Monday, June 30, 2014

The first round of pickling cucumbers is about to poop out but not before giving us a bumper crop. Today I canned 10 pints of various shapes, spears and slices. That makes a total of 15 pints thus far.
 I always add an extra bit of garlic and red pepper flakes.
We have been picking blueberries every evening and they too have provided us with a large crop. We have eaten blueberry parfaits every day for several weeks. Divine. But I must tuck a few in the freezer..

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The last of the garlic came out of the ground, along with the onions. The soil was so dry they all had to be dug by hand with a shovel. Tomorrow we will go in and till those rows for late summer crowder peas.
Doug finally finished the fields and got the Millet seed spread. It wasn't long after he finished an early afternoon thunderstorm rolled through. Certainly a welcome sight to settle the fields and get the seed going.
I planted a new round of kale, spinach and lettuce in the cold frame beds. While planting I discovered this:
Hmmm...where are you evil horn worm? I find him and his whole family! Thank goodness or the tomatoes would have been gone tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Today I cleaned up the garlic that was pulled on Sunday. The late varieties are still in the ground but should be ready in another week or so. Also harvested some of the onions. The rest I'll do when the garlic comes out. A pretty nice harvest considering last year we got none as it all rotted in the ground.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Doug did get the corn in yesterday. I did not get the green beans in until this afternoon. I was in the garden dripping with sweat when he came in and drove straight to the barn to begin working up the fields again. He stopped and asked what was for supper. Don't know was my answer. He looked at his watch. I have 2 hours don't I? Yes, but I didn't want you to forget. FORGET!? I resisted the childish urge to stick out my tongue. We have been married 23 years. I have never FORGOTTEN to fix supper. Opted out on occasion but never forgotten. Men..
Supper turned out to be a tasty concoction of zucchini stuffed with lots of fresh veggies from the garden, covered with homemade spaghetti sauce from the pantry and smothered with mozzarella cheese. A side of slaw with the cabbages harvested this weekend completed the meal.
After supper I ran the green beans, that were also picked over the weekend, through the frencher and got them canned.
And the good news is that if I forget to cook supper tomorrow night we have plenty of leftovers!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Amish Friendship Cakes

A couple of weeks ago I was looking for something in the freezer and ran across several frozen Amish friendship bread starters. Hmmm... not sure how long they gave been there and how they got missed when I did my inventory but I am guessing a couple of years. I pulled one out just to see what would happen and within 24 hours it had come to life. So I began to the ritual of feeding and smooshing the bag. These are the second round of cakes I have made. One is chocolate chip and the other blueberry made with fresh berries we picked this week.

Anyone need a starter?

Saturday, June 21, 2014

More Garden Bounty

I was supposed to work today but my boss got in last night and I did not have to go in. Yeah! Today will definitely be a catch up day.

Luke is in for the weekend so he helped his dad do all of the mowing chores. I headed to the lower garden where the fillet beans were waiting to be picked. They were loaded. It took two hours just to pick the row and it was not even a full row. Prolific little buggers, those beans! Over a bushel! I am not a fan of frozen green beans but plan to freeze a few to see how they taste when steamed or sauteed.
I also harvested about a dozen heads of cabbage, cutting just the buggiest to salvage what I could. The rest look ok and there are still at least that many more to pick. I can't wait to make some sauerkraut.
In the upper garden, tomatoes were tied up once again and huge amounts of squash, cucumbers and banana peppers were picked. The green beans in that garden are done. I picked was was left on the vines. Most were quite large and beginning to get a bit buggy but still about a bushel of those as well. They will become "french style".

Luke started plowing the lower pasture to get it ready to plant millet later this week. We are late getting it in but hope that we will still get some grazing from it. Doug plowed the green beans, snow peas and the corn that didn't germinate up. Tomorrow we will replant the corn and put in some late beans, squash and crowder peas.
The blueberries are starting to ripen. About every other day we are getting about 1/2 gallon. So tonight I mixed up the soaked oatmeal pancakes and in the morning we will enjoy them with fresh berries and maple syrup.

We have already harvested more from our garden this year that the whole summer last year. Last year was a very bad year and so I am trying to replenish the freezers and pantry that have become almost barren.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Mom got back in town last night and with her help we finished canning the green beans picked over the weekend. A total of 20 quarts canned with a couple of large pots cooked and consumed. We will share these.
And now, I am off to work again!

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Freezer Full Of Fowl

I usually take a little extra time on Mondays to collect my thoughts and plan my week. Not so today as I had a long list to complete. The first, of course, was to get the chickens butchered on Saturday packaged and frozen. Today I would be doing this solo since Mom was still at the beach. After a quick cup of coffee, I got started, stopping only once to have a quick farm tour at 1. I finally finished around 3 and spent the next 30 minutes scouring the kitchen because next on the list was to can green beans.
I still had chores to do, supper to cook, Jill and Mom's to tend so it was late in the day before I got started.
Only 7 quarts today and those came of the stove at 10:15 p.m. I have a couple of hours on Wednesday in between shifts at the store so my plan is to finish then.
Very exciting to see the freezers and pantry beginning to fill once more!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Let The Harvest Begin

I had hoped Doug would take this Father's Day to do something fun for himself. He worked on the new hay baler. I crossed my eyes but he assured me that was fun. Okay.
The garden was over flowing with lots of fresh veggies and I spent several hours picking the bounty. About 1 1/2 bushels of green beans, lots of squash and cucumbers were harvested. I pulled a few heads of garlic and picked a few more tomatoes.
I am somehow going to have to get things preserved next week. Not an easy task as my boss is going on a mission trip and I have the store for the week!
Next on the list was to check the bees for mites. We opted for a greased sheet put in the hive for 24 hours and we check mite count tomorrow. The hives look good and strong. Lots of brood and lots of bees!!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Today was butchering day. We started early and by 1:00 had 33 broilers and 6 old roosters ready for the freezer. We decided that the roosters, because of their age, were almost more trouble than they were worth! Very tough to butcher and clean so maybe the last few will make their way to the local auction...
After cleaning up and putting all the equipment away we grabbed a late lunch and started mowing grass. It takes one person close to 6 hours to do all the mowing and trimming so we usually try to tag team that chore.
Unfortunately the day was about over by the time we finished.
Sis and Mom are both out of town so I headed next door to tend Mom's goats and check Jill's garden. Back home we cleaned the sheep's wound, finished the last of our critter chores and took a late evening walk around the farm. We discovered the green beans are hanging full and will need to be picked tomorrow and the garden needs to be cultivated. Looks like a garden day on the horizon.    

Friday, June 13, 2014

Update On The Snake Bit Sheep

We are going into week three. After finding the second bite on her face I was surprised that she was doing as well as she was. I have been scrubbing the wounds daily and believe me they are pretty nasty. The first one is almost healed. Wednesday night I went to clean and saw most of the hair on her belly was gone and the stench was incredible. Another bite! I cleaned as best I could and again yesterday because I had to work. I called the vet and he was due to arrive at 9 a.m. this morn. Last night at 8 he called and wanted to know if he could be here this morning at 6 a.m. (Seems he was going on vacation) That suited me just fine. At first glance he thought she looked pretty good but after probing the belly wound, discovered it is very infected. Her face looks good and he was pleased with the progress there. The belly wound will require flushing with a long tube. Ugh. Another 10 days of antibiotics along with a secondary one given 4 days apart. He seems to think she probably laid down on it and it bite her. In trying to get away another two strikes to the face. He says she is not out of the woods yet and we should only be cautiously optimistic.So,we continue to treat her and hope for the best.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Cleaning Out The Greenhouse

The greenhouse had to be cleaned out since my sister is leaving to go on vacation. Hard to believe when she gets back it will be almost time to start fall crops!!
Our late summer tomato crop was planted in our garden close to the house, 30 more. She tucked  in all the straggler plants that were left. Those were the ones that were small or kind of sad looking the first planting. Miscellaneous eggplant, peppers and marigolds planted here and there. Between the asparagus beds she planted bush spaghetti squash seeds. At the end of the beds several more peppers. I planted a few summer lettuces in the cold frames. The greenhouse is empty and waiting for fall.
I picked another large batch of snow peas,  several little pickling cucumbers and discovered an almost ripe tomato.

Oh happy day!! These plants were started in January and we continued to pot them up until warm enough to go outside.
We has just finished early chores when a heavy rain shower started. Over the next few hours we got about an inch. Though we needed the rain, I was not thrilled about being run indoors during the middle of the day. It did, however, make me get most of the lambs listed on the sales page and catch up on some paperwork. A chore long overdue! Late afternoon the rain stopped and the sun appeared once again. I was able to get some more pictures taken and posted, finishing up right about supper time.
You can see more pics and info on the sheep blog.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

It was a very long day here on the homestead. It started at 5 a.m. when I got up to get the sourdough bread in pans.
After dropping bread and cleaning the kitchen I went to help Doug. He is building an addition on the equipment barn and had to clear for a new driveway to it. We hauled several loads of branches and downed limbs from the area.
Next on the list was to fill the new asparagus beds. My sister and mom had started the crowns several weeks ago from the great find at Lowe's and they were ready to be put out. The old fence line was torn out last weekend and Jill's hubby tilled around the beds. Doug filled them with good topsoil. We mulched heavily around them and tomorrow plan to put more veggies in between. 72 crowns were planted!
We grabbed a quick bite of lunch and were off the fix the fence line that had washed away several months ago. The pasture was full of good grazing and the dairy goats needed to be moved there. The gully was so deep the fence was suspended three feet in the air. We took down the old fence and while Doug was filling the hole with dirt I fed and tended critters. A good friend stopped in to help with the sheep that was bitten by the copperhead. While cleaning her up last night I discovered a second bite and though Doug tried to be patient he had gotten really weary of holding her. We worked on her and got the areas really good and clean. She had done remarkably well and to be honest, as badly as she was bitten, I am surprised she survived. She has been a trooper though and is going to be fine.
After she left I did a few yard chores and watered plants. Once the gully was filled and tamped well, we stretched the fence back. All of the fence line is getting old and will have to be replaced soon but for now it is safe again from predators. The goats were in heaven!
We called it a day at 6:30, tired but thankful for the farm and the ability to take care of it.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Feeling A Bit Abused

Today I had a good friend that was going to help with tagging lambs, getting pics and moving them to another pasture. Unfortunately she had a family emergency and couldn't make it. I pondered a bit because I knew tagging alone was out of the question and if moved, the lambs would be much harder to catch. Doug said to move them since the pasture they were on was getting sparse and we would build a temporary holding pen to tag them in the next couple of weeks. (Can you see me rolling my eyes? Ok, yeah. Let's add the to the ever growing to-do list.  )
Before moving to the new pasture they needed to be checked and probably dewormed. After delivering bread, I gathered all necessary equipment and headed to the barn around 11. For some reason the sheep were most uncooperative today. None of them wanted to be handled at all and what should have been a relatively easy chore turned into a three hour battle. I could say I won because they were all checked, wormed as needed and administered vitamins. However, one look at more poor bruised and battered body and that would probably be debatable. Arms and legs are covered with pretty purple spots and a lovely large one on my fanny from being tossed into a gate latch from a big bully of a ewe charging between my legs to escape. She was the only one I threatened to kill....
In the end they were all checked out and we made the trek to the new pasture. I decided to do something a bit less hard on my body and headed to the garden to pick more snow peas!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A nice pile of snow peas were picked to day. They have been struggling with the heat, so I think we won't get many more unless it cools a bit but I'll take it. I can't wait to steam these little babies up, toss them with butter and garlic salt and devour!
The first cucumber was picked today as well. The vines are loaded with little cukes and tons of blooms. Looks like we will be overrun with them shortly so I will be making pickles in the near future I am sure.
Lots of little squash are forming and the green beans are blooming.
The black eyed peas, okra and green beans planted 10 days ago have popped out of the ground. Things are starting to look really good. We are really hoping for a good garden year. Last year with all of the heavy rains and hot temps the garden made very little to preserve. The pantry is quite bare and needs a good restocking.