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. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Life on the Farm from the last post to yesterday.

Life on the farm goes on.....

The skunks have once again decided that under our kitchen (the oldest part of the very old farmhouse) is the place to den up to have their babies. This happened a few years ago and I thought I had poured enough cement to stop them entering. Not so! A week or so ago they were back, we think three different ones from the trail cam photos. The house reeked each morning. I burned all the candles and sprayed air fresheners daily. We would block the hole....next morning find another one near the run.
Finally we thought they had all left by checking the trail cam photos so I put down some heavy metal grille over the area. Next morning found they had moved the entrance just to the edge of the grill. Finally place two pieces of welded wire down and fastened it with many  landscape staples. So far, that has worked. We still have the camera set up and see that they are still checking almost nightly to see if they figure it out.

Saw some other interesting critters too; an armadillo, a possum and of course the roaming cats.

We bought a new camera and it takes fantastic pictures. I plan to place it to watch the birds of a day eating from the spilled seeds under the feeders.




Max is still taking care of his cows daily. I am so happy we bought him the farm truck that he feeds hay with; no more sitting exposed on the tractor in all kinds of weather to feed. Makes you wonder why we did without it for so long. I guess we are slow learners.

We put my mower in the shop last week and hope to get it back soon. It hadn't been serviced in a couple of years and had some mechanical problems too. I have decided to just keep repairing it. I worry that a new one would just be new trouble and I am so used to the Gravely.

Henbit is back along with cheatgrass (bromus tectorum). Both seem to thrive no matter the weather. I could actually mow now if I had the mower back.

Gardening

February 23 I planted seeds of broccoli, a new variety that is not a hybrid, German chamomile, Napa cabbage, Pearly Everlasting, Rabbit tobacco and wild bergamot.

The broccoli, chamomile, pearly everlasting and rabbit tobacco are already up. The others no sign yet, but it is early. Note: now, 3/9 one native bergamot is up, Napa doesn't look promising.  I have  enough seeds to try direct sowing of it

I need to check seeds for others that need to be planted.  Checked yesterday morning (3/8/17) and planted three varieties of heirloom petunias.

I have several daffodils in full bloom, and sparse blooms on my always sparse blooming forsythias, the crabapple is near ready to bloom, trees are showing green tips, my new little apricot bloomed a few blooms a week ago. I thought I had it where the sun wouldn't hit it until later in the day....didn't work.

When it isn't s windy, I will start my early morning walkabouts. Well, changed my mind and went outside and it wasn't too bad, 48° but windy.

Walkabout Photos:

As usual I ran into  a wall trying to  do pictures....will try to do better at some point.

Update:  March 9, 

Planted 3 varieties of petunias under lights now.

Cheated and made a very small cheese Danish...no icing.

The mower was ready! Max hooked up the trailer and off to  Bolivar.  I hope to do some mowing and trimming today.

This will be our last warm day.  A frigid blast is sailing down from Canada Saturday and we will have a hard freeze.  Goodby peaches and apricots!  Such is life.

All for now.
 I finally got it!  This is what we interpreted as two skunks....hole is now fixed and they seem to have left us.  Thanks to all the powers above!
 This is about all I am baking (except for the one slip with the Danish) these days.  This is our daily bread: Honey, Oat Bran and wholewheat.


 These are the girls which have been laying for about a month now.  We are getting between 6 and 7 eggs daily.  They never truly molted,  but did almost stop  laying so that we bought eggs from the store a few times.

This was our other surprise night visitor, an armadillo.