The Weekly Digs #219

by Becky

Wild Turkeys

Earlier this week, we had a sighting of something I’ve never seen before on our property, wild turkeys! It was all hens roaming around and fun to see. 

They came up near our turkey Tom and nothing really happened thankfully. Then I noticed our turkey hen was missing and I got worried.

Did she get picked off by a hawk? Did she run off with the wild turkeys? All these thoughts were flooding my brain. I searched around and finally at about dusk, she magically appeared! She ate some food and went about her way.

I kept getting after the kids saying, you guys need to make sure she’s put in the cage at night so she doesn’t get eaten. But no one had put her away for days. 

Thankfully she kept appearing periodically and all along I assumed she was running off with the wild turkey hens all day. Yesterday, she came back looking especially dirty and dingy.

Then today, the boys were mowing around our berry patch and Cam came over to me and said. “The turkey hen is hiding in the berries! She must be afraid of the wild turkeys.”

I thought that made sense and then about ten minutes later the boys came running over and breathlessly told me, “She is sitting on a nest full of eggs!”

Suddenly all of it clicked into place, her missing all day and only showing up to eat at dusk, along with her mangy appearance.  

All her poults died in the Spring due to turkey Tom and some eggs being old and bad. I hope she has better luck this time with her new clutch of eggs!

I have to say I was super surprised that she laid eggs and went broody in the Fall. This is all super new to me because we’ve never kept our older turkeys this long. 

They are completely free range during the day, but usually go into an enclosed cage area at night. My front porch is a constant reminder that our turkeys are free range if you know what I mean, haha. 

We have to wash it often or people are welcomed to my house by a porch littered with all kinds of poultry droppings. This is the part of homesteading no one will ever tell you about. 

I hope to move the turkey’s into our second garden area with an electric fence enclosure at some point. They used to fly over the fence but they are getting older now and Tom is too heavy so I think they would stay in.  I’ll wait and see if our hen hatches her eggs.

In the Garden:

Not much happening in the garden to report on. We are still working on our secret little side project and it’s almost done, yay! 

Plant growth is slowing down a bit but all the cool season weed seedlings just decided it was time to sprout. So I’ve been weeding and trying my best to maintain what is growing. 

The collards are doing awesome but my cabbage next to it is getting attacked by cabbage worms. I kept putting off checking the leaves and now I’m paying for it. I spent an hour today picking off cabbage worms, the chickens had a great snack of them though.

I will cover the cabbage area with row cover next week so the moths quit having a hay day laying eggs on them. 

Oh yeah, I did forget until I looked at my pictures, we started to harvest sweet potatoes this week. We have a lot of big ones this year!

Preserving:

We continued preserving apples this week by freeze drying them. If you watched my YT video this week, the apples I blended up to freeze dry are still in the freezer and will get dried tomorrow. 

Homemade:

Some friends invited us to dinner this week and asked us to bring a drink. I thought fresh pressed apple juice was a good idea so we made that and it was so good!

We have a juicer that I bought many, many years ago when I was going through my attempts to heal my body. Juicing was something I tried but didn’t stick long term because it didn’t help me all that much. 

I kept the juicer because I like to make juice on occasion and this was a good occasion! 

Cam actually bought a gallon of apple cider from the grocery store to compare our homemade juice against but there was no comparison. The brand of cider from the store tasted like watered down juice, it was not good.

Inspiration:

I was working on making new garden beds today (will show pictures eventually) and used the same method as Richard Perkins in THIS Youtube video. 

They are no-dig and were actually really easy to set up, aside from lots of hauling of compost. 

I also recently bought the digital version of his book, Regenerative Farming. It’s good but very in depth so I’m not going through it very fast. I’m looking forward to having more time to read it this winter.

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4 comments

Jennifer b September 24, 2023 - 6:18 pm

Thanks! I’m planning on making applesauce next week, so your video streamlining ideas were really helpful.
I love seeing wild turkeys, beautiful and comical.

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Jake September 27, 2023 - 5:00 pm

Just stumbled across your blog. I can’t see my family of 4 reaching full self-sufficiency, but I’d like to produce at least some of our own food.

What would be the best place to start for an absolute gardening novice? We have a little over 10 acres with no restrictions, so space isn’t a problem, but we do not have a clue how to break into homesteading. I considered hydroponics, but that’s hardware I don’t have. We thought about planting some fruit and nut trees to at least get those started, but I don’t know what sort of conditions or care they need. What resources did you use when first starting?

Reply
theseasonalhomestead September 30, 2023 - 5:03 am

Hi Jake, first, it’s a good thing you’re not doing hydroponics. It’s crazy expensive and grows food with low nutritional density.

I would start super small so it’s not overwhelming.
I have a TON of articles on my blog that you can read through. It’s basically a written version of what I wish I had know when I first started. I’ll link some examples below.

Location is key- https://www.theseasonalhomestead.com/the-best-place-for-a-vegetable-garden/
I do an in ground garden and explain why here- https://www.theseasonalhomestead.com/why-i-stopped-using-raised-garden-beds/
All my fruit and vegetable guides- https://www.theseasonalhomestead.com/category/all-gardening/fruit-and-vegetable-guides/
Favorite gardening books- https://www.theseasonalhomestead.com/shop-my-favorite-things/
Where I buy my plants- https://www.theseasonalhomestead.com/where-i-buy-plants-my-favorite-varieties/

Hope those help! -Becky

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Grace October 2, 2023 - 12:07 am

This was my first year planting sweet potatoes and I was so excited about the potential while watching them grow all summer. We harvested earlier this week and while I was thrilled to uncover each potato, I was so disappointed in all of the damage on the surface of each potato. There were tons of small holes and tunnels in the potatoes, so much so that I had to throw a good number away. What kind of bug/critter causes this damage and what can I do to stop it next year?? We’d love to grow enough sweet potatoes for storage but can’t justify the space if they won’t turn out! Thank you for all of your amazing content, my family looks forward to each video and post!

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