Monday, November 6, 2017

Busy Farm Day

A dear friend arrived this morning to help me get some overdue chores done. We spent the morning cleaning out the barn shed side where I keep feed, the milking stand and the skirting table. Over the summer feed bags had stacked up and garbage cans were full of hay twine. After 1 1/2 hours the truck was loaded and ready to be hauled over the the dumpster hubby keeps on the equipment yard. We stopped and enjoyed a yummy farm fresh salad before unloading.
Once that was done we swept and set up the skirting table so that in the days to come all the fleeces can be finished and readied for shipping to a local mill. We also hauled the milking stand in from under the trees where I have milked over the summer and put it to bed for the winter. The girls have been dried up and kids are expected in March.
Then it was time to separate the sheep. I am doing limited breeding this year with just a few select ewes. I am retiring a couple of old girls, ages  9 &10. They can live their life out on green pasture with no babies to look after! With the purchase of the additional 16 acres we have a lot of work ahead of us and I feel like less will be more next spring. As of right now the girls are with the girls and the boys are with the boys. The rams are extremely pissed with decision as there was a lot of gate bashing this afternoon ;-( !
After my friend left, I had to prune the blackberries, pull up the dead zinnia row in the garden, gather eggs and feed the chickens.
A busy farm day for pics since I have yet to get a new memory card for my camera. That will happen tomorrow after 2 sheep will leave for their new home.
Check out the FB page for pics!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Fall Shearing and Sheep Sales

We are shearing tomorrow. And wouldn't you know when I needed to get pre hair cut pics, my memory card for my camera went kapooy. So for those of you that have been patiently waiting on the sales page to go up, I apologize! I was able to get some decent pictures on my phone and have posted them on the farm facebook page, Maple Lane Homestead. So check it out and if any of these gorgeous boys and girls catch your eye let me know!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Fall Canning

This morning I plugged up the crockpot and started a batch of caramel pecan apple butter. It had to cook all day so while that simmered away I canned jalapenos.The pepper plants are still loaded with peppers of all kinds. Lots of banana peppers are ready too. I'll freeze some of them but that's another day!
At the end of the day 16 jars of jalapenos were canned and 1 large bag was frozen. To freeze them I simply core and drop in a bag. Perfect for adding to salsas and other recipes calling for fresh.

Several jars of apple butter were canned as well. This recipe is SO delicious!! I will definitely be doing another batch before apple season is over.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Fall Garden

Our big garden was in need of some added nutrients so we decided not to plant our fall garden there. Instead we seeded it with rye grain that can be turned in the spring to enrich the soil. The smaller garden by the barn (future home to hoop house) was turned into a beautiful patch of greens! We planted kale, collards, swiss chard, spinach, mustard, lettuce and arugula. Of course, broccoli and cabbage went in along with beets and a late row of green beans.

We have been happily munching on farm fresh salads for the last couple of weeks. Another day or two I'll be picking green beans. Pretty cool considering it;s the middle of October! 

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Photo Ops or Not!

I had hoped to get some good pics of the lambs and sheep we will be offering for sale this year. Instead all I got were backs and butts. Oh well, another day!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Fall Fields

The boys came in early today. With a good chance of rain from Hurricane Nate we needed to get some seed out. The pond pasture will once again be winter rye grass. The sheep graze it all winter. The upper field will be crimson clover again as well. One for the bees to forage and two for the green manure it adds to the soil when plowed in. The previous landowner stripped all the topsoil from this area years ago. Over the last year we have added back to the soil with clover, buckwheat and sunflowers.


And so what have you been doing you may ask. Well, a lot. I'll recap some of the highlights and follow up with some more in depth posts.
The number 1 thing that keep us busy was a huge landscaping job. We put a pool in about 10 years ago and over the years the soil had washed and built up along the stone wall around the pool. The last 2 years have been an absolute nightmare because every time it rained heavily water and mulch would cascade over the wall, cover the drains on the decking and proceed to go in the pool. Last Fall I threw up my hands, said enough and shut it down. Hubby drew up a plan over the winter and once it warmed up the project began. We had to have several large trees removed. Doug and I spent every weekend for almost 3 months working out there. We also had to drain the pool since it became home to thousands of tadpoles and 2 turtles. I relocated bucket after bucket to the pond. Mud had to be shoveled out of the bottom, the sides scrubbed and new water hauled in. We laid a stone river bed to slow the water, retaining walls were built, dirt hauled in, sod was laid. The end result is absolutely beautiful.

I'm happy to say the pool was in swimming condition for part of the summer, more so by others, but that is ok with me!!

We spent a lot of time cleaning up debris. Storm after storm rolled through and each time we would have trees down. It was so wet early on that we were unable to really tend the garden. The potato harvest was pitiful as was the onions.I did manage to can 4 batches of salsa, green beans and freeze tomatoes. But all in all it ranked up there in the top of worst gardens ever.
We have added 17 more acres to the farm.
I have retired from bread baking as well as my job.
The dog kennels and new fence was put up.
I have become a foster for a local rescue.
It was a sad summer as many of my old animals crossed the rainbow bridge. The latest being a 13 year old saanan. :-((
My soap business has really ramped up!
A friend had to get rid of her livestock so we bought back the 2 goats we sold her along with her flock of chickens, 2 more ducks and a goose named Ed.
The Fall garden in in.
The fields have been plowed and are ready for seed.
After 3 1/2 weeks of no rain we may possibly get some this weekend.
And there ya have it! Life on the homestead!