Homestead events for the month of June

Okay, this post is late. I’ve been  been dealing with a lot of stuff, okay? And this post is not including the story of the dog and the snakebite, with I might type of later.

This year we’ve been living without some modern conveniences, which many people would consider basic needs. I don’t plan on living like this forever, but I have to say that it’s been very educational. I think more than anything it’s really bought me closer to the mindset of my ancestors, of all our ancestors. On the 12th, we were hit by a pretty big storm, and it was one of the biggest reliefs of my life. The heat this month has been very oppressive. When the cold rain poured down, my brother and I when out in it and danced, it felt so good! The rain washed the sweat from our skin and it was gorgeous. I was wearing only shorts and a tank top and I got soaked, which, by the way, is not something I’m usually prone to do.

It really bought home why Gods like Zeus and Thor were so, so important to ancient peoples. It didn’t just nourish the crops (“just” – I’m aware how that sounds), but it had to do with basic comfort. Ancient people didn’t have air conditioners, they had to deal with the weather as was. And the work still had to be done, crops had to tended, animals fed and herded, even when it was hot and sticky, or cold and rainy or whatever. By comparison, we modern people are pretty weak, expecting to live in comfort 24/7, 365 days a year.

The 16th was the hottest day we’ve had all year, 106 heat index (taking into account how it feels with the heavy humidity). It was about 101 or 100 without the heat index. I admit we didn’t do much of anything that day, it was so miserable and if we had worked hard it could have actually been dangerous. I watered the plants in the morning and evening, but other than that we just slept, drank lots of fluids, and made sure the dogs were okay.

Thank the Gods it cooled down somewhat afterwards. 10 degrees doesn’t sound like much, but the difference between 90 degrees and 100 is HUGE. And the difference between 80 and 100 is even bigger.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m buying an air conditioner eventually. It makes it a lot easier to work outside in the hot sun for a few hours, working up a sweat and get a lot of good stuff done if we know that afterwards we have air conditioning to relax in. But for now we have to make do with a couple of large, efficient fans.

Our garden is not very going to be very extensive this year, but what we do have coming along. The cucumber plants in our raised bed are going fantastically, I guess they like the heat. They got their true leaves several weeks ago. After they did so, I waited about another week or so to thin them out, so that I could be sure to leave the strongest seedlings. I also planted a row of onions between the cucumbers and sunflowers, because the smell of the onions repels many of the pests that bother cucumbers.

But we are going to have to buy a cattle panel or something similar to use as a trellis for the cucumbers to climb up. The original plan doesn’t look like it’s going to work. The sunflowers sprouted just fine, even more of the sunflower seeds germinated than the cucumbers. They were so numerous I had to thin them out before they got their true leaves, because they were competing with each other for water and started to wilt. That’s not what went wrong, tho. One day, half of the sprouts were gone. Not dead, just gone. That means that something ate them, and when I examined the bed, they had been pulled up by the roots, too. Yesterday when I came out of the cabin, a rabbit took off running. The little bastard apparently loves the sunflower sprouts. At least he hasn’t touched the cucumber plants. Maybe they don’t taste good to them.

I’m tempted to remedy the situation with some rabbit stew. But unfortunately, we sold our .22 rifle a few months ago when we ran out of money way too early in the month. It sucked, but the guns were pretty much the only things of value we had. I hope I never have to sell a gun again, because every single time we’ve had to do so, we’ve regretted it. But we didn’t have much choice. We still have a shotgun, but I’m reluctant to use that one unless absolutely necessary, because it’ll pretty much destroy the meat. I don’t feel right killing an animal without eating it, making full use of all the parts.

And we don’t have the money for electronet fencing until next year, so there’s just no way to change the budget of stuff we need just yet. We are saving to get a new vehicle right now, because our truck is on it’s last legs. After that, we like to get a cheap trailer for Alex to live in. The cabin is very small, and the two of us are basically living on top of each other and it very stressful. We are both looking forward to having our own space. Plus, we won’t have to go into town to wash clothes, because we’ll be able to hook up our high-efficiency washer, depending on the trailer. It’ll also have a shower (which we’ll share) and an oven. So getting a trailer seems like the best plan to make the homestead quickly livable and quickly efficient while we work on everything else. Then over the fall and winter, as the weather cools, we will try to be building a cheap toolshed, a workshop, and a greenhouse. That’s the current plan anyway.

One of the other projects we are working on is identifying the various kinds of trees on our homestead. We have a fantastic book for that which is really helpful for that. A lot of identification books I’ve looked at only have drawings as pictures, which can make them difficult to use by newbies. This book, however, has great photos of the entire tree, close-ups of the leaves, the bark, anything that would be useful in identification. Much easier to use than a lot I’ve looked at. We have several hickory trees on the property, but so far they are so shaded out by cedars that they do not produce much yet. We are going to be remedying that!

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