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Summer Update

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on here. We had a beautiful baby girl in April and I am still running a home daycare full time, so the summer was a blur! I just wanted to share some homestead updates and pictures!

We had a bumper crop of pickling cucumbers this year! We canned a lot of pickles to get us through the next year (I think about 55 jars). We picked and canned strawberries for jam. We harvested some wild edibles, such as wild garlic and canned it for future use! I didn’t get as much accomplished this summer as I would have wanted, but having a newborn and two other small kids is a season of life that lends itself to being busy! My older children are back in school now, which gives me time for some more garden work and food preservation and I’m hoping to be more consistent with this blog!

Thanks for stopping in! ๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒฑ๐ŸŒถ๐ŸŒฝ๐Ÿฅ’๐Ÿฅฌ

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Hatching Quail

We had our first crack at incubating and hatching quail eggs this fall! I just bought one of the cheap styrofoam incubators (it was $50 at TSC) and ordered the quail egg rotators off of Amazon ($50). I bought some quail eggs from a man up North so that I could vary the bloodlines. Quail take 18 days from set to hatch, with lock down at day 15. They are jumbo Coturnix and it was said to keep them around 99.9 to 100.5 degrees. We only had 7 hatch out of 18, but not bad for our first go. One more step to self sufficiency! Little by little we are learning and growing, taking small steps at a time! Have a great weekend everyone! ๐Ÿฃ

Canning, Garden, Pioneer spirit, Uncategorized

Ya win some, ya lose some…

This summer around the homestead has been full of victories in the garden. Our peppers, tomatoes, cabbage, spaghetti squash, pickling cucumber, celery and straw/black/rasp berries all had a great year! Lots of drying canning and freezing going on in this house hold.

I started all my flowers from seed this year, and they were amazing. I had marigolds, petunias and zinnias. I really think they help to bring the pollinators in when you inter crop them into your veggie garden.

Some of the sad news from this summer… First we had several quail die from and unknown illness ๐Ÿ˜ฆ and then a predator killed 5 more. I know have to lock them up at night, I always used to let them access their run at night, but I can no longer do that. We have eggs in the incubator as I type this so hopefully we will have replenished birds soon. Our neighbour also called the town to tell on us for having chickens (we only had 2 ๐Ÿ™„) so we ended up having to bring them back to the farm we purchased them at. My town only enforces the bylaw on chickens if someone complains. She literally said nothing for 2 years, her husband passed away, and almost immediately called the town after that. I could tell the bylaw officer felt bad, he said you have a beautiful yard and a nice coop, and these animals are well tended, but they have to act on complaints. Very unfortunate, but I will be fighting to get the bylaw changed. The neighbouring town bylaw allows for 3 hens, so I’m hoping to make that change! Thanks for stopping in, I hope you all are enjoying your summer! ๐Ÿ๐Ÿฆ‹๐ŸŒฑ๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒžโญ๏ธ๐ŸŒˆ

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Even though it doesnโ€™t feel like spring…

We have to start preparing for the gardens! The plan for this year was to start my seeds in the windowsill, however, as soon as the weather brightens up a bit I will be constructing a 10×12 ft greenhouse!!! I am so excited! Every year we expand little by little, so we don’t have to borrow any money to do it. We also expand slowly as to not overwhelm ourselves either. Our 1/6th of an acre has such potential to feed our family and build skills and relationships. My children will grow up knowing where food comes from, and that is a foreign notion these days. Even if you have a small suburban lot or a balcony on the side of an apartment building, you can grow food! Teach your children to cultivate the earth! I promise you will never regret it. Once you harvest your first crops you will be hooked!

The Chickens and quails are laying like crazy right now! So even though it doesn’t feel like spring in Ontario yet, it is ๐Ÿ™‚

Kids!

My decision to leave ‘Corporate America’

I have worked in the oil and gas sector my entire adult life, since I graduated university (10 years ago). We all know that oil is down right now, and my company made the decision to downsize. I was one of the people that was laid off, as I played an administrative role and was not a necessity like an engineer or I.T. I was very upset with this, I was losing my pay, my benefits and my work friends. My boss wrote me a very nice recommendation letter to give to future employers during an interview (which I was grateful for). A lot of my family members were pushing me to go get a similar job and stay in the corporate world. However, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it, I had other plans! For years I have thought to myself that I wish I could spend more time with kids and more time building my Homestead. So, I have made the decision to open a home daycare. There are pros and cons to all the decisions we make in life, but I felt the pros outweighed the cons! I am so excited to be employed by self, and I pray it is busy enough to pay the bills! Time will tell! Sometimes when one door closes, another one opens!

Playroom!
Garden, Kids!, Pioneer spirit, Uncategorized

Carrot ๐Ÿฅ• ‘n Cabbage Pickin’ – A Lovely Afternoon

Yesterday my family went out and harvested most of the remaining carrots and some of the cabbage that was ready to pick! We got quite the haul! Yesterday was a true testament to the importance of letting your kids play outside and including them in homesteading chores:Sunday morning was brutal! My 4 year old and three year old were fighting all morning. Arguing over toys, books, anything! They were yelling at each other, tattling etc. I was trying to get some house work done but I thought I better get them outside and playing, maybe that would decrease the tension. I brought them outside, gave them their gardening gloves and away we went. For 2 full hours they did not argue one time. They were laughing together, helping me pick and wash carrots! They gathered all the carrot stems up and fed the bunnies, chickens and quail. It was like a peace and calming washed over the whole family. Not that a homesteading life will always be rainbows and butterflies, but I believe that afternoon was a true testament to the importance of giving children age appropriate tasks and responsibilities. This is the type of โ€˜educationโ€™ they will never receive in school. It is one that generations past always gifted their children. We as a society have to get back to teaching our own kids how to garden, cook, forage, animal husbandry etc. If we donโ€™t do it no one will, can you imagine a society where no one knew how to do any of these things? Itโ€™s a scary thought.


Back to the carrots and cabbbage…

Most of the carrots I peeled, chopped, blanched for 3 minutes and then froze them in ziplock baggies for use in a nice fall time soup!

The rest I left dirty, unpeeled, in a brown paper bag in the fridge for use later this week. I am going to cook them with a nice pork roast.
The cabbages I cut into quarters and blanched for a few minutes and they went into the freezer as well!
Thanks for stopping in today!

Critters, Garden

What’s Happening around the Homestead?

Hello Everyone! I havenโ€™t posted in a bit, it has been a very busy but productive month!The gardens are really producing, the quails and chickens are working hard producing eggs, and I have been canning away! I was going to post a few pictures of what has been going on around the homestead and talk about each one a bit! I calculated the size of my lot and thought I would share it with you. I have approximately 1/6th of an acre, which isnโ€™t huge, but you can do so much with a yard of that size. You have to be smart and use permaculture principles to make it work though! Thatโ€™s one thing I have learned in the last couple years, do what you can with what you have! I would love to have 5 acres out in the country and have a โ€œfarmโ€ but that is not in the cards for my family right now, so I have to be patient and live how I want to live with what I have!
This is a picture of our โ€˜barnโ€™ that houses the chickens and quail. A lot of sites say not to house them together, but I have had them together for about 5 months now and have had no issues. They have separate living areas and are not directly interacting with each other. We built separate runs for them on opposite side of the barn.

Obviously not done painting it yet! ๐Ÿ˜‚
Back of barn is sectioned off for chickens, right side for quail!

I have Americauna and Wheaten Maran chickens. They both lay an egg about every other day, sometimes two days in a row. The Marans have beautiful dark brown eggs, and the Americaunas have a blueish-green egg! The quails lay every single day, they are egg machines!
Lots of eggs!

So far this year the garden has been pretty productive! We had a TON of cucumber and zucchini, the peppers are growing really well right now and we are finally starting to get some tomatoes! The one garden bed has powdery mildew unfortunately, so that may really hurt my watermelon, pumpkin and squash!  I made a spray which was water, a tbsp. of baking soda and some dish soap, and that seemed to help a bit.

We grew some cucamelons this year, which was fun! They look like tiny little watermelon but taste like cucumbers. We are harvesting carrot and beets right now. The carrots we have been eating as we go, and I canned up some pickled beets, YUM!

Beets! Some are puny! ๐Ÿ˜‚ but so taste-y!
Store bought carrots do not even compare to fresh picked, these are crunchy, sweet and delicious!
Cucamelons growing up a trellis, they have since taken over the whole thing!

Thanks for stopping in to listen to my ramblings! Hope everyone is having a great summer! Post some pics of your garden or homesteading ventures in the comments!