Homestead Update: Veggie Pests, Wildflowers, and Chickens in the Garden!

Hey, there! Thanks for checking in on this week's Homestead Update. I am really loving writing these little weekly check ins and sharing with you guys what's really happening here on the homestead rather than just hoping you'll take my advice and run with it. In truth, I have lots of ideas for posts that I want to write on gardening advice, on chicken raising advice, on just homesteading in general. BUT, I am super unqualified. This is my first year trying all of these amazing things, and while I could tell you what to do, I'd rather you live through it with me. Live the failures and the hardships and just get to see what we're doing to make this sustainable lifestyle a reality. 

With this sustainable lifestyle comes lots of dreaming. I think if you know me, then you know that I spend a lot of time drifting in my mind. Daydreaming is a natural activity for me, and I often stare into space for much longer than necessary coming up with elaborate stories in my mind and always creating around, "What If." Lately I've been dreaming about what would happen if we moved to a farm. We've been talking about it as a family, and we've been talking about opening a restaurant as a family. We're not ready for that step yet, but I just can't help but imagine the possibility of either owning a farm-to-table type restaurant or even just owning a small, sustainable farm that sells small amounts of produce to local chefs. That would be so cool! And I also dream about writing books someday, whether they're on homesteading or fiction or whatever that might be. What do you dream of? Are you homesteading like us? I guess I just wanted to put out there that starting this lifestyle in your backyard is great gateway to turning this life into a career, if you wanted! 

In other news, the garden still looks awesome. I am still having issues with aphids, but it's getting better. Remember last week when I said that I used the dish soap, essential oil, and water solution on my eggplants? Well, that worked really well, but it didn't work with my sunflowers. They were being attacked by a different type of aphid, ones that were red and black. And there were a LOT of them on the sunflowers. It was like they had ganged up on this one plant all together. So I tried the dish soap/essential oil trick and nothing. It didn't work at all! I debated back and forth on trying an insecticidal soap (organic, of course) or purchasing) Neem oil or red lady beetles. It was turning into how much money do I want to spend to save this one sunflower?! Or do I just let nature take its course; the aphids can devour this plant that is obviously the weaker of them all, though it didn't appear weak to me. Instead, I went for the affordable and available approach:  spray them with the hose until the fall off. Aphids have really weak legs, so its more than likely that if you knock them off the plant with a steady stream of water, they won't walk back up it. I've been doing this for several days in a row now and each time I come back, there are significantly less aphids. So far, so good. I might have to try the Neem oil. 

My next issue in the garden? Potato bugs. They're everywhere! And I'm not sure how to get rid of them. Spraying does not seem to be helping. I guess I'll have to research that one. Do any of you have issues with pests on potatoes? How do you fix it?! I think I may try sprinkling diatomaceous earth on them. Worth a shot!

I also discovered that I only planted ONE green zucchini plant of like, twelve, and the rest are golden zucchini. Face palm. I'm honestly not sure how that even happened because I labeled my seedlings well! But apparently not, or I had some sort of mistake happen while planting. Either way, we will be eating lots of yellow squash this year. 

Jill and I decided to go out and take some new photos of the linen clothing one day this week. The heat had finally dropped, and it was expected to thunderstorm. Even though the storm never happened, which would have been so good for the garden, we were able to get some awesome photos! I just wanted to share because there was this giant slope of wildflowers that we somehow managed to make look like this wall of flowers! It really wasn't this high, but it's all about those angles, you know?!

Just so beautiful and even more breathtaking in real life!

Our chickens are doing well! You can tell that it's been hot because every time I see them, they're doing that animalistic thing where they open their beaks and breath heavily, as if they're sweating. It's so odd raising an animal that's not a mammal. They react to heat and cold so differently than we do, and it's been kind of strange figuring how best to help them with that. They have plenty of water and shade, so nothing awful happening, just fascinating to watch and discover.

They're also starting to get a lot braver. In the evenings, when the garden is shaded by our young oak tree, I like to go out to weed and tend to the plants. I usually let the chickens out at that time, too, from their run and out to free range. We don't have 100% free range chickens; we can't have them. Because we live in a residential area, it would be rude to just let them wander about unattended. However, when I would let them out to free range, they often liked to stay close to me, to their run, or hide out in the bushes near their run. For the past couple of nights, they've decided that it's pretty safe for them to just wander about the yard wherever they please, even if that means traipsing into the neighbor's yard. Oi! So many "Shoo, chickens, shoo!" the other night as I weeded. From them casually making way into the next yard over or even into my garden. Those little greedy babes!

There's mischievous Arlene Chicken in the butternut squash! Actually, we let her in that day so we could snap some photos of Tad in this sweet outfit gifted to us by Roaming Threads. How lovely is this linen?! I have been loving dressing Tad in linen for the summer as it so breathable and able to get dirty with a decent clean up. In fact, I've only really been wearing linen all summer as well. It's a game changer! I'd like to introduce some pants and a few more dresses into my wardrobe, but I told myself that I would not buy any new clothes this year. So far, so good! Just making clothes (Jill makes! I dream LOL) and repurposing older ones. It's been a challenge, especially since every time I walk into my closet I get rid of a few things that have just been sitting there. I think I almost to the point of legitimate minimalism in wardrobe. I only wear about six things on repeat. Should I do a post on my wardrobe?! What do you think?

Tad's wardrobe is looking about the same when it comes to amount and rotation. I love having fewer options and more time to focus on other things throughout the day! Roaming Threads is releasing their new clothing collection next week, and I cannot wait to see what is being created!

What are your weekend plans? We are headed out to do some touristy things today and then who knows... probably more gardening! I know that Tad and his grandpa are going to go see the new Cars movie at some point. It will be Tad's first time at the movie theater, and I cannot wait to hear how it goes! I hope he has so much fun. 

Hope you have a good one, and let me know if you figure out how to get rid of those potato bugs!!! (;

xoxo Kayla