Along with all the other homestead happenings of spring, we started a vlog. Wild Hope Homestead is now a YouTube channel! This has been something on my heart to do for a couple of years. I put it on the goals list this year to spurn myself on. There’s no perfect time to start big things and I really just needed to start somewhere, even if I don’t have the gear to make my videos as high quality as I would like. It has been a very busy time!
You can find our YouTube channel here: Wild Hope Homestead.
I’m finding the process of creating videos extremely exciting. It floats my boat because I’m learning new, fun skills and also because it’s a creative outlet. I get to film things I love around our homestead then edit them, adding explanations and fitting music to the footage to create a visual story of our way of life.
Aside from the excitement of doing this new thing, filming our homestead has refocused me on the beauty we have here. It’s easy to get lost in the weeds but when you’re purposely looking for the good, the beautiful, you find there is a lot to bring joy and to be thankful for right in front of your eyes. I hope that my vlogs will be an encouragement and an inspiration to others, but the process is actually filling me with hope and conviction for what we are doing here now and what we will do in the future.
I’m still figuring out how to juggle the vlog and the blog. There will be crossover of the happenings and more detail on different things here or there but time will tell how it all works out. Creating videos takes a lot of time, especially while I’m learning the software, so I’m adjusting to throwing an extra juggling ball in the ring. I have to be more organised and schedule ‘work time’.
We’ve had a lot of changeable weather here, as is wont to happen in spring. Some beautiful days. More rain. Sloppy ground-inducing rain. Some feisty wind. A late frost that was the coldest morning we’ve had this year, in the middle of spring. Thankfully, I hadn’t planted out any new crops.
Things are all go in the chicken department. The oldest chicks in the corner pen are eight weeks old already! They’re a bit younger in the photo here. Basically half are girls and half boys, as far as I can tell at this stage.
The second batch of chicks are two weeks old. Of the eggs that went into lockdown, 24 out of 26 hatched and everyone has been enjoying the little fluffies, especially The Little Fulla. We have one splash chick, 11 blue chicks and 12 black chicks. They are outside in the big cage now. We also have a few more arrivals, which I will talk about next time.
The adult chickens are put to work (or play) weeding in the garden pen on nice afternoons. Basil, the rooster, cracks me up. He’s such a chilled out, gentle dude. And he really loves his food. His leading abilities are probably at the bottom of the roosters we’ve had and I don’t know if he would fight to protect his hens from anything, but he and the hens did alert me vocally when a wandering dog got into our property. I ran out and yelled it away because nobody messes with my chickens. However, if there’s food to be found, Basil will surely find it. It’s also nice to have him around.
We continue to deal with the many weeds, which are thriving after so much rain. This past winter was New Zealand’s warmest and wettest winter on record. And we have the weeds to prove it! School Holidays are just finishing and The Little Fulla and Miss Scarlet have been helping me with weeding in the afternoons when we can. It isn’t as easy having Miss Scarlet in the garden when her brother isn’t here to help keep an eye on her and we’ll miss his garden company and funny antics.
We’ve cleared all the branch piles in both chicken pens and at the side of the house now, which feels great. Thicker branches got cut into firewood and the smaller ones I chopped up with the hedge trimmer and put on the compost. We still have a large branch pile inside the greenhouse frame. At least that’s stopping the weeds in there…
Normally I like to plan out the vegetable gardens well with my spreadsheet and everything works out quite nicely. This year I’m really gardening by the seat of my pants. I haven’t planned where I’m putting everything or how much of different crops I can fit in. I just haven’t been able to. That means I might end up with more plants than I can fit in, but there’s always somewhere you can stuff more vegetables! I’m not going to let the lack of ideal get in the way of just doing something. The Little Fulla helped me to sow carrots and parsnips in one of the raised beds this week and plant potatoes in the Front Plot. This week I’ll be continuing the dance between sowing seeds, weeding and clearing to make way for the new crops and planting some things that are ready to be planted.
I did a bit of a whoopsie with the potatoes. At the start of spring I suddenly realised that I hadn’t bought any seed potatoes. Last year I even managed to buy a bag of seed potatoes in June, while I was heavily pregnant! I thought the baby was going to come out after that shopping trip. I don’t know how I dropped the ball on this one. Of course, all the Agria seed potatoes were out of stock by then, aside from bulk amounts. This started a conversation in my head about why I was even buying seed potatoes. Couldn’t I save my own to plant? Why do we need special seed potatoes? Why do they have to be certified disease-free? Don’t they just pick up diseases in the garden anyway? Where do heritage potatoes come from and why are they ok?
I found a nice array of heritage seed potatoes available to purchase online but by the time I got to them the ones that sounded the best for our cooking purposes and tastes had sold out. And so, I rebelled against everything I’d been taught about potatoes and I planted store-bought Agria potatoes that were sprouting. Some of them weren’t sprouting much at the time we planted them, so I hope they’ll be ok. We also planted two little volunteer potatoes that had overwintered from last season’s Agria crop. Anything has to be better than no potatoes, right? I feel like I’m on a journey of potato exploration now. I was already planning to plant less potatoes so we can fit in some kumara (sweet potato). I’ve only grown it once and never in an in-ground garden so I would like to try it in the Front Plot, especially since there’s a hard pan not too far down at one end. I have rooted kumara slips from store-bought kumara that have been in jars of water for a while now.
Progress on knitting Miss Scarlet’s Christmas stocking is going fairly well considering I’ve been spending a lot of evenings editing videos. I’m almost at the heel part so I think I’m tracking along to get it finished before Christmas. Speaking of which, my Christmas shopping deadline of the end of October is fast approaching so I better finish that! Then I can enjoy the Christmas season without having shopping hovering over my head.