After taking what felt like a two-month hiatus on any progress on the homefront due to swim lessons and illness, we are finally back at work and getting things done!
Beulah’s babies got a new pen a couple weeks ago. The piglets are 11 weeks old now. Beulah had mastitis so it was a priority to get that pen done and get those babies off of her. A couple shots of penicillin and she is all better. We’re keeping two of her babies for meat hogs – Baby Back and Bacon Bit. There are still three more pigs for sale as well.
The goat pen is moving along. I painted the outside walls of the enclosure with a stain and sealant combo this week. It ended up being much redder than I expected or wanted. Nothing like the color pictured on the can. Hopefully it’ll fade. Still to do before we can get goats: finish the south fence, make the rain barrel automatic waterer, make a pallet hay feeder, build the inside wall and a door, cut out windows, and install shutters. I feel like we’re so close, but then there’s still so much to do. Hopefully with the pigs all settled we’ll be able to focus more on our goat acquisition again.
The rabbits are being rabbits. It’s nice to have one aspect of the homestead that isn’t requiring a lot of work or attention right now. Although we did just harvest six rabbits on Sunday. Hubby does the harvesting, using a noose to stretch the neck. It makes a quick kill. He then skins and guts them, and brings them inside for me to take over. On the day of harvest all I can do is a quick rinse. They are too floppy to do any more. Monday I got all the meat off the carcasses. Wednesday the girls ground up all the hind quarter meat with the Kitchen Aid stand mixer grinder attachment while I packaged everything with the Food Saver. They were fantastic and were a huge help! It saved so much time by dividing the tasks. Sure, there may have been a slightly bigger mess afterward, but it was done. All in all, six rabbits made ten human meals, five dog meals, and 12 x 16oz of broth to come, the second half of which is in the crock pot right now.
The garden has been doing well, mostly. My tomatoes, which are much taller than me, are producing some fruit, but still too few at any given time to be worth canning. My green peppers have been producing a lot, but the red and yellow peppers are kind of puny and sparse. The lima bean vines are incredible, but I haven’t been getting many good beans off of them. Not sure what’s going on there. Last year we had a huge lima bean harvest. Our sweet potatoes and watermelons are taking over the east side of the garden. Some of the watermelons are huge! But I feel like I should wait until they change the color that’s described on the seed packet. But what do I know? I have no idea what I’m doing! I love having my little herb garden. It’s something I’ve always wanted, and it’s so nice to just run out to the garden to grab some extra flavor for dinner. Last night we had a yummy pesto made fresh from our basil plant.
Summer in Florida is HOT, so I’m trying to limit my outside work to before 10am. I haven’t exactly been handling the heat well with this pregnancy either. We take lots of water outside with us, and drink Gatorade or juice when we return inside. Still, I worry about over-heating, for both me and the girls.
I have plenty of inside work right now too. During Faith’s pregnancy I determined that The Forbidden Room is bigger and the layout is better suited for a shared bedroom, so I was working on cleaning it out. I’ve made huge progress, but there is still much work to be done. I hope to get the girls in there by their birthdays in September. The plan is bunk beds for birthdays, but I have to get the work done first. I’ve purged fabrics, papers and files, found homes for lots of items that were lost and unused, and have thrown away or donated a whole slew of other clutter.
I put Gila heat-reflective window film on the east and south windows last week, still with one window to finish. Those rooms are the hottest rooms in the house. It was pretty easy installation, although the instructional video was 5 minutes, 40 seconds, and it definitely took me 45 minutes for the first one. They seem to be helping. The bedrooms aren’t quite as hot anymore.
After painting on Tuesday I was physically exhausted. It could have been so easy to just sit on the couch and watch tv with the girls all afternoon, but I had to break them away from Doc McStuffins, so I finally purged and organized our living room bookshelf while they played dress up, and campfire, and a little bit of helping. The disorganization had been bothering me for over a year. I donated a bag full of books to the library, but I still don’t have enough room on my shelves for all my books! It’s so nice to have everything organized though and to be able to easily find the reference books I’m looking for.
So we’ve been staying busy. I like to be busy. More so, I like to be productive. It feels so good to look around the place and see how far everything has come.
What have you been working on at your homestead this summer?