The Homestead Year in Review

A Look Back at Our Homestead in 2013

We had a good year on our homestead. Although the garden was not as productive as I hoped, I was still able to freeze, can, and pickle plenty of veggies to last us this winter.

Warm weather veggies from our garden.

Warm weather veggies from our garden.

 

We have plenty of jam, jelly, peaches, plums, pickles, and Applesauce from Wild Apples put up in the Canning Cupboard that my Dad made for me.

Applesauce cooling on the counter.

Applesauce made from wild apples I foraged this fall.

 

In fact, that cupboard is chock full and I have more goodies on other shelves in our basement, just waiting to be eaten while the wind blows and the snow falls.

There are quite a few jars of beans left in my Canning Cupboard (made by my Dad)!

The canning cupboard my Dad made…filled to capacity!

 

I really enjoyed making brine cured pickles in a crock like my Gram used to make. We still have some of those pickles in our refrigerator!

Keeping the tradition of my Gram's kitchen alive!

Keeping the tradition of my Gram’s kitchen alive!

 

Over the course of the summer, I had the opportunity to try several varieties of Mary’s Heirloom Seeds…I harvested loads of Royalty Purple Podded Beans, 5 Color Silverbeet, Black Beauty Zucchini, and Pink Oxheart Tomatoes. (Heads up folks! Mary’s Heirloom Seeds will be sponsoring an awesome giveaway coming up very soon!)

The Pink Oxheart Tomatoes from Mary's Heirloom seeds were delicious!

The Pink Oxheart Tomatoes from Mary’s Heirloom seeds were delicious!

 

I added White Pekin Ducks to my barnyard this spring. 20 Ducklings arrived in April and I had fun watching them grow up. Less fun was the butchering process, but it was necessary to reduce the numbers to a manageable level. We have plenty of ducks in the freezer still and there are 4 hens and 1 drake in our coop this winter. I hope to raise some more ducks for the freezer this spring, but in the meantime we are enjoying their eggs in our baked goods.

It's hard to get these eggs to look nice and clean...but they are definitely worth the funky looking shells!

Duck eggs all lined up and ready for eating or making baked goods!

 

I hatched some little balls of fluff from our own mixed breed chicken flock in September. It’s always fun to see the little chicks hatching and growing up. Pretty soon I’ll be putting the extra roosters in the freezer or a big pot of soup.

Hatched at home...chick from my own fertile chicken egg.

Hatched at home…chick from our own fertile chicken egg.

 

I raised my last batch of Cornish x chickens this fall and put them in the freezer. From now on I plan to raise our own chicks for butchering. We have one Cornish x pullet that is laying very well and I hope to add her genetics into my chicken flock for better meat production.

6 month old Cornish X pullet.

This Cornish X pullet is laying an egg almost every day.

 

We’ve had our share of problems with predators picking off our chickens this year. We had to ‘eliminate’ a possum that was getting in the chicken coop to eat the eggs this spring. I know that possums can do a great deal more damage than egg thievery. Last year we lost 26 pullets and hens to a possum rampage. This year we’ve lost hens to a fox, and a few more disappeared but I didn’t see what predator took them. I suspect the fox may be responsible, but it could have been a hawk.

We had to kill a possum in our hen house this year.

Predators are a constant threat on our homestead.

 

Not all the news this year has been about our humble homestead. We live 600 miles from our families and it’s hard to be so far away. However, we try to make it back to visit them every year for a week or two.

We had the opportunity to head to New York this summer for our Nephew’s wedding. The event was beautiful and we had a great time visiting family from far and wide. Now we have the wonderful news that a bundle of joy is expected to join our clan in 2014! I’m looking forward to seeing the little one when we visit next summer. πŸ™‚

View from my parent's back porch.

View from my parents’ back porch in New York.

 

I hope you had a wonderful year on your homestead in 2013! Did anything exciting happen in your neck of the woods?

8 Comments

  1. Libellula
  2. Debbie

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