Summer Is Over?!
Let’s Recap The Summer At Healing Homestead
I like to do a monthly blog so I can look back at the previous month and see what we accomplished at Healing Homestead. We undertook a monumental project building a homestead from scratch on clear cut land. So the blog is what keeps me motivated that we are making forward progress, especially this summer.
Well, the last quarter had a lot of progress! So much so, that I couldn’t find five spare hours in each month to write them down. Until now, so buckle up and enjoy the progress!
July: Butterflies, Butchering, & Bees
July started off pretty chill (relaxing not cool, we are talking summer in Tennessee). There was just a few more strands of fence to run so we could move the sheep to the new pastures. We continued to streamline our process for sprouting the animal feed. We also picked a lot of zinnias and enjoyed the beautiful swallowtail butterflies.
July ended with a bang! We butchered 14 roosters and three ducks. I don’t recommend doing that many. In fact, I told Jason that the new number is ten. If I catch more than ten, he’s allowed to release the difference until next time. Butchering is the quick part, processing is not!
This summer, we started another farm pond for rainwater collection. The also improved our infrastructure in the form of roads and drainage. I found a stray puppy along the road. I met a lot of nice new neighbors while knocking on doors to see if anyone was missing this little, orange, Tasmanian devil. I didn’t want to get too attached in case someone claimed him but we named him Copper.
We had a to get my birthday present in the ground before we left for a 3.5 week road trip, two healthy Arkansas Black Apple Trees! Digging the holes this summer was a breeze with the track hoe onsite. With a giant hole dug, we could amend it with peat moss, Azomite, and woodchips to give the apple trees a head start. The bees heard we were leaving so they decided they needed a new queen this summer because there was no new brood in the hive. And of course there couldn’t have been any “better” timing for a stray puppy that I found along the road. I met a lot of nice new neighbors while knocking on doors to see if anyone was missing this little, orange, Tasmanian devil. After a week of searching for his owners, we named him Copper.
August: Outstanding Road Trip,
Thanks to my parents, this summer, we were able to leave the homestead for almost the entire month of August. Jason had a seminar in California so we turned it into a summer road trip covering 6,000 miles, 12 states, multiple state parks, six National Parks, Disneyland, beach hopping, horseback riding, hiking, scuba diving, soaking in hot springs, and more!
We were glad to get back to the homestead so we could play with all of the new animals. The puppy is now a month older and while we were gone my Dad got another piglet. We named him Mork II. For several days, I thought about what to call him. The original Mork was killed by a hay bale. So yet again, we have Mork and Mindy!
This summer, I finally broke down and got not one barn cat but two. When you feed livestock, the mice go unchecked without a prey animal. I’m not to fond of cats because I learned in college how destructive they are to the song birds and other native animals but did I mention the MICE are out of control in the barn? They are living in the engine of the motorhome and when you walk in the barn at night, my headlamp reflects off their beady little eyes as they run horizontally across the shelves knocking over whatever is in their path to darkness. So meet Stormy and Mouser, our super sweet five month old barn kittens! Our friend’s children played with them a lot over the summer waiting for us to get back from our trip.
Earlier, I hinted at the clear cut land. What that means to our sheep…after they eat EVERY blade of grass that I was trying to regrow this summer (since July), they will escape through the electric fence (protected by their wool) to find more grass because they don’t want their hay. Silly me, I thought Jason and I could fence in the old 2.5 acre hayfield at the road. I mean it already had one side with the old fence on the property line so how hard could that be? I figured that we could have the sheep moved within a week. Haha WRONG! 12 grueling, hot, summer days later, the sheep were moved to beautiful green grass where they are now very content. We also welcomed a new steer. Another silly me, I bought him sight unseen and was shocked at how skinny he was. This was his first photo at Healing Homestead so let’s watch him grow healthy and strong.
West End Community Club & The Fair
As we are smack dab in the midst of farm chores and building infrastructure it’s time for the Middle Tennessee District Fair! This isn’t just a weekend or even week long fair, it is ten days and a huge deal in the summer for Lawrenceburg. A group of us met three times prior to the fair to help design, build, and set up the fair booth for the West End Community Club. And we got Best In Show! We also placed first for our community basket of garden goodies. This Community Club is AMAZING! It is a must for homesteaders and anyone looking to meet your neighbors and to be involved in what’s happening in Lawrenceburg. Learn more on their facebook page. Join us for breakfast the 4th Saturday of the month from 6:30am to 9am. If you’re not a morning person, bring a dish to pass to the potluck and monthly meeting the first Tuesday of the month. After the potluck we have a speaker from within our community.
Last year, I had no idea how many categories there are to enter your produce or handmade goods at the Middle Tennessee District Fair. This summer, I entered them ALL, just kidding, only a quarter of them. Many of our entries did not place like peppers, hot peppers, small tomatoes, culinary herb (Parsley), aromatic herb (Thai Basil), medicinal herb (Oregano), pizza herbs (Basil, Oregano, Rosemary), zinnia, yeast bread, a lot of amateur photos But I was shocked and humbled by what did place like our blue eggs got third, salad tomatoes got second, a photo of my sweet Indi’s last trip down to the creek got second, cosmos flower got second, and the biggest shock was not only did our honey win first for the dark honey, it won Best In Show for ALL of the honey categories!! I only pulled three frames to harvest honey this summer. I was shocked at how dark it was. The flavor is amazing with hints of molasses and almost cocoa.
There you have it, our summer adventures in a nutshell! Make sure to follow along for daily videos on your favorite social media platform.