Monday, August 5, 2019

A Gift Of Tomatoes

A sweet friend asked if I would like a bushel of tomatoes. Absolutely! I spent the day processing most of them into salsa and dehydrating some Romas that were in the mix.
At the end of the day 28 pints of salsa and 2 quarts of dehydrated tomatoes were added to the pantry. This was a huge blessing since the drought has almost completely wiped ours out. We are still looking for some much needed rain so we can start getting the fall garden in.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Fall Seedlings

Sis has been really busy in the greenhouse getting our fall plants started. Today we transplanted all of the seeds she started a few weeks ago. She started several kinds of broccoli and cabbage. We transplanted all of those pretty plants in single cell packs to be planted outside in a few short weeks. Hard to believe it is that time already!
Sis, mom and I worked for quite some time and in the end we had 8 1/2 flats - that is 306 plants!
Hopefully Mother Nature will bless us with some cooler temperatures and much needed rain by the time these are ready to go in the ground. We have had only about 1/2 inch in the last 7 weeks. The storms seem to split and go north and south by just a few miles of us. It has been very discouraging and has pretty much fried the last of the summer gardens. So we shall look forward to Fall!

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Corn - Done & Frozen!

A very long day in the kitchen. Usually I have the help of family and we share (I'll still share) but today it was just me. I shucked and cut and cut and shucked until all of the corn was off the cob and in freezer bags. Whew! Our main crop this year was a non-GMO silver queen. It did exceptionally well and is super sweet.
Since it is not GMO corn, we are planning to leave most of the second ears for seed and see how they come back next year. Since silver queen is a hybrid, it may be a total flop. We won't know unless we give it a try. Some of my research suggests that it could work if the most vigorous plants are saved for seed over the next few years. Never hurts to try! That is if the critters don't eat it all before it dries!.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Time For Corn!

The corn is ready. There looks to be quite a large amount even with the lack of rain. This morning I headed up and started picking. 25 dozen ears later I was still not finished! I shucked enough to do a small trial run of canning it instead of freezing it.
Though the process was much easier and way less messy, the flavor was not good. It tasted way overcooked. So tomorrow I will begin the messy task of freezing the rest. 

Friday, July 26, 2019

Freeze Dried Food

We have been storing freeze dried food for some time for long term storage. The company I purchase from for the most part has a 25 (or longer) year shelf life. The other day I was making soup and realized I was out of carrots. I opened a can that had been hanging out on the shelf for quite a while. They were  perfect. I vacuumed sealed the rest and they can sit there another 10 years if needed. This prompted me to try a few more things... chicken salad and beef stew were just a couple. Now, that being said, would I want to live on freeze dried? No. However, I will definitely be adding more to our stores as it was good, quick and absolutely no waste. I plan to have a "freeze dried" meal a couple of times a month. When I do I'll share my recipes!

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Getting Creative With Cantaloupe

So far this week we have picked a dozen or so cantaloupe. I don't care for it and hubby is eating as fast as he can. I have given some away but we are still left with many. I decided to see if there were more options than just eating it. Well, my friends there are tons of ways! The most intriguing way was making bread with it. Hmmm..
It was absolutely divine! The topping was a praline type in this recipe. I thought it was a little heavy for it. The next time I think I'll drizzle with my butter rum sauce. Oh goodness let me head back to the kitchen!

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Today's Canning

Today's canning projects. More vegetable soup, pickles and a spicy putanesca sauce. It is super yummy. We had the leftovers tonight on pasta.

 I have to say is was a bit of trouble but I think I'll have to make one more batch!

Friday, July 19, 2019

Is She? Or Isn't she?

Miss Vinca is supposed to be due in September. I keep watching her hoping that is true. She has been on really good pasture so we hope she's not just fat! I so miss my cow milk since drying up Violet. The goat milk if fine but cow's milk makes to best clabber cheese...

Thursday, July 18, 2019

July So Far

And here we are in July! Wow time does not slow....
Hubby took the better part of the fourth week off. We worked like possessed homesteaders trying to catch up chores and projects. There is the never ending job of mowing. Even when we tag team it, it takes close to 3 hours. We spent the better part of one day cutting trees off fences and repairing them. Another day was spent taking down a four foot fence and erecting a 6 foot one at the end of our drive. One of our Malinois had decided since my son and daughter in law are back and living next door she should be the new welcoming party. Every day. The final straw was when she ventured to close to the road and was spotted by my parents. Of course this snowballed into a landscaping project .....  that tree is ugly, we should cut it down. Some grasses would look pretty planted here. Yeah and so it went.
We had a large harvest of veggies that week. We dug the first round of potatoes. Since it rained right after planting and many had rotted in the ground, we only got about 3 bushels. The late potatoes are looking much better.
We planted late squash, green beans, October beans and corn. Hubby wanted to try out his new 2 row corn planter. Boys and their toys. ;-))
Lots of basil was harvested. Many containers of pesto were made and put in the freezer for a burst of summertime in winter recipes.
And that is some of the happenings going on the homestead so far this month!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The Month Of June

The month of June was busy too! The garden really started producing. We picked lots of green beans, cucumbers, blackberries, blueberries and squash. My daughter in law made homemade baby food to stash in the freezer for new granddaughter.
I canned green beans, pickles and vegetable soup. Blackberry jelly was made and blueberries frozen. Close to 50 jars of home canned goodies have been tucked in the pantry so far.
Our other Suffolk ewe lambed. This time with a ewe lamb. We now have a small breeding flock of meat sheep. Four sheep for the price of two! What a blessing.

Monday, July 15, 2019

The Month Of May

May started out at an even pace but quickly picked up speed! The strawberries started to ripen. It was a daily battle as to who would get them first- me or the squirrels! Sadly the squirrels won more times than I did.
On Mother's day this crazy looking lamb was born to one of the Suffolk ewes we picked up earlier this year. After much discussion we found out that the person I bought her from has some Cheviot weathers in the pasture with her ewes. Well, apparently they were not weathered correctly and managed to produce a few lambs! It is a little ram lamb and we call him Donkey cause we think he looks like one! We have decided to keep him and use him as a breeding ram.
The sheep got a much needed haircut.
I started harvesting and drying herbs from the garden.
May was a stormy month and in addition to daily chores we had  lot of cleanup that took up serveral weekends.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

We're Still Here!

Life on the homestead has been extremely busy these days! New and unexpected lambs, the garden booming with produce and canning up a storm. Speaking of storms, we have had several nasty ones roll in and have spent lots of weekends cleaning up and cutting trees off fences. Lots of news to tell and I will be catching the blog up over the next few days.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

I can't believe it's been close to a month since my last post! It has been a busy few weeks here on the homestead. We have had several nasty storms blow through with damaging winds and torrential rains. A lot of time has been spent cleaning up the mess they have left behind.
We had a window last week and were able to drop some hay and get it baled before rain came again.
On the critter front the babies are growing like weeds, Violet is still giving almost 2 gallons of milk a day and we had a duck start setting on her nest.
Sadly something got in the pen, destroyed her beautiful nest and ate the eggs. Hopefully she will try again!
We have also gotten a good bit of the gardens in. The beans and cucumbers are up and the plants have settled in nicely.
Strawberries are beginning to ripen. We are picking daily. Jam is definitely in the near future.
One rainy day I poured 11 blocks of soap.
Lastly we have been dealing with the loss of a dear friend. My husband's best friend since the third grade was tragically killed in an accident on Easter Sunday. A brother to him, like a brother to me and an uncle to my children. It has been a hard loss to handle.
Life goes on...on the homestead.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Yeah... No Mulch

Oh boy. The heavens opened up today. We got about 1 1/4 inches. The only ones that were happy about that were the ducks!
On the up side a friend came to visit and she helped me line all my soap molds. It is a time consuming job. If they are already lined, I can get a wild hair and make soap on a whim.
Another wet day on the homestead!

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

The Start Of Spring Clean-up

Our farm intern arrived this morning and we tag teamed the first of the flower beds that needed cleaning out. It took about 3 hours but the final result was beautiful. I have a load of mulch slated to be delivered Friday, weather permitting. Another rainy weekend is in the forecast. ;-(

We also planted some more edible landscaping. Globe artichokes were put in pots and spaced throughout the flower beds. I am looking forward to see how this works.

Monday, April 8, 2019

I finally got all the soap sliced from last week. It turned out nicely. Even the grapefruit scented one is going to be ok. I wish the scent was a little stronger but you can definitely smell an essence of grapefruit.
I froze the homemade bacon Dad had cured for us. Some of it he had sliced so I froze it on wax paper and then dropped it in a freezer bag. The other piece was a big chunk. I will slice as needed or cut large pieces to cook with dried beans for seasoning.
This afternoon I was super happy with Miss Violet! Her milk production had dropped to a little less than a gallon but with the new Spring grass it has jumped back up to 1 3/4 gallons!

Sunday, April 7, 2019

A Quiet Sunday Morning

Hubs headed out early this morning to shoot in a skeet tournament. It was a cloudy foggy morning and I am nursing a pulled hamstring so I decided a morning of kitchen therapy was in order. I pondered what to fix for our weekly family supper tonight and decided meatloaf sounded good. The boys are usually big eaters so I laid out 3 pounds of meat for that. Then I hung another batch of clabbered milk for cheese. What I have left will get wiped out tonight for an appetizer.
I made a test batch of biscuits using clabber milk instead of buttermilk and found this to be a great success! Chalk another one up for being more self sufficient. No more store bought buttermilk!
I set another half gallon of milk to clabber.
I noticed yesterday I was running low on canned deer in the 8 ounce jelly jars and had laid out several packs to thaw. I got those jarred up and processed.
The chickens and ducks have been laying up a storm and I had quite a pile to wash and sort. I packed 6 dozen up to be sold. I hard boiled another dozen for egg salad later this week and made a bacon mushroom crustless quiche with yet another dozen! I used the bacon my dad had cured and smoked from our Kune Kune pork belly and home canned mushrooms from the pantry. So yummy...that was lunch.

Lastly I fed the sourdough. I'll be making bread for the week tomorrow night.
 A lovely productive quiet morning on the homestead!