The Lily and the Lions

Southern Sustenance: Our journey toward a sensibly sustainable, purposeful, and soulful life

From the dirt

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When I was growing up, my dad referred to people who were from an area, as opposed to those who moved there, as “from the dirt.”  I am from the dirt of Pearl River County in south Mississippi.  I grew up on family land and my papa grew fruit and vegetables on this land just as his mother had.  Those fruits and vegetables were from the dirt. 

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My grandfather and his family. Papa is second to right, in jeans, a white t-shirt, and green un-buttoned button-up.

We may not have as much dirt here at our urban homestead (in progress– okay, so we are really just starting, but that’s okay!)   Anyway, Mark has been planning our gardens for a while now.  The drawing is our front yard.  The space in the middle, where the fruits are listed, is our curving driveway dividing the yard into two sections– above the retaining wall and below the driveway/before the house.   The notes on it are measurements, lists of things we would like to try to grow, and check-offs of what seeds we have ordered.

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Mark’s sketches and my notes

Since we are both are educators (in Mississippi that means you get paid ONCE a month), we did what smart people do. We patiently waited (okay, so it wasn’t really patiently) on payday.  And, WE ORDERED OUR SEEDS!!  It was with great excitement today that our organic, heirloom, non-GMO seeds came in! YAY!!

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You may not believe me, but this is “happy!”

We ordered them from Survival Essentials on Amazon.  We ordered the 135 variety with fruits, vegetables, herbs, and sprouting seeds. (Just in case you are wondering… I have no sponsors and make no money off of this blog. Maybe one day?)  It had good reviews and we are pleased.  I’ve also ordered from a couple of other companies to get other seeds not included with this seed vault, but I feel like I got the most value for my money from Survival Essentials.  I’ll let you know how the seeds do.

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The SEEDS! 🙂

Could we have gone to the local big-box store or Mart store and bought seeds? Well, yes. But, we wanted heirloom, organic, non-GMO.  And, I’ve read several things about how some seeds labeled non-GMO come from China and that Monsanto owns seed companies…. To be honest, I have not researched this myself, but I wouldn’t doubt it.  What I did do, though, while at a big box store, was use this app called Buycott.  It’s a free app that helps you determine if a product is from a company or supports a cause that you don’t (kind of like avoiding blood diamonds).  I picked up an heirloom organic seed pack, took out my trusty phone,  and scanned the barcode. What do you know? The seed packet was somehow related to Monsanto.  Needless to say, I did not buy those seeds.

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Buycott

What are you planting this season?  Are you going to try companion planting?  Our plan is to (1) try companion planting where we can, (2) maximize our space, and (3) grow organically.  Oh, and try to keep the neighborhood deer from eating everything.  I really need ideas on keeping the deer from eating our fruits & veggies!

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Which came first- the chicken or the egg?

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For us, the chickens!

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Benedict, Fried, Omelet… Bet you can guess who decided to name these girls.  Yes, the boys!  We attended a Workshop at the Mississippi Modern Homestead  in Starkville.  We were given four chickens.  Oh… three names? Well, Ethan decided to name his Rex.  It seems he has a penchant for naming things Rex.

So, YES! We are now the owners of four baby chicks, females, that are one week old.

What did we learn? We learned the basics on taking care of our chicks and raising them to teenagers and then to adults.  They are buffs and will be a yellowish color when they are grown.  No, no worries, these aren’t for eating.  They are for eggs!

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 What else did we receive? We now have a boorder, lamp (with heat light bulb), newspaper, straw, feed, feeder, waterer, and a magazine on raising chickens.  Oh! And Benedict, Fried, Omlet, and Rex!

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Water

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Heat lamp

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Brooder

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Heat lamp bulb

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Feeder

The plan is to build something for them in the backyard using our old playset.  The kids have not played on it in years. We were going to use the halfpipe, but Eli was worried about poop on his halfpipe.

The most interesting things I learned about chickens:

  • If you clip both sides of their wings, they will adapt.  Clip only one side.
  • Chickens are “dumb” when they are asleep, so that is when you mess with the “stubborn” ones.
  • The more you hold them, the more the chickens will allow you to hold them.
  • Chickens need textured wood, like as a stick, as opposed to a slick wood, dowel, or they will slip and fall.
  • Oh, and my favorite! Their vent holes get clogged.  You need to clean those.  Anybody make diapers for chicks?

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