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!!
It all started last Thursday when my son got a call to come to New Jersey which he did immediately (8-10 hour drive). Our little grandson was sick and his mom was too! Before he could get there he got another call to meet them at the hospital. We spent the weekend waiting for updates and finally he got to go home on Sunday. We are so thankful to God that he and his Mom and Grandmother are all well now.
He is all we’ve been able to think about for the last ten days.
Nana and Papa love you Declan!!!
Thank you everyone for your prayers while his parents dealt with a very scary time with their little one!!
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!!
I think one of the most beautiful and dainty of house plants are African Violets. I tend to have problems keeping them due to over-watering and moving them from one spot to another. I have learned from past experience that they love my upstairs hallway window where no one sees their beauty but me and they seem to like the east facing window in our guest room which is also upstairs where they spend the winter months with my other houseplants for warmth.
During late summer of 2018 this plant was doing so well that I decided to try to propagate some more from it. I was going to feel like a “master gardener” if I got one plant going. Instead I got a whole pan full and they came in at different stages. First let me tell you the dictionary meaning of propagate: breed specimens of (a plant or animal) by natural processes from the parent stock.
I’m very anxious to collect more starts from other people because they come in such a huge variety of colors. A few tips if you decide to try the violets:
Be careful when watering and try not to get water directly on the leaves
Let the potting mix get dry between waterings, I only water about every 10 days.
Try a east-facing window to keep them but away from drafts.
Hope you will try some of the delicate beauties.
We only have about two 1/2 months left to prune all of the fruit trees and vines. We’ve lost four of our heritage apples that have been on the farm for years due the wind and ice blasts. We have a lot of broken limbs in the maple trees which may hinder the amount of sap we will be able to collect in February and March. About a month ago we had a day that the wind had laid so I started chopping away at the front grape arbor.
There wasn’t a lot of fruit the second year but there were a few on each vine. I’m hoping for a better, bigger crop in 2019. We need to add more support to the arbor and have the posts ready to go in the ground and the braces to hold everything up. We’re thinking about buying to cattle fence panels to go on top of the arbor before the leafing begins and I’ll watch them early to place and tie up the runners so they cover the entire top of the arbor. This will make it easier to cover the fruit before the birds get the ripe fruit. Of course, the bluebird houses will have to be moved to new locations soon.
I see lots of grape juice and jellies in the future.
While pruning the grape vines I also decided to prune our new Green Gage Plum trees. Our daughter bought these for me two years ago and they had a couple blooms in 2018 so I’m hoping there will be a lot in 2019 and that the frost doesn’t get them. I’ll add a few more strawberries and blueberries this year and hopefully we’ll add some new apple grafts too when I get some root-stock in a good spot where the rabbits and deer can’t destroy them.
Can you tell I’m looking forward to spring??
We’ve been making some changes in the house, minor, but needed. Our bathroom is a small room behind the kitchen and the only heat we had in there was from water running through the back of our cook stove and into a large tank in the bathroom.
Eddie decided the chimney that runs between the bathroom and kitchen needs to be re-lined so until that is completed we needed another source of heat in the bathroom this winter due to the temperatures dropping into the teens and the windchill making it worse. We have a guest room downstairs off the kitchen which had a small propane heater that was perfect for that bedroom and would be the perfect fit for the bathroom. My handyman husband did the switch and now we step out of the shower to a nice warm area.
Summer 2018 saw my front porch filled with flowers along with the yard and my favorite were the Angel Begonias.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
. . .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!!!
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! 😦
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!!
Just taking a day off to do some crafty things, back soon, I promise!!
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!!
I’ve added new recipes to my cooking tab if you’re interested. Have a great night!!
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.
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.
I promised a pictorial today of the what kept me busy during our snow event yesterday and here it is.
The rest of the day was keeping the stove filled and the wood rack filled as well.
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.
I have a habit that I’ve had for several years during a snow storm and I’ll tell you more tomorrow with pictures. Stay warm and stay safe until the snow storm passes!!
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.
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.
It’s good to get back to normal and on a regular schedule. My work week is over and now I’ll concentrate on my home and some projects. I would like to finish my bathroom rug this afternoon and tonight. I’ve crocheted two more dishcloths this week and now I have all the threads need to start a new cross stitch project.
Not a lot of progress on this young ladies quilt but it’s a start and want it done by end of February. I have it on the quilting frame but ran into an issue of using old needles that aren’t sharp enough and found out today that I need to begin the stitches in the middle of the quilt. I bought new needles and hubby is going to help me re-frame it. Here’s a preview of what’s to come:
With all the cold, wind and snow moving in I may just make some progress this weekend!!
Do you have a gardening journal? I have journals for everything but love planning for changes in my flower gardens the most. I started a Gardening Journal late last summer.
Back in the fall when I completed my rose garden to MY satisfaction I immediately started thinking about my perennial garden. I knew I needed to be able to remember where everything was at the point in all of my flower beds so I started my journal. This journal has been active all through the fall and this winter with notes of whats to go and whats to stay. I’m including a few pages of my journal with color photos I took and diagrams of things to come. It’s relaxing to sit in my recliner on frigid nights going through the journal and my new seed catalogs planning for that precious spring to return! If you click on the pictures they will enlarge so you can see the notes and work ahead for the spring.
Are you thinking about your flower and vegetable gardens yet? Are you working on an orchard? Try a journal and see how things progress in the future!