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”

😂😂😂😂😂😂

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.
😉

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.

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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. 😉

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!!!
😂😂😂

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

Pumpkin Wine

I started my first batch of pumpkin wine back on November 5th, 2017.
I bottled it this past weekend.

I’ve had a few people ask about the recipe I used, so I figured I’d share it here, with my review of the bottled product. 🙂

I’m going to assume anyone who’s looking for a pumpkin wine recipe has basic wine making knowledge. If not, trust me, Google is your friend.

Pumpkin Wine

20 lbs of pumpkin
~ I weighed my pumpkin after gutting and cubing. Then, I roasted it to bring out the sugary goodness of flavours.
I also used a pumpkin I like the flavour of…don’t use one of those watery jack-o-lantern pumpkins. Use something like a pie pumpkin, with lots of natural sugars.

10 lbs of white sugar
1 1/2 cups lemon juice
2 1/2 tsp pectic enzyme
3 tsp yeast nutrient
1/4 tsp potassium metabisulphate
1 tsp tannin (optional…I figured I’d try it)
Water to 23 liters
Yeast

Now, I used a mesh bag for my pumpkin, which makes racking out of the primary so much easier…and cleaner.
I also added the water *before* putting the bag of pumpkin in…so know that you are going to need a bigger than 25 liter pail to start, because once that pumpkin goes in, the liquid level rises.
A.
Lot.
My starting gravity was 1.070 and it finished fermenting at .990
When I racked to the carboy I added 2 cinnamon sticks.
I could have added more, but I wasn’t sure how strong the flavour would be.
I could have doubled the amount easy, or even added 1 stick per gallon.
I also think adding some ginger, either in the primary, in the secondary, or both, would have been beneficial.
I may try that in another batch.
When all was done, I stabilized and back sweetened with 2 cups of sugar.
This, of course, is done to taste, so it takes trial and error with smaller amounts and then…math to know how much to put in the big batch. 😉

So, after months of waiting to get to the end product going into bottles, and finally getting a good taste of the wine, what did I think of my pumpkin wine?

This:

Pumpkin wine review…

Now, keep in mind, I like a strong, bold flavored wine. Typically reds and heavy on fruit flavors.
This pumpkin is…interesting.
It’s a white. It’s beautiful. Clear and just plain pretty to look at.
The scent?
Again, not being a white wine person, I find it off putting.
But, there are very few store-bought whites that I like the scent of. In fact, right now, I can’t think of any, sooooo….yeah.
The flavor is nice. It’s not sharp, it’s smooth with a nice finish.
I didn’t back sweeten it as much as I would a raspberry or a blueberry, so it’s drier than I normally drink, but that’s because I found it cloying with as much sugar as I’d normally use.
The flavour doesn’t say “pumpkin” to me, but there is the barest hint of cinnamon to it (I added several cinnamon sticks in the secondary) which makes it interesting.

All in all, it’s not bad.
It’s not, however, one I would personally rave about.
It’s not a green tomato wine, to be sure. 😉
But, anyone who likes a semi dry white, I think will really enjoy this.

Now, that said, would I make it again?
Yes.
But I would tweak it.
Add in more cinnamon, leave out the tannin (not sure it brings much to a white wine anyways), add some fresh ginger, and then I’d back sweeten with a fruit syrup or juice instead of just plain sugar. Something that adds a little more flavour to the party.

All in all, I’m glad I made it.
It’s not a favorite, but it’s a good recipe to play with to find what, exactly, I like.
Besides, how can you not love this label??

Arrrr!!
Cap’n Max says this wine is his!!

Thwart

I swear, Mother Nature is working to thwart my spring building plans.
Or, maybe I’m just too antsy to get things going.
Ultimately, I think it’s a mixture of both.
Weather wise, we’re a good 10-15 degrees cooler than normal for this time of year. Which means there’s still frost in the ground, and we still have a lot of snow to melt.
I’m waiting to move last summer’s duck house into the garden.
It’s frozen to the ground right now. :/

Once the duck house is in the garden, we can put up the fence around the garden. There’s 2 reasons for this fence…because I want to use the adult poultry to weed and feed the garden before planting. Ducks, I have learned, are awesome at killing and eating any and all plants they find.
So, I want to put them to use cleaning up the remaining weeds from last year. Like I’ve always said, the only animals around this Farm with no real job are the horses. They get to eat money and be pretty. Everyone else works.
The other reason is cats…I’m hoping a fence will keep them out. A freshly tilled and planted garden is just too tempting for lazy cats who don’t want to go to the pasture to make their daily deposits.
And I’m tired of cat poo in my garden.
Fingers crossed the fence will help.

Once the poultry are moved to the garden, I get to give the coop a deep cleaning, install some hardware cloth in the bottom and then we put chicks in there.
Both eggies and a first round of meaties.
The plan is (and goodness knows, things rarely go according to plan, but I keep trying!) to get 2 different varieties of brown egg layers (10 of each) from the hatchery we buy our meat chicks from, and then to get 15 easter egg layers…which, if I’m understanding chicken things right, are a barnyard mix who lay colourful eggs.
I just want a little bit of pretty colour in my egg basket. 🙂

And then, near the end of May, when the weather (hopefully) gets back to normal, the year’s pig babies will come.
*sigh*
It’s hard to have patience when there’s so much to do, and yet, the time to do it isn’t quite here yet.

In the meantime, here’s a few pictures of the mutt…just because her excitement and exuberance with a jolly (no longer) ball makes me smile…

It once was a ball, I swear!!

The 55lb chewing powerhouse destroys all…including horse toys.

Sometimes she slows down enough for a posed picture…not very often though!

And then there’s this one…

Oh how I love this boy!

How can one not smile when face to face with a cat napping in the long grass and sunshine? ❤

Feline Friday

Nancy and I were having a discussion this morning…

It was a “facts vs feelings” based discussion.
I’m big on facts.
I haven’t always been, I’ll admit. There have been times where I let my feelings rule me. If I hadn’t been like that, I wouldn’t have moved the Family out of the city for a horse…a horse who turned out to be one of my Great Loves of my life. 😉
Nowadays, I try very hard to make fact based decisions.
Sure, I want to eventually get a 4th horse, but the facts of ownership make me far more cautious and careful as I ponder the idea.

Nancy has absolutely no interest in facts.
He’s a cat, so that’s no surprise.

“Look, I iz pretty, I don’t hav to be smrt”

This morning’s conversation went something like this:

Nancy: “Birds! I have to get in the window!”
Me: “Nope. No cats in that window”
Nancy: “But birds!!”
Me: “Nope. My plants are there.”
Nancy: “Birds!!”
Me: “Get out. You’ll kill my plants, and I’ll kick your butt!”
Nancy: “But Mooooooommmm!! BIRDS!!”
Me: “I don’t care! Go look at them out the living room window. You are not getting in this one!”
Nancy: “You just don’t understand…birds!!”
Me: “Oh, I understand, I just don’t care. Fact is, you’ll kill my plants that I have worked hard to get growing for the garden. Fact is, I’ll kick you fuzzy butt for killing my plants. Fact is, your feelings about birds can be expressed in the living room. Now, out!”
Nancy: “Mean. You are a mean Mama.”
Me: “Yup. And don’t you forget it.”

“Why you so mean to me, Mama??”

It’s a rough life being poor Nancy NotSoFancyPants. 😉
He was feeling rather betrayed by my meanness…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And, just because I love this photo of him, my lovely formerly feral Ghost…

Sweetest big boy ever 💞

Sharing with Feline Friday at Comedy Plus

Stupid Wind

Yesterday, before I wheeled a whole bunch of straw over to the poultry yard for the poultry to enjoy sifting through, I dug out a whole bunch of paths through the (no lie) 5 foot snow drifts.

Today, the south wind is happily working to fill in those paths that I so nicely dug out yesterday.
I’m grumpy about it.
Stupid wind.

Next week though, we’re looking at some above zero temperatures.
That will help the grumpiness.
I’m thinking I may start my tomatoes seeds here too. Just because our growing season can be rather short, so the bigger and stronger my tomatoes are before going out to the garden, the better.
It certainly doesn’t hurt to give it a shot. I mean, if it doesn’t work out, I’m no worse off than if I forgot to water my seedlings and they all died…because that’s never happened here. Ever. *rolls eyes*

It that a rare snowy mountain cat?? Nah, just my lovely Ghost out for a wander in the pasture. 😉

I wish spring would hurry up and get here…