Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Miserable Muddy Homestead

The last few weeks have been nothing but rain and ice and snow and rain....muddy would probably be an understatement. At various times I have needed ice skates, snow skies and now a good pair of hip waders would be nice! It is probably the wettest I have ever seen it since we have been homesteading. Oh, it was pretty enough while here, but the aftermath is just plain awful. Slogging through the mud day after day makes for most unpleasant chores. The animals are eating tons of hay as there is not much in the way of pasture to be had. However, I try not to complain to much...I could be tripping over stop signs like the poor people up north!
One bright note, the chickens are telling me Spring is coming! Lots of eggs being laid each day.
Other happenings around here: Mom and Dad sold their house and will be moving on the 5 acres they own beside us. We will be busy moving them this next month and helping get a new house built for them. AND my boys surprised me with a hoop house/greenhouse! Sis and I are so excited. This was one of our goals for the year. It is 14x72 feet. We hope as soon as it dries we can get the grading done and at least get the poles set. If that happens we will be able to get beds ready inside to do some year round gardening. This summer we will use without the plastic for various crops and this fall put the plastic on it. Someday, we would love to add heat and possibly an aquaponic system. Growing our own organic fish is of great interest. And so, that has been the last month on the homestead!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Rain arrived earlier than forcasted so my outside chores were cut short. I had hoped to harvest a bit more in the garden. A large basket of spinach and a small amount of kale was all I could show for my efforts.
The early rain also meant I got to do all the feeding in it. Thankfully it was relatively warm. After running a quick couple of errands I had to content myself with inside activities. So, I washed all the greens from the morning harvest and put on some chicken to make quesadillas tonight.
Made a batch of sauerkraut with purple and green cabbage.
Cut all the soap (98 bars!) and played with stamping some.
The rest of the day was spent doing housework and research. A quiet day on the homestead.


Sunday, February 8, 2015

The weekend has been absolutely spectacular! Warm temperatures have kept us outside for the last two days. Spring cleanup has begun. Limbs, sticks and leaves are slowly being hauled away.The last of the flower bulbs were tucked in the ground. Another 175, bringing the total close to 400! Hopefully the squirrels won't eat this round as most were not their favorite.
We checked the bees. Sadly we have lost 2 of 3 hives. I am so frustrated. However, I refuse to quit as the honey bees are truly one of my favorite things on the homestead. The third hive is nice and strong and still has a full super of capped honey. Hooray for that. One of the other hives had several frames of capped honey. I am trying to drain it in a pan as to not have to drag out all the equipment. We'll see..
Lastly, we took Ziva to the gun range. We wanted to see how she would react. Nerves of steel, that girl!! She will begin her Schutzhund training next weekend. A local club will be using our fields for training so she has been invited to join. We are excited for her.
Yeah, she is one ferocious dog! ;-)



Friday, February 6, 2015

More Soap!

Another cold day here on the homestead. With a high of 39* it was definitely not a good day to be outdoors. So, with the help of a good friend 7 blocks of beautiful soap were made. Today, we played with natural colorants, a new endeavor for me.  This lovely bar was swirled with charcoal. A definite eye catcher, even drawing compliments from hubby!
Indigo colored the swirls in this one blue.
This pretty tangerine bar was colored with turmeric.
And lastly this strawberry scented one was colored with Moroccan red clay. Hmmm...not exactly what I was going for but live and learn!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Winter Jelly

The wet and cold weather has been keeping me cooped up in the house. For some reason this winter has made me a bit more stir crazy than usual. Today, however, I added a bit of summer to my day. Blackberry juice from berries harvested last July was turned into a beautiful batch of jelly!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A chilly, windy day dawned here on the homestead. Not much to be done outside except tend the animals so I decided some soap making was a good inside chore. As per my usual I ran short of ingredients and was only able to get four blocks poured. Ugh.
 After soap, I headed to the barn. Of course I had to sit on a bale of hay and play with the babies. They are so much fun now. Even the new boys decided to venture out from under the lights. I finished up the first round of feeding and called to see if sis was ready to play in the greenhouse. She needed 30 more minutes so I did a smidge of house cleaning before walking through the field to her house.

The greenhouse was a balmy 84*. For the next 2 1/2 hours we contentedly puttered with the seedlings she had started a few weeks ago. We transplanted somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 cabbage and broccoli and started over 100 pepper seeds, 6  different kinds. A few Better Boy tomato seeds were planted for what we hope will be an early crop. This worked well last year for some good tomatoes to eat on. The bulk of our canning and freezing crop won't be started for several more weeks.
 And after all was finished we decided this looked more like a plant cemetery! Yikes!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The first thing on today's to-do list was hoof trimming on the goats. All of the older does were trimmed. One of the oldest has a touch of foot scald, due to all the wet weather of late, so she was put in a dry stall for treatment over the next few days. 

That done, along with the morning milking and feeding, I decided to wander over to the greenhouse. Sis wasn't home but I got to take a peak at the geraniums she has started. Looking good.
It was such a beautiful day, I walked on to Mom's barn, snapped some pics of a goat she is wanting to sell. Nice looking guy..
Then I headed back across the field.
Once back home, I gathered a tape measure, paper, pen and Ziva and together we walked to the new property across the pond. We were going to measure for the new blueberry patch going in this Spring! It is a strange shape but quite a large area. I haven't gotten it on graph paper yet but am thinking somewhere between 40 and 50 bushes can go in. A future "pick you own" we hope.
A lovely day on the homestead!