This site is about my life as a farmgirl, wife, mother and grandmother. We have a beautiful 22 year old granddaughter and and the cutest 3 year old grandson. We own two farms in Craig County Virginia, leasing one and raising beef cattle on the other.
I want to send out my warmest wishes to all the mother’s out there including my Mom in heaven and my beautiful daughter who thankfully lives next door. More about my daughter and son at a later time. This will be a photo journey with my Mom.
I put my hummingbird feeders out every year on April 15th and I’m so excited because my first little feathered friend showed up at the feeder about 30 minutes ago. My daughter thinks I need to crochet him a jacket so he doesn’t freeze tonight!! NOT!! Feathers work better!! 🙂
The formula for the syrup is four parts water to one part sugar! NO DYES!! They’ll love you for it during this migration and when those little feathered friends come to stay for summer I’ll have lots of red, pink and orange blossoms for them!! They also love my moonflowers and blue balloon flowers.
Here’s a few of photos of past hummingbird visits:
As I’ve told you in the past the orchards we have on the farm are old and not huge and we lose a couple of these old treasures every year due to wind or other weather events.
Last year we decided to start a small apple orchard in new ground and these will be dwarf trees. The root stock is in the ground and we made sure the best that we could that they make it through the winter and spring before we graft our favorite apples to the stock. We’re hoping to graft some Wolf River which is a large apple and we’ll have to watch the fruit for getting too large for the dwarf root stock. Transparents is also a great fruit for applesauce and we use a lot of that.
The other fruit trees that we’ve started in the past two years as young trees are doing well. They include red plum, peaches, cherries, pears and some apple trees hubby grafted two years ago. If Mother Nature will ever cooperate and our climate settles down we’ll have more fruit than we can put up. We add two more peach trees to the stock but planted them in the top end of the old orchard hoping the frost won’t be as prevalent up there. We planted two cherries in that same location last year and they have done well, leaving us with lots of bloom at the moment. Temps are suppose to be low this weekend and so many trees are full of bloom.
With yet another weird spring we managed to collect about 80 gallons of sugar maple sap in 2021. It was cold and blustery but hubby tapped those trees anyway and cooked off the syrup on our propane turkey fryer in the garage. A small tank of gas boiled down about 10 gallon of sap in about 5-6 hours which gives us about a quart of maple syrup in each run. The syrup was cooked down in the garage, moved to my kitchen to strain three times and cook down to desired thickness. We thought it was probably the thickest we’ve ever made. Trying to farm and cook off syrup at the same time became a little harried at times and two pots became scorched near the end and had to be thrown out!! But in all it was a quick process and we processed 15 pints and half pints this year. The end product was worth it and those plates of French toast were delicious.
Eddie fileted them on Sunday morning and I like to soak them in ice water for at least 48 hours to get rid of the blood. They were all snow white this morning when I sliced them into good cubes and froze them.
Does anyone out there have a favorite recipe for fish that you would like to share with me? When I’m ready to cook them I take them out of the freezer and soak them several hours in salted water. Then I get my deep fryer heating and make a smooth batter of seasoned flour, paprika, eggs, milk and old bay seasoning. I dip the cubes in a separate bowl of seasoned flour, then into the batter and then into the fryer until they’re golden brown. It’s some really good eating!!!
They come into your life as young children and grow with you. They live in your hometown. They live in your state of residence, close by or hours away. They live in New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland, Colorado and Georgia. They live in Canada or Australia. They’re there to make you smile or you make them smile. They’re always a phone call or message away but you don’t have to talk to them everyday. You would let them move in with you in a heartbeat or I could show up on their doorstep and know I was welcome any time day or night!! You learn from each other and teach each other. Every second, minute, hour or day together is immeasurable in my heart! You can talk to them about anything and everything. You share anything and everything! They’re not your family, they’re your friend, mate, alter-ego, confidante, soulmate, pal, buddy, ally, chum, cohort, hobnobber, partner, comedian, peer, accomplice, collaborator, supporter, sympathizer. They are the people you don’t ever want to leave you and I would be so sad if they were not here as my support system. I have a wonderful family support system but my treasured friends are all knowing and understanding! You know who you are and I love you all dearly!!
A very, very special friend of mine went to Ikenberry’s last week and ordered a box of these spring greens that we absolutely love!! She started cleaning them and decided to give me a call to see if I wanted some of them. I took off for a visit because we both stay home all the time and we needed a “friend break”. What a wonderful visit we had and I came home with almost a full box of those greens.
It took me four hours that evening to top the greens ( means removing the lower stem and keeping the green tops), give the greens several baths to get sand and dirt off of them and cooked them on the top of my stove in a large pot for three hours. The smell of cooking greens just says pinto beans, fried potatoes w/onions, cornbread and greens!!!
We haven’t eaten them yet but I froze four quart bags of them cooked which is four meals. I see this meal in our dinner this week and I can actually smell them just thinking about them. Best greens in the world.
When we were first married we had cornfields behind our house and we picked them every spring. We had to be careful and not mix them with another green that was similar but bitter and one would spoil a whole pot when cooked. We have trouble finding them now because everyone sprays their cornfields for weeds so creasy greens no more. I got two packs of seeds this spring and after the potatoes are harvested in one of the three gardens we plan to have this year, we will sow the greens in the fall and hopefully have our own field full of creasy greens in 2022!!
Betty, thank you so much for the greens! I know I’ll think of you with every bite I take!! See you soon!!!
I wrote in an earlier post about our new ducks and how much I’m enjoying their eggs. I now have a dozen of their eggs ( two each day) and plan to make some custard pies with them. I made a huge batch of french toast to share with our daughter last week and it sure didn’t last long.
But my post today is about visitors on the pond this morning. We have two adorable Bufflehead ducks and three Canadian geese.
According to my “Native American Wildlife” book these birds grow in length 12-16 inches. They’re small ducks with a white head patch and in flight there is bold pattern on the male and a white wing patch on the female. Their habitat is ponds, lakes, rivers and sheltered saltwater in winter.
In years past they’ve stayed around about a month and I’m hoping they stay around for awhile because I can watch them for hours. Our domestic ducks pay them no mind and vice versa.
The geese didn’t stay long with us this morning because Sadie runs them off when they start squawking. They are beautiful birds but they leave such a mess on the pond bank in spring and it’s not much fun dodging their droppings which are huge and lots of it. We let them swim and rest on the bank for awhile and then Sadie sends them on to a neighboring farm!!
I also want to remind you that you might want to get your hummingbird feeds out and sterilized for they will be returning to our farm around April 15th which is 18 days away!! The hummingbird mix is a ration of 1cup white sugar to 4 cups of sterilized water, no food color, please!!!
These were our visitors in 2017 and we had so many all summer.
What a wonderful book, A powerfully written debut novel offering an intimate look at one couple’s unconventional marriage that survives against all odds. Cancer and bipolar are holding a friendship and then a marriage together. I promise you won’t be sorry you picked it up and understandably find it hard to put down until the end of the last page. I will warn you, there is lots of laughter and I had a box of Puffs tissue beside me during the entire read.
This was our first really nice day to go riding in the backwoods. It’s about a two mile trail and for almost a year it had been completely blocked by downed pine trees and big timber. Hubby cleaned it out in about a week and then took me through to see what he had done! Sadie and I will be walking and riding the trail a lot before summer breaks.
On most windy days we can go back there and there’s no wind because of the location and the forest breaks the gusts. Sadie loves to go with us, she won’t ride but stays well out in front of us. She usually trees at least one squirrel and several young deer but won’t chase them. This is one of our getaways but not off the farm. We have several of these on the farm. How lucky can two people be?????
As if Covid-19 isn’t bad enough, imagine if you will, being without a washer for almost two months!!!
My Maytag washer broke on February 7th making a super loud noise like a jack-hammer!! It was a year old old in November and thankfully we bought a three year extended warranty when we bought it from Lowe’s in 2019. I’ve not had a moments problem with it until February of this year.
It took three days of calling, pushing buttons, talking to the wrong people, getting disconnected and much frustration from the service center before I finally found the right person that setup an appointment eight days later. On that day we had a our first heavy snow and the repairman lived two hours away when he called me at 3:00 in the afternoon and their hours are 8-5. We postponed that appointment for a week later and dirty laundry is building up. Now, I could have used my daughter or son’s machines at any time but I hate doing that sitting alone in their home waiting for the one load to finish. The morning of the appointment I get a call from the repairman who has been sick overnight and would like to reschedule again for a couple days. I say okay because I really don’t want a sick person I do not know coming in my home so we reschedule for the following week. I wait another week and hear NOTHING!! Don’t get me wrong, I’m patient but this is getting ridiculous so I call the service center again and after 2 1/2 hours finally get to a representative, explain what has happened and she locates a note that my repairman is still sick! An hour later he calls and has been diagnosed with Covid and can’t get to me for another two weeks. NO THANK YOU!! I call the service center again and they make me another appointment in five days with a repair service. I take a load of clothes to my daughters two days and stay in the house all day and no calls and no repairman. I call the service center again and they can’t find an appointment in their system. NO I didn’t scream, I didn’t throw the phone, I didn’t feel my blood pressure raising!!! I laughed out loud for several seconds and the service center reps asked if I was alright and she kept saying I’m so SORRY!!! I told her it was okay but if I didn’t get the machine repaired very soon my husband was going to load it up, take it back to the Lowe’s store we purchased it from and dump it in front of their door and explain to every one that was in the parking lot and store why he was doing it!!! WE DIDN’T DO THAT! She made us another appointment on March 8th between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Here we go again!! On the 8th the new repairman called and he was in Lexington (2 hours away) and he would be here to repair that day! He asked a bunch of questions about the issue and like all the rest I could not make them understand how loud this problem was. This guy was sure I had detergent build up!!! (I laughed). He asked me to put a cup of white vinegar in the machine and run a quick cycle and call him back in 15 minutes and let him know if I see any suds and bubbles at anytime during the cycle. I did it and called him back and luck be with me while we are on the phone the jack hammer begins and I held the phone to the machine for him to hear. He is shocked and I am laughing!!! He tells me to turn it off ASAP!! He needs to call the manufacturer and will call me back in 15 minutes! NOT!!! Two hours later he calls and tells me what the issue is and he has order the parts needed and they will be shipped to our home in 3-4 days and he makes an appointment for the 18th. No shipment arrives, no calls from the repairman, no show on the 18th. I called the service center and the automated message tells me my parts have been backordered and my appointment will be made after the parts are delivered. My husband called the Lowe’s store we purchased the washer from, informed them of part of the history and told them we would NEVER buy another appliance from them again. He then went to Home Depot and bought a new Samsung washer. When he came home we drug the Maytag to our front porch for when or if the repairman and parts ever arrive (he’s giving them 2 months), hauled in the new machine and set it up!!! I’m now caught up on ALL the laundry that built up since the 7th of February!!
YES, I AM HAPPY BUT SANITY HAS NOT RECOVERED FULLY AS OF TODAY!!
Hubby says it’s the biggest hutch he’s ever seen and thinks it’s a big family of them. This spring the kits will be sent out to make their own homes in another area but usually close to the parents.
We let them stay as long as they’re not flooding any of the pasture or routing the water that will harm neighboring property. They’re amazing construction creatures and fun to watch at work when they think no humans are close and watching.
The fourth shipment of seeds arrived and I’m still looking at some more that I would really like to try. I have inside and direct sow seeds now with over 75 different varieties. No I won’t plant every seed in every packet but I do have a plan and got my hands dirty a little yesterday afternoon.
Today my son is coming to the farm to help hubby set up a solar-powered thermostat controlled exhaust fan in the greenhouse. The temperatures inside the greenhouse are now ranging from 30* to 120* any given day. It can be 40’s at 8:00 a.m. and within an hour it’s over 80* and continues to raise with the open windows in the top.
I learned so much from my mistakes last year and I’m absolutely sure that will continue this year. Yesterday I planted 8-10 broccoli, cabbage, and one new pepper with eight seeds of it. I also planted 10 Rose of Sharon and twelve Moonflower seeds and 8 Mr. Stripey tomatoes (craved these all winter).
Over the winter I made a binder of growing help and specific instructions for everything I want to grow this year. It’s a five inch binder and it’s FULL!! I have two charts with different data I’m going to collect over the gardening season so that I can keep up with what works, timing & planting, germination & planting and comments I don’t want to forget.
I have an old rose bush below the garage that I want to take slips from and try the propagation instructions for six different ways of keeping it going. It’s a beautiful red rose with blooms the size of a dime, heavenly scented, and an over abundance of blooms. I hope I can get at least one or two started to add to my rose garden.
The solar panel and fan have been installed and I’m checking hourly to see how it’s working. New post for that later, maybe tomorrow!!
It feels so grand to play in the dirt in a warm space!!!
The pandemic that we are witnessing is a very real reason to stay home. We stay home most all the time anyway so it hasn’t hindered our life much at all. You see, there is ALWAYS something to do on the farm that keeps us busy during the day and at night we’re usually too tired to much anyway!!
Wintertime keeps us busy with feeding and caring for the cattle and small animals on the farm. Everyday finds us hauling firewood out of the woodhouse into the house or to the front porch when there’s pending bad weather. It’s also a time for restocking the wood stores for the next winter and checking the fencing for downed trees that have broken the fences that keep the cattle where they belong.
This winter we are dealing with a lot of ice and over the last two months we’ve had a total of about 12 inches of snow. We’ve expected to lose power but only had one outage early that was fixed and back on within about five hours, we were asleep during most of that.
Our next big issue is calving time which begins again on March 18th through May. We’re hoping that the bad winds, ice, below freezing temps and snow are over for the most part then or we could end up with a couple orphans like these to take care of.
A few more work projects coming up are fruit tree pruning, making maple syrup and opening the greenhouse (unheated), building new fence and repairing old, restocking chicks, introducing more ducks and maybe turkeys to the farm, and fixing roads that have developed deep ruts and gulleys wherever the tractor tires dig in. This is all before we start the garden!!! There are no lazy days or boredom when you’re a farmer!!!
We added an additional tarp on top of this blue one back in November to protect my new hobby as much as possible from the wind and ice. We surrounded it with ropes and prayed!!
So far so good as of February 17, 2021 but there’s another storm headed our way tomorrow. This didn’t stop hubby and I from making some more plans for changes to the interior before April.
There will be new stair-step shelving on the two sides and we’ll bring the tables I used last year outside for “hardening off” before final planting in gardens and flower beds.
We’ve also looked at our early heating options which will be using propane tank top radiant heater with an addition of a indoor tarp to hold the heat closer to the plants instead of in the roof top. It’ll be a tarp that can be rolled up 8 ft. up on warm days and rolled back out before the weather cools in the evenings.
We’re going to use a AC converter to handle fan’s to push out the excess heat out the top of the east and west ends of the greenhouse. Last summer I lost so many plants due to not realizing how hot it gets in the greenhouse. I think the hottest day was 128* with the roof vents open.
I still got some gorgeous plants out just in time to produce and I learned some serious lessons on the work and expense of having a greenhouse. I’m looking forward to starting it up again and ordered most of the seeds and supplies I’ll need except for the potting soil which is next on my list!!
These two photos show the best I had when I really needed so much more in growth and germination.
Hopefully 2021 will be a better spring and gardening season!!
On February 4th Eddie and I celebrated our 49th wedding anniversary by staying on the farm and enjoying a peaceful day! On Febrary 4, 1972, we eloped to Sparta, North Carolina so we could spend the rest of our lives together.
I’m still very much in love with this man and very grateful he chose me as his wife and soulmate for life!!
It started around 11:00 pm on Saturday night and ended before noon on Sunday. We had off and on snow, sleet and rain throughout Sunday but without much accumulation. Our son-in-law, Joel, cleared the driveway with his four-wheeler and scraper blade while Eddie fed the cattle and we appreciated it so much. The snow blower finished the job with paths to all the small animals and around the yard. The wind is supposed to howl sometime this afternoon through the next couple days and that’s what we hate more than the snow.
It’s not been too long ago that I was working everyday and traveling 45 minutes to and from work in any weather.
This was in 2010 and I drove from Blacksburg VA to the farm in the middle of it and was careful. The cold wind was blowing and I don’t remember it being bone chilling at all. But these days with a couple inches of snow I just freeze all the way to the bone!! I don’t know what getting older has to do with that because I have plenty of meat on these bones!!
The only good thing I see in this weather is it will make for a great maple sugar event and possible good for the ground if it can melt through.
We’ve had three or four snowfalls so far this winter but never more than 2-3 inches have fallen. Saturday thru Monday of this weekend, our weather forecasters are calling for a very different weather scene of as much as 10 inches or more in the mountains. We’re ready for it but not looking forward to it. It’s supposed to be a heavy wet and crusty snow which could cause trees down and power outages. I’m not worried about myself so much but Eddie will be feeding the cattle in it and today I’ll put down more straw for the chickens and fill the dog beds in the barn. Of course, the porch will be filled to the top with firewood to keep our stove going and we’ll be toasty in the house with a big pot of meat and veggie stew on the stove. If the power goes we’ll be cuddled up reading until dark and hit the hay early!
Our son and grandson & his Mom, and our granddaughter will be elated because they love the snow! I see sleigh rides, snowmen built and snowball fights in their future.
I hope everyone is home, safe and warm like we will be during this weather event.
I am so grateful for the knowledge that my husband and I have that was acquired from our parents, grandparents, and family that knew and taught us so much about how to live on the farm and provide for our family. The knowledge is so far-reaching in so many aspects of life. The knowledge of respecting and the regard for others and our land always uppermost in our minds.
The knowledge of caring for and feeding our family. The knowledge of sharing our life and way of life so that when we are gone they can if they so desire to use and share it with their family and friends.
Gardening, managing the orchards, grafting trees, fishing, hunting, logging and cutting firewood, preserving food, caring for livestock, raising your own livestock, feeding all the animals on the farm, operating farm machinery and so much more is knowledge we have tried to pass on to our children and grandchildren.
A very wonderful blogging friend, Jane, at Robby Robin blog, has inspired me today to express gratefulness for the life I live. I’m hoping to do this at least once a week or more often when time permits.
My husband, Eddie, daughter, Heather, son, Shawn and grandchildren, Victoria and Declan are who I’m most grateful for. They make my life worth living and give me so much joy that I could almost explode with happiness and love!!
There’s a front rolling in here this morning around 10:00 or 11:00 so the cattle are being fed before the farmer is. He wanted to feed the cattle their hay and grain before it’s covered with rain and probably ice because it’s 32*.
While hubby is taking care of the stock I prepared breakfast.
My French toast recipe is six eggs, 1/2 cup of milk, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and 1 tablespoon of cinnamon, all beaten together until frothy. While I’m beating this up, I’m also melting a half stick of butter in my electric skillet. I dip slices of bread into the egg mixture and lay them out in the melted butter, growing each side. This makes a dozen slices of toast and when they’re done I fry the bacon in the same skillet. Everything is done and setting on the table when hubby walks in the house.
Normally we would use our own maple syrup but Mother Nature hasn’t been kind for two years, so we use Mrs. Butterworth’s until we can harvest our own. If all goes well we’ll be tapping trees and making syrup in the sugar house in late February or March.
At the end of the meal when I’m cleaning up the kitchen I also clean up those used egg shells. Once they’re washed out, I put them in a pan on my dryer to dry thoroughly. The next day I drop them in a clean bag, crush the shells into small pieces and store them until garden time. We drop the shells around our plants in the each row of the garden to get rid of any unwanted creatures eating the plants and to add calcium to the plants. Last spring our garden was “almost” bug free!!
Hubby is getting pretty good trapping with snares and this second male coyote was caught Tuesday morning in the field with the cattle. Since catching the other one last week we had been hearing another in the same area. Sadie barks all night when they’re around and howling and her hair stands on end when she hears them. The pack is dwindling but no females yet even though we know they’re around. Now that bear chase season is over, Mr. will be setting more snares, he doesn’t like catching hunters dogs in these traps and we alert our neighbors that traps are set so we don’t catch their dogs.
This is the blog for our little farm in Skagit county. Here we have Shetland sheep and Nigerian Dwarf goats. In addition we have donkeys, cattle, pigs, chickens, geese, and peafowl. The blog describes the weekly activities here.
This site is about my life as a farmgirl, wife, mother and grandmother. We have a beautiful 22 year old granddaughter and and the cutest 3 year old grandson. We own two farms in Craig County Virginia, leasing one and raising beef cattle on the other.