Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Real Update

There is more going on around here than just the weather, I promise. What's taking the most of my mental energy is something I can't quite blog about yet, but it involves a lot of planning, planning, planning (before anyone freaks out, NO I'm not pregnant, and if you are a family member or close friend, you already know about big secrets coming up).

For a while now, our plan has been to rearrange the garden at the end of this summer. Instead of being such a mish mash, it will be a more orderly collection of rectangular raised beds, for the most part. With the relatively mild drought last year and ridiculous, "I think I may actually be drinking 8 glasses of water a day and still feeling thirsty" drought this year, we've had to make some decisions. Well, I've had to make some decisions. I like the ollas and the ollas work. The problem is that each one has to be filled, by hand, every day. If we had each rectangular bed watered solely by ollas, it would cost us about $90-$100 (using the cheap, clay pot method), and I would have to fill about 72 ollas every morning. Add to that, we have had so little rain recently that we've completely depleted our rain water storage just filling the 6 ollas we have right now. I imagine if we did have all ollas, we'd still end up using the garden hose, which would be a pretty time consuming endeavor. Now, under "normal" circumstances, I would just do that anyway. Under real life circumstances, I have a 2 and 4 year old and even just watering with the sprinkler has been unbelievably difficult and time consuming (I know, doesn't seem like it would be....but trust me.). SOOOOOO we've decided to go with drip irrigation. Pros---easy watering (turn on the faucet and water the entire garden at once), no overhead watering will lessen blight, no overhead watering means I can work in the garden while I'm watering and not end up with two completely mud covered kids, water won't be wasted by spraying into the air, I don't have to put together and bury 66 more ollas. Cons---this means we won't be utilizing our rain water collection very much, not quite as efficient as the ollas.

We've also decided our chickens will soon be both more and less free range. Currently, their coop moves everyday. With the lack of rain, they've recently completely torn up the yard---the section of grass they ate no longer grows back before they make it around the yard and back to that spot. The back part of our property is mostly cleared of brush now (the previous owners had more of less let it be taken over by the forest behind us), so we will be fencing off a large section back there and letting them run around out there all they like, then return to the coop at night. The key to that sentence was "fencing off". We have to have something sturdy enough to keep our dog on the dog side of the fence and the chickens on the chicken side of the fence.

So drip irrigation (we had a few supplies, but not enough) and fencing.......that requires money. What do the penny pinching do when they need money? Find it! (did you catch that? FIRST, get the money, THEN go spend it. I know, novel, scary concept in modern day America, but trust me, it works much better than charging--spending--first, then finding the money) We decided on Thursday to have a garage sale and by 6am this morning, we were filling our drive way with all sorts of things we had seen and said, "hey! I didn't know we still had that!" Our goal was to make $200, which would have almost completely funded both projects. We made $300--woohoo! My brother and sister-in-law very graciously offered to come baby-sit, and we had our first date night in almost a year! We went out to eat and then had some guilt-free shopping time at Lowe's. True love, I tell you. True love.

So there's my big, rambling update that has nothing (well, very little) to do with the weather ;-)


One Acre Homestead said...

I love the rambling updates! Gives us friends who try to keep up from a distance a more complete picture of your homesteading efforts and life in general. I feel your pain on the garden planning. I'm wishing I had some automated system for watering...about this time every year I say...CRAP! We've got to find someone to water for us while we go on vacation! LOL!

Our chickens have half of our yard and free range most of the day. It's worked out pretty well and really cut down on the feed they eat. One chicken flew over and had a run in with our male dog, but wasn't injured and none of the rest have tried that stunt! :-P

Karen said...

My dad long ago went with the long rectangle grow boxes and the drip system. The only problem he has ever had is the tomatoes sometimes get bottom rot. He went to the drip system after it become to hard to water every day by hand. He puts them on the same timer the sprinklers are on. Good luck with the fence and chickens. At least they're just chickens and not goats. I hear they're easier to contain than goats. Long story ask me about it sometime later.

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