Cleaning Out the Garden

Hey, hi there!

Can you believe we’re mid-September already?
This summer…just wasn’t long enough, I tell ya!
I’ve started the garden clean out and it just feels wrong. 😦
Saturday we have a chance of frost, so things have to start coming out.
The last 2 days, I spent picking tomatoes and pulling the plants out. And the clean up crew has been having a grand time with tomato plants!

nom nom nom
This good stuff, Food Lady!

Excuse the picture quality…everything is from my phone, because Voldemort doesn’t come outside when I’m working in the garden. πŸ™‚

chicken in the tomato jungle…

She was not impressed that the jungle kept getting smaller and smaller!
πŸ˜‚
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Every year I try to pay attention to what grows well for us and what doesn’t.
This year we planted some Roma tomatoes that we bought through a friend’s sons school fundraiser.
Well, let me tell you, these plants were fucking awesome!!!
Check this out:

look at all the tomatoes on there!

I had to cut branches off to get to the tomatoes inside the growth of plant. Like they were so bushy and dripping with fruit.
Awe. Some.
So, they are a definite for next year’s garden.
Especially when you factor in that I didn’t do any watering, because our hose doesn’t reach. And, we had a drought this summer…
Imagine if they had regular watering!!
Oh, and if the stupid chickens hadn’t eaten so many…
Yeah, Romas are a must.

All told, once my plants were stripped, I have 5 5 gallon pails of tomatoes.
Some I’ll let ripen, some are ripe so we’ll eat those and many of the greenies will become wine.
Yum!

I thought my green beans were done and was leaving them to go to seeds for next year.
Hahahaha!
They’ve had other ideas.
Oh, some have big fat pods that are no good for anything but seed, but there’s a ton of pods that are good for eating right away.
I picked just about 2 pounds last time, and it looks like I’ll get that again.
Fine by me.
πŸ™‚

And then, that Daphne had a digging frenzy last week.
Why?
Because she’s a dog, and she can.
But she found this:

how cool is this??

It’s broken and dirty, but with a little elbow grease, I think I can fix it up. I think it’ll be perfect hung over the back door.

And finally, a picture of our Sable…

Whatcha doin’ CinderBella?

This is from way back in July, when she wasn’t feeling so good.
She’s always been a waterbaby, so we didn’t think too much of it…until we talked to her vet about and we all put 2 and 2 together.
Ms Merry Mare was trying to make herself feel better by cooling her hooves.
If it ever happens again, I’ll be sure to pay better attention to her overall demeanor, instead of just shaking my head at her antics.
It’s all we can do right?
When we know better, we work to do better.

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Monday Morning Roundup~Aug. 27th

So, I fell off the face of the earth for a bit there.
Mostly because I’ve been busy.
Y’see, the garden is producing, and someone has to put it up for the winter…because, yes, winter is coming.

I pulled out the pressure canner.
If you heard an excited, high pitched “Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!” last week, well, that was me.
πŸ™‚

It’s been 5 far too long years since I put food in jars for the shelves.
This year, I was determined to get back at it.
And I have!
So far, just green beans, but today I’ve got potatoes going into the canner, and once we butcher the meaties, I’ll be using backs and scraps for home-grown chicken soup.
And, I need to send Hubby to the mushroom farm, because one can never have enough home canned mushrooms!
Then, there’s kidney beans, and chick peas and pork and beans to make…

I’ve missed this.
Back when we were in the city, it was a normal year for me to put up 400 or so jars of food a year.
I want to surpass that out here!
I feel like, I have all this space to grow stuff, I need to be better prepared for life’s little bumps and bruises that slow us down on the way.
That mindset got lost for a little while, but now, I’m back to it…and it feels soooooo good!

The past week, I’ve also been tending to the wines.
I finally got my blueberry/pomegranate kit bottled.
The 2nd round of green tomato (which is likely going to end up a blush wine instead of a white this time) has been stabilized and is now clearing. It is so tasty. Still young, so a bit fiery, but the first one was the same way. With a little age, it turned into a stunningly good wine.

And then, Hubby brought home 50lbs of apples someone gave him at work. Not deadfall, lovely hand-picked eating apples.
So I started a batch of apple wine…because hey, free fruit? Yeah, I’ll ferment that!

And then there’s the planning for next year’s garden. Already.
In the next month or two, it’ll be time to get the fall garlic in.
I’m thinking about what worked this year, what didn’t work, and what we need to grow more of next year.
Plus, there’s that darn fence to get done!
So much to do, so little time to do it.
lol

Now, for those who have been wondering…

Our Sable.
❀

She’s been off the previcox for 2 weeks now.
I keep saying this…we are cautiously and quietly optimistic.
She’s eating very well, she’s gained back the weight she lost during her sickness, and she’s still getting a flax cookie daily…because she loves them and we love her.
❀

That’s all the news for today…
It doesn’t sound like I’ve been all that busy when I write it here, but I’m going from before sunrise until well after sunset, so I’m either spinning my wheels or maybe I might be getting somewhere.
I’ll let you know.
πŸ˜‰

Sharing with Comedy Plus for Awww Mondays.

Gone Fishin’

We were up long before the butt crack of dawn yesterday…
Okay, we got up like it was a normal day.
πŸ™‚

Let the animals out, checked on the Girls, hopped in the truck and went for a drive…

It was a lovely morning to be out with fishing poles and cameras.
Of course, we didn’t catch much…
A friend caught a wee, itty bitty pickerel (like minnow sized)…

The Kid caught a pickerel rig (complete with bait still on it!) and then there was the rock…

Remember how I got the Cookie Stone?
Well, thanks to a friend who was willing to go into the water and get wet squidgey shoes (and considering I’d just made fun of his catch πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚, it was an awesome thing for him to do…), I now have a 2nd stone to go with it…

Now we have the BellaRock (the rectangular-ish one from yesterday) and Cookie’s heart stone.
All I gotta do is paint the mares on them.
And get 2 more big rocks for Astrid and Ruby.
But that will be on other fishing trips.
πŸ™‚

Catching y’all up…

I’ve been working on writing this post now for a few days…
There seems to be so much going on, that I don’t know where to start, or how to put things into words.
And yet, its typical summer time things…

Weed/water the garden
Care for the animals
Cut, rake, bale hay
Clean the house
Make the meals
Clean the kitchen
Start again the next day…

I’m finding myself exhausted before the day even begins.
And I’m trying really hard *not* to whine about it.
Which is a huge part of why writing this post has sat and sat and sat…

I am very happy to share that the garden is on track to produce the best crop this year.
We should have a bumper crop of bush beans, if flowers are any indication.
There are crazy amounts of flowers on the zucchini…I’m so excited for a lot of zucchini. I think I’m probably the only person in the world who *hopes* for a huge zucchini crop.
I love it in everything. And now, I’ve found a pickle recipe that uses zucs instead of cukes! I so want to try that!

Daily watering has made a huge difference.
That’s something I struggle with, because we haven’t yet fixed the hose tap on the house, so we’re running a hose from the yard hydrant over by the garage.
That’s a couple hundred feet…and my hose is holy.
OMG
That sounds like a terrible country song!!

“Waterin’ ma garden
With a holy hose
I’m waterin’ more weeds
Than ma tomatoes”

πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Point is…I need a new hose. Or a few to put together, that won’t water the weeds while I’m trying to water the food forest.

Oh and we had a heat wave the last week or so…
It was hotter than…well, it was hot.
We lost almost half of our meat chicks.
Talk about frustration.
These guys are supposed to be our winter food, but if I lose them early, it makes it so much harder to get enough put up to feed everyone through to next year.
I did contact the hatchery and had a good chat with the owner, who gave me some tips for next time.
Fingers crossed that all grow well for us now!

Sable is feeling much better!
Though I’ll tell you, she’s probably so sick of me by now.
I’m all over her ever day to make sure she’s feeling better.
I have been so worried about her…let me tell you, lose one and it breaks your confidence. Or, at least it did mine.
So, I’m trying not to be a pain in the Vet’s ass, while still trying to make sure that our Cinder-Bella is healthy.
Add into that my ridiculous anxiety about making phone calls…sweet merciful crap, now *that’s* a pain in the ass!
Like when we finished Sable’s shots, and we found she was losing skin in spots…I had to call and find out if this was a side effect of the drugs, or was this something else.
Then, we found the same thing going on with Ruby on her chest.
Turns out, it was reactions to horsefly bites.
Something I should have recognized, and been able to handle without a vet call, but I panicked.
Jeez, I’ve always prided myself on not being “that owner” who calls over every little thing…yet, here I am.

But, the good thing about the Girl’s skin…
I did a betadine scrub on them, to clean up the loose skin, coated them in SWAT (to protect from the damn bugs) and now everyone is good again.
All the hair has grown back in.
So I’m lighting daily smudges, as the wind allows.
That’s the only thing that’s effectively combating the stupid horse flies. That layer of smoke on the mare’s coats gives them a couple of hours protection after they leave the safety of the smudge smoke.

I did get a chance to photograph a lovely prairie sunset the other day:

See the mares at the bottom?
❀

So, y’know, I’m trying to focus on the beauty and splendor of country living, instead of whining all the time.
LOL
Sometimes though, it feels like all I’m doing is whining.
πŸ˜‰

Soon enough, harvest will happen.
*Then* I’ll whine, out loud, often and with gusto.
As we put chickens and pigs in the freezer, I pull out the pressure canner for veggies, and tomato products, and with a whole lotta Bambi Dancing luck, we get a deer or two to add to the freezer.
Then I’ll be whiney and tired, more than I am now, and I’ll be longing for the quite days of hay, weeding and watering.

Winter is coming.

13

Monday was Cookie’s 13th birthday.
I had in my mind for a while, long before she passed, that I wanted to do a cake smash with her.
This was supposed to be her year for it…

Instead, her herdmates enjoyed her cake for her.
Seems like it should have been a bittersweet shoot, but it turned out to be great fun. ❀

Hubby offers some cake to Sable…

He mighta smooshed it into her muzzle a wee bit…being it’s a cake smash and all… πŸ˜‰

Ruby’s turn…you can see icing on Astrid’s muzzle…

That tongue…lol!

And then Hubby set the cake down, so all 3 could enjoy it at once…

Ruby:
“Y’know what I like?”

“CAAAAAAKKKKEEE!”

And then our dear sweet Blonde Girl had a moment with her friend’s halter…
πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–

Sharing for Wordless Wednesday with Comedy Plus, image-in-ing, and Create With Joy.

A Little Farm Update

Dry.
Dry.
Dry.

It’s really dry here. We need rain something fierce.
For growth, to stop fires, for overall health.

But, in the midst of the dry, we do have some growth happening on the fruit trees…and, we’ve (finally) moved the chicks into the chicken coop.
YAY!!!

Apples are starting to leaf out…

Honeyberries are blossoming…

Red currants are popping with leaves…

And because our red currant bushes are so new, they’re still rather small. Which makes them easy prey to fall to Daphne…

Pail protecting a newer currant bush…

I had a few extra 3 gallon pails, so I cut the bottoms out and used them the shield the plants from the turbo power of the Daphne running them over. πŸ˜‰

Finally…
The best news!
All chicks have vacated the house, and the garage.
Chicken coop renos are done and they have moved into their new, and permanent home.
Just because I’m mean, I laughed at the few hennys we have left and said “Your replacements have arrived!!”
Hahahahaha!!!
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Onward and upward to the next task…

Getting the garden tilled so we can plant my HUGE tomato plants.
I hope this bodes well for a bountiful harvest!

I’ve never really viewed myself as particularly talented.
I’ve viewed myself as slightly above average in talent.
~ Will Smith

Glamour Shots

What do you get with a 3’x5′ mirror and a whole bunch of chicks, varying in age from 1 week to just about 4 weeks?

Chicken glamour shots.
That’s what you get.
πŸ™‚

Berg’s brown laying chick…

Columbia Plymouth Rock X Red chick…

C.Rock X and Berg’s brown in the back…

This is one of the 18 easter egger chicks we got a few weeks ago…I don’t know breed other than that.
Hen or rooster?
I’m sure someone with more bird experience than me can tell, but I don’t know. πŸ˜‰ It’s just cute…in an ugly bird sorta way. lol