Tag Archives: seasons

View From the Front Porch

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!!

Sadie sits peacefully with me as we had our breakfast.

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!!!

The Garden is Empty (almost)

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!!

End of harvest 2016

End of harvest 2016

We harvested several small pumpkins and four large ones.  The small will adorn the entrance to our house and the large ones I canned.  dscn8721

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.

 

Split in half to clean.

Split in half to clean.

Sliced w/rind makes for easier peeling.

Sliced w/rind makes for easier peeling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diced to cook

Diced to cook

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.

 

dscn8723  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.

I love this sieve and it works great for all vegies and fruits.

I love this sieve and it works great for all vegies and fruits.

It's beautiful and ready to go in the jars.  I use pint and quart jars because of the different recipes.

It’s beautiful and ready to go in the jars. I use pint and quart jars because of the different recipes.  

Quickly add the pumpkin to the jars, clean the tops of the jars and add the lids & rings, and tighten.

Quickly add the pumpkin to the jars, clean the tops of the jars and add the lids & rings, and tighten.  I process them in the hot water bath for 20 minutes.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

Canning Season Coming to an End

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!!

Stocked and ready for winter.

Stocked and ready for winter.

We still need to harvest and freeze some more corn, dig the potatoes and sweet potatoes, harvest the pumpkins and late cabbage.

I started our own sweet potatoes plants this year.  I started our own sweet potatoes plants this year

The plants started really easy and I got 14 plants from two plants.  One end of the garden is full of sweet potato vine.  I've got my fingers crossed that there's lots of sweet potatoes.

The plants started really easy and I got 14 plants from two plants. One end of the garden is full of sweet potato vine. I’ve got my fingers crossed that there are lots of sweet potatoes.

We filled up the food shelves and had to make room on the canning jar shelves for the sauerkraut and barbecue sauce.  The pumpkin and some cabbage will also go on those shelves.  I may even can the sweet potatoes because I don't know how long they will last in the cellar.

We filled up the food shelves and had to make room on the canning jar shelves for the sauerkraut and barbecue sauce. The pumpkin and some cabbage will also go on those shelves. I may even can the sweet potatoes because I don’t know how long they will last in the cellar.

We canned 14 quarts of whole tomatoes yesterday.

We canned 14 quarts of whole tomatoes yesterday.

We froze 16 pints of corn this morning and it’s so sweet.  During the summer I’ve kept busy filling these jars:

28 pints of sweet pickles

28 pints of sweet pickles

18 pints of pickled squash

18 pints of pickled squash

Pickle relish, I think 23 pints.

Pickle relish, I think 23 pints.

21 quarts of squash to use in casseroles and soup

21 quarts of squash to use in casseroles and soup

24 pints of spaghetti sauce and it's so good!

24 pints of spaghetti sauce and it’s so good!

24 pints of barbecue sauce

24 pints of barbecue sauce

Two quarts and 24 pints of sauerkraut

Two quarts and 24 pints of sauerkraut

100 plus quarts of green beans this year

100 plus quarts of green beans this year

18 pints of squash pickles

18 pints of squash pickles

Pickles, pickles and more pickles!  I canned 36 pints of pickle relish.

Pickles, pickles and more pickles! I canned 36 pints of pickle relish.

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.

Empty potato bin waiting to be filled.  Last year we almost had it complete full and it'll hold 20 bushel.

Empty potato bin waiting to be filled. Last year we almost had it complete full and it’ll hold 20 bushel.

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!

Chickens waiting for more garden scraps!

Chickens waiting for more garden scraps!

HAPPY GARDENING!!

 

 

Babies on the Ground

Our calving season has begun and I’ll share some quick pics of the new babies.

The famous #29 that my daughter Heather has had a few issues with.  She's getting very old and will probably leave the farm this fall but she just dropped a beautiful black white face heifer!

The famous #29 that my daughter Heather has had a few issues with. She’s getting very old and will probably leave the farm this fall but she just dropped a beautiful black white face heifer!

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We’ve just started the season and we have two heifers and three bulls so far.  They’ve all been very small but you wouldn’t believe the energy they have.  They’re keeping their mothers busy keeping up with them and when they run across the meadow they thing they’re Super Babies!

 

Spring flowers on the farm

 

 

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daffodils

A pop of color all over the yard makes my heart sing and swell!!  I love flowers anytime of the year but these sure help get rid of the winter doldrums.  Spring is in full swing in our area and the cars are covered with pollen and the honeybees are so happy that we’ve already had our first bee swarm!  It left for the mountains before we could capture it.  Of course, the fruit trees in full bloom are helping them, too.

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Easter lilies and wild hyacinth

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Daylilies and huchera

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Poppies

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Daffodils and columbine

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Daylilies

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Goldenseal in the backyard

Allium

Allium

Changes to the garden and tire beds

Hubby has been working on fences again in the last week and he tore out the east end fence around our garden because it was about to fall down.

tractor tires used for garlic, strawberries and rhubarb

tractor tires used for garlic, strawberries and rhubarb

fencing between yard and garden

fencing between yard and garden

He decided that the fence didn’t keep out the deer so he would not replace it.  We have now moved the large tire planters to the south garden fence and will plant fruit trees along the yard where the fence used to be.  We currently have three pear trees along this line, two grape vines and a blue plum.  On the North end of the garden we’ve planted three peach trees and cut down an old plum tree that died.  I want to put in two more peach trees on that North end, two more plum trees out the fence line and plant two or three cherry trees in the yard close to the pond.  All of the apple trees that used to be there except one have died and been taken out.  These trees we replace will all be of the semi-dwarf size except maybe the cherry because of the space and closeness to the garden.  We don’t want the shade from the trees to shade the garden from the morning sun.  Hopefully hubby and I will be around when they start bearing fruit.

The apple tree rootstock we planted last year have all survived the winter, rabbits and deer and it’s now time to graft them.  We think moving our hound dogs to the apple orchard have saved our new trees from the ravages of the wildlife.  We just hope the wildlife doesn’t realize the dogs can’t reach them as long as they are chained.

Space between yard and garden cleared of  fencing

Space between yard and garden cleared of fencing

Freshly plowed garden lot

Freshly plowed garden lot

Tire planters moved to new area

Tire planters moved to new area

Strawberries starting to green up.

Strawberries starting to green up.

Garlic coming up.  Love that stuff!!

Garlic coming up. Love that stuff!!

Rhubarb coming in but frost burnt the leaves badly.  I'll clip the leaves and start fresh after this weeks frost pass.

Rhubarb coming in but frost burnt the leaves badly. I’ll clip the leaves and start fresh after this weeks frost pass.

Quince tree in south west corner of garden.

Quince tree in south west corner of garden.

Pear trees sprouting.

Pear trees sprouting.

 

We try very hard to replace our fruit trees as the old one’s die which hasn’t been done for many years.  We want the future family members to have plenty of these crops on hand for their use well after we are gone!  If we don’t take care of the future generations, who will??

Merkels or morels

Spring is definitely merkel hunting time.

Spring is definitely merkel hunting time.

What in the world?????

Morels are a type of mushrooms which can be found growing all over the world in a wide variety of habitats every spring. They are among the most prized of the edible mushrooms because they have a rich and complex flavor that goes well with almost any food. They also have a very distinctive appearance which makes them readily identifiable, assuming they can be found at all, since they’re notorious for being very elusive.

Like all mushrooms, the morel is only the fruiting body of a larger organism. Most mushrooms form a massive web of fibers underground called the mycelium. This web of fibers can be quite large, and when it decides to reproduce it sends up mushrooms, which release spores from the parent fungus. Mushrooms are quite appealing to humans because they are often fleshy and flavorful. Scientists have not determined why mushrooms fruit when they do, but mushrooms are usually linked with rain and heavy moisture. In the case of morels, spectacular growth patterns are also linked with forest fires.

We love to search for these delicasies every spring and this spring is no different.  When Mother Nature cooperates we feel like we located the “mother load”!!

During spring gobbler season every year, hubby and his friends make a day of searching for these tasty morsels in their secret honey hole.  As in years past, they did very well and these shots will prove harvest:

92 morels cleaned, halved and ready for the skillet!

92 morels cleaned, halved and ready for the skillet!

Some are golden, some are brown and some are white.

Some are golden, some are brown and some are white.

It's a beauty!

It’s a beauty!

Draining all of the water off so they'll last longer!

Draining all of the water off so they’ll last longer!

 

There is absolutely nothing better than country fried merkels, baked beans and macaroni salad for supper!!  Wish you were here to enjoy them with us 😉

 

The bucks . . . . .

That wonderful venison that we enjoy all year round is starting to tease a little.  This year will be the last year that my granddaughter can enjoy the early youth season and she’s getting a little of the buck fever that we’ve all had.  Here’s some photos of those starting to graze the pastures and clean up the falling apples in the orchards.

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1st big buck at Heathers 06292013 (1)

1st big buck at Heathers 06292013 (6)

IMG_0034These are nice young deer and will be beauties if left to grow a few more years.  With the size of the youngsters, the young does will work fine when it comes to filling the freezer and the canning jars.  Sassy should hopefully have plenty of jerky to last her through the winter months too.  That dog loves her venison jerky!  We have two and a half months to wait until bow season comes in and in the meantime we’ll put out the trail cams and watch the fields and orchards.    We even have a few surprises for the poachers this year!!

Sugar house repairs

When we moved to the farm almost 12 years ago we  were way too busy taking care of  my husbands uncle who had Alzheimer.  What a horrible disease but that’s another post!!  My husband inherited our farm from his uncle which has been in the family 200+ years.  It once was the farm of at least five different links of the Caldwell family.  Some parcels were sold off and some of what we know was in a journal of one of my husbands great uncle, OFWC.  There are at this time two apple houses, two cellars, two smoke houses, numerous  grain bins, storage building, barns, barns and more barns and currently four houses.  We live in one, our daughter is building another, the other two are family homes or build somewhere in between.  We have bull barns, cattle barns, hay barns, equipment barns, bee house, and did I mention a “sugar house”??

A sugar house was built for just making wonderful maple syrup.  Our farm is loaded with all sorts of fruit and nut trees, pines, and more than anything else, sugar maple trees.  One on the property we are sure was about thirty years old when a family picture was made on the farm and that was in the mid 1800’s.  It’s starting to look pretty bad and in need of pruning or taking down but it sure pours the maple sap in the spring.  I digress again and on with the story of the sugar house.  This is what it looked like when we moved here 12 years ago and hadn’t been used since our kids were small and they’re 36 and 39 years old at the moment.

2004  and the sugar house fire pit is full of trash.

2001 and the sugar house fire pit is full of trash.

The brick and mortar are falling out.

The brick and mortar are falling out.

Some bricks have fallen out of the chimney.

Some bricks have fallen out of the chimney.

Brick and mortar around the pan spout hole are completely gone.

Brick and mortar around the pan spout hole are completely gone.

 

Time to take some measurements and start over.

Time to take some measurements and start over.

My son-in-law is a brick mason and loves restoring old building and the fixtures within.  Even though he’s my kin, I have to say he used to do awesome work.  Economy and no work has changed that way of life in our neck of the woods.

Anyway, hubby, Joel and my brother broke it down, cleaned it out and started over as you will see from the following photos.

Brother, Junior , helps with recontruction.

Brother, Junior , helps with recontruction.

 

Backhoe is perfect tool for hauling off old brick to fill up ruts or wash outs.

Backhoe is perfect tool for hauling off old brick to fill up ruts or wash outs.

Syrup pan in good working order, just needs a good cleaning.

Syrup pan in good working order, just needs a good cleaning.

 

Now, I wasn’t around to take pictures when Joel was rebuilding but I think these beauties will show you what a beautiful job he did and I’m so proud of the beautiful “sugar house”!!

Bandit Ann checks for varmints Now to clean out around the pit and put down small gravel Nice pit, clean pan and tools time to make syrup Need to fix the chimney flashing Side view Sugar House Tools ready_pan full_fire heating upWe’ve used it several times since the renovations and everyone enjoys the time together!  We usually have friends and neighbors into for the day or two that it takes to cook the sap off and everyone enjoys the french toast and waffles when the first batch comes out of the pans.

The main reason I did this post is the time is upon us to tap the trees again if Mother Nature will cooperate and everyone is well.  I’ve posted in the past on the process but plan to do that again sometime next week with some new photos of last years event.  Until then, THINK SWEET THOUGHTS!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The year is almost three quarters gone and what did I do?

                                                                                                                                                                    January -Ice and snow

February-Making maple syrup

January-February – grafting fruit trees

February – March – Seedlings started

March – Baby calves arrive

March-April – Spring turkey hunting for two of my favorite people.

April – fire wood for winter 2012

April – New equipment for working the cattle

April – More new fencing

May – Gardening begins

May – Honeybees cleaning house and we prepare for fresh honey

May – Bee swarming begins

May – Fruit trees bloom and we worry about late frosts.

June 2012 – 1st ever “duratio” in our neck of the woods. Lots of cleanup and keeping hubby busy!

June – Duratio takes down lots of our fruit and nut crop and wreaks havoc on our fencing.

June – Hay time

June – Hay lot is full!

July – Spring cleaning almost done!

July – Harvesting & canning for winter in full swing!

July – A little crafting along the way makes life fun!

July – First barn quilt in Craig County on the barn!! More fun!

August-September – Mammoth pumpkin from the garden. He almost didn’t fit the wheel barrow!

July – August – Fresh vegies from the garden.

September – Potatoes harvested and in the cellar.

September – Plowing to sow the winter crops (turnips & parsnips).

September – Spaghetti sauce and barbecue sauce from the last of the tomatoes.

And, here it is the end of September.  Deer season and turkey season is soon to be here.  Baby calves are coming and yearlings are headed to the market.  Two nights of cold temps and frost in the mornings means firing up the wood stoves.  The cycle starts again.

I been sick!!

Wow, look how long it’s been since I did a post!!  I want to apologize for being absent!  I took a sinus infection on the 16th of September and was out of work for a whole week.  I’m still only running on 60% power and get tired easy.  I seem to take these things at least once a year and I’m so tired of it.  We can’t find one trigger that brings them on but I sure wish they would go away FOREVER!!   The pressure in my face this time was unreal and caused a headache that lasted for four days.  I would hold both of my hands on top of my head when I coughed to keep the top from blowing off.  The doctor put me on 1000 mgs of amoxicillin on Wednesday the 19th twice a day for ten days and I was using Maximum Strength Mucinex for the congestion but had a really bad reaction to it on Sunday evening.   I don’t think I’ll be taking it again.  Hot wet compresses on my face helped at times and the heating pad on top of my head helped the headache at times.  I used a half a bottle of saline solution up my nose.  Nothing seemed to help!  I am such a wimp when it comes to this stuff and I never seem to take a mild case!  I used two whole rolls of toilet paper and two large boxes of Puffs tissues the first two days of the mess.  I was scared to death it was going to cause what would be my SECOND case of vertigo and this was my reasoning for going to the doctor early!  VERTIGO IS A MEAN TRICK ON THE BODY AND SOUL!!!

Anyway, I’m back to work  and feeling better.  I can’t wait to go out on the farm to see the new babies.  I’m looking forward to bow season and I’m hoping to start a new quilt this weekend.  The chestnuts are falling, the English walnuts have all fell, the black walnuts are falling, the pears are falling and the apples are falling.

 

Baskets of chestnuts – think I’ll roast some this year before the deer get all of them!

 

Fresh apples breakfast, lunch and supper.

 

End of the tomato crop but great mater sandwiches!

Yesterday when I got home  the chickens had made a huge mess in the yard (because someone left the gate open) and I have a bunch of mulch to rake back around the roses and  flower gardens.  I think hubby was ready to butcher all of them!!!

Chickens and mulch don’t make for a pretty picture!!

 

Of course, it didn’t help that while he was working with a neighbor to cut corn that the cows decided to widen a missed hole in the fence and now the fall and winter herds are all together. Hopefully, we’ll get them all separated this weekend.   I REALLY  think it’s time for hubby to take a weeks vacation with friends away from the farm!!  He doesn’t do well when I get sick and everything aggravates him ten times worse.

Everyone stay well and I’m back with more stories and pictures!!

Fall Color

I’m so looking forward to fall and the beautiful colors that come with it.  To make my wait a little less painful I thought I would share these photos of past autumns at the farm.  ENJOY God’s beautiful artwork with me!

Fall means cider time and Sassy is guarding the apples!

WILDLIFE everywhere!

It’s been coming and I didn’t even realize it!! The woods and fields are alive with new wildlife and new visions of what’s to come. During our evenings on the farm and the chores are done and supper is over we venture to our swing and chairs on the front porch overlooking almost one half of the farm. It’s quiet as we rarely have much traffic on our country road. We listen to the birds, cows calling for their young to come for supper, birds singing, rooster putting everyone to roost and the frogs croaking in the pond but mostly we listen to the quiet of our blissful life.
Yesterday evening just after sundown we were sitting and listening and looking. While watching the cattle on the mountain pasture we saw several mama deer nursing their twins in different side of the hayfield’s below the pasture. We saw five bucks browsing the pasture aside the cattle and you could tell they were bucks because their velveted black horns show up quite well now. Hubby had seen two different snapping turtles laying eggs in the grass along one of the streams that goes through the farm. We didn’t see but we heard a turkey hen in the tall grass in another pasture field to the right of the house. The pond in front of the house if full of baby bass and perch that have just hatched and the lawn is full of blue, yellow, white and black butterflies seeking nectar from the flowers in the yard. We heard a fox squirrel fussing at the dogs that are housed to close to his den tree which should be full of baby squirrels. We have two wild rabbits that are dutifully watching over their new nests of hairless babes covered with Mom’s pulled fur near the garden. The hummingbird population is growing and the honeybees are had at work.
The cherries are getting ripe. The blackberries and raspberries are full of bloom. The quince tree is full of tiny fruit as is the blueberry bushes. The asparagus and rhubarb continue to flourish. The apple trees were full of bloom earlier but the last freeze got most of that crop but we will persevere. The garden is filling with future winter stores. The asparagus just keeps producing. Life is good and we love the farm and living in the country.