Who you call in’ Raccoon Butt?
Lucky the official Fluffybottom Rodent Wranglet
of course moving manure means that coops get a nice clean layer of shavings and straw for the Summer.
Considering that Fluffy Bottom Farm and Homestead is about the Chickens and Rabbits, it’s only fitting that Matt got to spend time with the manure shovel and fork. Before he got started it was time to build a second set of compost bins as the chicken manure is too hot to use without composting. With a few shipping pallets and some fence posts the bins were ready for filling.
“Excuse me Sir, but I think you missed a spot over there!”
In addition to the Strawberries the Soft Fruit Orchard features several varieties of Raspberries – reds, yellow, purples, and blacks. Matt hadn’t experienced the rear tine tiller yet so once the area was mowed he got to rip new rows for the Radpberry expansion. With two rows for each variety, one will be planted this Fall and the Second of each will wait until Spring.
Strawberries are a pleasant crop for the Homestead with juicy red fruit to begin the fruit season. Unfortunately the plants are only productive for a couple of years. The good news is that they produce enough replacement plants via runners after they fruit. Previously there were two beds using a three year replacement cycle. To better utilize the plants and space a third bed was added. Matt constructed the new bed, filled with manure compost, and topped with some soil. Next an irrigation system was added to help the new plants get established.
One of the out buildings was constructed too low to the ground. That provides a site for predators and rodents. Normally it should be a foot or more above the surrounding but this one is less than six inches. To solve the problem wire is attached to the skirt and extended out away from the wall to discourage digging. Then a plank is added to seal the space from small rodents. Fortunately there was only one building to remedy.
A major project on any Homestead involves fencing. The human neighbors are great but the natives are a bit much at times. Sometime some larger livestock might be added so it made sense to get a start on some fencing while Matt was available to dig holes! This first bit will be for the new orchard and after trees were cut, it was time to set the corners.
The new sign went out at the of the drive which meant a spot had to be cleared. That became a three step process. First the weeds and shrubs were cut using the string trimmer with a brush blade. Next the clearing was mowed. Lastly a few trees were removed. That involved the chain saw something new for the hired hand!). This time it was watch and learn.
And some just needed to be cut down for the new orchard area.
Regardless of the need “Timberrr” was heard often on the Homestead
Hard to believe that Summer is approaching its end in just a few weeks. Already the day has been shortened by over an hour!Ah but so goes the cycling of Seasons – one leading into another.
For several days this Summer, a friend “lent” his great nephew to work a bit around the Homestead. The extra hands and youthful energy were a true blessing. One of the most interesting parts was this teen was 100% city slicker! That meant time had to be spent teaching and learning before work could be productive. In the end it was enjoyable (and profitable) for both. Matt put in about three weeks of hard labor five hours each workday – anytime the weather didn’t interfere. What he lacked in experience he more than made up with enthusiasm and determination.
His first task was construction, erecting, and landscaping the Homestead sign featured in the last post. The next few posts will present some of the other work that got done thanks to his presence this Summer on the Homestead.
While the sign is up, there`s still work to get done like landscaping, shrubs, and flowers. Of course everything will need to be deer-proof!