Country Girl Through & Through
I'm a country girl from the western part of Virginia in a small community of New Castle/Craig County. I've lived in Craig all my life-eighteen years with my parents and siblings and forty + years with my wonderful husband.
We have two children, a boy and a girl, and two grandchildren, all of which we love very much. We live on a 500 acre+ farm that has been in my husbands family for over 200 years. We are raising beef cattle, chickens, rabbits and a couple dogs.. We grow pretty much all we eat or harvest from the farm and I can't imagine living anywhere else.
I love to create, craft, quilt, read, write, decorate, crochet, candlewick, bake, bow hunt, cook, garden, farm animals and walking/hunting in the woods. I love sharing our home with family and friends.
I hope you enjoy the posts that I enter on my blog and hopefully will be helpful and/or fun to all that read it.
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Preemie to ONE Year OldThe Big DayJuly 8th, 201741 days to go.
Some of My Favorite Blogs
- Easy Peasy Pleasy
- All Glorious
- Life is a Party
- Life In The Lofthouse
- Author Karen White's Blog
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- The Cape Coop
- Robby Robin's Journey
- Homemade Happiness
- New Garden Homestead
- The Farmer's Wifee
- Fresh from the Farm
- COUNTRY LINKed
- Sew She Sews's
- The Ranch Wife Chronicles
- Life, Old Fashioned
- One Grace Filled Life
- Roxy Moto
- Chris' pilgrimages
- The Make Your Own Zone
- Misty Meadows Homestead & more!
- The Professional Domestic
- Putterboo Farm
- 3B Brae's Brown Bags - Braeden Quinn Mannering
- Rise and Shine Rabbitry
- Cynthia Reyes - Author
- BarML and Ranch Life
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Sampler QuiltCompletion of the King-size Sampler QuiltDecember 31st, 20177 months to go.
Category Archives: Gardening
Yesterday was the first pretty day I’ve had in over a week without the wind trying to blow me off the mountain!!! Hubby was turkey hunting and our daughter was working on the yard at her new house so I decided to tackle the rest of our yard and it was bad!
I started raking around 1:00, I think, and finished about two hours later. I hauled my big wheelbarrow away with six packed-down loads. Now the entire yard has been cleaned up and I’m ready for some gorgeous flowers to brighten my life!!
I just took some empty jars to the cellar and took an accounting of what is left from summer 2016 canning.
We have a huge pile of potatoes leftover and will probably sell them in the coming months. I’ll can about 15-20 quarts but the rest will go in the garden for seed and we’ll eat some more until they start sprouting. They’re bakers and peeling size and have been so good throughout the winter.
Hubby has plowed the garden and we’re hoping we’ll get some spring rain on it before we disk it up for planting.
It also seems to get bigger each year!!! This year we’ll plan the usual crops of green beans, corn, potatoes, tomatoes, squash, broccoli, brussel sprouts, melons, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, and in the fall some turnips and field greens.
Hope your planting season is grand and praying we have an abundant season this year. In the coming weeks I’ll be cleaning off the various asparagus patches we have and watching the rhubarb show its sprouts already. I had six grape vines started new last year and they all survived but one. I bought this red grape to replace it.
We also went to Food Lion yesterday and bought three dwarf apple trees for the orchard at the mansion.
We’ve cleaned out the garden and everything has been stored, frozen or canned. Hubby did till up a few spots and planted some turnips as a winter crop. He loves them boiled and with almost every meal. I like them raw!!
I washed them good on the outside, split them in half, scooped out the pulp and seed and then sliced them to make peeling easier.
I diced them up in 1-2 inch pieces and put them in an old canner. I put one quart of water over them to cook on the stove on medium low heat.
They need to cook slowly to keep from sticking/scorching. I don’t add any seasoning until they’re to be used for pies, cookies, or pumpkin bread.
Once they’re tender enough to stick with a fork, I drain off the water and run the pumpkin through my sieve. It’s very important to get as much water out of the pumpkin as possible before mashing. I usually let the pumpkin set in the sieve for about 15-20 minutes so the water on the pieces will drip out. Dump this water out before pressing.
Out of the four pumpkins, I canned six pints and three quarts. I can’t wait to start baking with them. My pumpkin recipes will be added to my Recipes From My House To Yours page tomorrow.
I hope you can enjoy your garden harvest as much as we are. With Hurricane Matthew charging up the coast and a cold front moving in from the northwest I’ve used some of our harvest today to make a big pot of homemade soup!!! It’s suppertime!
It seems all I’ve accomplished this summer is canning. That’s not a bad thing but when you work so hard all summer and it all fits in one room it’s kind of underwhelming!!
We still need to harvest and freeze some more corn, dig the potatoes and sweet potatoes, harvest the pumpkins and late cabbage.
We froze 16 pints of corn this morning and it’s so sweet. During the summer I’ve kept busy filling these jars:
We froze 24 bags of broccoli and we we’re STILL waiting on the Brussel sprouts. We’ve never raised them before but the plants are about two feet tall, still healthy and a beautiful green. We see lots of little heads at the bottom of the stalk but not enough to harvest yet. They seem to be waiting on something.
I froze 25 half-pints of rhubarb and a few pints of applesauce and don’t need a lot because we have some left in the freezer from last year. I diced six gallon bags of green peppers.
We’ve fought potato beetles all summer and they seem immune to everything we’ve sprayed on them. The potato bin is empty now but looks like we’ll have a good harvest again. We were afraid with all the rain we’ve had this summer that they might rot.
I hope everyone’s harvest has been as wonderful as ours. The garden is still full of tomatoes and corn but I think we’ve put away all we need this year.
The hens have sure enjoyed all the scraps!
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.
Our granddaughter graduated from high school in June and starts college in a couple weeks. Where has the time gone!!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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!!
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????
The roses are beautiful but when you add a little nature . . .
then you add a view like this . . .
beauty is everywhere!!!
Proof of spring and early summer!
Can you tell I absolutely love peonies and have them all over the yard!?
This is what is blooming at our house right now, the last day of May!!!
I’m whipped in a good way and made a major accomplishment with the aid of my wonderful husband today.
This morning hubby tilled up the entire area for me and afterwards I worked for three hours raking, leveling, pushing, prodding and now we have a really nice bed to show off some of my favorite flowers.
It turned out a lot bigger than I had originally planned but it will be beautiful when all the plants are up and blooming.
I’ll be filling it full of tall flowers of hollyhocks, hibiscus, and coneflower and others as I find what I want but they’ll all be perennials and I’m planning to put a snowball bush as the end closest to the driveway but on the outside of the bed. There’s a young peach tree full of pink buds today at the other end of the bed. I will be planting all of the seeds in a couple of weeks after we warm up just a little bit more. I have a friend in Colorado that has just had another snowfall and I want to wait for that system to pass us by.
I think it’s going to be beautiful and will show off the side of the house as well. I can’t put a lot of perennials in the yard because there’s too much shade but this bed will get sun all day and will be somewhat protected from the north and west winds.
Our home and yard is surrounded by huge, beautiful maple trees. We use them for shade while relaxing in the yard, cooling the house in the summertime and making maple syrup in the spring. They’re beautiful in the summer and fall BUT they shade most all of my flowerbeds and I do love my flowers. Towards the end of summer I asked hubby if he thought trimming the lower limbs on the big maple in the front yard would damage the tree or change the cooling factor in regards to the house. He studied on it and we decided that during a real cold snap we would take off the bottom three largest limbs.
I will not give up the tree because we spent our afternoons when it’s hot and evenings there all summer long.
We did do the trimming this year and from the front porch it’s like a whole new world has lit up by just removing the bottom three large branches. I can only imagine how it will look during the summer. I have bulbs and tubers all along that fence that have a few blooms and I’m hoping this will improve their beauty and blooms.
It’s nothing major and won’t hurt the structure of the tree and hopefully the grass and flowerbeds on this side of the yard will benefit from the trim.
My beautiful daughter knows me so well and knows that in May I’m thinking about my flower gardens and what to hang on the porches, in the gazebo, in my antique wheelbarrow and anywhere else that I can find a hole to put some spring color!! The last couple years it’s red and purple and blue and white. Here’s what she came up with and presented to me for Mother’s Day 2015:
Let’s walk through my 2015 June garden:
We’ll walk again soon!! It’s glorious and I didn’t plant anything new this year except for the petunias, sweet potato vine, and more that my daughter bought for me on Mother’s Day and the flat of begonias Eddie bought for me.
Few words and lots of photos of this years rose garden that I am so proud of. I thought I had lost most of the new roses I planted in 2014 due to the horribly cold weather we had but low and behold here’s what I’m singing praises for.
The rain and wind has battered them today so this evening after the storm passed through I trimmed off all the dead blooms, cut a vase for the kitchen table and now I’ll wait for them to all rebloom (I hope)!!
As you can see from the picture our house is surrounded by the beautiful maple trees which provide lots of shade in the summertime and maple syrup in the spring. We love the trees but it has been a real challenge finding plants that grow well in the yard and grass that survives the shade and our cold winter. The left side of the house gets the morning sun and grows well and most of my roses are on that side and in the front. The left side however is the challenge. Hubby built this hanging table for me last year for Mother’s Day and I keep it covered with lots of my indoor plants in the summertime and bird feeders in the winter.
I have found a few flowering perennials that like the shade but none better than hostas, begonias, impatiens and bleeding hearts.
This corner of my yard gets hardly any sun due to the shade trees and this winter my planning will be filling it with shade lovers.
Daylilies and tiger lilies do well but the blooms don’t last long enough. I’m currently looking through all of my seed/plant catalogs in search of the all summer shade garden to dress it up with the dinner bell as my focal point. I think astilbes, bleeding hearts, hostas, lamium, lilyturf, and monkshood will compliment each other and layering them from the dinner bell post to the front by height will look nice. Primrose, Lenten rose, coral bells, bergenia and false spirea are some good prospects, as well. I need to amend the soil with some good compost and garden soil and maybe a little chicken manure they should all get a good start.
The plants in front of the stones are herbs and they just did not get enough sun. If any survive, they’ll go in a raised bed near the grape arbor beside the garden and be covered with chicken wire to keep the lovely ladies out of it.
I’m thinking spring!!! How about you???
Back in late summer I decided that I had to get rid of some of my houseplants. I had about 50 different colors of Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter cacti, herbs, orchids, violets and ivy’s. I picked out one of each color for myself and re-potted the rest as I divided them for two friends that love plants as much as I do. Here’s a few:
The list goes on and on and something had to give plus the fact that my daughter and husband gave me several hanging basket throughout the spring and summer that I wanted to save. They included these beauties:
I had one problem! I re-potted most of the cacti in topsoil instead of potting mix and left them out in our summer rains. I’m not sure how the one’s the girls did but mine started dying because I could not get the water out of the pots. During my winter break from the college I re-potted as many of what I kept in good potting soil and they’re starting to show life again and are blooming. I learned my lesson, don’t use topsoil and do use potting soil or garden soil if you are trying to save your plants. I have a great start for 2015!!
My cactus was moved the week before Christmas after all of their bloom dropped off and this is what they look like now!
Can’t believe I can remember that nursery rhyme!! I wanted to share with you the spectacular bloom my flowers and garden have provided this year. Hope you enjoy the photo shoot.
I had something blooming all summer and now the hibiscus, cardinal flower, hyacinth bean and trumpet vine are starting to open but it’s too wet to get new pictures. I’ve had a very good year. We’ve canned almost 100 quarts of green beans and hubby finally pulled up the last of the beans yesterday and fed them to the cows. He planted turnips in their place and the corn should be ready in a few days. In the spring the new rhubarb set got a great start. The asparagus just wouldn’t quit bearing and the strawberries got a great start too. We got raspberries and blueberries before the birds got all of them. God has been good to us this year!! Fall is upon us and soon winter will make us very glad and grateful for all of the bounty He helped us produce and these pictures will get me through the winter months waiting for spring to come again. Our migrating hummingbirds have returned and I’m patiently waiting for the hummingbird moth to return. Our fall calves have started arriving and the spring calves are growing fast!! Life is good on the farm!
I truly love roses and am trying so hard to make them grow and survive our mountain farm. In the spring I found a wonderful buy at Breck’s for five roses for $19.99 and they were bare root roses. When they arrived they were already showing lots of new growth but I was afraid to plant them because we were still getting freezing temps day and night several days in a row. Finally in early May, hubby helped me dig the holes and we put them in the ground with two tablespoons of epsom salts and lots of water.
I watered them every day May through mid-June and we started getting some rain. Now I water them thoroughly once or twice a week depending on the rain. They are doing quite well and all but one has bloomed and it’s still sprouting new growth. I’m watching it carefully and giving it lots of love! Here’s proof of the blooming:
Now, I started this post in June and here it is the 8th of August and (more about that later) here’s what my beautiful roses have done all summer:
I’m dealing with some japanese beetles and some black spot which seems to be worse with all the rain we’re getting but I’m thrilled I’ve kept them alive, they’re blooming and so beautiful. I just have to keep them through the winter. New post coming with the rest of the flowers flourishing this summer!!
No words, just the beauty of my photos, says enough I think!
Mother’s day hanging table
Peonies and Iris
Hostas & geraniums
Locust post birdhouse
Peonies and Iris
White rose (old)
Red Rose (old)
I have two of these in the yard and I can cut them back to a foot tall and by June they’re back full of green, pink and white. It’s so pretty and covers the ground at the yard entrance with rose petals all summer.
Back in early May I showed everyone the beautiful orchid a friend from Greece brought to me.
I do love these fragile flowers and a friend of my that lives in Craig and has a winter/summer home in Florida gifted me these because of my beautiful daughter. My daughter is the orchid of my life but these try to out bloom her. My friend and daughter’s best friend, Martha just came back to the country and these beauties traveled very well on the ride back so they could reside in my kitchen. Martha you have made my month and brightened my life more than it already is, if that’s possible.
This is my beautiful orchid, Heather! She doesn’t sit still long enough to get a picture of her alone but I’ll take what I can get!!
Thank you Heather and my beautiful friends! I love you all! 🙂
In a previous post I mentioned the flower shopping trip that my daughter and I took on Friday of Memorial Day weekend. It was so much fun spending the morning with her and grabbing a biscuit on the way from our favorite fast food restaurant (that I don’t go to anymore since my weight loss program started)! We had a very nice morning together and went to four different shops before heading home to the big job I was undertaking. First stop was Home Depot because of the magnificent sale they were having on their hanging baskets. I needed something to put in my gazebo and these fit the bill but will hang on my front porch until I get the wood protection painted on the interior and exterior.
I wanted some vines to grow up the gazebo that have blooms to attract more hummingbirds so I found two trumpet vines and a clematis. They won’t grow a lot this year but in the coming years they’ll climb and protect the wood and the visitors to the gazebo.
We came home with all kinds of plants and had such a pleasant morning together. I love going anywhere with my girl!
I recently purchased these beauties at a Blacksburg Food Lion after falling in love with them at first sight. My grandmother and my Mom used to have them on their porches every summer. I’ve never seen baskets shaped like these with really enhance the beauty.
We got all the seed and garden had been plowed and ready to work down. Now the weather channels are calling for a hard frost tomorrow night and chilly temps tonight. I brought in all of the flowers and herbs I potted last weekend and pulled what I could under the covered front porch. I went to my little green house this evening and put up heat lamps and on the way back to the house was admiring all of the tiny little fruit on all of the apple and plum trees. The peach and pear trees are also full and the aspargus was all pulled to keep it from freezing. I am so ready for warm weather!!