A Day On A Texas Homestead: Chickens, Garden, Calves, Oh My!

by Texas Homesteader~

I’ve had readers request that I share what a typical day on the homestead might look like.

So come with me for a day at the Homestead.

A day on the homestead includes chicken care, garden, calves - and more! Come with me to see what a day on our Texas homestead looks like #TexasHomesteader

It’s gonna be another HOT one. This time of year is always hot and dry here in NE Texas. But we haven’t had measurable rainfall in a month.

With no relief in sight for at least the next 10 days either. So I’m going into water conservation mode.

For instance I keep a plastic dish-washing tub in one side of my kitchen sink. If we wash an apple or rinse a glass, that rinse water is captured.

When the tub is full I’ll take that water out to the porch and water potted plants with it. Just another way to put to good use water that would have gone down the drain otherwise.

Hot Humid Days

The humidity is spiking so I’m careful to do as much as I can in the cooler hours of the mornings and evenings.

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The first order of business is to open up the *Chicken Coop and let the chickens into their fenced chicken yard.

I’ll check for eggs too, then open the PVC Chicken Feeder. On my way out I’ll check their water to make sure there’s plenty.

Since the chicken yard is attached to my garden, I come and go right through my garden when I open up their coop. So now’s a good time to look things over in the garden as well.

My garden is struggling in this heat. So I try to water early in the morning to prepare the plants for fighting against the oncoming heat of the day. All my garden-watering is done via Rainwater Collection sent to a deep underground cement cistern.

watch catchment cistern. A day on the homestead includes chicken care, garden, calves - and more! Come with me to see what a day on our Texas homestead looks like #TexasHomesteader

I look warily into the cistern noting its dropping water levels. I’m hoping for at least a small rain to come soon to help replenish the water.

After the garden is watered I glance around the garden to see if there’s anything to harvest today. It’s been a struggle this year because my garden got such a late start. But I see a handful of green beans that will become part of supper tonight.

Garden green beans. A day on the homestead includes chicken care, garden, calves - and more! Come with me to see what a day on our Texas homestead looks like #TexasHomesteader

Harvesting Grapes

I also see the Concord grapes are ripening quite nicely. Every year as I wait for the grapes to ripen in their clusters, raccoons always come and eat them, eventually leaving me with nearly nothing to harvest.

So this year I’ve resorted to picking my grapes like I do blueberries, picking the ripe ones one at a time. More labor-intensive, yes. But I’m finally able to beat the raccoons.

Garden Concord Grapes. A day on the homestead includes chicken care, garden, calves - and more! Come with me to see what a day on our Texas homestead looks like #TexasHomesteader

This is the most grapes I’ve gotten in a long time! And there’s many more on the vines. So I bring them inside and wash them up. I spread them on a flat tray lined with a kitchen towel to allow them to air dry.

Then I place the tray – towel, grapes and all – into the deep freezer. This keeps them from freezing into a single, gigantic grape lump. 😀 After they’re frozen I’ll transfer them to a freezer bag.

My plan is to tackle the grapes in the fall and winter months when my chore list slows down. It won’t be so hot & humid then so I won’t object to adding heat/humidity into the house.

I’ll for sure make some grape juice with these grapes. And I’m toying with the idea of making grape jam with them as well.

Planning Supper

This is also a good time for me to plan our supper. I’m a big fan of Cook-Once, Eat-Twice cooking. That’s where you cook a large amount of a main entrée, enjoy some for supper that night and then freeze all the leftovers for another meal.

The beauty is that you’ve only dirtied your dish-preparation tools once, only dug out all the ingredients once, and only fired up your oven once. But you’ve got several prepared entrees in the freezer.

Perfect for days when you don’t have time to cook or want to fire up the oven. It’s one of the ways I’m able to make Homemade Meals Every Day The EASY Way!

So I bring grilled chicken out of the freezer and allow it to thaw in the fridge during the day.

Free-Range Chickens

Later that afternoon I let the chickens out of their fenced yard to free range. This is beneficial in so many ways.

By waiting until mid afternoon to allow them outside their protective fence, they range closer to the house where they’re safer from predators.

They love chasing after and eating grasshoppers (VERY good for my garden as well as nutritious for them)

Free-range hens. A day on the homestead includes chicken care, garden, calves - and more! Come with me to see what a day on our Texas homestead looks like #TexasHomesteader

This free-ranging also eliminates all but the occasional rogue scorpion that might otherwise find its way into the house. And this extra roaming space / fresh grass / insect buffet is really good for the hen’s health too.

Multi-Tasking

Now that the gardening and watering tasks are done outside I’m planning to tuck inside during the heat of the day.

I tend to multi-task, so this inside time could be used for almost anything. I may be making more Homemade Laundry Soap or maybe Soapberry Shampoo. But barely-controlled chaos in the kitchen is my reality today.

Dehydrated potatoes have been finishing up their drying time on the counter top. I want to make absolutely sure there’s no moisture left. Soon I’ll bundle them into a jar and with a quick label, they’ll be placed in the pantry.

In subsequent months they may be rehydrated for Hash Browns, or the Cubed Potatoes dropped into simmering wintertime soups to rehydrate.

I’ve also dehydrated sliced potatoes too to use for au gratin potatoes. I’ve never done that before so I’ll be sure to share how that goes.

And we’re planning on making Homemade Soap next week. So I also have trays of drying mint and rosemary on the counter too.

The bread machine is out as I prepare to bake today’s bread and 7 jars laid out to pre-measure dry ingredients for subsequent bread-baking shortcuts.

bread-baking shortcut - measure dry ingredients. A day on the homestead includes chicken care, garden, calves - and more! Come with me to see what a day on our Texas homestead looks like #TexasHomesteader

Which also means bulk flour out of the freezer and oats/grinder out to make oat flour. WHEW – this is why Unexpected Company typically sends me into a cleanup flurry!

Homesteading Chores Never Done

As I’m tending to things in the kitchen I look outside and see a calf in a section of pasture supposedly fenced off from the cows. Ugh.

RancherMan glances out and says he thinks maybe the electric fence is down. So he jumps on the ATV and goes out to the paddock to check on things.

He slowly pushes the calf back into the pasture with her mama. Then he brings out the tools to test the electric fence. He finds the problem and fixes it as quickly as he can. Then he comes back to the house to cool off.

Mama cow, baby calf. A day on the homestead includes chicken care, garden, calves - and more! Come with me to see what a day on our Texas homestead looks like #TexasHomesteader

Today while I’m spending time in the kitchen with various chores, he’s organizing & cleaning the shop. Items temporarily brought down from the attic for honey harvest and such are once again returned to their proper storage locations in the attic.

Since my inside Canning Jar Storage is full, I also send excess empty canning jars up with him to be returned to their storage boxes. There they’ll await refilling at a later date.

Supper Is Served

By now it’s early evening and time to feed that handsome RancherMan of mine. Since I’d made plans earlier in the day, this will be super easy.

I simply cook up those fresh green beans from the garden and heat up the now-thawed entrée. I’ve got homemade Thousand Island Dressing for RancherMan & my own Creamy Salad Dressing, so I decide on a fresh salad too for a cool side on such a hot day.

Fresh garden salad. A day on the homestead includes chicken care, garden, calves - and more! Come with me to see what a day on our Texas homestead looks like #TexasHomesteader

After supper I might go back out to the garden to do a little weeding while the temps are dropping and the sun’s rays are longer and less intense.

As the day comes to a close, the free-ranging hens make their way back into the chicken yard and hop up onto the roost of their chicken coop. I’ll lock them in securely for the night.

Then I’ll close up their PVC Chicken Feeder just so mice or rats don’t think it’s an overnight all-you-can-eat buffet (LOL)

Winding Down

This time of evening when chores are done and the sun’s sinking low, RancherMan & I often grab a cold beverage and retire to the back porch to watch that gorgeous Texas sunset.

Texas sunset. A day on the homestead includes chicken care, garden, calves - and more! Come with me to see what a day on our Texas homestead looks like #TexasHomesteader

But oftentimes when it’s this hot & humid that time on the back porch is shortened, or even eliminated completely.

Instead we’ll each take a quick shower and then it’s finally time to relax. I like to schnoodle with RancherMan on the couch while we watch a little TV and wind down.

It’s been another great day on the Homestead. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!

~TxH~

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2 thoughts on “A Day On A Texas Homestead: Chickens, Garden, Calves, Oh My!

  1. Shelly

    Thank you for sharing your day. Soooo much better than coporate life. Your day is so much like what I would prefer my day to be like. I keep reading your posts and using what information I can. Living in an apartment calls for some very creative thinking to be able to grow, harvest, and preserve, but I take your ideas and rework them to be suitable for me. So, thank you again.

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Thank you for your sweet comment, Shelly. I’ve always felt that self sufficiency steps weren’t limited to living in the country and having a huge garden. I started along this path & did plenty living in a city environment. Sounds like you’re doing great on your own path! ~TxH~

      Reply

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