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Starting New from Old

Summer 2018 saw my front porch filled with flowers along with the yard and my favorite were the Angel Begonias.

Angel Wing Begonia

They have a beautiful, delicate pink cluster bloom.

I want to make sure I have more of these come spring so I’ve plucked stems from the plant which I’m storing upstairs in our guest room.

The leaves of this plant are shaped like angel wings and gives it the name of Angel-Winged Begonia.

I bring all of my house plants in the house in mid-September and take them back outdoors in early June.  To start the plants I pinch stems close to the center of the plant and any that are growing really fast and getting leggy.  I’ve done this to my Prayer Plant and Goosefoot Fern.

Pothos stems starting in the kitchen window.

Prayer Plant starts in the kitchen window.

 

I don’t add anything to the stems to get them to start and usually in 10-14 days new roots are showing at each notch of the stem.  In the spring I’ll plant all of the stems of each plant in large individual pots.  The pots will have a good quality potting soil and two tablespoons of epsom salt and they take off.  By August the Angel-winged begonia will be full of bloom if not before and the prayer plant will have delicate white blooms.  I love growing plants.

House plants in the guest room.

House plants and different cacti in the upstairs foyer.

RHUBARB SEASON IN THREE MONTHS

I’m thinking ahead to spring when it gets so frigid that you want to bring the cows in!!  One of the first crops we see here in mid to late May is rhubarb.  A lot of folks don’t like rhubarb because its so tart but I have a remedy for that.  Before I give you that little tidbit let me tell you what I did last summer before the first leaves of rhubarb showed itself.

For two years I had not cut as much rhubarb as I thought there should have been.  I used a huge tractor tire for the rhubarb bed because moles kept eating the tubers when I planted them directly in the ground.  I placed the tire on the edge of the garden where it would get lots of son and on top of some heavy black garden fabric that I folded to fit several times to keep the moles out.  It worked!

The tire was filled with good soil and chicken litter and four rhubarb tubers.  The tubers produced but the stems were thin and spindly.  In the spring of 2018 I decided to thin the tubers and see if that helped and I was also concerned that maybe I had amended the soil with too much litter.  I cleaned up two more areas on both sides of the tire of weeds and only amended that soil with some rabbit litter but not much!

This area was filled with two tubers of rhubarb taken from the first tire.

This area was filled with tubers from some old plants from our Ruble farm and some from the mansion garden.

 

Neither of these areas produced anything but I kept them moist and sprinkled with epsom salt in hopes of new rhubarb patches in spring 2019.

The original tire went crazy!!  I took off three batches of rhubarb and we have plenty in the freezer for the coming year and the year after that.

Early batches of the thinned patch proved to be the best move I could have made!

Three fresh baskets of rhubarb and homemade rhubarb freezer jam!!

Now for my recipe for the freezer rhubarb jam:

5-6 c. of fresh rhubarb, cut in 1″ cubes

Water, just enough to keep the rhubarb from sticking in sauce pan

2 c. sugar

1  3 oz. pkg. of strawberry jello, cherry, raspberry, or even blackberry

Cook the rhubarb in the water until soft.  Add sugar and take off the stove; stir to combine and sugar is completely melted.  Add the jello, stir and cool completely.  I then pour into small containers and freeze.  It’s wonderful on biscuits, bagels, toast and fresh sliced bread.

Somedays You Bake. . .

. . .and some days you don’t.  Yesterday was a bummer baking day!!  I started with what I thought was my Mom’s Bread Pudding,  NOT!  The recipe will be deleted from the Recipe page.  It didn’t seem right when I was putting it together but it’s been about three years since I last made it.  I greased the casserole dish, followed the recipe, put it in the oven and in 25 minutes the kitchen was full of smoke.  The pudding was raising but so was the butter in the dish that was running over along with some of the batter, what a mess!!!

Mama’s bread pudding looked like this but what I baked definitely looks very different!!  The chickens will love it!

While the bread pudding was baking I started my loaf bread which I make just about every week.  Never fails!!  NOT!!!!  We think because we opened up windows in the kitchen and living room to let the smoke clear out must have killed the yeast.  It never rose in the big bowl.  I took it out of the bowl last night, made it into loaves thinking if I was real lucky it would raise during the night,  NOT!  I put it in the oven this morning to let it bake along with the morning breakfast biscuits and it never rose during the night or in the oven!  😦

Four loaves of bread that the chickens will enjoy for a week. I’ll put out one load a day for them. The frigid weather we’re having will make the chickens eat anything in sight to keep warm.

So this morning I started over and got a beautiful bowl full of raised dough and now have four loaves of white bread raising beside the wood stove!  While that was raising I made a beautiful pineapple-lemon pound cake and the house smells heavenly!!

Four loaves of bread to last the week and one loaf to go each of the kids.

My favorite pound cake with lemon and pineapple flavoring. This won’t last long either.

My Copy Editor

My very special friend that lives on the Eastern Shore of Maryland is also my copy editor for the blog and she very graciously reminded me that I had not added my bread pudding recipe to my recipe page.  How dare I!!!  Well, its on there now and hope you all will try the recipe and let me know how you liked it.

Thank you Margaret!!

Margaret, excellent copy editor!!

Bread Pudding

I have two friends that asked for my bread pudding recipe a couple years ago and I’ve procrastinated long enough.  The recipe is on my recipes page above!  One of these ladies may come to visit on Friday and if so, I’ll have a new batch ready for her visit.  Sorry no photos to share with it but it looks something like this when it comes out of the oven.  Image result for picture of bread pudding

Imagine it with vanilla ice cream, whipped topping or even caramel sauce!!  This is one of the easiest desserts in my kitchen!!  My mom and both grandmothers made this when we were small and we thought it was the best and only dessert in the world.  I love it for breakfast now with some warm milk poured over it.

SNOW DAY COOKING

I promised a pictorial today of the what kept me busy during our snow event yesterday and here it is.

One of my snow event creations was chicken salad. My canned pickle relish gives it the kick it needs.

I love cobblers and this one is raspberry-blueberry. I love to warm in my microwave and then pour whole milk over it!!

We used a little more than half of a crate full of firewood last night.

Divine smoked pork loin created by Eddie in our smoker. He cooked it in the garage yesterday during the snow event.

Eddie’s other night-time snack is jello with fruit. This is raspberry.

Four loaves of bread made with honey from our honeybees.

Covered in wrap makes it hard to see but this is a carrot cake with caramel pecan frosting. Hubby is in heaven!!

The rest of the day was keeping the stove filled and the wood rack filled as well.

The wood rack beside the stove is full and holds enough wood for two days if the wind isn’t bad.

We used a little more than half of a crate full of firewood last night.

 

The snow event (notice I didn’t call it a storm) left us with one inch of snow and it got packed down during the night with sleet and rain making for a crusty top.  The chickens wanted nothing to do with it so we left them in the coop and the ducks could have left their coop but decided to stick close to a spot with no snow in it!  Recipes for the chicken salad, cake, bread, cobbler and pork loin marinade will be posted on my cooking page soon.

Preparation

Today we are preparing for another snow event in our area of 4-8 inches of snow depending on what part of the county you live in.  We like to prepare for the worst and hope for the least.  Eddie hauling some hay just outside of different fields the cattle are in.  We just hauled firewood to the front porch.  The cattle were fed normally but tomorrow morning they’ll get hay and some grain but fed near the woods for protection from the snow.  Today I made sure the ducks and chickens have extra feed, watering pan full and I put some treats in the hen house for them.  The snow is not supposed to get heavy until tomorrow afternoon but you never know with Mother Nature.

We brought three tractor loads of firewood to the front porch and have covered it with tarps to keep as dry as possible.

Our woodhouse is only half full now but we want to use everything in it this year so it can be thoroughly cleaned out in the spring/early summer and treated for termites and wood borers.

I filled two bins with kindling for fire starting.

The wood rack beside the stove is full and holds enough wood for two days if the wind isn’t bad.

The end of the porch is filled with really dry wood and the stack to the front is semi-dry and used to hold the fire during the night. We do oversleep at times and the filled stove will hold fire about six hours. We both tend to get up during the night.

I keep this large teapot full of water day and night to help with the dryness of the air using wood heat.

We’ll be warm!!  I also brought in some canned goods and potatoes from the cellar, a big pot of vegetable/meat soup sounds good!  I filled two five-gallon buckets, and one three gallon bucket with water for flushing the camode if the power goes off.  I filled 10 gallon jugs and some gallon pitchers for drinking and cooking water,  We are ready for the second snow event of 2019.

 

End of Deer Season

The final week of deer season ended yesterday and our freezers are full.  This year no trophies were taken because we felt we needed to thin the herds (5) due to the small does and too many of them.  We talked about this during the summer and decided the bucks were too small and does were very small and believe this is due to inbreeding.  They’ve had plenty to eat from the grasses and gardens in the summer and the nut crops in the fall.  Only the family participated in the hunts because most of the hunters were looking to kill trophies which there were very few so they hunted elsewhere.  My new crockpot and Instant pot have been keeping our bellies full!

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Homemade Pizza

Today was a cooking day and I made two cocoanut creme pies and a 14 inch pizza for dinner.  The pies were made this morning and I just had a slice and have to watch myself or I’ll eat the WHOLE thing!!  I love cocoanut everything!!!  To make the pies I had to ready-made pie crusts in the fridge, used a Rawleigh pie filling and some eggs and milk.  I love these pie fillings because the filling turns out so thick and creamy and the only place I’ve been able to find them is at The Cheese Store.  These are country type stores usually run by Amish or Mennonite families and when I go to their stores I am in heaven but spend so much more money than I planned.  The pie fillings will make nine 9″ pies and use two eggs and a three cups of milk for each pie.  I also bought some meringue powder there and it makes beautiful tall meringues!

Cocoanut Pies

For dinner I made a basic pizza using the pizza crust mix that I bought at the same store, one bag will make two crusts and all you add is water.  I made my crust, covered it with my homemade pizza sauce which I’m almost out of, and then used what I had in the fridge for toppings.  That consisted of thinly sliced onions, green pepper, pepperoni, smoked sausage, and mozzarella cheese.  It was divine, even if I did make it myself.

Only two slices left which we may have for breakfast!!

Yesterday I tried a new experiment with my Air Fryer and a small bear roast.  First, I always boil my roast for about thirty minutes in plain water to roll out any excess fat on the roast.  The fat is what can ruin a bear roast!!  I drained the roast with was only about one pound, rubbed it with two new seasonings that I found at The Cheese Store, and placed it in the Air Fryer following the instructions for a large beef steak but cut the time in half.  It was to die for!!!  Not kidding!!!  When I took it out I sliced the roast into quarter inch slices that will fit perfectly on a biscuit and we had it for lunch yesterday  and then for dinner I poured a brown gravy over it and served with mashed potatoes, green beans and macaroni salad!  Did I say I’m trying to lose weight???

        Hickory Smoke Salt

Barbecue Spice

       New recipe bear roast

A Quiet Day at the Farm

The only thing busy today are the birds at the feeding station and not very many of them!

It has been a quiet day at the farm with lots of fog, very little rain (thank goodness) and enough clouds to make it look like late afternoon, early evening.  Except for letting my hens and ducks out this morning and bringing enough wood to fill up the wood rack, I’ve spent the entire day inside writing letters.  I hope this is not a lost art because I love writing and receiving letters from friends and family that aren’t living close by.  This will be a short post today but I’m sticking to the challenge/resolution to fill my blog with things from the farm daily!  Have a blessed evening and we’ll catch up tomorrow.

Those Honery Creatures

During most of the summer of 2018 (when I wasn’t blogging much) I was working hard to make a rose garden in one corner of our front yard that gets sun most of the day.  It was hard work and a challenge to position all of them into one corner.

I’m thrilled with how the rose garden is blooming over and over this year.

There are over twenty different types and colors of roses in the bed and it looks a little different from the picture above because all of the non-roses were also dug up and moved to different areas of the yard inside and out.  Several of them survived the winter of 2017-18 due to the ice and creatures called wild rabbits!  They chewed the bark off of every rose in the yard!!

Bark eaten off of nearly every rose.

I meant to put up a barrier fence in the new rose bed during our first frost but never seemed to get around to it.  My procrastination proved to be maddening, the rabbits got to them before I did.  Immediately Eddie and I started putting up the barrier fence around the rose garden.

This is the same plastic fence we use around our garden to keep the deer and chickens out during growing season and take it down at the end of the growing season.

We have chain-linked fence around the yard so we only had to stake the fence around the roses from the inside of the yard.  I’m glad we found the damage before it was to far gone to save the roses.  We will be having Brunswick Stew if I catch the creatures getting through this!

Fencing barrier around the roses.

I think these are worth saving!!!

I absolutely love this color!Peach, orange and yellow, great idea for a quilt.

New rose in a beautiful deep pink/scarlett.

The wild rabbits killed most of my roses during the winter so my wonderful children gave me 10 new roses for Mother’s Day. This beauty is one of them.

Last years yellow rose is such a beauty and has just began blooming. It will be moved into my rose garden early fall.

Continue reading

How Hard Can It Be

Really??? Two days into the year and my one and only resolution is down the drain!  Why?  I can’t blog if the internet connection is non-existent.  I kept going to my computer yesterday to post a note but my computer kept saying “no internet connection”.  Oh well, today is another day and I’ll remedy the situation with two posts and hope you can stand two in one day!  🙂

I had a note from a cousin New Year’s Day wanting my Crockpot Apple Butter recipe and I sent it to her.  I’ll share it with you as well and if you have any questions just comment at the bottom of the post.  I’ve wanted for the last several years to make a copper kettle full of apple butter but we’ve not had enough apples to fill the kettle.  I have had enough apples of different varieties to freeze lots of applesauce which we love but it’s been building up.  Our smallest freezer is half-full of containers of applesauce and I thought maybe if I use up about half of it Mother Nature may give us a good crop of apples in the coming fall.

I store/freeze the applesauce in the large 48 oz. margarine containers or Cool Whip containers.  They’re sturdy and very stackable in a chest freezer.  After I cook up the apples, I always add sugar to the pot and stir well to make sure the sugar dissolves before I freeze it.  When we need apples on the table (just about every day), all I have to do is thaw it.

Now for the recipe:

I have two six quart crockpots with two settings of low and high.  One has a lid that can be vented and the other has securing handles but the lid had a pencil size hole in the top of the lid for venting.  I fill the crockpot almost to the top of the pot with applesauce (fresh or frozen) and turn the heat setting to high and cover with the lid NOT vented.  I want it to get hot and can tell when it’s hot enough because it will have little bubbles forming around the edge of the pot or may even bubble up.

First step–notice the color.

A very important note to making apple butter in a copper kettle or a crockpot, you MUST stir it.  In a copper kettle it has to be stirred constantly but in a crockpot you only have to stir at least every thirty minutes.  Why? In the copper kettle over an open fire it will burn unless stirred constantly.  Not so in a crockpot but it will get thick on top and form almost a crust of very thick sauce and you will have to stir harder and longer to get it to smooth out and incorporate into the rest of the sauce.

Once your applesauce has heated up to the point of bubbles add THREE cups of sugar and stir well.  This is why you don’t fill it all the way to the top, you have to make room for the extra sugar.  When you first add this the sauce will thin some.  Remember, stir well every thirty minutes or so.  DO Not put the lid on tight this time.  The vapor of the water in the apples needs to get out and this helps the applesauce thicken.  Also be careful of bubbling sauce popping out on your skin.  Each time that you stir you will notice the sauce turning colors as you stir.  Try to pull the bottom sauce to the top.  I found out a couple years ago the blending and stirring is easier if you have a good whisk to work it.

Notice the change in color?

At this point, continue to leave the lid cracked, stir every thirty minutes, and continue this step until the sauce gets thickened to your taste.  I don’t like it real thick, it spreads better on buttered biscuits and toast if it’s a little thinner.  Last step, this is where you flavor the sauce and it becomes applebutter.

Oil of Cloves and Oil of Cinnamon

This is the step that can make or ruin your apple butter.  Some people only like cinnamon, we like cinnamon and cloves.  My recipe is 4-6 drops of cinnamon and 3-5 drops of cloves.  Be very careful when you add this to your batch and taste test after one or two drops of cinnamon.  Once you have flavored with the cinnamon, then do the same process with the cloves.  You can add more drops of each depending on your taste but taking baby steps in flavoring will make the process worthwhile.  After you have the flavoring in cook the applebutter about 20-30 minutes longer stirring more frequently.  You will notice the applebutter will be darker.

First canning of 2019–Nine pints of Apple butter.

During the last minutes of processing, prepare your jars.  I use regular mouth pint, half-pint and jelly jars for canning.  The half-pints and jelly jars make great gifts but the gifter may come calling for more because it’s sooooooo good!  I pour the hot applebutter into the jars, put on the lids really tight and set aside with a heavy towel over the top to retain the heat until the jars seal.  You’re done!!  Easy and so good!!

Happy New Year from Countrygirllifeonthefarm!!

!Image result for new years celebration pics

Wishing all a very happy, healthy and blessed 2019.

I closed 2018 with a busy and productive day and hope to do that with every day in 2019.  I started the day by dropping off eggs to a customer and proceeded with cleaning up the kitchen when I got back, laundry done and put away, did some computer file clean up, completed two hours worth of ironing, filled up my new crock pot with applesauce to be turned into applebutter,

First canning of 2019–Nine pints of Apple butter.

put four more rounds on a rug I’m making for the bathroom,

Crocheting a blue rag rug for our bathroom.

did stitching around two more blocks of my granddaughters Christmas quilt, cleaned up my closet and put together a large trash bag of clean clothes for the Thrift Store, and took care of my animals.  It was a busy day but not a “wear me out” day!  It was also 52* when we went to bed and 55* when we got up this morning.  Crazy, considering in 2018 on this date it was 9*!

Today was spent preparing a grocery list after fixing a big breakfast.  While I brought firewood in the house hubby fed the cattle and let the birds out of their houses.  I have 38 chickens and three ducks, we get FOUR chicken eggs a day and one duck egg. I’m not upset about this because two weeks ago I wasn’t getting any eggs except from the ducks.  My plan is to get more chicks and ducklings in the spring and maybe a turkey poult or two.

I really feel good about this post because I’m hoping to post one everyday or at least one a week for 2019 as my blog was sorely neglected in 2018.  This is a start to my 2019 resolutions!!  More to come, I promise!!

Back on Top

I’ve been out of touch for a bit (two weeks) due to a bronchial infection brought on by all the pollen in the air but I’m back up and running!  Here’s a touch of things that have gone on while I was down.

I’m thrilled with how the rose garden is blooming over and over this year.

The old-fashioned white rose began blooming last week. They open pink and then turn white. It’s so pretty.

Last years yellow rose is such a beauty and has just began blooming. It will be moved into my rose garden early fall.

The hostas have outdone themselves again this summer.

We got both gardens planted and they’re doing well. We have onions, cucumbers, squash, cabbage. broccoli, green beans, and corn in the garden at the house and the garden over at the mansion has white potatoes, sweet potatoes, green peppers and tomatoes. The deer are making it hard for the sweet potatoes to produce because they’re finding ways to get to them even when we surround each plant with chicken wire, and we put a perimeter fence within the garden around the plants and they still ate them off Sunday night.

A new rug crocheted for a classmate I graduated with. I finished it while I was sick!  She has a red kitchen like mine.

A new tractor was introduced to the farm.

The heifers were introduced to their first boyfriend.

The garden at the house was reduced this year in hopes of getting rid of the Colorado potato beetles by rotating the potatoes, peppers and tomatoes.

It started and quickly stopped

On June 7th we finally got a break from the rain that saturated the ground.  Eddie headed to a small meadow that is in front of our house.

On June 7th, hay harvest season officially begins and the rain is over for almost two weeks.

Thankfully before it broke down one field was cut, season, tetted, raked and baled.

Eddie cut it down, Heather tetted and raked and Eddie baled it without getting it wet one time!!

Beautiful 4 x 4 bales that the cattle will love come wintertime!!

He moved on to a field that we normally pasture but this spring the grass is waist-high to my tall farmer and he didn’t want the cattle moved on it to only eat the short under-growth and waste the chance for a few extra bales in the haylot.  THEN EVERYTHING CAME TO A HALT!!

After three rounds of mowing in the field this major piece of equipment, called a haybine, had a major meltdown.

There are two rollers with heavy rubber that looks like big tire rubber under the outer frame of the haybine.  One end of the bottom roller had some heavy damage and the hay started wadding up between and on the end of the roller causing bearings to burn up.  No hay made for two weeks waiting for that roller replacement to come in and a half day to replace it on the machine. Eddie had the awesome help of our farming neighbor, Andy Hutton, to fix the haybine!   The parts to repair cost  almost $4000.  No farming is NOT cheap.  While waiting on the parts to come in, Eddie called other farm equipment dealers and talked to other farmers to find out what kind of an ordeal he was in for and no one had EVER heard of a roller wearing out!!

Anyway, the equipment is repaired and we’re ready to roll on the hayfields again but we have to wait for our next four days of rain to come in and move out!!  Life goes on!!

 

 

 

 

 

First batch 2018

Sweet joy-black raspberries growing wild beside our garage.

Cleaned and ready for a quick freeze until I have enough to make some raspberry jam or ice cream OR BOTH!

I spread them out on a baking sheet after they’ve been washed, dried with a paper towel and then spread them out. Pop them in the freezer!

They’re really nice this year and sooooo sweet!

We got a 12 ounce Cool Whip bowl full.

We should have another bowl full by the weekend and then another patch on the farm should start ripening!  I’m so excited that I have something to finally store for the winter of 2018.

Cleaning Up The Apple Orchard

What a mess!! The blackberry vines have taken over our apple orchard at the farm the last two years. It was actually hard to get to the apple trees to pick the fruit!  This picture was taken last fall after Eddie had mowed off enough to allow us to walk through the orchard.

Three years ago we had a bumper crop of blackberries all over the farm.  I froze more berries that year and made more juice than we had ever had.  We think what we didn’t pick, reseeded or the birds and raccoons  ate them and reseeded everywhere they went.

Hubby on the tractor using the bushhog to take the mess down. You can’t restore the orchard if you can’t get to the ground to plant new tree stock.

The equipment attached to the back of the tractor is the bushhog. You run over the brush and unwanted vines and it chops it all up much like a lawnmower but on a bigger scale.

The blackberry vines had come up in rows all through the orchard.

Half way through and it’s looking so much better.  The blackberry vines were from four feet tall to well over 10 feet tall.

This is a different angle from half way back in the orchard looking toward the front where most of the mess was.

I think it looks 100% better now. The chickens were having a blast digging through the downed brambles!!

 

Overgrown Rhubarb

Three years ago I bought some rhubarb tubers for my garden.

New rhubarb started in 2015,

We had some extra old tractor tires that I decided to use for the rhubarb bed.  I didn’t put them directly in the ground because we have such a problem with wire grass.  Wire grass regenerates itself by spread roots underground and it’s really hard to get completely out of any garden bed and flower bed.  I laid black cloth under the tire and then filled it with garden soil and manure from my chickens and rabbits and mixed it up really good.

I expected it to grow but not as much as it did.  The tire bed is 12 inches deep and  44 inches around.  Three years later the bed is too crowded and my rhubarb it way too thick.  I dug out two of the four plants in the bed and and divided the tubers into six pieces each and started a new bed near our quince tree in the corner of the garden.

One small patch beside the tire bed. I cleaned out all the grass, worked up the soil with a spade and fork and added a little dirt from the garden edges.

The tubers are 12 inches apart  in  up and down the bed and across the bed.  I fenced it off to keep the chickens from digging it up since we haven’t fenced off the garden yet.

Wonderfully rich soil and some rain showers should give the new beds a great start. I don’t expect to get anything from them this year but next spring should prove very fruitful if the weather cooperates this year.

The tubers in the tire bed have twice the room to grow and now maybe they won’t bloom as quickly.

Now there are only two bunches of rhubarb in the tire. I will probably have to pull one bunch out again next year. We’ll see how it goes!

The rhubarb stalks were getting about 8 inches long and then blooming, not good!!  I always pull off the blooms to send the energy to the stalks.

I froze a lot of rhubarb last year.  My favorite recipe is to clean and cut the stalks into one inch cubes (about four cups)  and pour just enough water over the cubes in a saucepan and slow cook until the rhubarb cooks up.  I take it off the heat and add two cups of sugar and box of our favorite jello.  We especially like strawberry or raspberry jello but I’ve also used cherry or blackberry, yum!!  Let it cool completely in the pan and serve.  This usually makes enough for four pints of fruited rhubarb and I pour it in plastic tubs and freeze three of them.  It freezes well and it’s fantastic to eat like applesauce or on toast like jams/jellies.  DELIGHTFUL!

Fruit Tree Frost Damage

The last three weeks have been warm and then cold, rain, ice, sleet, snow, we’ve had it all.

Our cherry trees were in full bloom and BAM and now they’re brown and all the blooms have fell off.Image result for blooming cherry trees

Our peach trees had started blooming and BAM, the blooms are falling off.Image result for blooming peach trees

Heavy bloom on the plum trees looks now like they’ve been burnt.Image result for blooming plum trees

The apple trees are budding and the quince tree is budding.  The rhubarb leaves are curled up and the asparagus stems are mushy.

We’ve had a lot of very warm days and then the temps drop in the 20’s*.  Mother Nature just isn’t being very nice in this spring of 2018.

 

In Our Backyard

The last two weeks have shown us a beauty of nature that we rarely see.

Lovely little American Goldfinchs gather on and under our bird feeders in our back yard.  The red house finch is in the middle of this little flock.

Adult males in spring and early summer are bright yellow with black forehead, black wings with white markings, and white patches both above and beneath the tail. Adult females are duller yellow beneath.  We normally don’t have them at our feeders or in the fields until late spring, early summer so this is a real treat.

At one time this week I counted over thirty on the ground under feeders eating up the sunflower seed that had been picked out of the feeders.

I love watching all the birds from my kitchen window.
We have finches, sparrows, red-winged blackbirds, long-tailed blackbirds and several mourning doves every morning.

Since they’ve arrived so early I’m hoping with all my heart that spring is truly just around the corner.

Firewood For the Next Heating Season

Crazy isn’t it??  We’ve just about finished a heating season and now we start preparing for another one!  It’s not a vicious circle, it’s life on the farm!

Last fall we had this huge pile of firewood stacked on the outside of the wood house.

We covered it up so it would continue to dry.  The wood house was about half full and we didn’t want to add any to it because a lot of it had been seasoned for 2-3 years and needed to be used.  So we emptied out the woodshed and didn’t have to cut any firewood all winter.  We used about half of the stack in the photo above and I just recently stacked the remainder to start our fuel for next winter.  We NEVER burn unseasoned firewood!  Flue fires are not on our list of fun!

The woodshed is probably a 20 ft. x 24 ft. shed and we now have two full ranks front to back and about 7 ft. high.

We still have room for four more ranks to fill it up. This is well seasoned and under a covered roof so it’ll be great for heating in 2018 thru 2019 winter.

Hubby has already cut down four huge dead oak and wild cherry trees to complete the harvest and we have two truck loads of already cut up but needs to be split.  We use locust, ash,and maple for firewood, as well.We’ll try to get this done in the next month so it won’t interfere with hay season and it won’t be full of bees and snakes.

Just a little more work on the farm!