News Update. . .Lost in Time

Please forgive my silence. Between the garden, animals and the issues unforeseen, I’ve just been inundated with work and only open the computer a couple times a week.

The garden is full!!! With so much rain this summer, our pantry is running over.

The garden is full!!! With so much rain this summer, our pantry is running over.

Our granddaughter graduated from high school in June and starts college in a couple weeks.  Where has the time gone!!!

Victoria and proud Uncle Shawn

Victoria and proud Uncle Shawn

Parents, Victoria, and maternal grandparents.

Parents, Victoria, and maternal grandparents.

On top of that we have a brand new grandson born three months early and he’s in New Jersey (450+ miles from Virginia). He’s in a neonatal unit at Children’s Hospital in New Jersey. His mother had some major health issues which caused toxemia and the baby had to be delivered early on July 8th. He weighed 2 pounds and 2 ounces and 14 inches long. He’s a little fighter and gained some weight and now weighs 3 pounds and 15 inches long. Declan Bryant is his name. He’s having some serious issues this week and the little guy is exhausted. Shawn, our son, is in New Jersey this weekend to see him for the second time and he’s keeping us updated.

Shawn's first visit with his son.

Shawn’s first visit with his son.

I’ve been canning and freezing green beans, broccoli, cabbage, pickles, squash, apples, rhubarb and Eddie told me last night that I’ll have more beans in the coming week and corn after that. We’ve pulled the onions and waiting on the brussel sprouts. We have a crock of kraut fermenting now and hope it’ll be ready before anything else comes in.

Pickles, pickles and more pickles!

Pickles, pickles and more pickles!

Squash pickles

Squash pickles

Canned fresh squash

Canned fresh squash

Green beans and we're not done yet!!! I think we'll sell the ones coming in now.

Green beans and we’re not done yet!!! I think we’ll sell the ones coming in now.

I’ve taken on two part-time jobs working on websites for two sisters and working away from the house on one of them 2-3 days a week. The other one I do from home. It’s a little extra spending money. Our big yardsale/estate sale was for one day and we cleaned out one house on the farm and made around $2500.00. I’m in the process of filling it up again from the other buildings and we may have one more sale next spring just to get rid of it all.

This is enough news for now but will catch up again later. I haven’t touched my blog in some time but haven’t given up on it.

One more bit of news, neighborhood dogs that aren’t watched after cleaned out our duck population in one night back in June, I think, and another one got in my chickens this week. I’m down to 21 hens and two roosters at this point.

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This is just a quick catch up and I’ll hopefully be back soon! Love you my friends and want to ask you all to keep our grandson and son in your prayers.

Gardening while I wait

While I wait for the freshly swept, mopped and waxed floor in the living room to dry I’ll take time to write about our 2016 garden.  We thought we were very late getting it started but in fact this is the second year in a row that spring has come early to our farm and this neck of the woods.  We had three, maybe four, heavy frosts/freezes in May but did get the old and new garden spot plowed, worked and tilled (three or four times).

New garden plot plowed last fall.

New garden plot plowed in March.

Second plowing and tilling.

Second plowing and tilling.

We started planting the last week of May and it’s all worked out really well.  We’ve had lots of rain but with a couple of days of dry weather and the wind we could get in to till and pull weeds.

Last year hubby said we would cut back and only plant about half of what we normally plant and I smiled!!😉  He says this every year!!  Not only do we have most of the old garden plot full, we also have the new plot which is attached to the old full.  I’m going to be very busy come the middle of July!!

In the first row of the old garden plot we have summer and winter squash. I've already seen two summer squash about two inches long. In the second and third rows and half of the fourth we have onions.

In the first row of the old garden plot we have summer and winter squash. I’ve already seen two summer squash about two inches long. In the second and third rows and half of the fourth we have onions.

In the third and fourth rows we have onion and cucumbers. In the fifth row we planted broccoli and green peppers. Last year I had beautiful peppers but they're not looking so good this year but we'll keep working on them.

In the third and fourth rows we have onion and cucumbers. In the fifth row we planted broccoli and green peppers. Last year I had beautiful peppers but they’re not looking so good this year but we’ll keep working on them.

The sixth row is cabbage and 7th is brussel sprouts and at the end of that row are a few watermelons.

The sixth row is cabbage and 7th is brussel sprouts and at the end of that row are a few watermelons.

The eighth row is sunflowers (for my chickens) and sometime this week I'll plant Blue Lake green beans between each one so they can run up the sunflower stalks.  I also need to hill them like we do potatoes to keep plenty of dirt around the stalk as they grow.  They tend to lean somewhat and with beans growing on them they'll need all the support they can get.  I may even stake them as time goes on.  I planted a whole row of indian corn beside them that was saved from a few years ago but none of it came up and that's why there is a wide space between the sunflowers and the next row.

The eighth row is sunflowers (for my chickens) and sometime this week I’ll plant Blue Lake green beans between each one so they can run up the sunflower stalks. I also need to hill them like we do potatoes to keep plenty of dirt around the stalk as they grow. They tend to lean somewhat and with beans growing on them they’ll need all the support they can get. I may even stake them as time goes on. I planted a whole row of indian corn beside them that was saved from a few years ago but none of it came up and that’s why there is a wide space between the sunflowers and the next row.

The tenth row is a very crowded row of tenderette green beans.  They are stringless, early and great canning beans when picked young.  I love green beans!!!

The tenth row is a very crowded row of tenderette green beans. They are stringless, early and great canning beans when picked young. I love green beans!!!

This space is empty for the moment but I will probably plant a couple more rows of corn and summer squash about mid-July.

We planted another later batch of cabbage and then we have this large space which is empty for the moment but I will probably plant a couple more rows of corn and summer squash about mid-July.

In the new plowed ground we started with three rows of potatoes.  We had a few spots where the potatoes did not come up and hubby filled those in yesterday.  They'll be later but he can't stand empty spaces between plants.

In the new plowed ground we started with three rows of potatoes. We had a few spots where the potatoes did not come up and hubby filled those in yesterday. They’ll be later but he can’t stand empty spaces between plants.

Next we have one row of green beans and two rows of Silver Queen corn.

Next we have one row of green beans and two rows of Silver Queen corn.

THEN, we have lots of tomatoes!   There are 32 Mr. Stripey tomatoes, 12 Roma's and 4 of a new yellow tomatoes we're trying.  My spaghetti sauce and barbecue sauce that I canned last year is such a hit that I'll be canning a lot more of it this year and lots of salsa and diced tomatoes.

THEN, we have lots of tomatoes! There are 32 Mr. Stripey tomatoes, 12 Roma’s and 4 of a new yellow tomatoes we’re trying. My spaghetti sauce and barbecue sauce that I canned last year is such a hit that I’ll be canning a lot more of it this year and lots of salsa and diced tomatoes.

The tomatoes are blooming and full of little green tomatoes.

The tomatoes are blooming and full of little green tomatoes.

Last but not least are the sweet potatoes.  We have a dozen plants and they're spreading out.

Last but not least are the sweet potatoes. We have a dozen plants and they’re spreading out.

The sweet potatoe sets were started in my kitchen window.  I placed a large sweet potato in a large bowl and kept it full of water.  It soon sprouted and now they're in the ground.

The sweet potato sets were started in my kitchen window. I placed a large sweet potato in a large bowl and kept it full of water. It soon sprouted and now they’re in the ground.

I"m just waiting on them to bloom and produce big sweet potatoes to can and to bake.

I”m just waiting on them to bloom and produce big sweet potatoes to can and to bake.

We’re currently bringing in black raspberries and freezing them.  Soon there will be transparent apples to make applesauce and apple butter with.

Don’t you just love growing your own food????

 

 

 

Burlap Wreath

I made my first ever burlap wreath yesterday and it turned out really fluffy.

 

First try and it only took about 15 minutes to complete just the wreath.

First try and it only took about 15 minutes to complete just the wreath.

The wreath was very simple to make by using a wire wreath and burlap.  I used this link to watch a two-minute tutorial:  https://www.burlapwreath.com/how-to-make-a-burlap-wreath/.  It’s so simple and to think I’ve been putting this off since last fall because I didn’t know if my brain could handle one more thing in it.

I wanted to do something patriotic for the front porch but this was just a little too plain so I decided to add a little more red, white and blue.

Simple, yet elegant!!  July 4th, bring it on!!!

Simple, yet elegant!! July 4th, bring it on!!!

Elegant yet country, don’t ya think!  Now I need to come up with some just as patriotic at our mailbox at the end of the driveway that won’t get blown away by the storms like we’ve been having! Oh well, I’ve got nine days to come up with something!

The brain is already full of ideas for the fall and winter and have you seen the different colors of burlap out now???  It’s amazing!!  Happy crafting!!

 

 

Busy Day

I slept late this morning and didn’t get up until  7:45 so started breakfast pretty quick.  I think a good breakfast starts the day out right.  We had waffles and link sausage and cantaloupe.  After breakfast I washed up the dishes, made the bed and turn on the computer.  I turn it on and walk away when I have things I want to get done because I can get wrapped up in it pretty quick and lose track of time.

The cookie tins were depleted this weekend so the first thing I did was fill up one tin with Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and the other with Snickerdoodles.

Snickerdoodles is one of the easiest recipes you can make and they're really good.

Snickerdoodles is one of the easiest recipes you can make and they’re really good.

My favorite recipe for Oatmeal Raisin cookies and the Mr.'s favorite.

My favorite recipe for Oatmeal Raisin cookies and the Mr.’s favorite.

After these were in the tins and the mess cleaned up, hubby asked Heather and I to go to the back fields and count the fall calves and see if we thought we should send them on to the market.  We did this and checked them all out for pinkeye or other abnormalities and found none.

Heather helped me pull two large baskets of grass for the rabbits and I cleaned out their cages and made sure they had enough water, grain and sunflower seeds and then she headed home.

I came in fed Sassy her lunch and headed to the henhouse to check on the water, feed and sitting hen situation.  I have a ISA Brown hen and a Sexlink hatching this weekend.  I testing something I read last year about the shape of eggs can determine the sex of the chicks the hens hatch.  More on that later!!

I filled up the lawn mower and mowed the inside yard and waiting for the sun to cool off before finishing.  I would like to get all of the trimming done before the showers move in tonight.  Then I dead-headed all of the roses.  They’ve been so beautiful this year.

Now it’s time to fix some supper but hubby won’t be out of the hayfield for probably another hour or so and I have plenty of time.  We’re having fried turkey biscuits, potato salad, green beans and cantaloupe.

It’s been a productive day but cookie baking took most of the morning!  I hope everyone has had a very good day!

Father’s Day with Mr. Caldwell

Father’s Day at Caldwell Farms was blessed with glorious weather and our kids and granddaughter with us.

Dad/Papa at his best

Dad/Papa at his best

I fixed him a big breakfast of his favorite pancakes, maple syrup and sausages and then presented him with my gifts for being a wonderful Dad.  I got him a honey extractor, double strainer and honey de-capper.

Honey extractor makes for staining honey straight from the frames.

Honey extractor makes for staining honey straight from the frames.

We pop the frames that hold the uncapped honeywells down inside the basket of the extractor, put the lid on and turn the handle which spins the honey out of the comb.  The comb can be re-used several times.

We pop the frames that hold the uncapped honeycomb  inside the basket of the extractor, put the lid on and turn the handle which spins the honey out of the comb. The comb can be re-used several times.

Our oldes, Shawn, spent the day with us.

Our oldest, Shawn, spent the day with us.

Shawn knows how much his Dad enjoys going to Cracker Barrell and gifted his Dad with a gift certificate.  We like to go there for breakfast every couple of months.

Heather and Victoria enjoyed the sunshine "together" after Heather spent the morning teddering hay

Heather and Victoria enjoyed the sunshine “together” after Heather spent the morning teddering hay.  Victoria loves sitting on mom at any occasion!!

Heather gifted her Dad with some new bibs, gloves and a new box of honeycomb.  I think once our hay is off the ground and rolled we’ll be taking care of business with the beehives.

Bedroom Spring Cleaning and New Closet

May was spring cleaning for me and hubby helped me by making some changes to our bedroom.  We live in a 100-year-old home and with any house no matter the age, I clean the entire house starting in May or June depending on when the woodstove is shut down for the winter heating season.  This year I wanted to start with cleaning our bedroom and painting it.

Before I start cleaning I always try to go through our clothes and sort winter from summer clothing.  Well, our bedroom is a really nice size but it only had a 3×5 foot closet and it held only his clothes.  It was chocked full of clothes he wears everyday, winter clothes, summer clothes, hunting clothes, coats, sweaters, you name it was packed full.

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I asked for a new closet and my wish was granted.

Corner for the new closet

Corner for the new closet

Framing begins

Framing begins

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Door goes up

Door goes up

Finished closet

Finished closet

The finished closet has two rods, one at top and one down lower for organizing and room.  Shirts on the top and pants on the bottom.  The old closet will now hold his coats, jackets and shoes/boots.

Painting is completed

Painting is completed

Spring cleaning in this room done and gorgeous!

Spring cleaning in this room done and gorgeous!

There’s nothing like a fresh coat of white paint on the ceiling, trim and doors to brighten up a room.

Beauty of Summer



I remember my roses being beautiful last summer but they’ve outdone themselves again this year.IMG_0006IMG_0007IMG_0008

Peach rosebuds yet to unfold.

Peach rosebuds yet to unfold.

White rose at it's peak.

White rose at its peak.

The botttom was blooming last week and the top was full of buds.

The bottom was blooming last week and the top was full of buds.

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Old Timey Rose and no matter how much I cut it back it bushes out and full of blooms.

Old Timey Rose and no matter how much I cut it back it bushes out and full of blooms.

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The roses are beautiful but when you add a little nature . . .

We have wild rabbits everywhere and sure hope they don't get in the garden.

We have wild rabbits everywhere and sure hope they don’t get in the garden.

then you add a view like this . . .

View from the front porch.

View from the front porch.

And a view of the mountain

And a view of the mountain

beauty is everywhere!!!

Graduation 2016

Our beautiful granddaughter has grown up and graduated from high school!  We’re all so very, very proud of her and know she can accomplish anything she sets her mind too when she wants to.  I want to share our evening watching her walk down the aisle and get that diploma.

Scholarship awarded

Scholarship awarded

Diploma from high school principal.

Diploma from high school principal.

Parents, Victoria, and maternal grandparents.

Parents, Victoria, and maternal grandparents.

She's holding it together pretty good!

She’s holding it together pretty good!

Victoria and her two best friends, Rachel and Amber.

Victoria and her two best friends, Rachel and Amber.

I leave my granddaughter with this quote from Steve Jobs:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” – Steve Jobs

Victoria Elizabeth, we love you and are very proud of you!  Nana

Hay Season 2016 . . .

It has officially began on Caldwell Farms. I’m going to miss seeing those waves of grain in the field while sitting on the front porch every evening.

The orchard grass is over the backs of the whitetail deer.

The orchard grass is over the backs of the whitetail deer.

The first field cut, raked and baled this year is out behind the barn that's closest to the house.

The first field cut, raked and baled this year is out behind the barn that’s closest to the house.

This fields total yield last year was 191 and we're anxious to see how it does this year.

This fields total yield last year was 191 and we’re anxious to see how it does this year.

Kubota tractor and rake have completed their work in this field for today.

Kubota tractor and rake have completed their work in this field for today.

The spring rains brought us a heavy crop of orchard grass.

The spring rains brought us a heavy crop of orchard grass.

The 4x5 baler is hard at work as is the driver of the tractor that's pulling that baler.

The 4×5 baler is hard at work as is the driver of the tractor that’s pulling that baler.

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The previous pictures are of the first field which was completed on Friday and Mr. Caldwell has moved on to three smaller meadows today.  He probably won’t put anymore hay down until the weekend because it’s calling for heavy rain on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  The grass is so heavy that it has to have at least two drying days before it can be baled.  Wet grass means moldy hay which means sick cows that eat it and bad milk for the calves that nurse their mothers.

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Meadow beside the mansion is small but produces big.

Meadow beside the mansion is small but produces big.

Meadow at the stable is the smallest and worst of the hay.  We've already decided it's needs a load of chicken litter.  The litter has already proven itself on the other hayfields and pasture.

Meadow at the stable is the smallest and worst of the hay. We’ve already decided it’s needs a load of chicken litter. The litter has already proven itself on the other hayfields and pasture.

The only issue had this season is the poor quality sisal baler twine.

The only issue had this season is the poor quality sisal baling twine.

He's making quick work of this field.

He’s making quick work of this field.


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These ladies will be fed in the coming winter!

 

Spring calving

2016 spring herd grazing along.

2016 spring herd grazing along.

Most of our morning was spent with our cattle, my daughter & son-in-law, and two very good friends.  We had 24 calves from this herd and they all received their baby vaccinations, pinkeye and tetanus shots, eartagged and banded if they were bull calves.  Everything went smoothly and only took about two hours.  We have some beauties in this herd and the last one was born last week.

2016 (3)Big Herd cows calves 2016 (6)Big Herd cows calves 2016 (8)Big Herd cows calves

After taking care of all of them we turned Clyde and Sam (new bull) in with the herd.  This is always a big chore but went quickly this morning since we had such wonderful help.  I hope they all know how much we appreciate giving us their time and muscles.

Now we watch them grow!!

Eddie likes to play with the little ones when they're just a couple days old.

Eddie likes to play with the little ones when they’re just a couple days old.

2016 (11)Big Herd cows calves

New Babes on the Farm

We’ve added stock of a different kind on the farm that we’ve not had here in a long time or never.
First to arrive were two Swedish Black ducks that were supposed to be mallard ducks. Our granddaughter fell in love with them right off at Tractor Supply.

Pablo and Gwen were Victoria's first real farm animals, I believe. She'll correct me if I am wrong.

Pablo and Gwen were Victoria’s first real farm animals, I believe. She’ll correct me if I am wrong.  They’re laying on her butt while she’s reading a book at our house.

Like all babies they grow so fast and boy did they!

But they were still captivated by their mommie!! Wherever she went they went and she took them for walks every day.

But they were still captivated by their mommie!! Wherever she went they went and she took them for walks every day.

Victoria’s boyfriend, Cody, built them a nice hutch which we kept close to the pond but had it shielded from predators.

Duckling hutch

Duckling hutch

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Hutch with shade and close to the pond.

Hutch with shade and close to the pond.

They kept growing.IMG_0025 IMG_0024 IMG_0023

Papa told her they weren’t mallard ducks and she did the research to find out what kind of duck they were.  In the meantime and while she thought they were mallard ducks, Papa told her that mallard ducks would migrate in the fall unless they grew up with domestic ducks.  She was devastated and talked him into letting her have a couple white ducks to grow up with and he relented.  She came home with seven white ducklings.  Pablo and Gwen were jealous and soon taught them they were the head-honchos on this farm!!IMG_0014 IMG_0024 IMG_0025

Here’s the gaggle of ducks (or is that for geese?)!  We also inherited another duck from a lady that got one for Easter and kept it in her home (after full-grown) and finally decided a full-grown duck did not belong in the house.  Her name is Fiona and she is full-grown compared to these and they all live happily together on the pond.

Then we decided to raise rabbits and I bought two female lops from a friend of ours and a un-related buck.  We’ve had them since the first week of April and they were bred a few days before I picked them up.

This is Cleome.

This is Cleome.

This is Marigold.

This is Marigold.

This is our buck, Sebastian!

This is our buck, Sebastian!

On May 8th, Cleome had three little ones but one did not make it. It was a three weeks before Marigold introduced her little ones to me and we thought she had seven but today after weaning them from their mama’s we found out she had eight.  They are all now in their big playpen together and giving mom’s a much needed rest so they can gain back some weight and grown their beautiful coats back.  Here are the two litters combined and they have been eating fresh grass, rabbit grain, apples and carrots for a week now.IMG_0010

The hutch has an enclosed room with hay for them to eat or stay warm in.

The hutch has an enclosed room with hay for them to eat or stay warm in.

We have two solid black ones.

We have two solid black ones.

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They have plenty of feed and I pull grass for them three times a day and more if they eat it up.

They have plenty of feed and I pull grass for them three times a day and more if they eat it up.

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There only two that look alike and they're both solid black.

There only two that look-alike and they’re both solid black.

They really seem to like their new nest and have been playing and running all afternoon.

They really seem to like their new nest and have been playing and running all afternoon.

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I can't tell if this little solid white one is enjoying his new nest or if he's eating his nest but it is content!

I can’t tell if this little solid white one is enjoying his new nest or if he’s eating his nest but it is content!

One of the white ones have black dots on both eyes and one has a black streak down it's back.

One of the white ones have black dots on both eyes and one has a black streak down it’s back.

This shows their play area and where they eat and get their water.  I need to get them a couple salt blocks since the weather is heating up.  They're hutch gets more shade than their mother's hutches.

This shows their play area and where they eat and get their water. I need to get them a couple salt blocks since the weather is heating up. They’re hutch gets more shade than their mother’s hutches.

We used chicken wire on the sides of the play area and a tighter wire on the floor.

We used chicken wire on the sides of the play area and a tighter wire on the floor.

So, we have 10 ducks, 13 rabbits, 29 chickens and about 75 head of cows and calves on the farm currently.  Today one of my older hens decided to go broody and set so I foresee baby chicks in a few weeks to add to the menagerie!

 

Hydrangeas, Bleeding Hearts, & More

Proof of spring and early summer!

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Lavender & purple Iris

Lavender & purple Iris

Siberian Iris

Siberian Iris

Columbine

Columbine

Peonies

Peonies

 

Peony buds

Peony buds

More peonies

More peonies

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Can you tell I absolutely love peonies and have them all over the yard!?

Rose of Sharon started from seed from our old homeplace on Johns' Creek.

Rose of Sharon started from seed from our old homeplace on Johns’ Creek.

Lilac bush from my daughter to be planted. I'm making sure I choose just the right spot.

Lilac bush from my daughter to be planted. I’m making sure I choose just the right spot.

Bleeding Heart

Bleeding Heart

Purple iris

Purple iris

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Hydrangea

Hydrangea

Beige & peach Iris

Beige & peach Iris

Peach Iris

Peach Iris

Two year old rose

Two year old rose

Old fashioned rose

Old fashioned rose

Siberian Iris

Siberian Iris

And of course, where would we be without our wonderful honeybees pollinating everything.

And of course, where would we be without our wonderful honeybees pollinating everything.

This is what is blooming at our house right now, the last day of May!!!

Beautiful New Stock

Our two-year old heifers will soon meet the one of the men of their life.  These girls have turned out so much better than we hoped.

Six of eight heifers born in March & April of 2014.

Six of eight heifers born in March & April of 2014.

The other two have got out and went back to a closer herd of cattle.  One may have gotten bred in March right before we sold one of our bulls.  We put the date on our calendars to watch since we try to keep close tabs on heifers when having their first babies.  The other one recently decided to take out some old fence and join that herd as well.  She and the other six will be back together in mid-June when one of the new bulls, Buckshot, will meet his first ever small herd. There are six Angus and the other two are Angus White-faced.

The cattle market prices have dropped drastically since last fall and now will be the time to add bought heifers but these were raised on the farm.  Their mothers are good milkers and their daddy came from a Holstein mother.  We can only hope and pray they are great nurturing mothers with lots of milk!

Crazy Month of May, the First Chapter

I don’t even know where to begin. My daughter and I decided to have an Estate/Yard sale and for the entire month, we gathered, took pictures, priced, organized and prepared for the largest yard sale I’ve ever seen that was for one family. Of course, it was four generations of collections of one family, the Caldwells. It was a history of the Caldwell family that was taking up too much space and after watching my daughter dealing with my mother-in-laws estate and the clean-out of her house,  I decided I would not do that to my children after I’m gone.

We cleaned out my house, the Mansion, and the remains of what Heather and her Dad cleaned out of her grandmother’s “stuff” and had our sale on Saturday. It included, antiques from three or four generations ago, household items from our home, Heather’s home, my husband’s grandmother and aunt & uncle, and his grandfather and great-grandfather, tools, and we filled three entire rooms of the Mansion, the front  porch and the yard.

We advertised on Facebook, our personal email contacts and asked everyone to share the details. We did really well and I was blessed to see so many old friends and acquaintances including my Dad’s best friend, Bobby Rose.  What a treat to have him here on the farm.  There’s a wonderful family story behind this which I will share at a later date.

We worked the sale with the help of a very special friend, JoAnn, my granddaughter and one of her best friends.  We were too busy to take pictures during the day but I will share a few pictures of the treasures that left the farm.

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Wood cookstove in excellent  shape.

Wood cookstove in excellent shape.

Antique churn

Antique churn

Old toys

Old toys

quilts

quilts

Box after box of bottles, jars, insulators.

Box after box of bottles, jars, insulators.

Tool sharpener

Tool sharpener

Pottery

Pottery

Stoves of all sorts but we only sold two.  We still have propane, wood, wood/coal stoves.

Stoves of all sorts but we only sold two. We still have propane, wood, wood/coal stoves.

Bowl & pitcher

Bowl & pitcher

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This is just a teeny-tiny bit of what left the farm.  The rooms of the house were as full as we could get them.  It was a beautiful day and the cleanup has begun!!

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Happy Mother’s Day to All of the Mothers!

Country Girl Produce

This country girls is so busy it’s not funny and should explain why I haven’t posted this week.

We have about six bushel of potatoes left over in the cellar and  we want to sale five of them.

Potatoes perfect for peeling for fried potatoes, potatoe soup, mashed potatoes, potato salad, and perfect for canning.

Potatoes perfect for peeling for fried potatoes, potato soup, mashed potatoes, potato salad, and perfect for canning.

Baking potatoes as big as the palm of my hand and solid.

Baking potatoes as big as the palm of my hand and solid.

Potatoes for growing, canning, eating, we have it all.

Potatoes for growing, canning, eating, we have it all.

Our bin is still half full and they've kept so well.

Our bin is still half full and they’ve kept so well.

Kennebec potatoes  that will be sprouted before sold.

Kennebec potatoes that will be sprouted before sold.

We also have lots of fresh asparagus for sale.  I’ve washed it, kept it chilled and it’s gallon Ziploc bags with a pound in each bag.

Asparagus bundle by the pound for $2.50

Asparagus bundle by the pound for $2.50

The asparagus is so sweet this year.

The asparagus is so sweet this year.

Would anyone like to buy some fresh eggs for $2.00 per dozen?

Fresh free-range chicken eggs for $2.00 a dozen

Fresh free-range chicken eggs for $2.00 a dozen

You just can’t beat fresh produce straight from the store and I’m thinking about selling fresh loaves of bread too.

Not the best photo but a two pound loaf of homemade bread and made using our own honey.  It's divine!!

Not the best photo but a two-pound loaf of homemade bread and made using our own honey. It’s divine!!

Adding To Our Fruit Crop

Apple crops

Apple crops

Grape arbor in the backyard.

Grape arbor in the backyard.

Every spring I try to add 2-4 new fruit trees to our dwindling orchards.  The past few years have been apples and peaches.  My daughter got me two new cherry trees for our anniversary and they’ve been planted in the back of the apple orchard and fenced to keep the deer from eating them up.  Last year I planted four new grape vines along with some English walnut trees .  All of the grapes have survived but I lost one walnut tree.

This year I ordered two Green Gage Plum  trees and two Black Tartarian Cherry  trees from  Aaron’s Farm (http://www.aaronsfarm.com/) .  The plum trees are three years old and about four feet tall and the cherry trees are three years old and 5-6 feet tall.  The were shipped bare root and pre-pruned.  We set them out yesterday evening and watered them well which I will continue to do daily until we get some rain and there after as needed daily or weekly depending on the moisture in the ground.

The Green Gage plum tree is an ancient European plum descendant that has been extensively grown and propagated in England and France since the 1700’s. My grandparents had these plums on their farm in Paint Bank, VA for years when I was a young child and we would eat them until they ran out our ears.  I’ve not seen any for years and have been looking for them for about five years and lucked out with Aaron’s Farms this spring.  I can’t wait to have some “green gages” in a couple of years.  Green Gage plums are green-skinned when completely ripe with a pink overlay at the base of the fruit when tree ripened.  The flavor is deliciously sweet with a slight sour taste to the skin.

The black cherries are my husbands favorite and most of the cherry trees on our farm have died or only produce pea size cherries.  I’m hoping these will bring back some good memories especially when I make him some cherry pies in a couple of years.

Black Tartarian Cherry Tree

The Black Tartarian Cherry tree is a sweet cherry with a black skin and bright red pulp. They  are cold hardy which is one of the reasons I chose this type.
I can’t remember the name of the cherry trees my daughter got for me but think they are a red cherry.
Now we have blue plum, wild red plums, pears, rhubarb, peaches, apples of all kinds, grapes, gojiberries, blackberries, and raspberries on the farm.  Plenty of fruit to add to our meals and snacks.Newest grape arborNewest grape arbor

1st Hummingbird of the Season

It's amazing how something so tiny could be so fast!

It’s amazing how something so tiny could be so fast!

This is a 2015 hummingbird but looks much like the one that arrived yesterday.

This is a 2015 hummingbird but looks much like the one that arrived yesterday.

My first hummingbird of 2016 arrived around 6:00 p.m. yesterday afternoon. He’s a fat little male and so beautiful! He was too quick to get pictures but they have arrived!! I hope you have a very blessed 2016 spring!

Mansion Clean Up

Yesterday was a very full day for me with the help of my beautiful Granddaughter and her equally beautiful friend, Amber. We took on one of the old houses on the farm that is filled with decades of junk, furniture, treasures and more.

This is the mansion and is over 200 years old and we use it for storage.

This is the mansion and is over 200 years old and we use it for storage.

The girls came to the farm around 9:30 and we went to the mansion to start the cleanout.  Hubby had taken our big farm truck over there the night before after putting side rails on it for us to pack in all the junk we could get on it.

This is the truck we used to pack full of junk for the landfill.  We normally use it to haul eight 5x4 haybales off the fields or to haul logs out of the forests for timber.

This is the truck we used to pack full of junk for the landfill. We normally use it to haul eight 5×4 haybales off the fields or to haul logs out of the forests for timber.

I will tell you rather than show how full the one room we worked on all day.  There was a small path that I had to walk sideways to get from one room in the house to the other.  It was packed wall to wall and higher than I am tall full of six decades of junk, furniture, treasures belonging to the Caldwell family.  I must confess that I think that I must have been somewhat of a hoarder over the last 30 years and kept anything that might have been considered a treasure by our previous generations and the present!!

My girls worked so hard but we also had a blast and they had me laughing most of the day but they are both hard workers when given an objective.  Our objective was to put anything that looked like junk on that truck and we couldn’t quit until it was full.  Four hours later it was full and here’s the proof:

The girls, mainly Amber, did a great job of packing it on so we wouldn't lose it traveling along the road.

The girls, mainly Amber, did a great job of packing it on so we wouldn’t lose it traveling along the road.

Truck is packed and ready for the landfill.

Truck is packed and ready for the landfill.

Here’s a few pictures of the cleanup of the living room and a hallway off the living room.  We will probably still have two or three truckloads before it’s cleaned out.

There's a wide path from the front door to the kitchen now.

There’s a wide path from the front door to the kitchen now.

Most of the furniture and boxed treasures were moved to one side of the room.

Most of the furniture and boxed treasures were moved to one side of the room.

My weaving loom was moved to the other side of the room.

My weaving loom was moved to the other side of the room.  The walls in this room are entirely wood and stained very dark as is the floor.  

Hallway cleaned up between living room and master bedroom.  This hallway was packed with boxes of old Christmas decorations.

Hallway cleaned up between living room and master bedroom. This hallway was packed with boxes of old Christmas decorations.

Hallway also leads to the bathroom and the stairwell to the second floor which doesn't have a lot in it but will be cleaned out too.

Hallway also leads to the bathroom and the stairwell to the second floor which doesn’t have a lot in it but will be cleaned out too.

You might ask why get rid of all the Christmas decor and old cloth items, well, when we came into our house yesterday afternoon hubby said we smelled like an old house.  YUCK!!  Everything in the mansion stored for any length of time will have that smell quadrupled!!

I still have a lot to clean out and this was a huge start!

Thank you Victoria and Amber!  I couldn’t have done it without your help!

Keeping the Face and Ears Warm

I’ve crocheted some more warmth during the winter and these were made for me.

Wide headband and a infinity scarf

Wide headband and an infinity scarf

The headband is perfect for around my ears and the infinity scarf fits over my hoodies and  around my face to block the wind.  I used a heavy yarn and did a half-double crochet using double strands of yarn to make them thick and warm.  The scarf is wide enough to cover my mouth and nose in the frigid air.  They were quick and I did them both in one night.  I even made a pair of mittens to go with them but they’re not very usable when  carrying in the firewood, gathering the eggs or bottle feeding calves so they stay in my dress coat for non-work events.

Here’s a closer look at the stitches I used and I got both pieces out of one skein of yarn.

Half-double crochet stitch

Half-double crochet stitch and the ends were stitched together using single crochet but that can’t be seen in this picture.

Books, books, everywhere!

My library is so full!  Next rainy day project is organizing all of my books.  I do have a few because I collected them over the years for my retirement and now I’m retired.

Bookcase cleanup 022016 (1)

Quilting magazines

Quilting magazines

Quilting, crafting and "other" books

Quilting, crafting and “other” books

Library in the upstairs foyer.

Library in the upstairs foyer.

More in the upstairs foyer.

More in the upstairs foyer.

Bookcase cleanup 022016 (2)

I do love to read, craft, quilt, crochet, garden, decorating, and so much more.

Working in the Guest Room

Corner shelving after a nice bright coat of paint.

Corner shelving after a nice bright coat of paint.

Some painting, re-arranging and cleaning and it’s almost done!  The built-in shelves in the corner of the room are now a new  bookcase for my favorite authors and my audiobooks.  The top five have been there all along but never painted.

Guest room bookshelf paint job 022016 (2)

It looked bare until I filled it up with my books but the bottom needed something and with all my books it was just wrong not to add more shelves which my wonderful hubby did for me.

Bookcase with added shelves and painted.

Bookcase with added shelves and painted.

Nice addition to the guest room.

Nice addition to the guest room.

The Red Quilt

Quilt number two for 2016 is pieced and ready for my quilter.

The Red Quilt 03032016 (6)

The Red Quilt 03032016 (7)

The Red Quilt 03032016 (1)

The Red Quilt 03032016 (2)

The Red Quilt 03032016 (3)

The Red Quilt 03032016 (4)

The Red Quilt 03032016 (5)

The Beauty of our National Bird

The pictures say it all!

Bald Eagle 02272016 (10)

Bald Eagle 02272016 (8)

Bald Eagle 02272016 (7)

Bald Eagle 02272016 (6)

Bald Eagle 02272016 (5)

Bald Eagle 02272016 (4)

Bald Eagle 02272016 (3)

Bald Eagle 02272016 (2)We watched him and took the pictures from our front porch.  These were taken over a month ago but we saw it and a younger one that hadn’t matured with the white feathering last week.  We also had a golden eagle here most of the winter.

Uncalled for Work

Last week we had a visitor during the night that tore down some fence along the main road and left the scene.  The field where the fencing was damaged held 30+ weanling calves and Miracle.  Our neighboring farm manager came to visit to let us know about it on a very foggy cold morning and luckily the calves were on the opposite side of the field.  The driver did the damage and ran leaving what could have been a very dangerous situation especially for people going to work that morning and the bus full of kids going to school if the calves had got in the road. It was so foggy that morning that we could not see more than 10 yards in front of us but thankfully it only took about 30 minutes to repair.

We had just paid a fencing company to build this stretch of fencing in January due to the urgency of getting the calves in a secure field away from their mama’s while we waited for the right time to sale.  The mama’s needed a couple months of recuperating before their new babies arrived this month.

The bottom two strands were broken and it would have been very easy for the 30+ weanlings to have gotten in the road and caused a more dangerous situation.

The bottom two strands were broken and it would have been very easy for the 30+ weanlings to have gotten in the road and caused a more dangerous situation.

This was new fence that we paid to  have put in along the highway.

This was new fence that we paid to have put in along the highway.

The new post wasn't broken off but the wiring was knocked off of it.

The new post wasn’t broken off but the wiring was knocked off of it.

These are the tracks of the vehicle where it went into the field and back out.  Hubby is sure it was a car instead of a pickup or more wires would have been broken.

These are the tracks of the vehicle where it went into the field and back out. Hubby is sure it was a car instead of a pickup or more wires would have been broken.

The insulating tubes were shredded on the bottom and fence tore off at the end of the tubes.

The insulating tubes were shredded on the bottom and fence tore off at the end of the tubes.

More tracks along the road leading to the broken fence shows that the driver went out of the road on the wrong side, over-corrected as he went back on the asphalt and went back on the wrong side and into the fence and field.  This is where we found the broken antennae from the car and some amber light fixture fragments.

More tracks along the road leading to the broken fence shows that the driver went out of the road on the wrong side, over-corrected as he went back on the asphalt and went back on the wrong side and into the fence and field. This is where we found the broken antennae from the car and some amber light fixture fragments.

Black marks on the road in front of the field.

Black marks on the road in front of the field.

Skid marks heading to the broken fence.

Skid marks heading to the broken fence.

Skid marks in the grass.

Skid marks in the grass.

Broken fence wire hanging from the posts.

Broken fence wire hanging from the posts.

We were upset the fence was torn down but more upset thinking about what could have been a more disastrous situation.  I would hope that if it ever happens again that the driver would have the common courtesy of letting us know as soon as it happens!!