Tag Archives: homesteading

And Some Lime on the Side

Hot weather and lots of rain.

You can imagine how those conditions mix with chicken poop. At the first hot spell, the chicken pen started to stink a little. It’s behind the little cabin, so I didn’t mind much. And then it stayed hot. And it kept raining. And the smell crept around the cabin and into the side yard. And besides, flies and chickens are not a good idea. (Besides, it’s just gross.)

Lime time.

We headed off to Plattsburgh last night. We had a few things to go over there, and I needed to buy some barn lime to solve the stink. (Would have love to have gotten it locally, but none was to be had.) Of course, I went in for lime, but also came out with a new feeder, a fireplace brush, and a bag of crushed oyster shells. Anyhow. Barn lime in “non-hydrated.” That is, this lime is not caustic like the kind used for building and such. It’s essentially crushed limestone. Being non-caustic, it doesn’t burn their little footies. (Or mine.) If you’re shopping for it, make sure it says “non-caustic.” They’re very clear about it.

Being as I recently moved the coop and pen, I had to lime around the old footprint as well. Looks a little bit like there was a talcum powder explosion out back, but it seems to be working, even at first sprinkle. The lime dries up the soil some, makes for an inhospitable atmosphere for flies, and somehow, makes it just plain not stink. You know what’s unappetizing? Going to the coop door to gather eggs, and smelling a stinky pen.

Here’s to less-fragrant pastures!

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The Garden Report

The garden(s) are going great guns here at The Pines, and I thought it would be nice to report on some of the plants/beds/experiments I’ve talked about over the past few months. Let’s do it in photos, though. Totally more fun.

That tomato plant (more like a bush!) I bought at our local Ace is a monster! And the lettuce growing underneath it ain’t too shabby either.

Remember the new herb and flower bed? We’re eating out of it already. The zukes and some more lettuce are planted in the back left side here too.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have peas!

Last year’s perennial bed is the success of the season! Looks like I’m going to have some thinning to do.

And the “Sunflower Forest” out alongside the road? Um, I think it’s going to be fine.

You have a great day too!

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Poulet Palace Renovation Day

And I do mean day!

I took down last year’s old wooden Franken-pen, which had been cobbled together over the seasons. Started as a fence, gained a ramshackle roof, ended up covered on one side because it was so ugly. That’s it in the picture below, hanging off the side of the chicken coop, behind the cabin. So, anyhow, I tore down the enclosure, and moved the coop. Took all day, but it’s done.

Pretty ugly back there. Plus, if I move the coop and pen, I’ll have more room on this side.

It didn’t give up easy – took about two hours to get to this point – but it’s coming down.

The pen is gone! And the only way to move the coop is by the tilt-flip-and-spin method. Notice the boards I put underneath as sliders. I also have it propped up on a cement block, because it’s so heavy, I can only lift it a little at a time.

Meanwhile … well, they had to go somewhere. The girls camped out in the cabin. Let’s just say there was plenty of mess, but nothing I can’t clean up. More mess than I wanted, but not as much as I thought there would be.

I think we can safely cross “wire fence building” off the list of things I have a talent for.

But now, they have full sun and plenty of grass!

The old pen, reduced to a pile of boards.

Now, doesn’t that look better? I have so much more room over here now!

And I continued the rock garden border right to their door. This will be awesome once I get some perennials planted on either side. Doesn’t every palace deserve a grand entrance?

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Rustique

Well, hell. When I searched “rustique,” I had no idea how popular the word might be!

Don’t worry. I’m not opening a fancy restaurant or starting a dot com home furnishings shop. I just thought it was a nice word to title a post about fixing our old, broken down fence. (I use the term “fixing” very loosely.) My friend Sheri said she loved the bird feeder on the fence post, so I thought that as long as people are noticing the thing, I might as well fix it up.

It’s been sitting there on the ground rotting for a few years, having stood between the neighbor and us for who-knows-how-many decades. For me, putting this thing back up was a no-brainer – old weathered wood, eye-catching junk, and rustic decay are all totally up my alley. Plus, it’s been there for years and it’s not doing anyone any harm, so it should be allowed to stay.

For the most part, it was a lot like putting a puzzle together. A few stitches and patches though. It’s good for a few years. I might go on the hunt for some old wood to further fix it up.

Now. Where can I get me some scarlet runner beans?

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The Perfect Gift

My friend Emily is a crack garage-saler. She’s a genius, and loves it. She’s the kind of person who has one of everything in her garage or barn. This weekend is a big garage sale time, and of course, there were several sales up and down the main roads. She brought me a gift, nd it was something I have always wanted! A real-life chicken waterer!! The old-fashioned kind. It’s awesome.

The girls were not quite so sure about it, and certainly not as enthusiastic as I was. “What is that big silver thing he brought in here?!” Here’s a shot of the girls checking out the alien invader.

Hey – I met a blog reader at The Sound of Music last night! Neat, huh? We chatted for a minute down at the pit after we finished up the playout music. Thanks for saying hi! Awesome. Speaking of – I’m off to play the show tonight, and my first day of church (the new job) tomorrow. You have a great day too!

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Muckedy Muck

Ever muck out a chicken coop? This was my first time. I can assure you that this video is two things – amusing, and gross. You’ve been warned!

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Starting ‘Em Early in the Adirondacks

It snowed this morning.

A little. I don’t mind. It was melted and gone by afternoon, and I still went outside to do early Spring things. I shoveled some extra crushed stone I had sitting around into the wheelbarrow and took it over to fill some ruts in the driveway. Took the Christmas lights off the spruce trees, now that the cords are not buried in ice. I took some time to notice the robins and chickadees that have returned. The day lilies are poking up on the sunny side of the yard. The rhubarb is peeking out. Soon I’ll be raking the thatch out of the grass in the side yard, and planting new seed in the front.

Seems like it’s about time? Not so. Not way up here. Plants peeking up and birds returning in mid-March is highly unusual. It’s nice to see the plants coming alive outside, but my March gardening efforts are mostly concentrated indoors.

I started seeds indoors today – just the medium-to-hardy veggies. Spinach, swiss chard, carrots, peas, lettuce. The less hardy warm-weather stuff will go directly into the garden.

Didn’t exactly have a panic attack over it, but I ended up getting such conflicting advice, I decided to hedge my bets. One very experienced friend says never to start peas, beans, chard, corn, radishes, lettuce. Another says that because mine are in individual peat pots (and their roots won’t be disturbed), I’m fine.

So, I started half the seed, and saved the other half for later. If the starts are fine, I’ll have seed to plant for a second crop. If the starts are a disaster, I still have extra seed to direct sow. At any rate, they’re planted, for better or for worse.

Like most things, I think this Adirondack cold-weather gardening thing is going to come down doing a little experimentation and finding what-works-for-me/you.

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