This Week on the Farmstead – July 17



Welcome, welcome, friends! I am so happy to are here. Grab your tall glass of lemonade or iced tea (I got mine!) and let’s shoot the breeze!

This Week on the Farmstead, July 17 - Stone Family Farmstead

This week has been an odd one for me, but really really good. I’ve been able to get some pretty hefty jobs done (and get a lot of exercise in the process!), and we have added a few more creatures to the farmstead.

For those of you who read regularly, I apologize for not posting anything this week. I have been working on a few little redesign projects on the site (see our new logo??) and just trying to tweak here and there to make it pleasant. I’ll be back to my regular posting schedule next week (Lord willing).

Let’s go walk around and see what went on this week. But first–family news for the family!

Family and Personal News

We enjoyed our sleepover with Kieran so much a couple of weeks ago that Grandpa and Grandma are going to brave a whole weekend with the boy! I can’t wait. We pick him up tonight and we’ll have him until Sunday. I’ve been trying to finish up all my chores and cook up a bunch of food this week so that this weekend will be a breeze. All I want to do all weekend is just play with my grandboy, indoors and outdoors, and spoil the heck out of him.

Today, I’ll make up a couple of batches of cookie dough for the freezer, and some for the oven. The cookies will go with the homemade ice cream I made last week, and will make a great dessert. We’ll also have pizza and chili for meals over the weekend, and of course, the regular snacks. I just want everything to be easy, because I’m sure I’ll super busy playing this weekend!

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream - Stone Family Farmstead

Abi has been over at Allie and Richard’s (Kieran’s momma and daddy), hanging out with Allie on her week off from work. She’ll stay until Monday, and maybe they’ll be able to get out and go to the movies, which will be nice to do without the boy, because Kieran isn’t much for sitting at the movies. He would rather be at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, I think!

Farmstead

The barn changes have been holding their own and keeping it 8-10 degrees cooler inside than it is outside. This is fantastic because before the changes, I was lucky to be able to keep it at the same temperature with the swamp cooler on–and it was much hotter and stuffier. With the new changes, there is ample air flow, the humidity is about 10-15% percent lower than it was before. It’s just really fantastic, and I’m so happy with it. 94 is the hottest it’s been since just after we started the project, so I’m looking forward to seeing how cool it stays today. It’s supposed to be 98!

Orchard

Our blackberry trees have grown a ton since last week, and are yielding a few lovely berries. They taste fantastic, and I can’t wait until we are able to harvest enough to actually make something, or just eat raw. And speaking of berries, our goji berry plant has decided to settle in as well, and it’s looking nice too (it’s the one on the left).
Berries - Stone Family Farmstead

New Blackberry Flowers - Stone Family Farmstead

new blackberry flowers

The fall gold raspberry struggled so much to hang on to dear life, but is finally looking like it’s won the battle. I’ve never had gold raspberries before, have you? I doubt it will matter, I pretty much like any berry!
Fall Gold Raspberry - Stone Family Farmstead

The grapes are also stretching out their long arms to take hold of the trellis. They are really thriving well in the summer sun this week.
Grapes - Stone Family Farmstead

Our three apple trees are growing, as well as our plum and nectarine, but there’s no fruit on them yet. We’ll have to be patient.
Apple, Nectarine, Plum, and Cherry Trees - Stone Family Farmstead

However, our hybrid citrus tree, which is grafted with navel, valencia, key lime, and two tangerines onto a meyer lemon rootstock is doing really well, and is full of fruit.
Hybrid Citrus Tree - Stone Family Farmstead

The new fruit is likely meyer lemons, but that’s ok—we’ll add them to our meyer lemon harvest from the big tree. Last year we had an abundance of lemons, which meant an abundance of lemonade, but it only lasted as long as we had lemons. This year I am hoping to can at least 12 gallons (or 48 quarts–not sure how I’ll divide it out), AND be able to give lemons away. We gave away many lemons last year, this year I’ll probably give away fewer in favor of canning the juice for use throughout the year.

Meyer Lemon Tree - Stone Family Farmstead

Our Meyer Lemon tree is already loaded with fruit.

This moringa tree is soon to be planted in the ground, but I’m waiting for it to get stronger and a little bigger. The other three aren’t nearly as well-established as this one.
Moringa Sapling - Stone Family Farmstead

Garden

Ok, so I removed the squash plants. I believe they had a mosaic virus, and it began spreading to the honeydew melon. From what I’ve read, I don’t think there is a way to cure mosaic (if that’s what it is), but I’m not ready to give up on the honeydew plant, which is now setting fruit. I have also read that you can still eat the fruit, it’s not gross or anything, and it doesn’t affect the flavor, but it might come out looking lumpy. We’ll see what happens. If it does, I’ll probably have to remove the plant, but I don’t want to give up on it just yet.
Honeydew Melon - Stone Family Farmstead

The rest of my garden is now being protected from the chickens. They sure were eating everything! Part of me is happy that they are now getting greens in their diet regularly, and that I haven’t had to do any seed sprouting for them in the past month, but I may go back to it since I’m fencing all the fabulous greens off from them now.
Protected Pepper Plants - Stone Family Farmstead

Fenced Garden - Stone Family Farmstead

I had to fence my garden off with chicken wire because the chickens were just destroying my plants’ leaves and threatening their root systems.

I added a lined herb garden to the area from some wood that I removed from the chicken coop. Oddly, it was a shelf before, and it was already built into a square, so it was easy to line with hardware cloth and fill. My herbs aren’t looking all too happy there, I’m sure they are going through some shock from being moved. I don’t really mind so much if I lose them, however, because they had already formed viable seeds–at least I know the basil did. We’ll see about the rest. I’m hoping for this to become a fantastic herb garden where they can stretch out and reproduce every year, but I think it will take some doing because of the lack of any kind of nutrients in the ground soil. Despite the fact that herbs are pretty prolific without regular feedings, I think they will need it every now and again.
Herb Garden - Stone Family Farmstead

I also tried to create a formal compost pile, but needed to protect it from the chickens. I used Dr. Earth’s Compost Starter this time to help me since I’m not very adept at getting my compost piles to heat up. The plan is to uncover, turn, and dampen it each week to see how quickly I can get it to yield some black gold. Behind the compost pile is my third garden, which I’m hoping to line with hardware cloth next week, then fill in time for spring planting in April.
Compost Piles - Stone Family Farmstead

Animals

This week, my friend brought the last three chinchillas to live with us. Two of them are daughters of Catherine of Aragon (one of the two that came to live with us last week) and sisters of Anne Boleyn. These girls are Jane, Anne of Cleves, and Catherine Parr. We’ll have to think of cute nicknames for them, since we’ll end up having two Catherines and two Annes. Eventually, we will also acquire a boy, but for now, I’ve got these 5 girls in my herd. Can you guess what the boy will be named?

Take a minute to meet the new girls.

Jane Seymour of Stone Family Farmstead

This is Jane Seymour. I’m told that she is what is called an “afro-violet”, which refers to her coloring. She is the one who looks most different from the others, so I thought it was appropriate to give her the name that was most different.

Anne of Cleves of Stone Family Farmstead

This is Anne of Cleves, one of my three sisters, who are all daughters of Catherine of Aragon (you saw her last week). She is called a beige, and from what I’ve read, you would know that by her spotty ears, which is characteristic only of beige chinchillas.

Catherine Parr of Stone Family Farmstead

This is Catherine Parr. She is also a beige, and one of Catherine of Aragon’s daughters.

Willow and Naomi are growing still and now that the chins are here, are not always the center of attention. Still, Willow would like to be.
Willow of Stone Family Farmstead

Have a fantastic weekend!

Shared at Good Morning Mondays, Make Your House Sing Monday, The Art of Homemaking Mondays, Hey Momma Linky Party, MisAdventures Monday, Tuesdays with a Twist, Tuesday Garden Party, Maple Hill Hop, Homestead Blog Hop, Wildcrafting Wednesday



 
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Kristi Stone

Kristi Stone

Honestly? I'm the author of this blog...sometimes. My family and I live in Sunny Southern California on a one acre hobby farm where we are working diligently to one day produce our dairy, eggs, and produce. That takes A LOT of work, so if you don't hear from me as soon as you'd like, give me a shout out in the comments and I'll chat back as soon as I can between the garden, goat kids, chickens, husband, human kids, and playing with my grandboy, Kieran. And in the mean time, if you'd like to see more frequently what goes on at our farm, please feel free to join my Facebook group (see the right column) where I am more active. I'd love to get to know you! 🙂
Kristi Stone

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Comments

  1. It is always nice to read your posts 🙂 your comment on fencing the compost from the chickens reminded me a short clip I watched about how to get chickens to help you make awesome compost, it was titled “chicken tractor on steroids” though had nothing to do with steroids, it was by Geoff Lawton, he actually has a few chicken films on his website amoung other great homesteading ideas.

    • Hi Tara! Thank you for the kind compliment and the tip about the video. I’ll check out Geoff Lawton for sure. I have been using my chickens to help me out with composting for a while now, but I would love to learn some better ways to use their help, and more about homesteading as well, now that we have a larger property to work with. Thanks again for the recommendation!

  2. Loving the orchard progress, hope to learn more from you as this is something I plan to tackle later on. Wanting raspberries, lots! Everything looks fantastic and I like your new critters, they’re cute! I like how you took a shelf and turned it into a bed, smart thinking. Those herbs should perk up, I added thick mulch around mine after I transplanted earlier in the season and they are doing great now. Sometimes I have to cut them back to the base and just let them start over. Herbs are strong plants which is so neat because they have so much life to give.

    Love the header, cute!

    • Thanks Carole! We like it too. It was drawn by our daughter’s 17yo best friend, she is very talented.

      The herbs actually DID perk up nicely, but the oregano leaves all turned brown, save for a few. I’m hoping that means that it is still alive. I was thinking about adding some peat moss to the bed and then mulching with straw, just to keep the water inside and the need to a minimum. I agree with you about herbs, they are so great to have around.

      I hope we have something to share about berries that would help you–we are really just “trial-and-error”ing through it right now, being that we are just new here. I can’t believe how well they are doing–so healthy and lovely looking. The raspberries had a much harder time of it than the blackberries. I can’t wait until we have a ton to make into yummy foods.

  3. You did a great job on the site!
    You sure have a lot going on there. I like the new fencing around the veggie beds. Hope that discourages the chickens!

    • Thank you, Daisy! I hope so too, but you know—their heads are so small, they can still get through some of the fencing. At least it’s not AS bad though–now the plants will have a chance to still grow and produce!

  4. Is so nice to hear what you have been up to. Your berries look fantastic. It is amazing all that you can grow on your block. Thank you for sharing at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings.. Have a great weekend with your grandson.

  5. Thank you so much for letting us peek behind the scenes of your world 🙂 Thanks for sharing on the (mis)Adventures Monday Blog Hop! Can’t wait to see what you have this week!!

  6. I love these snippets of how other people are doing. It’s so encouraging. I identify with the “trying to make things easier this week.” with food too. I’m in the middle of fixing up some freezer meals so the older kids can learn some cooking.
    Thanks for stopping by the Homestead Blog Hop. I hope we see more from you today!! Pinning this. Thanks.

    • Hi Kelly! I love to make cooking easier, it really takes the pressure off at meal time and on the weekends when I’m super busy. You will love being able to just take your meals out of the freezer instead of all the ingredients to make them! Thanks for stopping by!

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