Eddie and I spent an hour in the apple orchard yesterday after lunch picking apples from one tree. They’re huge, sweet/tart, white fruit and beautiful.
Eddie and I peeled two buckets full this morning and I got 28 quarts of apples canned today.
Eddie and I spent an hour in the apple orchard yesterday after lunch picking apples from one tree. They’re huge, sweet/tart, white fruit and beautiful.
Eddie and I peeled two buckets full this morning and I got 28 quarts of apples canned today.
We have four arbors on the farm.
Definition of ARBOR: a shelter of vines or branches or of latticework covered with climbing shrubs or vines.
We don’t exactly have the latticework but have “different” styles that our grape vines grow on.
Last fall and early spring, hubby finished building a new arbor that gets sun all day and we have five different grapes growing on it. They are a red grape, white grape, and three Concords.
The other arbors all hold the same grape but we’re not sure what kind they are. They’ve been on the farm for years and still produce gobs of grapes that are about the size of a normal marble and sooooooo sweet! They make wonderful grape juice, jelly and wine.
We have two more on the farm that include one at the sugar house and another on the back porch of the mansion. This one was the only one that had a lot of grapes on it this year but they rotted from all the rain we had during the summer. Hopefully, next summer will be better since I’ve had so much to can this year anyway. I’ll get them all trimmed this winter after the sap goes back in the ground and we’ll get bigger and better in 2016! I’ll try some new mulching methods this winter and next spring and hope the varmints don’t eat the tender bark on the new ones. There’s not going to be a lot for rabbits, coons and deer to eat this winter and they take whatever they can find.
During our work this morning with Miracle we found out that Annabelle has pinkeye!! This will be our first issue this year and pray it’ll be our last. With a couple doughnuts and leftover biscuits we were able to get her up and treated her with LA-200 antibiotic. Now we wait and hope she get’s better, doesn’t spread it to the other cows and especially to her little bull calf!!
This little jewel is my 3rd orphan this year. She is the second born twin and she might weigh in at 25 pounds!!
She is just so precious and had a really rough and amazing beginning into our world. Her mother has had calves two seasons prior but never twins. We knew she was having problems for over a week before Miracle was born. She would go off to herself and was constantly twitching her tail. As I’ve said before we try to let Mother Nature take its course and try not to interfere with the births of our cattle. During the night on September 2nd, she was born after her twin and the long birth made her very weak and she did not have enough strength to get up to nurse. When we found her the next morning we were positive that she would not make it. Eddie took her huge brother to be disposed of and we left letting Mother Nature take it’s course. Two hours over when I went to check on her I thought she was dead and let mom have time with her until Eddie could return to take her away also. Four hours later we went to get her and Mom was off grazing, buzzards were settling in and I found her still alive but breathing hard. I ran off the buzzards and carried her to some shade. Mom had cleaned her up some but she was still not able to get up. I came back to the house, mixed up some electrolytes (energy drink) and fed her a couple times the rest of the day with Mom hovering and not happy about it. Still we didn’t expect her to make it but the next morning she was alive and Eddie thinks she may have nursed one time during the night but still so weak she couldn’t get up without help. The next day Eddie had to be away from the farm and I ran vultures from her all day and Mom had decided to join the rest of the herd. Anxious and knowing with a little help she would be okay so I loaded her up in the truck, brought her to the house, put bedding in the new “emergency calf barn” (that we never thought we would have to use) and bedded her down and gave her a pint of colostrum every three hours that day. By the next day she was able to get up on her own but was still very weak. This day I traded back forth between colostrum and electrolytes and by the end of the day I knew my prayers had been answered.
I kept her cleaned up and kept wiping her down with a light fly spray because the flies have been horrid on the cattle this summer and our neighboring farms are dealing with pinkeye and foot evil. Miracle had been through enough without this drama!!
Well today is a big test! We’re reintroduced her to her real mom. While out checking the cows yesterday, her mom was trying to take another cows new baby. This morning we brought her to her real mom and placed them in a small barn lot together. Mom wants her right off but Miracle can’t understand why that bottle looks so different! ;) They’ve been together in a very small corral for about
five hours and we’re moving them into another larger corral now. We’ll hold them together for at 48 hours and see how things go. I’m more afraid that we may have waited too long and mom’s milk may have dried up. So far, Miracle seems to be satisfied but 24 – 48 hours will tell the real story. I’m keeping her crib ready just in case and praying Mother Nature will be kind.
More updates to come in a couple days. Prayers please!
So far autumn has kept me very busy and very challenged. A few days after Cindy Squirrel came to live with us our dog Gyp presented me with another orphan. We had moved our coon dogs to a new location for the winter and in that location was a huge maple tree to provide the dogs shade. On their first night there Gyp caught a young coon and teased the other dogs with it and then hid it in her dog house. Eddie found the next day during feeding time when he noticed a lot of green flies in her box. He disposed of it and the later on that day the dogs started raising cane in the lot so Eddie went to investigate and Gyp presented him with another baby raccoon. Eddie brought to me to see if I could save it but didn’t know if Gyp might have broken some of its ribs or some other injuries. It was scared to death and it’s eyes were cloudy so I knew it couldn’t see very well.
I wrapped him in an old bath towel that I had given Eddie for working in the garage, fixed a warm bottle and tried to feed him. He didn’t want to cooperate at first because he was so scared but when I dropped a few drops of warm milk on his nose and it dripped in his mouth, he decided this might not be so bad after all. I’ve learned how to purr and make noises he makes so he’ll be more friendly and he loves being wrapped in a towel and held close to my chest. He’ll nurse on my arms and neck and on my daughters. We’ve all grown quite attached to him but know that when he’s old enough to fend for himself we’ll release him on the National Forest where he belongs.
He is now two weeks living with us and his name is Roscoe and he’s growing quite fast. He loves his bottle, catfood, bread and milk, and Oreo cookies. I’m finding more of the foods he would eat in the wild and keep a shallow pan of water in his cage to wash his food but he hates the water. He doesn’t mind when I bathe him but if he accidentally steps in that pan he does some squalling.
If you’ve been following my blog for very long you may remember a post of another orphan I had in April of 2013 and her name was Annabelle.
Well, Annabelle presented us with her first baby on September 8th with a huge black/white face bull calf.
I was worried to death about her the day he was born. She was in labor most of the day and we try not to help with birthing unless we see a problem. Well, by 8:00 p.m. that night she still hadn’t had him yet so Eddie and I went back to the house to get halter, ropes and pulling stick and headed back to the woods and it hadn’t already gotten dark. When we found her she had already had him and he was up nursing and very alert. Great job Annabelle on the your first calf!!! We’ve learned that if you let Mother Nature takes its course is usually better for all involved.
A few weeks back a friend of our came to the farm to cut some firewood. These trees are dead from the gypsy moth infestation we had about four or five years ago. Most all are hardwoods and beautiful oak timber at one time. Most are very large and we had hope to get some oak lumber from the stand. When this one big oak was sawed we hoped to get at least two or three 10 foot logs from them but when felled, we found out they were hollow. Eddie had gone out to help in the sawing to make sure the logs were cut to the lengths we needed but when it fell he found out it was hollow. While standing around talking Eddie heard familiar squealing which he knew was squirrels. On some investigation he found two baby gray squirrels in a busted up nest and mama squirrel had made her home but was now dead. Eddie put the babes in his hat and brought them home to the country girl to see what she could do for them.
For two days I fed and bathed these little darlings trying to keep them alive. About two hours after the first two arrived Mr. Tucker showed up with a third one which was a lot smaller he found crawling on the ground where he was splitting the wood and stepped on her. What a horrible trauma for three little orphans to endure.
Apparently the first two had some injuries that took their life within 36 hours. The runt however is very alive and well. We have named her Cindy and she is an absolute joy.
She is eating out of a babydoll bottle and her milk is evaporated milk. She was drinking about 1 tablespoon of lukewarm milk every four hours when we first adopted her. She had full body hair and her eyes were open but I could tell she didn’t have full vision yet. We’ve enjoyed so much watching her grow and the family has as well.
I started her living quarters in an old sewing basket with a couple soft, very thin wash cloths in it.
In about a week we couldn’t keep her in it and had to make other arrangements. I had a huge birdcage that I used when I several parakeets and it seemed the perfect home so I could keep track of this mischievous scamp.
I retired July 8th and the garden came in like a fast moving thunderstorm! For that entire month I was either in the kitchen canning, on the porch preparing to can or in the hayfield with hubby moving hay to the haylots. I want to share with you our season bounty in a photo roll.
We dug our potatoes on Thursday and picked up 21 five gallon buckets full and they’re beautiful again this year. The potato bin is more than half full and it’s a 6’x6’x6′ bin. We picked up about two gallon that were cut when plowed up and Friday I made a crockpot full of potato soup and a half gallon of potato salad.
This shelf section is full of green beans, canned potatoes and canned sausage. The second photo is tomatoes, barbecue sauce, spaghetti sauce and more potatoes. The third is full of jams, jellies, pickles, relish and maple syrup, and more.
We have three freezers of various sizes and one is full of fruit, one with vegetables and meat and the big freezer will be filled with meat as well. My family will be well fed this winter.
I’ m planning to visit little brother tomorrow and it made me think of my visit a week before last. They bowl on Mondays or Tuesdays depending on the availability of the lanes. They meaning the other Special Olympics residents in Covington. I decided to go watch him bowl without him knowing I was coming. I got there a little early and waited for the team from his residence to arrive and joined them as they were crossing the parking lot. His face lit up like a rainbow!! We went in and got they’re assigned lane and he and Kevin his roommate started changing their shoes and readied their bowling balls.
Once the other group arrived and his new girlfriend joined him with a big hug, bowling was history! ;)
The bowling lasted about an hour and then it was time to head back to Merryfield for showers, meds and winding down before bed.
It was fun watching him and that weekend at a dance given at the Covington Moose Club he was awarded a new Special Olympics metal for the area and his hard work bowling. THREE CHEERS EVERYONE!!!
Well it’s been two months of retirement and I stay so busy. Hubby and I have decided to try to make a point of taking a day trip alone at least once a month and I wanted to share our “1st Retirement Adventure” with you. I packed a lunch and we loaded up the cameras and took off for natures beauty that surrounds us that I either had not seen or it had been a long time. Our first trip was to Giles County and a little place called “Dismal Falls”. I hope these photos express my awe at the beautiful little spot in the woods that is hidden just off Route 100 and on a forestry road.
The following are views of the water leading to the falls, below the falls, and the falls. The water is as clear as glass and icy cold. Normally, this time of year there’s not a lot of water in the falls but because of the rains we’ve had all spring and summer they were beautiful. We plan to go back when the weather is cold and the water may be frozen. The falls are not really tall but they’re beautiful and a great outing for one day!!
After the visit to the falls we went up the forestry road and found a cool rest stop to have lunch of grilled chicken, cheese & crackers, and fresh fruit. From there we took off through another road of Giles County called Sugar Run which ran through some awesome forest land and we found this fine creature crossing the road but don’t seem to be able to find out what type of moth he will turn into. I’ve inserted a close up of him and one of him beside my husbands size 10 boot to give you an idea of how big it was.
We also saw these structures as we were about to leave Sugar Run.
Several deer, squirrels, a few turkeys and wild birds were seen but I got of picture of this one grazing along the road.
And we passed an exotic farm and saw these along the road.
It was such a fun and peaceful day spent together and not working until we were bone tired. This is why we decided to take an adventure at least once a month. I can’t wait to see what we do in September!!
Fall is here and so are the fall wildflowers. Here’s a few I took photos of just along the driveway from the house to the mailbox.
Once the weather cools a little and I can get out in the sun there will be an abundance of wildflower and nature photo ops.
Enjoy the summer as long as you can because that cold weather is just around the corner. How do I know?? My hummingbirds have left! :(
I cannot believe it has been two months since my retirement began! I’ve been so busy that I am rarely in front of my computer which is why I’ve not posted any new stories. This morning before I head out on the farm I’ll give you a pictorial view of my life since leaving public work and before I do let me just say that I am in heaven!!!
Laundry, cooking, cleaning and gardening just about every day. I’ve been off the farm less than 10 days in two months because I am in heaven!!
I helped Eddie move hay off the fields and we had over 725 bales rolled this year.
I have my kitchen back full time and cooking breakfast and dinner every day. Trying new recipes and perfecting old ones.
I’ve harvested all of my mammoth sunflowers which grew over eight feet tall.
I have three new orphans to care for now and there will be numerous stories to follow about them.
Fall calves are starting to arrive and this was one of the last ones. More stories about them later.
Sassy is really starting to show her age and becoming white on the muzzle. Cuddles is her best friend and aggravates her to no end.
This is “Miracle” orphan number three. More to come.
This is Roscoe and orphan number two. More later!
This is Cindy named after a friend of mine and she is orphan number one and a spoil rotten brat!! More to come!
I finally completed my bathroom re-do and it will be my next post.
I went to Covington to visit Dean and watch him bowl. He’s received another Special Olympics metal for his bowling.
Canning started my first day and I just finished last week. We’re digging potatoes today and the meat will come during deer season.
Have a blessed day while I celebrate at home on the farm!! What a blessing!!
In the past couple of months we have had some awesome storms that have dropped 1″-3″ of rain within an hour which is very unusual for the summer months in this part of Virginia. I think everyone is thankful for the rain except for the farmers which includes us. By this time we are normally finished with our first cutting of hay all over the farm but we’re only half finished. Looks like the rest of this week will be the same scenario.
The biggest problem we’ve had this year with the rain is not the hay season though!! About two weeks ago we had one of those major storms that dropped about 3″ of rain in about thirty minutes. Shortly after that storm we noticed our drinking water was cloudy but thought it would clear up.
The next morning it wasn’t cloudy, it was muddy brown/yellow.
This has continued and after talking with the gentleman that dug the well almost twelve years ago, he told us that the rainfall we have had in the last two months has opened up a seam in the well and it’s a common occurrence. He told us to run the water day and night until it clears up. He said as long as the well is full of water and pumping the well pump will be fine.
So, that’s what we are doing and our daughter is helping us carry container’s of water for drinking and cooking from her house. Since finding out about ours, we’ve heard that a couple other people in our area are going through the same thing.
This kind of hinders all the inside cleaning I wanted to do. It’s halted laundry! We can take a shower and feel clean but if I start turning muddy looking I sure hope someone will tell me! ;)
I’ve been working at Virginia Tech since April 2011 and last July moved to a different department on campus. I loved the job, especially loved the students and worked hard for my department.
I will be 62 in December and my workload and the stress have been getting worse over the last couple months. By the end of most days I would have a headache that seemed to build until I started home. And no matter what anyone says, you can’t leave at the office. I would dream about my job and work issues.
I used to love my job but on Tuesday of last week I decided I just can’t take this anymore! It’s just not worth it!! I worked all day and when I prepared to leave for the day, I decided then it would be my last day. I packed up my personal belongings, locked up the files and left my office and file keys in the desk with no intention of coming back.
I came home and talked to Eddie about my decision and he’s behind 100% and was surprised I stayed as long as I did. I feel like the weight of the world has been lifted off my shoulders!!
I drafted a resignation letter that night and attached it to an email to my supervisor and department head of the center where I worked. I copied my children and best friends on the note!!
I slept better that night than I had for several months and consider myself one of the luckiest women in the world.
I will have to find some odd jobs to help pay for the “dreaded” health insurance because ours will run out on the 31st of July and we can’t be without health insurance living on a farm.
The odd jobs I’m looking for will be light housekeeping (including washing windows, I love doing that) and home/office organization jobs. Organization seems to be my forte and I did housecleaning when my kids were growing up for extra cash.
WISH ME LUCK!!!!
First fruit of the year for us this year is raspberries and Eddie and I are picking about a pint of wild raspberries every other day. He picks them for me because I love them fresh, in preserves/jams, berry pies and in muffins. He just likes the fresh off the vine but can’t eat too many of them since his gall bladder was removed about five years ago.
Todays cup will add a total of two gallon to the freezer.
As soon as we pick them I they get washed, dried, and spread on a cookie sheet and I put them in the freezer. The next day I shake them loose and put them in a gallon freezer bag. When I freeze them loose like this, I don’t have to thaw the entire bag when I want to make muffins or pancakes, I pour out what I need and zip the bag and put them back in the freezer. If I want to make a batch of jam or a cobbler, I can use the whole bag or whatever my recipe calls for.
The season is just about over and the birds are eating them faster than we can pick them but what we have will not go to waste.
I’ve recently found two cleaners that I swear by! I don’t normally promote products because everyone has a different opinion and some don’t buy unless its environmentally friendly. I personally haven’t found any “environmentally friendly” product that really does the job of cleaning that I expect.
The first product I want to share with you is “OUT White Brite”. If you’ve followed my blog for very long you will remember that I hate my new washing machine which does not have an agitator, it’s environmentally friendly and does not clean the way my old machine did. I also tend to walk around inside and out with my white socks on all day when I’m home and I can’t get my socks snow-white anymore. I was looking on the internet a few weeks ago for a product I used with my children’s cloth diapers when they were babies and it was called “Miracle White”. I can’t find it anywhere and when I was at Wal-Mart about three weeks ago I looked again and couldn’t find it but I did find this product:
All it took was 1/4 cup of the powder. You fill your washer up with hot water before you add any clothes. Then you add the OUT and swish around in the water until it dissolves. Add your clothes and push them around until they’re soaked good. Let them set for 15-30 minutes, then set your washer to wash as normal. My socks came out white as snow! I was amazed! I need to stock up on the product because not all Wal-Mart’s carry it and I’m afraid it’ll disappear like the Miracle White did.
The next product I want to brag on is this wonderful wood floor cleaner:
This is another product that I found at Wal-Mart and decided to just see how it would do. My wood floors are beautiful in the living room but were losing their shine. I had tried a couple new products but nothing seemed to bring out the luster until I tried this. I mopped my floor, let them dry and then mopped on a light finish because I didn’t want it to look foggy. I waited and waited for the floors to dry and thought after 30 minutes this is taking too long because they looked as wet as they did when I mopped it on. I got down on my knees and the floor was dry as a bone and this is what they look like now after two weeks.
Aren’t they beautiful?!?!?!? Remember cheaper is NOT ALWAYS cheap quality.
Here’s a few more products I keep in my laundry room for cleaning and try to never be without.
Swiffer dusters with two different wands that make all corners and spaces accessible.
This is just my opinion and I’m not promoting these products for profit. I just darn well love them and always feel pride when my cleaning is finished and it looks so good!!
We’ve sold several really old cows the past three years and lost a few to the bad winters and their age. We’re down to about 50 cows and needed to restock to keep enough money for taxes, winter feed and other farm supplies. Eddie and Heather went to a sale and bought six cows that were due to calve within one month and as long as four months.
Fourteen replacements are a good start and we may have a few more heifers we keep from the big herd.
We questioned whether Prissy would make it at all and then at three week she really came out of her self and then George got sick. We noticed he was as playful and was having trouble getting up and walking. We were told by the vet that lots of times when they are born and don’t get their mother’s colostrum in their system they will develop an infection that gets in their joints and can kill them. Our vet, Dr. Wall, gave him a mega dose of an antibiotic and left us pills to dissolve in his milk for two weeks. Here we are two months later and he is doing so much better. Prissy outgrew him fast and is now about 75 pounds heavier and bossier than George but he’s coming on strong. They’ve both tripled their birth weight, eating grain and grazing just like the other calves on the farm. They still get a bottle every day instead of three bottles but that will come to an end when the bag of milk we have is gone. They love sweet feed and have started following our new cows and heifers around which is a great way to wean them. I’m not looking forward to sending them to market in the fall but know it’s coming. I’ll just make sure I’m not around when it happens.
In the spring I met a very precious new friend that works down the hall from my office and she’s from China and working on her PhD at Virginia Tech. She misses her family in China (husband, father and mother) very much and has her daughter with her. I love learning about her country and lifestyle and she mine. I recently invited Janet, her daughter and some of her close friends over to the farm. It was such a treat to share our life with them and be able to actually show her things we do on the farm. The following is a picture album of our day.
Janet and her daughter plan to come back with their friends to a weekend campout at the pond one more time before they all return to China in late July and August.
I am so blessed to have friends all over the world. I’m hoping they enjoyed the trip as much as we did.
They also brought us a charm of peace which I will keep at my home’s entrance as long as it lasts.
Thank you all so much for your charm, lessons of life and friendship!! I’ll never forget you!
Sassy enjoyed our new friends too and the little girls couldn’t get enough of her.
My husband always asked me around Thanksgiving what I want for Christmas or he’ll ask our daughter to find out what I want for Christmas, my birthday, anniversary! He won’t forget but he hates figure out what to give me on his own. I think a lot of men are like this! It’s just too hard to listen or use their imagination or worse than that, they’re afraid we won’t like it. I love ALL gifts I receive, I promise, but especially if it’s handmade or took a little thought about what I’m about!!
I November 2014 I was asked the question once again. I was ready!!! I told him I wanted a new bookshelf beside my “spot” in the living room to replace the cheapy I bought from WalMart which was falling apart and I’d only had it about a year. Pressed wood sucks!!! Or, I would like for him to make me a new spice rack for my kitchen and I wanted them made from barnwood or any kind of lumber taken from the farm.
Well, I didn’t get them for Christmas but since then he has made them both and just in time for our anniversary which was in February! Both are made from boards lumbered from the farm. He did such a great job!! Here they are:
While he was working so hard on my wishes he also made our daughter a gift for her new house and made out of wormy chestnut sawed on the farm by her great uncle Holl.
He is so very clever and had no pattern to go by, just my explanation of what I wanted.
Now I have to decide what I want for 2015!!
This is another late post but better late than never!
My beautiful first-born has had a lot of exciting things happening to him in the last couple years.
Shawn was the little tiny thing born in 1973 at 6 pounds 4 ounces and the new love of my life in June 1973.
He grew up way too fast and we are so very, very proud of him. He took a new job in Christiansburg a couple of years ago after receiving his Bachelors Degree in Engineering. Soon after met the love of his life, Jennie Malone.
Recently got a very nice promotion, bought a new truck, bought a house AND got engaged.
Last month Jen’s mom and sister came for a visit with them and the newly engaged couple invited the family to a cookout at their new home and to meet Jen’s sister, Cynthia. We had met her mother, Barbara, last fall when she came to visit and they brought her to the farm. She and I hit it off right away and she’s a genuinely lovely person.
Eddie, myself, Heather and her husband, Joel met at the new house which they had put together after moving in within a month. I was really proud of all they had done and organized in such quick fashion. Eddie was very impressed with their new home and even more impressed that Shawn had a place all his own and not renting.
Anyway, back to the cookout, Shawn was the chef and I’m sad to say I didn’t get any pictures of that but what a spread they put out. He has become the “Grill Master” and all he needed was a chef’s hat!! We had chicken which had been marinated in a special sauce that Jen got from another chef (I believe), we had hotdogs, hamburgers and all the sides you could imagine and we pigged out. Everything was so good!!
Then came the homemade peach tart that Jen made that morning which was great. She loves making tarts. I had picked up a strawberry short-cake on the way to their home (horrible) and she had also made another strawberry dessert that I didn’t get the name of. Heather had made some of her divine deviled eggs and everything was delicious.
Shawn’s best friend joined us and a good time was had by all. There was lots of laughter, touring of the new home and relaxing on their huge deck on the back of the house. We ate until we couldn’t move and there goes the weight loss program I’ve been working on again!!
We’ve all been invited back and looking forward to it!
This site is about my life as a farmgirl, wife, mother and grandmother and the things I love to do. I've been married to the same man that I love for 40+ years. We have two beautiful adult children and one granddaughter. We pretty much live off of our farm by raising our food or hunting for it. My blog is a day to day walk-through of our life.
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