An Illinois 'stead

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Re: An Illinois 'stead

Postby Myrth » Sat Oct 26, 2013 8:58 pm

I got five young eastern redcedars planted today, along a stretch of the north side of the property. These are trees that I dug up in the woods at my old place. They should grow pretty fast. They make excellent windbreak trees, are good for wildlife, and have herbal uses. They are one of my favorite native trees.

Ultimately, one of my goals is to surround this entire property with mixed hedgerows that serve to provide shelter from wind for me, the soil, and the animals. They will provide habitat and food for wildlife. They will provide food for me and livestock too. They will also reinforce the fences that mark the boundaries, making it extremely unlikely that the critters will go on a walkabout.

Speaking of which, we saw horses going by this morning as we were having our coffee. Our neighbors are an older couple who board a few horses. They were loose and on an adventure and were heading down the road. We ran and grabbed lead ropes and a bucket of grain. Before our neighbors had finished gathering their own grain and ropes, we had all four horses caught. I prefer helping catch other people's animals than scrambling to catch my own. :mrgreen:

The hedgerows along the fences will make them more secure as well as productive.
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Re: An Illinois 'stead

Postby matt walker » Sat Oct 26, 2013 9:35 pm

Nice to see you Myrth, and good to hear of progress on the 'stead. It's not necessary here in the hills, but I've always loved the look of properties nicely defined by hedgerows, and it seems that the wind and sun breaks are very welcome. How cool that you got to bring trees from your old place to start anew. I'm sure the neighbors were incredibly thankful, I know how I feel when I see my animals on the wrong side of the fence. I guess it happens to the best of us though.
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Re: An Illinois 'stead

Postby Myrth » Sun Oct 27, 2013 12:19 am

Hedgerows were not needed at my last homestead either, as it was on the edge of a large state forest. This place is surrounded by corn and soybean fields and has way too few trees (I love trees - I need trees on a deep level). So, hedgerows are my solution to the dilemma! :ugeek:
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Re: An Illinois 'stead

Postby Myrth » Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:45 am

We did more planting today, potted plants from the old 'stead. Today it was ever bearing raspberries - I have 12 planted now.

I also planted a Clematis virginiana (woodbine) vine on a fence - it will create a thick visual barrier, and its late season flowers add something when other flowers have faded. They are a low dose botanical herb, but I have never used them for medicine.

We transplanted a small maple from the area destined to be the orchard. It will, instead, grow to shade the dog yard (we have a portion of the yard fenced so that we can confine the dogs when needed, though they are normally with us wherever we happen to be).

We also got more work done on the chicken coop. The coop is a room built in the corner of one of the barns. I cleaned it out and have made some repairs. We put up a roost. We built a set of nest boxes out of a salvaged bookcase. DH has rewired the electric for it. It is almost ready for chickens.

I have missed having chickens and am looking forward to getting them. Chicken withdrawal! :)
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Re: An Illinois 'stead

Postby matt walker » Sun Nov 03, 2013 11:08 pm

Raspberries are essential for any 'stead, in my opinion. I'm curious to hear how the everbearing work out for you, they sound wonderful. I wish I could send you some chickens! I'm completely overrun. On the one hand, I'm pleased at the success of my free range program, on the other....I have too many chickens!
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Re: An Illinois 'stead

Postby Myrth » Mon Nov 04, 2013 1:16 am

I love the ever bearing raspberries! I like getting a summer crop on last year's canes and a fall crop on this year's canes. And, if a really bad winter ruins the early crop, the fall crop is dependable.

I have read complaints about them- some people don't think that the two crops are big enough. But they are prolific enough for me.
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Re: An Illinois 'stead

Postby DevilsBrew » Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:30 am

Raspberries & Maple...Sweet.
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Re: An Illinois 'stead

Postby pa_friendly_guy » Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:35 pm

Sounds like you are making Great progress Myrth. Keep up the good work. It does not take long for the little things that we acomplish to add up to BIG things. :D I have some red and some yellow raspberrys, they have not produced yet, I just planted them last year.
Never doubt that a small group of dedicated people can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has.
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Re: An Illinois 'stead

Postby DevilsBrew » Thu Dec 12, 2013 2:45 pm

Happy Birthday!
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Re: An Illinois 'stead

Postby Myrth » Sat Jun 21, 2014 10:41 pm

We have had a good solstice. Up at sunrise to greet the day. Then we fed the animals, and then us.

It has been a gardening focused day. We finished up the migrating monarch butterfly way station of milkweed. I dug up the bed and planted 32 plants a couple of weeks ago, and mulched and watered them in. Today DH split some stones for me to use as edging around the bed. You'll never see a prettier bed of weeds! :grin: Migrating monarch populations have plummeted in recent years, and they need all the help they can get.

I also fed our new plantings with some fish fertilizer water today. We have been planting all spring, adding to what we put in last year: lilacs, climbing roses, trumpet honeysuckle, clematis, highbush cranberries, elderberries, mulberries, strawberries, raspberries, apples, cherries, irises, echinacea, daylillies, summer lillies, blackeyed susans, tomatoes, peppers, clematis, sage, dill, rosemary, oregano, thyme, lemon balm, boxwoods, marigolds, cedars, and probably some plants I am forgetting.

DH removed the "pond" that came with the house. It was about a 75 gallon plastic pool buried in our front yard, surrounded by rocks, gravel and pavers, with a plastic "waterfall." It was hideous. I tried last summer to work with it and make it pretty, but finally we decided that it had to go. He emptied it, pulled it out of the ground, and filled the hole. It will look much better once planted. The goldfish have been living in the horse water trough since last fall, so the pond was no longer useful (and it was never pretty).

And, I trained my young horse. He is coming along nicely. I should be riding him in the next couple of months. He is a 5 year old Missouri foxtrotter. I rescued him from a horse hoarder last winter. He came to me with no real training, but he is sweet and willing. I think he will be a super riding companion.

Two of our three Icelandic hens are broody. They are both setting on eggs. I hope they successfully hatch chicks! I check on them twice a day.

It is rolling around to evening here and I am tired! There's hours of daylight yet. We'll have a cookout in awhile here and watch the sunset later.

Happy Solstice
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