Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Goodbye.....

I am sorry but need to say good-bye. This is a decision that was hard to reach, but one that I have been struggling with for many months.   As you probably noticed I have not been around much…was testing the waters to see if it would make a difference in my life and it has. 
I feel like I need to give my family 100%. For a while,  I hoped that I would be able to continue the blog, only writing when I could or when I had the extra time…but for those of you who know me, you’ll know that I don’t do anything half-way. I usually give everything my all, there is no half way. 
I need my heart to be with my family 100%. I feel like that’s my calling as a wife and a mother.
I don’t want my free time to be spent on social media and the blog – I want my free time with my family or learning a new skill…or reading...or yarn crafts etc, and working on building our homestead.   
I need time to be a normal person – a normal wife and mother….one that is not worn out all the time.
I have so enjoyed getting to know you all these past year. I feel like I know most of you personally – thank you.
Don’t worry – the blog will stay up.
Will I be back? I don’t know. As of now, I’m leaving indefinitely.

Again, thank you for everything.   

Monday, October 21, 2013

Catching up with everyone and Weekend Update


Wow!  It surely seems like a long time since I last posted on what we have been doing here at DayByDay Homestead.    We have been pretty busy harvesting, moving things around and preparing for the fall/winter season.   

This past Friday, October 18, 2013, we found out that our area might possibly have its first freeze.   We had a cold front coming in with some rain.   Mr. DaybyDay, Jeff, Man-in-training, Lady-in-training and I hurried outside trying to cover the fall crops and trying to fully harvest the third crop of Cayenne Peppers and Dill plants.   We basically just ripped the plants up out of the raised beds and started plucking all the peppers off.   I had enough dill seed so those plants just went to the compost pile.  I did save some of the new shoots of dill weed and brought that inside to dehydrate for later use.  We were able to manage to somewhat cover two of the raised beds with plastic.   I am glad to announce that we didn't receive the expected frost and that all plants made it through just fine and dandy.  




Here are the Cayenne Peppers that we harvested Friday night.   About a full bucket full.    These peppers were the biggest ones we had so far.   They are all scattered across a folding table slowly ripening now.   




This weekend, we started cleaning up the area and preparing for the fall/winter season some more.  The back porch area was full of growing pots of plants.  Most had been harvested or feed to the chickens...the soil was dumped into an empty raised bed and spread out.   All the under the bed plastic containers that we had used to plant in basically fell apart when we tried to move them.  I guess they dried rotted.   Out to the trash they go.   All that is left on the back porch is sage, bolted cilantro, orange mint, spearmint and chocolate mint, and the one lone elderberry.   I will be ordering a few more elderberry cuttings in the spring.  



We redid the application of the plastic sheeting over the raised beds.   Jeff, attached a 2x4 across each end of the raised beds and we screwed the plastic down...hoping that will keep it in place.   Then when we need to use it for now, we drape it down to the mulch and then place the 2x4x8 on top of the plastic on the mulch.   Hoping that will work till these beds are fully harvested.   I have been reading up on how to make a hoop to attach to the raise beds.   Not sure if we will get those made this year or not.   Might be a project for next year.  


Here is photo showing how Jeff screw the wood up for we can attach the plastic sheeting.   We probably will be attaching sheeting on this bed Tuesday afternoon in preparation for another predicted freeze for our area.   This bed is our green and red cabbage..it seems to be doing okay.   Just thought it would of been larger by now.  


This bed is snow peas, spinach and lettuce on the other side of the peas.   Expected harvest is suppose to be around Nov 15 of the snow peas...crossing our fingers that they make it till then.    You can see how we drape the plastic during the day hours for the bed can get good airflow and not get too hot.  




This the bed that we harvested the dill and Cayenne Peppers from.   I left the marigolds growing.  They just looked too pretty to rip out.  LOL.  



Here is the bed that we harvested the rest of the green beans from this weekend.   Now to find a cover crop for this bed or maybe we will just put some hay on it and cover with plastic. 


We moved the trees over to the south side of the barn/shed area.  Figured it would help protect them from the prairie strong winds yet still give them plenty of sunshine.  


Next, we put up plastic around the "Girls" chicken run.  We only put it on half the run and also left a little bit at the top uncover for there would still be airflow.  We wanted to reduce the strength of the prairie winds and also help control some of the snow if we get some.   Here's to seeing if it works out.   A friend on DaybyDay Facebook page said this is what they do for their chickens near the Chicago area.


The "Girls" do not seem to mind the plastic being up.   We also bought the girls a new metal trash can to hold 100# of chicken feed in and then used the small metal trash can to hold their scratch in.   The goal is to always try to keep 100# in the one trash can.  We might invest in another trash can to hold another 100# to have on hand.  



Once we finished all the above items, Man-in-Training mowed some to give the chickens some fresh greens.   Jeff, Lady-in-training and I started plotting out our future building on the property.   We were searching for what we thought would be the perfect spot to house our meat rabbits.  We think this area would be the spot.   It gets good morning sun, and plenty of shade during the hot afternoon...plus it is close to the water hose if we need to set up a mister for them to stay cool.  





Lady in Training and I also started clearing out the front raised bed.   This is the bed that I had the most issue in keeping weed free.   It just was not high on my list compared to the vegetable garden beds.   I was able to get a good harvest from the Calendula flowers.   I am letting the rest of the Calendula go to see.  I am hoping it will seed itself for next year.   I would love to just make this entire raised bed a Calendula bed.   That would be so awesome if I can get them to do that.  


Jeff and I also were able to get our window AC unit out of our bedroom window.   This week I need to work on weatherizing the window AC unit that is in the living room.   This one was install differently compared to the other ones.  We had to take the unit out of the metal shell and screw it into the window casing...so that one will have to stay in.   Jeff and Man-in-training did put a protective window AC cover over it on the outside.    Just need to button up  the inside from drafts etc.   

Well, that is about it for this weekend.   I am starting to make a new list for this coming weekend projects.  Do you make To Do list up? 

What have you been up to lately?   Are you working on your fall/winter preparations.  





Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Start of Our Fruit Orchard


Back in February of this year, I posted a list of our homesteading goals located HERE.   On that list, I had start a fruit orchard.  I was not sure if that would be started this fall or was going to be put off till next year.   We are please to announce that we were able to start this year.   We purchased two different varieties of apple trees and two different varieties of pear trees.   I thought that this month was the perfect time to buy them and get them in the ground since it was fall.  Come to find out we were just about too late to buy them since most places had them stocked over a month ago.   We picked up an apple and pear tree at our local Lowe's, and had to call around to the other Lowe's close by to see if they had other varieties of what we had purchased.  We finally found a place that had both a different apple and pear variety...in Grove, OK.   So we made the trip there and came home with the other two varieties.   




All that week, Mr. DaybyDay, Jeff, and Man-in-Training started digging the four holes that we needed to plant them in the ground.  We set the holes 15 feet apart.   They dug holes 2 times the width of the root ball and about 1 1/2 times the size of the depth of the root ball.  We have clay soil so we wanted to amend the soil some to give the roots a great chance of growing out and well.   







They used these tools to get the job done during the week of digging the hole. 



Next came planting day!   We first set the tree in the hole to see how much we filler we needed to add back to the hole.   The root ball should rest 1/2 inch higher than the soil line.    We placed the sod that we stripped from the hole in the bottom upside down...then placed the root ball on top of that.   


***For container grown plants such as these, you need to carefully remove the plant/tree by squeezing the container and slowly removing the root ball.  Never pull the plant trunk.  Instead, let the root ball slide out by tipping the container.  If the plant is heavily rooted, loosen the roots by gently pulling a few away from the root ball.  This encourages stronger root growth.  Set the root ball in the hole making sure the top of the root ball is slightly higher (1/2 inch) than the ground level.  Place soil under the root ball if too low.  Back fill soil mix around plant to ground level and tap lightly removing air pockets. ***



Then we started adding the original soil back in the hole; added some compost, then topped off with the rest of the soil.   We made sure to slope the pile of dirt down to create a moat like circle around the entire hole about 6 inches beyond the trunk for the extra water to drain to as we water the trees daily or when it rains.  This moat will be used as a water reservoir to assist in watering until fully established.   











Next step was to support each individual tree.   We used fencing poles.   Jeff and Man-in-Training hammer three poles around each tree into the ground.   They used an old hose and cut three 4-5 inch long pieces for each tree.   Then they took a piece of wire and put one in each of the three cut pieces of hose and wrapped it around the trunk of the tree and then closed it up around the supporting pole.   





These photos are showing where they place those three support fencing poles.



Once the trees are fully planted, water thoroughly to settle the soil around the tree.  Add more soil mix around tree if necessary after watering for the next few weeks.   Apply a root stimulator to encourage new root growth and fast establishment.  

Fertilization:

You should only fertilize just before and just after the plants active growing cycle.  Fertilization should behin just prior to new growth and end three or four weeks before the first frost.   

Choose a fertilizer recommended for fruit.  Frequency will depend on the type of fertilizer.   Liquid and granular quick release will require more frequent applications.  Slow release requires less applications. 

Pruning:

Pruning Fruit Trees increases quality fruit production.  Prune fruit trees in late winter while they are dormant.   When pruning make angular cuts just above the bud.   Remove any shoots that develop below the root stock graft.  These shoots are not beneficial and can inhibit the top growth of the tree.   

Reduce disease and pest by pruning crossing and rubbing branches. This will help to increase air flow through the plant canopy.  Remove damaged or dead limbs back to live wood.   

Fertilize after pruning to help speed new growth.  

Watering:

New plants require more frequent watering than established plants.  After planting check for water regularly until fully rooted and established.   For large plants such as trees, build a soil ring around the plant to use as a water reservoir.    Always water slowly and deeply making sure the root ball is completely saturated.   Don't water at night if possible.   Watering in the morning helps prevent disease.  

Add 2-3 inches of organic mulch around plant to maintain and conserve soil moisture .  Mulch will reduce watering frequency and speed root establishment.   

Another thing to have ready and be prepared is protecting the young trees from deer.  Deer like to eat the young branches, leaves and bark from fruit trees.   By using three-four fencing posts around the tree for support, you can wrap chicken wire completely around the tree using those three-four fence post to create a wall barrier from the deer.    

It feels so good to finally be starting our fruit orchard.  Hopefully next spring, we will be able to add a few more fruit trees of peaches, nectarines, apricots, a cherry tree and maybe a few more varieties of apple trees.   I am hoping to find information on how to get our established plum trees to start producing again.  I think they have a black knot disease and am hoping to find out how to get rid of it.   

Do you have any fruit trees on your property?    What kind do you have?    How much do they produce for you?   




Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Many Uses of the Ripple/Chevron Stitch

The Many Uses of the Ripple/Chevron Stitch

I just love to use the Ripple/Chevron Stitch, it has so many versatile uses.   I am going to share a few of them for you today, along with the patterns (and how to expand the pattern for you and so you can make your own adaptation of this pattern)


Scarf---Place Setting---Table Runner--- Hot Water Bottle Cover--- Pillow


This is how I make my ripple stitch pattern.  I grab myself some graph paper, and use each square as a stitch.   In this pattern, we will be working with single stitch (sc).   The “X” means skip that stitch/chain, the orange square means 3 sc within the one stitch, and the yellow square means one sc.    Each orange square 3 sc will create a mountain…and each 2 “X,X” will create a valley.   As you can see there is definitely a pattern within the pattern I had made.   To expand this pattern (make it wider, you will not add the last three squares until you have reached the desire width…You will keep on adding the 2 “XX” skip spaces, the six sc, the one orange 3 sc, 6 sc etc until you reach the desire width  then you will add those last three stitches.    
Now to make the ripple mountain and valleys deeper, you can also adapt this pattern by adding more sc to the 6 sc in the area of the pattern.   You can add eleven sc instead of the six on both sides of the mountain and valley parts and you will have a deeper looking ripple.   At the end of this, I will be showing a photo of a lap afghan I am making that will show I used eleven sc .   

For the scarf, I used black and gray simply soft yarn and size “H” crochet hook.   

        1) Chain 50 in black

        2) Sc in second chain from hook, sc in next chain (total 2 sc), “X” skip next chain, * sc in next 6 chains, 3 sc in next chain space, sc in next 6 chains, “XX” skip next two chain spaces*  Repeat from * until the last three chains,   “X” skip one chain, sc in last two chains, chain 1 turn. 

  Sc in next two stitches, “X” skip next stitch, * sc in next 6 stitches, 3 sc in next stitch, sc in next 6 spaces, “XX” skip two stitches *   Repeat from * until the last three stitches.   “X” skip 1 stitch, sc in last two stitches, chain 1, turn.   Continue this row till desire length.   

Now, I wanted to show you that after crocheting two rows of black I added a different color to change the look. 


Here I added just one row on gray and then added two rows of black

Now I added another row of gray.

(sorry that I was not able to show the finished project, this is still a work in progress)


I just continued in crocheting to the length that I wanted, in the last stitch I crochet three sc instead of just one, and then I sc down the length of the scarf, three sc in the corner, sc again across the width, three sc in the corner, and finished crocheting sc to the next corner of three sc.   I slip stitch in the first sc of the set of three, finished off  and weaved the yarn end.  

You can change the look even more by crocheting in the back loops only as I did here: 





And by adding another color it changes again…..


Here I decided to stop crocheting in the back loops and crochet in the entire stitch to change the texture of the piece. 




I decided that I would first make a place setting..




 Then I kept on crocheting to make a table runner…



I also made a Hot Water Bottle Cover by crocheting the table runner just a bit longer…
           






I also was able to take this same piece and make a Throw Pillow Cover: (please excuse the bright pink buttons...they were the only color I had on hand, LOL)







Poncho---Bathmat Pattern
         



(I used the same project I had been working on in making the hot water bottle cover and pillow just to show you the possibility of a bathmat, you would use the following pattern to make it wider)






This is the same pattern as the scarf but wider.   I used the same “X” to mean skip a stitch, the orange square means 3 sc in one stitch, and the yellow means one sc.  I alternated the row colors to make a nice chevron pattern.  

1.    Chain 95 in your main color

2.    Sc in second chain from hook, sc in next chain (total 2 sc) skip next chain, * sc in next 6 chains, 3 sc in the next chain space, sc in next 6 chains, skip next two chains spaces * Repeat from * till last three chains, skip one chain, sc in the last two chain, chain 1 turn.

3.    Sc in next two stitches, skip next stitch, *sc in next 6 stitches, 3 sc in next stitch, sc in next 6 stitches, skip two stitches * Repeat from * till last three stitches, skip next stitch, sc in last two stitches, chain 1, turn.   Continue until piece measures at least 32”   

**I found if I would slip the panel over my arm/shoulder and drape it across to the opposite side/hip area it would give me a better measurement of how long to make the panel.   Once I got to the length I wanted, I would fasten off and replicate the second panel to the same amount of rows. 

This is how to sew the panels together



Afghan and Lap Blanket




Again I am using the same pattern but making it wider and longer.




1.    Chain 230  in main color

2.    Sc in second chain from hook, sc in next chain (total 2 sc) skip next chain, * sc in next 6 chains, 3 sc in the next chain space, sc in next 6 chains, skip next two chains spaces * Repeat from * till last three chains, skip one chain, sc in the last two chain, chain 1 turn.

3.    Sc in next two stitches, skip next stitch, *sc in next 6 stitches, 3 sc in next stitch, sc in next 6 stitches, skip two stitches * Repeat from * till last three stitches, skip next stitch, sc in last two stitches, chain 1, turn.  Continue to the desire length of the afghan, crochet three sc in place of the last sc of the row, sc down the length of the afghan, three sc in the corner, sc down the width of the afghan, three sc in the corner, and sc down the other length of the afghan.  Slip stitch in the first sc of the three sc corner.   Tie off, weave in ends. 

 
As you can see, the ripple/chevron pattern is very versatile. You can switch colors in a few rows, every row and even go so far as not have a certain pattern of rows per color.  You can stitch in the back loops only or do as I did and do some rows in back loop stitching and revert back to stitching both loops in the next rows.   You can use only one color, two colors or multi-colors.   

 There are so many possibilities in using this pattern to make gifts for others and items for yourself.   Enjoy!    

This post was shared at: