Saturday, May 31, 2014

Please, Let's Play?

Ziva doesn't bring up little sticks to play fetch... she brings up branches!!

 I know dad. Frisbees are cool but I like big STICKS!
And I like to swim. But I really like big sticks!!

Friday, May 30, 2014

The heavens opened up last night with 3 inches of rain falling in about an hour. We stood at the window and watch helplessly as the driveway to the barn washed into the pond. The pool filled with mulch and feed pans looked as if they were snow boarding down the hill. Today we surveyed the damage and began clean up.
The barn was flooded about halfway back and had to be scraped out. The drive had 8 inch ruts running through and and so a load of gravel was required. The pool, a murky mess, will take quite some time to return it to normal. The garden held up fairly well with only a half of a row of crowders washing away.
That Mother Nature can sure be one tough chick!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Snake Bit Sheep

A couple of days ago I noticed a sheep with a very swollen face. My first thought was NO! not bottle jaw. I checked her eyes and the membranes were nice and pink so I moved her to a place where she wouldn't have to fight for food and started her on some vitamins. I wondered if she has gotten in a nest of bees. Today when I checked her the wound had opened up and it was nasty. A snake bite looked to be the culprit, most likely a copperhead, though I still couldn't really see much because she is black. A long conversation with the vet was had and I am starting her in antibiotics and thoroughly scrubbing the wound twice daily with betadine. How long? I asked. Until she is better, at least 10 days. Oh, yea.  

Saturday, May 24, 2014

My husband announced this morning that it was going to be a long garden day. That mess down there doesn't even look like our garden! I had to agree. So after the bread was delivered and a few quick chores were finished, we headed out.
The kale that had bolted was finally plowed under. Cultivating was done. Not a lot of weeding between plants because the ground has gotten so dry but with rain in the forecast, hopefully that will be done this week.
We planted another 3 rows of corn, this time one called Luscious. Renegade green beans and Doloco black eyed peas as well. Two more kinds of squash, Piccolo, a round zucchini and Astia, a quick to mature zucchini, taking only 38 days. Lastly, watermelon and cantaloupe went in the shared garden. Sis sprayed the potatoes and I sprayed the green beans. The tomatoes were mulched with old hay.

Sis's hubby and Daddy built raised beds for the asparagus that was started a couple of weeks ago from the mark down isle at Lowe's. Doug has promised to haul in dirt this week to fill them. The fence to the right is going to be torn down for more planting room.
Things are starting to look really good. The green beans are getting ready to bloom as are the squash. The cucumbers are starting to climb and the blueberries are loaded this year.

I added a few more veggies to the cold frames beds. Tyee, a quick maturing spinach good for summer planting, along with red baby kale and heat tolerant lettuce seeds were scattered and watered in. I also planted more radishes as the first ones we planted did nothing.
The day was almost over and still feeding and milking chores had to be finished up. We were hot, dirty and hungry. It was a good day here on the homestead.

Friday, May 23, 2014

A Great Find....Garlic Scapes!

As I finished up the evening chores I glanced at the poor neglected garden of the last couple of weeks. I longed for something, anything to pick! I wandered down the rows and just as I was about to give up I spied them. Scapes! Oh yum! Almost as good as finding gold. No, better because you can eat them. I happily pick a large handful and know there will be many more to harvest over the next few days. Pesto will definitely be on the menu this weekend.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The spring hay season is officially over and 1530 bales are safely stashed in the barns. What started to be a stressful beginning has turned out to be a happy ending. If we have enough rain we may still have a fall cutting.

Now it is time to focus on the garden!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

When One Door Closes...

Doug started mowing hay last week. It is very slim pickings around here. Fields that normally yield 400 bales were coming in at a little over 200. One small strip where we usually get around 24 bales had only 9. Because of the longer than usual and colder spring the grass did not grow and in the last few weeks it has been blazing hot which caused the grass to form seed heads and thus had to be mowed. All the farmers around here are worried about a hay shortage in our area. In addition to that, we lost a couple of fields last year due to the sale of the land. Several nights we pondered what to do. The plan was (and probably still is) to tear up some less than desirable pastures and plant Millet. The animals could graze it and we would bale that for extra hay. When it was done we would go in behind it with winter rye and should have good grazing year round and cut back on some of the hay consumption
And then.. A neighbor called. He has several fields that he had planned to fence for cattle but did not get it done and would we like to mow it for hay. Hallelujah!!! Granted it is only for this year but it will put us mowing right about 25 acres. They started mowing today, will finish tomorrow and bale Wednesday and Thursday. Yes, cheers could be heard all around the homestead. Two leggeds and four doing a happy hay rationing after all!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Arch

It is done. However, hubby is not happy with the finished project. He wanted the arch to be thicker, heavier looking. I think it looks ok. Luke was undecided. I fear I hear the rumblings of a do over. Sigh.

What do you think?

Friday, May 16, 2014

A Jamming Kind of Day

Yesterday I picked a gallon of strawberries but because of chores ran out of time to do anything with them.Today I normally work but it was slow at the store because of heavy rain and I was told to take off. Oh I love those unexpected gifts of time!
I got most of my chores finished early and went to work on the berries. Since it is the household favorite I made two batches and probably will make a couple more in the next week or so. Today, though, 15 jars were tucked in the pantry.
I finished quicker than I thought I would so I made a pan of brownies. Not just any brownie--these were made with black beans! I had been wanting to try these for some time and recently saw a cake made with the beans too. Of course I had to change things up a little, you know, using what was available here on the homestead and in the pantry but the final product is delicious. I glazed them with a cream cheese- peanut butter icing. Oh my!! Didn't even wait for the boys to get home before trying them. Let's keep the beans our secret, shall we?
(You can find the recipe on my eating blog.)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Spring Shearing

A couple of weeks ago when I emailed Jess, our shearer, she said she could come most any time if someone could hold their new baby, Abilene. Oh, well I really don't think that will be a problem! More like who will help wrestle the sheep!!
Today she arrived promptly at 10 and the games began. I have to say the all the sheep were very well behaved and things went quite smoothly. Luke and I caught and brought the sheep to her. A good friend and Mom cleaned away the fleeces and Luke's girlfriend held the baby. She was such an angel sleeping through all the loud baaing and crying of lambs missing mamas (22 of those!) The only thing that startled her was the dogs barking. Everyone laughed, a little farm girl already. We finished around 1:30, 17 sheep and 2 goats.
After a quick bite of lunch, everyone headed home and I finished up feeding and watering. Late in the day I let the sheep out on the new pasture. I have been doing this daily for about 30 minutes at a time after they eat. The pasture is full of clover and I am having to slowly acclimate them to it as to not cause some bloat issues. Hopefully by the end of the week they can stay out on it until we tear it up to plant millet.
Everyone on pasture, happy and cool, ready for the hot week ahead.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

I had to work today but while I was gone the boys filled the frames with beautiful black soil. They had just finished when the heavens opened up and the rains came. I couldn't wait tho and in went two "Husky" patio tomatoes and basil!
Other veggies to go in will be heat tolerant lettuces and spinach, radishes, carrots and herbs.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Ta-Da! Cold Frames Completed

Here they are!!
I say they are finished. Of course they need dirt and the actual frames need to be built. Those won't be needed until fall so we will just use as a summer garden until later this year.
The arch has been started and once good and dry will be completed as well.