Monday, July 28, 2014

28 July 2014 - Farm Report

Wow, it's been a long while since I posted anything.  So, lets get to the news... We've added an animal to our farm. "Pippin Tom" is our Thanksgiving Turkey. He's a handsome white boy. I've been getting a few cucumbers from the garden (and, yes, it's about the only thing we are getting.) That means I've made sweet pickles.  I've also made pineapple sauce that is amazingly yummy. Surprised myself with it. Then I made cherry sauce. I'm looking forward to making a jelly roll with the cherry. Took off to visit my mom and brothers for a day. I love my family even when they are turds. We turned down the goat but are investigating a different breed. It's been busy and it's great!

I'll try not to go so long in posting again.  Pray for me!  

Friday, June 20, 2014

Potato Beetles, Residual Herbicide, and Blister Beetles

It's a 1-2-3 punch for this year's potato plants.  My poor potatoes.  They looked so beautiful when they first came up.  Then they seemed to be struggling.  They had curled leaves and were generally scraggly plants.  Then the Colorado Potato Beetle arrived.  The CPB laid eggs which hatched into pink slugs that tried to eat all the curled leaves.

I knew the curled leaves were not caused by the potato beetle so I did some searching and found that the curled leaves could be from a lack of water on the plants.  Well, okay.  But - we'd had plenty of rain and I'd watered when the rains didn't come.  So, it had to be something else.  It wasn't just affecting my potatoes though.  The tomatoes and the lamb's quarter weeds were also affected.  However, the corn seemed to be thriving.  More research.

And then I found the pictures that looked like my plants.  Herbicide damage.  I don't use herbicide in my garden because that's just folly.  But, the hay mingled with the composting sheep manure that we cleaned out of that barn had been treated with some kind of broad-leaf plant killer.

Now the blister beetles have arrived in the garden for this year.  The striped blister beetle usually arrives in a swarm, descends upon an unsuspecting plant (or twelve), and reeks total havoc.  They can strip a plant in less than 24 hours when it's a healthy plant.

My poor potatoes.
Purple Majesty Potatoes - early sprout

Red Pontiac Potatoes - looking good

herbicide damage

adult Colorado Potato Beetle

Colorado Potato Beetle Larva
Striped Blister Beetle

Purple Majesty Potatoes - now

Thursday, June 19, 2014

19 Jun 2014 - Farm Report

Got up early to go blackberry picking today but noticed the red sky just as dawn was breaking and decided to check the radar.  Yup, rain coming in.  Okay, so now what do I do?  It's sometimes very tough to change gears after having a plan for the day.

The animals are all fine.  The coos came for cubes.  The flies are still heavy.  Anyone know where to get dung beetles?  I've been seeing information on how dung beetles are good for a pasture - as long as you don't kill them off with wormer for your cattle.  Ugh.  We have moved so very far away from knowing how our micro-ecosystems work.  The dung beetles move the cow patties into the ground reducing the availability of crap the flies tend to breed in.  So dung beetles work as fly control.  Love it!  They also work as poop-er scoopers.  Tee hee.

Sunny and the baby chicks are doing great.  The babies and their feathers are so cute!  I just love how they are feathering out.  I may decide that the sussex/orpington cross is my favorite color.  I'll keep you posted on the temperament of the chicks.

It's a beautiful day, y'all!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

21 May 2014 - Faith's Cold Tea

I go through about a half gallon of tea each day by myself.  This is better than the Pepsi I used to drink 2 liters of each day.  Maybe by the time I'm grown up, I'll get around to drinking more water than anything else.  Maybe.

I thought I had the best recipe for cold tea.  I'd bring some water to a boil, add the tea bags, let it steep for 5 minutes, add my sweetener, and then pour it over ice or set it in the fridge to get cold.  This method requires my complete attention until it is in the fridge.  I tend to be one of those people that starts half a dozen projects and randomly works on them through out the day.  I might jump from one thing to another without finishing the first.  So this method doesn't fit my modus operandi.

So, now I have a new recipe for cold tea...
Ready to begin...

What you need:

  • half gallon jar/jug/pitcher (preferably with lid)
  • water
  • regular tea bags (two quart sized ones or eight cup sized ones)
  • herbal tea bags (two cup sized ones - peach, lemon, raspberry or other desired flavor)
  • sweetener (I use 3 tablespoons of sugar)

Fill the half gallon jar with water leaving about 2 inches of space at the top.  Place all the tea bags in the jar.  Catch the strings in the lid and cover.  Set on the counter and let steep while you work on something else.  After a couple of hours (or overnight because you forgot about it), remove the tea bags, add your sweetener and finish filling with water or ice.  Then place in the fridge to chill. 

Enjoying tea in my "redneck" glass.
I have two jars going at a time.  Right now I'm finishing up a lemon tea jar and have a raspberry tea waiting in the fridge.  I'm doing mint tea this time.  :-)  We think tea tastes best when enjoyed in a mason jar.

What's your favorite tea?  Do you have an old family recipe that you've used for generations?  Or, are you one of those hot tea drinkers?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

14 May 2014 - Beautiful Sky

Part of this morning was spent working on the vineyard.  We have eight grape vines planted, mulched and watered.  Plus, there is one that might not survive so it has been granted a private space.  This is one of our farm projects.

I stopped to see how things were coming with the vineyard and realized that it was a BEAUTIFUL day.  Yes, the wind is blowing but the clouds are lovely and there's a nice warmth in the air.  After finishing up the work on the grapes, I grabbed the camera and went picture hunting.

Blaire munched contentedly on the sweet new grass.  Oh, how I would love to be getting fresh milk from her with wonderful cream to make beautiful butter.  Maybe next year.  That's another farm project.  :-)

Check out our Facebook page for a few additional pictures of this lovely day.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

13 May 2014 - Eggs already?

Two of the Chicklets.  Still so small.
Maroochy has been pacing the fence of the pen for a couple of days.  I mentioned to MM that I think she's ready to go back with the other ladies.  But, I needed her to teach the Chicklets how to roost.  So, this evening as I assisted them all to the roost (which went wonderfully), I found two eggs. :)  She's laying again.  Apparently, she's been pacing because she wanted to get to a nest box.  I'll provide her one tomorrow and leave her with the Chicklets for a few more days.  They are just four weeks old so I'm not quite ready to separate them.

Monday, May 12, 2014

12 May 2014 - Farm Report

Overcast and damp on the farm this morning.  Oh, how we need the rain!  Praying that there is no bad storms coming with this.  I was able to transplant 46 sweet potato plants on Saturday.  Along with that I put in 2 beds of onion sets and 1 bed of garlic.  MM and assistants were able to get the fence posts in place for the bull pasture.  I'm feeling a little worn out today.  Taking it easy and spending a bit of time with the pretty kitty.

Friday, May 9, 2014

09 May 2014 - Farm Report

Good mornin', y'all.  It's kinda cool this fine morning on the farm.  Maroochy and the Chicklets are getting along real nice.  I turned at one point yesterday and caught one of the Chicklets hitching a ride on mama's back.  :)  Even if I'd had a camera, I wouldn't have been quick enough to catch the shot.  Sorry.  In addition, I found that the blueberry bush MM had weed whacked last year has new growth on it!  Whoot!  I'm so glad that the Lord takes care of things.  The blackberries have been blooming and there are several new shoots all around.  I managed to square off the area for the second round of potatoes, the onions, and the sweet potatoes yesterday.  It'll take a few days to get them in the ground tho.  There's much to do and  I'm off to do a little...  Happy Friday!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

06 May 2014 - Grape Vine!

Much to my surprise and joy, one of the grape vines we planted last year has survived and has leafed out!  Whoo!!  I had resigned myself to having lost them all after the late freeze.  Finding that one vine helped motivate me while working on getting the vineyard cleared and prepped for new vines.  :-)  We were all out watering, mowing, mulching, clearing or something this morning.  MM and I spent a few minutes trying to determine where our Arbor Day trees would end up going.  We've found a place for four of them - only five more to go!

Monday, May 5, 2014

05 May 2014 - Farm Report

Maroochy and the Chicklets have adjusted to their new digs.  I found a purple iris that had bloomed even though Sweet Pea had chewed on it.  I also found where she has been sleeping in my flower bed.  :(  Thankfully, Bear let us know about our first copperhead of the season.  MM and DJ dispatched of it pretty quickly.  Fire danger is very high around here.  Yesterday's high temperature was 95 degrees.  We are expecting to hit 100 today.  It's very windy so we are being vigilant.  Y'all take care, 'k.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Maroochy and the Chicklets

Looky here, looky here...

Right here is something good.  :)

See that, it's yummy! 
Maroochy and the Chicklets have moved to a new location.  They are now where they can explore the grass, find some dirt to bathe in, and learn more about how to survive.  Mama is doing a good job of teaching them about the yummy things to eat.  (I'm helping by putting treats in with their food.)  They are so fun to watch.  Maroochy makes some interesting sounds when she's talking with the Chicklets.  The Chicklets are now two weeks old and are starting to feather in nicely.  Mama still keeps them warm when the wind blows a bit chilly and I put them back inside at night.  However, that will be ending soon as the weather warms up nicely.  It won't be long and they'll be roosting in the small house and then, suddenly it will be time for mama to wean them.  Amazing.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

01 May 2014 - Sober Wine

While at the used book store, I came across a book titled "Bible Wines or Laws of Fermentation and Wines of the Ancients".  It looked interesting so I brought it home and have begun to read it.  The original thesis was written prior to 1871 and has some amazing information in it.
I am now wanting to try to make "Sober" wine.  And, just to be clear here.... I WON"T be making an alcoholic drink.  Alcohol drinks are not spoken of in a positive manner in the Bible.  I'll have to find a source of local grapes for my adventure as I don't think these guys will be producing any grapes this year...

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

30 April 2014 - Farm Report

I'm back after a brief absence to marry off my daughter.  :)  Such a sweet wedding.  Ah.  ...   It's a bit cool on the farm this morning but still a nice day.  We've had a few small showers over the last week but we are so dry.  Maroochy and the chicklets are still in the nursery brooder.  All seem to be doing well.  The coos are grazing peacefully.  Boy will they get a surprise at the end of the month.  Tee hee.  Happy day, y'all!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

24 April 2014 - Farm Report

The hummingbirds are having such a difficult time at the feeder today.  The wind is blowing so hard that they aren't able to hover and the feeder is moving around.  Ever once in a bit, one is able to take advantage of the break in the wind and success!  Yesterday's storm didn't turn out to be much.  We had quite a bit of wind but only a trace of rain.  I'll be running around here like crazy for the next few days as the wedding countdown continues.  Love, from the farm!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

23 April 2014 - Farm Report

Watered the garden today. There's bad weather forecast for this evening tho. Started working on the fence but then ended up putting a cattle panel up makeshift. I need an additional set of hands to work on the fence so it will have to wait until MM can help. Still not quite sure how the big girl got out. Can't find tracks or downed wire that would indicate her path. Did find tracks up near the house tho. Apparently, she did a quite a bit off grazing around.  Thankful she stayed close. Ah, homesteading!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

22 April 2014 - Farm Report

Another lovely day on the farm. I am staying out of the garden (for the most part) this week as we prep for the wedding. I could spend way too much time working out there. Maroochy would really like to take the littles out but they are just so small still. I'm gonna make her wait until next week I think. Cats and dogs are being their usual selves. Greer decided to step over the fence today. She was grazing contentedly in the back yard as I went to put up the chickens. Uh, we have a cow out... It's amazing what a blue bucket with cattle cubes can do. She is back safely in the corral and we have a section of fence that will be worked on tomorrow! 

Monday, April 21, 2014

21 April 2014 - Farm Report

It's a lovely wet day on the farm today. I am thankful for the rain! Everyone is doing well. The dogs are holed up on the front porch. The coos are off grazing as it appears the rain doesn't bother them at all. The chickens also don't seem to care if they are wet. Maroochy and the babies are still safe and dry in the well house. Yesterday as I was cleaning their brooder quarters (Sweet Pea's kennel), I had temporarily moved them to a wire cage. Well, Sweet Pea got too close to the chicks and momma took out after her. Pecking and fluffed up with wings out - she was a sight. Sweet Pea was confused and had to get away. It's nice to know that we have a good momma hen. Oh, and MM saw our first hummingbird on Easter.  Lovin' it on the farm.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

19 April 2014 - Chickens

Here they are... Maroochy and "her" chicks. One spends a lot of time underneath her. She's taking such sweet care of them. It'll be interesting to see what they turn out to be. (Should be all girls.) Any guesses?

Friday, April 18, 2014

18 April 2014 - Chickens

Late yesterday evening, we took Maroochy's eggs and gave her three little fluffy butts. She accepted them and has been busy ever since keeping them warm, talking to them, and just generally showing them how to be good chickens. Sorry, y'all have to wait till tomorrow to get pics. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

17 April 2014 - Farm Report

It's overcast and gray on the farm this morning.  Fits my mood pretty good.  Unfortunately, none of the chicks have hatched and the one heard peeping is silent.  Maroochy, the mama hen, is still very protective of the eggs but I think I'm going to have to take them from her.  If the farm store has some day or two-day old chicks, I can probably get a few for her to raise and slip them to her tonight.  She's been a faithful setter.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

16 April 2014 - Farm Report

YES! We hear baby peeps this morning. Doesn't look like anyone has broken out of a shell and we can't see anything under momma's wings yet but we can hear the faint peeps. Yay! Can't wait to meet the new chickies. It's a windy day but I'm gonna get to planting because there's a chance of rain tomorrow. Have a good day, y'all!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

15 April 2014 - Farm Report

We survived the freeze and woke up to 26 degrees this morning. Some of the plants have been damaged. So much has still not sprouted (and probably wont) but I'm hoping things will still turn out well. Today is day 21 of Chick Hatch 2014. I have yet to hear anything. I'll keep checking off and on today. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

10 April 2014 - Farm Report

Today is our "average last frost date". I just dumped all my seeds in the garden.  Nah, I did put in a few more seeds but Easter hasn't arrived yet so I'm thinking there might be another cold snap sometime in the next 10 days or so. I'll wait till after Easter (and the wedding) to put out my transplants. I mowed the orchard today as one step in getting ready to fill in the spots where trees died and fill in some empty spots that just needed a tree. Oh, I have a white tulip! 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

14 Jan 2014 - Farm Report

It's a windy day on the farm!  The moo girls have had their morning cubes and were happily munching on hay when I left the corral.  The chickens are still working on scratching down the mountain of sheep poop.  Frosty is their rooster this week.  I've put the other two in "time-out".  I'm hoping that one of my hens will go broody here in the very near future so we can hatch out some chicks.  Firewood has been moved to the porch for easier access.  And the laundy has been started.  Whoo!  It's a glorious day.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2 Jan 2014 - Farm Report

We've finished the new stalls for the moo girls. Added the individual hay mangers today. So far they seem to be liking them just fine.  Our injured chicken was given some isolation time today to keep her out of the dirt and away from the roos. She wasn't overly happy with this arrangement as she is our chicken most prone to wandering. Poor little foot is going to take some time to heal. LGD Bear found himself a new bone today. It appears that he might have found where someone is dumping animal carcasses. Hmmmm... Cats are all snug and warm in the house. It's been cold and breezy here most of the day. Sun was shining but the temp stayed at freezing so it's been a slow day. We are now tucked in by the fire. Y'all have a good evening, 'k.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

1 Jan 2014 - Farm Report

The new year started off at 32 degrees on the farm. The chickens are working on the compost pile, the dogs are laying around, the cows are munching happily on hay. It's a beautiful day!

"WONDERING IF... " Anyone interested in having a pastured turkey for processing at Thanksgiving or other time in the year? We are considering raising turkeys this year. These would be heritage breed turkeys such as Bourbon Red or Blue Slate breeds. They are slightly smaller than the broad breasted production breeds but they are better suited for reproduction. Would you like one?