Sunday, June 28, 2009

Back in the field again

Once again, the farm takes priority over the stupidity of my government. With thoughts of the cap and trade still burning in my mind, I met up with my farming partner for hay baling. 98 degrees in the shade with 68% humidity, what an awful day. We borrowed a round baler since all we have is square balers and proceeded to have 2 hours worth of trouble with it. The baler sat out uncovered all winter and of course, everything was rusted up on it. String feed problems and pick-up rake problems confounded us for a while. A little bit of cursing, a little bit of adjustment and a whole lot of grease and we ended up with 18 bales from the one field and 10 in the next field before we had the next major disaster with the baler. A belt flipped on it and dusk hit us before we got it straightened back out. Done for the day then. Haven't been out to the field yet today so I don't have a final count.

I plan on attending a local Tea Party scheduled in my area on Independence Day. I think it's a worthwhile endeavor and I hope everyone across the country attends one too.

I am disappointed in my back garden. I have suffered a catastrophic loss back there. My second planting of corn looks great but the first planting is a total loss with ears less than half the normal size and the third planting not come up at all. Also the 2 rows of kidney beans, 80' long has 19 plants above ground. Those plants will make just about enough to replant next years crop. Thankfully the second planting is looking good and is progressing like normal. At least I'll have enough corn for winter. In the 15 years I've been doing this, I have never, ever had a single year with results this bad! Thankfully my white beans, peas, tomatoes, and peppers are all doing well. I will be working out how to recover from this quickly in alternative food crops that can still be planted and harvested this year to make up for the loss. Thankfully, last years harvest was much better than this year and we may be able to change a few eating habits and make it thru the winter just fine without having to buy commercial food. Ew, that's a horrible thought, having to buy commercially produced food! I need to put some feelers out and see what I can trade for.

I let a neighbor combine the wheat ring for me as he was headed from one field to the next and he pumped me a few sacks full. Saved me several hours in the scorching heat. So I'll be doing the wheat thing for the blog with last years wheat I'm still yet to process. When the heat breaks, I'll start on it. Never fear tho, the only thing missing will be the actual stripping of the wheat from the field.

Well, I'm needing to get the bread baked...

Friday, June 26, 2009

Side Effects of Gardening

I borrowed the picture from To help with my story on the side effects of gardening. Just too funny to pass up. Stoned Wallabies make crop circles........

After some malfunctions with the haybine(adjustments and belt breaking), I got the last of my first cut of hay down. I have some things to do today off farm but I should have it raked by this evening. It's pretty thick so I may have to rake it again before I bale in tomorrow.

The gardens here are doing well other than needing a bit of weeding. The tomato plants in the mineral tub are needing watered twice a day now and are covered with tomatoes. Even the corn is looking better.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Getting it done

Even when you don't want to! That's all part of the every day thing you deal with when you live off your own little piece of land. Things just have to be done, even when you just don't feel like it. The heat index here has been 105+ for the past 5 days. Humidity is making it even worse. You can stand in the shade and pour sweat.

The past 4 days have been miserable, we put up 1100 bales of hay. I'm trying to talk myself into getting moving this morning. That 20 acres won't cut itself! I'm still working on the fist cut of hay here, the constant rains we had all May and the first 2 weeks of June didn't help me out.

Looks like the Banty chicks think the waterer is a roost! The tiny little fellers are flying around the brooder tank now, they look like hummingbirds flitting around in there. Still too small to put outside where they will become lunch for 4 legged critters. I'm happy with the hatch rates this spring, even the non broody hens have helped me out. The turkey eggs didn't hatch tho, that's disappointing.

The garden is plugging along, the stunted corn shot up when it quit raining. I might get good sized ears out of the first crop yet! The 2nd and 3d plantings both look good tho so no worries. I've not even looked at the wheat patch yet so hang in there if you're waiting on that. I need to finish the hay fields first, then I'll get to that wheat, it's not going anywhere.

Oh, I almost forgot, it's almost blackberry time!!!! That's right, I've got wild blackberries and lots of em! Pictures of course and we'll be making some jam with them and maybe some home made blackberry ice cream if I can find a good recipe....

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A look into our future??

I had to share this site I found. It's called Forgotten Michigan. It's photos of abandoned buildings, schools, churches, businesses all around the Detroit area. There's also a section of "other areas" including photos of Mike Tysons mansion. His swimming pool is growing green slime. That's not what bothered me tho, it's indoor and it's bigger than my front yard!

The photos on the site depressed me. I can't help but think if this is what economic recovery has in store for all of us, it's not a pleasant thought. Looking at those photos makes me want to go outside and plant something....

Friday, June 19, 2009

Heat Advisory and chicken pen

Like an idiot, I'm out digging fence post holes by hand in the fist heat advisory-105 index- of the year. I really need to get that chicken pen done! The white hen hatched out 8 chicks and she's down to 2 left. I couldn't catch those chicks, she hatched out in the barn loft and I didn't want them to fall off the edge so I left them. Plus, another duck is sitting on 9 ducklings and 8 more eggs still under her. Some of the ducklings were still wet when I checked on her. The 2 banty hens have 15 eggs between them and should be hatching out in the next 4 days. Just in time for me to be in the hay field. So, I'm digging until I'm dripping wet, then standing in the fan-no AC- with a cold drink then digging again. I got one hole left to go, then the boards and stretch the wire.

The animals are all okay but they're hot. The sheep I should have butchered lays around and pants all day and the goats are complaining. Even the ducks are hiding under the horse trailer.

LOL, you guys didn't know I've got horses too, eh? Maybe some pictures of them soon.......

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Coffee growing progress

I know, it's been a while since I talked about my favorite thing-coffee plants. Coffee has got to be the very most trying plant a gardener can start. Not because it's hard to do, but because it takes sooooo long to see results. Here they are, 8 of the 9 I started. The 9th could still yet pop up.

This round is for replacement plants for the old coffee plants my winter round of kittens so graciously killed for me. I stated them in one of those cheapie plastic food containers and just kept the soil moist with a daily spritzing from a water bottle. I kept the container on a shelf offset from the windows so it was not in direct sunlight. I did not cover the container, just kept it moist. It took 68 days for the first bean to sprout up.

As they grow, I will post updates on the progress.....

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Farm Quickie

The rain has quit and it's like a sauna here today. The sun is shining and it's 90 degrees. Just walking around outside makes you drip. Had to make this quickie post to share what I found in the old barn a few minutes ago.... 7 new ducklings!!!! I've been getting chicks here and there all along but no ducklings and I was beginning to think there weren't going to be any.

Update on the cat scratch... it's ugly but the swelling has gone down a tiny bit....

Well, gotta get back out in the sweatbox, more work to be done!!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Rain and surprise infections

Well, it rained overnight, this morning and again this afternoon, once again drowning us in rain. Even with spotty clouds in the evening skies, I can still hear thunder in the distance so more must be on the way. The bucket tomatoes are loving all the rain tho. Planted in a mineral tub, about the size of a wooden half barrel, there's half dollar tomatoes on the older plant and the 4 younger ones are starting to come on now. I am so very ready for some fresh tomatoes!

I had an interesting accident Sunday morning. One of the young tomcats I raised in the house last year jumped thru the kitchen window. Since I don't bend well first thing in the morning, I pinned him to the fridge with my leg. As I was working on picking him up, my old Momma cat decided she was going to kick that tomcats butt. She's feeling a bit territorial over the kitchen with her kittens just now starting to walk around. She baled on the tomcat only it wasn't the tom she landed on, it was my leg. All 4 claws and she even bit me! After it happened, I washed it and went on with my day. It got infected and is now swelled and very,very sore. I soaked it in epsom salts today and washed it out a couple times with peroxide. This is just the back claw damage, the bite and front claws came with a dandy bruise and was too gross to post. I so love cats......

I know you are all waiting for the wheat harvest, I am too. I have not even rounded up parts for the thresher yet or worked on my new harvesting tool. Been too rainy. Soon tho we'll be getting it harvested.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Eating from the garden again

Last night in the rain, I picked a few onions and a garlic clove to go in my fried potatoes and on sirloin steaks. Here's a picture of one of the broccoli heads I harvested today. I'm going to melt some homestead cheese over it for supper this evening and dehydrate the rest for winter use.

It poured rain here on and off yesterday with some showers overnight as well. I tried to do a little weeding today but it's just too muddy in the garden. It's still overcast and I can hear random thunder rolling.

I was out on the 4-wheeler yesterday looking at a baler for a friend and got caught in the pouring rain on the way home. Of course, I got soaked. I also picked up a coon dog pup someone apparently dumped on the back road north of me. The little bugger was running around and intersection and 3 hours later when I came back by in the pouring rain, he was still running around in the intersection. He's pretty starved and you can see here he had a collar on that was too small for him so I doubt he's been lost in that intersection long. Of course I scooped him up and he rode home in my lap. He's pretty pitiful looking right now, pics in a couple days tho. Have not named him yet.

Other than that, it's just farm life. Been watching stuff grow, waiting for something good to eat from it. It's coming, flowers on everything!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Harvest start for self sustained living

Well folks, it's about time to go get the wheat. Have a couple more days of rain in the forecast then some dry weather. Looks like I can "pick" my wheat Saturday or Sunday. I will share pictures and a description of how I do it.

Normally my first garden harvest is cucumbers but I lost all my plants during our inland hurricane. They got ripped off the trellis. Not to worry tho, I have a whole line of cucs coming up and a few already flowering all in a row close to last years crop spot. I guess I missed one or 2 and the seed scattered when I cleaned the trellis. That's a good thing for this crazy year!

Looks like I've lost hubbys potato patch. I checked it this morning and every single plant has gone to flower. I picked the flowers off but that won't help. So much for the potato crop this year. I'll be there isn't 20lbs of tater in those hills. Well, now I know not to trust hubby with the tater hills!

I picked my first zuchinni last night. A nice, 8" long zucc. Will make a nice batch fried. The bell peppers are flowered now, I lost one to the goats but the others should produce enough on their own. Tomatoes are flowered with tiny tomato buds on them. I will also be harvesting my first round of broccoli in the next day or 2.

I checked the corn patch this morning and the 4 new rows have popped up along with the beans, sunflowers and peas. Still waiting on the cantalopes, they should be up in another day or so. Going to get another 4 or 5 rows or corn planted along with the kidneys and the rest of the melons today and tomorrow.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Self Sustained Living- eating with what you grow

I thought maybe you all would like an example of a nice meal made with things you grow. Now, I didn't make the noodles, I bartered a dozen eggs for a bag of vege rotinis with a neighbor that makes them. Everything else was produced on my own farm.

Last night I caught up 6 young chickens I raised and butchered them this morning. I don't pluck feathers here, too messy. I just skin my chickens and cut the meat off the carcass and throw the rest- well, you don't really want to know.... Anyway, I have my chicken in a bowl of ice in the fridge for half the day and then I just cook it in a fry pan with some water and some herbs I also grew. When the chicken is done, I simply cut my pieces into small chunks and set them aside while I finish my noodles. I put parsley, dried red bell pepper, minced onion, basil, oregano, minced garlic, some salt, a dash of pepper and a bit of olive oil into a bowl, mix it together and toss my noodles in my seasoning. I add my chicken and some grated home made cheese to it and it's ready to eat.

So, basically, I just showed you how to make yourself a nice pasta salad just like what you would buy in a box from the grocery store without the ferous sulphate, mononitrate, matodextrin, MSG, partially hydrogenated oil, calcium stearate, hyrolyzed corn proteins or any of the growth hormones and antibiotics commercial chicken has in it. Yum, that stuff all sounds so good, doesn't it? Thanks but no thanks! Living self sustained, growing the things that you eat doesn't mean you can't eat all the things you love to eat. You just don't buy them from a store. You are also eating so much healthier without all those chemical preservatives and additives. Think of the money you just saved too.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Real Beauties

Check these babies out! I stole them from my mouse gray Banty hen today. She had 3 of the striped ones plus 3 black ones under her. I left her the 2 smallest black ones as she's still got more eggs under her.

A nice topper for a busy day here. I weeded in between my stalks of corn out back today, paid a bunch of bills and took the kids out for lunch. They like to be treated every now and then. I milked cows and did all the evening chores and found these little beauties.

Tomorrow is the cheese class I'm teaching and around 700 bales of hay to pick up and stack on top of all the stuff that happens daily here... should be an interesting day!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Gardening in the gloom

Well, it's been a gloomy, overcast day so far but I had plenty to do anyway. I started out with the normal animal feeding chores then I started on hubby's tater patch. With all this rain, he pretty much let it get away from him, passing on doing any work on it because it was muddy. Now the tater sprouts are 18" tall and trying to flower on me. So off in the mud I had to wade and hill them up. Frankly, I'll be amazed if they live thru it. 3 hours of slopping thru the mud and if any of the plants live, they'll need more hilling by Saturday.

Some brighter news tho, I've got broccoli heads, zuccs and my bucket tomatoes are starting to flower. I still don't have the one front garden completely weeded but I'm working on it!

Monday was kindle day for the Californian doe and no kits. Guess she didn't want any. Should have checked her half way thru but I didn't so I've lost 30 days and she'll need back in with a buck. Still 15 days on the gray doe, she looks plump tho.

I've got 3 ducks setting duck eggs, maybe I'll have duckings soon! I'm keeping my fingers crossed, hard to eat duck when you don't have any to eat! 2 big hens and 2 bantys are still setting, trying to give me more chicken dinners for this winter. Good girls!

I should be able to get the rest of the corn patch and red beans planted by the weekend right in time to pick up hay bales. The work never ends here but it's all for the benefit of us eating thru the winter without having to buy food from a store.

Oh, I got a whole line of volunteer cucumbers coming up in front of my roma tomatoes. I'm going to put some wire up and let them go right where they are and not try to transplant them. What a boon since the ones I planted were wiped out by the hurricane.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

unemployment musings- economic survival

Like a fool, I clicked on this story and read it this morning. From Ordering Steak and Lobster, to serving it It's a wall street journal story so I knew it would ruffle my feathers a little, but still I clicked on it. Here's a fellow that was making 200k a year on wall street, complaining about having to take a job beneath him to feed his family. 25k a year is still 480 a week. That's double the $224 a week average paycheck around here! This fellow is upset because he used to eat in the same restaurant and spend $200 on a bottle of wine. Now he serves it.

Why is it that living frugal seems like such a bad or dirty thing? I eat steak all the time! Of course, I prepare it for myself instead of paying someone else to do it for me. It comes from the cow I fed out right here on the farm with food I grew, no chemicals or antibiotics and it doesn't hang in a meat locker for 6 months. Even if I took it to a butcher, it would still cost me less than $2 a pound for the whole cow. I live frugal but that doesn't mean my home is messy or run down. The things I use on my farm every day are well kept and maintained. The grass is mowed and my mailbox looks just like theirs.

Consumerism is a mindset just like frugality is. Just because you have money to spend, that doesn't mean you need to spend it on things you simply don't need! I splurge a little, I spend money each pay on a couple packs of chocolate and I buy the good toilet paper. LOL nothing worse than wiping with sand paper! hehehehe some things you just have to have.

Let's face it folks, the Obama Stimulus package isn't helping us little people. At least 3 million jobs (read that figure in a news article a week or so ago) have already been lost and there's nothing being created to replace those jobs. The DOW can go up all it wants, it's not making any jobs either. The more frugal we think, the better we will make it thru this poor economic trend. Even in a small city backyard, enough food can be grown to cut your grocery bill substantially. Why pay $2.50 for a cantalope you can grow? A $1 a can for name brand diced tomatoes or green beans. These vegeatables grow easily even in a 5 gallon bucket! Instead of buying the latest ipod or cell phone, buy a bag of fertilizer and some potting soil and grow yourself some money. It is growing money, everything you produce yourself is money in your pocket you didn't have to spend!

PS- it's raining here, again!!!!!!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

The self sustained garden weed fight

Yep, it's a battle with the weeds. All the rain we've had has the grass and weeds out growing the good stuff. That's how it always goes here tho. If it's important, it'll die on you and if it worthless, it flourishes! Hahahaha I found a good use for all those 30 pack beer boxes, I split em open and laid them down so I wouldn't sink in the mud and they're doing multi-duty, keeping the weeds and grass from resprouting, holding the moisture in between the rows, keeping new weeds from sprouting and will be good fertilizer when they rot! How can you beat that? Still have plenty more weeding to do...

Well, I got my baby girl graduated from high school this weekend, got her ride to school up to snuff and had a wonderful visit with my Mom and Dad who drove all the way down here from the Chicago area to see her graduate. I cried. Yep, I sure did. I sent home a few pounds of cheese for my brother who was working and couldn't come down. My baby girl started college today. I was too busy to cry tho. Got all the feeder calves dehorned, picked up a load of feed and made an albino wheel of garlic cheddar. What's albino cheese???? Hahahaha I'ts cheese that was supposed to be orange and I forgot to put the coloring in it! So, it's albino garlic cheddar. It'll eat just the same.

I tried to till the back garden up to plant some beans and another 6 or so rows of corn. Way too muddy still. With rain predicted for tomorrow night, I will give it another try in the am, hope I can make a little headway. This has been one wild spring.

I'm doing something different this coming weekend, I'm going to have a fella here learning how to make cheese. Friend of hubbys wants to learn. Should be interesting and fun!

Other than those few things, it's life as usual here, back to normal day to day life....