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Sunny Summer

Now that the summer season is wrapping up and coming to a close, I figured now would be a perfect time to catch up on this summers happenings here at the hoppinhomestead. We had thought that our summer wasn’t going to be too busy…I know…what were we thinking!? But as you have probably already guessed (and probably could have told us “dream on fantasist”) it was quite the opposite. This summer was very full and fast paced, but it was good and we had a lot of fun! Here are some of the highlights from around the farm.

I planted another garden this year, and this time the garden was much more of a success. Last year was the first year I attempted  a garden, and a combination of being over zealous + lack of preparation + bugs eating my plants =  crash and burn crop. But not to be deterred I tried again this year, and overall it was a grand success. This year I didn’t try to cram too many plants into one space, and I checked the planting times. Throughout the winter and early spring we kept adding droppings from the rabbits and plenty of earthworms. When it was time to plant the soil was rich and ready for plants.

***On a side note here is a little scoop on poop – Rabbit fertilizer is ah-mazing! If you are on the fence about whether or not to get a rabbit the fertilizer alone for your garden is worth it. And it is one of the few fertilizers that you can put directly on your garden. It is not a hot fertilizer, and will not harm your plants. Miracle grow has nothing on rabbit fertilizer. I am pretty sure the “magic beans” Jack’s bean stock grew from were really rabbit pellets. Point is…it works. Use it if you can.***

I planted (2) squash plants, (2) zucchini plants, and (6) Tomato plants. The squash and zucchini pretty much took over just about the whole space, and we got a big crop from both. The tomato’s did pretty well considering they were getting elbowed out. I have some ideas for next years crop to help with the crowding. Our fig tree also was exploding with figs this year. There are only two of us in this family as of right now, and there was more squash and zucchini than either of us could keep up with, so we ended up giving some away to family and coworkers. It was wonderful eating meals from our own garden! Next year I am hoping to have some raised beds, so we can add a few more veggies to the list. So, moral of the story is if your garden didn’t go exactly how you planned this year, give it another try. You can always scale back, try other varieties and plants, tweak things here adjust things there, research, and come out with tasty home grown veggies.

Summer garden (notice the little decorative turkey in the corner. I guess our neighbor thought it was appropriate for us.)
Summer garden (notice the little decorative turkey in the corner. I guess our neighbor thought it was appropriate for us.)

Pic 4Pic 3We also had several litters of Holland lops, and that kept us plenty busy!  Hopefully by the beginning of October we will have a few more litters. It is always amazing to watch them grow and develop. They are quite the little characters. They have a ton of personality and are very inquisitive. But how can you not love these little cuties!? ‘Nough said.

Too much cuteness!
Too much cuteness!

And last but not least we had a new arrival of chicks in mid July. The chickens that we have currently are lovely, hard working little ladies, but we have had them for 2 years now going on 3. They are mostly heavy egg layers and their prime is 2 years and then they start tapering off on their egg production. Once the chicks start laying I will sell the older chickens, and keep cycling them out every couple of years. Ideally, if we eventually get more land I would like to have a rooster, and hatch my own chicks. But for now this works. 🙂 My favorite layers are the Red Stars. They lay beautiful, huge brown eggs. In addition to the Red Stars, I also bought Black Stars, Plymouth Rocks, and Leghorns. They are super cute, and fun to watch. I also enjoyed having them in the summer because they only needed the heat lamp at night, and only for a couple of weeks. Bonus! Let me just say picking chicks up from the post office is a hilarious experience. When you go to pick them up, and the postal worker brings your package up the chicks will be cheeping like crazy, and other customers will most likely be staring at the box or looking around trying to detect where the noise is coming from and making comments like “Awwwww [cute]” and “You can ship that!?” It is quite fun to observe.

New arrivals!
New arrivals!

Pic 6Pic 7Never a dull moment on the farm!

~Kate xx

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