Friday, August 31, 2012

Time For a Change

I spent the better part of today refreshing all the pots on the patios. The summer plants were looking sad and  I was ready for a change. Fall will soon be upon us. I found some really beautiful mums and changed everything out.

Oh, and then I mowed grass....
Luke is home for the weekend and my older son stopped by. They were most impressed by my new grass mowing capabilities! Tomorrow the fall garden MUST go in....

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Baa Baa Bad Sheep

I have been letting the lambs graze the yard for the last few weeks. It has been nice to wake up and see them outside my bedroom window grazing the front yard. But....

They have crossed the line and will now be sent back to the penitentiary. These WERE big beautiful cabbage plants waiting to go in the winter garden.

 And this WAS a potted plant...

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Fall Hay

I can't believe it is hay mowing time again. We mowed the fields on two separate days so we could bale on two separate days. We were not sure what kind of help could be lined up and with Luke being gone...
But help we had, even showing up today on a Sunday! They are a wonderful group of guys!! 663 bales later all the fall cutting was in the barn. Most of this hay will be sold as the big barn is still full. That should help cover the costs of twine, fuel and paying the boys.
I was actually not needed this go round but I did get to mow-- only it was our yard, not the hay fields. I also worked up the last of the apples for a second round of jelly. The summer garden has played out except for okra, hot peppers and basil. I harvested large amounts of all three. I will spend this week preserving these goodies.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Oh Happy Day!!

The turkeys were finally able to be released from the tractor today and they were most happy. Jumping and flapping their wings they now have the freedom to roam the front pasture that is almost 7 acres. I have Blue Slates, Narragansetts and a couple of broad breasted bronze. The bronze are slated for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. The others I hope will raise babies in the spring. At some point I will have to separate them and figure out a system that will allow them to range yet not cross breed but for now they are happy birds. And I am a happy girl- no more dragging the tractor around daily.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

When Life Gives You Apples...

You make jelly, of course!
My mom came bouncing in the door with 2 buckets of apples she picked from her trees. It seems this year she beat the deer to them and thought I would like to have them. I loved having them. I haven't had apple jelly in a very long time and it is definitely my favorite by far. Being that these were a la natural and had never seen any spray they needed a good scrubbing to get a dark film off of them. I am not sure what it is but it does come off. Once that was done, I cut off any bad spots, chunked them up, seeds and all,added some water and cooked them. I then strained off the juice and made the jelly. It is yummy!!  

Monday, August 20, 2012

Packaging Poultry

It is the Monday after the Saturday butchering and as usual I spend the morning washing and freezing the chickens. Being that these were was past prime butchering time they were quite large and most packs would only hold 2 leg quarters!
Once finished the pile of poultry on the counter made me feel very wealthy. We have squirreled away plenty of meat for the winter. The pantry is looking pretty full. Life is good!
I saved this perfect looking hen for a special meal. I plan to stuff and slow roast it. Yum!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Butchering Day #2

Up at five to get sourdough done before we could get started with the birds. Doug went to get ice and started setting up while I delivered bread.
Once back, he was almost ready. I put the water on to scald the birds, hooked up hose pipes and we were good to go. We got started around 8:45. This time I wore a mask, safety glasses and as always, gloves. It went well today. I had one boo boo moment. I butchered one of my new young layers by mistake. Oops! She was white and unfortunately happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I also butchered an older rooster - he was in the pen and hey, certainly not producing anything! He will be dumplings tomorrow. Lastly, I  had to process one small turkey that had an injured leg and therefor would not reach adulthood. Waste not, want not. By the time everything was done, the birds iced and cleanup finished, it was after noon. I quick milked the grumpy goats and we grabbed a bite of lunch.
Next on the list was to attack the herb beds by the house that, due to all the rain looked like an oasis for snakes. We got one side done before the Heavens opened up and rain once more descended upon us. It was a passing thunderstorm and once gone allowed for me to get in the garden to pick okra and finish feeding before the next one came up.
It was a good day, a long day and one that I have to say I am glad is over!

Friday, August 17, 2012

It Has To Be Done!

We still have meat birds to butcher. I have been dreading and putting it off. We have reached a now or never point because some of the birds are starting to resemble small turkeys. This go round I have corralled all the birds in a small area with an electric netted fence. Fingers crossed we won't have too many escapees in the morning.
In light of how this has become a dreaded chore (and may not be good for me!) we have decided not to raise meat birds to sell anymore. It was good for the last few years as the birds we sold paid for the birds we ate and helped show income for farm tax purposes. My goal was accomplished. It looks like we have 27 to do and with the few turkeys slated for late winter that should take us far. Next year we will probably only plan to do 20 or so, depending on the looks of the freezers. What next? There is talk of pastured beef and lamb... we will see.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Adding To The Chore List

Anytime I get to missing Luke too much I start doing his chores and that irritates me enough to get past it for a while!! Just kidding... but Doug and I are splitting what he used to do. He mowed, trimmed, did all of the blowing off the walks and drive and kept up the pool. Those were "his" chores and that did not include the other things he did like hay and firewood.
So today for the first time in many years I mowed grass. Not that I don't know how or can't but because there are these people called the striping police that think the yard must look a certain way and you absolutely cannot ride around in circles. The police are away at college. So I mowed..
 and mowed..
 and mowed.
Almost three hours of mowing. Granted, the grass was really tall having missed last week, so it was a slow process. Then I blew off the walks and drive. Then I went to check the pool. It was a hideous shade of green. Pu-leeze!! Off to the pool store for advice
By day's end I had to admit things looked pretty good, not near like what he did but not bad. And I only did the circle thing on one area!

Monday, August 13, 2012

An Empty Nest

This last week was a whirlwind of activity. Luke was due to leave Friday for college. A lot of last minute things to pack up and pick up. We planned to follow him down with his last load. Who knew a kid could have so much stuff? But he did and two more truck loads were hauled down to Wilmington. We left late Friday afternoon after all the chores were done. Mom had the farm for the weekend, she has been a true lifesaver this year and has pulled a heavy load for us.
We spent Saturday and yesterday with Luke helping him set up his little household. He had several "Earth Boxes" that we filled and planted along with some herbs. You can take the kid out of the country but, well you know! Several other small projects were completed and he is quite settled. We headed home this morning at 5 a.m. in order to get back and milk and feed. I promised I wouldn't cry and I didn't... in front of him. I know he will have lots of fun but I already miss him and his crazy little dog, Dallas, who has managed to steal my heart. Even though I chanted, I will not get attached, I will not get attached...
Though really, who could not love that face??

Back home, it all awaited us. The garden fairies had not picked the okra or mowed the grass. And so I must now get busy!!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Saturdays are sourdough days at the store. Up at five to get it in the pans. Then I started my list..
I wanted to get some house cleaning done. Between jarring up honey and putting up corn, my kitchen counters and floor were quite sticky and laundry was fast approaching a dangerous height... not a pretty picture. I still had to get the spaghetti sauce canned that I started on Wednesday. And then there were all those bowls of basil sitting on the counter..
By mid day the sauce was ready and jars were sterilized. This was the batch to be canned in pints. My pressure canner allows me to stack pints so it only took two rounds to get it all done. I made two large batches of pesto to freeze. I found some really cool pesto cube trays. They have attached snap on lids, fit in their own stackable trays and are BPA free. They come in a variety of sizes too. I think these may be one of my new favorite cool kitchen tools. With the way the lids fit my pesto won't get freezer burned like it did when I froze in ice cubes trays and stored in bags. Go to to check them out. They have some really yummy recipes on their website as well!

Friday, August 3, 2012

My intention was to get started really early and finish freezing the rest of the corn. However, I just kept getting side tracked. Imagine that.
First, I got busy at the barn scrubbing water buckets. Next I had to move the turkey tractor. Then there was another listless lamb that I had to haul across the field and to the barn. I got her situated with food water and vitamins. Back to the chicken coop where I pondered rearranging birds until Luke's four legged college buddy appeared, covered in what looked and smelled like turkey poop. Nice. I gave him a bath. Finally I pulled the rest of the corn, another 8 dozen ears or so. By this time it was almost 2- so much for an early start! Most of the corn is done and only a few small ears are left on the stalks. We will munch on those for the next week or so and sadly for us fresh corn season will be gone. However, the freezer is packed with many, many bags to be enjoyed throughout the coming months.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

More Sauce & Freezing Corn

The bulk of the corn came in today. And the tomatoes still waited patiently on the counter. To be quite honest I didn't sleep well knowing what had to be accomplished today!
I got up early to bake and milk. As soon as I delivered the bread I got busy. I had the help of my mom today and without her, I certainly would not have gotten near as much done.
The first thing that went on was a huge pot of spaghetti sauce. Once it was simmering I headed to pull the corn, 21 dozen ears of corn. That was most of it. The rest will be ready on Friday.
And so we commenced to shucking, washing and cutting off the cob.
Oh and I had one more helper..she shucked one ear...

And enjoyed every bite ;o)
Most of the corn was bagged and frozen. One large pot had to wait since I ran out of freezer bags. It and the half cooked sauce went in the fridge to deal with on Friday. Long day, but the sight of all those lovely bags of corn lining the freezer shelves certainly make it worth it.