🐞Everything We Did Our 2nd Spring on the Homestead🐓

It feels a little odd writing a spring wrap-up post when we’ve already slurped up a month and a half of summer weather up here in our little clearing in the big woods. We’ve been enjoying a veritable festival of shorts and t-shirts, iced tea and fresh-picked salads, a barrage of birds and bees and cigarette trees (made ‘ya look), and even a smattering of early herbs, greens, and strawberries. This spring has been the opposites-attract best friend of last year; a bold and audacious life-of-the-party with her shy, mild-mannered wall flower companion scrunching behind, the latter all too content to be outshined and forgotten by all.

In other words, our garden is a full month ahead of last “spring.” And yet, in feigned fidelity to the solstice and rote constancy to my calendar, I have diligently recorded everything we’ve accomplished (or attempted) on this our mountain homestead since March 21st. That particular date I find to be a hilarious paradox for us Great Northerners; one continually sticking its tongue out at us from inside the same little black box locked into the third grid of the year and wearing the absurd name tag, “first day of spring.” We look up from our cheeky, photo-paper calendars, bursting with glossy images of poppies and Swallowtails, to find snow falling steadily outside our window. We slap our calendar shut on that smug little label and begrudgingly stoke our fires . . . again.

But this year, the paradox and pouting were both short-lived.

Miss April smothered the snowdrifts in sunshine and Madame May barely bathed in the effects before pulling the plug mid-bloom on spring. All we could do was laugh and chase after her with our butterfly nets.

So, here it is, our wrap-up post for our “second spring” which masqueraded as a premature second summer . . . a “spummer,” I suppose. In full Montana irony, however, after weeks of 70’s and 80’s on the mercury and mind-blowing plant explosion in fuchsia and electric green, today I’m typing this up for you all beside my crackling fireplace (I kid not), nursing hot tea from under my hoodie and unabashedly shutting out the coldest day we’ve seen in two months. The hummingbirds are hiding out and so are the kids and I (following nature, you know), hailing back to our hibernation months and giggling at our self-indulgence. This convinces me of two things. One, Montana is truly a four-season state but, “like a box of chocolates,” you never know which of the four you’re gonna get day to day. And two, these California roots die hard.

Everything We Did Our 2nd Spring on the Homestead

Please view the rest of this post on our website and not in email window as it will cut off some of the content and gip you on photos!

GOT CHICKS (27 of them to be exact)

We ordered several more ladies than we needed because we knew that, of course, some would invariably die. We are now the owners of 27 of the healthiest chickens I’ve ever seen, no dwindling in sight. Either these are genetically rockstar chickens, or we are chick-raising ninjas. I highly suspect the former.

*Ameraucanas and Olive Eggers, purchased from Cackle Hatchery

UNVEILED THE SKYFORT (and got a standing ovation from the kids)

“This is the best day of my life!” Goldilocks shouted as she went down the slide for the first time after five months of snow.

BUILT A COOP (and kicked the chicks out of the house)

Quick tip for those of you who didn’t grow up on a bird farm (guilty!) . . .

  • Birds outside the house = a thing of beauty
  • Birds inside the house = a horrifying nightmare

Suffice it to say, we are thrilled to have these ladies (plus quite a few cocky boys) squawking and scratching away out in the garden and not in our basement anymore!

The hubby built this according to: Chicken Coop and Run Plans (thirdcoastcraftsman.com)

We definitely recommend the above plans. My hubby and son loved building this coop together. The design and instructions are both pretty straightforward and we’re loving the results! We’re particularly happy that we decided to be bold and go for a true farm red with a pure white trim. It’s such a joyful addition to our garden. The chickens also seem to love their new home. We’re hoping they will express their gratitude in the form of a bruschetta and feta omelet quite soon.

GREW LETTUCE (with an alien in the basement)

My mom named this bad boy Lettuce R2D2 and it stuck. How do you enjoy fresh, home-grown salads all winter long? There are two ways that I know of: move to California or buy a Lettuce Grow Farmstand.

FILLED FIVE MORE BIRDIES BEDS (cause 12 wasn’t enough apparently)

I’m stoked with our fleet of seventeen raised beds. Already, I have been experiencing the indulgence of the extra growing space. Just this week I planted two entire beds full of basil. I know, I know, excessive right? Wrong. I fully intend to have my basil this summer and freeze it, too! I have big plans for bruchetta and capresse salads, pastas, and sandwhiches, and hope to still have an abundance to make vats of pesto.

Check out our previous posts on these Raised Birdies Beds:

THINNED FOREST (only three hundred and forty-five “timbers” to go!)

No, we are not clear-cutting our forest! We are merely trying to manage the mob, selecting trees for maximum growth and condemning others to a grizzly death. In other words, we are encouraging quality (holistic health) by cutting back on quantity, also known as overpopulation. Then we are using the casualties to fill the base of our grow beds and fulfill our chipping needs. The experts call it permaculture. We call it “TIMBER!”

TORCHED WEEDS (then they laughed at us)

Roundup is out of the question and 45% vinegar we’ve found only to be a two-week fix (and an expensive one at that). Torching seems to be the least pathetic solution so far, but we wish the results were a little hotter.

BUILT FOUR MORE TEEPEES (do you believe in magic?)

Our edible wigwam village may be my favorite thing about the garden.

Read more about our obsession with garden teepees in these posts:

PLANTED MORE TREES & BERRIES (we have serious fruit needs it seems)

Adding to our food forest that we planted last year (Adopting 26 three-year-olds!🌸) . . . we planted:

  • 6 apples
  • 3 cherry
  • 3 apricot
  • 3 peach
  • 3 mulberry
  • 2 nectarine
  • 2 plum
  • 2 pear
  • 1 Russian Almond
  • 1 chokecherry
  • grapes
  • raspberries
  • currants
  • elderberries

VEGGED OUT (it got seedy over here)

We planted . . . potatoes, asparagus, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, nasturtium, peas, green beans, long beans, soy beans, cucumbers, cilantro, chives, onions, lettuce, spinach, radishes, beets, carrots, Swiss chard, arugula, cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower, Bok choy, basil, sage, rosemary, thyme, lavender, mint, chamomile, calendula, echinacea, yarrow, sunflowers, iris bulbs, snap dragons, lemon balm, borage, catnip, and salvia.

Grow what you love they said. Then, we laid drip. Still laying.


Come and see what the Lord has done,
    the desolations he has brought on the earth.
 He makes wars cease
    to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the shields with fire.
 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

-Psalm 46: 8-10

May your summer be grounded by spans of stillness and the abiding, fullness of the Spirit.

Thank you for reading!

Much love, Candace Arden

3 Replies to “🐞Everything We Did Our 2nd Spring on the Homestead🐓”

  1. Lovely, lovely, lovely! Have your basil this summer and freeze it too!!!!!😅. Hope the “Longest Day of the Year” ushers summer back to your garden and mine! My tomatillo plants are staring at the gun metal grey sky like “whaaat?”

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