The last of our summer photos! We had such a cool year that much of it felt like autumn (particularly at night) but it’s crept in on us. The yard has come a long way from last year!

The second to last photo has our apple tree and a clump of transplanted wildflowers in a nook where th fence curves around but it’s hard to see. It will look really nice once it grows out, there’s a lot of variety in a dense “cottage style” planting.

Judas Jr. is picking beans from the retaining wall which was a downright ingenious bean location, no stooping and we picked beans every day! We made it even easier (and extra fun) by planting Royal Purple Pod and Dragon’s Tongue so they stood out nicely from the foliage. Peas were growing up the fence behind them and all the berries were further down.

Bugs enjoying flowers in our little pasture!

Some mushrooms we saw last week. The Rat Farm forest is extra enchanted looking this year!

Mushroom Tag

The Rat Farm pasture is (thus far) a 44x100’ septic field plus a small spot of yard where the tank is buried.

We are clearing towards a half acre each of pasture and garden. We want to preserve as much land as possible for a woodlot, deer, and to enjoy.

2014 Rat Farm Planting List:

This year the gardens are as follows:
- Driveway: 16x24’ (384 sq. ft.)
- Yard: 8x16’ expanded to 10x24’ (240 sq. ft.)
- Retaining Wall: roughly 2x28’ (56 sq. ft.)
(680 total sq. ft. of food garden)
- 3 pots made of old tires, 2’ across
- Oval flower/pollinator garden plus various other small flower/landscape/non-edible gardens

We’re not exactly producing all our food (we’re still more prepper than farmer) but we are making progress and continuing to develop skills until we can finish clearing and prep land for a half acre garden in the back yard.

We weeded and tilled up more of the retaining wall that came with the house (berry bushes, strawberries, peas, beans), planted the stone retaining wall we installed last year around the parking spot with flowers and built a ovular garden in front to attract and sustain bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. We fenced in the front yard which means no chickens destroying the gardens and Judas Jr. is contained while I work. I more or less completely replanted the border and little corner garden along the front of the house but without the chickens it has flourished. We divided up two pickup trucks of compost amongst everything and planted a lot of seeds and some live plants/bulbs as well as transplanted native and “gone wild” perennials and moved some fruit trees and berry bushes to make better use of space. I also strategically mowed so wildflowers could spring up along the borders of all the garden beds and along the fences and left a patch of yard long with clover always blooming so bees and other pollinators always had a food source.

For seeds I bought most of them from an Ebay seller I got seeds from last year, “Wakaam” and everything is heirloom, non-gmo, open-pollinated, and new for this year:

- Vates Kale
- Amish Paste Tomato
- Black Krim Tomato
- Purple Vienna Kohlrabi
- Green Globe Artichoke
- Purple Top White Globe Turnip
- Royalty Purple Pod Bush Bean
- Royal Acorn Squash
- Waltham Butternut Squash
- Large American Flag Leek
- Long Island Improved Brussel Sprouts
- Mammoth Melting Sugar Pod Snow Pea
- Alaska Pea

I also ordered seeds from the one and only Jackie Clay (heirloom from her own gadren), homesteading author and contributor to Backwoods Home Magazine! It turns out she lives North of us so everything she has will work in our growing zone which borders between 3 and 4:

- Bill Bean Tomato
- Italian Tree Tomato or Climbing Triple Crop
- Old German Tomato
- Dragon Tongue Bush Bean
- Hopi Pale Grey Squash (RARE!)
- Blacktail Mountain Watermelon

A friend gave us some old Tamatofest seeds but germination was spotty:

- Blondkopfchen
- Garden Peach
- Brandywine OTV
- Paul Robeson
- Costoluto Genovese
- Julia Child
- Boxcar Willie
- Orange Strawberry
- Black Zebra
- Hillbilly
- Stump o’ the World

We got live plants and bulbs from the Jung Nursery for our pollinator garden and some fence cover:

- Honesuckle
- Blue Moon Wisteria
- Jackmannii Clematis
- Engelmann Ivy
- Limelight Hydrangea
- Clementine Verbascum
- Candy Mountain Rose Foxglove
- Cardonna Salvia
- Ellagance Purple Lavender
- The order also came with free Gladious assortment

I also transplanted wildflowers to the yard, flower garden, and rock wall:
- Mullein (Verbascum bombyciferum)
- Lupin
- Forget-Me-Nots
- Phlox
- Clover (red and white)
- Birdsfoot Trefoil
- Blackeyed Susan
- Hawkweed
And others I’m not familiar with

And another year of building up the little 44x100’ pasture with a local forage seed mix and added the same forage mix to the yard for the clover and other flowers, as well as a mixed variety (no mono-culture) sun/shade local grass seed to fill out the lawn more.

wingsofjudas:

Inks for a new header/promo for my Pateon! I’m going to attempt a coloured version but wanted this in case that version bombs.

Like what you see? Fund me with $1 a month to help me make more art and do other awesome stuff! You even get things in return!

★ FULL VIEW ★

Consider funding me through Patreon so I can keep making art, writing homesteading/frugal survival articles, and developing Rat Farm!

wingsofjudas:

Inks for a new header/promo for my Pateon! I’m going to attempt a coloured version but wanted this in case that version bombs.

Like what you see? Fund me with $1 a month to help me make more art and do other awesome stuff! You even get things in return!

FULL VIEW

Consider funding me through Patreon so I can keep making art, writing homesteading/frugal survival articles, and developing Rat Farm!

Your buckeyes are gorgeous where did you get them from? We have buckeyes as well but were looking to improve our lines.

ratfarm:

Thank you! We actually ordered them from here: http://www.mypetchicken.com/catalog/Day-Old-Baby-Chicks/Buckeye-p245.aspx Almost all our birds were wiped out this past winter from our barn collapse and foxes so we jumped at what we could find before chicks sold out. Mypetchicken.com gets their birds from various hatcheries, so I’m afraid I don’t know the line/strain of our Buckeyes but I just sent them an email to see if they know. I’ll post any results.

If I’d had the luxury of time I probably would have bought my chicks from someone with a known strain just to save the guesswork, but the birds I have have been wonderful and healthy and I’m very pleased with them. If all else fails I’ll introduce two different strains or a mixed line to keep things genetically diverse.

Good luck!

We got a response and it looks like I was mistaken about random hatchery supplies, at least concerning the Buckeyes…

Hello There,

Thank you for writing My Pet Chicken with your question!

We have been developing our own line of Buckeyes for generations and are not associated with any other breeding lines.

That said, you can safely breed your hens with a local strain without risk of inbreeding.

Best of luck!

Sam
www.MyPetChicken.com

Our young Buckeyes (and Earl Grey the Jersey Giant rooster) seem to like the Chicken Shack we re-purposed. I’m not sure how old it is but it predates the house. It used to be taller but it’s slowly rotting at the bottommost logs, the ground currently meets where the first door hinge was and you have to stoop to enter.

We bought some new straw bales and added perches, as well as the feed/scratch cans up on a pallet. New metal trash cans are a great way to keep rodents and water out of your feed!

wingsofjudas:

I put new artwork on Society6 and let me tell you, I am ALL about the tote bags. If I sell nothing but can buy my own tote bags I will be content.

★ My Society6 shop! ★

For those that don’t know I have an art blog and have started selling products featuring my work! There’s links to all the places you can find me on wingsofjudas.com! I like to keep my creative stuff on a separate account for organization’s sake but once in a great while I might cross post stuff to let new followers know or to share relevant art…

Speaking of “relevant art”, I’m very pleased to announce I’ve started working on Rat Farm and Kustom Kulture/ratbike/ratrod themed illustrations! They will be available on stickers, patches, hats, shirts, tote bags, mugs, etc. I might even do giveaways every time I gain another 100 followers!

What I make selling art goes back into Rat Farm, so if you dig my work you can help sustain us and ensure more posts!

Your buckeyes are gorgeous where did you get them from? We have buckeyes as well but were looking to improve our lines.

Thank you! We actually ordered them from here: http://www.mypetchicken.com/catalog/Day-Old-Baby-Chicks/Buckeye-p245.aspx Almost all our birds were wiped out this past winter from our barn collapse and foxes so we jumped at what we could find before chicks sold out. Mypetchicken.com gets their birds from various hatcheries, so I’m afraid I don’t know the line/strain of our Buckeyes but I just sent them an email to see if they know. I’ll post any results.

If I’d had the luxury of time I probably would have bought my chicks from someone with a known strain just to save the guesswork, but the birds I have have been wonderful and healthy and I’m very pleased with them. If all else fails I’ll introduce two different strains or a mixed line to keep things genetically diverse.

Good luck!