Homestead Journal #1

We have decided that it would be a good idea to keep a bit more track of the things that we’re doing around here and progress that we’re making. It is often hard to work on good blog posts because you need to get organized (ahead of time), get pictures, have a topic to even write about, etc.  Because of this I feel the need to add more continual content without resorting to attempting to force stuff.

I also think that continually writing about what we’ve got going on here will certainly clue people in on many of the changes and challenges that constantly happen here.  The other added bonus is I’ll be able to keep a journal at least for my own record keepings…  I already have a “planting journal” that I neglect more than I should, but I generally write very noteworthy things in it.  Recently I have been making note of when things break dormancy and start putting out green buds. This “winter” has been a very exceptional one.  It has been overly extremely cold, but on that occasional day it was also very hot.  It was about two weeks ago when things really started to change, and other than a period of 3 days, it has been very warm for weeks.  Hence, everything has broken dormancy.  In fact there were a lot of things that broke dormancy in mid-Februrary and you can quote me as saying “there is going to be a lot of sad people when these flowers go killed by frosts”.  I feel pretty confident we’ll get a least 1, if not 2 more frosts before mid-April (our 100% for sure no-frost date).

Right now its 73 degrees out and there isn’t a single cloud in the sky.  It is frankly, quite amazing out.  Over the weekend the wife and I did all sorts of stuff, as we’re about extremely busy every single weekend.  On Friday we went and attempted to go to Blackwell nursery in Folsom but the guy wasn’t there.  We had previously purchased from him before and we were looking to do a group buy on citrus trees.  After calling him we found out they won’t be getting citrus in for another two weeks.  So we decided to go ahead and purchase (at full price) the satsuma varieties that we’ve wanted to trial here (increasing varieties), so we bought some from Lowes and O’Keef feed and seed.

Funny/awesome thing happened at Lowes.  We saw earlier in the season that they had gotten in a fresh shipment of trees which included Hass avocados.  I could not get myself to purchase one for 45 dollars.  Well this weekend we were looking at their small citrus selection which was actually much smaller than what it was a few weeks back.  And there were sadly no more avocados.  While we were looking I noticed this plant that was clearly different and wasn’t citrus.  I thought it was a Loquat because it had such large leaves.  This tree had no tags or markings on it, but I had a feeling it was an avocado.  Well we found one of the sales people and they went and got somebody who just basically wrote 17.95 on the tree and that was that.  The wife and I were doing back flips at getting such a deal.  Well we went to the checkout register and those darn cashiers were trying to ruin our deal.  They had known the price of avocados and looked them up in the system.  It said there was 1 left and it was 45 dollars.  I was already a little agitated that they were ruining our deal, so they called the department manager, and over the phone I heard him say “just give it to them” and needless to say I was doing backflips again.  So we got a 3.5 gallon 4 foot tall avocado tree for 17.95!!!!  WHAT A DEAL. We also purchased a Armstrong Satsuma, and a Tangerine.

Saturday we did our normal Farmers market thing where we found out that apparently the chicken guy we purchased from has been buying Texas Natural (a non GMO, non-Soy feed) from a place in Franklington. This is VERY high on my list to get in contact with these guys and see about getting this high quality feed.  Afterwards bought a few more trees at O’ Keefs. We purchased a Brown Select Satsuma, Owari Satsuma, Ayers Pear, and a Pinapple Pear. At the end of the day I worked a little longer on the driveway with the tractor.

On Sunday we planted a lot of the medicinal seeds that we didn’t plant in pots.  I will write up a separate post about that maybe tonight.  We finally finished clearing all but the end section of the southern boundary.  We spent 6 hours taking down trees, and clearing and stacking brush getting it ready to be chipped and the area planted in.  The wife and I even pushed down a few trees together.  After that, we planted 24 lettuces, 6 Napa Cabbages, and 12 arugulas.  Our garden is actually to start rocking now that there is enough light.  We’ve decided to put together a plan to keep the garden in shape by actually spending some time every day getting it ready, and keeping it maintained, like it should be.  We did a little weeding and a little mulching as well.

Today I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do.  Everything is begging for my attention so who knows.  I might just continue clearing the last remaining little bit of brush so that the final trees can be taken down.  Once that happens we can actually plant the hedge of bamboo and start to repair that entire forested area. I definitely hate seeing it in its current shape, but sometimes you gotta do a disturbance to get something good.

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