January 6, 2023

Around The Homestead

This blog post started off as a winters project list update, but that wouldn't make for much of a post. It's been either too cold or too wet to tackle our outdoor projects, which make up the bulk of interesting things to blog about. Our project lists are never written in stone, anyway, and mostly used to prioritize. And that allows us a lot of flexibility to address whatever presents itself. 

One non-list project that took priority recently, was a cracked runoff debris clean-out tube, frozen and broken from our big winter freeze

Clean-out plug for the 1550-gallon tank catching rainwater off the goat barn.

We were quite fortunate that this was the only water pipe problem we had. Many others in the area had plumbing damage with their houses, but of our house and five rainwater collection tanks, this was the only breakage. Happily, Dan had another section of the right size pipe to replace it.

Of the winter project list, it's been too wet to work in the garden, but we've gotten a few nice days and  made a little progress on the greenhouse.

Hardi backer board was used as sheathing for the pony wall

The other item on the outdoor project list is fence maintenance and repair. Dan tends to tree thinning and limb trimming first, because these often create peril for existing fences.  

Tree thinning makes  a start on next year's firewood.

Branches and sticks end up in the wood chip piles.

On cold rainy days I've been tackling mending, which I've combined with my winter learning project. I've found numerous interesting videos on visible mending, and I'm especially impressed with Japanese mending, particularly boro and shashiko. These two techniques combine two of my favorite needlework arts—quilting and embroidery—with the utilitarian skill of mending. Here's an example.

Visible mending techniques are very fun because they add
a creative aspect to something needful. More on this soon.

I've taken notes and am gradually organizing them into a blog post (which I'll hopefully publish later this month). 

Not on the project list was an early start with spring cleaning. This came about because of the beautiful cross-stitch my wonderful daughter-in-law made me for Christmas.

You'll see this often in my upcoming kitchen photo blog posts.

I had to have it where I can admire it every day, and decided that my one free kitchen wall was the perfect spot. That meant taking down everything I had hanging there, and that meant that the wall needed washing, and one thing led to another, and so spring cleaning has begun. This, combined with my winter purge project is getting me off to a good start to an more organized, cleaner house. Once spring planting season hits, about all I can manage for housework is a lick and a promise until after the harvest is picked and preserved.

In critter news, I have four does all due in March.

Because the pasture was winter-killed last month, there is less grazing for the goats. So I try to take them down to the woods more often. 

The turkeys are now full grown, and unfortunately, all appear to be male.

I reckon we'll be looking to keep one and get a female for him.

I think that pretty much brings everything up to date. January looks like it will be relatively mild, so if we get a lot of sun to dry the ground out, we'll be able to tackle more on our winter project list.

Around The Homestead © January 2023


Rosalea said...

A closer look at that beautiful cross stitch? You are spring cleaning...and I am still waiting for beautiful winter!!! Could you not replant some hardy greens, now that the weather will be mild for a while? Love that sunny third goat picture..green stuff!

Leigh said...

Rosalea, replanting greens might be an option, assuming the soil is warm enough for germination. This is where a greenhouse will come in handy!

daisy g said...

We are in the same boat with the mucky ground from all the rain. The greenhouse is looking fantastic! I can't wait to see what goodies you'll be growing there.

That cross stitch is wonderful! I can see why you want to make room for it.

Enjoy some sunshine today!

Leigh said...

Daisy, it rain and wet ground just come with the season! Too bad the greenhouse won't be ready for this winter.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

What a wonderful crosstitch!

The Ravishing Mrs. TB is re-doing the 31 day clutter reduction challenge that she did last year (1st = 1 one thing, 2nd = 2 things, etc. up to 31st = 31 things). I am doing it it "in the background" as well.

Our weather - between the freeze and the return of Fall (apparently) has wrought havoc on everything. Mostly lovely shades of brown.

Ed said...

Just last night we were discussing the upcoming year and plans. I'm sure it will change, it always does, but for now, I have a list of things to do/finish in my head and can't wait for more seasonable weather to get started.

Leigh said...

TB, the clutter reduction challenge sounds like a good one. So much stuff can accumulate in a year! Sounds like your garden is done. That's always a sad time of year.

Ed, knowing you, it will be a very productive year!

Mama Pea said...

Boy, when you crack a pipe, you do a bang-up job of it! Am eager to see more of your greenhouse, new mending techniques and that labor-of-love x-stitch your DIL did for you. With four of your does obviously due to give you babies, you will be over-run with the bouncy, little kiddlies come March! Thinking of your turkeys, why is it that we always get more male livestock than female? Doesn't Mother Nature know it's the females we need for regeneration? Oh, right. That wouldn't happen with the males. I nice balance sure would be appreciated though. ;o)

Leigh said...

Mama Pea, that was the one he forgot to drain out and it was filled with rainwater which became a large solid cylinder of ice! We were fortunate it wasn't worse.

Good question about male:female ratios in nature. In my permaculture design course, Bill Mollison talked a lot about soil and dietary pH as a influencer of gender outcome. Apparently, in acidic regions more males are born, while in alkaline areas, more females are born. That was his conclusion after decades of observation.

Mama Pea said...

How interesting regarding Bill Mollison's theory re male:female ratio. I'm wondering if my husband has ever come across that in his reading. Will have to check. It would certainly be interesting to see if one could feed livestock foods that would influence their dietary pH prior to breeding time. Or even prior to when you wanted your hens to lay and subsequently hatch out eggs. Eggs that became laying hens rather than way too many roosters! Thanks for sharing this info. :o)

Leigh said...

Bill Mollison is indeed a fascinating speaker. Especially because he bases his statements on a combination of science and personal observation/experience.

There are some ideas on how to apply the pH theory to livestock breeding. One is an anecdotal story about an old cattle farmer in New Zealand who told an experienced goat breeder that he always waited until late the in cow's heat to introduce her to the bull. The theory is that her vaginal and uterine pH lower towards the end of her estrous cycle and become more alkaline. He swore by it and Irene thought it tended to work, and I've tried it myself. The years I've waited on breeding are the years I get more doe kids! So, while I won't say it's guaranteed, I would say it would make a great research project for someone.

Anonymous said...

When my daughter was a child, she had rips in clothes from time to time. I would patch and then embroider over the patch and sometimes add related embroidery somewhere on the garment. One pair of pants had a large ladybug over the patch and several smaller ones elsewhere on the legs.

Leigh said...

I love that idea. So perfect for a kid!

Debby Riddle said...

That cross-stitch piece is so special!
We do think alike, I too have been viewing mending videos and I appreciate the skill some employ.
We have short winters in some ways. The daffodils are poking up and I have a short row of peas pushing through. I love the greens of shallots and multiplier onions and use them in breads and dips. They are growing well.
We are making the news with our winter storms and flood warnings. I am happy to say that the central valley, where so much food is grown, graduated out of the severe drought status!

Quinn said...

Oh I do miss having kids in the Spring! Lucky for me I can enjoy others' kids vicariously :)

Leigh said...

Debby, that is such good news about coming out of drought! That was so worrisome for so long.

All those videos on so many interesting topics is a wonderful resource. I'm even learning some new things for my plain sewing! I especially like the inspiration.

Nice to hear you've got something growing! I'm waiting to see if anything survived our hard freeze. (Besides the weeds! lol)

Quinn, kids in spring are such a joy. You didn't breed any of your goats this year? Sometimes it's best that way, but I'd miss those spring babies.

Fundy Blue said...

The beautiful cross-stitch piece your daughter-in-law made is a marvelous and thoughtful Christmas gift! Lucky you!, Leigh I enjoyed the photos of the goats in the woods. I had to thoroughly clean and organize my house before we left for Hawaii. For the first time we had house sitters, and getting our home ready to accommodate them was a big job. I'm really glad we have them though, because Aurora (and Eastern Colorado) just hd the worst snowstorm in thirty years. Enjoy your "down time."

Leigh said...

Fundy, then it sounds like your timing to go to Hawaii was perfect! It always feels good to have a clean home.