The mountains, as usual, seem to think they are above the dates on my calendar. I see three more weeks of summer neatly blocked out in a thirty-day grid, but the Great North doesn’t bother to humor national guidelines.
With the above sentiments of the season, I’m typing my summer-wrap up post according to the clearing’s communications. Increasingly, I find myself aligning with this wisdom of the woods that envelopes our homestead and distancing myself from the standards of society, something I only see when I so choose. Maybe this means I’m becoming backwoods or something. I remotely (pun intended) hope so.
As I sit under the spell of these backwoods, I wonder to myself if the difference between being behind the times or ahead of one’s time might sometimes be only a matter of perception. Even if that perception is merely your own.
Everything We Did Our 2nd Summer on the Homestead
My dad has always said that the best things in life are the ones you have to look forward to. Increasingly, I believe he may be right. But I suspect the next best thing is taking a look back. So, here’s our “looking-at-you-kid” before we start dreaming green again, imagining what 2024’s growing season might have in store for us.
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Our second summer we . . .
DOUBLED OUR HUMMINGBIRD POPULATION
Yes, these are actual pictures of our feeder!! I am pleased as punch to report that we have at least doubled if not tripled our number of free-loading friends. Stay tuned this upcoming spring for our Hummingbird Hacks post with all the details on how we got as many as fourteen hummers to our feeder at one time.
WELCOMED FOUR KITTENS TO THE HOMESTEAD
We needed cats the way the old woman who swallowed a fly did. We needed the cats to chase the chipmunks and eat the mice. Now we’re dealing with how to keep them out of the kids’ sandbox and to how to deter them from using our sixteen grow beds as a fleet of giant litter boxes.
Introducing: Pounce (black Siamese), Cautious (black Siamese), Curious (grayer of the two Calicos), and Tiger (orange-faced Calico).
How they are earning their keep: The chipmunk, vole, and mouse population has plummeted this summer. I have lost ONE green bean to a mouse with the munchies compared to about fifty last summer. They even brought down a giant rat that we had been after for three months. We love watching the little kitties patrol and hunt while we’re working in the garden. Not having to set and empty traps is even better.
What Yeti thinks of them: I’d be lying if I told you that we weren’t worried at the start. The way Yeti bolted after the little kitties when they arrived looked a lot like something from The Call of the Wild. Thankfully, Yeti is as plush on the inside as he is on the outside. He lets the kittens eat and even sleep with him now. He also gives them daily baths like any good mother.
GREW PURPLE AND GREEN
Stay tuned for our Best & Worst In-Show for 2023’s Harvest! Spoilers alert: it’s ripening to be entirely different from last year’s.
GOT READY FOR THE BARN RAISING
We’re racing the snow to get this barn up! It’s going to be a forty by twenty-seven pole structure with metal siding. Please send us prayers for a speedy barn-raising! We have got to get our equipment safely under a roof this year. Plus, the kitties will be very grateful come December.
Growing, felling, and curing our own heat source for the winter is a whole other side to our self-sustainability efforts on the homestead. This past winter we nearly made it without turning the heater on! This year, we’re really going for it and hoping not to touch that thermostat. Send us warm thoughts!
REFUSED TO SPRAY ROUNDUP AND THE WEEDS HEARD
The bad news: weeds are indeed formidable. They come straight up through our crushed rock, dry-as-a-virgin-margarita driveway no matter what we do. I tried 45% vinegar. We use the weed stick. We torch them. We straight up yank them out the good, old-fashioned way. Each yields a two-week fix and that is all.
The good news: A weedy driveway won’t kill you or curse you with an auto-immune disease. Even though it gets messy, I feel so good about the fact that I’d let my kids lick this driveway if they really wanted to.
More good news: We bought a landscape rake tractor attachment and have gotten more religious about refreshing the gravel. Our buddy just resurfaced for us yesterday and oh, it feels so good. Yes, it costs a lot to go chemical-free. But it also costs a lot to not.
Happy fall, y’all!!
Thank you so much for reading!
Love, Candace Arden