At the Wittekind Homestead: Update for 06/12/12

I know that I’ve been MIA for entirely too long.  I kept thinking, “I’ll post updates once my husband takes some photos.” It hasn’t worked out that way though, so this post won’t have a photo documentation to accompany it.  It’ll be just my words telling the story today.

So much has happened over the last couple weeks.  It’s hard to know where to start.  I guess food production efforts are as good a place as any to begin.

The chickens are a touch more than 15 weeks old now, so in now time at all, we’ll have to start checking for eggs.  I can’t imagine the excitement from the entire family when we find our very first egg.  I’m sure I’ll make a big fuss over it here and at the Claiming Liberty Facebook page.  Since we’ve never had chickens before, the first egg will truly be our “first egg”, and we can’t wait!

Over Memorial Day weekend, my husband got out the ladder and decided that he was going to pick cherries.  He managed to harvest MAYBE eight ounces of cherries before he got distracted by these thorny vines that were interfering with his ability to pick fruit.  The vines had been choking that tree since long before we got here, and Fred finally took it upon himself to get rid of them.  Poor guy didn’t wear gloves, so removing those vines did a number on his hands.  They were swollen and itchy for a few days after that.  He never made it back out to harvest more cherries, but I’m fine with that.  There weren’t a lot, and his efforts to get those plants off that tree will likely reward us with many more cherries in future years.  The tart cherries were quite tasty though.

The garden is going well.  I’ve managed to keep the plants alive that I put in the ground.  My husband jokes that he can’t tell the difference between the yard and the garden, but I know where every precious plant is.  I haven’t planted anything new because watering what’s already out there is quite a chore.  (I think we’re headed for another draught year here in Indiana.)

When I was watering the garden today, I noticed fruits on my tomato plants.  It’s so exciting to me because it almost seems like they materialized from thin air.  The plants are getting pretty bushy, but they seem strong (for now.)

My younger dog, Layla, ran around with us while we tended the garden, but mostly, she chose to supervise from the shade.  She definitely had fun out there with us though, and she’s getting more used to the chickens.  I’m still not sure I’d let her near them while they were “free ranging”, but at least she’s not running in circles around the coop and barking non-stop!

Speaking of the dog, we’ve been dealing with a lot of pest problems at the homestead.  Our house got infested with fleas, and we’re finally getting that under control.  See, last year, we got a cat that needed a new home.  We had intended for him to be an indoor cat, but it never quite worked out.  By this spring, he was out more than he was in, and of course when he was in, he was bringing “friends” with him.  We’ve finally arranged things to that he’s an outdoor cat exclusively now, and we’re all much happier as a result.  He’s an excellent mouser, and living outside means that I don’t find “presents” on my carpet anymore.  Too bad it took us almost a year to cave and let him be an outside cat.

Lastly, we’re getting into the swing of feeding a mostly Paleo diet to our whole family.  Our middle kiddo, Freddie, was diagnosed with PDD-NOS (part of the autistic spectrum) back in May.  We knew that the quality of his food contributed to his ability to focus and avoid meltdowns, but we didn’t feel like we could start addressing it ’til the kids finished school for the year.  As I suspected, we saw IMMEDIATE improvements in our son when we cut out grain and sugar.  He really likes peanut butter and pinto beans (refried beans mainly) which aren’t Paleo, of course, but I’m fine with him eating those foods because just removing grain and sugar made such a dramatic difference.

It’s time-consuming though.  I spend a lot more time on food prep, and my boys do nothing but eat and grow.  All the extra work is worth it to me though because I can keep Freddie off meds by making those simple changes.

I’m loving summertime with the kids.  They love to go into the garden with me, and my daughter teaches “school” to her brothers.  She loves it, and they tolerate it.

We intend to do some family camping this summer, and we’re all looking forward to that.  Scouts and work are keeping Fred busy, and I certainly have plenty to do to keep things going here.  I haven’t done anything amazing or dramatic, but I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished.  Starting the garden and having a few chickens has taught us that you learn by trying and doing, not by sitting around and thinking about what you’d like to do in the future.  It never feels like enough, but when I put the whole thing into perspective, I’m pretty darned happy.

So I guess that’s it for now.  Hopefully I’ll have some pictures to share soon.  In the meantime, keep working to claim liberty for yourself and your family.  It’s worth it! What you do matters!

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4 Responses to At the Wittekind Homestead: Update for 06/12/12

  1. It’s been dry up here too. Our garden got off to a late start since the deer ate the first round and I had to replant everything. Got our first harvest of peas last night but the plants are already drying up from the heat. I like having the garden next to the barn because as I pull the weeds I can just throw them over the fence to the pigs. I hauled our meat chickens off to be processed on Monday. I had intended on butchering them myself but realized it was too big of a job for just one person. I’m planning on putting together our Sunday dinner with everything on the menu either grown or preserved on our farm.

    • What kind of meat birds did you do again? Where did you take them to have them processed? It doesn’t seem like my 16-week-old hens are big enough to eat (if I’d wanted to), so I’m just curious about stuff like that.

      I fear this’ll be a tough summer (again). We have a CHANCE of rain on Sunday night, but I’m not holding my breath. Until then, I’ll just keep carrying water to the garden. :)

      • We did Cornish X birds. They’re bred for fast growth, these were 8 weeks old and they were huge. I took them to This Old Farm in Colfax.

        • So I guess my other question would be, “What did you feed them?” With my laying hens, I fed a chick starter for 8 weeks, and then we switched to an intermediate food that we’ll feed ’til about 18 weeks. Then we’ll switch again to a “laying ration”. Do you just feed them chick starter for those weeks? I’ll have to figure this stuff out for next year. :)

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