A Season of Trying

June is officially here, which means I can come up for air. This time of year I am forced into a season of waiting. In the end, I’ll see if all of the work, effort, and trying I’ve done the last few weeks pays off.

Summer Sunrise at Hilltop Homestead

Tis the Season

It has been a busy season of chick-rearing, garden planting, garden protecting, replanting, and all the outdoor things.

We got our chicks and turkey poults moved out of our entryway (praise Jesus!). Three weeks is too long to have chicks in your home, fyi. They’re on fresh grass in a chicken tractor, and everyone is happy. (Except perhaps for our turkey who I believe has a dislocated knee… But seems to be doing really well and loves being outside.)

I started transplanting things to the garden only to have them eaten by rabbits. When my flourishing strawberry bed was destroyed by a rabbit burrowing in it, I might have cried for an unreasonably long time. It was the last straw for me.

It might have been the words “I will water our property with the blood of rabbits” I uttered that motivated Hubs to kick it in high gear and build me a fence around the garden.

I have a mouse eating some of the seeds I’m planting, and it appears slugs are destroying my green bean starts. My squash and tomato plants were inside too long, and are struggling to come back from transplant shock.

The garden is a hot mess right now. But I’m trying. I’m doing what I can with what I’ve got, and hoping it pays dividends come the fall.

Trying & Trials

I’m pretty sure a lot (if not most) of the trees we planted in early May are dead. It seems bare root saplings don’t fare well in our nonstop wind. We are doing our best, but our best isn’t good enough to keep a majority of these baby trees alive. Whatever hasn’t died yet will most likely die as it continues to get nibbled on by rabbits, rodents, and deer.

As I said, we’re trying. It seems a lot of cards are stacked against our success this season, however.

In the picture up above, behind Little Man (who is helping me water said baby trees) you can see a partial section of the extensive tree row damage we sustained from the blizzards this past winter. Picture that damage extending an entire quarter mile, and you’ve got our tree row.

We have so much work ahead of us to clear snapped limbs and logs. On a recent prayer walk I took down our driveway, however, I felt like I could see the blessing in having firewood we would not have otherwise procured. And maybe I get to operate a chainsaw after thinking I would never need to. Looking for that silver lining…

What’s Done Is Done

The garden is planted and there isn’t much more I can do. It’s the season of “lots of watering and praying” as a friend recently relayed to me. That is absolutely true.

Every morning I’m outside watering the garden, praying it thrives, and we reap a harvest. Every green bean plant I pull out of the bed that has been killed by slugs, every snapped pepper plant that greets me on my walk-throughs, every seed that hasn’t sprouted, and every sprout that disappears, gets me praying over that garden.

I’ve already determined I’m going to have to buy some produce from our local produce stand, and maybe make my trek to the Farmer’s Market this summer to supplement as well. But I won’t stop trying to get things growing up here on the hilltop this season.

Moving here found me surprised no one had gardened on this homestead. Almost three years into living here, more failed trees and gardening starts than I can count, I’m not surprised anymore.

The wind and intense sun on this hilltop are serious business. Then there is the thick carpet of prairie grass, the rodents and garden pests, and did I mention the wind? Gardening is a challenge.

But I’m trying.

Outdoor Obstacles

This spring, both of our chokecherry trees had more blossoms than I’ve ever seen in my life. Inspecting the trees today, however, I noticed we’ll be lucky to get any harvest at all. The blossoms didn’t set, hardly any berries are growing, and what is growing is already being preyed upon by birds and bugs.

Our apple trees never blossomed this year. Not a single petal tried to bloom.

Plants, starts, and trees that appear to flourish at first, end up stopping any and all growth or production.

Three chickens went broody, hogged the nesting boxes, and the other hens started laying in a secret nest elsewhere. We’ve never found the secret nest, and even though we successfully broke the brood of the three hens, we’re not getting near the eggs from the coop that we should be. Out of 14 laying hens, we’re lucky to get seven or eight eggs in a day.

The snakes this year have been a little brazen. I see at least one snake every day – sometimes a bull snake, sometimes a blue racer. Thankfully we’ve not seen any rattlesnakes so far. I pray that trend continues.

Moths this year are plague-level. Fun fact about me: Moths terrify me. I have this horrible fear they’re going to fly into my throat with their hairy core and feathery wings and choke me. I hate them so much. Hate them. Yet there are more moths out and about this year than I’ve ever seen in my life.

Hubs says he doesn’t understand how I’m so afraid of “the most harmless creature on earth.” Clearly, he’s never considered he could be suffocated by one at any moment.

This is definitely a season of trying.

Season of Trying vs. Trying Season

We’ve got our work cut out for us, to be sure. There have been obstacles and challenges at every turn this season. While I’m trying to overcome those, they’re trying me, no doubt.

I’m determined. And a little stubborn. And I want nothing more than to turn this hilltop into our own personal Eden.

It might take a while. It might never happen. I can tell you this, though… I’ll die trying.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.