Monday, April 16, 2018

Co-op Haul and First Lambs

This morning dawned chilly and windy. I went from short pants and flip flops yesterday to sweats and boots today. (and a nice fire tonight!)
Today was errand day. Co-op pick up, bank and several other stops consumed the better part of my day. The next rainy day I will certainly have my work cut out for me repackaging all of these dried goods.

Once the truck was unloaded I headed to the barn for afternoon chores. As usual the sheep ran to greet me and one of the pregnant ewes was acting crazy. She was calling and pacing like she had lambed and lost her babies. After walking the pasture twice and taking a closer look at her I decided she must be in labor and was just stressed at being left out in the pasture alone while the others were chowing down. Sure enough once everyone settled down she went back out in the field and within the hour delivered a set of twins.
I left her to tend them for a couple of hours and late this evening brought her up to the barn where they will be protected from the cold wind. Pictures tomorrow!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Babies and Bad Weather

I was greeted this morning by a set of beautiful twin goats this morning.
A little brown boy
and a little black girl.

Today I would not be able to leisurely enjoy their cuteness though since bad weather including high winds, heavy rain and hail were due to roll in this afternoon.
I spent the early part of the day putting up anything that might be picked up by high winds like chair cushions and flags. Then I had to haul in to the garage all the herb plants, flowers and ferns that I had purchased over the course of this past week. I was really thankful that none of these had been planted or put in pots in case of large hail.(Some stations were calling for quarter size hail) Lastly I made sure all of the animals were safe and secure in barns and shelters with extra hay to munch on.
I charged all the flashlights and phones and filled several gallon containers with water.
Just as I was finishing up, the first weather alert came across the radio with a tornado warning. It was about 30 miles south of us. We were due for it in 20 minutes. Thankfully, for us, it split before getting here and we only got the heavy rain, flickering lights and a few claps of thunder. About 3/4 inch fell in 20 minutes or so. Our neighbors to the east and west of us were not so lucky. Trees and power lines were down and many houses destroyed. Our hearts go out to them and we are once again thankful and blessed here on the homestead.


  

Saturday, April 14, 2018

A Medicinal Herb Bed In The Making

Early this morning my sister, a good friend and I headed to the local fair grounds for a herb and plant sale.  It was to be a quick trip because homestead chores called but in a very short time I scored huge!
Some of my finds included Arnica, Stinging Nettle (and yes it stings like heck!) Aswagandi, Valerian, Feverfew and Lungwort. I also got burdock, hyssop and several kinds of mint. The greatest find was Vietnamese coriander which is sort of like a summer cilantro that won't bolt. Oh yeah. I was a happy girl leaving there. I have several more on my list but this was a great start!
Once home, hubby had all the gardens tilled and ready to plant. We are really late getting the spring garden in but due to the cold and all the wet weather it just didn't happen. My friend offered to stay and help and so after a quick bite to eat we got busy.
In the main garden we planted onions, garlic, carrots, radishes, squash, cucumbers, a row of beans for canning and two and a half rows of various potatoes. Tomatoes and peppers will go in after the threat of bad weather fore casted tomorrow,
In the small barn garden we got in some kale, spinach, arugula, beets, fillet beans, snow peas and three rows of Hopi Blue corn that will be dried for making cornmeal. Of course we also had to plant zinnias, a garden is never complete without the addition of these!


Thursday, April 12, 2018

Hoping For A Berry Nice Harvest

We have not had a good blueberry harvest for 3 years now. Late killing frosts have plagued us. This year though it looks like mother nature has cut us a break. The bushes are absolutely loaded with baby berries and blooms. I am beyond excited. I have visions of fresh berries in yogurt, canned berries for winter muffins, frozen berries for smoothies, blueberry jam....
The blackberries are beginning to bloom as well. Last year we did have a lovely harvest however, I think I may have pruned a little too harshly this winter and the crop may not be as good. We will have to see. Always learning!
And lastly the strawberries. They too are loaded with blooms and berries. So the next couple of weeks I will be working on squirrel proofing the berry patch. Those little devils can spot a ripe berry a mile away I believe. Last year we barely got enough to eat let alone preserve. I am on a mission to foil their berry diet. I plan to win.


Monday, April 9, 2018

Bees? Yes Please!!

We got a late afternoon call from my brother-in-law. There was a swarm of bees across the street from him about 20 feet up in a tree. Did we want to try and capture? Oh heck yeah!!
We grabbed a brood box that just so happened to have a lot of frames already drawn out and I snared a bottle of lemongrass essential oil. I read somewhere that it would attract bees. I knew we couldn't get up that far in the tree so every little bit would help to get them into the hive. It was about 5:30 when we arrived and the swarm was still hanging out. We got everything set up and I put a couple of drops of the essential oil just inside of the brood box. Before we left we could see some of the bees were already checking it out. The next morning my brother-in-law called to say they were all in the hive and working! Happy dance! We left them for that day and late the next night after dark we went and collected them after they had all gone to bed.
They have been here several days now and are working up a storm. I am a little concerned because when I checked them I don't see any brood being laid yet. We have 2 nucs due to arrive in the upcoming week so I will check with that bee keeper and see what he says. Fingers crossed this will be a free hive!

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Meat Birds 2018

Last year, for some reason, seemed to be a bit crazy and for the first time in a very long time we did not process meat birds. I have just a few packs of our chickens from the year before that I have hoarded. The flavor of home grown birds is second to none and the stock they yield is a rich and thick and divine. (hence my hoarding!)
I can now enjoy those last few packs because 35 chicks have arrived and we shall be restocking the freezer shortly!

Friday, April 6, 2018

I Can .... Can A Lot!!

I plan to do a ton of canning this year. Since I have "retired" from my job at the little country store down the road and decided to stop baking for it as well, I should have plenty of time.
Recently I stumbled on this awesome deal on canning lids. These are from Lehman's. I bought a sleeve of wide mouth and a sleeve of small mouth lids in bulk and the day I ordered they had a coupon for 20 % off canning items so that paid for the shipping. My total? 622 lids!