Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Another Rainy Day

We are over l0 inches and  counting.  It is raining very steadily now and is supposed to all day long.  We aren't  in a flood zone but so many in the southern Ozarks are.   My heart goes out to them.

I am still feeding kittens  and teaching them to use the litter pan.....I never knew what I was getting into with these little beasties.  They are doing well and still sleeping most of the time.  They will be traveling with us to KC this weekend.  What fun!  We are going to our granddaughter's high school graduation. Fortunately they are a 'cat' family and welcome them.

I am having a good time  baking and cooking for the pre-grad party.  I have missed baking.....yesterday I did our normal honey, oatmeal bread.  This time I made 4 loaves instead of 3 that the recipe calls for.
This is just for family use.  I am taking a double batch of my standard refrigerator rolls, two batches of cookies (maybe more), and a large batch of barbecued meatball (small size  for hors d'oeuvres).  It is good weather for cooking inside.

Yesterday was a lovely, sunny day. We took the opportunity to mow and didn't bury the wheels in the soft grass. I have seen more butterflies in the last sunny days than I saw most of last year and a better variety.
So  far,  We are hoping that is a good sign for the rest of the year.

 I hope I am right on these, if not, please tell  me.  A Red Admiral
  A Giant Swallowtail


The rains have not improved my poor blooming things.


The Native tradescantia has held up well.  It is a ditch plant here so I guess it has to be tough.
We spotted a Rose Breasted Grosbeak a few days ago.  We haven't seen one here in years.  Also the hummers  are back for a week now.  So far, just counted 3, but hoping for more as the weather warms.  I have a honeysuckle in bloom so they can supplement their liquid diet.


More in bloom:

The first is a red peony in  the Well House Bed.  It is gorgeous, but no fragrance at all.

This is iris Swingtown near the almost bloomed clematis Hagley Hybrid

This is my lost red iris among the weeds in the cellar bed....I need to rescue it!

I need to  go start cooking.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

I Found Them!

I don't think I have talked about our cat or cat- less situation on the farm before.  We did have 16 at one time and no mice......slowly we got down to just two adults.  I had a friend bring us a mother cat and her two half grown babies.  Well, only one stayed and she is a yellow and white female.

This is a picture of her  before.............

As I said she was a female so a visiting neighbor's tom did what comes naturally and I noticed she was getting  very large in the tummy; also Max had seen the  event happen and I noted  they would be born in April.  One morning she came up looking noticeably thinner and I knew she had her babies.  I looked for a week or more in the old chicken house where she lives.  I also noted our oldest yellow and white tom stayed by her side.  I told Max they looked like a married couple but I was worried about the kittens.

Last week I was inside the chicken house moving out a garden cart and there they were.
I had an old shower door propped against  the wall  and she had a nest of straw behind it and they were easily spotted.



We also have a black and  white tom that visits regularly to steal our cat food.  I suspect that is not all he does.  I think I will finally have my longed for Calico.  We are delighted.
P.S.  She has already be re-bred.....doubt it sticks and we will have her spayed when she weans the babies.

I have kitten chow on my shopping list now.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A Spring Day in the Ozarks

Our weather has  warmed up very nicely.  We were finally able to mow.

Love the new mower but it is taller......not a good thing for me these days, but I managed.

Mama Pea, the newer Gravely version has some good improvements over the old:  automatic choke, a dial on the instrument side to set the mower deck and it is in inches you want.  Safety feature, the brake must be on to start and off to move.

We had another trip to town to pick up death certificates and check the apartment.  I was surprised by how detailed the death certificate was.  Before we left (after lunch), I sprayed 30 gallons of herbicide in various very overgrown weedy areas in inaccessible for mowing.  I don't like using it, but there were no blooms involved so the insects were safe.  It is the only way I can keep control of these large areas.

I chopped a few weeds from the mulched strawberry bed. I am very happy with how things are looking. This will be the first year in a long time to have strawberries.  My whole family is excited....gram makes them jam!

The yard men came for a few hours yesterday and I am pleased  with how the mulched beds are looking:

               This is the north side of the bed outside the kitchen (formerly the humming bird bed)

This bed hasn't been finished yet.  We will just do a border with iris and peonies and others, about 3-4feet wide.  I just wanted to show how the native Missouri flower,oenothera speciosa has spread.  Curious about the mottled yellow leaves but it still bloom a nice pink and than has a very thick  ground cover.  It is the large lighter green area behind the ponies.

                              This is the south side of the Kerria (yellow blooming shrub kerria japonica pleniflora

This shows the entire bed from the south side.  That is 'red' tradescantia blooming.  This bed will soon be planted with several new  things I  ordered  from Gilbert Wild and Son in Sarcoxie, Mo.


 I am just showing this because I think I see a seedling Long Island Cheese squash amidst the grass.(Lower left side....may be a young lunaria instead.

I am  waiting for a call to cancel Sylvia's newspaper....they make you jump through hoops!

All for now.....




Sunday, April 23, 2017

A Cold, But Sunny Morning

I think the rains are  over at last.   We got  5.5 inches and are  not really complaining.  This is a wonderful time of year to get lots of rain to get the grasses going.  The cows will appreciate it.  I am not so happy with the temperature.  It was 39° this morning!  I was worried about frost so I recovered my strawberry row which is looking very promising with lots of large blooms.

The yard is way beyond needing mowing.....but between the rains and family obligations we are way behind.  We hope to correct that soon.  I finally gave in and got another mower.  I just got the Gravely out of the shop, all tuned up and ready to go and had actually mowed twice but made the mistake of trying to mow very tall grass at the edge of the garden wet.....threw a belt (I hope that is all it was).  When we took it in for repairs, I checked on a new model that is slightly larger and we decided to buy it.  Surely I will not be without a mower now!  It is frustrating to not be able to try it out......

Lots of things are blooming now.  I was surprised to look at the yard a couple of days ago and see it.
 photo corner back porch with herb bed in front_zpsnepeesyv.jpg

 photo light pole bed with peonies and iris just starting_zpsvgjdxjrf.jpg
 photo Well house bed with oldest rose a china_zpsqc0sbrxs.jpg
 photo kerria bed_zpsnaoitts3.jpg

Friday, April 21, 2017

Missing from Posting----Again

Max's mother died April 12.  She developed MRSA in her leg after surgery way back in December.  The wound never healed and things went from bad to worse.  It seems no one in the medical arena thought they should take swabs or blood tests until three days before she died......after the second surgery to take a look.  By then it was too late. Some very important lessons for us all here. I  wish I had insisted on tests months earlier but everyone said things were fine.

We hope to have everything finished with her apartment by next week.  She was a great lady and  will  be missed by everyone who knew her.

I hope to get settled down and do some blogging  soon.

We are in the midst of heavy rains and things are very green.  Iris and peonies are starting to bloom, Dames Rocket in white and purple is everywhere.  A few clematis are open.


Friday, April 7, 2017

First Week of April

It has been unusually  cold but we finally did get rains.  So far, a total of 4 inches spread out nicely.  We had frost last night but it was expected so I covered my fledgling strawberry bed with a floating row  cover held down by 6 inch landscaped staples.  These last things have been very useful.  I even used them to peg down wire next to the foundation to deter the  persistent skunk/skunks.

Gardening has been very slow and outside, almost none being done.  Yard crew is coming tomorrow (already postponed one day so keeping my fingers crossed).
I do have sever things up and under the lights thar seem to be growing slowly also:

I did get my Grape Magic daylilies dug up and divided along the south side of the kitchen bed.

I hope to mow this afternoon after the grass dries.

The first clematis is blooming:


 This is Wide Brim host my Sis gave  me.  For some reason it becomes completely lost to view as other things begin growing.

 Another of my 'native ground covers; this time white violets.
and the other one, this time violet.  These were both growing here in abundance when we moved here in 1992.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Finishing up March

We are still in  a cool and wet period.  Three inches so far.  Things have greened up quickly.  We have mowed one time.

First of all I want to report on the new "yard crew" (2 people).  First day they trimmed and picked up all the debris from the yard.....took three hours.
They were back today.  The soil is still too wet to do digging or tilling. Now, I have a country yard.....which means no delineated beds or formal edgings but since I hope to have them do my trimming (fence rows, front ditch and around beds, I decided to try his suggestion of what I think is an English type of edging.  They dig a flat bladed spade into  the edge around the bed and remove the sod toward the bed leaving about a 6 inch deep trench.  He says once  I mulch (once they mulch) then grass does not encroach passed the trench and he just uses the trimmer on edge to keep it sharp.  I certainly isn't my style but it is very tidy looking. I hope the look grows on me. I know I  need help to keep things under control so I may have change my thinking a bit.



This morning (Saturday) is another very cool and cloudy day.  The Seckel pear and the apple tree are in full bloom and the pie cherry is just beginning.  My plants under the lights and on the patio seem to be at a standstill.  I may move  them back inside for warmth.

I have made butter three times now.  I started by saving for three days but that is too much for my food processor so I am doing it every two days now.






I hope the thickness of the cream shows here.  It is skimmed  in globs that almost stand up on the cup.



 I tried to use both but the mixer was way too slow so I just used the food processor in two batches.  It makes almost before you are ready.

 

Finished product .  I used the spatula as a butter paddle to work in the salt.

I actually weighed and froze this in 8 oz. pieces....not doing that anymore.

Farm is going well.  We have made arrangements to take two cows to the vet  next week.  The heifer for dehorning and an older cows for a foot trim.  Max will have help for that project.  He doesn't like to haul cattle much these days.

Here is hoping for some warmer days and sunshine!

Friday, March 24, 2017

We are in the Milk Again

Jewel, the Jersey cow, calved once again and we will now be using her milk!  Here she is still in her ratty winter coat with new heifer baby;

Max wasn't sure about her milk so he brought me a dripping pint to test (I was out weeding).  I took a drink and  told him  it was perfect.  He must have lost his sense of taste because he kept telling me it wasn't good yet.  I will let it rest overnight in the extra fridge and then skim off the cream and bottle the rest for drinking.

While out near the pens, I took a few more  cow pictures because several had  come  down the lane and were standing in the lot.

This is either Jewel or Willow's two year old heifer who will calve before too long.  I will have a small herd of milk cows (won't be milking them though).
We will have her dehorned soon.


This is my usual view of Willow since she  heads for the back 40 when she sees me!

This Willow with her current offspring,  another heifer. 

This is a better view of  Willow's  daughter.

We are promised some rain and storms for this evening so I tried to do some weeding in the flower beds before it hits (so far the storm  has just brought some showers).  This is what I fight all summer long, henbit.

It is a slow job especially with the very dry soil.  Maybe we will get enough rains to help.

Cooking:

I gave in  to Max's pleading yesterday and  made a Long Island Cheese Squash pie.  I cheated and had some too. This is all that is left and it has his name on it.
The squash/pumpkin is very prolific and makes a very tasty pie.


It is still raining lightly.....


Thursday, March 23, 2017

March is Almost Gone

Lots of news here.  First and most important I have a yard service! I know I have been excited before and let down when they disappeared,  but this may be different.  He is someone who does this for a living and has been doing it for 17 years.  He does some citified landscape work which won't work for me but does it all.  He is engaged to the niece of our former neighbors; the one whose son still stops by and  visits with us.  I am hoping that connection means he is permanent.  The neighbor's son works with him....keeping my fingers crossed.

They worked 3 hours yesterday and got most of the trimming done and all of the yard debris picked up (three pickup loads).  I have lots more for them to do and they have promised me a day next week.  I went out this morning (in the blustery spring winds) and took a few pictures of the work so far:






They also cut sever sapling Elm trees from near the.  This is work that I would never been able to get done at one time.  He also said he will come once a  month or however I need him!

The red bud and crab apple are in bloom and one sickly hybrid lilac.  The old faithful Miss Kim and the vulgaris varieties are loaded with buds but not open yet.  I still have lots of daffodils in bloom.


I have planted tomatoes and peppers and have them under lights....maybe a week or so too early but it is done.  I  also did a couple of varieties of eggplant.

News from the farm:

Jersey milk cow, Jewel, calved with a heifer calf and I got to use my old skills from dairying....she developed milk fever the next day and I administered a bottle of CMPK IV (her milk vein).  We had the vet and by the time he checked her out  she was up walking.  Good news all  around; I am not totally useless on the farm!

We will start using her milk by tomorrow.  Max is milking her  out daily to remove all colostrum.  Baby is nursing three times a  day.

Cooking:

Still being careful of baking but plan to do a simple pumpkin pie from my frozen Long Island Cheese squash/pumpkin later today.