Honeychick Homestead

Homestead, Health, and Happiness


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A Perfect Match: Chickens and Cover Crops

This may sound silly to non-homesteader’s or gardener’s  – cover crops make me HAPPY!  I like that they build healthy soil that feeds my fruit trees and it’s a yummy treat for my chickens.

Last fall I was finally successful getting cover crop seed in the ground at the right time (September or October), before our rainy season started. I didn’t get the entire orchard covered but I got about 1/3 of it seeded.

The cover crop I planted is a soil builder mix and it contains bell beans, peas, various types of vetch, and oats.  I picked this one because it fixes nitrogen and my soil is in desperate need of more nitrogen! It also chokes out weeds and provides a wonderful habitat for beneficial insects. Of course, I could just put fertilizer down but it is expensive and doesn’t help build long-term soil fertility. Healthy, fertile soil that will nourish my trees keeping diseases and pests at away is what I want!

Besides being an excellent “food” for my trees, once established (5-8 inches tall), I let my chickens do the “dirty work,” and turn in the cover crop. They love the green goodness and all the bugs and grubs it brings to the soil. Take a look a the progression of this season’s cover crop. Continue reading


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New Year (2016) Homestead Update!

It’s taken almost 3 weeks to get back to “normal” after returning home on January 1st from our 30 day cross country road trip! Isn’t it fascinating how long it takes to get back to your routine after being away?

The ‘Infusio Interviews‘ seem to have taken a front seat on this blog but I promise there is much more going on around here! Now that I’ve begun the therapeutics semester for my nutrition program at Bauman College, studying and homework have taken up a majority of my time.

I had a bit of extra time today and wanted to share what’s been going on with the homestead we are attempting to build. And those waiting for more Infusio info, I will have updates and with a comprehensive FAQ’s post coming soon. I’ll have a new ‘Pre-Infusio’ interview ready to publish tomorrow. Continue reading

Check Out Our Chicken Condo! (aka Chicken Coop)

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It has been a busy two weeks since I returned home from my unexpected trip back home to Michigan for a funeral. I’ve finally gotten caught up on housework, homework, and yard work!

Although I had to travel home for a sad event, I was able to spend time with several family members and friends. I am grateful I was able to see several cousins, my great-aunt, and two of my best friends from elementary and middle school.

During the week I was away, my husband put the finishing touches on our “chicken condo” and I was able to have the ladies move in the weekend I returned. This new coop is a HUGE upgrade from the pre-fab one we had purchased from Pet Co.

One of the best things about this new coop is I can walk into it, which is key to having the option to get them inside the coop before dusk. It has been sooo nice not to wait for sunset before we could leave the house. Now I no longer have to make sure I’m home at dusk to put them in!

Another great thing is the bigger coop space means I only need to clean it once a week, the other coop required cleaning 2-3 times a week.  They now have ample roost space and the run is big enough leave them in all day. It’s rare that they don’t free range in the orchard but it’s nice they now have adequate space if we can’t let them roam.

My husband built the coop and run himself and it was the first structure he’s ever built. I personally think he did an amazing job! I think he was happy he got a new power tool to help complete this project 🙂 I did most of the painting. Our coop is three different colors and that’s fine with me! We used left over paint from our shed, house, and a cheap “mismatched” gray color from the paint store.

We loosely followed this design we found at Backyard Chickens (their’s is much bigger than what we built) and I used these coop dimensions and design criteria I found on Hen Cam. I really appreciate the detailed information Hen Cam provides!

My husband worked on it almost every weekend starting the weekend of August 7th and it was officially complete October 17th, so it took a little over two months to complete. He’s going to write a post with specific plans and share things he learned while building this coop. Take a look these photos documenting the process, start to finish! View the pictures →

This gallery contains 33 photos


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The 2015 National Heirloom Exposition – Part Two

I am home and I’ve downloaded my pictures and unpacked all the goodies purchased at The 2015 Heirloom Exposition, and now I’m ready to the pictures from day two and three!

On a serious note, the expo featured an art display by Mathieu Asselin, who’s working on a photographic investigation of Monsanto. It was both informative and shocking! I decided it was such an important investigation, that it deserved its own separate post. You can see some of his images and read more about it here.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll also be sharing the awesome stuff I learned from the excellent speakers. My notes need a bit of editing, so I’m starting with pictures, hope you like them!

Continue reading


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The 2015 National Heirloom Exposition – Part One

Last year, I learned about this cool event, The National Heirloom Exposition, after it happened, what a bummer!

I made sure I didn’t miss it this year because I NEED to learn more about gardening, I’m pretty much clueless about how to grow vegetables and my summer garden is pitiful. An added bonus is there are several presentations about biodynamic beekeeping.

I will say, I know how to pick a HOT year to attend, the temperatures will be 100 degrees or higher everyday that I’m at this outdoor event!

So, I’m sure you’re wondering what’s The National Heirloom Exposition?

It is hosted by Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and is held every September at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. The expo also known as the “Worlds Fair of Pure Food” and it is a NOT for profit event. According to their website, “all the funds above cost are donated to school gardening education and other sustainable food programs.” I totally support that and the cost for a 3 day pass was only $30. It is great for families because kids under 17 are free!

I found this quote from Jere Gettle, the founder of Baker Creek, that explains why they host this expo “the motive was to provide an opportunity for growers to display the variety of fruits and vegetables that can be grown, and to give consumers, gardeners and farmers a chance to see them up close at a time of burgeoning interest in locally grown, organic foods, sustainable production and food security.” Continue reading


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So Busy in Spring!

I am finding springtime around out little homestead to be very exciting but I’ve decided it’s the most challenging time of year because everything seems to happen ALL. AT. ONCE!

Fruit trees bloom and it feels like only a couple days pass before the fruit is set and ready to be thinned. The winter garden has to be tilled then get the spring starts and seeds planted. Spring is also the time of year for new bees. This year, I added nutrition school into the mix and I’m trying to maintain this blog 🙂 all of this is helping me keep my multi-tasking skills polished!

Besides spending a lot of time listening to lectures and doing homework, these past couple weeks I’ve kept up with people who recently returned from Infusio, shared with several others information about Lyme ND, I introduced my new bees to their home, finished thinning our peach tree, and got some of my garden planted!

Here’s a before and after picture of a spot I thinned on my peach tree. Continue reading

Around the Orchard – Fall

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Now that winter’s been here for almost a month, I thought it’d be fun to share what happened around our little homestead in the fall!

Not much has happened so far this winter. I’m behind on trimming my lemon tree and hope to get to that next week.

I’m considering planting one or two new fruit trees and deciding what to plant is proving to be challenging. There are so many options, an avocado tree is on the top of my list!

In the meantime, enjoy the photos! View the pictures →

This gallery contains 19 photos