Today is the perfect day to get some yard work completed. The sun came out around 10:00 and it is sufficiently warm enough to wear short sleeves. The house is clean other than the bookshelves need to be sorted and arranged properly. That's a rainy day chore, or at least a foggy day chore. It's yard work time.
I went out to the garden and pulled up all the corn stalks. There was some dried ears of corn still on the stalks so those got separated and put into a can for winter use for the chickens. (I could also use it for food for us if needed! ) The stalks went to the sheep. Leaves have been getting raked...you rake one day and the next day you rake again, etc.
I am piling the leaves in the barn where the hay used to go. Hay is so expensive that the animals are not going to get any this winter. They are not worth $20 a bale! I have a feeling animals are going to go really cheap at the auction this winter due to the high cost of feed. Perhaps we'll pick up some more animals, feed them on our pasture and leaves and eat them next fall.
Since mulberry trees, in past decades, were grown specifically for animal feed I figure we should do the same. We have two huge flowering mulberry plus the three fruiting mulberry. We have a sycamore and another large tree that drops leaves. Army daughter has some nice deciduous trees at her house too. Oldest daughter doesn't have too many left since they've cut most down. Our leaf pile will just keep growing for the next few months until all the leaves drop. Certainly much cheaper than hay!
We don't have any pine trees on our property but the neighbor does. I'm going to have the grand kids rake up the pine needles and spread them around the blueberry plants. I'd like to get a six inch or so layer of needles. It would sure help with the weeds plus they like acid soil, which we do not have. Needles are cheaper than buying fertilizer, which I don't want to do.
A couple weeks ago boy cleaned out the sheep pen in the barn and put all that good compost into two of the garden beds. I spread that out and those will be ready for planting in the spring.
I pulled some weeds that had taken over the dead squash bed and found a zucchini! We are having zucchini for dinner. Another garden surprise! Watermelon yesterday and zucchini today. After the bed was cleaned out I put in onion seeds. I was hoping to have them started and plant the starts but I didn't get that far and since it's such a nice day out I just put in the seeds.
I want to pull up some of the pepper plants and pot them. They will grow in the house as nice houseplants all winter and can get replanted in the spring. I always plant new pepper plants but these will produce peppers first thing while I wait for the rest.
I have to cut back the berry plants. Perhaps that will be tomorrow's task. I am going to root about thirty berries so they can be planted in the front along my front fence. I am going to add another layer of cut branches first. Last years branches started off about five feet high but are now only about three feet high. They've settled quite a bit. We still have a large variety of birds hanging out in them. We will put another three or four feet on top then in the spring put in the berries. It will eventually be a 150 foot blackberry bramble. I'm looking forward to that! It won't get out of hand because I can mow the side that goes toward the road if it starts expanding too far and the animals will eat it down on the pasture side.
Heard about some work a friend of mine is doing at their ranch. They built a pond that they are filling with water being pumped from a windmill. It's stocked with fish. It has some solar aerators so the water gets oxygen into it. They are in the process of building a root cellar. After that project they are going to install solar panels. I'm not sure if it's going to be attached to the grid or not. They have lots of money for projects so it's always interesting to see what's happening at the ranch. They suggested that I put in a pond to raise some fish. I agree, I can't do it myself and can't afford to have someone else do it. Are they offering? If so, come on over! Otherwise, I better just get back to raking leaves.