Monday, July 17, 2017

A Busy Summer!

This morning's harvest.
Though it's been several weeks since my last post it has not been for lack of happenings! It has been a busy chaotic summer (what else is new ;-)) Huge landscaping projects are being completed, animals and garden to be taken care of. So hang in there friends...updates coming!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Spring Hay Is Up

Today we finished the last of the hay. A total of 1498 bales were loaded into the barn and sheds. It was a good year. Doug has tweaked baling for the last few years. We had all the wagons in the field. Load one, drop, load the next. Ummm.. I vote a water cooler on the tractor. No breaks!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Adding To The Herd, New Goats

Mom and I went to pick up 2 new herd additions today.This handsome guy will be our new herd sire this Fall.

And this loudly colored young lady! She most likely will not be bred this year as we tend to wait until a year and a half or so. However she is quite a big girl so we shall see.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Bees, Hay and Mother's Day

Busy times here on the homestead. But first we made the rounds to visit our sweet Mamas and deliver small tokens of our appreciation for the ladies that have shown us love and support all of our lives. We are blessed to still have them with us and are thankful each day!

 Back home, at the top of my to do list was checking our new bee hives. We knew the queen was out but needed to make sure she was laying. Yes! Lots of beautiful brood.

More hay was mowed.

After all the chores were done, hubby cooked a wonderful dinner and I was the one that was blessed to have my boys and sweet daughter-in-law spend the evening with me. A great day!

Friday, May 12, 2017

We cultivated the garden today trying to beat yet another storm forecasted for tonight. As it was we finished up in a misty rain. Everything has settled in nicely and it was a pleasant surprise to find baby squash and cucumbers!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Chicken Drama

My intention was to get up early and make strawberry jam before I headed out for a haircut. Oh it got made but not this morning!

The chicken ordeal continues. Let me explain. So, we built a fortress for the crazy birds. Two reasons, one to keep them out of the garden and the other to keep them safe. We have a family of foxes and they have discovered the buffet over here. We have done well keeping them at bay but if I don't find and put up every single bird every single night you can bet they will. The last week has been relatively quiet until 3 days ago. The fox dug under the fence and snatched yet another hen. I filled in the hole and put stuff over it and the next night put the LGD in with the birds. Still not feeling 100% comfortable I decided last night to cover the doors to the houses with bales of hay and put the dog in. Well, I went in one way and blocked the holes. However, I had to leave through another gate since I couldn't cut back through the house. As I opened the gate dog bolted it. Enough said. He would be loose on the farm for the night because well, LGD's don't come when called. By now it was getting really late and I was thoroughly irritated and of course I completely forgot that the front of the hen house was wide open.  

1:30 a.m. Bad LGD stuck his big head in the doggy door of the garage and got every dog here stirred up. That would include the 3 dobermans I am boarding for a friend. I went out and put the cover in the door. 2 a.m. really bad LGD shoved the cover up and once again stirred the dog pot. I rummaged through the fridge, found some meat put on robe and slippers and lured him in a pasture. I stomped back to bed.

I got up early to move bales from the doorways and start jam. Ummm....yep chickens had made their way out of the front of the house. Almost every single bird was wandering the garden and orchard. I have spent the better part of the day rounding up birds.This afternoon after FINALLY getting the jam made I wandered down to catch a few more birds and gather eggs only to discover really, really bad LGD had helped himself to all the eggs he could reach. Shells were everywhere. Needless to say he has been relieved of his chicken guarding duties and now resides back in the goat pasture.

But my jam turned out pretty!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017


Strawberry season is here. We are picking several handfuls every couple of days here on the homestead but not enough yet to make jam. Yesterday a sweet friend left a beautiful basket of berries in my mailbox!
Tonight I washed and capped them and tomorrow morning will be making my first batch of jam of the season. It will be the first of many goodies tucked into the pantry. I am so excited to see the empty shelves of home canned goods start to fill again.

Monday, May 8, 2017

We cut hay Saturday and with the low humidity it was ready today. The first field yielded 618 bales.
Doug has certainly gotten our hay mowing and baling streamlined! This winter we added 2 more hay wagons, for a total of 3, which means we don't have to leave the field, unload and head back. All are loaded and then ferried back. The field today had 4 1/2 wagon loads.

Rain is in the forecast for the next few days but we are hoping to cut the rest of the fields this coming Saturday.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Getting Ready For Hay

I arrived home from dog training to find Luke and a helper busy working on hay equipment and servicing tractors.

 It's that time of year again. We are hoping to drop some fields on Saturday, including the beautiful red clover, If we can get that dry and baled it will make excellent hay for the pigs. This is an experiment, so we will see. The rest of the fields are a fescue mix for the sheep, goats and dare I say cows again? Maybe, just maybe.

P.S. We checked the bees...second queen is out. Hooray!!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Fighting Another Battle, Loosing The War

Well, most of the seeds in the garden have germinated and are looking very good. Except for the corn. Not one green sprig. None, Nada. That would be because all of the seed is gone. And that would be because...
Yep. Here we go again. You may recall last year I trapped 51 squirrels. We did manage to harvest a very small amount of corn after the third try. It is very frustrating to say the least. So, here is #7. We will replant as soon as the ground dries again. I think this time we may try covering with row cover until it germinates. This is NOT a fun game. Grr..

Sunday, April 30, 2017

A Busy Weekend

We spent the whole weekend outside, dragging in around dark. Grass is growing at a fast rate from all the rain and the weeds are even faster. Mowing and weed eating were top priorities. I have yet to finish cleaning out all of the flower beds from debris and leaves from the winter. Another must do. I got all but 2 finished and still have some pots to fill.

We checked the bees. One queen was out and the other was not. We are supposed to go back in on Tuesday,

We also finished transplanting all the the strawberries. Turned out to be a very nice long row and berries are starting to ripen. We got a nice rain shower on them afterwards so that should help them settle in.
Of course all this was done in between feeding,milking and lamb checks! Lots of long treks across the fields led to some exciting baby discoveries. Today 4 sets of twins! Sadly I lost one due to a bad presentation and by the time I found the mama he was dead. I had to finish helping her deliver.
As usual they weren't up for much in the way of pics but here are a few of the new cuties!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

More Lambs!

Lambs are appearing at a rapid rate! 3 sets of twins and a single in the last couple of days!

Bees, Once Again

We are once again adding bees to the homestead. I love them and have missed them since we lost our last hive. I now have a third generation bee keeper that is willing to offer his wisdom and experience so I am very hopeful things will go well and with any luck add more hives next year.

I picked them up yesterday afternoon late and we installed the packages in the misty rain. Today they are very busy. Hopefully releasing the queen and building out brood chambers!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Soap Unmolding

I am super excited on how pretty my soaps turned out! Its raining today and the house is dark so pictures here don't really do them justice.
This one is one of the few fragrance oils I still use called Russian tea. It is wildly popular and sells out every time. It colors itself this beautiful orange color.
This was a new color I tried. At trace I swirled some spirulina powder in it. Love this bright green!!
The orange turned out nicely as well. The turmeric and calendula added a nice color with specks of the ground flower throughout.
And lastly another favorite, my rosemary tea tree. I colored it with green clay. Makes a great facial cleansing soap. Though it looks gray it a mossy shade of green. I crossed posted this with our Facebook page since the colors show up much nicer on it.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Herbs All Dried

 The large pile of herbs harvested last weekend has dried and this is what I have.
and lemon thyme.
I will give them another day or so and then will jar them up and label.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A Rainy Wednesday

I awoke to a cool rainy spring morning. I enjoyed a little extra coffee and got busy making soap. My stores are out and so am I. A few hours later 8 blocks were poured and ready to cure.
I tried some new natural colorants this go round. One is swirled with spirulina powder. Another colored with green clay and lastly a bergamont orange colored with turmeric and ground calendula flowers! Can't wait for the un-molding.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Spring Garden

This afternoon was spent getting the big garden in. It is the first time that we have had a dry stretch and the ground was finally workable. Rain is in the forecast again this week so we had to get busy!
Earlier today I raided Sis's greenhouse and came home with a truckload of plants. Tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers and a variety of herbs were hauled home. Most of the herbs were tucked into the beds by the house. Extra basil was planted in the garden.
Hubby planted seeds while I stuck plants in the ground.
What did we plant?
Four varieties of green beans- one to can and 3 colors of filet beans. Green, purple and yellow. Some we will eat and some will be sold. 2 varieties of beets, yellow and red. 3 long rows of corn. Also carrots. Tomatoes! lots and lots of tomatoes. Better boy of course, my favorite for canning. Also Cherokee Purple, Aunt Ruby's Giant German green, Romas for dehydrating and 4 kinds of cherry tomatoes. Yellow squash, Zucchini and 3 kinds of cucumbers. Peppers- bells, banana, jalapeno, poblano and cayenne. That all done we started transplanting the strawberries and the rain came.
Good start to the garden season!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Harvesting Herbs

The herbs I planted last fall are definitely ready to harvest. I spent the better part of the morning trimming, washing and preparing to dry these pantry staples.
I harvested parsley, sage, lemon thyme and oregano today.
I washed all of the herbs. The oregano, parsley and thyme were laid on paper towels as is. I will strip the branches once dried, The sage I took the leaves off and laid them flat.
They will spend the next little while on the bar until completely dry and then I will jar them for later use.
Once that was done I headed back out to plant a few more edibles in the beds. My cool cactus went in front and center. I planted a lime basil and purple basil beside it. The lime basil has already been clipped to make a citrus vinaigrette to serve over fish. Delicious!! Also a spicy oregano that definitely has a kick to it went in next to the basils.

In the bed next to it I planted 2 horseradish plants. Between them I placed my bay tree. I keep it in the garage during the winter. It needs to be pruned very soon!
Sometime over the next couple of days I will be raiding the greenhouse to finish out the beds.

New Asparagus beds

The asparagus beds we planted a few years ago had to be moved to make room for more pasture for the pigs. I decided to relocate them in the orchard. Today the boys built some new ones and filled them with dirt.
This coming week I will be transplanting them. Not an optimum time but has to be done since the pigs are already helping!