Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Busy Baker

I am baking for the local CSA every other week. This week I had special orders for the store, bread for the shelves and a 12 loaf order from them. By 9:15, I had 21 loaves cooling. I was off to the barn to milk and back to load and head to work for the day.

I can assure you I will have no problem sleeping tonight!

Monday, April 29, 2013

I Warned Her!

Little lamb was a non believer. This morning early I pulled her out of the fence once again. I was leaving to run a couple of errands so I turned her loose. When I got back, there she was, almost in the exact same spot. This time I carried her to the barn and plopped her in a stall. She is none too happy but for her safety this will be her home for a couple of weeks until she is friendly enough to live with the goat kids.We have coyotes that run the fence line. I shudder to think if they came upon her with her head outside the fence. Also, it is not hot now but if it were and she stood in that heat all day.. Plus the fact she has already damaged a horn. I have never had a lamb do something like this. This year my lamb names will all begin with the letter "E". Her name? Ediot.

Ok maybe that is a bit harsh. If you think of a better name let me know!

We got three inches of rain yesterday so not much could be done outside. After chores were finished I decided a trip to the pond would be fun. For my birthday last year I asked my dad for a large fish box. We had one growing up and it was big enough to leave the fish in for a couple of days, almost like an aquarium! There were seven fish in there from Saturday night that needed to be cleaned and I thought I might catch a few more. Nothing worth keeping, so I brought up what I had, cleaned them and got them ready for the frying pan. Leftover slaw, a few hush puppies and a Monday night fish fry was enjoyed.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

A Dark and Dreary Day

A grey, misty morning greeted me when I woke up. Since the rains were to get progressively harder as the day wore on, I deiced to get all my chores finished early. While feeding, I heard the distressed call of a lamb. I found her with her head stuck in the fence on the back side of the pond. This is not the first time I have rescued her and I told her today, it would be the last. One more time and she will be taken from her mom, who at this point could care less if she is missing, and put in a stall for her safety. Of course, if I do this it means she will have to be bottle fed. Ugh.
Being that it was raining, Doug headed to work for a few hours to catch up on paperwork. Left to my own devices, I put a chicken on for supper and made some granola. I also started supper for his mom, who thankfully, is home as of Friday. We are lucky and blessed she is still here with us.
 We had planned to lay out the fence line for the new garden but the rains kept us at bay. Instead we delivered the meal, visited a bit and headed home. He built what was probably the last fire of the season to ward off the damp, chilly evening.
It was looking to be a quiet and uneventful day. Then Luke called. It seems Dallas, my grand dog, and he were playing and he somehow (Dallas) knocked his crooked little front tooth loose. It was bleeding, Dallas was stressed and Luke was beside himself. I thought I was going to have to drive to Wilmington right then! ;o)
Dallas is a rat terrier, a RESCUE rat terrier. He has issues. He is not very cooperative and he only does things on his terms. Luke was afraid to take him because he knew he would have to be sedated and for some reason that was freaking him out. Our vet here knows him and his issues. I finally talked him into taking him to a clinic. They didn't sedate him and from what little they could see just put him on antibiotics long enough to get him home next week. All is well and his tooth finally came out. I told Luke to make sure he put it under Dallas's pillow....

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Planting Paste Tomatoes

Today another 38 tomatoes went in the garden. 32 were various varieties of paste tomatoes. San Marzano, Speckled Roman and Heinz Paste were names of those I planted. I use this type to dehydrate each year. I also planted a few Cherokee Purple, one of my favorite fresh eating tomatoes and a couple of cherry tomatoes called Velvet Red.
Also planted today was the flat of marigolds I had gotten from my greenhouse raid earlier this week. Some cilantro and chives were tucked in the herb bed.
It was a cloudy day, but nice, so we spent most of it working in the yard and garden. Tomorrow is supposed to be a wash out with lots of rain. The rain will be welcome since most of the garden is now planted and it should make everything very happy!

Friday, April 26, 2013

An Accidental Death

I was out of my routine this morning. I don't usually work on Fridays but was needed for a few hours today. I had to do my morning chores before I headed out. Milking finished, I went to move the chicken tractor that houses the meat birds. I was pushing it to clean grass when I hit a tree stump. It snatched out of my hands and fell with a crash. Unfortunately in doing so, it landed on one of the birds and killed it. Now, I don't know why this upset me so being that I am the one who does the killing at butcher time, but it did. I had the urge to bury it, hold a small funeral or something. Maybe it was because it met an untimely death or that I felt it was a violent end to its life? Strange how the human heart works.
In the end, homesteading common sense took over and I quickly dressed it and put in the fridge. I will make stock and when consumed offer an extra prayer of thanks...

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Moon Names

Random I know. Tonight I was finishing up chores. As I gathered eggs from one of the hen houses the moonlight lite the boxes. As I headed to the house, it cast a shadow as I walked. I haven't ever given much thought to the full moon during the spring and summer months, usually thinking of a full moon in the fall as a "Harvest Moon". So, I did a little research...
The most well known names of the moons were from the Native American Algonquin tribes of New England. Though there are differing names, these are the most popular.
January~ The Wolf Moon
February~ The Snow Moon or Hunger Moon
March~ The Worm Moon
April~ The Pink Moon
May~ The Flower Moon
June~ The Strawberry Moon
July~ The Buck Moon
August~ The Sturgeon Moon
September~ The Corn Moon or Harvest Moon
October~ The Hunter's Moon or Harvest Moon
November~ The Beaver Moon
December~ The Cold Moon
The harvest moon is the full moon closest to the autumn equinox, either in September or October.
I enjoyed walking under the light of the pink moon tonight.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Swarm Chasers

I had my day planned to the minute. Bake, deliver, pick up chicken feed, raid greenhouse, a.m. barn chores, an alpine doe kid was to be picked up and finally the garden was going in TODAY. Rain was in the forecast, so if not today it would possibly be another week. It is late already.
All was going according to plan. I had just finished milking when I saw the bees acting a bit strangely. Suddenly the air filled with bees and I knew we had another swarm on our hands. I called hubby. I know you don't want to hear this but the other hive has swarmed. I think they may be headed towards the pear tree. Well, he said, I can't get home and you may not get this one. Could he have waved a BIGGER red flag?
I watched as they flew through the pear and then headed to the bush where the last swarm landed. I hurriedly started gathering equipment to capture them once they had clustered. In the mean time, I called my sister to have an extra set of hands. She wasn't home but later told me she was afraid of bees so she would have been of no help. I then called my mom. How would you like to add beekeeping to your resume? She was game. I mixed up sugar water to drizzle over the frames. I remembered doing this last year and it helped attract the bees. (I did not do this last week and sadly, the swarm we recovered left. A bee keeping mentor told me not to be too sad as that happens.)
Once clustered, we suited up and positioned the hive under them. I held  my breath and gave a hard shake and watched as the bees fell into the hive. We put the top on and stood back to watch. Bees are such amazing creatures. In about 30 minutes they were all in the hive and had started to work.
Now, I could head to the garden!  Being that she was here, Mom stayed and helped. We worked for several hours, stopping only long enough to put a roast in the oven for supper. Tomato and pepper plants went in the ground. Two types of green beans, a fillet type for steaming and eating fresh and a new one called "Venture". Venture is supposed to be an excellent canning bean and unlike most beans they all come on at once. I am curious to see what kind of yield we get. Three rows of corn were planted. Several hills of cucumbers and zucchini along with carrots and two types of radishes were also planted. I planted the "Watermelon" radish again. I loved this one for fermenting.
The things already planted are looking good. Potatoes and peas are up.The garlic looks great and the onions have settled in and turned bright green. The strawberries are hanging full.
Doug arrived home and tilled a couple more rows for planting next week, pulled dirt up around the potatoes and then we walked the new large garden. He thinks we can get it plowed in the next few days. A long but productive day on the homestead!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Lambing is Finished!

Unless some of the yearling ewe lambs were bred during the late fence break, we are officially over with lambing season.
A few days ago, Cloe had a set of twins. A moorit spotted ewe and a black spotted ram. She did a great job and it was her first time!
Our final count, 13 lambs- 7 ewes and 6 rams. Lots of colors and all are happy and healthy.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Lots of Pots

Hubby is shaking his head. Looks like an awful lot of watering to me, he says. I can't help it. And I'm not done! I love being surrounded by the colors and beauty..wonder if I'll be saying that in July.

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Little Dirt Therapy

Today was beautiful and I was itching to get my hands in the dirt. Unfortunately I had many errands to run. I got early barn chores done and hit the road. Seven stops later I was home. I grabbed a bite to eat and raided the greenhouse. Oh what to take!! so many options. Herbs, zinnias, marigolds, tomatoes, peppers! I loaded up a couple of flats of miscellaneous plants and headed home. Since Doug has almost completed his "grilling station" he mentioned he would like a pot of herbs close by to pick and use while cooking. I rounded up an old pot and ta-da! his wish was my command...
Next I planted clumps of zinnias, lettuce and celery in the herb beds...

And finally, some beautiful lilies I picked up while out earlier in the perennial beds..
I had tomatoes to plant, but unfortunately, time was running out, I had barn chores to do and some supper to scare up. I was, I must say, feeling much more relaxed. Even just a little bit of dirt therapy can go a long way!

What IS That Noise?

It felt good to be back into our routine this morning! As usual, while having coffee, I planned this weeks menus and my to do list for the week. That finished, I headed to the barn to milk and feed the babies. Doug was working on his grilling station project. While feeding the babies I kept hearing a strange noise. I looked around and the air was filled with bees. SWARM! All chores were momentarily dropped and we hurried to grab hive boxes and capture the bees. We have decided that having some low growing bushes near the hives is a good thing because the tend to land there while deciding where they want to go. Once they were all clustered we shook them in a hive box and placed the lid on. Later tonight, when they are all in we will move them to a location near the garden.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

What A Week!!

It has been quite a week around here. A week ago today we got word that my mother in law was rushed to the hospital. Bad enough, but what was worse is that she was 4 1/2 hours away. Some family members headed her way. We waited and kept "the dog". 24 hours later she was rushed into emergency surgery. We were told to continue to wait but also told it was very serious. She was kept in ICU for two days with major abdominal surgery.We rearranged schedules daily not knowing what and where we needed to be, but finally got the word we needed to be there Thursday. We left at 11 or so after chores were done and arrangements made to have critters tended for Friday. Our plan was to be back late Friday afternoon. Our "shift" lasted late into Friday afternoon and we made the decision to head to Wilmington to visit Luke being that is was only 1 1/2 hours away and we were going to be in 5 o'clock traffic either way. A very short evening was spent with him and we were on the road at 4:45 this morning. I had to be back to bake some special order breads and of course tend animals. My mother in law is doing well and hopefully will be out of the hospital by the first of the week. She has a small home at the coast and will be spending another couple of weeks recuperating before allowed to travel home.
And while we were gone... Spring happened. In less than 48 hours the farm became a riot of color. A lovely welcome home I must say.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Kids Play

Today was a glorious day and I spent most of it outside. I had a sheep in labor and made many trips across the pasture to keep an eye on her. My entourage was always right behind me..
Where I go, they go..They like it when I pass the rock piles.
So helpful, they are.
Oh yeah! another rock!

After several trips. Another set of twins!