Thursday, July 12, 2012

Interesting Day

 The amazing sky yesterday evening right around 8pm central time.  Wish it had a little rain in it.  All of southern Illinois has been declared drought disaster area as of this morning. 
So, yesterday early afternoon, a neighbor from up the county line dropped in for a visit, some sun tea and a chat.  I hadn't seen or spoke with her for a while and the lady brought her 3 young daughters with her.  Boy, have those little girls grown since I last saw them!  Anyway, they came for a visit with 4 paper sacks of zucchini and 6 plastic grocery sacks of sweet peppers.  I did a little cooking, sharing what I know about zucchini and some of the ways it can be prepared.  I also broke out the dehydrator and shared some pepper dehydrating techniques.  It was a nice visit with an old acquaintance.

The dogs have finally met my little skunk buddy.  I've kind of made a farm mascot out of her, she lives in the wooded patch up on the corner of the property and comes around looking for food on occasion.  She's pretty friendly and I've even hand fed her a few times.  The dogs decided she was fun to mess with last night so I had to call them in.  She didn't spray them but she did give a warning shot.  I fed her a little cat food to make up for it.  The dogs paid me back for ruining their fun, they crapped on the kitchen floor overnight!  Bad dogs.  Sometimes I wonder who's in charge here, if it's me or if I'm just deluding myself, LOL.

Well, back to scrubbing the floor......

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Still Dry and Plugging Along

Just a few minutes in the front garden and I found this healthy bounty.  The goat chewed tater tire stack is going to be completely turned over in the next day or 2.  The harvest shown here is just the top tire the goats pushed over on me.  Nice little harvest for this weeks meals.  Even with the drought, I made back my seed taters with just this so anything else is a bonus.

Thanks to everyone who comments here, I am grateful you share what's going on in your area with me.  I am saddened to read so many are struggling with the heat.  With no a/c, I know exactly how you all feel!  Today is 25 degrees cooler than this time last week and I've already sweated myself soaked today.  I've got plenty of catch up work to do around here.  While I'm pretty acclimated to the heat, I still don't like being out in it and working anymore than anybody else does.  Being soaked with sweat all day is bad enough without dust and flying dirt sticking to me, LOL

ARG, Mondays scattered showers brought the farm about 4 rain drops!  All around me got at least a little but me, I didn't get a spit.  That figures.  Eh, I'll just keep plugging along I guess.  I don't have much choice, LOL

Thank you R.D. I got your note and appreciate your help and words of encouragement.  With your help, I've got all this months bills covered and I sold $22 of produce at the farmers market for next months bills.  The blackberries have been good sellers but the crop is dead now so I'm going to have to come up with a new cash crop for the market.  Maybe the heirloom tomatoes coming on will sell well.

I did a quick walk thru yesterday afternoon in the big garden.  The sweet corn is coming along good, still a couple weeks from ready tho.  The kidney beans are growing like mad and are covered in pods.  That should be an excellent crop and give me a good base for the winter food supply.  The banana peppers are showing some heat damage on the fruits but I'm going to cull and clean up the plants so the new fruits coming on will be stronger.  The melons are growing like mad with a dozen or so softball sized sugar babys and tons of tiny cantaloupes.  Those are always good sellers not to mention a personal favorite or mine.  Could be decent enough to carry me at least part way to spring.  I'll figure out how to cover the rest when the time comes.  I've still got goats and rabbits I can sell.

Off to do some weeding and spot mowing......

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Lived Thru It

The heat wave has kind of sort of broke and we lived thru it.  Total critter loss, well, it isn't pretty but it stayed to just chickens and rabbits.  I'm not totally wiped out but it's close.

The farm is being teased right now with pop up storms that have cooled it off some but no rain yet.  I can smell the rain that fell less than a mile from here and it's an even bigger tease. 

The onions and garlic have been pulled, they just didn't make it thru the heat wave.  no amount of watering in the raised beds helped.  Most of the garlic didn't make more than a round bulb with only about a dozen actually making a clove.  I would consider the garlic a total loss.  Onions did alright, most were smaller than I'd like them to be but none rotted and are drying nicely.

My persistence and watering efforts have paid off in the ground gardens with a pair of eggplants for tomorrows supper.  Palm sized and perfect!

The first coming ripe tomatoes are showing the toll of the heat with blossom end rot on them and a couple showing the stress of intermittent water supply.  Even with watering them on a regular basis, the heat was sucking it away too quickly and starving the plants  of the moisture they need for perfect fruits.  Hopefully the cooler days coming will allow me some good fruits for the dinner table.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Yep, it's STILL hot

Itty bitty eggplants!  I'm working every night on keeping to garden alive.  The old wives tale of not putting your plants to bed with wet feet just isn't swaying me much.  The ground is so darn hot by sun down anyway and if I water in the mornings, the plants look scalded all day from the evaporating moisture. 

The eggplant is in a row I didn't put the woodchip mulch down on and the weeds are out growing the produce just like they have done every year on me.  I plan to do this whole front garden in the back to eden wood chip plan next season.  Possibly the bigger gardens too, we'll see.

Not really too much has been going on here on the farm.  It's horribly hot and with the brief storms rolling thru, the humidity has now hit us.  The evenings were nice as it cooled down until that darn humidity rolled in.  Now, even 70F is uncomfortable with the sticky air.  I wasn't looking forward to that, the air that you wear.  I would have gladly passed on that this season, hot or not.  Oh well, the good times never last, LOL.

I'm actually pretty pleased with myself, I've managed to get a couple small side jobs done around the area and I'm just $50 short for my bills for the month.  I don't think I'll have too much of a hard time with $50.  I've got a couple problems with my little purple farm truck I'm trying to figure out.  I think I need a battery and a solinoid.  The barneymobile freaked out on me Tuesday afternoon.  Always something around here, LOL  At least I've managed to keep all the rest of the critters alive thru this nasty heat!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Something New

I know you all can't see it but it's raining.  Not very hard, just a drizzle but still moisture.  This will probably make it horrible humid once the sun comes back out and it's not enough to even knock the dust down.  Still, very refreshing and I joined the critters to stand in it with my eyes closed.  Cloud cover, damp skin and a nice, light breeze is a nice combination!

So, our meet up yesterday was very nice!  Even with the extreme heat, folks truly interested in being more self reliant braved mother natures worst to join us.  The Thunder 5 is farther along than I am with a working solar power system and much more in depth animal production.  One of the highlights there is the wood mill. A log got milled and turned into a picnic table that was then given away to a participant of the meet  up.  There was also an entertaining and informative tutorial on making and canning pickles. I especially enjoyed that because I make lousy pickles!  I got to be the Chef for the day.  I had forgotten how much I hate charcoal cooking, LOL  Even tho I fried the heck out of the pork shoulder roasts first thing, a quick, occasional spray with the hose gave me a wonderful, juicy end result on the ham.  I also managed to not burn the hamburgers, LOL  

Now, the Thunder 5 and the Double M (me) will be working on building up a southern Illinois homesteaders alliance.  Built with and around locally grown foods using real homesteading techniques (old fashioned, no chemicals, no feedlot/confinement etc).  We will be working to bring as many small farms and homesteads together to provide the clean and healthy foods everyone needs as well as encouraging and promoting a more self sustaining and self reliant lifestyle.

Woohooo!  It's sprinkling more rain!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Awful Heat

I been awake since 6am and it was already hot.  Today is the emergency preparedness/preppers meet up at the Thunder 5 Ranch.  I am the designated chef for the day so my friend Mike can present the skills he has to share.  I'm running late as usual, LOL, the bread is almost ready.

See yas all afterwards!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Bad Hot Day

Well, today was supposedly 3 degrees F cooler than  yesterday but I lost 5 rabbits from the heat.  This upsets me greatly because last summer was hotter with much higher humidity and I didn't lose any rabbits.  3 of my good breeding does, a 7 month old buck and a 2 month old doe.  Her 3 siblings are fine, they were all in the same hutch.  I hate losing critters.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Big Fat Skeeter Bite

That little thing will keep a diesel motor from running.  That is the fuel/air bleeder screw next to the pumper button on top of the fuel filter.  It's PLASTIC.  My son had the big truck today and as I was coming home from the Thunder 5 Ranch, I met my son in town. We pulled up, shut the trucks off and talked a bit.  He went to head home and the dually wouldn't start.  Okay, it's vapor locked, it's done that before when it's this hot.  Popped the hood and started pumping.  Fuel bubbled out at that screw.  So, hit it with a wrench and it comes off in the socket.  Of course, the parts place doesn't have anything even close that will work and the dealership is already closed.  So, what do I do?  having a somewhat mechanical mind, I head for the farm store.  of course I won't find a plastic bolt but I can think outside the box.  I got a bolt that matched the coarse thread.  It was of course, way too long.  So, I got a nut and screwed it on the bolt, a couple rubber o rings and a roll of thread tape.  Son of a gun if it didn't work perfect!  Truck is not leaking fuel, pumped right up and drove home perfect.  About time something went my way!  Also, LOL, I'll bet the $1.89 I spent at the farm store is waaaaaaay cheaper than the replacement plastic bolt from the dealership!  So, this little bump in the road was just like a big fat skeeter bite.  itches like mad and is totally annoying but it's an easy fix!

Helping Hands and it HOT!

Did I mention it's hot?  The next few days are going to be miserable around here, all 100F+!  My deepest thanks to 3 people, Charles, Caryn and Irene for giving me a helping hand.   A little more time to get my ducks in a row and make a serious go of this, beyond anything I've done here before.  Feeding us was the easy part compared to what I need to be doing now that I'm all on my own.  I'm a little worried about the winter months but we'll tackle that bear when he gets here.  I'm out of default danger for the next 30 days and that's a huge relief.  One less this to stress over and more time to focus on hanging on.  Now pray for rain!  Not only do we need it desperately but I have a big fencing job lined up that can't be done with concrete ground!

Okay, as some of you know, I have spent millions of hours over the last 4 years helping to build what is now a huge preppers network.  Something happened to make me seriously disappointed and disgusted with it and I am no longer participating in that whole mess.  The attitude there goes against everything I am and everything I believe in.  I'm not a prepper anyway.  I'm a homesteader.  Self sustainability thru growing and producing my own food is my entire goal.

So, anyway, someone close to me has shown me some things I hadn't noticed before.  I guess it's the old frog in a pot syndrome.  I'd been there so long, worked on it too much and didn't see the forest for the trees.  That's all over now.

So, here I am with a small farm the produces enough food for me.  It's a little late this year to grow a huge excess, but I can do a few things to improve what I've got here for later on.  I still have a few crops I seriously over planted back in the spring that will bring me some mortgage money if I can keep it all watered enough.  Just need to make it to harvest.  As the goat auction prices have bottomed out for the year, it won't take long for them to start going back up and that will be a big help too.  I can avoid the stress of being insulted by people who are trying to take advantage of me for their own profit.  I did get to throw a couple people off the farm, that made me feel a little better.  I've got 10 babies that are growing.  Their sale price will pay a few bills and feed their Mommas thru the winter.

So, let me tell you about my friends and the Thunder 5 Ranch.   met via  A local page set up via the monster preppers organization I worked so long on.  We've now got a pretty good group of people who get together to work on being more self sufficient and better emergency prepared.  As a matter of fact, I really need to be over there right now to help finish up the last minute projects for this weekends meet up. Thunder 5 is hosting this one.   But, after that, we will be working on a LOCAL homesteaders group, an alliance of sorts.  Ideas between the 2 of us will build something pretty unique and something we've never had in this area before.  Our goal is to network homesteaders and provide a one stop healthy food outlet along with a set up trade/barter between local homesteaders/farmers.

Okay, enough procrastinating, it's only going to get hotter the longer I sit here!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Thieving Dogs

 Don't they look so innocent?  Yah, right.  Sonya has a cucumber in front of her, half chewed up and Grizz is being her lookout.  When I came around the corner, she looked up and decided she needed to chew a flea and he completely ignored me!
This was a full bucket of cucumbers just 20 minutes ago.  Sneaky little pups!

Looking Rough

The goat herd is starting to show the effects of the drought now.  The only green out there is the weeds.  Wish I could buy them some mineral, a little corn every day just isn't enough with the lack of good forage.

Well, I'm just $90 short for the farm, talked to the bank, when I miss the payment I'll go into default and have 90 days to make up the missed payment.  I'll still have to make the other payments tho.  With the coal mine coming, they won't have trouble selling the farm if I don't find a way to do this.  The local government and the churches won't help me so I don't have too many choices.  Seems like the farther down you are, the less options  you have.  Can't sell jams, jellies or bread via the farmers markets here, no large critters either.  Fresh herbs but nothing dried or dehydrated.  Need a cottage exemption to sell prepared foods and label everything.  While it's easy enough to get the exemption, just a 2 day sanitation class and a test to prove you understand it, you have to have money to do it all.  Again, hard to get much done with nothing.

My tomato plants are covered in green fruits, wish they'd hurry up and ripe up already.  It's looking like a good crop, even with it being so hot and dry.  I'm doing what I can to keep them going tho, of all the crops to lose, the tomatoes will put a huge hurt on the dinner table.  Plus, tomatoes always sell well.  If I manage to hang on here, next years garden will have produce that market sells.  Never really thought much about that before, always just grew for me to feed us all.

Did I mention it's really hot?  I wasn't looking forward to it being this hot so quick this year.  usually it's just July and part of August for the oven house.  Missing that extra month of cool weather puts a damper on rabbit production and egg production.  This is just a lousy year all around, especially for those of us without a/c.

I'll be out in the blackberries again this evening.  Without rain, the harvest is looking pretty lousy and the berries are small.  Wish the chiggers would be less.  Those nasty little ticks don't seem bothered by the lack of rain either!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Drought and Struggle

Grizz wouldnt stand still and as you can see, there is no grass, even in the shade. A few weeds still hanging on but they don't do the critters any good.  Kind of a fitting situation for the end of this chapter in life.  I've got 5 days and I won't be making the mortgage payment deadline.  Just can't make the money I need.  Even having scrapped farm equipment that could have been repaired didn't give me enough.  No real inquiries on the animals and I will not be selling them for pennies on the dollar.  I have no problem selling them below their worth but I will not be cheated by selling a goat worth $200 for $25.

The garden is burning up on me.  I'm not alone tho, with temperatures in the 90s and no rain, it's last years southwest drought just moved a little north and east.  The big field crops are shriveled and it won't be long before they start dying.  Who would or could have expected after all the rain last year, this year would be so dry?  Mother Nature is pretty unforgiving.  It's terrible hot here now.  Kind of makes you think about how tough the pioneers, farmers and cattlemen of the west 150 years ago had to be.  Living without the things most everyone around you takes for granted is pretty tough.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Want in one hand

yep, you know the rest.  It's not going so good here.  Seems to be the norm anymore tho.  My brilliant plan isn't working out so good.  Eh, oh well.

The farmers market this past weekend was a bomb.  I'm thinking of not going this weekend.  An amish guy trucked in from 30 miles north with bins full of the same stuff I had and I didn't sell anything.  Guess people think if there's tons of it, it must be better than the small growers stuff.  If he comes back again, I'll waste $5 I dont have and 2 gallons of fuel I can't replace.  Not to mention the 4 hours I could be doing something else, anything else.

Haven't had any luck private selling the goats.  Everybody that has contacted me tries to get them for nothing.  Not sure what to do now, I refuse to give them away for nothing and I'm down far enough I can't afford the fuel for the auction.

On the brighter side, the garden is producing nicely and I'm eating well.  I finally have eggplant growing.  It's one of my favorite veges.

Eh, it's hot and sticky and I hate walking home but it's almost chore time and the librarian is giving me the stink eye, LOL.  More soon......

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Under the Wire

I did good tonight.  I sold Yogi to some nice folks from a couple towns over who came to see him and liked him.  One critter down, a dozen goats to go.  Now all I need is $150 to cover the mortgage.  Not bad for being dead broke on Sunday.

The rain did some good for the gardens and pulling the pigweed was a breeze today.  I got all 12 rows of the cornmeal corn weeded. I'll have some zucchini, cucumbers and a couple kinds of hot peppers for the farmers market on Saturday.  I'm also a bit excited, all the sunchokes look like they've sprouted thru now.

My head still isn't quite where I want it to be but it's coming around.  One step at a time I guess.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Finally Raining

 I'm thrilled it's raining.  Watering the garden just keeps it alive but rain water makes it grow and produce.  Here's the 10lbs of zucchini I sold at the farmers market Saturday morning.  I didn't get a picture of the cucumbers, they were a last minute pick and bag deal right before I left.  Tons more coming on for this weekend tho.  Cucumbers are hot sellers.  I picked my first horn worm off the tomatoes last night.  I've been dreading those things and this year I have a large tomato crop that will need a look-see a couple times a day.  Time consuming.  Since I don't use any chemicals here, the worms will all have to be hand picked and squished.  Wish I could train a chicken to follow me around and eat them, LOL
My soaking wet house goat that thinks she's a dog was so very happy to see me come home from the post office.  Did you know wet goats smell like burnt hair?  Ew.  No wonder they hate being wet, they stink bad.  Poor Lil Sister just doesn't have the brains to get out of the rain.

Well, the source of my stress is going to stay away for a couple of weeks.  Gee, thanks.  Not to help me of course, just doesnt want to be around when there's no electric.  I'm $326 short so it's unavoidable now.  Oh well, at least it will be quiet around here.  But, no electric will keep me from posting here on the blog.  No sense in wasting 2 gallons of fuel just to play on the computer so once the lights go out, the blogging is gonna slow way down.  I'll just take pictures and load them all at once to the computer when I can afford to go where I can plug in.  Got a lead on a decent full time job but it's still going to be a month or so before I would start.  At least it won't interfere with the job I'm supposed to have if the construction guys would get back on schedule.  Eh, I can't wait til November for a full time job anyway, I'll lose the farm to the bank if I do.  Still gotta pay the insurance and the mortgage to hang on.

So, until the next update, I'm doing what I can.......

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Personal Update

Okay  guys, thank you for the comments and support and all the varied opinions.  It's helpful to see what others think and feel, it really does help to see the way thru.   I'm not jumping to any surprise or quick draw conclusions, this has been coming on for a few years now.  So, I'm working on doing what I need to do for myself, my sanity and my happiness.  Life is too short to be stuck with something/someone that makes ya miserable every second of every day.  That said, I don't want to give up everything I've built here but, if I can't cover the bills, I won't have much choice on the matter.   The fight I'm giving up is trying to hold together something that never existed in the first place, just an illusion of it.  The selling of all the animals is due to broken farm equipment I need to feed those animals and without it, will have to buy hay I don't have money for.  So it makes sense to sell them instead of letting them stand here and starve, doesn't it?

Now, what's going on here with my little self sustained farm...  an old friend emailed me letting me know that the town closest to me wants to set up a farmers market.  How perfect is that, eh?  This morning I set up downtown for the new farmers market.  All I had was some cucumbers pickling size (little bitty ones)and a dozen zucchini.  I sold out.    Too bad I don't have enough produce coming on to pay that 2 months behind electric bill before the 16th.  Eh, no electricity, been there done that.  At least I'll get peace and quiet since nobody wants to live here in the dark without even a fan for air circulation but me, LOL.  Works out good, eh?

Also working out a deal on a few of the goats I have here.  Not as much as I'd like to get from them but at least I won't have to pack them to the auction and sit there all night to get paid.

Everything else is just gonna work out one way or another and life will go on for me, all by myself where nothing and nobody besides me can affect it.  I will do my best to keep going like I want to but whatever happens, I'll just deal with it as it comes.  I built this out of nothing, I guess I can just do it again someplace else if I have to.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Personal Note

Well ya'll, looks like the journey is over.  I've been to the doctors office every other day for the last 2 weeks, had a couple dozen tests and I'm healthy as a horse.  Apparently, my problem is all stress/anxiety/depression related.  Hard to believe, I know.  The doctor says if I eliminate the source of my stress, I will feel much better.  So, if I stay here on this wonderful farm I've worked my ass off on, making it produce for me, I will keep feeling like I do and eventually it will adversely affect my health.  Since I don't make near enough money to keep the bills paid here on my own, I will be selling off all my animals(which absolutely kills me and makes me more depressed), filing for divorce( that will fix all my health problems) and leaving here to find a new path for my future. 

I don't have a real plan worked out yet.  It's kind of hard to work something out when you have nothing to work with.  Hopefully, I can get a decent price for the animals and at least give myself something to move on with.  I just can't keep fighting a losing battle when I'm constantly dragged down by the disrespect, lies and stupidity of someone who is supposed to be my life partner.

So, it's the end of this journey.  All I can do is work on starting another one down the road...

Monday, June 4, 2012

Todays Project

 Todays project was baking bread outside with wood.  Ideally, it would be in a brick oven.  Since I'm never going to be able to buy the brick and mortar I need to build one, I decided to think outside the box.  This probably wont bake me a good pizza, but it did the tasty buns bread just fine.  The bread didn't rise quite like it does in the house oven but it also didnt get the benefit of the oven pre-heating with them inside.  The grill is one of those smoker charcoal grills and I just built my fire on the smoker end with wood.  When the rolls were done, the taters in the foil were close to ready so I threw some meat on the grill, cooked it and had a nice supper with it outside, in the shade.
 Grizzly waiting for a piece of bread.
 Jake making sure there was no juice left in the bag that might make the garbage can nasty.
Sonya waiting for left overs.

Warming back up

 It was a very nice, cool weekend.  Too bad the nice weather didn't last.  It's back up to the high 80sF again.  I'm really pleased with the wood chip permculture.  It's holding moisture longer than the areas without woodchips and it's working exactly like any cover would in weed reduction.  Instead of having to water constantly, I'm just having to water once a week since we have had no rain.
 I still need to put the tomato cage panels up.  Too many other little things got in the way this weekend but since our minor tragedies wiped out our fuel money, hubs won't be making it to work this week so we will have plenty of time to get it set up.  It's hard to see but the Hopi tobacco plants are all in full flower.  Since I don't know much about them and never grown them before, it's a mystery why they are flowering after only a month of growing.  The Hopi are from the southwest, hot and dry conditions which we certainly had this spring, so this is perplexing to me.  Maybe this plant doesn't grow to be 5' tall like the virginia sweet?  I'm just hoping I didn't do something to them that retarded their growth.
 Yep, the japanese beetles have arrived.  Dang things.  I'll be knocking them off all the plants and into a bucket of water for chicken snacks for the next month.
LOL, some folks thought I was kidding when I said I have 15 goats under the front porch!  I was going to take some to the auction on Tuesday but the weekend stuff wiped out all our money so maybe next month.  Goat auction is the first Tuesday of every month and having to wait another 4 weeks while these little buggers are eating every plant they can reach thru the fences is going to be tough.  The brown and white billy laying in my carrot box got in a tangle with the big billy and got his leg hung up in Johns horns so little billy is now limping.  Not exactly what you want for the auction barn.  He's hard to catch, even with a limp so doctoring him with anti inflammatory has been hit and miss.

Still no word on the test results for figuring out my health troubles.  Nothing like throwing a little extra stress onto an illness.  Patience is NOT one of my virtues.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

First of June

Well, I've been just kind of half humping along with some health problems to deal with.  Some of the tests have come back and the really bad health problems have been eliminated.  Still not positive on why I'm feeling so poorly but the doc will figure it out for me soon.  I've not done any side work in a few weeks and it's starting to show in a hard way around here.  Haven't done too awful much around the farm either that isn't daily maintenance but I am getting some produce now. 

The first zucchini cut.  there's 9 more I will be cutting in the next day or so.  I'd show ya'll a picture of the strawberries I picked today but I ate them, LOL  I love me some straweberries!  One of the quads pushed the bottom of the fence in and ate one raised bed of plants on me.  A few of the plants are coming back tho.  I'm none too pleased over it but nothing i can do, I was at a doc appointment at the time.  So, I will be guarding the remaining strawberry plants and putting the bunny poo fertilizer to them so I get a good crop of runners later this season to cover what was damaged.

This year is going to be darn rough for the farm with the hay equipment damaged.  I will have to buy hay.  Not too sure how I will manage that, I sure can't afford it.  If I can't figure it out, I guess I will have to sell all the critters before winter.  Oh well, just something else to worry about.

Now, how shall I eat my first zucchini of the season?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Busy Day

 How's that redneck saying go?  You know you're a redneck of you've got 15 goats under the porch?  Yep, that's the new hang out.  It's been 98F here the last couple of days and the cool, damp soil under the porch is the "spot".
 Here's Furrball, headed out the front door for the daily adventure.  This one is the only kitten to survive the mystery virus.  He's still a little bit snotty but much better than he's been and actually gaining weight now.
I need to set up the tomato cage today.  The one row is getting pretty darn big in the wood chip mulch section.  I also need to pull the weeds in the next couple of rows, lay down cardboard and get wood chips laid down.  The Hopi tobacco is already flowering and didn't get but 18" tall.  This is the first time I've grown it so I don't know if it's the soil, the temperature (dang hot quick this year) or something else i did to make it bolt like a cauliflower in mid summer.

All week I've been piddling around the farm pouring sweat all week, half heartedly cleaning up stuff the goats have made messes of.  The barns (hay and straw bales they broke and scattered) the firewood piles (they climb on and knock all over) and set up a nice spot in the shade near the horse paddock for the preppers meet up this weekend.

I was pretty nervous about hosting it but it ended up being a pretty relaxing day. 14 people rsvp'd for it but only 8 showed up. Funny how the city folks didn't show. Everybody that did attend is already working in some way to grow or raise food.

It was 98F but a nice breeze blew all day and I had the meeting/relaxing/BBQ area set up in a shaded area just off the horse paddock. The puppies behaved and even Sissy goat was well behaved!

I dug around in the compost pile but nobody wanted to dig in it with me, LOL. I showed different stages of decomposition, we discussed whats good to put in the pile and alternatives for getting things such as meat scraps etc into the compost without ruining the natural flora.

We toured the small gardens here on the farm and discussed weeds, mulching, moisture retention. We never did get across to the big garden tho. it's okay, it was really hot and sweaty in the sun anyway.

We played with the grain grinder and discussed wheats, gluten, fiber content, best ways to mix different kinds of wheat for the beast bread results, how to actually get the best flour from the grinder, different grain mill options and models.

We looked at my canners, the ball blue book and discussed some canning techniques.

We had a good discussion on chickens. Not hard to do with so many running around the farm, LOL

We petted on the cow and discussed milking, milk handling and what to do with all the milk.

We messed with the rabbits a bit and I tried to actually go ahead and butcher one but nobody wanted to do it. Guess they saw my whack and peel video, LOL

My friend/neighbor from up the road and fellow prepper/farmer ( brought out a half hog he butchered for the meetup and cooked it on the spot. A couple early arrivals also got to join me for late breakfast, I cooked steak on the grill with a wood fire. You just cant describe the taste difference to someone who has never eaten a real piece of meat cooked with a little skill over an open fire. We cooked taters and corn on an open fire pit I threw together (all old cinder blocks we had laying around) and had a discussion about why cinder block explodes in fire and why these didn't crack etc.

Great discussion over the meal about life, economic collapse, inflation, recession, the middle east, our country in general.

Next one I do, I'll spend more time cleaning up the farm, LOL Mower broke down on me and other things I had to do this past week and I just didnt get to everything I wanted to clean up but hey, it's life, its a farm.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Passing and Time

I just found out I've lost a friend.  One I was pretty fond of, even tho I'd never met him in person.  You see, GrumpyUnk lived just a little bit too far for me to go visit for a couple hours.  We talked about a weekend get together but it just never happened.  100s of emails about life, gardening, prepping but now my friend has passed on.  GrumpUnk lost his fight with cancer.

Goodbye my friend, rest in peace and I'll see you finally some day.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

mid week middle of May

 Just a little picture update of the garden progress here.  We didn't get but a little drizzle, not the soaking I was hoping for.  The wood chip stuff looks pretty good and the moisture is staying under the wood chips well.
 The dead looking transplants are alive and growing like crazy!
 The onion box is looking pretty good.
 Kolorabi and brussel sprouts growing, lettuce too.
Of course, the dang taters need hilled, again, LOL.  Seems like every time I look at them, they need hilled again.  That's a good thing tho.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

It Drizzling!

I'm all excited because it's drizzling rain here.  Tonight and tomorrow we're supposed to get some rain.  That's good because it will germinate all the direct planted seed we have in the dirt.  Hubs and I hilled taters and while I worked on scrubbing the floors (darn puppies) he planted 4 more 80' rows of meal corn, a row next to it of sunflower and finished off planting other misc stuff I still had on the grow shelves.
 We also set more wood chip down since I got more material to put under it all.  The home made fertilizer mix I've got fermenting in the tub out front got mixed with some water and I hit all the plants in the front garden yesterday and the growth overnight was so impressive, we hit them all again today even with the rain coming in.  The cayenne and hot wax peppers are already producing even tho they aren't as big as I'd like to see them.

I know the growth is kind of hard to see here but I wanted to get the strawberry boxes in the picture too.  Half the plants are flowering and I have some berries growing already on the big plants.  The rest looked like runner plants when I planted them so they need to grow more before they work on flowers.  Maybe by June they'll get mature enough.

I can see the puppies out playing in the rain, guess I better get at least one cup of coffee drank before they come in and track up the floor.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Quiet Week of Planting

3 weeks ago, I put 25 eggs in the incubator.  15 of those hatched out for me.  1 chick drown in the water over night and 4  more didn't make it longer than the next day.  The rest are healthy and happy, eating and drinking like they should.  Now if I can just keep the puppies from eating them.  At least they'll grow a while before I have to worry about those puppies getting after them.

Well, the farm now has 100' of water melon, 100' of cantaloupe, 250' of sweet bell peppers, 300' of tomatoes, 20' of cucumbers, 20' of zucchini, 2 sets of tater tires, 200' of hot peppers, 4500' of sweet corn, 800' of corn meal corn 200' of kidney beans and some misc stuff nobody eats but me.   Now all we need is the rain coming in for this weekend.

I've been push mowing around the farm today since the big mower is broken and no chance of getting the repairs done.  Just gotta do what I can, when I can...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Greek Tragedy

Yes, that's what it is here today.  My son is the king of Greek Tragedy.  The smallest little thing can throw him into his world ending sulk.  Today is a continuation of the front brake job on his truck. Yesterday, it was worn out front bearings ate his rotors up and it all needs replaced(no it doesn't and no, the bearings arent bad).  Just pull the tires off son, Mom will look at it.  Here he comes again with the whine going.  Can't figure out how to get the brake caliper off (it's not bolted, the press pin configuration).  So, as usual, Mom goes out and shows him how to do it and proves to him his bearings are not bad.  Now today, it's the brake bleeding and his all of the sudden faulty lug nut fit.  Geez, this is one of those days I completely understand why some animals eat their young.  Always making mountains out of mole hills.  I never would have guessed 20 years ago that little boys were more emotional and whiny than little girls.  One of these days I hope he gets it figured out that shit happens and get over it already.

The new sweet corn patch got planted.  Hubster worked hard on it all weekend and planted all  the corn, some melons, sweet peppers on a corner and hot peppers on another corner.  It got life giving rain last night.  Me, I need to patch a hole in the fence to keep the goats out and get the corn meal corn, squash, beans and the rest of the stuff for over here set.  Then get the perimeter fence in place before the goats figure out I have something worth chewing on in there.

The eggs in the incubator have started to hatch, 3 so far and 2 more eggs with pip holes and chirping....

Saturday, May 5, 2012

First Week of May

We had a little nasty weather roll thru here early morning and it brought a little rain with it. Not so much it was muddy tho. The humidity came right up and sweat was dripping all darn day. I hate it's so miserable already. Here's the start of the back to eden garden plan. I know this is going to work just fine since the beer box thing a couple years ago worked so well. Now all I need is a big pile of papers.

Lots of planting going on here....

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

What the...over?

Okay, I'm the floor scrubber, laundry maid, dish washer, yard mower, feed thrower, nanny goat and now the hen turkey.

Alright, recap of what happened with the turkey poults- first, Sis stomped on the brooder lid, fell in and crushed 6. 5 left. Monday, the poults all ganged up on one and pecked it to death over night. So, Tuesday, I put them out in a horse stall in the barn and obviously didn't do a good enough job blocking the door because 3 of the remaining 4 were chew toys in the yard when I got home from a run to the DMV. The 4th one was slobbered but escaped the puppies and got back in the stall. I rescued him and back into the brooder he went. Today, while I was having coffee (a break from the tree clean up, that fire got hot!) he was in there pitching a fit so I let him out. He ran around snapping up flies for a while and then decided he needed a nap. I havent been able to get rid of him since. He spent the rest of the day following me around in the grass while I spent the rest of the day trying not to step on him. Great. Just what I need, another helpless soul to follow me around.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Picture Monday

 Yes, it's picture Monday.  Here's the 2 sets of twins born right after Lil Sister.
 Here's 3 of the quads and the single, the 4th quad wouldn't get close enough to the pack for the picture.  He's a bit of a loner.
 The strawberries I planted last week Wednesday.  They looked dead when I planted them, pushing leaves nicely now.
 Onions and garlic in this box, another one next to this one just with garlic in it.
 Brussel Sprouts and kolorabi which needs thinned again.  I'm the only one here that eats these so a large quantity isn't needed.
 The very angry hen with her 10 chicks in the half done chicken house.
The darn red taters need hilled, again!  I just hilled them a couple days ago and they've tripled in size in just a few days.  I really like the tire method, keeps it all so nicely contained and hilling is a snap.

The nasty storm is upon us, lightning crashing and it's raining steady.  Glad it's not a pounding rain with all those seedlings out there.  I couldnt fit the peppers, tobacco (which looks pitiful after transplant) zuccs and tomato picture in this post!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Nice Spring Days

 I got a visitor today.  This beautiful bird keeps flying in the front door and around the house.  Every year, these wonderful little birds grace my farm, raise chicks in the rafters of the old cow barn and eat up all the flying bugs they can catch.
Sonya keeps an eye on the remaining turkey poults that are waiting to be caught up as they run around the kitchen floor.  The lid is damaged from Sissy goat and I haven't fixed it yet.  Guess I need to do that before Sonya gets up from under my chair and decides to catch them for me.  Eh, between the dogs, the cats and a baby goat, the floors need scrubbed every day so a couple of momentarily wayward turkeys isn't going to hurt too much.  Still, that lid needs repaired some time today.

Well, I was going to have my son start seeds to replace what got damaged by him not having the common sense to put the goat out when nobody is home.  I'm out of peat pellets.  The weird spring we had, all the seed that didn't sprout and the 2 rounds of restarting seeds already this year had depleted my stock of pellets.  So, off the the dreaded wally world where the only stock of peat pellets is.  Lo and behold, wally world was out of them and just like the lawn and garden stuff not being stocked here after July 4th, they aren't getting any more for this year.  So, I made him go to the amish greenhouse and buy me replacements.  At only .25 each, he still had to spend $30 to replace what the goat ate.  The boy now has a better appreciation of what it takes to feed us and why I spend so much time starting and tending seedlings for our garden. 

Big step for weaning Sissy the baby goat today!  She finally ate all her morning feed!  Guess the watering down the milk trick is working.  She's spending all day outside now (unless it's raining) but still isn't folding into the flock yet.  All the does think she's wanting to nurse off them so they chase her off.  The other kids play with her but she knows she doesn't have a protector in the herd.  As the other goat kids get closer to weaned, she will fold in with them like Lucky did.  It's rough on such a social animal to be all by themselves not to mention being stuck outside by themselves either in a barn that floods or one where the chickens crap all over ya.  Soon, she'll be a big girl and off having adventures with the other kids.

More garden prep, planting and weeding to do today, plus catch the turkeys!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Pretty Dang Angry

 This is what I came home to today after picking hubster up from work.  My son was supposed to be home but instead, took off and left the goat in the house.
 Sissy stepped on these seedlings, smashed 6 beyond saving.
 Ate all my replacement hot peppers, the artichokes, the newly sprouted herbs too.
Then, Sissy jumped on the turkey brooder top, caved it in and killed half the turkey poults trying to get out.

Gee son, thanks for keeping an eye on the farm while I'm gone.  At least you could have been smart enough to put the goat out before y ou ran off to hang out with your friends......