Chores keep the background humming on any homestead – boring to write about, but chaos ensues if they fall aside.
Some jobs are practically on autopilot by now, like letting the birds out and collecting eggs in the morning. (The dogs even know the command “do jobs” and rush to the door when I say it.) I also have memorized a list of six things to do every day to keep the house under control and a weekly cleaning schedule that spreads the work out in chunks.
Last week I actually stuck to the schedule, and it shows. I won’t say the place sparkles, but surfaces are clean and free of clutter. Keeping up at a turtle’s pace is a lot easier than my usual rabbity approach to things.
Husbandry and gardening: The big job coming up is to try out a raised bed in the hoophouse for winter. Before I start working on the garden side, I want the duck section cleaned. We use a deep litter method, and it needs to be scraped to the bottom. I got about half-way done. The garden is booming right now. I pulled up some overly mature greens and replanted transplants for fall.
The irrigation pipe R has been waiting for arrived and he has been super busy upgrading the orchard systems. He also had to go to Salt Lake for a night, which slowed him down, but we got water to neglected spots in Bluebird even so. He plans to be done installing pipe by our next turn.
The dogs have been super agitated at night, and on Saturday Wyatt alerted onto a length of 8″ irrigation pipe R had stowed in the orchard. Sure enough, there was another skunk inside. Happily, we had two 8″ caps nearby to corral it before it got away. There is no skunk release program at the ranch. I need to lay in more ammonia, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda if this is going to carry on.
Food, harvest and preserving: We harvested our first Early Girl tomato! The green beans are coming in every few days, enough to blanch and quick freeze. I made another batch of fermented pickles, this time adding some fresh horseradish. R brought back peaches, fresh corn and berries, which I mostly froze for winter. I did make a big Dutch oven peach cobbler and even bigger pot of cowboy stew (ground beef, potatoes and a heap of veggies) in the fire pit over the weekend.
Finances: R started a massive project to consolidate our retirement funds with one company.
Energy and conservation: No real action here, other than excess skunk laundry.
Community: I’m on the Torrey Town tree committee. We had a meeting and I took the lead on writing a grant for some matching funds for our Arbor Day projects. With only a week lead time, I spent some time over the weekend banging it out. I also went to a county-wide economic development meeting about job creation, waiting to see what if any action item comes out of that.
We took the dogs over to the farmers market to socialize for a few minutes. Both of them are attracted to kids and babies. Carson is finally calming down enough that he doesn’t scare them or knock them over. Wyatt thinks wheels are a bad thing, especially on garbage cans and wheelbarrows; he’s not sure about a stroller with a baby in it. The dogs get lots of attention from our friends and they love it.
Creativity and recreation: I set up a lovely spot on the porch to practice mandolin in the evenings. Not much time was spent off the ranch-we didn’t even get over to the county fair once this year.
Next week: The schedule calls for more of the same: moving duck manure and laying pipe. If we finish that, we might go over to Richfield for some supplies for the next project. I put in an order for firewood and need to get about finding hay for winter. And we really need to look in on the bees, decide how much honey we can take and figure out what we’ll put it in.
Seasonal observations: With only five weeks to go until frost, things are either ripening, fattening up or heading south. R saw a flock of Glossy Ibis flying in formation on his drive to Salt Lake City. I finally put up a hummingbird feeder on the porch, only three months late. Their fall migration is already underway, as the Rufous hummingbirds are here. Our ducks are coming out of their molt-even though they come from long domesticated stock, they still put on fresh feathers as if they were going to need them to fly south. The hops vine is putting out flowers and the wild burdock are starting to open up to a beautiful purple, thistle-like flower. Adding to the chore list: find a shovel and go dig them up before they make a million burrs. Nobody likes the chore of picking them out of dog or cat fur, not me nor the pet in question.