Larsen Poultry Ranch - homesteading journey

Bruce

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I ended up getting 16, plus a potted apple as they didn't have any bare root apples. Shortly before going to the nursery, I bought several shrubs and three trees at TSC.
You are a glutton for hole digging punishment! Like TB said, you are going to have one heck of a nice orchard.
 

Larsen Poultry Ranch

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You are a glutton for hole digging punishment! Like TB said, you are going to have one heck of a nice orchard.
I hope so! We put the orchard on the north side of the property, next to the fence as the neighbor started their orchard right there too, was hoping the trees would cross pollinate and we'd both get better harvests. The field-now-orchard should get full sun most of the day, and once we take out some more trees on the south part of the field there will be even more sunshine.

I think we will put the garden there too, at least this first year and figure out how to change things again next year. There's a dip/low spot we'd like to get filled in. I'm hoping we can remove some of the good topsoil, install a french drain type thing, then fill with fill dirt then nicer dirt and put the topsoil back on top. We'll see what happens, it's probably going to be a few years before we get things the way we want them.

Hubby is talking about getting bees now. I'm not allergic but I swell up terribly. I told him several times I won't participate in bees but he can do it if he wants. I just hope I don't get stung. The dang things fly past every other person and sting me when I haven't even done anything.
 

Larsen Poultry Ranch

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I'm excited for the cuttings I started, several more are now showing buds and the first couple have actual leaves! Little bitty leaves but definite leaf shape and a happy bright green color.

I might be starting some seeds for the garden soon. I think last potential frost is beginning of March. Hard to believe it's halfway through January.
 

thistlebloom

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it's probably going to be a few years before we get things the way we want them.
😄 Yes, I would say that's a conservative estimate, lol.
We've been here nearly 20 and I still haven't settled on where some things should be located. We're getting there, but I have moved my garden 4 times. This may be it's final spot...
 

GardnerHomestead

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I hope so! We put the orchard on the north side of the property, next to the fence as the neighbor started their orchard right there too, was hoping the trees would cross pollinate and we'd both get better harvests. The field-now-orchard should get full sun most of the day, and once we take out some more trees on the south part of the field there will be even more sunshine.

I think we will put the garden there too, at least this first year and figure out how to change things again next year. There's a dip/low spot we'd like to get filled in. I'm hoping we can remove some of the good topsoil, install a french drain type thing, then fill with fill dirt then nicer dirt and put the topsoil back on top. We'll see what happens, it's probably going to be a few years before we get things the way we want them.

Hubby is talking about getting bees now. I'm not allergic but I swell up terribly. I told him several times I won't participate in bees but he can do it if he wants. I just hope I don't get stung. The dang things fly past every other person and sting me when I haven't even done anything.
We have a couple hives, my husband isnt allergic but like you he swells up like a balloon, after about 30 stings the reaction isnt as bad, which is interesting. So theres hope!! Lol, bees are pretty cool though.
 

Larsen Poultry Ranch

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We have a couple hives, my husband isnt allergic but like you he swells up like a balloon, after about 30 stings the reaction isnt as bad, which is interesting. So theres hope!! Lol, bees are pretty cool though.
I do think it would be nice to get our own honey and I know it will be great to boost pollination of my fruit plants, I just hate getting stung.

Last time I was stung I used a Benadryl gel medication, it took the swelling down in about 30 minutes to almost nothing. Still took almost a week before the skin went back to normal looking though.
 

Larsen Poultry Ranch

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Raining today, supposed to be dry tomorrow and then rain again Sunday. Not helping get the yardwork done. We still have 3 bare root trees to get into the ground. I hope they will live, they are in a bag with damp shavings around the roots and the bag keeps coming undone.

Last night I was able to pot up several of the shrubs/roots I bought in the past two weeks: an aronia berry, two nanking cherry, a Chicago hardy fig, and 3 rhubarbs. I still have another rhubarb, a kiwi, and an almond to pot up, plus the three trees I got at TSC. I'm hoping the rain will help settle everything and make it want to grow. The comfrey roots I potted look like they are perkier and bigger. We need to fence off the new orchard before the deer decide to taste everything too.

I'm thinking about spreading a bunch of clover seed in the orchard zone, it's older seed but even if only a little grows it should help. I hoard seeds apparently, some of the stuff I have was harvested for 2012 planting dates...
 

Larsen Poultry Ranch

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Sugar had her kits this morning, one was on the wire and the rest in the box. I gathered the extra fur that was everywhere and put it in the nest box, there were at least 4 there. I tried to resuscitate the cold kit but it never moved. Coffee and Cinnamon are also due within the next few days.
 

Baymule

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Congrats on all the fruit trees! They will bear fruit and pay you back with good things to eat. Ever make strawberry fig preserves? My grandmother made them, so I did too. Yummy!

I got this recipe off the net.

Strawberry Fig Preserves Recipe
Prep
10 mins
Cook
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins


Course: Jams and Preserves
Cuisine: American
Yields: 2 pints (approximate)

Ingredients
3 cups chopped or smashed figs* (about 2 pounds)
2 cups sugar
1 - 6 ounce box of Strawberry JELL-O
Instructions

If you want to have sealed jars to share or store in the pantry for later, sterilize 2 pints or 4 half-pint jars in a hot water bath for for 10-20 minutes depending on elevation. Leave in the hot water until the preserves are ready to pour. For refrigerator jam, rinse clean jars and place in the microwave on high for 2 minutes.
Remove the stems from the figs. Chop coarsely and transfer to a large bowl. Smash with a potato smasher to the desired consistency.*
Add the sugar and JELL-O to the figs. Stir to combine all of the ingredients. Transfer to a 4 - 6 quart sauce pan.
Heat over medium heat, stirring until sugar and JELL-O have dissolved. Continue to heat, stirring to a full boil (a boil that can not be stirred down).
Stir at a full boil for 6 - 8 minutes.* Be careful, because the mixture will start to splatter and it's hot!
After 6-8 minutes, remove from the heat and pour into prepared jars. Wipe the rim of the jars with a clean, damp rag and top with the lid and rings. Tighten firmly.
Let sit on a cooling rack until cool. If desired, after 30-60 minutes, flip the jars over to let the fruit evenly distribute.

Kitchen Notes
Figs – I like using a mix of underripe, ripe and overripe figs. The underripe figs provide the chunkiness for a preserves whereas the ripe and overripe figs cook down into a jam which holds it all together. Therefore, you can use pretty much whatever is available. If you use only ripe and overripe figs, you’ll end up with more of a jam than preserves.

Smashing the figs – If you want the consistency of chunky preserves, then don’t smash too much. Smash just enough to get some soft pulp mixed in with larger pieces of figs. If you want more of a jam, then use ripe to overripe figs and smash away.

Cooking time – The amount of time depends on two factors: elevation and the consistency you want in the final product. At 5000 feet, 8 minutes yields a softer preserve/jam that spreads nicely on toast, but isn’t runny. At sea level, 6 minutes would probably do the job. For a thicker preserve/jam, cook 10 minutes. Some recipes you’ll find say to cook 4 minutes. However, I have found that, in 4 minutes, the figs don’t cook enough and the preserves are too hard.
 
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