A Homestead With Dairy Sheep,
Garden Fence & A Bell

It’s hard to write that as my title but when I wrapped up May’s escapades, we were all over the map or should I say homestead with various and deeply meaningful projects that I just had to include in the blog! It started with a trip to Eastern Tennessee for more dairy sheep (in the back of the SUV). There were several weeks installing a GIANT fence around the garden. It was fun to finally find the perfect place to hang our farm bell! Plus May was full of TN wildlife from birds to reptiles!

New Dairy Sheep

I got the phone call in the afternoon that my friend in East Tennessee needed to rehome some of her East Friesian Dairy Sheep. I think it was February when we had first spoken about the possibility of adding 2 ewes and 4 ewe lambs to my milking program. So much time had passed that I had honestly forgotten. Now I quickly had to figure out how to transport 6 dairy sheep in the back of our SUV without destroying it.

I knew that layers of protection would be the only chance for the back of the car. I started with a “blanket” of puppy training pad, then a triple layer of tarp, and for aromatherapy we added a bad of pine shaving! We had a five and a half hour trip back home. All things considered, it worked quite well. Watch the fun on my YouTube Channel and make sure to subscribe!

New Garden Fence

When you have free range chickens, ducks, geese, guineas, turkeys, and peacocks that means you better have a tall fence to keep them out of the garden! We decided to use eight foot t-post instead of six foot. The bottom three feet is a two inch by four inch welded wire that we overlapped with 6 feet of deer netting. We have so many deer in the area that our creek is named the Buck Branch.

We had to wait to plant the hoop house because we couldn’t open the side walls for ventilation and to cool it down. The indoor temperature runs at least 20 degrees warmer than the outdoor temperature. Without a garden  fence, the birds just thought the hoop house was a covered dust bath with green treats!
garden fence post pounder and t post

The garden is getting a giant fence!

We probably spent about two weeks installing the garden fence. It was a major project but it was also a major step forward for growing our own garden goodies on the homestead! It was fun to finally get some seeds in the ground. We also bought a lot of seedlings because we were quite late for seeds. We have onions, potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, okra, bitter melon, basil, dill, thyme, oregano, and medicinal flowers planted inside. Outside we planted the garden with cactus that produce prickly pears, potatoes, peanuts, peas, okra, horseradish, blueberries, figs, wild elderberry bushes, wild blackberries, and zinnias. It feels great to have a garden again!

5th Generation Farm Bell

Nothing says dinner like the sound of an antique farm bell. This isn’t any farm bell, this beauty has been in our family for five generations. It was originally my Great, Great Grandma’s farm bell. And when my 97 year old Grandma Doris came to visit, she and my two Aunts helped my mom an me pick out the perfect location for the family farm bell.

farm bell

Installing the farm bell.

Just open the kitchen door and take a few steps across the porch and dinner is served! My Dad and me installed the farm bell between a few six by six columns that he told the builder to keep long. We thought this is were our Healing Homestead sign would go. It still might go there but in the mean time, the bell sits high a top the porch over looking the garden. Even Theodore, our pet turkey wanted to be part of this project.

Tennessee Wildlife

I’ve been sending my sister, Dr. Sarah a ton of turtle photos! She had a pet box turtle as a kid. It’s such a gift to find Eastern Box Turtles just roaming the land on our Tennessee homestead. They are a tortoise and do NOT live in the water. The red eyes indicate this turtle is a male. We also found another male box turtle in the garden.

Eastern Box Turtle

Eastern Box Turtle

Tennessee is also know for hummingbirds. They migrate every Spring and Fall so we installed two hummingbird feeders on the porch. I’ve now keyed in on their humming noise and really enjoy knowing the Ruby Throated Hummingbirds are here. We planted a lot of flowers in the garden for the bees and hummingbirds.

We’re also seen a lot of slithering friends. I’m in a Facebook group that is helping me identify beneficial non venomous types versus venomous. It’s called the Tennessee Snake Identification and Education Group. Grey Rat Snakes (Chicken Snake/Black Snake) are extremely beneficial to controlling rodents on the homestead. I wonder how long it will take to find some snakes in the garden now that the guinea hens can’t get in the garden. I even saw the elusive Pinesnake. This is a big deal because they spend most of their time underground. With declining habitat, there are reaching critical population levels.

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