Thursday, April 28, 2016

Interior Garden Fence

You know we like things as natural as possible around here at the Hayes Homestead and what's a more natural, organic way to till, weed and fertilize your garden than with chickens!?

We love having the chickens forage through our garden, but what we didn't like was that they could possibly eat/compromise the perennials we have planted.

Time to build a fence!

Jason (with a little help, of course) threw a fence up in no time. 


Our perennial area is only about 1/4 of the garden so it wasn't a huge space to block off. 

Some fence posts, some trellis, and some muscles is all it took.  Oh, and a level...

Once the fence was up, we put the chickens in.  They were in digging, pecking, bug-hunting heaven.

We try to have the chickens in there a few times per week, but we've been noticing a lot of hawks flying overhead lately so we've been a bit more cautious.  We prefer to let them "free range" in the garden, but we also use our Mobile Chicken Shelter if we can't be outside with them.  Oliver is always in there with them, but he might run to the chickens for protection if there was any danger nearby :) 

The fence looks great and it's so nice to be able to let the chickens take care of our garden for us without having to worry about them eating our strawberry, rhubarb or asparagus plants.

Happy Gardening!

~ Sara :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Starting Seeds in Eggshells

One thing we do not have a shortage in our house is eggs!  We eat a lot of eggs, hence why we have chickens!  Eggshells not only house the incredible edible egg, but they are also an amazing, healthy addition to gardens, flower beds and composts.  They are full of calcium which is great for healthy soil, but they also deter bugs, slugs and other creepy crawlies because of their sharp edges.  And, of course, they're all natural and biodegradable.

We have always composted our eggshells - or fed our hardboiled eggshells to the chickens - but, this year I decided to start saving our eggshells to use to start our seeds for our garden.

I saved the eggshell halves for a couple months and managed to acquire quite the stash - it took up almost an entire shelf in our fridge.  Then, the Easter Bunny decided to fill the kids Easter baskets with seed packets. 
How did he/she know!?

This past weekend it was finally time to put all these eggshells I'd been hoarding to use.  As well as the kids seeds!

Before we got started, I prepped the eggshells by putting a small layer of soil in each eggshell.

Then I waited for my trusty sidekicks to help me out with the rest.

Gotta teach 'em young!

Redmond wasn't totally into it, but he did help with a few.  He wanted to plant the corn seeds first.

Ashlyn, on the other hand, was allll about it!

One of her favorite fresh-from-the-garden veggies is peas.  She couldn't wait to plant the peas!

Once we got all the seeds in the shells, we topped them off with more soil.

Once the seeds were all snug in their shells, we moved them into the greenhouse Jason whipped up for us.  We gave them some water....and now we wait :)

We are so excited about our garden this year and all the fun things we have planned for our little homestead this summer!

I would love to hear about/see your gardens!  Fingers crossed we have better luck this year than we did last year :)

~ Sara :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Weekend Recap

Another beautiful weekend here!  Isn't Spring the best!?

On Friday I noticed our first little sprouts from the seeds the kids and I planted!  Awfully appropriate for it being Earth Day, huh??? In the eggshells we have Marigolds beginning to sprout and in the large container we have basil.  Yay!

We also have a toad living in our greenbox.  We're pretty excited about this because he'll help keep all the bugs off of our plants. 

Oh, and this kid is all registered for Kindergarten.  No big deal.  *sniff, sniff*

Saturday was my birthday!!!  I should have come up with something really fun and exciting to do - but I didn't.  #birthdaysaren'tthesameastheyusedtobe

We started out the day visiting a local greenhouse and talking to the owner about fruit trees (yep, we know how to par-tay!).  We're pretty excited to get our trees and get them planted....but we have a few weeks before we can do that.

After that, we stopped by a park to let the kids play for a bit.

After the park, we headed home, had lunch and everyone (well, everyone except me) took a nap.  Once everyone was rested, we loaded up and headed down to a local winery where they were having live music.  The winery just happens to be on a golf course, so we headed out to let the kids hit some balls.

The winery makes wine slushies, so I took one for the road fairway.  This was my view:

We headed back to the clubhouse/winery and sat on the deck to listen to some music.  These guys were great - Ashlyn loved the music!


After jamming out (and another wine slushie ;), we headed out to meet my in-laws for dinner at an Italian restaurant.  Eggplant Parmesan is pretty much my most favorite meal ever.

Ashlyn really enjoyed the breadstick that was the size of her head.

After dinner, we headed back to our house for cake and presents.  Jason and the kids made my cake and it was awesome!

Seriously, Oliver!?
After cake, it was time for presents!!

Jason got me a new spatula (romantic, I know, but we really needed a new one), a new workout tank (that I love!!) and a check (from our joint account) for $10.  That guy, he sure does have a great sense of humor :)  My in-laws got me a new Ball State sweatshirt (much needed since I ruined my other one!) and the kids each got me a small gift too.

This card from Ashlyn is priceless.... :)
It was a great birthday and a great day to turn 35 (gasp!)!!

Sunday we spent the majority of the day outside.  Jason blew up the small bounce house for the kids - they were excited to get it out for the first time this year.

I finally finished weeding our large rhubarb bed. 

Jason spent his day putting up fence posts for our chicken run expansion.  Exciting to see it coming together!

We ended the day with grilled ribeyes (well, I had a Quinoa and Black Bean Burger) and this delicious Kale Salad that I made.  It was sooooo good!

And, that's it!  That was our weekend.  Hope you had a great one, too!!

~ Sara :)