Friday, April 26, 2013

Another cold front

  I began this Monday, April 22.

 I am sitting here listening to thunder and a light rain falling. So far we have received over 1/4 inch.  That is delight to our farmer ears since they spread the fertilizer on the hay fields two days ago! 

We have been in the 60's for a few days but by noon will be back to the 40's and another freeze for tonight
 and tomorrow night.  Mother Nature is doing her best to ruin my fruit crop.  I checked yesterday and the peaches and plums were good.  The peaches still have the husk around the fruits so I am still hoping that will help protect them.  The little plums are bare but the tree is heavily leafed out and shrubby so that should help.

I worked out for several hours after milking yesterday morning.  I think I have finished weeding the Light Pole and New bed.  It doesn't look like much but at least  the dead nettle and cheatgrass is gone.  The poor storm damaged peach tree needs the chain saw's attention.  I couldn't bear to cut it down completely so will struggle along with it until it dies a natural death.

 photo P1180969_zpsf0c03ac5.jpg 

Well the cold front lasted two days  with night temps falling to freezing .  I haven't checked the fruit trees yet but will do it today.  This is supposed to be our last nighttime freezing temperatures for a while.  I did see scattered frost out this morning.  We are still running cooler than the norm for this time of year.

The cherry tree is in full bloom; so is the Seckel pear.  One of the apple trees is showing a little color too.

The cherry tree pictures never come out to suit me but I took one anyway.

You can see the Seckel pear just to the right and in front of the cherry tree.
  photo P1180972_zpsf3be35e7.jpg

April 25, Thursday

This was a good, cool day with highs in the 50's.  I milked and then stayed out to do more yard work.
I finished weeding the Humming Bird Bed right outside the kitchen.  Trimmed around the trees in the front and west yards and began the horrible mass of cheat grass that is in the end of the Kitchen Window Bed.
That will be mostly a hand weeding  since the base of a clematis is buried in there somewhere.

I got in 2.5 hours before I quit and mowed the east yard area.  I was forced to use the new Cub Cadet since the other one is still in the shop......I still don't like using it!

April 26, Friday

Well today will not include yard work.....I awoke to a sound of rain falling and it is 49°,  That was at 2:45 AM and it is now 8:10 AM and the rain is still coming down.  It is another light rain but it all counts; so far almost 1/2  inch.  This is so different from our hot and dry spring last year.

As of yesterday, the fruit looks good.  All but the plums still have the tiny husks around the fruit which acts as protection against the cold.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


32° here this morning just at daybreak.  There was ice on the birdbath.  I don't know if the fruit was hurt or not.  I am keeping my fingers  crossed.  I think we have another night  to worry.

I replaced my cell phone with a flip phone but it doesn't have a key board so texting will be much harder....I don't do much but do keep in touch with the grands this way.  I may just tell them to check their emails.   I have 14 days to decide if the phone is a keeper but there is a $35 "restocking" fee!  and have you noticed the free phones never free one cost me $32.....reactivation fee!

We got a few items from Wal Mart , grabbed some lunch at Wendy's and headed home.

Late in the afternoon I baked a raisin pie.  DH doesn't eat them....but about once a year I get a craving and eat a couple of slices and freeze the rest....I have already had my two (or three) and must freeze the rest before I finish it off.

I made a new batch of 'Nathan's Never Fail Pie Crust' using my latest batch of lard.  I thought the crust looked funny but it tasted fine.  The lard had a fluffy whiter than usual look to it too.  Hmmmm.

I took  a very brief tour of the yard this morning (so I wouldn't frost bite my hands ) and took  a few photos to prove that spring is actually beginning to show here.

and a close-up the the variegated Solomon's Seal that is about ready to bloom out.
From April Blog

The other end of the planter is Jack Frost Brunnera.  The lovely pale yellow tulips that used to be here; aren't this year!  I am thinking to move a few bulbs of the small flowered narcissus by the birdbath here next to it.

Friday, April 19, 2013

We are in a warm and wet period of weather.  We got some rain overnight; don't know how much yet. A cold front is approaching now......who know what that will bring.

Saturday was spent cleaning house; MIL is coming for Sunday dinner.  We also mowed for the second time.  DH did most of  it;  I just mowed around the each side of the house.  I also cleaned out the south side of the Ash Tree Bed and started the large Hummingbird bed by the drive.  I hope to  work on it today if the rain doesn't stop me.


Monday 4/15/13

Taxes were mailed on Saturday; I never every mail early if I owe!

Sunday we had MIL out for a steak dinner. She is an amazing woman; insisted on driving herself out here. DH said let her be independent as long as she can be and not insist we come get her.

Monday turned out to be a nice day, cool but nice to work outside. I was greeted with my tray of broccoli and pot of petunias scattered all over the yard by Sugar! I recovered most of the broccoli and just planted them in the garden; the pot of petunias have not been found yet.

I also re-tilled and planted two bunches of onion; now just 4 more to go. I had an epiphany about the problem grass sod.....I will plant the onions in the east end of the garden that is weed and sod free. Then I can just till and re-till the west end and maybe it will be plantable by mid-May when warm season things go in here. I hope to get all the onions planted today.

I also got all or most of the hand weeding done in the HB bed by the drive. Now I can string trim way low to get the rest of the bed. I had to be very careful around the clumps of lilies when pulling weeds. They are so tender that they break easily. I should have enough lilies to do some dividing. They have spread into some very large clumps.

DH was going to hook up the garden cart and help but a belt broke on the mower (see why I need two riders?) We then had a flat on the trailer that he had to run into town to get fixed. By then we were too tired to use the pulley to put it on the trailer. The belt that broke won't let the mower move under power at all. So we use the fencing thing to crank it up....not an easy job. We may get that done this afternoon.

It looks very rainy and we might loose the day to the weather.

BTW, we got 5 eggs yesterday. Most of the new girls are laying. Their eggs are a pale brown and still not full size.

Another to do job is make a batch of granola. I need to find my wheat germ that got misplaced during the refrigerator episode.....maybe still out in the milk parlor.

This is milking morning. Willow has been increasing in volume due, no doubt, to the new grass she is getting now.

Tuesday and Wednesday

Tilled some. 

Made the granola

We loaded up the mower and went back to Bolivar with it. They are running 3 weeks behind. I am so glad we bought the second mower last year. I knew we would really need it sooner or later.

I planted the other 4 bunches of Candy onions. I really should have watered them in but we are under a tornado watch so I am hoping it will rain. If not, I can water tomorrow. I was able to get another row in the west end and then did the other two on the east end where there was no grass sod to deal with.

I am woefully behind with trimming. I see my young redbud in the front yard (a seedling I replanted)is blooming nicely.

The plants under the lights are finally growing.

Thursday April 18, 2013

The Gods were with me. We got 1.75 inches of rain so I won't be watering I am so glad I got the last of the onions in.

We did have some lightening so the internet was gone until a few minutes ago.

I dropped my cell phone yesterday while helping load the now I need a new phone. We are going to do that and some more errands if I can get the helpmeet motivated!
 Got him moving; we got a new phone for me and then went across the street to Wal Mart and picked up a few items.

The cold front came in during the day and we dropped to the 40's quickly.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Chickens at Last!

We are still in the cool front mode.  Temperature is around 35 this morning but will drop at sunrise.
I see another hard freeze is predicted in the midst of a very warm week next week!  Drat and drat!

I finally gave up on finding Sex Link chickens and bought 4 Buff Orpingtons that are just 7 months old.  A woman at Bolivar had them.  She also had some Light Brahmas that were just beautiful but don't lay as well as the Buffs.  It does have me wanting to get some variety just for fun.......DH will not be pleased if I do this.

I will take a picture when daylight hits.
Here they are.  They seem to be settling in.
Buff Orpington Pullet photo Buffsinglechicken_zps5604f54b.jpg
3 new Buffs photo Buffs3atoneendofpen_zpsddc69dc6.jpg


I went back to the Bonnie Plants website to find the cookie recipes using lemon thyme.  I made them and clipped my new plant to get the l tablespoon.  We think they are super!

 shortbread with lemon thyme photo IMG_0114_zps3516cfa5.jpg

If time is short, you can bake the cookies immediately. However, placing the cookies in the freezer to firm before baking helps the cookies maintain a perfect shape as they bake. You can substitute chopped fresh rosemary or lavender for the lemon thyme.
Servings: 2 dozen
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon thyme leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine flour, thyme leaves, and salt in a small bowl, and set aside.
Process butter and sugar in a food processor until smooth and well combined, stopping to scrape down sides. Add vanilla; process 15 seconds.
Add flour mixture; pulse 10 to 12 times until dough pulls away from sides of bowl and forms a ball.
Divide dough in half. Roll each half to ¼-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface, adding just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking. Cut with a 2-inch cookie cutter, and place cookies 1 inch apart on parchment-lined cookie sheets. Place cookie sheets in freezer for 20 minutes or until cookies are firm to the touch.
Bake at 275 for 30 minutes or just until edges begin to brown. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

And I made my two loaves of honey whole wheat bread.

This time I remembered to seal them up while still slightly warm.  That is supposed to keep the bread more moist.....we will see.

Annies Honey Whole Wheat photo MybreadAnnieHoneyWholeWheat_zps0c21a855.jpg

I am cleaning the back porch today....planning to move the plant light stand out to the Milk Parlor for when they work on the bathroom (no sign of them yet).

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Up very early this morning but I was asleep very early too so it all works out.

We got more rain late yesterday afternoon.  I dont' know how much yet but it was very heavy for a while.  I took a picture around 4:30 pm just before the storm hit.
Before the Storm 4/10/13 photo beforethestorm_zps62be13ef.jpg

Kris wanted to see  inside the new  fridge.  Her word is my command.  This is probably the neatest it will ever be.

This is the inside with both doors open.  I still have things to bring down from the Milk Parlor fridge.

and this is the bottom freezer.  I have not unbagged and sorted the contents yet.

This is the two doors.  The left door is configured differently to allow for the ice maker supply into the door.

This is my favorite  feature of these French Door fridges:  The tray.  This one isn't as large as the Kenmore but it doesn't have that slide up door that caused me lots of grief.

This one just slides in like a drawer.

Enough about the refrigerator; I just want it to work and last forever.

I bought in my flat of broccoli, petunias and borage.  I was afraid of the predicted freezing temperatures.
I will keep them inside under lights until this front passes.

I watered the trays yesterday evening late and that should last them a week.  I just run the trays about l inch  deep with tepid water and a bit of fertilizer; stir it up; swish it around and then let the containers just absorb it.  If much is left, I drain it off into a bed outside.

We did go to Bolivar yesterday as planned; got the ATV license and hit the Wal Mart that is next to the License Bureau.  I couldn't pass by the herbs they had outside the door:  They were $3.87 each but are in 6 inch pots and look very good.  There is Greek Oregano, Sweet Mint and Lemon Thyme.  The thyme probably isn't perennial here so I will try to remember to dig it and store it when I do the rosemary.

New herbs from WM photo IMG_0113_zps8c1c19ae.jpg

I will be baking  my Honey Whole Wheat bread again today.  I gave a loaf to  both installers since I had all the breads out cooling when they came and they commented about it......and they went above and beyond on the installation.  DH said they couldn't have his white I will be baking today.

Our hunt for the chickens was a bust.  We neither recognized anything at after about an hour of seeing some new scenery we just kept heading west toward Stockton Lake and highway 123....then headed south and back.  I may just go ahead and buy some young chicks and raise them.  I did see some Sex Links on Craig's List.  That will mean a 4-month wait for eggs but so be it.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Friday Morning, April 5, 2013

Up at 3:15 AM and enjoyed the peace and quiet reading....and drinking  coffee.  It was pretty cold last night; I saw a skiff of ice on the bird bath....we actually saw a pair of Purple Finches enjoying a bath together yesterday.

I had great plans to mow yesterday but neither mowers was willing.  If it is very cold they just don't start.  DH is charging the battery on my old (and favorite mower) so, hopefully, I can mow today.

I also vow to spray with dormant oil!  No rain in sight for several days and nice warm temperatures.

I made my first garden faux pas this morning.   I dug a very large clump of what I thought was a weedy grass...then I realized  it was a clump of tradescantia!  It will survive.  I may divide it into several clumps and put it in an area where it can do its thing without me bothering it.  It is a Missouri  native  that grows in the fact, I think that is where I got this one.

Saturday April 6,2013

WE (DH rode the new mower) did all the mowing, even the orchard.  He reported that the ground back there was very soft and wet  and he almost got the mower stuck.

I was even able to start up the old Stihl trimmer and do about 30 minutes worth when I ran out of string and energy.  No spraying the trees.....then this morning it is extremely windy and probably not a good day to spray....I see the oldest peach tree is dead and the split tree in the garden is showing color so too late to spray it.  The little plum is fully bloomed and the bees and other fliers are all over it.  I also see the bees on the weed, dead nettle, that I have been erroneously calling henbit. I get them confused every year.

Still no spraying....too late  for the plums, peaches and pears....maybe the apples will get it.

Sunday, April 7

Did some tilling and raking in the garden.  It is such  a slow process this year because of this culprit. It tills up in small clumps and has a mat-like system of very fine roots.  I have to till a while and then rake the clods out or I just cover them and the they continue to grow.  I have never had this in the garden before.

Monday, April 8

This is finally the day!  New fridge comes this afternoon and none too soon.  Here it is in all its SS (stainless Steel) glory.

Then we had to wait 24 hours before loading it fully and I still haven't done that yet.  I vow not to overload this one with 30 different jars of jams, jellies, pickles or other condiments!  I am not even going to bring down all that was in the other one.

I have now tested the icer maker and it is very nice.  I had two glasses of crushed and cubed ice water yesterday evening.

Tuesday, April 9

We made a run to Fair Grove late yesterday afternoon to look at the 45 inch square shipping crates I found on Craig's list.  We thought it would make an instant dog house.  We bought it, $40, and now we need to paint it  before placing it in the dog pen.  It is very heavy and we will have to use the front end loader on the tractor to get it off the truck.

Wednesday April 10

This is our baby girl's 45th birthday!  Hard to believe.  I still vividly remember her birth and the first day we brought her home.

The storms promised didn't happen but we are getting a nice gentle rain, 1/4+ so far, and some lightening.

If the storms don't get worse, I think we will take advantage of  the rainy day and head to
Bolivar to get the license for the ATV and shop their Wal Mart for supplies.  Then, weather permitting,  take a wild razee over the country side to try and find the man we bought pullets from two years ago.  Why I didn't take down his name and phone number I will never know.  DH swears he can find him......lots of curvy roads heading back west out of Bolivar toward Stockton Lake........we shall see.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

We have been having some very nice spring-like weather.  We have had about 3/4 inches of rain over a couple of days and the temperatures are warming nicely.  We are in the 50's right now.  I haven't done anything outside because the rain, actually more of a heavy drizzle lasted off and on.

The seeds I put under the lights are coming along.  Broccoli is up, borage is up, and the rudbeckia is up.
I put the peppers on a warming pad to speed them up.  I  turn the lights off at night but will leave the warming pad on.  Note:  The peppers are now up.

The sun just popped out fully!   That should warm things up.

More bad on the farm.  One of the llamas died of natural causes we guess.   We are having spring calves born which is always fun.

I plan to start more seeds this weekend.

The weekend is here:  Saturday,March 30, 2013

It has been drizzling  all morning and the temperature is around 50°

This was my milking morning but that wasn't to be.....Willow pulled one of her old tricks.  She refused to let down her milk for me.  I struggled to get 1/2 gallon and then gave up and turned  her to her babies.  I could hear her softly mooing to them.  I guess that made her happy.

Since I was already in the Milk Barn/Potting Shed, I decided to plant my warm weather seeds.  I did a flat of various tomatoes, and one of some flowers:  'Horizon' ageratum, melampodium, Fall Color rudbeckia, Giant Exhibition Coleus, salvia spendens 'Flare' . 

Later this afternoon I will make a large batch of rolls for MIL's annual Easter dinner..............again.

Easter Sunday

Rolls are made.  I walked the yard hopingfor  some pictures.  I was surprised to see a lot of my daffodils aren't doing much and some are just gone.  Maybe two years of drought?   I will try to remember  to fertilize and  order new bulbs this fall.  Nothing else was worthy.....except a very lush stand of henbit.  The sun is shining and it looks to be a beautiful day.

It was until we came home and found the refrigerator had died.....freezer had defrosted and filled the bottom with strange orange liquid.

Monday, April, 2013

Well, Sunday was a beautiful day but this morning dawned very cool, 40° and that is the high for the day.  We will have three days of cool and then back to the 70's.  Three more chances of rain.

First thing was  off to Lowes to buy a refrigerator......did that and was very disappointed they couldn't deliver until the following Monday afternoon.  Of course we have the fridge in the Milk Parlor but running back and forth for milk was a nuisance so we filled the ice chest and are keeping it on the patio.  I do miss the refrigerator in the kitchen. We are both anxious to see how the SS looks vs. the white monster we now have.  I got the same style, French doors only this time we splurged and got ice and water in the door.  DH will love that.

I have to laugh at myself.  I have been tracking our rainfall for quite some time and all I could see was 1/4 to 1/2 inch in the gauge yet the west pond is so full we can see it from the house then I found a 5-gallon bucket near the chicken pen that had maybe 6-7 inches in it!  DH tells me that is the last several rainfalls.  I filled the gauge with a glass of water and in a couple of hours it was empty again.  I guess the dog mauling it caused a leak.  I need to find the glue........

West Pond

Tuesday and Wednesday

Ordinary cooler than normal rain.  I am putting off mowing until it warms more.  The daffodils are a disappointment this year.  I don't know if it is the results of  two years of drought or what.

I made myself make two aprons.  I wanted to include one for my Sis when I send her the last jar of  mincemeat.  Then I finally made the ties for the last two covers for the dining room chair.  I have material to do more aprons but outside Spring chores keeps calling to me so I put the machine away and tidied up the sewing room /aka Dining Room; put away the iron and ironing board and my house is now back  to its normal life.

I used the internet to locate a light for my 1960 era Kenmore sewing  machine!  I  was just thrilled when I found it. It has been burnt out for a couple of years now and I couldn't locate one locally.  I have been dragging a floor lamp to the machine each time I have to use it for something.  What a joy to just push a button.  I  am not looking to buy a new machine.  This thing sews beautifully and does all I need it to do.....why change.
The only negative is it is all metal and very heavy.  I have some difficulty lifting and lowering the head out of the table.  I can see the time in the near future where it will just stay up.

Nothing exciting going on in the kitchen.....I did make FlowerLady's cookies again.... This time I only added l cup of dried cranberries and chocolate chips (nuts and coconut in outside fridge).  We are enjoying them as usual.

to be cont'd (maybe).

Farm Note:

Jewel in heat 4/3/13