that documentary “The Secret”, but I have utilized that way of thought my entire life, without even knowing it, and I have always ended up where I wanted to be.

Here’s to the power of thought and the inspiration of some incredible goals!

Name That Rabbit Results!

Wow! We had a record number of votes on this one. Either my readership has sky rocketed since we last played this game or a lot of people really, really care about what we name our rabbits. Or, you simply had nothing better to do. No matter the reason, I am so glad you all played along. I was afraid that the geeky names would deter voters, but in fact– I think it brought more of you out of the woodwork. And this was the best way to do it too; I pick out a bunch of names I already like (no loss or regrets for me) and you get to pick your favorite!

This fall we will be keeping back two new doe rabbits, so look forward to a couple more rounds this year!

Our winner by one measly little vote is… Drum roll please…..

20130723-235110.jpg

Frühlingskabine’s Khaleesi
(from Game of Thrones)

Plum Bonanza!

I have been lurking in the bushes waiting for our local co-op to have plums on sale the last couple Mondays. Folks, I’m talkin’ 50¢ a pound for local, organic, beautifully violet plums. So within the last two weeks, I have purchased a total of forty (40!!!) pounds of plums.

So far I have made Japanese-style plum sauce (pressure canned), halved plums in very light syrup (pressure canned), and am almost finished making old fashioned sugar plums. By tomorrow I should have a full tutorial together for the sugar plums. I just have to dry them, but I have high hopes for these beauties. Sugar plums are always thought of as a winter holiday treat, but I decided that these really need to be made with fresh plums in the season which they are ripe… like now.

On tonight’s preserving menu –because let’s face it, it’s too hot to can during the day– was more halved plums and the last boil of my sugar plums. Tomorrow I think I will use my remaining twenty pounds of plums to make some jam. We’ll see. The kid that lives here loves her pb&j.

20130722-220318.jpg