Our first harvest, potato edition

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They were delicious.  And hopefully we can dig up the rest this weekend, but it’s a busy weekend, so we’ll see.

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Homesteading Diary Thursday, September 5

We’re heading into what will likely be a high-octane time of homestead stuff for us, so I’m going to try to do overview updates a couple times a week to get in the habit. Here’s hoping!

Husband and me and sheep, yippie!: we checked out some super sheep and plan to bring them home this weekend.  We also took delivery of some hay, just a little bit (about 1/2 ton).  That should be adequate to get half a dozen small ruminants through the soggy/snowy winter.  We also are making some revisions to our fencing arrangements during this month and should have a very different (better) setup in October.

Goats: The goats are fine.  They hate the rain we’ve been having and noted their disapproval earlier this week by busting out of the fencing and busting into the hay because the barn was left open.  We rounded them up and put them back in their current paddock where they bleated angrily and ate uprooted potatoes.  Interesting side note.  Kinders LOVELOVELOVE juniper.  There is a bunch of research about using goats to clear junipers, but nothing that indicates a breed might prefer it to other forage.  Ours certainly do!  The literature expressed concerns about the oils upsetting their stomachs or promoting miscarriage but we haven’t noticed any signs of bloat and we have wethers with our doe, so breeding concerns are very improbable.  They just plain love juniper and seek it out preferentially.

Ducks: The ducks are fine, sleek girls at close to or their total adult growth.  I was cautiously happy they weren’t eating much feed, but since Tibby’s demise, it’s been the case that some other animals are eating some of that feed.  Mice and rabbits are the likely culprits, we’ve got holes everywhere the duck run has been since she stopped patrolling.  We are on a quest for a new barn cat or hopefully cats, maybe as early as this weekend.  The ducks haven’t started laying yet, but personal-use duck keepers on the old internets report laying about 17-18 weeks as a norm for Khaki Campbells, so we should see some eggs this month.  We started them on layer ration this week, a few days early, but they are capable of laying, so it should be fine.

Non-goat kids: Oldest kind of under the weather, youngest waiting for that first tooth to pop up.  Our oldest is likely to be able to gather eggs in spring, which is early for that kind of task, but she is physically gifted and can already carry a 3 gallon bucket of feed without spillage.  Based on past minor bugs, she should be ok by the weekend too.

Our youngest is exploring strange new worlds of somnambulism, crawling edition.  Did you know infants can crawl and sit up and walk along a wall in their sleep?  Now you do!  Thankfully cribs have been invented, so our youngest sometimes can be seen crawling in circles inside the crib like a puppy, eyes open and totally not awake and then FLOP to sleep.  It’s trippy.

Gardening: We dug most of our potatoes.  Yields were poor because we didn’t get all the plastic lining up before planting as I thought we had and that blocked the roots.  Not all roots can be bamboo-mighty, I guess.  The potatoes planted up by the house will not have this problem, they were planted where trees used to be.  Probably going to dig them up this weekend.  We ate the other ones, they have been a hit.

I think that’s it for now.  I’m pretty exhausted, we just came off a major period of both physical work and big illness in our household, and getting up to speed is also tiring.

Potato Plant Progress

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We couldn’t find the rest of the white markers, so we used sticks.

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We had about a dozen or so of these, not enough for all the potatoes. The potatoes don’t seem to mind the plastic.

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My attempt at a fancy overhead shot of the white marker and the taters.

Most of the taters came in, only a couple plants haven’t sprouted.  We are on track to get a decent yield this fall.  They look so cute when they are tiny and new like that.  Yay potatoes!

Potato Planting Picture Post

We are finally preparing to plant and we are starting with something easy– potatoes.  The glory of potatoes is that you can just plant a sack from the store and get back several more sacks even if you forget to weed some weekends.  You can also in this climate leave them in the ground if you don’t want to harvest all at once.  So it’s a nice break-in crop.  

some dirt we dug up

Preparing the ground for taters by digging up clumps of grass

 

more dug up dirt

More digging!

We have some native plant life around and about.  Out here in more rural Snohomish County, the native plants have not been pushed out as much as is the case in even fairly remote bits of King County.  Thus, we have lovely salmonberries that will soon fruit and make for delicious snacking when the kids party outside in the wonderful summers Cascadia has to offer.

salmonberry closeup

Closer look at the salmonberries that abut the taters. Already flowering!

However, there are still a few places where noxious invasive plants crop up, like English Ivy, which can create “ivy deserts” where nothing else grows.  

 

English Ivy

Stupid English Ivy littering some junipers that have to come down anyway.

Conveniently, the junipers in that picture are coming down to allow for enough sun for the taters and other stuff we want to plant, so the English Ivy will be gone baby gone soon enough.  

It was nice to start digging in the dirt.  Hopefully we can have lots of planting through the late spring and early summer.