Wednesday, October 11, 2017

New Chickens

The weather here has been extremely dry and hotter than usual which makes for very dry soil.
The fronts come  through but seem to split over our area and go north and south and leaves us with a few drops.

I have been watering the new hostas and also the  three new shrubs I finally picked for the front foundation berm.  I saw these at the oral surgeons' offices and did a little detective work.  I took pictures on the phone and sent them to the greenhouse that did the landscaping.  They were immediately recognized as Canyon Creek Abelia.  I had an abelia so I was sure it was a variety.  This one is much prettier than mine and a better fit for the location.  I haven't mulched them yet but will soon.

Max is doing well.  Finally catching up (a long way to go) on clipping pastures.  Our only dependable worker (former neighbor) is helping a couple of times a week.

I decided I needed chickens.  My girls, Domineckers, will be three  next spring.  They are in their first molt and are not laying well.  We get 1 to 2 eggs daily and that is not enough.  I found a couple of small flocks through Craig's list.  One was at Bolivar, Mo.  Funny thing is the closer we got to their place, I began recognizing  it as where we bought chickens a few years ago.  She had
two laying girls and one of them had a 3-month old pullet baby. She said they were Wyandottes (can't remember what variety she said they were) and one was a Splash Wyandotte (forget the color).  We bought them and I have been trying to identify the coloration.

Then a lady at Strafford, Mo., had 5 young laying hens.  She needed the pen space for her huge flock of guineas.  She called the white ones Light Brahmas, I think the speckled ones are Silver Laced Wyandottes.  I will post better pictures of them later.  This one is blurry. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Surgery Over!

and are we glad, especially my dear husband. It  was much more than either of us anticipated.  He swears they did not completely knock him out and the pain on a scale of 1-10 was a 12!  His jaw and  throat are  a deep reddish purple today.  The pain is controllable and he is still using ice packs which is helping.  He is a mad patient!  Be interesting to see if he says anything  on our return  visit.  I may 'inquire' about it.

I did chores yesterday but he took over this morning.....chores are not  labor intensive these days.

I fed Jewel and her calf and here they are.  The first was yesterday and  the other was when her baby was just a few days old.  Time flies.

Born 3/17/2017

I finally had a normal (for  me day) yesterday after chores and did what  I love to do most:  baked bread.
This  time I went back to my Oat Bran, whole wheat and honey bread (recipe from Hodgson Mills).
It makes a lovely, soft bread and I think the addition of oatmeal or oatbran gives a special tasty flavor.

Made two loaves  and  one for buns.

Poor Max still can't chew.  I made him vanilla ice cream and chocolate pudding.

 The Aloha rose enjoyed the cool weather (like all  roses do) and one  branch is almost 7-feet tall.  At last the blasted Japanese Beetles have disappeared for now.......
Thank you all for your prayers and best wishes for Max.  Bless you all.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Catch Up Time Again

It has been a busy time  for us here on the farm.

Most of it is just normal, daily routine things.

New eggplants from the garden encouraged me to try a new dish.  Very simple:  diced onions, eggplant sauteed very soft then add (fresh, if possible) tomatoes at the last and cook down until very thick.  I added a mix of pastas to the pan.  Serve with grated Parmesan cheese....I loved  it.  I also just sauteed some in avocado oil and liked that very much too.  I don't have to salt these types of eggplant because they have no bitterness.
The yellow tomato I think is Kellogg's Breakfast or they sent the wrong seeds.  It is very sweet and tasty.
The green is chopped fresh  basil from the  garden.

The beans are still producing and we picked and processed another half  bushel.  I am done!

We bought a bushel of apples for sauce.  Max refuses to eat that from the store!  We picked half each of  Golden  Delicious and Grimes Golden.  I have just worked up half and will chop and freeze the rest for a later date.

Today is Max's oral surgery.  We are a little nervous but  it is unavoidable.  Keep good thoughts for us.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Beans, Beans and More Beans

Good Sunday morning.

As you can see I did get the beans picked.  Even though it sprinkled rain....that is another beauty of the hoop-house method.  I stood inside and never got a drop on myself.

This is the Trail of Tears beans,  first picking on just one cattle panel.  They are pink blooms and are black seeded. 
I can pull them off in handfuls.  Couldn't use my left arm but the right worked great.

Harvest, maybe two gallon.  I cooked a quart for dinner and will freeze the rest today.

This is the third harvest from  the Kwintus/Early Riser beans.  I vowed not to pick anymore, but Mom's influence of "waste not; want not" is indelibly imprinted on my soul.  DH came  along about half way done and helped. (a First!).

The first is inside the Kwintus hoop house  which is three panels.  The bottom is harvest in the top of the apple bushel box.  We haven't started them yet.

We broke the others yesterday while watching Midsomer Murders through Netflix on the TV in the living  room.  DH helped with that too.  Will wonders never cease......

I freeze all my beans but think the Trail of Tears would be good canned.  They stay very firm after cooking and do no get 'squishy'  like some  beans.

This is now Tuesday, August 29.

Happy to report we finished with the beans.  I now have 19  quarts in the freezer.

I started on the apples and just did enough for a cobbler and l quart in the freezer.  There is no rush on them.  I plant to do a few each day until they are done.  I save the cores and peelings and cook them for juice for apple jelly.

I haven't done anything outside since the fall but will try to get a few things done this morning.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Late Bloomers

We are having another cloudy, cool morning.  It is supposed to rain later but not much promised.
We really don't need it.

I took advantage of the cloudiness to take a short tour of the east yard to take pictures of a few things in bloom.  Some are looking the worse for wear. I leave the zinnias and salvias for seeds.  I have my best zinnias in years all from self-seeded zinnias from last year. 

The blue are the salvia farinacea which are almost perennials here.  Note the bright colors are the self-seeded zinnias.  I left the dead peach tree for a hanger for bird feeders.  I will have to take it down before too long.

This his spotlighting anemone rosbustissima.  It is a great filler and fall bloomer.  I started with three plants and it has spread nicely.  I saw a hummer visiting this morning.

Another view of the anemone.  I like how it is taller  than surrounding greenery. 
I took this on a sunny day because the blue of the Black and Blue Salvia was just beautiful next to the green leaves.  This one is supposed to be iffy in my zone but had done extremely well here.

Max mowed for me yesterday.   I took a very had fall doing a very foolish thing.  I wanted to measure  the new bed (from MIL) for slats and was trying to prop the mattress against the wall. I had to step inside the bed frame to do it.  That went fine; then I stepped out and snagged my left foot on the bed rail and fell flat on the floor on my left side.  I did this yesterday have bruises you wouldn 't believe and can't
 lift my left arm without assistance....I am left handed.  All is well; nothing broken but I will be several days getting back to normal.  DH was not happy with me for doing something so foolish. I am frustrated by not being able to do things that I have always done before.  I have learned my lesson!

He has more mowing to do today.  I hope I can pick my hoophouse pole beans using my right arm.  I hate to let them go....

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

New Hosta Bed

One thing I managed to get done between rains was to plant the west berm of  the living  room foundation.
This has been an eyesore that worried me for a long  time.    It finally occurred to me that it would be a good spot for a hosta bed.
I kept my fingers crossed it would not be filled with rocks and roots.  I should have known better.  This was a fill of lush black Ozark soil with nary a rock nor root  to be  found.  The previous owner was a gardener, bless her heart.

I have three more  to put in and then I will mulch it heavily.

These were very nice plants and  some are giant  varieties that will take 5 years to mature.  How is that for optimism!  I  bought them from Gilbert Wild and Son in Sarcoxie, Mo.  I have bought lots of daylilies and iris from  them before.

There are 18 in all. I have two varieties of vinca here and  there that may fight  with them.  I will have to be watchful.

I also bought another rose, Neptune, a lavender hybrid tea that was at the peach orchard.  I couldn't resist the fragrance.  It is a huge potted thing and I want to find  it a spot that  I walk by often.  I am thinking on the east side of the smoke house by clematis Nelly Moser.  This would be on my way to to the garden gate.

I am slowly weeding,  feeding and mulching around some plants:  I have done rugosa rose Blanc double de Coubert, two clematis, and the new Red Haven Peach tree.  I still have lots of bags of mulch left so will be working along as  the weather  moderates.

I promised myself I  wouldn't expand the gardening but what I am doing is trying to consolidate things so that there will be fewer beds more intensely planted and less to mow around....wish me luck. 

Monday, August 21, 2017

Rain, rain and more Rain

It's a beautiful Saturday on the farm.  We have been getting lots of rain, almost daily.  Another 5 inches this past week.  Everything is green and  growing....including the weeds.

I have been trying to get out each morning and work an hour or 3 but some days it was raining  and others it was just too wet to even pull weeds.

This morning I did get some  things accomplished.  I started getting the hummingbird bed  outside the kitchen weeded and cleaned.  Several zinnias and nicotiana were finished and needed to be pulled.  I am rethinking the bark mulch.  My vigorous weeds come right through it and  it will need replacing yearly....very  labor intensive and costly.  If I just had a few simple beds near the house, it might be workable but for cottage-style or  country gardening I don't think so.  Of course, I still have 30 or so bags that I will use but mostly at the base of specific plants like roses or clematis.  The rest will be used in the narrow garden  fence border.

The garden is almost  finished.  The determinate tomatoes are done and I have very few of the other kind.
Still waiting  on the late pole beans.  I have canned a few pints of tomatoes.

We have been having fun capturing the beast menagerie on the game cam.  That seems to be the only way we can capture them.

 Here was a surprise:  An armadillo

 Of course, we knew there would be possums:

 This is our least favorite rascal, the groundhog enjoying one of my apples.

 Mama raccoon with two young.
These were all taken out back in my garden behind  the house.

It is now August 21, Monday.  The eclipse is over.  We never got the full whammy but about 97%.  It stayed much lighter out than I thought it would.

We got another 3 inch rain overnight.  We are beginning to smell swamp-like outside.  I seem to be very susceptible to mold and have been coughing and wheezing like crazy.  Today I  decided to stay inside.

I made another batch of peach jam.  This is the second batch and they look completely different. The first were made from very small dark peaches and I used some old pectin that had darkened with age.  Made for a  very dark  jar of jam.  It tastes fine but not so pretty to look at.

The one this morning  was made from a very large pale peach that was still a bit tart.  I also had some newer pectin and it looks like peach jam should.

The tomatoes are about finished.  I have a couple of plants that should hold us for fresh tomatoes until frost.
The determinate ones and done.    I have canned a few pints and have two trays (l0x21) yet to do.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Miscellaneous News from the Farm

The weather here today is just perfect.  Sunny, and  was 58° this morning and the high will be mid-80's.  This is the cool snap  that followed a glorious 2.5 inch  rain a  couple of days ago.  We were very dry before that.

I finally have my screened porch back!  We moved the two kittens outside to join the other outdoor kitties.  The are loving it.  They about destroyed my porch, tore loose a corner of the screening, left hair all over the say nothing of the daily litter pan chore.  I enjoyed my morning coffee there for the first time in a long while.

I can't remember where I left off last so will  just tell you what comes to mind.

First of all, I was very pleased with myself  that I was able to  go out  each morning and begin trying to get the weeds under control.  Max and I both had 2 week summer colds that really hit us hard.  I only did what was absolutely required (none of it outside).  The strawberry bed and  the compost area were wall to wall (or fence to fence) with 4 foot tall crabgrass and  lamb's quarter and the odd red-root pigweed.  It required a grubbing hoe and then yanking out the huge clumps.  I got it done after about three days.

This is the compost area before weeding:

and after:

The small hoop is covered with another favorite pole bean, Trail of Tears.

The east end where I planted eggplant was almost as bad.  I hadn't seen the eggplants in them  cleaned up.  I have tiny fruit setting.  Every bug in the universe seems  to love  the foliage of  them.

Tied up the very promising row of tomatoes.  Varmints (ground hog) got all the pears again.  Next will be the  apple tree as soon as it reaches their peak of sweetness.  I didn't plant sweet corn this year but finally caught the nearby truck farm for their harvest and got 4  dozen beautiful, delicious ears for the freezer.

I finally got the blasted Stihl trimmer going and did the east front ditch and the area abound the well house.

Max is still on a soft  foods diet which means no bread unless it is softened with
broth or a gravy of some  sort.  After trying 'store' bread again, I decided I would still make my own even if it just for me.

This one is whole wheat (actually half and half).

Some flowers are still blooming well:  zinnias (all self-seeded), garden phlox and old fashioned petunias. These petunias are my favorites.  I hope they will re-seed and stay with me for several years as they usually do.

There were lots of butterflies on the flowers this  morning.  I was really happy to see that.  So far, the only bees are the carpenter bees.

And one last cow picture (they were in the lot west of the house laying in the early morning shade:

Saturday, July 8, 2017

A Cow Day

I asked DH  to take  some pictures for me and he  did his usual great job.  He takes lots of pictures but it is fun to review them  with him.  Some of these animals I have never seen!

 This is Annabelle, she was bought along with her mother Willow.  She is a pure-blood milking shorthorn who has never been  milked.  She has raised a calf each year we have had her. 
 This is her 2016 calf.  My all-time favorite.  He is a roan colored bull who will join our beef herd as a sire.  He is out of another shorthorn/Angus bull.  I love his color.  Shorthorns can have many various markings of red and white.
 More of him, he is already showing great interest in his work!  the black and white is the neighbor's calf who has become a rather permanent member......Max doesn't  mind; I am beginning to.
 This is our senior herd sire.  Max is on the ATV taking the picture.
I enlarged this one because I wanted to check the large animal on the foreground right.  I thought it was the bull......I was wrong.  This also shows some perspective of the hern and the field.  Still have lots of grass and
white clover.

We are liking seeing all the reds we are now getting due to the influence of Willow and her offspring.

That's all from the farm  today.


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

More Rains

Hard to believe our weather.  We have had two different rains  since the trip to town and the downpour.

They must have been significant because I now have 3 inches in my rain gauge (an empty tomato can).  As you can see in the photos we are overrun with white clover in the yard.

 This was taken standing on the patio looking north to the garden.  That is old fashioned petunias I have mulched.  I am hoping they will reseed here.  I think this is the white Rainmaster.

Not much to comment on here (please ignore the trash can, Tuesday is pickup day.  I am leaving the dead peach  tree for a while so I have a place to hand baskets or feeders.  This is taken from the patio looking south toward the front ditch and road.   That large bank of green in the upper right is my fairly new locust tree and some seedlings that I have let grow.  They screen the patio area completely from the road.
The entire yard needs mowing but has been too wet the last two days to do it. 

Max has turned to cows back into the east hayfield.  I love seeing them standing belly deep in that lush growth.  I will get out early tomorrow morning and take some pictures.  You have to be early because when the sun gets up they head for shadier area.

Happy Tuesday.

P.S.  I thought of something I wanted  to share.  When I took the first pan of cupcakes out of the oven, I flipped  the pan upside down on the kitchen floor!  They were still hot and very they disintegrated on the rug.  I was able to redeem 4 that stuck to the pan.   Thankfully I had two more pans to go.  So goes the ups and sometimes downs in my kitchen.  I had a bit of a clean-up to do!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Another Trip to Town

We were hoping we were through with running to town for errands or anything else.  We don't count our little trips to Willard which is about 5 miles.

But we received a call regarding Sylvia's estate that required Max's signature so off we went.  While we were waiting in the office, a small shower came up.  By the time we left it turned into a full-blown gale with winds and rain so heavy some were pulling off the streets because visibility was so poor.
We kept on trucking but had problems reading street names for our turns....We passed by a car wash that we later heard  lost their roof to a neighbor's house behind them.  Could have happened as we drove by since we were getting pummeled with leaves and twigs at the same time.  I even remember the street name as we drove by since I knew we were getting very close to our turn.

Good news though we got about an inch of rain at home and no damage that we have found so far.

Inside  Work:

This morning I am baking.....2 loaves of Oatmeal Sandwich Bread and a pan of cinnamon rolls.

Our daughter and family are coming down tomorrow to pick up their cats (yes!) that we have been babysitting for three weeks.  I always try to have her at least one loaf of their favorite bread ready.  I might even share the  sweet rolls.........

pics to follow:

Both are done.

This is King Arthur's Toasting and Sandwich Bread.  I doubled the recipe. 

That is the sweet rolls rising in the container to the left.

This recipe is the one from Thibault's Table and originally from Joy of Cooking book.  I made them smaller this time.

I have to fess up.  I have been using flour from an Amish store in Buffalo.  It is in bulk and so much cheaper I am shocked.  They don't carry bread flour, but I have been using l cup of the high gluten flour in the recipes  and their Pollyanna Flour (an unbleached white flour)and all else the same.  I am very happy with the results.  I still believe firmly in King Arthur's flours and will try them again to do a test. 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

A Day in My Life

Yesterday was a busy one....errand day always is!  It is also  my least favorite way to spend  the day.

Yesterday was our hottest so far at 92° and very humid. 


After several delays due to breakdowns and rain, they finally finished this y ear's hay crop.  The last 18 acres got rained on but will be  usable.  He has yet to remove the bales from the field for us.

Brush-hogging is coming along with about 40 acres yet to do.  Young man is coming this evening to begin on that.

I have been very impressed with the re-growth in the cut fields.  I have actually be doing my 'used to do' work of spraying fence rows and actually getting out of the yard and onto the farm itself.  The east field is almost knee-deep in clovers again and could be re-cut.  We will just graze I think.  Max is finally talking about selling the cows and just buying calves to graze each spring then sell in fall before winter and hay feeding begins. I support that idea (so far).  We change our minds almost daily.

My BIL has had and is still ongoing some very serious health issues which made us start thinking very seriously about our daily farm chores.

Off the Farm

Errands began around l pm.  We had our regular grocery run, then my make-up store (Merle Norman), a farm supply store (of course) and another quick stop at a second grocery (I forgot an  item or two).  By the time  we got home we were exhausted.

Yard and Garden 

 I finally got the trimmer  started.  It seems if I follow directions, it floods the thing.  I waited some  time and tried again without priming the motor and it started right up. Be interesting  to see how it goes this morning.

I was able to do a little trimming but still have a lot to go.  Have you noticed I am not mentioning my yard crew?  That failed  as I knew  it would.  The young man who we have known forever still works for  Max and me when his time is available.  The other 'landscape specialist' (so-called) has better fish to fry. 
His method of edging is not going to be much of an improvement in my style of gardening.  I may look a little more  finished at the edges but maintenance is still required.  The permanent mulch thing isn't too successful here either.  I have very vigorous  perennial things such as violets,  lambs quarter, poke, plantain and maple tree seedlings that come up through the mulch.  I will  still keep the garden fence border mulches but will not edge it.  My best method is intensive no weeds can survive.  Makes it easy to pull out the odd one amidst the flowers.

Gardening like life is an ongoing,  changing process.  Age is making me introspective and hopefully adaptive!

A few pictures more:

This is a Texensis variety of clematis that is now growing on the ground beneath the edge of the kerria japonica. 

 This is a cheap dahlia I got from either Lowes or Walmart several years ago and leave in the ground.  (not the Japanese Beetles appreciate it too)
 My Oakleaf Hydrangea which gives me a lot of bloom over a long time in spring.  The Limelight will follow later in the summer.
 This is just to show what kind of gardener I am.  This is laughingly called the herb garden with parsley blooming. (I do save the seeds).  Note the garlic seed heads near the trash can.  They must go!
 This is to show what I mean by intensive planting.  Edge of new bed with violets,  daylilies ,sedum, and salvia  farinacea right next to a monstrous clump of flags.  A couple of roses are close behind.
 My favorite combo this year:  salvia farinacea, rudbeckia, phlox , all self seeded. 

 May have shown this yesterday, but it got included with this group moving.  A stray phlox seedling,  much paler than the rest.  That is more ss salvia in front of it and is just to the right of the rudbeckia group.

 Just loved the yellows  and blues so included it again.

All for now.  It is 6:11 am and Max is ready for his oatmeal.

Have a wonderful day.