Wednesday, November 19, 2014

 It was with fear an trepidation I uncovered the lettuce today. Oh happy day! It survived last night which for us was the coldest night on record- a frigid 14*. The kale did not fair very well and looks pretty bad. It will rebound, I just don't know how long it will take. Surprisingly, the spinach looked unfazed and I was able to pick a large bag once the temps warmed a bit. We are on a weather roller coaster and though the next few days will have below average temps there is nothing in the forecast like last night.
I am so pleased with the performance of the row cover I plan to order more to have for future use. If I had only covered part of the kale we would have had plenty to use until the other recovered. Lessons learned.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Trying To Save The Lettuce

I had to work today but was able to get off a bit early. The main reason was to check the critters, though Mom had filled all the water buckets, and cover the lettuce. The temps are predicted to go down into the low teens. I am not ready for this!!
And so with 4 layers of row cover, a layer of greenhouse plastic and several blankets I did a "please don't die dance" headed to the house and hoped for the best. We will see what tomorrow brings-

Monday, November 17, 2014

A long day in the kitchen. Processing three deer was quite a job. We have a system worked out with Jill and I cutting up the meat and Mom vacuum sealing it. Still it took 6 1/2 hours. A couple hours in I started the crock pot with bones, onions, garlic and mushrooms to cook down for stock. With the amount of bones we have there will be no need to purchase any store bought stock for quite a while, if at all this winter. At the end of the day over 100 packs of meat were ready to go in the freezer. Jill and I split most, Mom took a couple of packs as Dad doesn't eat it....well, not knowingly ;-)
Around 4:30 Mom and I left to tend our critters and I needed to cover the lettuce. Tonight is going to be in the low 20's. So far we have managed to keep it alive. It's been a tough battle though. We are experiencing January weather in November. A wild start to the winter here on the homestead. It certainly makes us wonder what the future holds!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Though cold outside, sis and I spent a while in the warmth of the greenhouse potting up the blackberry bushes and grapevines. We planted them in recycled 1 gallon pots and will wait until spring to put them in a permanent place outside. Normally here in the sunny south they could go in the ground now but we are having unseasonably cold weather and I fear they would not survive that so early in their planting. So, for the winter they will hang out here where they are protected.
We also planted a large flat of lettuce. And check out that beautiful pot of parsley in the middle of the pic! It's ready to harvest and add to the stuffing on Thanksgiving. Yum.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Luke was home from school this weekend and he and my brother in law went to the VA farm to hunt. Home they came with 3!! deer. Monday will definitely be a busy day cutting up and packaging it all. It took the boys the better part of the the day to get the deer cleaned and quartered so I spent most of the day cleaning and organizing. I had to rearrange some freezer shelves to make room for the large amount of meat we will soon have. So exciting! 
Our Internet has been extremely spotty lately and after a second long phone call finally "convinced" our server that a tech needed to come out. An hour later I received a call one was on his way...gotta love the power of persuasion! We are now fixed and good to go. 
A quiet but productive day here on the homestead.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Up early this morning to get chores done before heading off to teach the second a bread class, this one an afternoon session. While feeding, the Fed Ex guy showed up with all of the fruit trees that were ordered several weeks ago. Being that part of them were bare root and a extremely cold weekend was predicted I knew I would be planting after class!
Class went well, and I got home around 4. Shovel in hand, I hurried to the orchard and started digging holes. It was dark when I finished up but 6 new apple trees are now planted and waiting to wake up in the spring.
I had also ordered 12 blackberry bushes and 6 grape vines. These arrived looking absolutely gorgeous but unfortunately the weather will not allow them to go in the ground now. I plan to pot them in gallon pots this weekend and put them in the greenhouse for the winter. I also have 2 fig trees, a peach and several damson plum (those gifted from a friend) to plant this weekend as well. Yay for edible landscaping!  

Monday, November 10, 2014

Today sis, mom and I spent the morning cutting up and packaging the deer my brother-in-law shot over the weekend. Though not pros, we do a pretty good job and when finished were rewarded with lots of burger, stew and roasts. And as always the crockpots were piled full of bones and allowed to cook overnight to produce a dark rich and nourishing broth.