Monday, October 27, 2014

Our first little harvest from the cold frames today! Baby lettuces and kale made for a delightful and sweet salad.

And even better, when putting the garden to rest  for the winter, we discovered a patch of cucumbers that had seeded down from the summer planting. We harvested several large cukes and it is covered in dozens of tiny ones. With no frost in sight we should be able to enjoy a taste of summer a bit longer.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

One the the new fence lines was totally completed today. This connects two smaller pastures together and also leads up to the barn for shelter. The original lower field had no shelter unless we took down a section of fence. Very inconvenient and made for a lot of extra work. The paddock area it connects to will have to be resown at some time. Right now it houses my appaloosa horse that left and came back after loosing his eyesight, and this is his safe haven for the time being.
The next fence project will be started in the coming week. It will take a bit longer as the whole line has to be rerun. The posts are old and have for the most part rotted. We plan to cross fence it as well making it into two smaller pastures for rotating the sheep. My goal is to have a total of 6 pastures completed by spring giving us the ability to rotate every 10 days, allowing the pastures to rest and hopefully cutting down on parasite issues even more in the sheep.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

We made a trip to the Virginia farm today to relocate Luke's deer stand. It was very windy and quite cold if we weren't moving. We stayed warm scouting for tracks and rubs on trees and finally found a good spot. His stand is ready and waiting for him when he gets home and we are hopeful our work pays off with a couple of deer in the freezer.

The color of the trees was breath taking and truly a sight to behold. Fall there is at it's peak!
The apple tree was loaded with bright red apples ready for harvesting. We picked 2 large bags full and would have picked more had I remembered to bring baskets!
Apple jelly and apple butter will be put on the to-do list this week. Yum!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Saving Seed and Harvesting Dried Beans

I spent part of the day shelling out the dried beans and okra seed that we will save for planting next year. I have black eye peas, two types of crowders and okra. Crowder peas are a wonderful addition to a homestead garden. They can be eaten green, as a shell bean, frozen, canned or dried. They are a true workhorse in the garden for the homesteader. After freezing all we wanted, I had enough leftover of the dried to store 3 lbs. in the pantry for eating this winter.
Earlier I dried and saved seed from the huge banana peppers I froze. We have a  nice stash of Grandpa's watermelon seeds. Happily this year we are adding an old timey pumpkin seed grown for many years by the nice folks that run the local feed store.
Another new seed saved was a green bean called Greasy Bean. I planted about 6 seeds on a trellis in the herb garden and as they have dried, shelled and saved them. I should have enough to actually eat next year! Greasy beans are a longtime favorite of the mountain community, it can be eaten or canned as young green bean. Later stages shelled out, sometimes called "shellies" and cooked fresh. One of my favorite ways of seeing it preserved is by stringing the green beans on a piece of thread and allowing to dry. They are called "leather britches." Next year I hope to see several long strings of leather britches hanging in my pantry!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Kune Kune Pigs

The first of the new additions arrived today! Our Kune Kune ( pronounced cooney, cooney) pigs are here and happily munching in the pasture.
Kune Kune pigs are a small docile pig, that for the most part are grazers, making them perfect for pasture based pork production and homestead operation. Yes, this is one of the new directions the farm is taking. We are very excited. This little venture is a joint effort between my sister and myself. We have purchased 5, a breeding trio. One destined for the freezer in 8 weeks or so and another to be raised out. As I said, they are a small pig, slow growing, so it will take a bit to get this little operation going, however we are expecting to have our first litter this coming spring.
So meet our trio:
Rosie

Lacey

and Peanut.
Peanut loves a belly rub and flops over quite readily in anticipation...
Did I mention they are cute? And have dog like personalities?
Yes, they make good pets too!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Experiments In The Kitchen

After the last few weekends of butt busting, back breaking work we took this weekend to catch up on things a little lass stressful. Mowing grass, organzing shops and tools and I got to have some down time playing in the kitchen.
I have been wanting to make some dehydrated crackers for the longest time. These turned out, ummm, quite interesting.
 They are considered a raw food since they were dehydrated at 105* for about 15 hours. They are flourless, made from flax and sunflower seed.
They were quite tasty dipped in my homemade hummus. I make  this from dried garbanzo beans cooked in chicken stock with lots of veggies. Puree and devour--no oil needed!
I have also wanted to get back into drinking smoothies each morning but I hate dragging bag after bag to toss in the blender each day. So, I put together smoothie bags. I made enough for the week in about 10 minutes!
Another fun thing I did was make my own almond milk. Who knew it could be so quick and easy! It turned out quite delicious. I made an unsweetened vanilla to add to morning smoothies (or drink!). The ground almonds left from straining were dehydrated and ground for baking at some future date.
Hope you had a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Stay Tuned

Lots of exciting things going on here on the homestead. I can't let too much out of the bag yet but suffice it to say we are gearing up for a fantastic 2015....
Doug and I have spent many hours discussing the direction we want the farm to take. He wants to retire from the grading business in the next 5 years. That being said, we hope to add some extra income from the farm.

We are in the process of totally revamping the website. We have some new 4 legged additions arriving soon. Some of the animals we currently raise are being phased out and being replace by others. A truckload of things to plant will be arriving in the next month... Yes, stay tuned!