Saturday, August 24, 2013

Always Re-Doing!

I have worked on the kitchen herb bed all week. After several hours of weeding and cleaning out dead and dying herbs I have made the decision to plant them in a raised bed. I think most have died due to the wet summer. Herbs really don't care for "wet" feet. However, I discovered another possible reason--it seems with Luke's little dog home this summer my dogs were holding "pee parties" out there! Eeewww! So, they will be planted in an unreachable place and the herb bed will become a perennial flower bed.
Most of the plants were divided from other spots in the yard but I also lucked up on a trip to Lowe's and found lots of perennials and day lilies that had been marked down to 1.50! I even found a huge camellia for 5.00. Not for that bed of course, but surely somewhere...
I did harvest some herbs from containers. I hung them on an old ladder on the porch to dry.
I also planted a few more in a pot until the new bed is finished...plans are that will be this coming weekend.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Pantry Purge

Last weekend outside chores were put on hold once again due to rain. So, I decided to attack the pantry. It was once again a mess after having things tossed in it all summer. I am always amazed at how long this project takes. One would think I would learn to keep it organized as I go. Not.
The finished product. It will stay organized, it will stay organized...

And as promised Doug finished all the windows upstairs. I know what the coming week's project will be...putting my studio back together after many months of disarray.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Getting Ready For Fall

Today we started getting the garden ready for Fall. The corn was bushed hogged down and then tilled in. We started dismantling the tomato stakes and trellises. I had really  hoped to sow some kale and spinach but we will have to wait until the grass and weeds die a bit. Once again rain is in the forecast so I am not sure when that will be!
One of the few things that has done well this year was our Cinderella pumpkins. They are just beautiful! Looks like some are ready to harvest.
We finally have some watermelon ready too...
I really have to wonder how anyone has a watermelon ready on the Fourth of July?!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Pretty Porches

Finally, after almost 9 months of remodeling we are almost done. I spent today tiding up, rearranging and piddling with the front and back porches. Last weekend the boys finished wiring and putting in some added lights to the screened porch which is now a sun room, thanks to the new windows. I hope we will be able to use it year round. I worked a couple of extra days and with the added income purchased a cabinet that was on my wish list. It houses all of the bird seed that used to live in a plastic tub.
One of the new lights shines on the plants that was once a very dark corner.
 The Fu Chest pulls out and makes a bed. A fun place to sleep under the ceiling fans and listen to the night creatures.
All together..Yeah!
The front porch after a good cleaning and adding my old goat wagon to the corner...
Doug has promised to finish painting the windows in my studio this weekend and once that is done and it is put back together we are done!!!

Monday, August 12, 2013

A Pile Of Peppers

Well, I can't complain about the pepper harvest this year. They have suddenly exploded with lots of fruit. Peppers of all kinds were harvested today.

Alma Paprika Peppers~
These were dehydrated and ground for homemade paprika.

Jalapenos ( 2 varieties)~
Of course these were pickled!

Orange bells~
Roasted and frozen for the yummy roasted pepper sauce I serve on pasta, chicken or just lick off the spoon!

Cajun bells~
Also roasted and frozen.

Banana Peppers~
The ones we didn't eat fresh were pickled.

Stuffed with cheese, broiled and consumed immediately.

Pizza Peppers~
These are a sweet pepper that taste like a jalapeno without the heat. Most were chopped and frozen to add to soups and cornbread.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

More Wind, More Damage

Another storm blew in today. That puts us at almost 2 inches for the week. With it came high winds and the yard we had just finished mowing and picking up, was once again littered with branches and leaves.

To add insult to injury, a large branch fell on the fence. The new fence we just repaired from the flood 6 weeks ago!
Ugh, ugh, ugh. Fortunately this was a pretty quick repair and the only escapee was the dog.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Plenty Of Pickles

I wish I could say I grew all the cucumbers for the pickles I made today. But sadly, I did not. I purchased about a bushel from a local farmer and split them with my sister. Between the two of us we put up somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 pints.
This is my one cheat in canning. I buy Mrs. Wages pickle mix. The spices are already all mixed up and all you have to do is add vinegar and water. I usually through some extra garlic and red pepper flakes in each jar. She calls for you to process but I find that they get mushy so with everything boiling hot and sterilized (jars, lids, mixture) once I fill the jars I turn them upside down and they all seal. Once cool I store in the fridge. This year I tried a new "spicy" mixture. That would be an understatement! Those pickles may need a warning label.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Tears,Tantrums,Trials and Tribulations~ Summer 2013

Well, I am not sure where to begin ...My absence from blogging may be from the overwhelming amount of work Mother Nature has added to our work load. It could also be from the frustration I feel daily when I head to the garden only to find there is NOTHING to harvest or preserve. Maybe the incredible number of days without sunshine, dubbing us the "Seattle of the East" has something to do with it. The bottom line is that we have dealt with the wettest summer on record. Just two weeks ago we logged 6 1/2 inches of rain.
We have spent a huge amount of hours fixing and repairing driveways and fences due to torrential rains at least twice a week, where normally twice during the summer may be our max. Trying to stay ahead of weeds and the growing grass has been a huge challenge.
There is always something to be thankful for..though lots of rain and high humidity, the temperatures have remained fairly low..mid 80's and so the animals have managed to stay relatively healthy. I am extremely surprised and expected way more issues with parasites. It has been minimal. The older girls are doing very well and the lambs are holding there own. We have, sadly, lost 3, but considering the circumstances, I think we are well on our way to building a good parasite resistant flock of sheep and goats.
The garden on the other hand has not fared well. The potato crop was good, yielding about 9 bushels. However, after the first decent crop of green beans we have plowed under 3 more plantings. The same with the corn. I think I may have picked 3 cucumbers this year! Squash was barely better and the eggplant finally just gave up and died due to drowning. Tomatoes and peppers have done fairly well, though not what we had hoped with the number planted. I have managed to can salsa and a homemade "Rotel". The cantaloupe have started to ripen only to have a mushy consistency..oh well, the chickens are enjoying them. We are holding out hope that the late peas will do well.
It has been just "one" of those years and we will hope for a better fall. It will soon be time to sow the fall garden and if it does not do well it will just have to be a meat and potato year!! ;o))