Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Canning Hot Dog & Hamburger Chili

We had hamburgers this past weekend. My favorite way to eat one is a big sloppy burger with chili, slaw, onions and pickles. I usually make a large batch of chili and freeze in smaller containers. I pulled a container out of the freezer and starting heating it up. It was enchilada sauce. Oops! I plowed through the freezer. Sauce, sauce, sauce. No chili. MUST HAVE CHILI. Thankfully Dad came to the rescue and had some in his freezer. Since he and my mom live right next door it was a quick save and dinner was only 10 minutes late!
Today I made a double batch but decided to can it instead of freezing it. This way it won't be taking up much needed freezer space and the enchilada sauce will be safe. You can find the recipe on my Eating from the Homestead blog here.
Jelly jars are the perfect serving size. Pressure canning time is 75 minutes.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Sad Days

A battle hard fought by Percy's twin sister. One that couldn't be won. I tried to get her to eat at 4:30 this morning but she had given up. I made the difficult call to the vet this morning. Since it's only a large animal practice no one was in the office but they said someone would be close to my house and would swing by and put her to sleep for me. She left us before they got here.
With sad tears I buried here beside one of my flower gardens where 2 of my beloved bird dogs also rest. Hop on across that rainbow bridge little one. I will miss you.
Life on the homestead is sometimes very hard.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Booted To The Barn!

I walked into the laundry room this morning to find a goat escapee standing behind the door. When I opened it she dashed back to her box and hopped in. You are so busted little girl I said! It was a beautiful warm (and dry!) day, so decided after a week in the house they were ready to move to the barn and be real goats. ;-) Of course this means I have to walk to the barn every few hours to feed the little munchkins.
So Whisper (left) and Percy (right) have joined the rest of the goats and have already made fast friends with all the other kids.
Percy's twin will not be making the move. Unfortunately she has taken a turn for the worse this weekend. Sadly I most likely will have to have her put to sleep tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Finally! A Goat With Some Sense!

Today yet another doe kidded. I arrived at the barn to find these two handsome fellas dry and well fed.
Thank goodness!
I am cautiously optimistic about the little twins born Saturday. They seem to be gaining strength and have a good appetite. They have been moved to a bigger box but still remain in the laundry room. The spotted one seems to be having more issues than her brown sister. We will see.The Sunday baby is doing great.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Not Again!

I headed out again this morning on yet another nasty wet day for day two of dog training. The babies made it through the night and had a nice warm breakfast. Mom would feed at lunch and I would be home early today.
I got home around 2:30 and hubby met me in the drive. What are your plans he asked. I told him I had been wet and cold for 2 solid days and felt chilled to the bone. I wanted to get my chores done and sit in front of a fire until I thawed out. Not happening .....

I got to the barn to find another goat had kidded. She had 2 but apparently could only count to one. She was taking care of baby #1 but left baby #2 in a puddle of afterbirth wanting nothing to do with it. I got it dried off and got a heat lamp hung where I tucked both babies until I finished chores. After feeding and milking the cow I milked out first bad mama. Second bad mama only seemed to have enough milk for the baby she liked so I traipsed up the hill to Mom's to steal some from one of here girls.
I left baby #1 with mom and hauled baby #2 to the house. Now I have a basket full of babies in my laundry room!

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Off To A Rocky Start

I left early this morning in the cold pouring down rain for a bite work session with 2 of my dogs. Half way there hubby called and said he found baby goats in the back of the barn when he went to feed hay to the cows. I asked him to move them to a stall and told him I would have Mom check on them in a bit. I called her and she said she would be glad to. We broke for lunch around 1:30 and I checked in with hubby. He said Mom thought the goat had not let the babies nurse and she had been here most of the afternoon. I hung up and called her. She was beside herself. Mama goat refused to nurse the babies, they were cold, she couldn't get them warmed up. They were gonna die. I told here I was leaving and would be there in an hour just take them in and put them on a heating pad.

An hour later I arrived home and she was running a blow dryer on them. I grabbed a jar and went to the barn to milk out their mom. She was pretty nasty but we came to a meeting of the minds and I was able to get a pint of colostrum. Both babies were too weak to nurse so we syringed milk into them. After that I put them in a box on a heating pad by a roaring fire in the fireplace. Every few minutes I syringed a bit more colostrum in them and by 6:30 we had 2 warmed goats that were able to take milk some from a bottle.
Still pretty critical but a good sign.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Getting The Garden Ready

Today hubby went to work getting the garden ready for Spring planting. He moved the manure that had been composting for over a year to the garden.
Thankfully this was made much easier with the help of his bobcat! He piled it up in the garden and when done used the bobcat to spread it out.
Once that was done he hooked up the disk and turned it into the ground. A little damp but worked up pretty good. With rain coming in the next week it was a do now or who knows when it might get done.
My job was to open and close gates, wave my arms at wanna be escapees and rake the barn. Done!

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Meet The New Girls--Our Suffolk Sheep

Late yesterday evening we loaded up and headed to Walnut Cove, NC to pick up our new girls. I had put a deposit down on 2 Suffolk ewes a while back. My plan is to cross them with my Icelandic rams and see if I can get some faster growing lambs for meat.
                                                    Quince and Camellia
                                                   Not feeling photogenic today!

We left them on the trailer over night with hay and water. I wanted to put them in with a ram and see if they may possibly breed this late. Well that was a disaster of magnetic proportions. My over zealous young ram chased them to the point I became afraid something would happen to them. At one point one girl crashed into the fence stunning her severely. It took the better part of an hour of chasing rams away from the poor girls to get everyone separated again. I ended up putting my Icelandic ewes in the pasture with them to keep them company and help them settle in.
As of this afternoon all is well again in the sheep world.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Russian Pavlovskaya Chickens

A while back my brother in law decided he wanted some funky chickens. It just so happened a girl that purchased Kune Kune pigs from us raised all kind of poultry. She brought me several half grown pullets and I told her to bring him some of these crazy looking birds. We got them as chicks. It turned out a couple weren't the Pavlovskayas but he did end up with a pair. The Pavlovskaya is Russia's most ancient breed of chicken and they are pretty rare. His hen has stated laying and we hope to have chicks available this spring. She is setting right now but we aren't sure this batch will hatch.
We think they look like they have been to Mardi Gras!
 If interested in chicks contact us to reserve yours soon.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Playing In The Greenhouse

 Sis and Mom have been very busy in the greenhouse. They have already transplanted tomatoes,   spring broccoli and cabbage.
Today I got to join them and together we transplanted 3 flats of Chinese Red Celery and 4 flats of Purple Kohlrabi.
My brother in law built this nice set of grow lights. Sis uses these in addition to the ones in her basement to keep the tender seedlings warm until the weather levels out.
A very productive plant day!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Warmth and Sunshine

Yet another lovely day. I hop and pray that mother nature does not play this roller coaster game to much! The quince and crocus are popping out.
There is still a lot of winter left and it's hard to tell the blueberries that!

Monday, February 4, 2019

Spring Pruning

It was a glorious day here on the homestead! Almost 70*! Just what I needed to sooth my cold winter soul.
I hurriedly got the must do inside things done. A couple of loads of laundry and bill paying. (BLUCK)

Then I was out to feed the cows hay and let the chickens out to forage. I checked the small winter plot we had planted but was very disappointed. It had gone in way too late and the few turnips of eating size were bitter. Thank goodness for sis's winter garden. From hers we are still harvesting greens, cabbage and broccoli.
Today was grape vine pruning day. I absolutely hate to prune. I have written about this before. It almost physically hurts to cut the vines back. My head knows it's for the best... my heart says Ow Ow Ow. Last year the grapes set a ton of fruit. Sadly because of the rain and humidity they rotted in the vines.
The vines before


  A little moral support from Ziva and the rams!

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Icelandic Sheep For Sale

I am thinning my flock a little bit this year. One because I recently purchased 2 meat ewes to cross with my rams. Two to make more room for beef cattle and three I have so many fleeces waiting on me to process it's a bit overwhelming! I am keeping and retiring my old girls that are 9 and 10 years of age. I'm also keeping a few offspring of some of my favorites. If you are interested feel free to let me know! I am posting a few pics on the sheep page (link on the right). They are actually not very good since the girls scatter every time I pic up my camera.   

Friday, February 1, 2019

Busy Rearranging

I recently acquired this old pie safe from a neighbor. It was originally his grandmother's. My intent was to store some of my cast iron in it by it is a little too fragile for that. Instead I opted to store empty jars and onions, potatoes and garlic in the top. The bottom now holds all my herbs that I add to my soap.
Since the veggies used to live on top of the old wood cook stove we have that used to belong to my husband's great grandmother that made room for all my cast iron. What a pleasure to not have to plow through stacks of pans to find the one I need!