Pumpkin Haul!

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It was Halloween eve and all through the Walmart, not a creature was buying the massive pumpkins they still had out front…  so I asked the manager…  what happens to all your pumpkins when you are done?  He said a few of them go to a local food bank but honestly, the rest get THROWN OUT!!!  Oh dear!   I asked, would it be okay if we took them when you’re done and gave them to our lovely little farm critters?  He said, SURE!  I’ll call you.

Well, it was only a few hours later and he said, we’re done…  come get them!

I thought it was just going to be a few, since that was all that was up front of the store on some display shelves!  I didn’t expect 4 HUGE cardboard pallet things FULL of giant pumpkins.  IMG_2675

We ended up making two truck load trips with these giant pumpkins!  Super fresh, too, not a single one was old or mushy.  Our gang LOVE pumpkins.  From the hogs to the chickens, sheep and goats.  Only one that refuse them are the ponies.  (But we know equines are the divas of the livestock world, anyway.)

With the weather finally turning chilly, these babies will keep and keep!  A frozen pumpkin is just as good to nibble as a warm one.  And pumpkin seeds are a lovely natural wormer!  Yah!  Free food and preventative as well.  We sure got a workout!  Those babies are HUGE.  And considering they were asking $10 a pumpkin, we got over a $1,000 worth of these things!  Even if you got a load from the Amish by the truck load, it’s usually $25-$50 a load.  So worth it.  And the critters just love a pumpkin or two a day!  We will have a lot of these for at least a month or two!  Yah!

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Runaway!!!!   Pumpkin trying to escape!!!!

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BIG pumpkins!!!!  We have been sharing them with our farm friends but we still have a huge pile!  We want to go and get a few bags or a load of apples, too…  Don’t want the ponies to feel left out and everyone enjoys apples, too!  YUM!

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Going to Town…

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Have I told you, we love our truck?  Yeah, we do.  We actually sold our car because we just never use it.  Anytime we leave the homestead, for the most part, is for errands and pickup or delivery.  Post office = lots of boxes and such…  Feed Store = animal hay, feed and bedding…  Big City = lumber and machine pick up or groceries…  about 80% of everything we leave the homestead for is to get something.  We don’t do a lot of just socializing or hitting the town for fun, we live far enough out that going to town is combined with a pick up or drop off of something.  So, in life of keeping things simple, we sold our car and just have the truck now.  Works for us.

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Like how we have been stockpiling cheap fire wood for our two wood stoves.  Our lumber yard we love always has these little bundles of trim and cut offs available for a buck a bundle!   What a deal.  Sure it burns kind of fast but it makes GREAT kindling and it burns well enough when you are around and tending the fire.  So we always get five or ten bundles just because.   And often they have the heavier and harder wood cut offs for $5 a pallet load.  That’s a great deal too because it’s easy and a great size for burning.  And dry and easy to just throw in the wood box and use.  Since we are at the lumber yard at leas once or twice a week, we are trying to see if we can heat the shop with just waste from the business!  Wouldn’t that be a keen thing?

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We also found these giant pink cut off rolls of lovely shipping foam at a local shipping supplier.  $5 to $8 a roll!  This time if was $20 for all that material.  Just one little 150 foot roll of bubble wrap at Walmart is $19.99.  We got about 10 times as much for the same price.  And it’s the end cuts off manufacturing anti-static foam so we’re keeping another thing local and re-used!  Well, it was never used… I guess just giving a by product a great use!  Protecting our beautiful looms and woodworking on their delivery journey.

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And the last stop is a new spindle sander.  We’re not to the point yet that we can afford the really expensive, super heavy duty tools so we have to replace ours now and then from Harbor Frieght. We love their coupons and actually, several of the machines we used from them have really stood the test of our 7 day a week, 8 to 10 hours a day test.  We really push these machines to their limit, so it’s nice to see some hang in there and give it their all.  But the spindle sander just really died and it was time for another of these very valuable sanders!  So we stopped for that, too!

Thanks Tiffany!   Our love goes to you, ya big old Ford beauty!!!

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Garden Expansion and Update!

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So sorry for the late of posts!  I think I just hit a little bit of a creative block and after over 2,000 posts here, I just felt like I was kind of repeating each year and the activities.  And then our fiber and weaving tool business just got super busy and well, it led to me being missing in action for awhile.  It’s not that I didn’t document activities around the homestead but I just didn’t always write blog posts and go into much detail on our little quick posts over on the Facebook page.

But I have missed writing and detailing much more of what we are doing, over here at the blog.  I know there are quite a few regular readers here, including my Dad!  (Whom was concerned enough to write me a note and see if we were still alive!!!  Yep!)  I imagine some have dropped away now, thinking that like all blogs, there eventually comes a time when the posts seem to stop.  I know some of my favorites have done so.  I guess it’s just human nature to sort of get a little tired of a routine and sort of drop off the face of the earth, now and then.

But I assure you, we have been busy!  And I am going to try and get a post a day up here and get caught up!  Some of the things happened this late summer so they may seem a little out of date but I will try and take them in order, just to keep the continuity of the blog in order.

One thing that I did want to accomplish this year was the transition of the big side garden out back to my more simple, manageable courtyard garden!  I had the 6 wooden beds installed and filled and they were doing well with various veggies.  But I knew that I wanted to make one big bed, for my lavendar and other flowers that would incorporate a bench and a slightly different look.

I searched around, was on Pinterest like a fool and just hunted out the right container that I wanted for my look.  I thought it would be cute to use galvanized tubs, but those are too hot right now and everyone wants too much for them.  Even brand new they would have been about $18 each and I wanted six or eight of them!  Much too high for my budget.

And then I saw it.  Online, somewhere…  raised beds with cement blocks!  They last forever and you can build unique shapes and such with them.  And the best part?  I knew that our local salvage yard had them for just 50 cents each, so it would not cost me a fortune!  So we loaded up the truck with 40 blocks and got started!

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Yes, the blocks were used.  And yes, some of them had old concrete bits on them, but a good whack from a hammer made that issue no longer a problem.  Justin and Tim, the homestead helpers, were my main helpers!  Concrete blocks are heavy!  Poor Tiffany, the truck!  She was a bit on the heavy side but she handled it like a trooper.   Have I said, we love that truck???  We sure do!

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I got a big kick out of these volunteer tomato plants that were trying to grow in my garlic bed.  They were not going to make it to fruit time because this expansion was late in September, but they were sure trying.  We had been throwing the funky tomatoes over the fence to the ducks to eat but I think we missed a few!  We throw like girls… IMG_2311

And it begins!  I had this idea that I wanted it to be curved, like a sort of half shell look.  It took a little bit of fussing with them to get the curve right.

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My zinnia crop this year was so beautiful!  We all remarked how pretty they were and we took many cuttings to bring into the house.  Once they are done, I’m going to let them go to seed and try and save as much as I can.  I would be a happy gal if I had zinnias all over the homestead!

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These are little sweet peppers and I had a really good crop off of just three or four plants.  Some bell peppers and then some of these little sweet peppers.  I’m really the only one that likes them and I just can’t do the hot ones anymore, so this is a good amount of fresh good peppers to keep me happy with salsa and stuffed peppers and on my salads!

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These lovely little plants are waiting for their new home!  I did get one tub to try out but I think it will just be a lovely focal point near my old copper colored tub.

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The ducks came to take a look and make sure that the building was up to code!

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My mums came up again!  yah!   Sometimes they do for me, sometimes they don’t.  This one is blooming very pretty and I think will do nicely.

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And look!  Celery!   I see some potato salad and tuna salad coming soon in my future!

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Doesn’t it look lovely!   We got one layer in.  Need more blocks!  Still, at $40 total for the bed, it’s a deal!  It will last a good long time.  I had saved this big piece of slab wood and we made a little reflecting bench in the middle of the bed!

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I want to add one more wooden bed right in the middle, there, behind the cement bed and in from of the long gray wood ones.  And then my plans will be complete!  I might not get the materials for the wood one until spring, but you never can tell what might inspire me!  I should be able to get the pictures up soon from the final wall build of the cement bed!  Soon!

 

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