I know I’ve been MIA lately, but spring has arrived and there is so much to do now!

I haven’t given you a rundown lately on what’s been going on around here, so I thought it was about time! I know I always love getting a glimpse into a blogger’s personal life ๐Ÿ˜‰

So, sit tight, grab a glass of ice tea (unsweetened is what I enjoy, but grab whatever floats your boat!) and enjoy what’s been going on down on the farm lately!

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First off- I’ve been spending lots of time in the garden!

I got my potatoes and onions in at the end of March. I planted another set of strawberries and planted a bee garden.

seed potatoes ready to be cut up and planted

Before I get going with much more- confession time:

I know from my posts I probably seem like a master gardener, and I do have a lot of knowledge from years of experimenting, but last year, I fell off the gardening wagon some and things went a bit south, lol.

Remember my advice for beginning gardeners? Yeah, well, I didn’t follow one crucial piece of advice and I got myself in trouble.

That piece of advice was to start small!

I’ve been expanding slowly over the last few years, but last year I bit off more than I could chew and my garden suffered for it!

I ended up with a grassy patch where I didn’t mulch it heavily enough, my tomatoes didn’t get caged on time and I let morning glory get the best of my green beans.

So, this year, I’m going back to square one!

I planted my tomatoes and peppers the other day- and I only planted 11 tomatoes! That’s a decrease from last year where I had 25 or so.

I only planted 20 lbs of potatoes and LABELED my rows (shocking!).

I also only planted 50 new strawberry plants instead of my usual 100.

Which, btw, I have had the worst luck with my strawberries. After my chickens scratched them out last year (word of warning-chickens will wreak havoc on your garden!), I replanted. But our summer got too hot and the new baby strawberries cooked to death.

So, I replanted AGAIN this spring- but my garden is now fenced in and I planted the at the appropriate time of year, so I should be good. So far, they look great ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m hoping to get my green beans in the ground today (with a future post on that!) before it gets stinkin’ hot around here. I invariably wait until May 1 to plant my green beans, then they flower in mid-June when it’s 500 degrees and so I hardly get any bean yield!

The one year that I have a FABULOUS crop, I planted early in mid-April. If I can get my ducks in a row, I’d like to plant another fall crop in July.

We’ll see though- July is usually packed with 4-H fair prep!

In other news, non garden related, we’ve been having lots of baby calves drop around here! It’s always fun to hear the latest update on them from Jeff.

spring calf

I currently have 200 broilers in the brooder house right now! Woo-hoo!

broiler chicks

They are so cute the first few days, but now we’re at the stinky, eat-a-lot-poop-a-lot stage, so they’re not so fun anymore.

I have to lay new bedding down for them twice a day. They don’t keep it stirred up like laying chicks do. Plus they eat a TON, which means the manure output is crazy!

So, word of warning if this is your first year for broiler meat chicks- have lots of bedding on hand for those first couple weeks in the brooder house!

My plan is to move them into their moveable pen next week during a nice stretch of weather.

Then I’ll need to clean out the brooder house again and get it ready for laying chicks!

Speaking of- I’m doing something different this year with my layers.

For years now, I’ve run my flock with a commercial production mindset. Every spring, I order my favorite production breed-Red Stars from McMurray Hatchery- and then sell all my extra eggs.

Well, I’ve had coyote problems this winter (we had to rehome our Great Pyrenees!) and my flock currently has 9 layers of various breeds. One of them is an Aracuana, so I get one aqua egg a day.

Learn some surprising facts about chickens! #chickens #homestead #homesteading

Anyway, I’ve been averaging about 7 eggs a day, which is just enough for our family with the occasional extra accumulation that I can give to my mom or mother-in-law.

And you know what? I’ve been LOVING not having a giant flock!

I don’t bother washing my eggs because we use them up quick enough and it’s so much less stress not having to constantly market my eggs and then meet up with customers!

So, while I am getting a few new laying chicks this spring, I only ordered 12- 6 Red Stars and 6 Aracaunas. Plus I donated a few dozen fertilized eggs to our county extension office this spring for hatching in the elementary schools, so I’ll get some new chicks from that (although half of them will be roosters!)

I guess the moral of my story is- don’t be afraid to change something on your homestead.

Just because you’ve done something the same way for years and years (in my case almost a decade!), doesn’t mean it HAS to be that way forever!

In other news on the fitness front– I’ve been working through this book and recently started running again in preparation for an annual local 5K that family (like my parents and sister) runs together! I quit Crossfit last fall, mostly because of lack of motivation.

I’ve discovered that I love to workout, but I can only do the same type of workout program for so long before I’m ready to change it up a bit. So I’ve been going through this book and also focusing on my flexibility and core.

But to get ready for this 5K (which is in June), I’m using my half marathon training plan. Since I have been working out consistently forever now, I can pretty easily run a couple miles straight out of the box and then ramp up my mileage. Now, I’m S-L-O-W, mind you, but it’s not the same as when I first started running for the very first time almost 10 years ago and I couldn’t even go a 1/4 mile without feeling like I was dying.

If that is you- my advice is DON’T GIVE UP!! My mom, at age 61 (almost 62) is an avid runner, but she didn’t start for the very first time until she was 50! And she couldn’t even make a quarter of a mile. And then she and I ran a half to celebrate her 60th birthday.

OK, that’s my fitness soapbox/pep talk for you!

On a fun note, I went with my girls, my mom, my aunt, my sister and my nieces to Pawhuska, OK a few weeks ago!

Anybody wanna guess what’s in Pawhuska??

Ha, ha! I’m sure you know ๐Ÿ˜‰

Pawhuska is actually an easy 1 1/2 hour drive from where I live, so I’ve been several times to go to the Merc. This time we toured the Lodge and also went to the Osage County Historical Museum.

We all had read Killers of the Flower Moon (which is being made into a major movie, I guess!) and a lot of pictures and info in the book came from this museum.

While we were there, we discovered that Cloud Dancing from Dr. Quinn is from Pawhuska and still lives there! If you loved Dr. Quinn back in the 90’s, raise your hand!

And, last but not least, there’s been a lot of horse riding around here! We partnered with Jeff’s sister and her husband and built an outdoor arena. We’ve all been spending lots of time there watching the girls ride horses and do a bit of riding ourselves.

OK, now that I’ve talked your ear off, I’ll let ya go. I need to get the oil changed in my pick-up, drop off cotton checks at the bank and take a two mile run before I plant my green beans! Plus, we have 4-H dog practice tonight. But I’m organized today (this is not always the case!) and I already have supper in the crockpot (bbq chicken, in case you were wondering).

Happy April!!

Melinda Donley
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