Homestead Happenings: A Christmas break and into 2017

2017 is here and Christmas is over. The decorations are gone, packed away in their boxes and I’ve *almost* finished cleaning out the fridge from Holiday leftovers – you know those sneaky ones that hang out at the back of your refrigerator for weeks, yeah – those guys might still be hanging around. My husband is back to flying and work and I’m trying to settle back into normal every-day life without the extra work of the Holidays; I’m even getting back into gardening with a lot of prep work and learning a new gardening method called ‘Korean Natural Farming’ but more on that in a later post – yeah for January in the tropics!

img_3699Over the Holiday vacation we had about 10 days to get caught up on some projects around the homestead, including one major project of our rabbit shed/pole barn, as well as some concentrated family time which was refreshing. It was nice to get some things crossed off of our list and it reminded us that we need to pick out some other times during this new year for some “stay-cations” where we can do the same thing.

img_3665We did a lot of projects, including several upgrades and improvements to the chicken coop and run (another post on this too is in the works), but the largest of them all was our rabbit shed/pole barn. Dave has been working on the barn for months including digging the holes, cementing in the posts, putting up the framework and finally nailing down all of the tin which covers it on the roof and sides.

We promptly cleaned off our back porch as soon as it was finished placing the extra chairs and grain barrels in the barn for storage. This also is the new parking place for the 4-wheeler. All of that gave us the room to draw out our idea for our long-planned outdoor kitchen which I think will be the next big project after the rabbit cages are built and hung. We took some sidewalk chalk and drew out our idea of where we want to place things and though it doesn’t look like much now, I assure you it will be awesome when it’s done. We plan on having an outdoor sink, counter space, a grate for grilling, two rocket stove burners and a pizza oven; outdoor parties here we come!! Now to screen in the porch . . .

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One final piece of tin to add

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nailed tin
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rebar waiting to be made into the frame for our wire rabbit cages
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plans for the outdoor sink
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a chalked up plan . . .
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the grill, two rocket stoves and counter space
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Where the pizza oven will go. I’ll have to move my rose

img_3692Dave also did a lot of work on our pig pen during the break around. We had that drainage issue during the last few rains and decided to try something different. This time we are doing a cement floor and trough to see how it goes. So far the drainage is good but for some reason the flies are more attracted to this little pig’s poop on the cement than previous pigs. The jury is still out as to whether this will work out or if we will need to add a thick layer of sand on top of the cement.

img_3697Other than the garden and chickens, since there are too many things to include here on those, the rest of our place is doing great. Our Cameroonian red papayas are fruiting but it will still be several months before the first one is ready. Our oldest pineapples are looking good and we hope they will start fruiting soon but it may still be several months before we see any signs. We also have two more bunches of bananas on the way from the trees in our yard.

The rest of our fruit trees around the yard are looking much better now that they have been trimmed. We have three lemon trees, one “Congo lime”, an avocado, three orange trees and we just planted more lime seeds from limes from Uganda. I’m especially excited about the limes from Uganda as they are true limes and it is a flavor I absolutely love! All that with chickens, a pig, ducks, a garden and soon rabbits isn’t so bad for about .4 of an acre! That even includes our front lawn and house but we do the best with what we have.

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One of our banana bunches
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An orange tree after trimming
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One of our oldest pineapple plants
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Our orchard row
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Some local bats hanging out in the tree next door

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So that’s where we are at now that Christmas is over, we’ve had our break and are into 2017. We are looking forward to the things that this new year will bring our way on our African homestead.

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