Posted by: Small House Under a Big Sky Homestead | December 12, 2013

Married to the Land

I’m breathing a sigh of relief. We are finally in the wind-down month in our Small House garden.

Chicken area and woods use

The new chicken run area of our vegetable garden.

Here is the truth of our homestead; September is the month I begin to cut back our two and a half acres of perennials and transplant any that have grown to large. In October we store our outdoor furniture, continue perennial cut back, empty, wash and store our five bird baths. I haul fireplace to the house and set up the fireplace gear that has been stored in the pole barn all summer. We also set up the one bird bath  kept open for the winter month by a special heating unit.

November is the month of cutting back all the ornamental grasses, leaf pick up, pipe draining and outlet covering and the like.  I also dig out and haul my homemade compost and top dress the perennials this month.

Turn around bed ad house blue sky

Perennial and ornamental grasses are cut back and are now composting.

The land original land here was boring, flat and open. While I can’t change the geography I can add plants a-plenty to create a colorful garden that would hug the house and say “Welcome” to family and friends. This is what I have tried to do.

Near the house, I worked to find enclosure, to block the view of the public street and transfer the space nearer to our house into a form of enclosure; around the porch, the front door, the hot tub deck.

After more than three months of daily hard physical labor I feel as if Mother Nature decides to snow tomorrow, our gardens and property will be okay.

Our friend Barry has completed cutting down the many dead trees for us and while he had his tractor here he moved a large rock for me and cut up and cut and split a small stack of “too wide to go in the fireplace wood.”

I was also able to make some headway this month on our primitive raised vegetable beds. I had dreams of neat and tidy rows of cedar wood raised beds but the reality was if I wanted to build them this fall they were going to have to be built using old logs.

Raised beds

My primitive but workable raised beds for our vegetables.

So I hauled long logs from the woods and the wood pile and added thirteen bucket of my homemade compost.  When we pick up the maple leaves from my son yard the leaves will be added to the soil mix. By spring they will have decomposed enough to make a great soil amendment.

Of course we still have a few lingering outdoor chores to complete before our winter outdoor rest time arrives but the major and necessary outdoor projects are completed for this season. Whew!

Yes, the new chicken yard is not yet complete, nor the coop, but this is an on-going project worked on every now and then as Gene has a free hour or so. Yes, the hydrangea are not yet wrapped to protect the tender buds from browsing deer but that can be done in rain or snow if necessary. Yes the tools need cleaning, oiling and organizing on their rack, but that can be a winter project too.

Chicken wire close use

One of two big rolls of repurposed chicken wire on bought on Craig’s List for $20.00.

Veggie garden with gate open in process

The entry gate to the new chicken run. having two sections will allow us to keep the chickens and the new vegetable separate but to let them scratch  and fertilize the garden off-season.

Putting the garden to bed is both a feeling of immense relief and the satisfaction of a job well done. Goodnight garden. See you in the spring!

Small House / Big Sky Donna


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