The past week has been a busy one here on our little homestead.
Our son went to the DMV and now has his drivers’ permit…watch out Northern Illinois! As homeschoolers we really took our time with this process. Joe is almost 18 and most kids run out to get their permit at 15, yikes! With all of the accidents caused by inexperienced drivers, I didn’t push Joe to start driving. It seemed prudent to wait until he really felt ready for the responsibility. Now he is in a drivers’ ed class and is very cautious about getting behind the wheel. Yes!
The Japanese beetles have returned for another season of gorging on my garden…sigh. They do the most damage on my beans. Last year I let my little turkey poults loose in the garden and they made short work of the beetles. I don’t have any turkeys this year, and I know the chickens will make a mess of the garden. So I just crush the beetles between my fingers whenever I get a hold of them. Messy, but effective.
The hay field behind us has been mowed and the hay carted off to feed cattle for the winter. I hope the family of Eastern Meadowlarks were all raised up in time to escape the mower.
I’ve been freezing green beans, Swiss chard, and summer squash to eat over the winter. The beans seem to be slowing down, much to my disappointment. So I’ll try to double up on the chard…it’s going nuts with the recent rain. The squash isn’t coming in as fast and furious as I expected, but we have enough to share and still put some up for later. Oh, and I made my first batch of zucchini bread…4 loaves, all gone in about 4 days!
I have several heads of cabbage that could be picked anytime. I want to make a small batch of sauerkraut. I’m the only one who likes it, so I don’t want to overdo it.
The cucumbers are doing really well now and I’ve already made one small batch of brine cured dill pickles. Yum! I want to make a few batches of bread and butter pickles to can…Joe and I can go through a pint jar in no time at all. Check back tomorrow for my recipes!
My broccoli is a bust. Out of about 20 plants, I’ve been picking the odd floret here and there and just eating them right in the garden. There hasn’t been enough to make a side dish for one meal. I’m hoping that they’ll earn their keep when the cool fall rolls around.
The tomatoes are still green and my eggplants and peppers are just starting to put out a few flowers. The temps have cooled down for the last week, so we’ll see how these heat lovers do.
I’ve reduced my flock of chickens down to 21. One rooster and 20 laying hens. 2 or 3 of those hens will be culled for stewing this fall. They are getting up there in age and I won’t feed retirement age chickens. They have to earn their keep around this homestead!
We still have 10 ducks and I’m waiting to see how many are drakes. All but one will go in the freezer. The hens will be kept for the wonderful eggs that make baked goods moist and delicious. Do you use duck eggs in your baking?
How is life on your homestead?