Musing and Visualizing

We have been blessed with some very warm temperatures for the past week. As we had unseasonable freezing temps early in the winter, we seem now to be experiencing unseasonably warm temps. But no complaints here! We have thoroughly enjoyed our winter days in the 50s and 60s. It is about to come to an end though, and we are about to enter back to “normal” winter temperatures of 30s-40s by the end of the week. That’s ok, we are hoping that by Wednesday afternoon we will be in a good place with our work efforts.

What are those work efforts?

Well, we have finally been afforded the opportunity to start on our goat shed. So far, we have 6 of the main posts dug in the ground for the shed. We still have many more to dig in, but we have the main 6 structural and load-bearing posts dug in. By Wednesday afternoon, we hope to have the rest of the exterior posts and the few interior posts completed.

{{Side note: From hither-to, when I say “we” dug posts, what I really mean is that everyone but me was digging posts. Just thought I’d clarify. Carry on.}}

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This by no means will be the end of post-hole digging for us, as once we finish the goat shed, we still have another 11 posts to dig for the yard extension for our male goats.

It may not be noticeable in the picture, but we have quite the incline on our ground. We chose the most level of all yard locations to build the goat shed. The far right will be a completed height of around 9 feet, while the far left will be only 7 feet. About 20 yards to the left of our yard, and at a much steeper grade downhill, is the creek. The completed goat shed will be 12×16 feet. We intend to add roughly another 1000 square feet to our fenced yard as well.

With the main structural posts dug in, we can work on the framing, walls, and roof a little at a time over the next two months as long as it isn’t raining. Last year, our rainy season was in April and May. We have the target of completing the goat shed by the end of March.

Here are some pictures taken around the yard while digging posts.

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One digs, the other scoops out the dirt.

My son has a sense of humor. While holding onto my phone, he took some pictures of me, all the while laughing at how my big belly can’t hide behind that pole!

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He especially laughed when he took this one…

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24 weeks down, 16 to go. Holy smokes that’s going by super fast.

Yep, momma’s getting on out there!

Probably because of things like this:

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Breakfast
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Second breakfast

Breakfast and second breakfast, thinking about elevensies, lunch, and afternoon tea.

In addition to digging posts, I’ve been thinking about the spring garden and crops that can be planted in January.

You might remember that we are brand new to homesteading and we are just learning as we go. We make things up, guesstimate all the time, do and redo, measure once and cut twice (or is it measure twice and cut once?), watch a lot of YouTube videos, and learn from the mistakes while keeping the best possible attitude as we ad-lib and trudge forward.

Gardening is no exception to this. Sure, before I planted my 5 raised beds last year, I researched the heck out of the pros and cons of raised beds vs. in-ground, composting vs. fertilizing, direct-sow vs. seed starting indoors, etc., etc. This past fall, I decided to go back to some basics. Regardless of what I read from other farmers, who undoubtedly know much more than me and have years of success, I decided to do what I remembered my dad doing.

I remember that he planted his seed potatoes in the fall and they over-wintered in the ground. I remember my mom planted cold-hardy veggies in January and again in the early spring for a double harvest. So, I thought why shouldn’t I do the same?

Now, mind you, I’m only experimenting based on my fallible memory. I mean, it’s been over 20 years since I helped my dad plant potatoes or harvested broccoli and cabbage with my mom. So my guarantee on this, is that in addition to doing these things that I kinda-sorta-vividly-remember-or-possibly-imagine, I’m giving myself a fail-safe to fall back on. I’m trying the over-wintering of potatoes in the ground, but I’ll also plan to plant seed taters in the spring. I’m trying the cold-hardy veggies in individual greenhouses, aka milk jugs, but I’ll also plan to start seeds indoor or direct sow at the recommended times on the backs of seed packets.

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We shall see how this pans out. I’ll try to remember to update after spring has sprung to let you know if any of my experiments worked or if I’m just loco in la cabeza.

But hey, check out this amazing composted soil that my chickens helped me with… At the end of summer we emptied out this raised bed and put a temporary fence up around the remaining four raised beds. We unintentionally left this one to the chickens, only because it did not fit into the fenced area we had marked off for future garden space. The chickens have spent months working this soil, pooping in it, composting the remaining root hairs and any leaves that have fallen into it, and turning the soil over and over. The end result, was this amazing and rich soil that I am using to start seeds in. Just compare it to the color of the soil surrounding the outside of the garden bed.

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The future gardens will be in ground and not raised beds. I plan to repurpose all five boxes somehow. I plan to use at least one of them as a cold frame next winter, and at least two of them for future composting purposes. I’m not sure about the remaining two yet, but I know we won’t let the lumber or soil go to waste. We hope to take the soil from the raised beds and work them into the ground once spring is here. Again, by we, I mean not me. 😉

Other plans for the garden will include remeasuring our garden space and setting up a more permanent fencing solution. The plastic rolled garden fence worked well enough to keep chickens out, but I doubt it will be enough to keep a small herd of goats out.

That’s all for now folks. I started two jars of pickled eggs a few days ago and hope to be back here in a few days to let you know how they came out. Thanks for stopping by today!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Wow! You guys are doing a lot of fab work! I hadn’t seen milk bottles used as mini-greenhouses before – what a good idea. Let us know how it goes!

    Tom and I have just bought our first home together (although we are renting it out until we are ready to live (ie. afford!!) in it – hopefully in a year or so). It has just under an acre of land, so we’re already looking out for ideas on how to make that land productive – both for us (in terms of produce) and for our native species (such as planting vegetation that provides nectar/fruit for native wildlife). It’s great to see other folks ideas! 🙂

    -Emma

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    1. triciasengul says:

      Congratulations on buying your first home! It’ll be exciting for you two to bring to fruition all the dreams you have about your new property. I’ve used milk jugs before as mini greenhouses and they do work well for that until it’s time to transplant into the garden. I like these better than seed-starting trays because they are much deeper and you can let the plants grow a little sturdier before moving them to their permanent garden spots.

      I so enjoy reading your blog and checking out the wildlife pictures you share, as well as the truckload of information about the species you are photographing. My youngest son loves it when I let him know your latest post is in my inbox! Thanks so much for stopping by today.

      Like

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