Simply Resourceful

Simple ways to be more conscious about how we use our resources.

Updates at the Wolfe House!

We have been a bit disappointed with the garden this year because the soil is really poor.  It's mostly clay with very little organic matter so it is hard as a rock without many nutrients.

Thinking ahead, Jon put a wanted ad on Craigslist for manure.  We quickly received a response...a farmer with 200 cows.  The manure is only 6 weeks old so we will rotor-till about half of it in the garden after the fall harvest; and then in the spring add more before planting.  Some of it will be added around the fruit trees.

For $75.00 we received 5 tons.  I couldn't help but take a deep sniff of this manure...the familiar smell of my childhood where I grew up on a dairy farm.  Cow manure always reminds me of the black rubber boots that fit over my dad's work shoes. 

Jon built a trellis for the tomato plants.

This is an embarrassing picture...these are supposed to be bush beans but they are not very bushy.  The ladybugs finally made camp and helped diminish the aphids that were eating the leaves.  The plants are slowly filling out and surprisingly have a lot of flowers ready to bloom.

This is the solar panel for the electric fence that surrounds the garden, blueberries, and grape vines.  It is 10,000 volts and can charge 30 miles of electric fence.  So far we haven't had any deer problems.  At first the grape vines weren't protected and it only took a week for the tiny leaves to be discovered and nibbled off.  Now that they are enclosed by the fence, the leaves have grown back and the deer haven't bothered them. 

The fruit trees are looking really good.  Out of 11 trees, 1 died, and another one only has growth coming from the very base where the root stock is before the graft.  Does anyone know what that means and if we still have a fruit tree of some sort?

The chickens are thriving!  About every 2 weeks I introduce a wheel barrow full of grass clippings into their outdoor fenced area.  When they aren't in the chicken tractor, they can keep busy scratching and pecking the new grass.

I haven't completed a hive inspection since I introduced the new nuc of bees 2 weeks ago.  With very few flowers out there for nectar, I decided to feed them because they have only a few frames of drawn comb and very little capped honey.  So far I have given them 11 cups water and 11 cups sugar.  In the corners of the vivaldi board you can see clumps of big black ants.  I am not sure if they are a threat so I left them alone. 

Everyday we seem to discover new creatures.  This week it was a gigantic turtle in the front yard coming out of the creek.  The tail is really long and covered in spikes.  We have also seen a blue heron eating fish from the creek.

It may seem busy around here, but we always find time to play!


Phoebe June 16, 2012 at 11:39 PM  

Your garden looks really good for a first year garden. It has always taken me about three years to get my soil really nice.
I'm jealous of that rope swing!
And scared of that turtle. Is that a snapping turtle?

Holly June 17, 2012 at 6:55 AM  

Yes, we're pretty sure it is a snapping turtle. With the weeds about 2 feet tall along the creek, Paul is not allowed to play in the creek anymore. I was concerned about snakes such as the poisonous copper head, but now I have to worry about turtles. What surprised me about the turtle was how fast it moved across the yard and how it didn't pull it's head in when we approached it.

Anonymous June 17, 2012 at 1:23 PM  

Hey Holly!
On your apple tree that is only leafing at the base...that sounds like a failed graft for sure, so the tree you end up with will be the rootstock variety. You could remove the graft and train it into a whip and try regrafting it next year with scion wood of your choice, or maybe try to bud graft it a little later in the summer. Check out Home Orchard Society for lots of good advice.
Awesome turtle...snappers are really amazing (and scary, and also apparently tasty). You probably have cottonmouth snakes in your area too (as well as timber rattlers and other fun poisonous ones), but copperheads are the only ones I ever ran into in KY. Most of those snakes are pretty shy and rare to see, so I wouldn't lose too much sleep over them. Say hello to the appalachian mountains for me!
Laura (from Zenger)

About this blog

A weekly update on our adventures of trying to be more self-sufficient by using resources wisely. We explore a variety of topics that most broadly fit in the "Homesteading" category, i.e. beekeeping, organic gardening, edible landscaping/fruit forest, food preservation/canning, woodworking, soap-making, and environmental stewardship.

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