Friday, February 27, 2009

We're moving toward SPRING!!!!!

While everything is still in winter mode here we are moving toward spring. There is a little greening showing up in the grass/weeds, daffodils are blooming along with forsythia, and I hear more birds singing so I know spring is on it's way. Along with these signs, my fingers are getting itchier to dig in the dirt....a sure sign of spring!

I have ordered some new seeds to plant in the next week or so. Salad bowl lettuce, Swiss Chard, and spinach. I have radish seeds, turnip seeds and some mustard seeds to plant in my seed box.

I look forward to having fresh greens in my garden just outside the back door. I love going to the garden to gather a hand full of lettuce for a fresh salad. This makes a wonderful lunch.

William bought three blueberry bushes that I hope we get in the ground this weekend. David, the man who owns the nursery where we bought the bushes, told me that we should have blueberries this summer. Probably not a lot but it's exciting to think of picking fresh blueberries from our own trees.

Next, I am looking for blackberry canes to set out. Not the thornless berries but the old timey kind that i used to help pick when I was younger. OUCH....I remember how scratched my arms would be but the berries were well worth the scratches.

I would like to have a couple of crab apple trees added to our property too. This type of apple makes a most wonderful jelly. I think this will wait until autumn of 2009. Add some strawberry plants to the three other fruits/berries and we will be set for jellies and jams made in our own kitchen.

I am trying to get William to increase our garden space by adding some space in the front where we can plant corn, peas and beans. It would be nice to have enough beans that we could allow some seeds to dry to use for the next garden but also for eating this winter.

Yes, I can tell spring is on the way. I have gardening fever and it is getting worse everyday!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Downsizing one flock to make room for rare breeds

A friend came over today and took half of the Barred Rock hens and all the ducks but a trio of Buff Orpingtons and one poor old Pekin. He was happy to get some laying hens as well as the ducks. He does a flea market kind of sale every weekend where he sells chickens, rabbits, and ducks.

I decided to downsize this flock so I can add a couple of flocks of rare breed chickens. There are some beautiful chickens that are in danger of becoming extinct. My hope is to help preserve these birds.

There is one type of the Sussex breed where we only have one or two flocks in the United States. This is the Silver Sussex. They are bred in the United Kingdom and have only been in the U.S. for a few years.

Another is the Buckeye breed that is already on the critically endangered list according to American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. The Buckeye is an old breed that has become less common. This is the breed that I am planning to start my rare breed flocks with and then move on to another breed later in the summer or spring of 2010.

I bought some meat chickens late last fall. There was a rare breed chick with my order. The young chick has grown into a beautiful rooster. He is a Buttercup. He is known as a Buttercup due to the shape of his comb which is shaped as a cup (not with handles or anything like that but has two sides). Since I already have the roo I may get some pullet chicks to go with him. Buttercups are on the critically endangered list also.

There is a satisfaction in knowing that I will be helping to preserve an endangered bird along with the enjoyment that I get from watching the chickens grow and mature into layers. These reasons along with their antics make raising rare breed chickens worthwhile.

I will post pictures when I get the chicks ordered and they arrive.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Planning a food pantry

Hubby has promised me a good sized pantry soon. I am planning to fill this pantry with home canned food from our garden, canned meats from our animals and supplies from the grocery store.

When I grocery shop at the end of February, I intend to buy some canned goods and baking goods to go into the pantry. If I buy any canned corns, tomatoes or peas I will buy an extra can for each can that I purchase for our March menu. The extras will be stored. Extra flour will be purchased for baking bread and I will throw in several bags of rice.

Along with food items I will purchase extra soap, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, bathroom tissue, laundry detergent and dishwashing detergent to have on hand.

It may take a couple of months to get well stocked from the grocery store and then I will start with our homegrown foods.

Friends have given me many canning jars so all I need are lids and possibly rings. I will need to check these out before I begin to buy the lids for canning.

By the end of summer I hope that I have enough food canned, frozen and store bought to last at least two years.

Then my family will be ready for whatever comes as far as the economy goes.

That's my plan and I'm sticking to it.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sunday Morning's already come down

It's a beautiful day here in Mississippi today. I can't believe that noon time has already arrived and I haven't accomplished anything for this day as yet.

Homesteading in Mississippi is a seven day a week undertaking. There is always work that needs to be done. Rabbit pens cleaned, chicken yards raked, compost piles turned, garden tended, ducks to take to the swimming hole and that's just a start to the list.

However, it's nice to be outside in the fresh air and feel the warmth on one's skin. That is what this day is like. So I will smile, put on mucking boots (shoes) and go outside into the beauty of this Sunday Morning that's already come down into a beautiful Sunday Afternoon.