Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Things are changing around the homestead lately.  We've had a number of pretty good freezes, with thick ice forming on the animals' water bucket and white frost on the ground.

On Dec 26 I spread the year's worth of compost on 2/3 of the garden and planted heirloom Sonoran White Wheat, which is an old wheat from the southwest part of the country.  Google it.  I got the seed from a farm where S. and I worked for a year and have been storing it in the fridge for a few years now.  I thought I might as well go ahead and plant it.

Why did I dig under the veggies to plant wheat?  Well, that's a complicated thing.  The garden has not been all that productive this fall and I was feeling like it was time to let it rest somewhat.  Also, I am very interested in growing some more calorie dense food rather than lots and lots of greens.  We joined a CSA (Finca Pura Vida) and have plenty of veggies from that, so I no longer felt it was necessary to try and supplement our diet from the garden in a significant way, leaving me open to experiment with the wheat!

I planted 200 sq.ft. of wheat, so we'll see how much of a yield I get. I'm hoping for something on the order of 10 lbs.  I've read that I can expect to harvest as much as 20 lbs from that much area, but I really am quite skeptical of that figure.  It's a lot easier to read about bumper harvests than to have bumper harvests...  Anyways the wheat will come out sometime around May or June, at which point I can either plant beans or melons.  Right now I'm leaning towards melons because I LOVE MELONS.  But, if I plant the tepary beans, and get the same yield as when I grew teparies 2 years ago, I reckon I'll get around 8 lbs of beans, to be harvested in the late fall.  SO, from about a year of growing, I'd have maybe 18 or 20 lbs (optimistically) of beans + wheat berries to make into some kind of soup and/or tortillas.  That's enough for a couple of months actually.  S. and I eat around one pound of beans per week most of the time so if we stretched it out with wheat berries that is enough to kick the can down the road a bit longer.  Anyways it's just fun.

Otherwise in the garden I've got like 100 garlic plants and 50 strawberry plants.  So, I'll have bad breath and yummy berries.  2013 is going to be year of fruit around our little farmlet, with melons, strawberries, and (hopefully) the fist major harvest of grapes and peaches.  Both bear on the previous year's growth, and both have LOTS of growth from this year on which to bear, so with careful pruning and lots of bird netting, I think we'll get a good harvest.

Nothing like this tree, though...

This is not my house, it is a tree near Dottie Jordan Park N.E. Austin that I saw today. I am jealous.  Maybe one day my little citrus trees will look like that.

The biggest news is that we did not breed the goats this fall, so 2013 will be goat-milk-free.  The reasoning here is that with Sweetie (pj's daughter i.e. Mabel's replacement) having been born in April, she was not be ready to breed in the fall and we wanted to breed both goats at the same time, and get onto an earlier breeding schedule than we were on.  That means we're aiming to breed both PJ and Sweetie in September or so of 2013, and they will both come into milk about 6 months after that, in March or April after the kids are weaned.  It also means that we get to take a summer vacation for the first time in a couple of years! Yay!

that's all for now.