Friday, October 30, 2015

There is Frost on the Pumpkins

Quite literally!

This is the pumpkin patch this morning.

Life on the Farm

The fencing man who was supposed to show up Sunday and did not, finally did come  on Tuesday.  He finished trimming my broken  Red Maple and the other maple in the west yard.  He also  cut down the broken peach tree in the orchard and hauled off all the debris. He will be returning (no set time you understand) at some point to trim around the concrete building that is the orchard's west fence and to build a fence  around the orchard hydrant that has always been a weak link for the cattle.

I have lots of other things for him to do.........will add as he returns.  We make no firm plans knowing how these things go.

Daily chores continue.  The chickens are giving us 7 eggs consistently.  I am getting way ahead.  DH is checking cattle daily.  He also has rounded up and out three more calves that are ready to be weaned.  I can hear them bawling.  They will do that for a few days before settling down.

We are still not feeding hay to the herd.  We are feeding to the weaned group near the barn.  They are basically dry-lotted, meaning not grazing open pasture.


I made orange marmalade.  The first time I tried using Ina Garten's recipe and it was a disaster.  The problem may be my candy thermometer is not correct.  I should have just used common sense and the cold plate test but tried to get the batch to the correct temp.  Never did and ended up with jars of rubberized or candied stuff.  I think I can redeem it in my next batch of mincemeat.

I had oranges left and they were not really of good eating quality so I made a smaller batch using Alton Brown's recipe.  However, I used the time element not the thermometer and also used the cold plate test.  I think it turned out OK.  We did have a small test this morning on a half English Muffin.

I am very wary of internet recipes..much safer to use ones from friends or sisters!

I have several things I want to get done before Thanksgiving:  paint two extra kitchen chairs; wash down the kitchen cabinets (DH will help me with that) and fasten the back porch shelving to the wall with very long screws we got yesterday.  I also will be  soap making again.  I would like to have several batches curing.  I may try a different recipe  or two.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Minimal News from the Farm

The cold front arrived.  The temperatures  will not be above 70° all week  with nights down in  the 40's.  Still no frost or freeze in the forecast which is a little late for us.

This reminds  me  DH is needing new insulated coveralls.  He will remind me soon.  We set the trap in front of the gas tank but haven't checked it yet.  I am encouraging him to shine his spotlight out the back door for me.......he checked; nothing. 

Nothing new on the home front except for me making English Muffins  (2nd time) I also made two loaves of Oatmeal Honey WW bread at the same time.  When I finished I was have to cook the muffins on a griddle and stand over them all the time.  The good news is I was  very happy with the results.  I vowed never to make them again.......then we had a half split with butter and orange marmalade....I might do it again.....maybe.  What has peaked my interest is making orange marmalade.  I have found a recipe but will have to make a grocery run first.  I had bought a store brand  of marmalade for the muffins and we both liked it very much.

The yard and garden are now pretty much in fall mode.  I did catch a self-seeded Laura Bush petunia in the middle of a patch of weeds.  The color isn't true but is much nearer the fuschia of Laura Bush.  I hope she has self-seeded in other places because I am sure this one won't make it before a freeze finishes it off.

They finally got around to finishing our new road topping. Doesn't it look nice?

Have a peaceful, happy Sunday.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

A Good Day

Yesterday was another good day on the farm.  The weather was perfect for working outside.

I managed two good hours of weed whacking and mowing.  Even though rain is predicted, I watered the two roses on the garden fence, the Aloha and the heirloom rose.

The fence man returned (no truck mishaps this time) and we had him take out the half dead evergreen tree on the east side of the smokehouse and the seedling tree let go way too long on the north side.  DH didn't like that it was rubbing the edge of the shingled roof.  Both are now piled neatly until he returns to haul everything back to the brush pile.  I plan to follow Ilene's advice on how  her DH attached a cattle panel to the wall for the two clematis to climb on.  I have the panel and the scrap I will see if I can motivate DH to help me.

I hated to lose the tree, sort of, but it self-seeds like crazy and was also shading the south edge of the garden and there was the roof issue,

The monster pumpkin vine is starting to die a natural death.  I have harvested a few more and don't know how many are still hidden from view.

I will work up the one showing damage on the bottom.  This is always the weak spot unless I have been diligent and placed the fruit on a pile of straw and I have not.

My current project is to figure out what and where to plant something to shade the very naked new porch. 

All from the farm, 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Fresh cup of coffee at the computer, breakfast over, and I will blog.  That used to be my routine and it worked for a long time.

I still have some aches and pains but have decided that it is something I  will just have to adjust to.  I had a little conflict with my doctor and it left me feeling less than happy with him.  He called me hyper!  I know I am Type A but I am certainly not hyper. He did not make a life-long friend or happy patient.  I will now just tolerate him.....and may be forced to ask for another doctor if and when I need one.

We have had some excitement on the farm since last we visited.  We had the fencing man back to cut up a downed tree and remove some downed limbs.  I had done several but we thought since he was at the neighbors we would take advantage.

I was sitting at my desk and saw his truck running across the front yard at a pretty good speed and he was chasing it (a loosing battle); truck crossed the drive and headed to the east fence by the cellar.  He fell right beside the truck and it grazed him.  I thought it was going to run over his body.  It happened so fast.  My new east fence stopped  the truck. It took out my purple smoke tree and broke a wire on the new east fence.  The sad thing is, the truck is a 1972 junker; he had to lift the hood to start it and it jumped out of gear and took off.  I guess the accelerator stuck.  He even tried to climb in the window because the door had slammed to and  locked!  I am guessing no insurance of any kind. I am so relieved he wasn't injured.  He has already repaired the fence, the smoke tree is cut way down, hopefully to  return.

And now more pleasant things,  my rose cutting of the Aloha is blooming.  My sis took several from my bush before it succumbed to Rose Rosette Disease and they took.  She sent me three last year and two have thrived.

I see this rose is now  available  commercially.  I can't praise it enough.  Very fragrant, glossy leaves and a lovely two tone pin.  It is very doubled:

I planted them on the garden fence next  to the white clematis.

Speaking of clematis, all of mine have re-bloomed a little this fall. 

This is the back side of Harlow Carr on the garden fence:
From blog Oct 21 2015

Monday, October 19, 2015

October 2 to October 19, 2015 (yet another catch up)

The weather here has been wonderful,  very fall-like.  The only thing is we need rain.  We are beginning to have some fall color but it isn't at peak yet.  I hope the dry doesn't hinder it.

My Sis and BIL came down  for a couple of days the first week of October.  We had a wonderful visit.  They brought us three of their young Red Star hens and enough tomatoes that I processed 36 pints of various things with them. I was delighted.  My garden tomatoes were a complete bust this year.  Many others in the area complained  also.

I forced a pumpkin on her.....she isn't quite the glutton for work  that I am.  I think her BIL (DH) shamed her into it.  I have harvested several  more and the vines are finally starting  to die.

The beast that lives under the propane tank is still getting his share though.  When we set the trap outside the hole on the back side,  he created a new entrance/exit  on the other side.   I discovered this when I waded into the patch looking for pumpkins.....there was one hanging right by the new hole half eaten.

It is a large hole and seems very deep.  We will move the trap around the tank tonight.

I certainly have enough pumpkins.

I dug the sweet potatoes and they were very disappointing but still  enough for the two of us.

I did my yard tour this morning in a jacket and took a few pictures.

This is the grass miscanthus by the cellar.  I love how the sunlight shows up the plumes.

This just shows I haven't been completely idle.  This poor gate was barely hanging together.  I screwed the corners, renailed the  wire and rehung it and it should last a while.

The spirea has turned to fall,

Another little job, I got rid of most of the tall weeds and hand cut the saplings growing behind the shop,

There is not much left of flowers but this little self-seeded vignette still looks nice.  It is a native aster and gomphrena,

I took one cow picture:  It is the two milk cows and Willow's calf....where did those horn buds come from?

Enough for now.  I hope to do better blogging.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Pumpkins and other Miscellaney from the Farm

This morning we are 'testing' the is working.  The living room was 68° so we decided to turn off the AC on the system.

I do love this time of year.  The only thing that would make it perfect is for it to rain!  Still nothing predicted.  I may have to till the garden in a cloud of dust.

Speaking of the garden, I keep finding snacked on and rotting pumpkins so a few days ago I decided to harvest a few.  I found some that looked the perfect color and some that should have been left on the vine.  At least, I got all I could possibly need for the winter.

I let them ripen for a few days and then decided to process one, not the best colored one:

I  scrubbed it good and diced it into chunks; tossed into my turkey roaster with some water and cooked until tender.  I ran it through the Victorio strainer using the pumpkin cone.  Bits of softened skin came through so I decided to scoop the flesh off before straining.  I used to just process in the Cuisinart.  From this medium sized one, I got slightly over 4 lbs. of  pumpkin.  I thought it was a little coarse.  Maybe because of the early harvesting ?   Anyway,  I made a pie and it was very tasty, not as fine textures as 'store bought' but certainly very good.

I stored  the others in the milk parlor and they will last all winter into spring.

The vine is still growing with no let up in sight.  I have no idea what will ripen if anything by frost which is just around the corner (l0/20).

The same is true of the sweet potatoes....tremendous vines....sometimes not a good sign; all vines and no potatoes.

I am happy to report that DH finally got around to hauling off all my chain saw we need to rake the dead leaves left behind.  I ventured up the side of the cellar once again and chopping down an elm sapling.  I will treat the stump with diesel this morning.

There is nothing left in the garden but drying bean pods for seeds; still producing peppers and the aforementioned sweet potatoes and the odd clump of garlic seedling here and there.

DH saw this in the road when he went to get  the mail,


I am thinking juvenile rat snake?

I did not dispatch it.

We are seeing lots of garden spiders in webs.  I don't mind them unless I drive into one when mowing which I did.

Got company coming Monday.  Sis and BIL who haven't been down in two years.  They will just stay a couple of to get back to the mini horses.