A Year in the Life of a Suburban Homestead

Monday, June 28, 2010

Summer Homestead stories


Ever since I was a little girl I have always enjoyed roses. Over the years and as my tastes have changed I find myself drawn more to the antique rose varieties than anything else. I love their fragrance and the look of them reminds me of quite days lived in country castles. I have dozens of David Austen roses around my place and during July they burst into bloom with an intoxicating perfume that hangs over the whole garden. The garden as a whole keeps use pretty busy during July. The weather is hotter and keeping things moist is a daily challenge. But, it’s also a time of great reward. Seeds and transplants started earlier in the year now bear constantly.

First tomatoes come off around Fourth of July
More direct sown seeds planted
Water daily
Weed and mulch as needed
Spent veggies fed to chickens
Mid-season berries picked, eaten fresh and frozen for winter
Peach harvest continues
Peaches canned and frozen
Beans canned and frozen
Pickled beets canned
Herbs dried
Preparations made and animals groomed for State Fair
Attend and show at State Fair


Our family has shown at the county fair for more than 30-years. Now it’s Brianne’s turn. She loves hanging out in the barn visiting with friends while grooming her sheep. I love watching her grow with each passing year. She and her friends are fiercely competitive inside the show ring, but outside they are just a bunch of giggly silly teenagers. It’s so much fun to watch. August is a hard time to be away from the homestead, so much is going on this month. But, I have wonderful neighbors who feed animals and water gardens. Secretly, I think they like when we’re gone because they get paid in free range eggs and fresh produce.

Weeding and watering are our life
Tomatoes harvested daily; frozen for future processing
Other veggies harvested; what can’t be processed is frozen for later time
Onions braided and hung to dry
Fruit trees and berries fed
Turkeys butchered and wrapped for freezer
Preparations made and animals groomed for County Fair
Attend and show at County Fair
Left over fair lambs sold or butchered
Broiler chicks arrive end of month


With fairs over and prizes displayed, our mind turns to school. Brianne actually starts school the last week of August, but with our busy schedule we are never prepared. The bulk of the shopping takes place on Labor Day weekend – usually the hottest weekend of the month. The homestead seems quiet this time of year, with most of the animals gone. Only the broiler chickens remain, but they are easy to care for. The garden seems to rebound in September, as late spring and summer plantings come off, fall plantings of onions, garlic and root vegetables take their place. We even get a glimpse of our future squash and pumpkin harvest.

Dried beans harvested, vines given to chickens
Zucchini, patty pan, crookneck and other squash harvested
Zucchini relish canned
Broilers butchered at 4-weeks (Cornish game hen size)
Lay in firewood for a warm winter
Clean trailer and store for winter; bedding used in chicken coop as winter bedding
All livestock equipment cleaned, oiled and stored for winter
Shearing blades sent to be re-sharpened
Show blankets repaired and stored

Creative Commons License photo credit: andrewodom

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