Summer is in full swing at Half-Pint Homestead. The days are hot and sultry and everything is growing rapidly, especially the weeds. Bugs are also a feature of summer’s hot days. Some of them are welcome friends. Brightly colored butterflies flirt their wings upon the creamy blooms of Queen Anne’s Lace and feed contentedly upon sky blue chicory flowers. Fireflies turn the night into a twinkling ballroom with their frenzied courting dances. Flies, however, are less welcome. Since we have a paddock in the backyard, it takes some work and thought to keep them under control. Daily cleaning of manure and a properly maintained compost bin are vital to keeping everything fresh and clean.
I have learned by sometimes painful experience that planning is the key to keeping our tiny homestead working smoothly. Nothing stands alone here, everything must work together…a small part of the integrated whole. Waste from one process is used as fuel for another process. Problems ask for unique solutions that work in harmony with other areas. The compost bin is an excellent example of this. The problem is the mess of manure…a given with livestock. With it comes flies and unpleasant smells. The compost bin takes this “problem” and turns it into rich dark soil for the Garden Barrels and raised beds, a valuable resource. My first compost bin was simply two pallets wired to the corner of the fence to make a basic box. It worked okay, but wasn’t well planned, as I mentioned in the previous post.
I have also learned to celebrate progress rather than completion. I’m not sure Half-Pint Homestead will ever be completed. A finished project often suggests several more to improve efficiency, reduce waste, or use resources better. Our list of future projects never seems to get any smaller. If we only celebrated completion, I think we would soon become discouraged. After all, completion is an ever farther point in the future. Yesterday we celebrated the next step in the compost bin. The divider post was set, and all the chicken wire is up. All that is left is to cut the boards for the divider and fronts and it is all done! Next time we get to Lowe’s, we’ll have the rest of the supplies to finish this project.
Today….a new horse feeder.