Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Lots of Chores Done

I had a super good morning after a very crummy night.  Still having sleep problems but I survive!

Today was a beautiful sunny and warm day.  It wasn't windy at all when I went out at 8 AM.  First on the list was to skim  the previous  milking.  I ended up with 2 full cups to go with the two cups in the fridge.

Next on the list was dormant oil spraying.  With our many drizzly days and high winds this was the first time I saw a 3-day window to get this job done.  I couldn't do the peaches and plums because they were in full bloom but I did the apples and pears and one prune plum which blooms late.  A first for me!  I hooked up the garden cart that had the sprayer in it and loaded the battery and hooked it up and it was a go the first time!  Usually I have to charge the battery but it held over the winter months.  I mixed the oil and began in the garden first where I have two pears trees that are just showing buds, no color at all, and there is one apple with nothing showing.  Then off to the orchard where I discovered an iffy tree had died over winter.  I sprayed a peach that is a late bloomer, a prune plum and another apple.  Two plums Superior and Shiro were in full bloom.

I have more fruit trees to plant:  A yellow delicious, an Arkansas Black, a Red Haven peach, a North Star Cherry and a Wilson  Delicious Apricot.  My old apricot tree is about half dead and we were worried the cherry tree was fading.

I decided the entire orchard needed  mowing so I disconnected the garden cart, lowered the blade and mowed .  I headed back to the garden and mowed around it.  I discovered a few short asparagus tips that I will keep my eye on.  Several have died out but I have two nice clumps left.

Was going to mow the front yard but was very low on gas so decided to quit for the day.  Max will have to fill the mower for me.  I can't handle those 5-gallon cans.  I need to check  we may have gasoline in the tanks out back that just have hoses that I can fill with.

I came in and made butter.  I got 11.4 oz. from l quart of heavy cream.  I am getting quite a supply in the freezer.  Max said the calf is starting to take more milk so we may have to start separating them  the night before we milk.  But as it is, we are getting more than we need.

Miscellaneous pictures:

This is the seedling peach outside the kitchen.  It had a few large peaches last year.

This is a new flat-cupped daffodil that was in a mixed bag from White Flower Farm:

I wanted to take more of the different daffodils but the wind got up extremely powerful this afternoon and it was impossible to hold the  bloom and photograph.  I hope the wind doesn't bring rain!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Should appear after the Rain Post March 8 2016

Woke at midnight; spent the rest of the night in my recliner, read a couple of hours and then slept.  This is getting to be a  routine but as long as I get enough sleep, I  am OK with it.

Our much  touted and promised heavy, flooding rains disappeared!  Still  chances this evening and all week.  The more the weathermen and women talk up big storms, the less I  pay attention.

We were completely out of bread except for some of the 40-minute  burger buns so I started two loaves early.  I used my favorite Annie's Honey Wheat bread this time but added l cup of rolled  oats. I let the dough  autolyse for 30 or 40 minutes to soften the oatmeal and proceeded.  While it was resting, I went outside and loaded the drop cord and the electric chain saw to start my pruning near the house.  DH has run into Willard with the new/old truck.  The 4-wheel drive wasn't working.  He just pulled into the drive as I went out to  do the pruning.  I roped him into pulling the limbs away as I cut.  This was a monstrous Alba rose that I loved but a seedling tree had grown in the middle of the rose mass and each year I would have to cut it back as best as I could.  This was the year to eliminate another bothersome task.  It also was right next to the generator and I had to prune it away from the air slots on it two or three times a year.  It drove  Max crazy!

He brought home good news.  The truck has a little idiosyncrasy with the 4-wheel drive.  You must drive it 8 or 10 feet before activating and it  won't activate if you wait until you are stuck!  The mechanic said lots  of  these types of trucks have these little things.....sure glad that was all!

I came back  in for a coffee break and  to make the dough into loaves.  I plan to rest the hour it rises and maybe the baking time before finishing that particular bed.  I will use the saw  to prune the peach tree and to cut down the dead perilla stalks.
This is the bed I will put  the tomatoes this year....never grown them here before  so that should be a plus.


We finally got it; rain at last. Last count was l.25 inches of the precious liquid.  More is due this afternoon.  It came down slow and steady so I hope it didn't wash away the lettuce seed.

I am happy to report that I  did get started  with the chainsaw pruning.  Bless garden carts!  I  loaded mine with the drop cord, the chainsaw and various other hand tools.  DH was  with me  to pull the rose bush away as I cut it,  It was an Alba rose and very thorny. 

There is also a young peach tree in this bed and the row of dried perilla plants that need to be pruned and removed.

This was my stopping point.  Rains were coming  so we drove the cart into the old chicken house/aka mower shed and came in.

It did take a few pictures of the daffodils before starting  my work.

From Blog March 2016

this is what I was happy to see.  I am the only person I know who has never had luck with forsythia!  After cutting these to the ground twice now, I finally have blooms!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

A Beautiful Sunday Morning in the Ozarks


I could see the pink through the kitchen curtains and tried to capture it.  It is times like these I wish our power lines were all underground.

Yesterday was another perfect day and I managed to work outside over two hours.  I planted three different kinds of lettuce and trimmed 6 or 7 clematis and the Annabelle hydrangea.  Now I need to pick up all that debris.

Max just came in and told me it is getting windy so I may not do much outside today.  The wind is supposed to be bringing heavy rains, fingers are crossed.

My little garden plum tree is loaded with buds and I am afraid it is going to get caught by a hard freeze again.

There are just some things we cannot control.......

I have some chain -saw pruning to do.  I will use the smaller electric saw.  Maybe I can get Max to follow along and pick up the litter using the mower and the garden cart.

I definitely need to start some egg plant seeds today.  I wasn't going to do any this year but have seen some interesting recipes for eggplant.......I now have three different varieties to try.  These will go under the lights on the back porch, but first will  sit on top of the lights for bottom warmth.

One of the Korean boxwood's near the back porch (aka the patio area) are just beginning to bud and I can smell them!  If Seedscatterer hadn't mentioned her boxwoods with scent  I would never have tried to chase down that fragrance!  Thank you Jean.

OK, now for the fun stuff.  I am loving  the Cuisinart ice cream maker and have to fight myself not to use it too often.  Then I tell myself it is a good way to use extra milk, cream and eggs........

This is the machine.  The only negative is storage....of course it went on the shelving unit along with a gazillion other things.

This is stage one, foamy ( I think this is foamier because I went heavy on the cream rather than the Milnot which I will not do again for caloric reasons and that is what we are used to).

and the finished product:  from start to finish just around 30 minutes,

I use a recipe that my Sis has worked on but I modify it by using Milnot in place of the cream element (except for yesterday.  the cream certainly did not hurt the flavor).  Her recipe overfills my unit so I have to cut back the amounts a little.  I need to work that out to an exact thing and then write it down for posterity.

Happy Sunday!

Friday, March 4, 2016

First Yard Walk-About and other miscellaneous Things that compose my Life.

We are cooler now.  Lots of frost this morning and frozen birdbath!  It was also very foggy.  The daytime temps run in the high 50's.  Not too bad for March.  We have chances of rain for several  days; we hope it happens.

I finally re-tilled the garden that I had already tilled so that part is ready to plant.  I have ordered strawberry plants from Stark Brothers, Surecrop.  I will plant them in the 'kitchen' garden that I have just tilled.  I have tried for two years to get strawberries started again and failed.

This is the east end of the garden.  The strawberries will go next to the fence.

Note:  The bird feeder is still not upright!  My helpmate has just been too  'busy'!

I have not started any seeds inside yet.  I hate to have leggy plants and here I don't set out most plants until May 10.  I should plant spinach, lettuce and some  other cool season things very soon even if I have to water them in.

I made the angel food cake and the lemon sponge cake to use up the yolks.  We ate the angel food and I froze the other one.
I still have quite a build-up of eggs.  I plan to take a couple of dozen to the beauty shop this afternoon and I have told a neighbor to stop  by.

I  made a successful batch of yogurt but failed again  with the mozzarella.  I looks like my microwave is cooking the curd rather than just heating it.  It will be usable in some cooking or diced over salads but that is all.  I need to do more  research.  I made very nice mozzarella a couple of years ago. I don't know what is going wrong.....this is a different microwave.  I may try the hot water method next.  I just boiled the whey to make more ricotta.  I hope it turns out.  The last one did.  It was the first successful ricotta using the leftover whey.  It made maybe a cup of ricotta cheese.
I also went out to the Milk Parlor and skimmed the cream from the extra milk and ended up with a little over l quart.  I made butter again.  I am freezing it.

I did my first yard walk about a few days ago and found these little beauties.

There were 3 or 4  more clumps in various places (surrounded by groundcover (aka, dead nettle and henbit)).

The others are just miscellaneous pictures:

The curious chickens.  It is hard to get a 'portrait' because they swamp you; even stand on your feet,
but I managed these,

This is clear of weeds only because the bird feeder is hanging above and the birds scratch on the ground getting dropped seeds, more daffodils with buds,

I can't remember what these small bulbs are planted at the edge of the golden agastache bed.

I wonder what the draw is......these two cats are now hanging out near this bed (bird feeders are located here).  I think we are down to just three now.  Ahhhh, life in the country with varmints, probably coyotes.