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We accomplished a lot over the past couple of weeks and I’m finally starting to feel like I don’t have to freak out on a daily basis. The gardens are loaded up and growing – I’m on to doing battle with the rabbits and making sure the chickens can’t help themselves to the plants.

I am grateful for friends and family members who helped me watch the kids, burn up brush and pull out roots in preparation for some raspberries! We managed to plant some cherry trees, and the currant bushes I planted last fall are starting to fill with fruit. I was excited to find a large patch of comfrey growing by the burn pile. Comfrey is an awesome plant to have around a homestead – it has powerful medicinal properties, and is also great for activating your compost. It’s a nitrogen fixer, and I will definitely use it as a chop & drop mulch in the orchard. I’ll talk more about it when I get around to transplanting it.

The chickens are getting big and brave. They’re getting acclimated to their new home and starting to venture out in search of the best weeds and bugs. Rather than cramming themselves into a chicken blob under the nest box shelves, they are beginning to feel safe getting comfortable and falling asleep on their own. Hilariously, Harvey (the dominant rooster) is now trying to crow. I let them out first thing in the morning – he rushes from the coop, bursts forth from the barn ahead of everyone else, musters all his breath, and goes “aaaaa!” Rather uninspiring but incredibly funny. Teenage chickens.

The kittens have reached a size that allows them to escape their box, and wander willy-nilly through the basement. It is therefore time to put them in the barn. I’ve been putting them outside with their food every morning with the chickens, and feeding them dinner/putting them to bed at the same time as well…so they’re plenty used to the outdoors. But last night their bed was in the barn instead of the basement, which they did not appreciate. Bing escaped at some point and waited on the porch for us to wake up, and Toothless is just tuckered right out, but they’ll get used to it. Think yer traumatized now kittens, just wait till you meet the vet!

A good portion of the work around here is not interesting. It’s weeding, mowing, trimming, thinning, weed whacking, cleaning up after animals and kids. It’s masses of excessively dirty laundry, pest control, pruning, tune-ups and sweaty work. We spent the day yesterday just cleaning up around the land. The burn piles had become so large, they couldn’t just be lit, they needed breaking down. Our barn demolition adventures had left our driveway littered with scrap wood and metal, and the newly lovely weather has spurred the growth of weeds.

This coming week, I hope to finish up my rainy day cutting board project, plant my last cherry tree and side dress the fall planted garlic crop. I’m super excited for this garlic because I planted several new varieties last year, which will obviously need taste testing.

The sun is out, the herbs are up, it’s time to make a julep and enjoy the process!

Mint Julep

8-9 fresh mint leaves

+/- 1 tsp simple syrup, agave or honey

5 count (Apx. 2 shots) your favorite bourbon

Crushed ice

I know it’s a pain to bust out your blender, but don’t skip on the crushed ice. It’s really what makes this drink. In a julep cup or rocks glass, bruise your mint. Add your sweetener and bourbon and give it a stir to distribute the sugar. Fill the glass to the top with crushed ice. Enjoy your whiskey slushy!