At the Wittekind Homestead: Update for 04/17/12

The last ten days at the Wittekind homestead have been exhausting! Not only was a good deal of work accomplished, but we overcame some pretty tough trials too.  Such is life sometimes, and we always come out stronger on the other side.

our Dixie Chopper ZTR mowerSpring Clean-Up Outdoors

Historically, the first spring mow at the Wittekind homestead has been troublesome to say the least.  This year was no different.  After very little mowing, the mower’s engine started to surge, and because it provided uneven power, Fred wasn’t able to cut the gass which had grown entirely too fast in this unseasonably warm Indiana spring.  My husband decided to drain as much fuel as possible from the mower and then run the engine ’til it wouldn’t run anymore.  For about the last 10 minutes of operation (before it ran out of gas), it ran great.) Then Fred added fresh fuel and set out mowing.

The Dixie did great that weekend, until . . . Well, before I talk about what happened, I have to give a little background.  A few weeks ago, Fred went out to the back yard and cut down 3 trees.  One was a plum tree with black knot that needed to come down so it wouldn’t make our other plum and cherry trees sick.  The other two trees were useless trees that weren’t giving us anything other than shade on the ground where we’d like to plant more fruit trees and edibles.  Needless to say, with those trees missing, the back yard looks alot different.  There’s a good bit of open space now along with three, smallish stumps.

So back to the yard work.  Fred had been working all weekend like a mad man.  He was trying to get the yard finished by Sunday night so that he’d be able to run the yard sweeper a night or two after work.  He left the back yard ’til last, and he’d gotten a good chunk of that knocked out before WHAM! He ran the front end of the mower into one of those stumps that was covered up by very long grass.  It stopped the mower dead in its tracks, busting several critical welds.

We managed to get our small engine guy to pick up the mower on Tuesday, and by Friday, it was back on our property running better than ever.  Thanks, Steve! It was a hard pill to swallow paying $245 to repair a 22 or 23-year-old mower, but we usually don’t get to choose what fails when.

husband ready to work with ECHO PAS equipment

An unexpected bit of great news came out of the Easter weekend cleanup though   In February, we bought an ECHO PAS Multi-tool along with several attachments — a pro torque string trimmer, a blower, and a wicked-scary brush cutter.  Using those tools, Fred was able to do in a half an hour with the ECHO work that would have otherwise taken about four hours (with a lesser string trimmer and a push mower.) Even better, not only did the work take a lot less time, it was a lot less exhausting too.  (Try mowing a 45-degree slope with a push mower and tell me how tired you get lugging that thing up and down the hill!) We were both stunned!

Oh, and by the way, if you think the bright orange chaps are a bit much, then I dare you to use a circular saw on the end of a pole that can cut through 2″ trees without them.  That’s just not a risk we’re willing to take.  (Isn’t the first rule of survival to wake up alive tomorrow? :D)

chickens in an outdoor runThe Chickens

The chickens are getting HUGE, and they’re getting so friendly.  Every day that I go out to feed them, I continue to be surprised by how friendly they are.  Mind you, I have ZERO experience with chickens, so we didn’t know what to expect, but I certainly didn’t imagine that we’d be putting patio chairs by the portable coop so we can just sit there and watch them.  Fun stuff!

Odds and Ends

We still haven’t gotten our 5 fruit trees in the ground yet.  We got a good deal of rain starting on Friday night, so we could have a bonfire that we needed to have, nor could we really prep to plant the trees.  We did discover on Sunday though that our lone apple tree (an old tree that we were going to prune and spray because the apples had scab the last two years) just fell over sometime this weekend.  It wasn’t a big tree, but it was an old tree.  We joked that I jinxed it because I’d been saying on Saturday that if we were going to cut that tree down, we’d want to save the wood for smoking meat.  That’ll teach me to open my big fat mouth!

We’re making progress around here, and I’m loving our path to liberty! How have you been increasing your liberty this week? I’d love to hear from you all!

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2 Responses to At the Wittekind Homestead: Update for 04/17/12

  1. I need to post an update at my blog but I’ve been having a very stressful week at work so it’s all kind of gone to the back burner. In a nutshell, the pigs are doing great and love being on pasture, the chicks arrived safely in the mail on Monday, and I got 3 raised beds in the herb garden planted. On the downside, something (I think cutworms) got all my new cabbage and cauliflower plants.

    • I was wondering how those piggies were doing. Glad to hear they’re doing great.

      What kind of chicks did you get? I just came in from “playing” with ours. They’re so much fun.

      Sorry to hear about your crucifers. That stinks! I’m a self-admitted gardening ignoramous, so I wouldn’t even know what to do. I’ve heard about folks having troubles like that though, and I’m curious about remedies because I want to grow brussels sprouts. Something you could try though is sage essential oil or thyme essential oil. Apparently those work against cutworms (according to the doc my friend sent me with a list of pests and essential oils that repel/kill them.)

      Best of luck to ya!

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