Sunday, June 30, 2013

Our 100 Year Flood?

Fences are down. The chicken coop area is destroyed. The drive had to be fixed before the new sheep were even able to be unloaded, as a two foot deep gully ran through the middle of it. The pond ran out of the banks by four feet judging from the debris lines. The pool overflowed and was filled with mulch. All that being said, we are blessed. No major damage to buildings or animals. It is nothing that can't be fixed, although it will take some time.
And so the clean up begins...

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Almost Washed Away

Late yesterday afternoon and over night we had over 6 inches of rain fall. We left out at four a.m., so of course, we didn't see the damage that had been done. The first calls came around 7 when Luke was able to check on things. He said it was bad. Really bad. I called my sister and had her go check. Yep, it's bad. Then the pictures started arriving via text.
There was nothing we could do but keep driving and get back ASAP. We arrived in Indiana at 2. Loaded up and turned around. We drove in heavy rains for several hours. We made it back as far as Charleston, West Virginia before exhaustion overtook us and we made the decision to stop and sleep for a few hours. Homeward bound in the morning..
In all those miles of travel this was the only thing that I found picture worthy!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Indiana, Ho!

Recently I purchased an Icelandic flock dispersal from a farm in Michigan. They have agreed to meet us in Ft. Wayne, Indiana to save us a good bit of driving time. Today I was busy making sure all the critters were in good shape with water buckets filled and lots of hay. I have a friend that will milk for me tomorrow and Luke is home to feed.
I also cooked a beef roast for sandwiches, made some hummus and packed lots of fresh veggies for the road. (We hate fast food!) Doug hooked up, packed some hay and water and so we are set to head out in the morning at 4..

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Canning Green Beans

Yesterday, Jill and mom picked another bushel and 1/2 of green beans. I finished chores and then it was time to can. Of course, we had to snap first! Iced tea in hand, we headed to the screen porch. Many hand make light work and the beans were snapped in short order. Next we pulled out all the canning equipment and got busy. Only two canners were put up by last night. The rest were finished today. A total of 28 quarts and 17 pints were processed. We will split the harvest between us.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Garden Days

You know it is summer time in the garden when you come in and walk straight to the shower lest someone try to bury you because you smell so bad.
The last two days life has been that way. Yesterday green beans were picked and the early garlic harvested. The "Venture" beans were true to their word and almost all were ready. Close to two bushels yesterday with a half bushel earlier this week. There will be one more lighter picking in a day or two. I love the taste and productivity of the beans. I found though they were more time consuming to pick, because the vines were kind of tangled. I will pick again on Monday and most likely leave the rest to dry for seed. They are open pollinated so that is possible. All in all, they are a definite winner in our garden book.
We planted 50 sweet potato plants, a row of cannelli beans and a row of butter peas. The boys got to use Doug's birthday present to plant the potatoes. It was an old tobacco planter. You drop the plant in one side, water in in the other and as you press a lever water shoots into the hole and plant is planted! So cool, it took about 10 minutes to plant the 50 plants.

Much weeding was done and rows were cultivated. Tomatoes were tied up again, squash and pumpkins fertilized. A couple of long but good garden days!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

I am always amazed at what can happen in a day's time.
After work I wandered to the garden to check on things and found that the green beans are hanging full. Blue berries were ready as well. So I commenced to picking. I picked 1/2 bushel of green beans and 2 pints of blueberries before darkness ran me. Tomorrow and Saturday will be long days in the garden. Much weeding to be done in addition to some harvesting. A few more things to be planted as well.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Beans, Taters and Blueberries

Oh happy day!! While perusing the garden I spied green beans. Some of the Maxibel were ready. We love to steam those and toss with butter and a bit of salt. Also ready are the beginnings of the Venture. These are the beans that should pretty much all be ready at once. The potato vines are beginning to die back so that means new potatoes can be found waiting just beneath the ground. The blue berries are beginning to turn. I will need to harvest as soon as they are ready. Another bad boy rooster has been staring longingly at the bushes. He better mind his manners or he will go the way of his brother that raided the strawberry patch...may he RIP. Some were harvested today but it looks like I will have a very busy weekend picking!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Continuing Education

My mind is swirling with all the information packed in my brain today. The "Native Grasses" workshop was very informative. I so hope we can incorporate some of this into our farm.
The biggest obstacle I encountered was that the instructors kept talking about the need to spray to keep invasive weeds at bay until the natives were established. Well, we don't spray. Ever. Hmmm...
I am always up for a challenge. Another thing not researched much was the use of native grasses and raising sheep and goats. Though we plan to get some beef cows, this needs to work with the farm as a whole. Native grasses provide huge amounts of protein during the summer months when nothing else grows thus could possibly eliminate or reduce the amount of grain for the dairy goats. With extra copper supplementation, the sheep may be able to be mostly grass fed as well. (Cows are gaining up to 2 lbs a day on some of these grasses!)
After class, we walked a farm where the many of these grasses are planted and checked out their rotation practices. It was a great educational experience and something I look forward to learning more about and possibly implementing into our pastures in the future.

Monday, June 17, 2013

I am not sure what possessed my sons today. Whatever it was, it was a good angel. I think maybe my concern for the animals may have spurred them on a bit. Because of the wet weather, I am having a few parasite issues and in the last couple of days two goats are showing signs of foot scald. The culprit is wet ground. So, they decided to give me a day at the barn. The two of them tag teamed the scraping and hauling away of piles of manure. Feeding areas were mucked out and gravel hauled in. They repaired fences and hung a new gate to help me better rotate pastures. It looks fantastic.
I helped with the raking and mucking for a while. When they headed to pick up supplies, I milked, dewormed, trimmed feet and dosed all the goats with copper boluses.
Taking advantage of all the new and clean areas, I decided to go ahead and separate the sheep. Most all of the lambs were old enough to wean. Instead of allowing them to continue to "try" and nurse, they were sent to their own pasture. The ewes were moved to the front 7 acre field. The two ewes left with lambs went to the nursery pasture for a bit longer. All in all the sheep look pretty good this year. Only one of the older ewes needed worming. That is HUGE for us! About half of the lambs needed a dose. Still acceptable for me with the Icelandics. It was a long day and tiring day, but oh, so worth it.
We had to knock off around 4:30 because I had to get bread baked for the store and the CSA for tomorrow. I will not be working because I am attending a "Native Grasses" workshop.( I am really looking forward to that! ) Knocking off early came just in time because a storm came up and another inch of rain was dropped in 20 minutes.
So, 15 loaves of bread bagged, one meatloaf and a shower later, I crashed. A good day on the farm.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Another busy week has flown by on the homestead. I have settled into the new milking routine and so have the girls. I finally made a batch of cheese. Yum.
It was another week of rainy afternoons and hot humid days. Perfect weather for the parasites to breed and multiply. And that they did as I had the first case of bottle jaw and parasite overload to treat. A couple of lambs needed treating as well. I will be moving everyone to clean pastures over the next few days.
A wicked storm hit yesterday afternoon. For us we only had one tree uprooted, that did not damage and lots of branches down. Others were not so lucky and some neighborhoods were devastated.

My sister and mom are both out of town for several days, so I am tending their critters and gardens in addition to mine. Thankfully they are much smaller scale than us and it doesn't take too long. I have spied a couple of squash in sis's thinks that will be payment ;o))

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Handsome Harvest

The garden is still lagging way behind however, I did harvest quite a bit of basil and another large bunch of garlic scapes.
Of course the basil will become piles of pesto and I am planning to pickle these scapes. I am curious as to how they will taste.
I did see that the green beans are blooming and that means I will be picking in the very near future!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Finally, Milk!

Almost all the kids have been weaned and I am finally able to get on a milking schedule. After much thought I have opted to only milk once a day, in the mornings. With the two large gardens planted, among all the other chores, I think twice daily may be a bit much this year. Even with just a once daily milking that should net us 1 1/2-1 3/4  gallons a day, from four girls. This will up a bit when the last doe's kids are weaned and I will add a fifth girl to the lineup.
This also means the long awaited cheese workshop can be held. More soap classes too. Yeah!

Other news on the has been a wet, sultry week. Close to five inches of rain has fallen since Monday. It is too wet to plow, mow or even weed. The rain has put the cold frames on hold, again. So, the boys worked on all the nit picking details left from the remodeling projects. Touch up paint here, caulk there. After baking and delivering, I made garlic scape pesto to freeze.
 I also planted the large basket that hangs on the well house.

A leisurely day on the farm..

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

More Night Visitors

I was very late milking tonight. I hauled some goats to the sale barn, we had farm visitors and then company for supper. I wandered to the barn in the rain and called up some very unhappy girls.

It was very quiet in the milking parlor. Suddenly, I heard a noise from the back. It seems in my late milking hour I disturbed a guest sleeping in the corner. She watched until I finished. I left her a bowl of cat food and asked that she not tear open the new bag!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Much Needed Rain & Freezing Chickens

Much needed rain fell over the night. A smidge over an inch. We were spared the 4 inches that fell just down the road and did major flood damage.

Every thing looks happy and refreshed this morning.
The garden is now waiting for a good weeding. Unfortunately that wouldn't happen today. The chickens we butchered yesterday had to be packaged and frozen.
I worked on them a while. Mom stopped by to help and finally I finished late this evening. We left a lot more whole this year. They were a bit more time consuming to package. You wouldn't think so, but my vacuum sealer was being a bit ornery on the whole birds. The pieces and boneless breasts went very quickly. Now all I have to do is make room in the freezers!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Butchering Day 2013

Another early morn on the homestead. Today was butchering day -38 meat birds are now iced down and waiting to be packaged and frozen sometime in the next day or two.
Next to hay mowing, this is our second biggest spring chore on the calender and a huge sigh of relief is taken when both are done.

Clean up takes almost as long as butchering. Once that was done, other chores were completed. Doug decided to take a break and go shoot at the range, I was supposed to be doing sheep paperwork but the pond kept calling...
Maybe it was the 7 pound catfish, now in the basket, I heard.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

My morning started very early today..5 a.m. I had to get bread baked for the store and we had some prospective sheep buyers slated to arrive at 8. We spent an hour or so talking sheep. After they left it was time to get busy!
I planted some bush cucumbers in a pot that will live in the herb garden here by the house. I also planted some Purple Orach. It is another type of climbing spinach, similar to Malabar that touts having 3 times the vitamin c as spinach.
Several more herbs were tucked in the garden, the cherry tomato tied up and Elf sunflower seeds were planted among the day lily plants.
The horseradish planted a couple of weeks ago has popped up and looks quite happy.
Doug started the cold frame beds. YEAH! When he came to a stopping point due to lack of materials we broke for lunch. Afterwards we headed to the big gardens. He cultivated the rows and I tied up the tomatoes. He also tilled a row in the lower garden for some October beans we plan to get in tomorrow.