Monday, July 22, 2013

This and That

Life on the homestead continues to be lots of work and lots of fun!  The heat has affected production, but we aren't giving up!

The girls (our 12 laying hens) have really cut back on their egg production.  We were gathering 10-11 eggs daily, but because of the high temperatures, we are back to gathering 2-3 eggs per day.  After not buying eggs from the store for a while, it is very difficult for me to PAY for eggs, knowing they are not near as healthy as the ones we get here at the farm.  Hopefully soon we will be back up to full production, and will have enough to eat AND some extra to share with friends and family again!  Interested?

In the garden, the heat is taking it's toll as well.  Despite watering, our fruits are simply busting on the vine.  The cantaloupe are not ripening, and the watermelons are cracking open, letting the bugs feast on the insides before we get a chance!  Ugh!  I'm going to do a little research so that maybe next year we won't have this problem.  Since we are organic gardeners, we struggle to create harmony with the bugs.

The okra is still going strong, and is actually ready to be harvested today.  It is sitting out there just waiting for me to come and pick it.  I fear some of them are too large to eat...if the okra gets too big, it doesn't taste well.  Blech!

We are also still getting jalapenos, tomatoes, and squash, though not very many.  It's a good thing this year was our trial year, learning the ropes of gardening in sandy soil.  We were used to brown dirt at our old house, so this year's garden has been different, and a learning experience.  Next year, we will know more what we are doing!  Maybe.  Ha!

As for the kids, we have been enjoying weekly trips to the library.  Our new library is really well laid-out and the kids both LOVE browsing the children's books, finding treasures to check-out and read each week.  It won't be long until once again we will be on a first-name basis with the librarians!  The kids are participating in the summer reading program, and are doing really well.  It's so fun for them to earn Library Bucks to purchase books, as well as tickets for the raffles they have going.  Levi is determined he is going to win the tablet they have...keep reading buddy!

We continue on our journey to healthy living by trying to eat as local and as natural as financially possible, eliminating sugar and grains from our diets.  It isn't easy, and we still don't have it down perfectly, but we continue to try to do our best.  Homemade laundry soap is still something we love, but I am trying to tweak the recipe a bit to make it a bit more effective on our work clothes.  Suggestions?  I am still on the hunt for a natural body lotion that Natalie and I can use (we are allergic to so much! UGH!), and I REALLY want to find a natural deodorant that works for us, too! Let the search continue!

We hope your week is blessed and that you are staying cool!


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Fourth!

First, Happy Independence Day to all, from Hen Hollow Homestead! 

Our egg production has really slowed in the last week.  We have gone from getting 10 eggs every single day, to getting 3 or 4 eggs at most each day.  We are contributing this to the heat we have been experiencing, but we are also researching to be sure there isn't more we should be doing for our feathered friends.  They all seem healthy and happy otherwise, so we figure that the hens are just not enjoying the heat!  Time for them to get over it, because we need more eggs! :)

In other news, the kids found another horn worm!  This time it had not made it into the garden, so my tomato plants are none the wiser, but the kids caught the worm and again, fed that little booger to the chickens who were happy to enjoy him as a mid-morning snack.  Good thing he hadn't made it to my garden!

In other news, the sunflowers Natalie planted continue to be beautiful!  Here is an early morning picture I took:

To try to beat the heat, and the blues we have been experiencing around here, last Sunday after church we drove up to the Water Gardens to check out the water.  It was incredibly HOT that day, but we forged through the sweat and enjoyed being together.  I took some pictures of the kids climbing and touching the water.  Surprisingly, there weren't many people there, so we were able to enjoy the park without a crowd.  Check us out...

Natalie and Levi leaning into the wall with trickling felt nice and cool on their hands!

My beautiful Natalie sitting looking at the shower pool...boy would it have been nice to hop on in! 

This is a huge water feature, as you can see, complete with platform steps leading down into the belly of the water.  I was too chicken to walk down there (can you say "not a risk-taker"?), but Nathaniel took each of the kiddos separately, and they enjoyed the challenge.   Natalie and Nathaniel are on the far left of this picture, I think ;)

Nathaniel, Levi, and Natalie at the top of "The Mountain", which is a huge and steep wall of steps to climb.  I stayed safely planted at the bottom, so I could take pictures of course! ;)

And lest you wonder if I was even there, I did attempt a self-portrait of Nathaniel and me.  It's not the best pic, but I have short arms, y'all!

That's all I have for now, but check back soon and I will share more of the fun we are having here at the Homestead!  Be blessed.