I’m feeding the chickens where I want them to tear up the long grass and encourage growth. I’m making them look for their food. They do an excellent thatching job where you put their grain in the mornings and afternoons. They also find and eat an assortment of insects where they do and that’s an effective long range insecticide.
It’s shady in this particular spot in late March and it will be shady again in late August. Where I live the sun rises and rides high in the sky so this place will be sunny in the warmer months. Shorter season though or good for things like beets and fall greens. You have to plan for shade.
With massive amounts of sand like that backhoe left, I have to attract worms so I dug a shallow trench in the sand and put a few wheelbarrow loads of composted manure in it and covered it with the sand I dug out..
Don’t feel bad if you can literally only move a half a wheelbarrow load, start by doing small trips and dig in small increments.
You’ll get stronger or you’ll just always have to make small trips. The point is just start.
It’s easier to sketch out a garden plan on paper and then build your beds. I like to put in 3ft squares and just join them together. I need to get some more of those green livestock turnips. You have to cook them but the chickens thought they were really good. Easy keepers. One thing for certain I need some cockerels this year. I harvest all the young cockerels in that fall. Free range birds have tougher legs than their never stand up contemporaries at the factory, but the sure taste better and it’s kinder to give them 6 months of running free instead of 6 weeks of sitting in a shed.
The ones I get done now I will be able to plant for a fall harvest. I’m starting to catch on what to plant when. The snow peas go in when you can turn the soil. They seem to like a crisp start. I have yet to turn those front gardens, I work a day and rest one. The fatigue is a real struggle. But it adds up. The time I am taking to write this down is also a real help. I am putting more effort into problem solving. It’s nice when basic survival isn’t the main goal of the day. But, it’s always right under the surface so that is why gardening is so important to every American.
I went to the feed store yesterday, about 10 am. made a special trip and the people that worked there were there, just over at the greenhouse 50 yards away, I saw them and called hello? hello? I’m at the feed shed! hello? I’m here! and finally “I am not leaving this feed store until I get waited on, I know you’re busy, I’m busy too!” It took me awhile to figure out they were pretending they couldn’t hear me. They sort of hunkered down and kept moving trees from the cold frames to outdoors. So I just kept hollering that I wanted some feed. I wasn’t going to drive all the way home emptyhanded and then just to have to drive all the way back out there again and they may or may not wait on me.
They treated me like I was an unwelcome inconvenience at their WAY out of the way, up a bunch of gravel roads – family run business. I support local business but come on that was blatant disrespect to be open for business but pretend not to hear and sell me feed. On a weekday. During business hours. Finally a grandson got on a 3 wheeler, after I’m yelling my head off, came over from the nursery side, put the 2 bags feed in the truck and took the money. It literally took 2 minutes to conduct the business transaction. What kind of community do I live in? I am constantly amazed at the blatant disregard of basic manners from these people, and how to be professional. Then there is the difference in the rural people here and other parts of the country. The people here look down on the working poor.
I’ve been going there for over 2 years. They know I am an old lady who obviously farms too or I wouldn’t be a regular customer at a feed store. Who happens to have CMT and wears obvious leg braces, who is fighting breast cancer as well as being a chicken farmer. They just kept acting like they couldn’t hear me yelling “Hello!” and “Yoohoo” and “Hey!” I took time out of my own busy day, working my own dirt and that just chapped my hide, they are supposed to be a pillar of the community family and they treat their customers without any respect, at all. Oh, did I neglect to mention I have been too sick to drive myself the last couple years and I drove my own truck for the first time in over a year to get feed alone?! I didn’t show up in a nice truck this time. That may have something do with it.
Forking in Dirty Straw Henny Looking For Worms
People want you to pull yourselves up by your bootstraps while they treat you like that. Discrimination is alive and well, my friends. All women, people of color. It’s not race as much as it is how people treat poor people.
I’m just an old lady trying to live my family’s subsistence culture, of just barely getting by out of food I grew myself, in my yard, planting a tree a year and a bush every other year. I’ve been trying for years, got pretty good at it too, before the breast cancer; it is the best therapy for fighting any cancer, I think. It’s more a gift to the future more than anything, when am I going to eat the fruit and nuts of these trees? In my lifetime? Then it will all get razed and turned into a parking lot when I am gone.
I hope not, I hope it’s a beautiful gem that my kids and grandkids will enjoy. I work for 15 minutes, really going at a good clip, then maybe get one or two 15 or 20 minute spurt of progress in over the entire day. It’s so much harder when you have health problems, but the best thing is to keep trying, a little bit of something, one thing at a time and it will add up. And once it’s in it becomes an established bed.
Those sections of 3ft are not connected completely yet, but they’re all in a row and since I have to redo it, I can put a little better thought into the design to maximize growth. I did pretty well on beets. I had enough to both make sweet and sour casserole (boiled beets and sour apple in layers with butter and nutmeg on top, baked at 350 for a half hour). And the beets I pickled are now pickled and aged well and delicious.
I’d like to grow some golden beets and pickle them with cinnamon this year. It’s nice to have jars of pickles on your shelves that you grew and made yourself. I have about a case of the red beets I pickled from last year to eat this year. Our yards are our last resource for any kind of if not self sustained at least an active participation of our own food. It gives you a real sense of satisfaction.