Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Looking forward to the new year!

First, let me wish everyone a Happy New Year!

It's supposedly winter here but we mainly are having rain.  Everything is just muddy and yucky.  TH has been trying to get some really rich soil from a bottom field moved up to our garden before he plows the garden to turn the soil but it's not looking like that's going to happen.  We're just going to have to turn it and do the best we can with it.  I'm hoping to get a little manure to go on it.

Our animals are doing well.  The chickens are holding out on me though and we're only getting 2 or 3 eggs a day.  I thought it was the shorter day length but I'm beginning to think they are laying in a hidden spot.  We need to repair their fence (Our goat Karl destroys chicken fencing by rubbing his rear all over it.) and lock them in for a few days to get them used to laying in the proper place again.  They are currently enjoying the freedom that comes with winter in that they get to wander around and forage.  The two guineas stay around the chickens now so they are easier to track.

Bella is growing.  We look forward to this upcoming year with her.  Hopefully she'll grow and be ready to breed and calve the following year.  Hamburger has adjusted extremely well to life with Steak our large steer.  I was afraid that Steak would be territorial but he seems to enjoy the little steer and as both have been bullied by larger cows, they seem content to be together.

I've already placed and received my seed order for this year.  I look forward to cleaning out my greenhouse and starting my plants!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Remember our cow "Stupid"?

Yes, fall is upon us and Stupid is in the freezer.  We are very glad to have a freezer full of meat though it is always sad when one of the animals goes.

We took Stupid to a place that gives training to young folks on how to butcher cows, pigs, and deer.  It was an affordable option for us and let us support vocational training in our area.  They did an excellent job!  He was put down, hung for two weeks, butchered, vacuum sealed, and labeled.  We are very pleased!

Our other animals are doing well.  Bella is enjoying her pasture with Karl the goat.  Hamburger was moved over to the field with Steak when Stupid was taken off.  He thinks he is a big cow now and we're glad that the two of them are getting along so well.

The chickens have been turned out now that garden season has ended.  They are having fun chasing bugs and exploring.  It's always more interesting in the yard when the chickens are allowed to roam.  We had 5 new chicks hatch in September and they are all doing well with their mommas.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Morning Feeding Time

I thought I'd share a look at what our morning feeding routine looks like.  This was my first time trying to feed and film at the same time so the camera might not be as steady as it could be.  Hope you like a look at our mornings.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Now that Spring has finally sprung, things are progressing at a blistering pace!  I went out today to snap some pictures of what's happening around the homestead.  You'll have to forgive all the weeds!  I have had every intention of getting out to weed but last week when it was nice, princess #1 and I were away from home and this week it won't dry out enough to get out there and really work!
TH and Princess #2 planted part of our tomato plants last week.  We had cages for most but some will still need to be staked and tied later.
Here are some pepper plants.  I'm hoping to gather enough grass mulch to lay between the tomatoes and peppers.
These are the plants still in the greenhouse.  The squash plants really need to be set out soon!

These are my Hopi Pale Gray plants.  I received my seeds from my homesteading hero Jackie Clay.  These seeds are extremely precious to me so I'm trying to take very good care of these plants.

The pears made it through the last few cold spells and it looks like we will have pears to can this year!
The older strawberry plants are covered with berries this year.  I hope to make a few runs of jam with what plants we saved when we re-worked the bed.
The new strawberry plants have taken root well and will be producing well next year we hope!
TH & THB have been busy getting firewood ready for this winter.  TH considers firewood an all year project and is always happy to bring another truckload home.
Bella is growing well.  She is really enjoying being in her new field.  We like having her close so there are lots of ear scratches and pets to be had.  She is becoming a super sweet girl.
Frank is well and trying to stay out of trouble the best he can.

We'll see what the weather holds for us this week and I hope to have the weeding started soon!  I won't be able to find my onions if they get much bigger!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Pics of recent activities

Thought I'd share just a few pics of what's been going on around the ole homeplace.

I've been anxiously awaiting the year's first appearance of asparagus.  I planted my asparagus three years ago.  They were 2 year plants when I bought them from a local greenhouse and I've been waiting for this year since this will be the first year I can steal a few sprigs from the bed!

Princess #2 has been hard at work helping me plant seeds for our greenhouse.  On this day, we were planting her choice which were melons.
While we were planting, I started some Beefsteak Tomatoes from MyPatriotSupply.  TH had requested some large slicing tomatoes so I chose these.
TH and I extended the chicken coop this past week.  We downsized our flock a bit but still needed some extra room.
The new run is much nicer than the original part and we're sure the girls and Roy will have a big time scratching all the grass away.

I'll try to post more pics of what we have going on this week as it progresses.  I'm not sure what all the week will hold, but I look forward to sharing!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Spring has finally sprung!

At long last, we are getting some warm weather!  I was reviewing my planting notes from last year and noticed that I am almost a whole month behind.  With the wild weather we've had and Frank destroying our greenhouse, I was beginning to doubt my chances of starting plants.

Repaired greenhouse

TH and THB reinforced our greenhouse with wood sides up to about 2'.  This allows plenty of sun and let us piece the greenhouse back together for one more year.  Replacing the greenhouse is definitely not in the budget for this year.  TH also ran an electric fence around the greenhouse to discourage Frank's destructive behavior.  I just have to remember to step high when I enter or I'll be discouraged too!

"I have no recollection of the events you speak of."

With that done, I started seeds today.  I have tomatoes, peppers, squash, zucchini, and a few cucumbers in warm spots around the house for germination.  Once the germinate, I'll begin the dance of carrying them out to the greenhouse on warm days and back inside during the nights when temperatures dip below freezing.

We had our first hatch of the year last week.  Our dual mother hens hatched six little black chicks and are working together nicely to raise them.  We recently discovered one of our white chickens on a hidden nest in the barn.  She is a beautiful chicken that lays green eggs so I'm eager to see what her chicks will look like.  I just hope she manages to get them across the road safely.

The guineas have been busy defending their home turf.  Friday, I came out to feed animals and found a standoff between two canadian geese and our gang of 4 guineas.  (We have 5 guineas but the 5th thinks it is a chicken and doesn't associate with the others.)  The geese were standing in the middle of the garden honking and the guineas were standing on the edge of the garden squaking.  They finally convinced the geese to leave and all was quiet for a few hours.  Near dusk, TH asked me if one of my guineas had gotten white on its side.  I looked out to see that our neighbor up the road's two guineas had finally made it down this far. Our guinea gang wasn't very inviting and chased them back out of the garden.  They haven't returned but I'm sure our two groups will inter-mingle quite a bit this summer.

If good weather holds up, we'll be planting potatoes Monday.  I picked up our seed potatoes in town today along with a couple pounds of onion sets and a few cabbage and broccoli plants.  It's been pretty wet lately so we'll need lots of sunshine for the ground to be workable.

Hope you all are enjoying Spring!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

It's Started!

Believe it or not, this is the beginning of our planting this year!  I've never started onions from seed and have been reading about it for a few weeks now.  I decided with the beautiful weather we had today that it was a good day to start.

These onions will (hopefully) grow into the sets that we'll transplant in early spring.  We'll still buy several sets but I decided it would be good to know how to start them from seed so I can have a bigger selection of varieties.

These onion seeds came from MyPatriotSupply.com.  They have an excellent germination rate with their seeds so I knew it would be my best bet for a successful first try.  Currently, they are sitting on the corner of a cabinet where I normally proof my bread.  Once they germinate, they can move to a cooler area of the house where I can find some light or provide lighting for them.

These warm days are very deceiving but I'm still hoping for some cold weather so we can tap our maple trees in a few weeks.  I made a small amount of syrup a few years ago but I'd like to try again for at least a quart after boiling.

Hope you all are well and looking forward to the season as much as we are!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Vet Visit

We had a visit from the friendly neighborhood vet today.  Our cow "Steak" had some complications from a failed banding and it wasn't looking very good.  TH had given him some antibiotics last week but decided it would be best for the vet to come on out.  It was our first time with the new vet in town but she was very good and we hope for Steak to be back up and at 'em soon.

I took the two princesses over to the barn as they had never seen a vet in person.  She had to go out to her truck to get some supplies and as she walked by, Princess #1 asked why she had blood on her.  I let her know that vets have to work very hard and sometimes get dirty doing it.

All the other animals are doing well.  We did lose a hen a couple of weeks ago to old age.  She was the last one of our original 10 chicks we bought a few years ago.  She had stopped laying months ago but we were letting her enjoy retirement.

The goats are as ornery as every.  I try to sneak out and feed the chickens when the goats go over the hill and can't see me coming.  While it is possible to feed the chickens with the goats present, it is much easier when they are not around.  Bunny is our largest goat and the one that insists on jumping on me to try and knock the feed bucket out of my hand.  She's a handful at feeding time but sweet all other times.

I'm still making my final decisions with the seed catalogs.  Baker Creek is going to be getting most of our business and I'm hoping to get a vegan cookbook from them as well.  No, we're not going vegan but I am wanting to incorporate more veggie-focused meals to our diet.