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This Week on the Homestead 5/17/2020 – 5/23/2020

Since we skipped last week’s on the homestead post, we knew we had to do one this week! Josh has been pretty busy the past week with work so I got outside yesterday and took pictures. We haven’t posted pictures of our chickens in a while so I decided to go take some of our flock.

If the California White in the background is Carmen, then all the chickens in this picture are at least 13 weeks old. The mahogany-colored chickens with the white specks are Speckled Sussex, the two orange chickens are Gold Sex Links, and the black and gold chicken in the front is an Easter Egger. Maybe some of them will start laying soon! It could be up to a month or two more before we start seeing eggs.

I posted about Smoky a while back and he is DEFINITELY a rooster! He seems pretty happy and so far has been a very easy-going rooster. He knows he is a handsome fellow.

This is Zee Zee, one of our Speckled Sussex chickens. I half-suspect her of being a rooster because of her greenish-black feathering, but her face has no red in it. Zee Zee seems to have issues growing tail feathers. I’ve read though that it can sometimes take a while for Speckled Sussex to grow in their tail feathers. Zee Zee is very curious and likes to hang out around my feet when I’m in the run.

Cheetoh is our other Speckled Sussex. She likes to be out in the run when I am spraying down the dirt and doesn’t seem to mind the water spray.

Peckachu, our Easter Egger hen, has a scary hawk-face but she is very docile with us. She lets the other chickens know who’s boss though!

I’m missing pictures of all three of the California Whites and our three blue-laced red Wyandottes. I still can’t tell the California Whites apart very well. I also still consider the blue-laced red Wyandottes my babies. Hopefully soon we will be posting pictures of eggs!

This is our view of Ragged Top Mountain from our backyard. We’ve driven by it while taking a trip through Ironwood Forest National Monument but I don’t think we’ll ever try to hike it. It looks like a tough climb. It might be worth hiking part of it though to see desert bighorn sheep.

We have numerous saguaros blooming on our property. Not only are the flowers pretty to see but we are hoping for a lot of saguaro fruit for Josh to make something (syrup? jelly?).

This is the Arizona state bird, the cactus wren.

This is one of our younger (and shorter) saguaros. I was surprised to see that it had flower buds! It will be nice to see the flowers up close.

Birds love to perch on the kids’ playground fort. This is a closer look at a cactus wren.

Josh reminded me a few days ago that the night-blooming cereus cactus would probably be flowering soon (typically June or July), so I decided to go take a look at the two I knew the locations of. Both have flower buds, so we will need to watch those starting in June. The problem is, they only bloom at night and then wilt at sunrise… which means having to go outside when it’s dark and most likely dodge scorpions and packrats…

After looking at the two known night-blooming cereus cacti we have, I decided to walk out a little farther on the property and search for more. They are very hard to spot and tend to blend in with the plants they hide under. Mostly they look like twiggy dead branches. On our property, they like to grow under mesquite. I was happy to find these two plants. The second one is quite large compared to the others and probably has five (possibly more) flower buds. This one would be worth a trip out in the dark to see when it blooms.

This is definitely not the greatest picture of mesquite pods but I wanted to post a picture of them anyway. We found out a few months ago that it is possible to turn mesquite pods into flour. We aren’t sure if these are the type we can use for flour, but it will be interesting to find out. I told Josh that next year when Trico’s tree program opens up again, we should buy a screwbean mesquite tree if it’s one of the options.

Some of our prickly pear and barrel cacti are still blooming. I love catching bees in my pictures of cactus flowers.

While I was out looking for more night-blooming cereus cacti, this bunny was out also. It saw me before I saw it and stayed very still watching me before hopping away.

Yesterday, I was able to make macarons! It has probably been a year since I have done that, so these are far from perfect. They taste good even though their feet are too big (oven was too hot) and they’re a bit overbaked (overbrowning and crunchy). I made one flavor of macaron shell, vanilla, then used different fillings: pomegranate jelly, dalgona coffee (whipped coffee), and root beer buttercream.

We hope everyone has a good week and please stay safe while our country opens back up!


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