A couple of posts back, I detailed my morning tasks during the winter while getting my kids ready for school. Well, the kids are gone for the summer but the home tasks do not end, they add up! As much as I would love to sleep in, for the sake and comfort of my pets, along with not wanting to clean up dog mess, I must wake up no later than 7am.
So, first things first, after waking up and changing into shorts and a tee, I get on some garden boots and let the dogs out of the kennel to go outside. Our dogs sleep inside because its super-hot all day long and there is an increase in night time animal activity that they can get in trouble with. Raccoons, skunks and coyotes are active at night and although one would think having the dogs outside would be beneficial to our home and garden, because they are not bred to be official guard animals, they are more in harm’s way than defenders. I know that if Tucker could talk he would probably disagree with me, because during the day he does an effective job of sounding the alarm if anyone drives down to our end of the cul de sac. But even during the day, there have been times when Tucker has been oblivious to other neighborhood dogs getting in our yard. I think he’s trying too hard to fit in with the crowd. Also, he’s had a bad run in with a raccoon before as well as several losses to skunks, so no thank you, he needs to sleep inside. Our new dog, a husky mix named Odin, craves a/c and will try to sneak past you to get back inside to sleep on the cool tile of the living room floor.
Second task while I’m still outside, is to water the garden and tomatoes. I check in on the chickens in their run as I walk over to our vegetable and herb gardens. The ladies stay in the chicken run until at least noon. I have determined that the latest they lay eggs is around 11:30 so to avoid them dropping eggs randomly like the Easter bunny, I have them stay in the run to make sure I can collect them all. It’s the peak of the laying season and with intense summer heat egg production can go down. It’s important that all animals on the property always have clean cool water available to them. The chickens have a water pan inside their run and one outside that they can access as soon as they leave the chicken run. Because our dogs spend half their day outside only coming in during the high noon heat of the day, there are several water bowls in the front and back yard as well as a kiddie pool for Odin to jump in and splash. Tucker does not splash.
The garden is usually watered in the daytime. It allows for the water to be absorbed throughout the day instead of sitting overnight where it can potentially start mold on the plants. We have 9 tomato plants, about 6 massively blooming zucchini plants, peppers, watermelon, cantaloupes, squash and mint. Just in the nick of time, I started my two varieties of pumpkins. If they take, because I started them from seed, they should be ready to harvest by the second week of October! Yay jack o’lanterns and pumpkin pie! I check the individual plants to prune dead leaves, removing them to prevent plant disease and open the breathing room for the healthy plant. Check to see which plants are blooming or have veggies started and check the levels of invasive pests. Either way, you will find some kind of pest damage. This year there has been large swarms of grasshoppers and squash bugs. At this point we haven’t had a problem with peter rabbit or mice. We do have moles outside our garden area that we are going to have to find a treatment for. For now, Odin pounces on the mole mounds and has only caught one. We do not use pesticides or chemicals on the property. Many of the properties in our area have warning signs around the entrance to their driveways warning not to spray with weed killers. Pesticides and herbicides tend to drift and can damage crops, animals and beneficial insects like bees and butterflies.
I feed Sugar in the morning and make sure that she has free choice alfalfa in her self feeder and clean fresh water in her tank. She’s had a rough summer so far, with several kids and her new breeding partner getting picked off by coyotes these last couple of weeks. Because of this and until we purchase a livestock guardian dog (another post hopefully this week) we let her out of the pen at night so that she can sleep in comfort without fear that the coyotes will come back to get her. We pen her back up in the morning when I take the dogs out so that she doesn’t get into the garden or strip all the leaves from the persimmon trees in the front.
Once the animals are fed and watered, its back inside for me to have some coffee, check the accounts and plan what dinner is. When the kids are home, it’s a little bit easier to make plans for dinner. There is additional input and they make it interesting in changing up the recipes. Now that it’s just my husband and myself at home, I have to fight the urge to go out to dinner, although we do sometimes once a week. Smaller meals should mean less dishes and pots and pans so I’m not running the dish washer and doing it all by hand. I loathe having a refrigerator full of leftovers so I have to be careful about how much I make and that it will get all eaten up. It’s too easy to say give the leftovers to the pups, but I’m not in the business of feeding steak to my dogs several times a week!
Yesterday we did check out some feeder pigs that we have been wanting to get to butcher later in the fall or early winter. But they must wait until we get our livestock guardian doge, because we are also trying to stop feeding the wildlife out here too!
After dinner is figured out I get to work in the kitchen. Clean the counters, sweep and mop because huskys shed like it’s a contest and it can become overwhelming. Clean toilets and sinks, empty the dish strainer and water the plants on my window sill. I have some hotspots, mostly in the dining room because the front door leads to it, full of mail and other items that were purchased that have not made it to wherever they need to land. I also have sewing projects upstairs like a new lace curtain for the front door, 2 aprons that I need to finish so that I can put them on the website for orders and a baby quilt, for a baby that was already born!
My last commitment that I am trying to stay on task with is to write at least 2000 words every day. My blog doesn’t count (I’m at 1230 so far) so finishing this up would be a great idea. I try to get the burdensome tasks done before 9am because it’s starting to heat up here in Texas. That leaves the rest of the morning and afternoon to do my writing and sewing projects. This is the start of my third week without kids at home and I have not progressed. But its Summer and I am on a pretend vacation as well!
Let me know what you have to get done in the day to help your household run smoothly or as smoothly as you possibly can if you still have kids at home. Drop me a line below.