Last Week On The Homestead: What We're Harvesting And A Sweet Chicken Story

 

The Little Coop Girls


August 1-7, 2022
Hello friends!  Are you harvesting an abundance of fresh produce yet?  We certainly are.  Our refrigerator and counters are always packed full of fruit and veg (and eggs from the Coop Girls) August and September.  I love it!  We have a second small refrigerator in our basement for our backstock eggs and veggies.

It has been a hot and humid week which makes us even more grateful for the moderate and less humid days when we receive them.  We are expecting to see a few of those days this week and the animals and people at Cobble Hill Farm can't wait.


Coop Girl Stella is on the roost
Do you remember me mentioning that Coop Girl Dorilla is my favorite?  Well, I have a sweet Dorilla story for you.  The littles (pullets) are still separated from the flock.  We'll be putting everyone together in a couple of weeks.  Until then, they have a smaller coop within our larger indoor coop.  Every morning we manually take them out of their indoor coop and put them in one of our outdoor coops.  And every evening we put them all back in their indoor coop, so they are safe for the night.

Dorilla and Stella (both in the older adult flock) are almost always the first 2 chickens to roost every evening.  They are always together and almost always start out close to the window and little by little get pushed down to the opposite side of the coop.  Stella seems to be sensitive to noise and/or commotion and the littles, when we are bringing them in or out, make a LOT of noise.

Because it's been so warm this past week, we've been leaving the littles outside until almost dark so they can stay where it's a bit cooler.  They have roosts, water, food, etc. outside and enjoy their extended time.  Because it's later, Dorilla and Stella are always up on the roost.  As soon as we start the transition, Stella gets visibly upset.  Sweet Dorilla either tucks Stella underneath her or puts her wing over Stella's head.  Honestly, it's the most adorable thing ever!  Stella will peek out and I always let her know how many more trips we have (we take them in 2 at a time plus have to bring their water and food in).  She continues tucking into Dorilla and then peeking out until we're finally done.

Chickens are the best!


sweet potatoes

In the garden we are currently harvesting green beans, zucchini, tomatoes, poblano and jalapeno peppers, broccoli (I ended up taking all of it as it was starting to bolt - we should have more this fall), spinach, kale, swiss chard, cucumbers, herbs, lettuce, elderberries, and potatoes.  My cauliflower is not looking good - it has stopped growing, and the pepper plants are full, we're just waiting for the colors to change.

Tomatoes - remember how I wrote in the last update that squirrels and/or chipmunks were taking all of my tomatoes as soon as they started to blush?  Well later that week I came across some information where it was suggested that they are doing this because of thirst.  The person said, if you leave water bowls out, they will drink that and leave your tomatoes alone.  I was intrigued and immediately put water dishes out.  Well.....it didn't work.  They drink from the water bowls AND steal my tomatoes.  So, I'm still harvesting at first blush and putting them in our windowsills to fully ripen.  No vine-ripened tomatoes for us anytime soon.


Potatoes - I believe also in the last update I mentioned that I harvested some of our potatoes and they seemed a bit on the smaller side.  Well, it must have been a combination of the variety and the fact that those potatoes were planted too close together.  I harvested the remaining potatoes last week and they are medium to large!  The Yukon Gold potatoes were planted further apart and are a normal size.  The Dark Red Norland's were planted a bit too close together and although we did have some decent ones, we had many small ones.  

I forgot to weigh them when I first started harvesting but I did weigh what we had left and what I dug up last week and we received 28 pounds.  Not too bad for only 1 4'x3' potato hill!  I still have to harvest those planted in the bucket.  I would guess we probably had about 35 pounds of potatoes from the hill.

The plan for next year is to increase what we grow by at least double and to plant most of it in the front yard.  In the front I think with the increased sun exposure they will be ready a bit earlier and we'll try to plant a second round for a fall harvest.  

Green Beans - for some reason they slowed production a couple of weeks ago, so I picked up a small amount at the farmers market last weekend.  It was a mistake as ours are now growing quite prolifically.  No problem though, we ate them!  We'll be freezing any excess.


Zucchini/Yellow Summer Squash/Cukes - we have been harvesting a plethora of zucchini, but the yellow summer squash plants have slowed.  We've seemed to have a pollination issue this year although I do see bees busy in the garden.  When I realized I was seeing less than years previous I planted rudbeckia, echinacea and bee balm in the garden.  I planted yarrow as well, but it didn't come up.  I'll transplant some next year.  I've also done a bit of manual pollination with the cucumbers and yellow squash.  All efforts seemed to have worked as the cucumbers and yellow squash are now coming on strong.


Food preservation has continued.  In addition to blueberries, basil, and cilantro put up in the freezer, we've put more blueberries, vegan oil-free pesto, green beans, broccoli, and kale in the freezer as well.  I should be able to add shredded zucchini this week.  

For canning it's still just the jam I canned a few weeks ago.  We'll can a few jars of pickles, pickled jalapenos, roasted tomato salsa, crushed tomatoes, and possibly cantaloupe jam (tastes like a creamsicle) in the coming weeks.  I'm not sure what else.  I believe we have enough relish and tomato sauce left from last year so likely not that. 

Zucchini and elderberries have been dehydrated.  We've made zucchini chips (so delicious eaten as chips with dips!) and slices for rehydrating into soups/stews.  I also made a batch of elderberry syrup with some of the fresh berries and dehydrated the remaining (at least what the birds left for me).

We will be purchasing bulk sweet corn from a local farm in the next couple of weeks to freeze.  We cut most of it off the cob but freeze some on the cob as well (Oliver LOVES eating it off the cob).  Once we are harvesting more tomatoes, I'll also oven roast a few batches and throw those in the freezer.  They add such a delicious flavor to spaghetti sauce!  We'll freeze peppers and broccoli too.  Some of the peppers I'll roast first, again for the flavor, and others I'll just chop or slice and throw in the freezer.


We've been eating a lot of fresh fruit and veg.  Salads, wraps, and stir fry's are on the menu pretty much daily.  

Although our gasoline prices seem to have stabilized for a moment, it seems the prices at the grocery stores continue to rise.  Are you finding something similar where you live?  I'm fearful of seeing the next electric bill with all of the a/c usage we had last week.

How was your week?  Are you harvesting and preserving too?


7 comments

Jennifer Ayers said...

I love that your chickens name is Dorilla. Reading this story today made my heart so happy.
I miss the original so much. Thanks for sharing.

Jennifer Ayers said...

I love that your chickens name is Dorilla.
This story made my heart happy today.
I so miss the original. Thanks for sharing.

Staci said...

Jennifer - we miss her so much as well! Yes, Dorilla (the chicken) is the sweetest, most kind chicken - reminds us exactly of her namesake! Happy you enjoyed the story. 😊

Kathy said...

All your gardening skills paying off with fresh food. Have a good week.

daisy g said...

Oh, those sweet chooks. They are just the best!

I think next year, for potatoes, I'm gonna try the Ruth Stout method of growing on the ground and covering with straw or hay. I just need to find a good spot. I found out about this method on "That 1870's Homestead" (YouTube). It looks like she always gets a great yield!

Congrats on a very successful summer garden! No doubt you will be eating well for years to come. Blessings...

Staci said...

Thank you Kathy - paid off indeed. There's nothing like picking fresh what you want to eat that day!

Daisy - yes, I know many who have had success with the Ruth Stout method of growing potatoes. I'm actually considering doing that in the front yard so I don't have to bring in more soil. Thanks for stopping by!

Mary, Windy Meadows Farm said...

So jealous of your wonderful harvest...for some reason, things here are soooo slow. Last year I had so many apples on the trees the limbs were breaking, this year - not one single apple. Tomatoes on the vine are still green (planted in May) but oh, those un-carve-able pumpkins we had last fall are taking over! We do have hot peppers (love making Cowboy Candy) and that's our "harvest" so far. Maybe I need to get bees again...

You've been so busy...your over-stuffed refrigerator looks wonderful! I hope you're getting some of our cooler weather; the humidity has dropped and days are in the 70's. Take care, Mary