We had summer in May and June has been on the chilly side a few times and cool weather brings out the country cooking in me! I had a head of cabbage in the fridge that needed to be used so I pulled out my wok and set to work.
We don’t have any purchased berry plants on the farm but are overrun with blackberries. We have a few black raspberries which are my favorite. All of these have been planted by the birds once again just like our asparagus patches around the garden. The black raspberry patch that is doing so well this year is on the back side of our big garage and are protected by the wind and harsh winter because they right along side the east wall. Eddie and I both have been picking a few everyday.
I now have two gallon bags full and have about ten bags from last year. Raspberry jam is very easy to make and no pectin is required because they have their own natural pectin. I’ll work in the morning and come home to make as much jam as I can! Hay season will start again on Tuesday if the weathermen know what they’re talking about and everyone will be busy on the farm!!
I diligently starting working on my yard flowerbed in May starting with my rose garden which has been weeded, fertilized and prepared for new rose bushes to take place of so many that I lost during the winter either to the cold or the wild rabbits.
I’ve worked on the front bed facing the house and to the right of the front gate but waiting on blooms for the later summer bloom. I have a few coneflower preparing to bloom with big buds next to the rose garden.. The lilac didn’t bloom this year and I’ve researched what I need to do before another year. This was it’s first spring since it was planted late summer in 2018. The hollyhock is blooming and the hibiscus will be later. I have one shasta daisy that was transplanted and I’m still hopeful it will bloom once the weather stays warm. I tried a butterfly bush beside the front gate but it did not survive, which I half expected since it was one of boxed bushes you find real cheap in most stores. A new well-established one is on my list for spring 2020.
The bell garden was my next cleanup but a summer cold/allergies/sinus problems slammed me into bed a few days and after 10 days I think I’m near the end of the mess. I sat in the sun in this garden on Tuesday and got a few things done.
I can’t wait to feel well enough to get back in my gardens but Mother Nature needs to slow down the winds and rain just for a few days! We also have about 65 acres of hay left to roll for our first cutting this year.
Here are three of my favorite tips around the home:
If your brown sugar hardens up or get big hard lumps in it before you can use it up, stick a single slice of bread in the container and close it up. In 12 -24 hours your brown sugar will be fresh as if you just bought it.
I bake a lot of homemade cookies and at times I can’t put my hands on a truly airtight container to store them in so I treat those cookies just like my brown sugar. Stick a fresh slice of bread in the cookie tin on top of the cookies for a few hours and those cookies will be as fresh as they were when you first baked them.
Like I’ve said before I love to bake and one of my favorite baked goods is a lemon meringue pie. My oven is not exactly right and there are times that the outer edge of my pie crusts gets over done. To remedy this I keep a long piece of foil by my baking tins. I tear it off the roll about 30-36″ long, fold it in half until I have a long strip about 3 inches wide and I wrap it around the pie crust when the crust is golden so it won’t burn. Make sense?? The next time I make pies I’ll take a photo of the results. This strip of foil can be used over and over again.
More of my tips to come!
Where is summer??? I’m cold!!! Last week I only worked one day and on Thursday I came down with a killer head cold and a lot of congestion. On Wednesday last week hubby and I spent most of the day wearing extra shirts and got a big chunk of our winter wood split and stacked for the winter.
The wind blew all day but I was never uncomfortable and we did this for about five hours taking short breaks every so often.
We were tired but very proud of the big job we got started. I fixed supper that evening after we finished our regular chores, took a hot shower and went to bed. I woke up the next morning barely able to move and a head full of the awfulest mess you could ever have. I started taking meds for it and slept off and on for forty eight hours. I missed this entire week of work and am recuperating but still not able to be out amongst folks. Eddie worked more on the wood pile today but I have been in the house trying to feel better. My inhalers and Muscinex are helping but everyone is telling me it’s going to take time to get completely over it. I truly hope that summer comes to visit next week because this crazy weather is NOT my friend!!
This has got to be one of the most loving pups we have ever had in our home. She came to us with some bad habits but in three months they’ve all been corrected or being worked on. Sadie will be eight months old next week and she has stopped chasing the chickens, she’s learning not to jump up on everyone that comes to the farm, she’s treeing squirrels and she not afraid of Donald our drake anymore. She has learned to stay away from the cattle and she alerts us to new guests that arrive. She does get overly-excited when anyone comes to visit especially our kids and granddaughter.
I’m sure this will change once she becomes more aware of the wild animals that are lurking about at night and the not so wild ones! In the meantime, she’s our baby and some hunting/training will begin more strictly once hay season is finished and Eddie has more time to train her to a lead and get her out in the woods on a more frequent basis. Until then I will keep up the simple training in the yard and on a daily basis.
Our farm is constantly growing something whether it be crops for the cattle, the garden, the herd or the flock. Each spring I try to add new chicks to the flock so that in the winter months I can still have eggs while the older chickens can take a break. Most chickens start laying at six months of age. I recently added eighteen bitties to the farm.There are six Buff Orpingtons, six Speckled Susses and six Columbian Wyandottes.
We had a visitor on the farm not too many weeks ago and at first glance we did not realize it was a crane that had come in during the night with the fog. We see them all the night but had never seen one preening itself on our boat house.
He looked so very short sitting up there and I was convinced it had to be something different until. . . .
It flew off and set atop a broken down locust tree in the bull lot next to the boat house. These birds are huge, endangered and eat lots of fish from our pond and we think are probably the cause of the demise of our frog population too!!
They are huge yet elegant birds with extremely long legs.
He sat in the top of that tree for most of the morning and I don’t think we’ve seen it since that morning.
Not too long after we got Sadie, our Norwegian Elkhound puppy, we decided we should take her for walks around the farm to get used to everything. One afternoon we walked down what we call “Barker Hollow” (our neighbors, George and Betsy live down that way) with our pup and started walking back toward home and I realized it was gone!! The diamond my husband got me when we got married had come out of the setting after 47 years. I WAS DEVASTATED!!
We knew there wasn’t much since in looking for it because it could have fell out of the setting anywhere down through the dirt road we had walked. When we got home I took off the engagement ring and the wrap that he bought for me a couple years back and was determined to replace it as soon as I could.
Eddie replaced it for me for Mother’s Day and my hand feels back to normal!
I sure hope this one lasts as long as the old one!!!
We went to bed with 39 degrees and woke up to frost. In just a few short hours its ruined!
The apple trees are not blooming yet and one of my pear trees are just at the bud stage. Three years in a row we’ve lost fruit to frost. We have cherry trees high on the mountain and in our back orchard that may not have been hurt but this is April and frost is a normal spring thing!!!
With this bloom gone we just have to pray that there will be enough other bloom not damaged and the honeybees will have enough to live on until we have more bloom.
March plagued us with unusual calving events but not due to weather events. First and previously posted was the “trouble” issue from a first time mother and a calf to large to deliver normally. Eddie assisted in that delivery which produced the largest calf we have ever delivered and to date the largest calf this year.
Our second abnormal delivery was an older cow in our spring herd and she had never had any issues in the past. This time she delivered a normal to small bull calf that was dead. Shortly after this delivery she had another small dead bull calf and then all of her insides came out. I’m not talking about prolapse, this was all of her female organs and intestines. Eddie put her down quickly after to prevent ANY suffering.
Then about 10 days later another heifer delivered a huge bull calf that Eddie and I both helped deliver in our holding. This calf lived but mother and calf were weak for about two weeks but the calf is growing.
The last one born was also a five-hour labor ordeal with a heifer and we had an issue after the deliver that Eddie assisted. About an hour or so after the delivery the calf was never able to get up to nurse. We have found in the past that if the new babe and mom are left alone things usually go as expected. We watched this calf and mother from our front porch and Eddie decided to take the heifers some grain to keep them away from the new mother and babe. After pouring the grain he went to investigate the situation and found all of the calf’s intestine had come out of its belly button/naval. NEVER had we seen or heard of this! We called a neighbor and they had never dealt with it but had heard of it and was willing to come assist. In the meantime, I googled it and how to fix without a vet’s assistance (the cost of the vet and having to take to a hospital would far out weigh what we could get out of the calf IF it survived). We got a clean tarp and put it in the bucket of the tractor and Eddie and I lifted him into the tractor bucket without issue. We then hauled him to the garage where our neighbor found us to work on the calf. First we sterilized all the equipment with 100% alcohol and then poured it all over the intestines and tried to get as much dirt and debris from the navel and the intestine without bursting them. This took lots of time and Andy was so meticulous about cleaning everything. Inch by inch he started pushing the intestines back into the body cavity and at one point he had to make the navel opening a bit larger and after about an hour he was ready to close up the opening. During this entire process Eddie was holding the back feet & legs and I was holding the front legs and feet, the calf did not move even being on it’s back during the entire time. Andy cleaned the incision several times more and then closed it all with vet staples. He gave the calf a large dose of antibiotics and covered the wound with more alcohol. We took the calf back to his mother and she started cleaning him all over again. You have to remember that his calf had never been able to get up to nurse. We tried to give him colostrum to no avail and in the next three days he got up three times that we saw but we NEVER saw him nurse even with mom’s encouragement. On the fourth day he died and as an afterthought we think we should have used a system that you put a hose down their throat into their stomach for nourishment or may should have put it down immediately but we always try to save them after the mother has gone through nine months of keeping them alive.
I want to thank our wonderful neighbor, Andy Hutton, for all he did that day and help he has given us in the past. He hauls our cattle, helps us find good buyers for our stock, helping in repair our equipment and there for us to answer our questions. Though we’ve been farming for 40+ years it’s always good to get first and second opinions. Andy is our “go-to-farmer”!!!
We only have two more heifers to calve and about 9-10 older cows in our spring herd to deliver. Wish us luck!!
What a glorious morning with all of the green grass around the farm! We had a horrific thunder and lightning storm around midnight that lasted 35 minutes. It was so bad that I brought Sadie and she slept peacefully by our bed all night. I would love for you to be sitting on my front porch and see the glory of God that I can see!!
For some reason my camera is showing yesterday’s date but believe they’re two entirely different days!! Yesterday was gloomy and wet most of the day! As soon as the cake comes out of the oven and I get the bread made I’m going to be outside enjoying the splendor!!!
We’ve not decided if he will possibly become a sire on the farm but he definitely looks and acts like a full-grown young bull!
Sadie turned five months old this month and it’s hard to believe we’ve had her for a little over a month! She has turned into quite a guard dog by barking when someone comes in, if she sees someone walking along the road, if the bulls move from one side of the bull lot to the other, and especially if the newborn calves are running and playing.
Last night we had a stray dog come to visit and the hair was standing all along the top of her back, from head to tail. She was going to eat it alive! We don’t know who it belongs to but it soon left. It was solid black with a blue rhinestone collar that lit up when our spotlight hit it. Sadie yipped and growled until we went to bed.
She’s just as beautiful as she was when we got her and we’re just as in love with her now as we were a month ago. Her favorite toy our is our coonhound Mischief and they will play all day. She has learned that it’s not polite to run the chickens and ducks and now we’re concentrating on NOT chasing cars from our house or anywhere for that matter. She’s a bit intimidated by the tractors and she still does not like riding in the vehicles or the gator but we’re still working on that. Sadie loves walking in the woods and when there’s no wind we go on family walks with her. Eddie hoping we’ll eventually run across some squirrels during our walks. She has already treed one below Mischiefs doghouse but didn’t stay with it very long since she couldn’t find it once it went up the tree.
More updates to come on her growth and progress! Enjoy your animals!
We love Creasy Green which others may call Field Cress or Dryland Cress. We haven’t had any on this farm though we’ve tried several times. We’ve concluded that the ground is too rich and creasy greens like poor ground.
We have a market fairly close to home that brings in fresh produce weekly and we asked the owner of SuperValu on Rt. 460 if he could get some in and call us when they come in. He called on Sunday afternoon and we went to pick them up.
Monday and Tuesday afternoon I washed them, washed them a second time (sand seems to hold fast to them) and then blanched them in a very large pot.
I boiled it hard to blanch the greens and they cooked down to about a quarter of the bottom of the pot. No salt or seasoning because I wanted to freeze them in quart bags. I got six quarts out of the first cooking and four out of the second batch. We had a large bowl of them for dinner last night and they were so good.
We love them with pinto beans, fried potatoes, and cornbread!! Great meal!
Maple sugar time is upon us and because of the freaky weather we may not get to make any this year. It’s either raining or icing our world and we’re sure the sap has come up but we’re expecting 20 degree weather over the weekend and next week.
The one little calf needs/wants a playmate so much. Today he was running laps around his mom for fun!
Goodbye February! We’re anticipating the March winds, have had enough showers so April can be semi-wet and bring in some of those beautiful May flowers!!!
We are having a whirlwind spring or end of winter and we don’t know from one day to the next what the temperature will be. Last night we were experiencing 35-60 mile per hour wind gusts. Thankfully there was no damage to anything that we have found. We deal with this while waiting on baby calves to be born!! Farming is a challenge, especially beginning this year.
On February 20th Sadie turned four months old and the things she has learned in the short time we’ve had her is amazing. She goes to the door and looks back at us when she wants/needs to go out. The potty training is going amazingly! She has figured out how to get out of the yard gate to go visit with Mischief, our coon hound. When the ATV starts up she knows Dad is going to the woods or to feed the bulls. She knows when I go to the kitchen it’s mealtime. She’s learned the sounds of our vehicles and waits at the door for visitors barking her head off. She has learned how to wake Mom up to go outside (barking by my bed) or when she thinks it’s time for everyone to get up. She has learned that “down” means to stay down and not jump up on us. She has learned that there are moles in our front yard and she’s determined to get them for me no matter how many holes she has to dig. Yard gardening is going to be a challenge this spring!!! 🙂
Because we’ve had so much rain and she loves being outside I have to put down heavy paper in the path she uses from the front door to through the kitchen.
She does not like to ride in the vehicles. We took a ride yesterday afternoon on our road to check out the flood damage and she got sick before we could get back home. Poor thing was as nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chair!!!
We were supposed to keep our son’s black lab this weekend but I asked him to hold off a couple more months because Sadie is so little and Bucky is a full-grown pup that loves to wrestle and I’m afraid he may hurt it for now. We’ll let them visit before too long though and she’ll have another playmate.
I’m praising her a lot but she still has an issue with my chickens and wants to chase anything that runs so we’ll be doing some heavy training in that regard. Bucky likes to chase the chickens too and their togetherness might just get a little out of hand. More updates on her growth and training to come.
I’ve been working on my gardening journal the last couple nights and have almost got a layout and what flowers will go where when spring arrives. I’m planning on having Cleome (Spider Plant), Coneflower and Hollyhock in the back corner. First I will dig up all of the sedum and daylilies and move them to new places in the yard or outside the yard fence.
I’ll plant 18 x 18 inch clusters of each of these three. As I move to the front of the triangle I’ll plant 12-18 inch tall plants such as Columbine, Lupine and Poppies.
The columbine is already in the ground and one of my favorite perennials. I also have primrose in the bed and they’re usually the first to bloom but the bloom doesn’t last too long so now I’m trying to find something to plant between each primrose plant to keep the garden blooming all year.
Can you tell I”m anxious for spring to get here and to dig in the dirt???
We’re not especially covered up with farm work at the moment due to the very wet weather and cold winds. As most farms are this time of year, we normally would be working on fences, cutting next years firewood, trimming damaged trees and pruning fruit trees. All of that work is not being completed now because we can’t get anywhere on the farm for the mud. It’s so easy to get hung up even feeding the cattle. When I go to the henhouse in the afternoon I wear my knee top rubber boots and the mud is so slimy and thick that it tries to suck my boots off. The ducks have issues getting to and from their water sources and the chickens stay close to the henhouse because their feet get caked with mud! We’ve had record rainfall and this week is loaded with more rain, ice and snow. We’re very anxious about this due to 14 heifers (cow that hasn’t had a calf) due to deliver beginning today.
Farms always have a lot of varmints and I guess, towns do too but we seem to be overrun with them. After Sassy died two years ago the varmints have become very brazen and are in the yard as much as out of it! We’ve wanted another dog on the farm mainly to keep such critters at bay yet we wanted one we would train and not someone else’s with attributes that are not particularly farm and socially attractive!! I’m not ready for another Sassy (cocker spaniel) yet.
We’ve had several dogs and cats in our 47 years and have always been partial to Cockers and Norwegian Elkhounds which we have had at least five in those 47 years. We’ve had different people checking in their areas for the Elkhounds and over the weekend we found our new girl!
She was NOT potty trained but in four days has learned that all she has to do is going to the front door and whine to go out. I’m doing a lot of “pooper scooping: in the yard at the moment because we don’t want her to be free to go just anywhere without us. At six months we are hoping we’ll be able to leave the front yard gate open at night so she can ward off varmints or alert us that they are encroaching on her territory!! Yesterday she met Arby and Samson, two of our huge black Angus bulls and she barked her little self crazy until they took a step near her and then she was between my feet. The bulls didn’t pay much attention to her. Later in the morning while we were doing some fence repairs in the heifer lot she decided to let the heifers know that she was the new boss in town. These heifers weigh around 750-850 pounds each and are due any day to have their first calves and they don’t like dogs! Anyway, Sadie decided to walk out into the middle of the herd and give them the devil but not even five minutes later you would have thought the devil was on her heels. She came screaming back toward us and ran into a woven wire fence which she could not get through and headed around the corner of the orchard fence and straight into our arms, peeing and pooping all the way. She was literally petrified and we were laughing ourselves to death. She did learn to stay away from those girls because today I took her for a walk with me to put mail out for the postman and instead of staying close to me as we walked the driveway along the heifer lot Sadie made a broad path about twenty feet on the opposite side of the driveway and growling all the way to the mailbox and back!!!
We are also trying to get her used to riding in the farm trucks with us. She is scared of riding and of vehicles. The day we bought her home we had to put her in a dog crate on the back of the truck and I’m so glad we had it because she was very ill riding in the back of the truck. We will start with short trips on the farm and on our road until she feels more comfortable. Yesterday during our second trip riding out the 1/8 mile driveway she tried to jump out of my arms and out the truck window. I also learned a very valuable lesson on this trip, leave the windows up until she is more comfortable riding in the truck!!!
So for now, I will be kept very busy during our very wet season, mopping the floors and keeping the yard as clean as I can. We’re expecting the kids to come visit her for the first time this weekend. I think she’ll love them as much as she loves us!!
I just love my husband to death and he never fails to surprise me throughout the year with his hand-made gifts for me. We celebrated our 47th wedding anniversary on Monday the 4th (1972) and have done a lot of reminiscing this entire week. Forty-seven years is a long time but it just doesn’t seem like it’s been that long. This year he surprised me with a handmade piece of furniture for my kitchen.
Thank you my love for all your ingenuity, patience and time in building me such a fine piece of furniture for our home. I will use with love and thoughts of you forever!!
The temps are dropping fast this afternoon and the wind is gusting from 20 – 30 mph at the moment. Tonight is supposed to be much worse. We’ll have the stove cranked up and the teakettle full!
The past few years we’ve been and will probably continue to in the coming years be replacing all of the fencing on the farm. The wire has rotted and posted broke off at the top of the ground. We saved all of the locust post just for nights like tonight when the temps will be below zero when the wind is factored in. The locust burns hot but slow which makes it hold overnight (almost) and we don’t have to get up every two hours to load the stove when the fire has burnt down.
Everyone stay warm tonight and don’t forget to bed all the farm animals down with extra food and hay to stay warm!! Bring those pets indoors if you really love them!!