Monday, April 30, 2012

April 2012 in Review

Another month went by at the speed of light. Whew! I hope you all had as productive an April as I did.

Hubby Dear and I spent a lot of time out in the garden. We are finally making great strides on our homestead and it feels awesome. Namely, we have an orchard in the ground instead of just dreams of one.

Mint and Sage blossoms in the herb garden

The first radishes of the year were ready to be eaten.

"Purple Plum" radish

This is just a tiny percentage of the radishes we have eaten and of what is still growing in the garden.

Noodles the Silver Lakenvelder somehow made it into the garden.
She's kind of a spazz.  

The occasional chicken escapee didn't harm anything.

Garden on April 29

Raindrops on "Sugar Sprint" Pod Pea blossoms

We've already enjoyed salads from both the "Encore" salad mix and "Corvair" spinach

I'm excited to report that our Swiss Chard is actually growing!
It is growing slowly, but a marked improvement over last year. 

"Chester" blackberries in full bloom. 

One of our new "Heritage" raspberry canes

We're doing our best to keep the weeds back from our new raspberry plantings. It's hard to keep up on this, but it's really important. When the new sprouts emerge and grow tall, we'll be able to mulch, but until then, we've got to do it by hand. If the weeds get ahead, they will choke out the baby raspberries. I found that out last year!

Apple trees 

Our newly planted apple trees have leafed out and look great.

"Bluecrop", "Blueray", and "Earliblue" blueberry bushes

One of the big tasks we completed this month was to plant our blueberries. A longer post about the blueberries will be coming soon, I hope. I'm spending so much time outdoors that I don't get the computer time I used to.

We mulched and mulched and mulched everything we can get our hands on. That's another post I haven't gotten around to.

How I spent my prepping budget this month:

I know there are people who raise chickens on a budget, but I am not one of those people. I keep learning about things that would make my life easier or more convenient. Then I buy them and use up all  my prepping budget. It is going to take a looooong time before we break even on all our chicken expenses.

Storage for chicken feed

We are storing our chicken feed in metal trash cans. They are supposedly water-tight, but I found that after a heavy rain that the feed inside was damp in places. Not good! I shopped around and found this Rubbermaid storage shed that fits both of my feed cans with room for a few extras.

One can is for feed, the other for bags of scratch,
DE, grit, etc. 

I have been fighting a losing battle trying to keep pine shavings out of the chickens' food, water, and grit. It is better now that they spend most of their days outside, but I think the money I spent on an easy maintenance feeder, waterer, and grit dispenser is worth it.

New feeder, grit dispenser, and waterer

I also got a rake for maintaining the litter in the coop. We are using the deep litter method of manure management. All I have to do is keep adding litter and turn it occasionally to make sure it doesn't get moist or compacted in areas. Believe it or not, my coop doesn't smell at all and I'll only have to clean it out a couple times a year.

My last chicken-related prepping purchase was to make a dust bath. That's another post for the future. (Man, I am behind, aren't I?)

After all that, I didn't have much budget left. I did buy a can of freeze dried chicken and a Katadyn Hiker Water Microfilteras part of our bug out bag upgrade.

Gratuitous Chicken Pics

I can't have a post that summarizes April without including photos of our backyard inhabitants. The chickens have learned a lot this month. They now wait eagerly for the automatic chicken door to open in the morning. They've learned the layout of the chicken moat and most of them can figure out how to navigate back to the coop without getting lost. Most importantly, they now put themselves to bed as night falls. It was getting old crawling army-style through chicken poop to try and catch those little buggers under the coop every evening.

I love having a mixed flock. Aren't they pretty?

Exploring the moat

Our rooster, Doofenshmirtz

And that's our April! What did you accomplish this month? 


  1. I've been following your blog, and when I came across this one I wanted to make sure and send you this link:

    This couple have been running a homesteading blog for the past six years as well at

    It's full of great information, and they're really interesting people to boot. Hopefully another prepping budget can help out with keeping everything out of the chicks' water :)

  2. April was busy for you. Your chickens look great. I must say, if I were a chicken, I think I would like you for a chicken-mom. They look like they are going to have great lives being taken care of really well. Your garden also looks super.

    Our April was full of garden duty as well. We fixed the drainage issues, built new boxes and have half of them in and filled. We will get the rest in by next week. I planted my first raspberry bushes (actually raspberry sticks) and wonder if we will get fruit this year and my husband replanted some fruit trees that didn't make it from last year. (have I mentioned before that I hate deer...oh yes, I have mentioned it before...deer...%^#*)

    Prepping budget went to getting the garden revamped and upgraded as well as adding a bit to long-term food storage and OTC medical supplies. Something else I place in the prepping catagory, I had a full physical to get a read on my current health and see if there are any changes I need to make. I think that physicals and routine dental check-ups are crucial in prepping if you can manage it.

    1. I'd say you've been busy! I hope the new fruit trees etc. take off and that the deer stay away. Deer haven't found us yet (it helps to be surrounded by mostly tree-less pasture) but there are definitely plenty in our area.

      I completely agree about physicals and dental checkups being important. Good for you!

    2. Oh - and I do hope the chickens like having me for a mom. I really enjoy them and am trying valiantly not to get attached.

  3. Man alive! I follow your blog, but rarely comment. But after reading this and seeing all your beautiful pictures, I had to take just a minute to let you know how impressed I am with how hard you work! You are an inspiration!

  4. What extra large prey are you trying to keep out of your garden!!??!!? Thats some fencing!! I love your grid gardens - so organized. And thanks for the blueberry tips, we are going to put some in this year.

    1. LOL! The garden fencing doubles as a chicken run, so it is 6 feet tall to keep in the wayward chickies. We don't have deer up close to our house, but if we did, I think it would keep them out as well. Good luck with your blueberry plants and thanks for reading. :)