Today was busy. Woah boy, it was busy!
We had a lot to get done, and did a bit extra too. First I took the kids with me to the farm to feed the pigs while our friend is vacationing. Then I took the kids to Orschelins to price check their rabbit wire and chicken feeders. It's a miracle I didn't buy any more chicks. Didn't get anything because they didn't have the wire we wanted, so I ordered the wire and feeders on sale from Tractor Supply and saved some good dough. $6 off for the feeders, and $18 off for the wire. Then we went home for a while and I got a garden area marked off where I'll plant green beans and sunflowers. It's close by the porch so that:
- Melissa can see the enormous mammoth grey stripe sunflowers from the kitchen window, and
- We can harvest the green beans a lot easier, while still on the patio. Some zone 1 work going on, finally.
We haven't moved the garden into true zone 1 because the kiddos have a play space that butts right up to it. They ride their bikes and play basketball there, so all I see is a bicycle plowing through a garden destroying everything. My first small corn patch is like zone 1.5, and I've always called the food forest zone 1, but it's really more of a zone 2.
After that, we got out to Russell Feed to get cow manure. We're going to spread it on the back lawn for some nice fertilizer to boost the grass. Melissa loves good grass, and I'm trying to support her as she supports me with the garden. The grass is the angle I used to sell her on tractoring meat birds, so I'm doing what I can to make that happen. They had two options for composted manure and we went with the organic one, which was a dollar less per 40 pound bag. Double easy choice there.
On the way back from there, we stopped by a cottonwood tree. I've been wanting to harvest cottonwood buds for a while to make another salve, and now I have some on the stove to soak for a few days. The kids played in the field while I picked buds. Next step will be to tincture some, if I can harvest more buds in time.
Half a jar of buds, fill the jar with oil. Soak in a small pan of water at 140°F (60°C) for five days or soak outside in the sun for six weeks to a year. I used coconut oil so as to make somewhat of a balm or salve.
On one of my many laps through the food forest, I stopped for a picture of my soon to be elder patch. I dug up five small elder trees in the heat of last summer and transplanted them here. After their first two weeks, I was convinced they were dead. I pruned heavily and left them there just in case, and this spring they all leafed out and are supporting no less than fifteen suckers in total! They got planted here for a few reasons:
- The spot I got them was in the understory in a ditch by the highway. This spot here will have similar water movement and retention and similar shade from the fence line.
- Flowers and bushy plants are severely lacking in my food forest. Now I've got a little something in that layer that's beneficial in a lot of ways.
- This spot is good for the trees to kinda sprawl and cluster. I don't walk back there often, so they can do their thing in peace.
Not sure if they'll flower this year, but we'll see! I'm going to go back soon and get some cuttings to try and root to make a small hedge out front in the sharing garden.
Next step is to make the chicken tractors and order chickens! I'm going to stop in at Tractor Supply and see if they'll match their online price in store. The birds in the store are forty cents more expensive than online, but I'd really rather buy them in store so I don't have to hassle with going to the post office at six in the morning after three hours of sleep. I mean... I'll do it, but I'd kinda rather not lol
I'll be doing all that this weekend, so there's something to look forward to if you're into small scale suburban regenerative agriculture. A pair of backyard chicken tractors for under a hundred bucks. I'll do some digging around, but I don't think anyone has a model for suburban pastured chickens on a backyard scale... I'll be sure and do a write up (or four) as the process goes. This could be a game changer for local food independence.
Til next time, I'm off to bed with my first glass of water for the day. It's easy to forget to hydrate when you're having so much fun.
Tomorrow, @artemislives is gonna squeal with excitement, so y'all stand by!
All action for the good of all.