Saturday, December 29, 2012

Triple Creek Farm, December 29, 2012

This had been a different kind of week here on the farm, I decided to get under the weather,  an expression used by parents when one was not feeling well.  Mr. Bootsie learned he could take care of our animals and I discovered if I did not see them for 24 hours I would still be welcomed in the coops and barn.  Mr. Bootsie even went to the feed store and picked up feed because he thought there may not be enough to make it through the week with what we had on hand.


Sunday afternoon, I made crepes.  I have been reading instructions about pouring a 1/4 cup of batter into the pan and returning the excess to the bowl of batter.  I had to give this a try and it works.  The crepes are even and cook quickly.  I filled them with ham and asparagus, rolled them up,  placed in a baking dish and covered with a sour cream cheese sauce made with swiss cheese.  This was a very easy and delicious meal.  I did find Mr. Bootsie in the kitchen slicing ham and making his own supper one night, as I wanted nothing to eat but ice cream.


Things have just been moving along, waiting for good days when a little mulch can be moved or the onions can be weeded.  Remember to pick up a high nitrogen plant feed for the garlic and onions.  They need to be fed in January and March.


I have gone back and checked my records from last year, we are starting to get a few eggs earlier than we did last year.  Things are far from normal but we are gathering eggs and I was able to gift 3 dozen at Christmastime.  This week we continued to collect a duck egg everyday,  the girls laid  27 eggs.  I am starting to think about spring chickens.   What are we going to have this year?  Are we going to add anything new?  So many choices and so many decisions.


The counter is covered with seed guides,  I think they should be called seed confusion.  I want to get my order completed.  We go over to Orange, Va. buy our onion and potato sets from a wonderful store. They also sell seeds from the ball jars.  I am really thinking about the staples coming from them this year.  There is just something wonderful about going in the store and looking at the jars and making your selections.  Do not fear, I will be ordering some from the seed guides.  My daughter has a micro garden and I need mini plants for her.  There is always something I cannot live without.

This week the garden in the cold tunnel has pretty much taken care of itself.  I have some lettuces under row covers and they are looking real good.  If I could sell it, the chickweed would be a money crop.  I just have not started using in for us, I do feed a lot to the chicks and ducks.  Do any of you eat chickweed in your salads or on sandwiches?


I have never had anyone here with me all day except on weekends.  I have said it before and I am saying it again, I will not make 3 squares a day.  I do not think anyone needs that much food.  I have seen my momma stand in the kitchen all day cooking 3 squares to keep daddy happy.  Too many dishes to wash, too much food to prep and there are more important things to do.  I do my meals in the garden during the summer!  A handful of berries,  fresh lettuce leaves, spring onions, a half cleaned radish or turnip any of these will put a smile on my face.  But the day you find the snow peas is one of the happiest days of garden grazing for me.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Triple Creek Farm, December 22,2012

Amazing things happen every week here on our little farm, some I share and some are held close to my heart.  Wednesday morning, I put the goats on the tether line and went about my business of feeding and watering everyone.  I hard a loud noise and thought something had happened on the interstate highway.  A few minutes later there was a cute little goat right beside me.  I looked down and there was no tether line on her.  What had happened?  Where is Gracie?  I walked out front and there is Gracie in the woods eating twigs and content as she can be.  Went to the tether line and it looked alright, checked Hershey's collar and there was a problem, the D ring was missing.  I looked around and several of the feed bins were on their sides, I certainly was glad I always close the bins.  I do not know if the noise scared them but I was so pleased when Hershey came to me for help.  Confidence and trust is the one thing I want our animals to have in me.

The goats were afraid when they came here, I noticed if I picked up a stick in the woods they watched me very closely to see what I was going to do with it.  They soon learned the twigs were put in a bucket and taken away from their pasture, as we use them for fire starter, they did not need to be afraid of being hit with a stick.  Were they hit?  I have no idea, I do know they have never been hit here on our farm.  When I start gathering sticks now I find someone in the bucket chewing on the ends as if to say are these for me?  What ever you do in their lot there is more help than is necessary.  It just pleases me so much for the girls to stay close and be in the way when we are doing things.


I made an asparagus and brie soup, this is one of the most interesting soups ever,  There is wine, heavy cream and chicken stock oh, yes, asparagus and brie cheese.  This was a delightful cream soup, the two of us ate every drop of it.  Next time we would like grilled French bread to dip into the soup.  If you are interested I will post the recipe.  It is super easy.


Worked on clearing some trees from the pasture.  Because of the drop in the temperature at night extra bedding was added everywhere.


We are always cleaning the coop and duck house.  Raking the runs.  I collected 7 duck eggs and 21 hen eggs.  I did spend quite a bit of time studying about duck eggs and just how they are and are not good for you.  In our house I have decided they are good for us.  I have been using them in our mix of eggs since we started gathering them.    I really do like to cook with the duck eggs.


Bad winds were hard on the cold tunnel this week.  I went out and adjusted things, we came through with no major problem.  I am just feeding and watering the plants because nothing appears to be growing.


I know a number of you think I have been a little lazy this week and I will agree with you.  By the next time you will see a week in review things will have changed here on our little farm.  I am going to have a helper.  I have been taking sometime for myself and wondering what changes will be made in the future.  After working all of his life, MR. BOOTSIE is retiring from his job December 28th to start a new life as a Farmer's Husband.  I am excited as he will be able to share so many of my adventures and I am a little sad about sharing my space.  But it is going to be nice to have someone who knows how to open up in the morning and start the day with our animals.  He has been able to put everyone up at night as he is here in the evenings.  I may find it might be a little easier for me to slip away for lunch with the girls!!!

           I was raised in a Christian home with parents of faith.  I was always taught to say:

                       I Wish you a MERRY CHRISTMAS and a very Happy New Year.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Triple Creek Farm, December 15, 2012

Learning, I think there is always something to learn.  The goats arrived a little earlier than I had planned.  I had planned to add goats in our farm next spring (2013) but things changed and the girls are here.  I had not had a chance to do the proper amount of studying to understand how to do things and understand their lifestyle.  I have had enough time on the farm to notice changes in the behavior of an animal even though my parents would not let me see an animal be born and my first experience watching something being born was shared with my daughter when she was young.  I was not going to allow her to be raised believing the baby animals came down from the sky.


I tried a new soup this week.  It was a dried lima bean soup, I will make this soup again but will be making a few changes to the recipe.  I dried apples and pineapple as my supply had all been eaten.  The wee folk were asking for dried apples their last visit.  


Monday, I noticed some changes with Gracie, I was told she was with child, maybe, and I am pretty sure she is.  The billy jumped the fence and you know the rest.  About 3 weeks ago I noticed she had a discharge but really did not pay a lot of attention to it.  I came in, checked my favorite goat site Monday afternoon, decided what I had seen with her tail wagging was flagging and yes, there was another discharge, OH, Happy Days, she is not with child.  I would love to start milking and making cheese but, we need to build a barn type shelter for the goats.  Right now, we are sharing the feed room of the chicken house for the barn.  I need a milking station and things were going to move much to fast.  I am one relieved farmer, I only hope everything is good with the young goat because after reading, I only hope the billy did not get to her.  She is just too young, in my mind, to have a kid,  I was told there was no way she could be expecting.  OH, How I hope he was right.  


After dealing with a broody hen and allowing her to hatch, raising the babies and introducing them to the flock, there came the problem of whose coop is this.  Feather who is far from the largest hen has always been in control.  In the last few weeks I have seen a major change.  It seems one of the babies which was hatched this year is now at the top to the pecking order.  They do not come out in the morning until she comes out, Smiley is the last one to go in at night.  She decided she should roost with the cochins at night time.  There is this large hen on the roosting pole with them and she is pleased.  Momma Aurora is always on this pole and some nights they are side by side.  This is Smiley with a look alike, Evelyn and Mrs. Threadgood.

The duck laid 7 eggs this week.  This gal is good.  I have so much to learn about ducks.  I collected 23 hen eggs this week.  I do know two hens has started laying again.  I look forward to the problem of too many eggs again.


This week I have cabbage, swiss chard and radicchio seeds coming up.  The plants in the cold tunnel were covered when the temperature went down.  I now have added floating row cover to protect the lettuce, kale and spinach plants.  Pulling plenty of chickweed for the chickens and ducks.


Friday, my heart weeps for I am a mother and grandmother.  I weep quite often when things happen to a child for we are all children.  Sometimes, I would like to return to my parents farm find my mother there and feel the love she was able to give us.  She could take away the hurt.  I would like to be able to take away the hurt of so many, families, friends, people who relate, this had touched a vast number and will continue to touch many.  This journey for these families began Friday and will follow them all the days of their lives.  May the God who gave us so much be with them each step of the way.  

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Triple Creek Farm, December 8, 2012

Winter is just a few weeks away and we are enjoying wonderful Virginia weather.  Daytime temperatures in the 60's and nighttime in the low 50's.  The really nice feature about this weather is our wood will be lasting, if  the winter gets really rough we may have enough to make it until spring.  Wood cutting, splitting and racking goes on quite a lot.  We do have an impressive wood yard.  I am just so glad we are able to harvest our wood from our farm.


I am now trying to save all the  peels from the potatoes and carrots, the skins of the onions to add to my stocks when I make them.  I have been reading where others place a container in the freezer and put all of these in the container for later use.  When you stop think about this you should not be throwing away the peels if you make stock.  They make a richer broth.  If not doing a meat stock you can always make a veggie stock.  I made a pot roast using the liquid from canned mushrooms  and water from cooking potatoes to make creamed potatoes.  The gravy was rich and filling.  I am trying to teach myself not to waste anything.  After the skins are cooked and the stock has been saved these vegetables, if no meat is involved, can be fed to the chickens.

In my quest to use from my pantries, I am making egg rolls. For the meat I will use smoker pork which was frozen, I will mix in onions, celery and cabbage.  I used duck eggs in making my wrappers. My soup will be egg drop made with our duck eggs and chicken stock which I canned.    


Wood was worked some this week, with a major clean up effort around the wood piles.  When we start working wood again there will be wood brought in from downed trees.  Last winter took out some oak trees and we should start to process them.

The goats are great, started brushing them this week and they are enjoying the attention.


My girl Eva is starting to look good again, her feathers are coming in,  you can now see where the tail feathers are starting to grow again.  I hurt for her when she molts.  The egg count is down to 10 hen eggs and 7 duck eggs.


Mr. Bootsie has placed 2 large black plastic drums in the cold tunnel,  filled them about 1/3 full of water, they should produce some heat inside the tunnel.  I direct seeded some corn salad, mini Chinese cabbage and  Pac-choi in the cold tunnel.  Inside I planted Jersey Wakefield cabbage, Swiss chard, standard and mini, I am just trying these plants, I do hope to learn something about working the cold tunnel.

In the greenhouse, we saw our first tomato of the season. There are several more developing.  I am using the same tomato type we planted last year.  I do not know what the plant is but I took cuttings and rooted them.  The harvest of tomatoes last year was quite good in the early spring.  I was so pleased I have 2 plants this year.  


If some of you are trying to learn from your garden and experiments, please share.  I have moved into an area of gardening I have little to no knowledge of.  I read quite a lot,  have always wanted greenhouses and tunnels never realizing one day it would happen.  I do not have a lot of years to waste trying to learn.  If you have anything to share please do.  I would enjoy any suggestions.  Do not take caution if you know I am doing something wrong, please tell me.  I would like for everyone to gain some knowledge from the work I am doing.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Hunting He Would Go

Daddy had a gun and a dog which was a farm dog.  You would see Daddy take out his gun one night and take lots of things apart,  clean, oil with the 3 in 1 oil, put things back where they came from and polish the wooden part of the gun.  Daddy worked away from the farm all week on Saturdays he would go hunting.

After a good warm breakfast, he with gun and dog would leave home and return around noon with nothing to show for his morning.  Oh, he caught up on the local gossip and knew who had killed a deer this past week, stop by and get some deer meat when we were out.  Daddy never killed anything on these Saturday morning hunting trips.  He would trap a rabbit or kill a squirrel in a tree by the yard, these would be processed and we would eat them.  Well, we did not have to eat them if we did not want to.  Momma did not eat game and she would let us have a choice.  I remember eating some wild rabbit and thought it was good.

Every year Daddy would go hunting and I could not understand why he would stay out in the woods if he never bagged anything.  Oh, he had his turkey caller and he would sit and call turkeys but they never came.  One Saturday morning, Daddy added the hatchet to what he was carrying on his hunting trip.  I knew today would be the day, he would bring something home.  That evening he told us  he found where the deer were sleeping at nighttime.  Momma asked if he knew where they spent their days?  Momma said to Daddy, "you can't hunt at night," and he agreed with her.

After church on Sunday, I could see Momma was rushing to get lunch on the table.  When it was time to clean the kitchen, Daddy told me to go get my coat and boots.  Dress warm because we were going to look for a Christmas tree and it may be a long walk.  Daddy would look and look for the right tree.  We always cut a cedar tree from the woods.  The tree was put in a bucket of water for a few days, it was put up and decorated on Christmas Eve and taken down on New Year's Eve.  You could not have anything unfinished from last year on New Year's Day, so the tree and decorations had to be taken down and the tree thrown away.

Daddy and I start our walk for a tree and every tree I see is not the right one.  Too big, flat on one side, not full enough, I am about to give up for this year there would be no tree.  I come to a path which was freshly cut and started walking down it.  Under pine trees there were lots of pine needles packed down why this must be where the deer are sleeping.  I look around and there it is, a cedar tree that if you cut it about 2 feet off the ground it would be perfect.  "Daddy, come over here and look at this tree, I think it is the one for us."  Everything around the base of the tree had been chopped away and it was just setting there waiting for us to take home.

Daddy had the saw to cut the tree with and he kept asking if I was sure this was the one.  Yes, We have to have this tree.  It is waiting for us to take it home and decorate for Christmas.  Voices, I hear voices. Daddy cut this tree someone is coming and they may be the ones who cleaned around this tree and they are coming for it.  Daddy laughed at me.  Through the woods the voices are getting closer.  I know who that is, it is Momma and my sister.  They came right to the tree that Daddy and I had been looking for all afternoon.

I had no idea what had happened until I was older and Momma told me about Daddy's hunting trips.  He really was only hunting for the perfect Christmas tree and he would mark the way there with his hatchet cuts. Momma and my sister would come the most direct way while Daddy and I were roaming around in the woods.  I know we always had a wonderful tree, Daddy would put the lights on and he would do a lot of the decorating of the tree.  Momma enjoyed getting a new decoration every year and surprise us when the tree was being decorated.  I remember the bubbling lights, lights which were snowmen and Santa's.  The year we had the 5 light candles in the windows of our living room, with extension cords running everywhere, which we thought were beautiful and there were the bulbs for them in a few years which looked like a flame.  Our house was a F. W. Woolworth's advertisement during the holidays.

I still to this day when I see a cedar tree about 8 feet tall feel the need to check it out for a Christmas tree.  One of the most important things in my celebration of Christmas is a walk through the woods looking for holly, running cedar, finding a place where the deer sleep.  Yes, I am lucky to have woods which I can walk through and remember days of long ago when the only thing Daddy ever bagged was our Christmas tree.

                         Bring down the box of decorations from the attic.
                                       This one was made by my sister.
                                                I made this one.
                                    And here is one with writing on it!
                                     Bootsie, time for you to go to bed.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Triple Creek Farm, December 1, 2012

I just cannot believe how quickly this year has passed, today, is December 1, 2012 and it seems like only yesterday I was starting seeds for the spring garden.  They always told me when I was young, time would move much faster when I grew up.  I would like to be a child again and see if time would move a little slower.  I know my ability to accomplish tasks is much slower but I am steady, keep moving and at the end of day I know I have been on the farm.


This week we used up the remains of our Thanksgiving feast.  I am  not going to call them leftovers because  I try make something different so the meals do not get boring.  The turkey became turkey noodle soup with homemade noodles, the mashed potatoes became potato cakes made like Momma always made her potato cakes.  I could eat those at least twice a week.  I did use pantry items to make a pot of chili, the dried tomatoes, which I skinned, were giving it a nice flavor.  This was my first time I used dried tomatoes in the chili and I was pleased.  Learning how to use the dried produce is like a new chapter in my cooking experience.  Saturday night dinner was a freezer meal.  I think I am learning to use my stash of food and staying away from the grocery stores.


I am working with the goats on the leads and tethering, they are doing quite well with the experience.  They are getting so relaxed, I find myself letting them out of their pasture without leads or tethers, I only do this when I am going to be in the area.  The goats have been spending their nights in the chicken coop.  We do have 2 rooms in the coop, the only problem, the outside door was glass and I was so afraid they would butt the right place the the door would break.  Mr. Bootsie covered the door with plywood and now I have a little more piece of mind.  We had been covering the door at night with a cloth so they would not see the shadows of a goat and try to play with the goat.  It is really amazing how you have to think when you have animals.


Egg gathering is becoming quite a game.  Monday I found one egg half destroyed and one with a soft shell.  Tuesday, the duck laid an soft shell egg, I usually feed this egg the next day as it is alright in the soft shell.  I do feed the girls eggs but they are cooked.  I do not want them to get the taste for the raw egg.  The month of November I collected 30 duck eggs, and 68 hen eggs.  This week, there were 7 ducks eggs and 11 hen eggs.

Eva is still molting, no tail feathers and a lot of body feathers are missing.  She does hate the camera, but she was looking so sad I wanted to take of picture of her.  This girl is my best layer and lays a very large egg.  You can see the feathers starting to come in.  By the end of week you could see lots of feathers and we are promised warm weather this week.  I worry about the cold and her in this condition, but her molt, 2 years ago, was when we have nighttime temperatures of 8 to 10 degrees.   I doubt that she will start laying before sometime in February.


What I have in the cold tunnel is doing really good.  I added some kale and lettuce plants this week.  In the greenhouse the basil is doing good and the tomatoes are blooming.  I potted the amaryllis bulbs, they were laid on their side in August, new growth was starting to show.  I do look forward to having a few blooms.  Hollyhocks, I started from seed, were up potted this week.


We are entering a busy time of the year, I am pleased things have slowed in the garden and it gives me time to enjoy the holidays with family and friends.  I love walking around the farm seeing the  holly trees covered with berries and running cedar creeping across the woods floor.  Brings back so many memories of my childhood when we picked the holly and cedar to make wreaths for our house.  This was done the week before Christmas because fires in the house would dry out the evergreens.  I know our house will be filled with the smells of Christmas.  Cookies baking and hot cider steaming on the wood stove.  May the holidays be special for you and your families.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Triple Creek Farm, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving week, I must confess I have only done the have-to's this week.  There were family and friends coming for a visit so I had to get the chicken feathers off the floor and the straw out of my hair.  Mr. Bootise just accepts me in what ever fashion he finds at the end of the day.  Others may not find it quite so pleasing to see my preparing a meal with wood chips, straw and feathers hanging from my clothes. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving day, when we built this house we wanted to share it with others and I welcome every chance to do this.


I have never put eggs in the dressing (stuffing) and I used 2 ducks eggs this year.  The stuffing was very moist, I am not sure if the eggs added to this or not.  There were vegetables from the garden which had been canned and pickled.  A plate of deviled eggs from the girls in the coop.  Homemade rolls are always a part of our meal.  Our dessert was light this year, cucuzzi bread and pudding with raspberries.


I needed to make a run to a feed store to pick up leads for the goats.  I, also, picked up a tether line so I can start working with the goats in cleaning areas around the farm.  Gracie, the older goat, liked the lead, she learned real quick I knew where the blackberry vines were.  Hershey, her little girl. followed along and enjoyed the outing.  I look forward to double tethering them.  Lots of vegetation for them to enjoy.


The second little pullet Aurora hatched laid her first egg on Friday.  If the 2 pullets get into the routine of laying maybe there is a chance we will have a few eggs through the winter.  The duck is not letting us down.  She laid 7 eggs this week.  Eleven laying hens presented us with 9 eggs this week.  The only hens laying are Aurora and her 2 new girls.  I am so pleased I have no customers for eggs.  I have been sharing some of the duck eggs with family and friends.


Things are looking good in the cold tunnel.  I have no idea what I am doing but the plants are green and growing.  In the heated greenhouse the basil is growing, lavender  and  tomatoes are blooming.  In the raised beds the onions and garlic are growing.  We are pulling onions to use in our salads and they taste zippy.


They have started coming, the seed catalogs and I have started dreaming of garden 2013.  After doing some research on amaranth,  you can count on there being several different kinds in the garden next year.  The ducks loved the seeds in what I raised this year and the goats liked the vegetation.  I have found out you can cook the long leaves of love-lies-bleeding and use like spinach and this one produces lots of seeds.   My research takes time and with the temperatures being a little chilly now is the time for me to learn and make my decisions for the next garden.  Maybe, just maybe there will be a lot more on our Thanksgiving table which we produced here on our little farm.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Daddy was SO Proud

I have been planning the menu for our meal of Thanksgiving and I remember one very special Thanksgiving.  The way Momma and Daddy did things were different and yet,  just about the same as how we will be giving Thanks this year.  Momma always wanted to have enough pickles and canned goods so the first time we used anything from this years crop would be our family meal on Thanksgiving.  I remember my sister and I waiting for the first jar of pickles to be opened and having a taste.  Before I was grown there were nephews who would get in the kitchen tasting the pickles long before the meal went on the table.

Applesauce cake was always on the menu.  There were walnut and pecan trees on our farm, so nuts for the holiday meals were plentiful.  The walnuts were cracked and then on cool evenings Momma would sit by the stove in her rocking chair and pick out the walnuts.  She would go through them several times  to be sure there were just walnuts and no shell.  Into a jar they would go and about a week before Thanksgiving she would make the applesauce cake.  After it had baked and cooled the cake was wrapped in brown paper and placed in a tin.  Not to be opened until Thanksgiving Day.  

The next thing that would be done was the rooster would be killed and dressed.  Momma actually brined the rooster but she had no idea what she was doing would become something we would do.  She would salt brine for a day or two.  On Wednesday the rolls would be made and put in the refrigerator to be put down on Thursday morning.  Pies were made on Wednesday afternoon,  Lemon Meringue, Cherry and coconut.  

Thanksgiving morning, Daddy always went hunting and came home with nothing, I think he enjoyed being in the woods and seeing others who were hunting.  Momma was up early and the house was smelling so good.  The big blue roaster was on the wood stove, the rooster was cooking and Momma was waiting for the broth to finish her dressing (stuffing).  What did I want for breakfast?  Can I have some dressing when it is ready?  Yes.   Momma made some of the best dressing I have ever put in my mouth.  My sister is peeling potatoes, Momma sends my to basement to get 2 dozen eggs to make deviled eggs. There are jars of canned butter beans on the counter,  Momma is opening the canned snaps and chopping up some onions to add to them. 

The dining room had been rearranged on Wednesday so there would be extra room at the table.   Family is starting to arrive and Momma is in the kitchen , singing and smiling, how she loved having everyone for the holidays.  She sent some to set the table, we needed more wood for the stove, I happily went to gather more wood.  Our home was busy, happy and excited about the day.  Daddy has returned from his hunting trip, empty handed which pleased Momma as there was nothing to be dressed. 

I came into the kitchen and Momma was making the gravy, I could see hot rolls being put on a platter.  It was time to eat.  Momma said to me, "Bootsie, gather everyone up and tell them to come to the dining room so we can have the blessing."  Off I went for lunch was not far from being ready.  Daddy came into the dining room and looked over the table,  he broken into the biggest smile.  He just stood,  looked, looked, and then he looked so proud.  As everyone came in to sit around the table he was gathering his thoughts.  Momma would always come and sit for the blessing and then she would be going to the kitchen to replenish the empty bowls.   My sister and I would help with this, also.  

With the last dish coming from the kitchen Momma sat down,  Daddy was almost speechless for some reason.  He looked at Momma and said, "Everything on our table except for the baking ingredients, spices and coffee has come from our farm."  Now I understood his moment of pride, we were able to raise and store our food.  He said to Momma, "You work hard all year long and I must remember to Thank You more than once a year."  I will never forget that day, it meant so much to me to have my Daddy realize just what Momma did everyday to take care of our family.  

After the blessing, my plate was filled with rooster meat, dressing, a little bit of gravy, butter beans, snaps, creamed potatoes, a deviled egg and lots of pickles.  I sure do hope there will be some coconut pie left for me.  I know we did not grow the coconut but it sure makes a good pie.  

Later in the afternoon when my sister and I were washing all of the dishes, she said to me, "Daddy was pleased with everything today."  I was thinking he should be as I think he had two helpings of everything on the table.  Followed with a cup of hot black coffee and a slice of applesauce cake and one of cherry pie.  

I am proud to say this year we are having some vegetables I grew in the garden here on Triple Creek Farm.  We shall have deviled eggs from our girls.  I do not think I will ever be able to put the food on the table my momma did from their farm but I am just as proud of what I grow here.  This  Thanksgiving day I will have to stand back, smile and be proud of my accomplishments here on our little farm.  

                         May each of you have a blessed Thanksgiving and I am so 
                              Thankful I can share my memories with you.  

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Triple Creek Farm, November 17, 2012

It all started so long ago, 6 little eggs placed under Aurora and 4 hatched, 2 were roosters and that left 2 pullets.  Today, Monday the 12th of November, one has become a hen.  I really was in question if this was going to work.  It has been so many years since I was watching my momma take care of hens and chicks, I was afraid I would do something wrong and never have the little marans lay any eggs.   Thank goodness, Aurora knew what to do and how to do it. The last few days some of the other hens have been watching my girl, I guess showing her the ropes of nesting boxes.  This morning she was acting a little different and I was wondering if I would see a dark brown egg in one of the nesting boxes. This week there have been 4 of these beautiful brown eggs.  I do understand why this is such a popular bird to add to the flock.  This egg really makes you smile.


Things have been quiet in the kitchen this week.  I did try my hand at drying pumpkin and I was real pleased with the way it dried.  I have not had time to try using any.  This will come later.  I enjoy a pot of soup and this week I made what Momma always called poor man's soup.  I will let all of you take a guess at what this soup is.  I love it and it is so easy to make.


Mr. Bootsie had to go and pick up hay for the goats.  He is adding one more section to the cold tunnel so back to the farm store to buy one more hog panel, they were on sale this week and he was wondering is we should buy some extra.


The egg count is going down.  I am so thankful for the duck eggs and now I am waiting for the other maran to start laying.  This week 13 hen eggs were collected and the faithful duck laid 7 eggs.


I lost the cucumber plants in the greenhouse.  We just do not keep the heat high enough.  The cold tunnel is now enclosed with plastic and when I go in, it is very warm it the tunnel.  The plants were started a little late for the cold tunnel but I am trying what I have. If we have anything to harvest it will be good.  This season is a learning experience for me, I have never gardened under cover, I have been doing some reading as to how others are doing this.


The Wee Folk came to spend the weekend with us.  Our working habits do change when they come.  I try to spend all the time I can with them.  I do enjoy having young ones in the house.  They are growing up so quickly, I feel as they both should still need help with so many things and now they are help us.  It was so much fun watching them shell the bloody butcher corn.  They asked if they could do it  and shelled every ear.  There was about 25 ears left to be shelled and I know the animals will enjoy this corn after I grind it for them.  I think I can feed some to the goats without grinding it, but I need to check on this to be sure I am right.

I thank all of you who stop by and read about our little farm.  I see we have new friends and I am so pleased you found something you enjoyed here.  This Thursday we shall celebrate Thanksgiving.   A day which was set aside to give Thanks,  There are so many things here on our little farm to be thankful for, I think my daddy said it well.  For all these blessing  we have received, we Thank You.  And on our table shall be a few things from our little farm.  Our Thanksgiving will be so special to me because I was able to raise some of the vegetables and the girls provided the eggs.

                                            HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO EVERYONE

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Triple Creek Farm, November 10, 2012

Frost warnings, the end of the summer garden when will it come.  This year our garden has lasted, I think, longer that I can remember, Monday morning there was a good frost burn across the garden.  I said goodbye to the basil plants, climbing spinach, eggplants and peppers.  Tuesday, all of my beautiful flowers were brown.  The water hoses were frozen, which means I will be hauling water for the ducks, goats and chickens.  Winter on the farm, for the last few years a gallon jug of warm water did the job for the chickens.  This year things will be different.  Time to make plans to make my life a little easier.  This is one to ponder.


My quest to use the things I froze and canned this past season is working.  I used frozen squash and broccoli.  Sunday, I cooked a pork shoulder the way my momma cooked them, she would cook them in a pot of water on top of the wood stove.  This was one of the best shoulders I have eaten in many years.  The broth was put in the fridge and the fat came to the top.  I removed all of the fat and used the broth to may a pot of the most delicious great northern beans which was, also, cooked on the wood stove.


The goats are settling in.  They are coming out for the chicken walk each afternoon.  Hershey, the smallest goat, is in love with the ducks.  They are not returning her affections.  They run  like no tomorrow every time she get close to them. Chickens feel the same way.  It is really wonderful being able to have them out with us without leads on them.  Friday afternoon, I went to check on them and the gate lock was undone.  I know Gracie, the momma goat, had figured this one out.  I always keep a second hook on the gate as I have always been told they will get out.


I am now pulling chickweed for the girls and ducks.  They seem to enjoy all I bring them.  I purchased pumpkins last week for less than a dollar each, it may be an old wives tale about they are good for worming the girls but I enjoy seeing the ducks and girls eat the pumpkins.

There is never a dull moment in the coop.  Guess who has gone broody!  Aurora, I hope she gets over this quick.  I am not going to hatch chicks with winter coming.  This week 15 hen eggs, 7 duck eggs.


Things have changed in the garden this week.  I am now pulling all of the vines and carrying everything to the goat pasture.  I am not ready to let them in the garden.  It was a shame for the vegetables to be killed by the frost.  I offered things to neighbors but I guess they would rather not come over and pick them.  I do not know a lot about saving seeds.  I did want to try and save the seeds from my cucuzzi as there were no plants of this type in the garden after the squash bugs finished with us.  I could not believe how large the one I collected for seeds has grown.

I decided to plant more of the walking onions and garlic. Thursday afternoon, I finished planting the walking onions.  I should have plenty of sets for anyone who wants them next year.  The onions and garlic I have planted a few weeks back are growing, I weeded and mulched some of them this week.  I am starting to work the soil in the cold tunnel.  I have dug out a wonderful crop of rocks.  I am going to bring in some of our compost to improve the soil and I have some lettuce plants I want to transplant in the cold frame.


It is sad to pull all of the plants from the garden, but there is the excitement of seed books and making selections for the garden next spring.  I can already see I am going to be doing things a little differently. The goats love the blue dent corn I raised, if I  garden to raise feed for my animals my garden will have more of a purpose than just feeding us.  I may be able to cut back on the amount I grow and learn to plant through out the growing season.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Triple Creek Farm, November 3, 2012

Sandy is coming to visit, time to prepare for an event.  I know she will not be here for long but from the way they are talking about her she will/will not do some damage.  We have always tried to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.  Sunday was spent checking on things, extra wood where it would be within easy reach and stay dry.  Things that could fly like chair cushions were all removed and stored away.  We stock food so this was not an issue.  Because we have a well, in every bathroom there is 2 gallons of water for flushing.  I have these stored under the toilets.  I pulled about 5 gallons of water for  cooking and drinking.  Extra fuel just in case.  Sandy left her footprint to the East, West and North of our little farm.  We were so fortunate, I do not think I saw the lights flicker once.  There are times when I feel we were chosen to live here.  I know we were taken care of.  No, we shall always prepare as long as we are able.  You see, we have always been told, you have to do your part.  Preparing keeps us in practice for the next time, and one day maybe a visitor we should prepare for.


Canning and freezing the vegetables from the garden works only if we use them.  We, also, freeze a lot of meat as we smoke and cook it.  I try to do everything in serving portions.  This way when it comes from the freezer I do not have a huge chunk to defrost.  I freeze my ground beef in 1/2 pound packages.    My goal this year is to use something from the freezer or canning pantry 4 to 5 times a week.  This week I have been doing real good.  Turkey stock with  black eyed peas. Ham sliced for ham and cheese biscuits.  Holland greens and smoked pork.  From the canning pantry, tomatoes which were stewed.  A pot of vegetable beef soup using a sirloin roast from the freezer, from the canning pantry tomato juice and green beans with potatoes.   It takes a little more planning using the frozen items, I have to learn to plan what I am having for my meals.


We made sure there was plenty of bedding for the goats as they may have to stay in for a couple of days.  With the storm passing,  each day had sometime when it was not raining and I was able to let them out everyday this week.  Friday evening when the chickens were out on the chicken walk the goats discovered the chicken run.  They went in and found the ramp.  Goats heading into the coop by way of the ramp, I had some very unhappy chickens.  Goats decided they love chicken pellets and I had to take the feeder down.  Saturday, when the goats were let out guess where they went,  I have never seen chickens move so fast.


Ducks and hens do not care if it is raining.  I opened all the runs into one and they played for 2 days.  The girls have found they can go into the duck house and steal their grain.  There were no afternoon walks until Thursday and they were so happy to get out of the run, lots of leaves on the ground gives them something to scratch in and find whatever it is they eat.

No eggs from the little peeps, to the best of my knowledge.  They should lay the copper eggs and I have not seen any.  I am seeing what I think to be smaller eggs, some of the cochins have finished their molt and could be laying a smaller egg..  I think this is going to be a wait and see.  I just think the moran eggs are so pretty.  One of the oldest girls started laying again on Sunday.

The month of October I collected 105 hen eggs and 29 duck eggs.  This week, 22 hen eggs collected and 7 duck eggs.


The cold tunnel has come a long way.  We have decided to add one additional section and this tunnel will run the length of 1 row in the garden and covering two 4 foot wide beds with a walk way between them.  I am picking a few vegetables and pulling onions.  The first sign of frost was Friday night, there was not a lot of damage and I will still be able to pick somethings.


The damage from Sandy in other parts of the country has been heartbreaking.  The healing process is going to be long and hard.  For so many who have loss so much I am so very sorry.  Many have loss family members or friends please ask someone to hug you because I cannot be there to comfort you.  I think it is very important to let others know how you feel about them for you never know what will happen.  My Friends, I think of others often and I hope everything works out for you.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Old Lady in the Corner

October 31, Halloween, was a Saturday.  There was a party at church.  Daddy was in charge of opening up the educational building for the celebration.  Momma had baked an applesauce cake, which we were taking to share as others would be bringing refreshments, also.  My sister and I had spent most of the day going through the closets looking for something to wear.  We did not purchase costumes, they were homemade.   Daddy loaded everything we were taking in the car and off we went.

When we arrived at the church there was not a car there.  Daddy went and unlocked the building and I was following close behind.  He went back to the car to help Momma and my sister.  I went inside the building and oh, no, I was back outside with Momma and Daddy.  My eyes were like silver dollars and Daddy asked me what was wrong.  There is someone in there.  "Can't be," said Daddy, "I just unlocked the door."  I was not wrong I knew there was someone setting in there.  We all went inside and Daddy walked over to the lady and held out his hand,   How are you?  The old lady made a grunt of a noise like get away.  Momma tried to be nice to her and she made all sorts of sounds.

By now, others were coming in with wonderful desserts and children dressed in costumes.  There were storybook characters, farmers, cowboys, clowns and the old lady in the corner.  We played lots of games and had parades for cakes.  The old lady in the corner never moved.  If you went to close she started making all of those noises.

Refreshment time, by now everyone is asking who this old lady was.  We could account for all the family members that had children there.  Who, Who could she be?  There was always a prize for the best costume and everyone helped to choose who would win.  Before the goodies were served the voting started and of course, the old lady in the corner won.  Everyone wanted to know who she was.

It was time for her to  come and get her prize. Oh,  how difficult it was for her to stand up.  She would not move her right hand or arm, she kept it right at her waist.  Daddy went over to help, she pushed him away and  something is rolling across the floor!  Everyone was jumping out of the way.  Daddy just started laughing and everyone else is following suit.  There were 2 of the biggest rutabagas I had ever seen laying on the floor.  The old lady in the corner had just fallen to pieces!

Everyone was having so much fun trying to guess who she was and now, we all knew she was a he.  We quickly found out this was someone who always had lots of fun playing with the young folk.  His explantation was,  no one would have believed how big his rutabagas were if he told them, so he decided to just show everyone what a good crop he had raised.    

He asked if all of his small friends could have refreshments before the adults because this was a night for the children and Guess! just Guess! who was first in line to choose from all of the wonderful treats on the table!!!!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Triple Creek Farm, October 27, 2012

This has been a productive week.  So many projects came full circle and progress can be seen.  New residents arrived on Monday morning.  Since I work for the animals, I consider them the farm staff.  It is like our home, If Momma ain't happy no one is happy.   We want our animals to be happy and enjoy their life.  It was very important to me that our fencing be strong and safe.  I know a tree can come down in a second and change everything.  But we started out with a good pasture fence.  I believe in the animals being put up at nighttime.  I was raised with our animals being put up at night and I think it is in my blood.


Mr. Bootsie fired up the smoker on Sunday afternoon and smoked pork shoulders.  They were sliced and are in the freezer.  I started canning again this week.  I pickled jalapeno peppers and processed 9 pints of chicken broth/stock.


All the work on a pasture fence,  there was a plan and now our 2 new girls are here.  We have fainting goats, a neighbor had given Mr. Bootsie one at birth and this is why we were pushing to get the fence in, our plan was to purchase friends for our little girl.  Our neighbor has gotten sick and needed a home for both of his goats.  I am so glad things worked out and we had not bought the little girl (Hershey) to live here with other goats.  Gracie and Hershey are mother and daughter.  I will be looking for another breed of goat to add to our flock.  This will come in time.



The little peeps are now 6 months old, the older girls are starting to finish molting.  Not getting a lot of eggs but at least the feathers are not everywhere.

Ducks, I am totally confused.  Some days we are collecting 2 duck eggs.  Everyone has been telling me the curly tail is a male.  We thought it was a male but why am I collecting 2 eggs.  This has started since they starting living in the duck house.

This week the hens laid 20 eggs and 10 duck eggs were collected.


Something has been eating my cole plants, I know they are a little small plants, but I have to start somewhere. I had no idea Mr. Bootsie was going to take my idea for a cold tunnel and run with it.  It usually takes a while to get him going.  But in reality we had been thinking about this since the spring.  I think the culprits are squirrels so I found some candle chimneys and they did the trick.

I read where some are putting cold frames inside the tunnels and now I have a cold frame ready.  The tunnel has progressed this week, the drop in temperature will make it difficult to work with the plastic covering.

We are pulling green onions, picking peppers and eggplants.  Things are starting to grow in the greenhouse.  I have started some seeds and they are doing real good.  


There seems to be some type of weather going on all over the country.  We have promises of several different types of weather systems this week.  Our motto is "Prepare and hope for the best".  I do not mind preparing and we did not need to.  It helps us to remember everything we should do in case of bad weather.  Next week we will know if the preparations were necessary or not, maybe this will be just another practice run.  All of you who mean so much to me, Stay safe, do not take any chances.  Water can be very dangerous.  Please do not drive through any rising water.  Give those you love so much several hugs each and everyday.  We are experiencing some very interesting weather patterns.  Once again, Stay Safe. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Triple Creek Farm, October 20, 2012

There are so many chores to do in the fall.  Getting everything ready for the winter takes time and planning.  I have been working everywhere and accomplishing little.  I am just pleased that I can get anything done.  Weeds which do not have floating seeds I like to leave, the birds will eat the seeds during the winter.  There are berries, nuts and acorns everywhere.  The chickweed is growing, picking it for the chickens and ducks.    I found what may be a hedgehog growing on a tree this week.  With limited to no knowledge of fungi, I will have to try to find someone with knowledge.


I have found some recipes I want to try, I will picking up the necessary ingredients that are not staples in the pantry.   The sourdough starter was worked and I made a batch of burger buns.   The starter worked very good and had an excellent smell to it.  I did make another batch of my rub for ribs and smoked pork.  This is always a project and I use a number of ingredients.  I dry garlic, onions and green onion tops which must be made into a powder and add this to a number of spices.  I learned the basic mix many years ago from someone who did pig roasts.


The pasture fence is finished!!!  The gates need to be covered with wire and we will be ready for the next adventure.


Duck water has been a problem, I use a bowl and they keep turning it over.  I have been pondering this for some time.  What did Momma do?  It came to me one day this week.  Momma always put rocks in the duck and chicken bowls.  My problem is solved.  Water in the duck house with rocks in the bottom and it is not spilled all over the house.   I will be doing this for the baby chicks next spring if we have any.  She would put water in a pie plate with lots of little rocks.  They would walk on the rocks and drink the water.  Gosh!  Momma was so smart!!

The ducks have been putting themselves in at night.  This is such a change, no more chasing and catching them.  I do hope this continues.  Sure makes things easy when it is time to close  the coops at night.

The little peeps are almost 6 months old, everyday I check the nests to see if there is an egg from one of them.  I am so pleased with the way they have grown.  There is a pecking order issue in the coop.  The older girls are being outsized by the peeps, they are going to be large hens.  Each day someone is roosting in a new place.

This week I collected 20 eggs.  I am now hanging on to all of my eggs.  Thankfully, we have the one duck laying and she will help keep us in duck fruit this fall and early winter.  She laid 5 eggs this week.


Cold tunnel, I want one.  I have been reading how others are using the cattle or hog panels to make the cold tunnel stronger and able to hold a snow load.   Mr. Bootsie is the king of rebar.  He is drilling 4 x 4's and putting rebar in the bottom.  The rebar is driven in the ground.  This is being placed beside 2 of our raised beds which get the afternoon sun.

There are still a number of peppers in the garden, climbing spinach, pole beans which I am going to let dry and use for soup beans.  Garlic is coming up and I will start mulching onions and garlic. I have decided to add another bed of walking onions.  I was asked about walking onion sets, if any of you want some for next year I have a few to share.  Just e-mail me with your address.  They are starting to grow so they need to be planted as soon as you receive them.  


Fall is the time of year when most are thinking the gardening season is over.  I have tomatoes thinking about blooming in the greenhouse, cucumbers starting to show their true leaves.  I am so pleased with my experience.  I am learning a little more each year about feeding and care of my plants.  I have kale coming up to be planted in the tunnel, lettuce is starting to look really good.   I have never worked at winter gardening so I am learning and yes, if you have knowledge I am interested.  There are row covers and blankets ready to use when the temperature drops.  I hope you find my journey interesting.  I would like to find it rewarding with a few veggies for us to eat.  Last year I had 4 tomatoes from the greenhouse and they were very good.  Much more enjoyable than the ones you find in the produce departments.  We shall see what the future holds for us this year.  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Duck House

Everything we get means there is work to do.  We had nothing when we moved here.  We worked on opening the woods, cutting the trees into stove wood and moving on to another project.  After a tree fell on a makeshift storage shelter we had to make some changes.  The shelter was taken down and the outside walls were 8 foot chain link fence sections.  Some were damaged beyond repair, we were able to save some.  I want to get ducks so I asked if we could make a duck run with the fencing.  The run was put up before spring and things stopped at that point.

The ducks came and the run was top covered with wire, they were safe.  At night, we moved them to the chicken run because we were sure the chicken run was very safe.  I needed a duck house but they were happy, I have been told ducks rather be outside on the ground but I was not happy.  I would feel better about my flock if they were secure at night.

The duck house was built on a skid with rat wire wrapped around it so nothing could get in from the bottom.  The floor is scraps from a copper roof.  The sides, front and back are all reclaimed wood.  The roof is tin cuts off from the chicken coop roof.  The only new things are the hardware, screws and staples for the rat wire.

It has a vent in the top which can be uncovered in the summer to let in more air.  This is covered with rat wire.  All of the windows will be covered with rat wire.  The door drops down to make a ramp for the ducks to walk up.  This is a very low cost item but it is going to do a great job.

We started out catching the ducks and putting them in their new home each night.  After 2 weeks, much to my surprise, the ducks starting going inside without any help from us.  They go in each night when the chickens go in the coop.  This has worked out much better than I thought it would.

This winter, when the weather is bad I can add straw and know they have a warm place to sleep.  I, also, know they have a safe place to sleep.  The ducks and I, THANK Mr. Bootsie, Great Job!!!

Bottom enclosed with rat wire to prevent snakes entering through the skid.

Ply wood sides and roof will be attached.

This vent will be covered during the winter, during the summer additional air flow.

For winter use.

The back opens for easy cleaning.

Roof is on and the door/ramp is open.

My girl happily going into her new home.

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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Triple Creek Farm, October 13, 2012

The pantry was starting to look as if we should be going for provisions.  Monday was the day, Mr. Bootsie took a vacation day, I worked on getting my list together, the chickens and ducks were fed, now for a trip to the valley.  We travel 64 and go over the mountain at Afton.  Mr. Bootsie decided to drive 250 from Afton to Fisherville, I always enjoy taking the local roads and seeing what has changed.  We went to The Cheese Shop, where you can buy in bulk, fifty pound bag of oatmeal. You would think we are not coming out again until spring but it is the best way to buy if you can store the items.  I buy cheese and cold cuts because they tell me I can freeze their products, which I do and they taste wonderful. It always takes me a couple of days to get everything in order after the trip but I think it is well worth the effort.


I added to the freezer this week, broccoli and cauliflower which I purchased in the valley.  Raisin Bread is oh, so good, Momma would buy a loaf and use it as a treat for us.  I decided to try raisin bread, this is the first time I have ever made raisin bread, I am pleased with the results.  Saturday night we had French onion soup, Friday the stock cooked slowly on the wood stove all day.  There were rye bread croutons and small chunks of swiss cheese add to the top of the soup and it was baked in the oven for a few minutes.


Mr. Bootsie went to the farm store and bought one additional roll of wire.  This will be used to enclose the outside of some of the pole barn and make a run-in in one section of the pole barn.  The gates will be covered with wire so small animals cannot get through the gates.  We may be looking at the end of one of our projects for this year.  We are not there, something can always happen when you expect it least.


Every night when it is time for the ducks to be closed up in their house, we have been catching the ducks and putting them in.  Tonight, I could see the Deedle wanted to go in by herself, she was very quietly looking at the door and wondering if she should.  I put their food in the house and stepped back, she proceeded to go up the little ramp and into the house!  Poked her head out and told the Tweedle something.  All I know is he got himself in the duck house with no messing around.  This may never happen again but I was so excited,  they went in by themselves tonight.

The girls are having issues with sleeping arrangements.  The old girls really have it in for the pullets.  There was one roosting post no one was using and I started putting the pullets on it.  They followed my lead and went up on this post every night.  Now two of the old girls have moved on this post and will not let them sleep on it.  The pullets have gotten very creative and found great places to sleep, I am concerned if the old girls are going to try and take over the new roosting places.

With all of the molting going on egg count is dropping, this week 23 eggs were collected from the hens and Deedle laid 6 duck eggs.  Deedle is laying quite a lot of double yolks, she knows how to make Momma proud.


My walking onions are up and I am weeding them,  planted the potato onions and started planting the garlic.  I had a local farm give me some elephant garlic and I am so pleased to have this.  This is a mild garlic, so mild, some compare it to leeks.  I plant stiff and soft neck garlic.  I go though my garlic and break the heads, pick out the largest cloves and plant them.  I save the smaller cloves to use in the kitchen.

Friday afternoon, I started moving the row covers into place.  Lettuce covered, we have not had frost but the night time temperature is getting low.  


I want to take a minute and THANK those who take time from their busy lives to read my blog, I am touched every time I see a new follower.  I try to keep things interesting but sometimes I feel there is not enough going on.  Some weeks I can't get into the kitchen, or other places because of obligations I have made to others.  I want you to know I stay busy on this place, somethings I do not feel are post worthy.  Maybe you would be interested in my loading buckets with mulch and moving them to the beds,  this is something I do every week.  I will not share we bought in wood, we heat with wood and it has to be moved to the house or I carried out the ashes and put them in a metal bucket.  We have several buckers and allow them to cool for several weeks in the buckets and I always try to dump them when we have falling weather.   I add to the compost piles almost daily.  There is so much we do on a daily basis and are considered daily chores, these are not talked about, just done.  When it seems we slacked off, I may be catching up doing necessary things which are routine.  But it always gives me much pleasure to Thank those who care about the activities of our little farm.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Triple Creek Farm, October 6,1012

I am walking down the road to the coop and there are acorns everywhere, how I wish I had a pig or two.  They would be going through the fallen leaves finding all of the acorns and gobbling them up.  We, also, have some of the largest hickory nuts I have every seen here.  They have been about the size of marbles, but this year with the outside shell they are quite large.  Some of our popular trees are bare and the ground under them is covered with leaves.  There is a load of wood in the wood rack waiting for us to light a fire.  I do not consider the outside fireplace a heat source as we burn it just for fun.


I made corn sticks and how Mr. Bootsie loves them.  Years ago, we traveled to North Carolina almost weekly and would stop in Gardner's, an all-you- eat bbq restaurant.  They made the thin corn sticks, I found a Wagner bread stick pan at an auction one day and after cleaning it throughly, I have made a number of corn sticks in it.  During the summer I do not bake a lot of quick breads which require hot heat in the oven.  One evening, I made a pan of kefir biscuits and they were enjoyed.

Using the potatoes from the garden and pulled scallions I made sour cream potato salad.  I was told not to loose the recipe and I really did not have a recipe.  Cubed and boiled my red bliss potatoes until tender, chopped a bunch of scallions and 2 stalks of celery, added some sweet cucumber relish and mixed with Duke's mayonnaise and sour cream.  Salt and pepper to taste.

This week I made Kefir broccoli or cauliflower cheese soup.  The recipe uses kefir but you can use milk or half and half for a richer soup.  This is such a hearty soup to serve on a cold evening with crusty bread, wonderful for dipping into the soup.  Using frozen broccoli or cauliflower, it is very quick to make.  I used broccoli and cauliflower in my soup, we like the mix of the two vegetables.


Mr. Bootsie has the duck house in the duck run, they had been sleeping on the ground and were not happy about being moved into a house.  My girl stopped laying eggs for a few days to let me know how upset she was.  Each afternoon he has been tweeking something on the duck house to make it work a little easier.  Our winter preparation is going well.  I think we are on schedule at this time.


Only 1 of the old ladies is laying, new girls have not started but they should real soon and the 5 cochins are still laying good.  Several days this week all of the cochins laid eggs.  The egg count for this week is 29 and 4 duck eggs were collected.   The month of September, the girls laid 172 eggs and our duck laid 20 eggs.

I started feeding a little scratch because the night temperatures are getting a little chilly.  The corn in the scratch with help keep them warm through the night.


I have planted spinach, I know it is late but I will give it a try.  The kale, collards and mustard I planted earlier did not come up.  I have lettuce coming up.

My butter beans are loaded with blooms but I do not think I will be picking any butter beans,  Frost will get them I am sure.  I am going to be moving somethings next year, as I may have an airflow problem.  It gets very still in one area of the garden.

I am picking climbing spinach and peppers.  There are a few eggplants on the vines.  Pulling one row of scallions. My late beans may become dried beans.  They were Italian broad beans and with the rain they grew quickly.  I am watching to see if I can collect some of them.  The cucuzzi started hiding in the vines and several are very large and I hope I can get some seeds from them.  I did pick one watermelon and it has a good taste.  The chickens have been getting more of the melons than us because they seem to enjoy them so much.  Dug the sweet potatoes on Saturday and considering all the problems, I will be able to save my bush sets because there were some nice sweet potatoes.


We have had a good week on the farm.  I am pleased the ducks have a house and will be protected during the winter.  The garden was not the best this year but I was not defeated, the seed books were out one rainy morning this week and I was making notes.  I am changing the way I order seeds this year.  I am not going to try many new things.  I need to have crops to put up and not just grow things to  see what they will do.  I have learned a very good lesson.  It was not a costly lesson as I have put up a lot this year.  Now if I can find a way to conquer those stink bugs, I miss my squash, cucumbers, and melons. The only other option is to find varieties they do not like.  The watermelon from Israel was a good choice this year.  As I study I will share the knowledge I gain with you.

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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Triple Creek Farm, September 29, 1012

I have been taking things very easy this week as my reboot back to working is not going as well as I had hoped.  By this past Friday night things started to really return to normal, a glass of iced tea was starting to taste like tea and not just some weeds which had been steeped.  I really did not drink much tea this week and for someone who usually has 1 + pots a day, this was a real change.  I even tried to drink some root beer and that was rough.  We went for Chinese on Friday and that seemed to help with the taste.


Because there was no bread I baked loaf bread on Wednesday and Cucuzzi bread on Thursday.  The local grocery has no solution added pork loins for $1.28 a pound and we came home with a whole loin.  Saturday morning I cut it out.  2 nice roasts for the crock pot and lots of chops.  We do the full cut chop and it is on the full bone.  It is really a nice pork chop.  Saturday afternoon, crock pot going with one roast we shall have bbq on Sunday.


Mr. Bootsie has been using his time, working on a duck house and now it is starting to look like we will have a winter home for the ducks.  It is built on a skid and with all reclaimed materials.

He is building this so some of the top can come off for more air flow during the summer.  This area will be covered with rat wire.  Mr. Bootsie did want me to explain he had to buy some new hinges for the drop down ramp.

We split and racked firewood on Saturday afternoon, we did one full rack.  There is still some wood which was cut waiting to be split. Do not fear we have a good supply of aged wood. 


I will not be having do any rooster training.  I have a real empty feeling when I go to the runs but I had to take the rooster out of the run because he was getting so mean and I could see huge spurs coming on his legs and feet.  I was so upset with myself because I did not put the locking piece on my chicken tractor.  We were using it in another run and he had been in this for a few days and no problem.  I left him there 1 day too long and I lost him to a chicken hawk.  We have everything quite secure but this is the first time I have to deal with a chicken who had such an attitude.  I can see a big difference with the flock now that he is gone.  There is a peace in the coop again. 

Three older girls are still molting and the new little girls have not started to lay.  We are getting a few eggs from the chickens who started laying in February.  One of the older hens has not started molting.  She likes to wait until it is cold and loose almost all of her feathers.   The egg count this week is 28 from the hens and 5 from the duck.   


I have not been in the garden a lot this week, I did find a nice cucuzzi which I used to make the bread.  I planted some lettuce seeds on Saturday.  

The biggest part of my gardening this week has been bringing the plants into the greenhouse for the winter.  

I still have a couple of plants to repot and this task will be finished and all I have to do is wait for the cold weather to come.


I have been looking forward to the fall and now it is upon us.  The temperatures are a little brisker in the mornings and early evenings.  Fire in the fireplace outside and in the wood stove inside just makes everything so cozy.  Cups of hot tea and cider in front of the fire is a wonderful way to unwind from a busy day.  We sometimes take an evening walk in the cooler temperatures bundled in a sweatshirt, there is something special about being snuggled in the warm sweatshirt.  I do enjoy this season of the year and wish it could last until spring.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Canning Day

Every summer when I start to can my vegetables, I have so many wonderful memories.  Why I can hear  Momma right now standing at the bottom of the steps to the upstairs calling, "Sister, Bootsie get up and get dressed in old clothes we are canning today."  We knew the order of business.  We got out the work clothes she saved for us to wear and went downstairs to the kitchen.  The wood stove would be rolling to heat the water in the tank behind the stove.  Breakfast would be cooked, we would eat and start the cleaning.  All of the dishes were washed, dried and put away.  The sinks and drain boards were scoured with scouring powder, followed with lots of clean water.

Sister, began filling the sink with hot water, Momma and I would go to the basement to get the jars and lids.  The jars would be washed in water as hot as we could get it, for today, we canning in the pressure canner. The jars were set on the drain board and the soapy water drained from the sink.  In comes Momma with a bucket of tomatoes.  Each one was looked at, if the stem was on it the stem would be pulled off and put very carefully in the sink. All of the good tomatoes were placed in the sink.  You do not want to bruise any of the tomatoes.  The sink was filled with water and the tomatoes were washed.  We had a double sink so we could put them in the other sink after they were washed and the bottom was cut in two directions making a X.

Momma was putting a big pan of water on the stove to heat to a boil, the pressure canner was put on the stove with water in the bottom of it.  I was being told to stay out of the way with all of the hot water being handled in the kitchen.  When the pot of water started boiling it was poured over the tomatoes in the sink and allowed to sit for a few minutes, then the drain plug was pulled and the water went down the drain.  Drain plug replaced and cold water put on the tomatoes.

Momma took the clean jars and placed the rubber on the neck of the jar.  We did not can with 2 piece lids, we used the zinc lids and jar rubbers.  She would have to stretch the rubber to get it on the jar.  There were 7 jars with rubbers on them we were ready to fill them.

Momma fixed a pan with more cold water and put the kitchen stool by the drain board.  Up on the kitchen stool I went and started skinning tomatoes and packing them into the jar.  As I emptied the pan Momma would put more tomatoes in it as these were cooler than the ones in the sink my sister was working with. In no time at all the jars were filled.  My sister would take a dish rag and wash off the outside of every jar.  My, how pretty the jars looked with the tomatoes in them all lined up shiny and clean.

My kitchen stool was moved to where the jars were on the table which was close to the stove and I was handed a teaspoon and a bowl of salt.  One teaspoon in every jar and this was followed by one tablespoon of sugar.  The tops of the jars were wiped one more time and Momma began placing the lids on them.  The wood stove needed more wood to vent and cook the tomatoes to pressure.  So, Momma began adding the wood, putting the jars in the canner and moving my stool to sit in front of the canner.

Momma's canner had a band that was screwed  the top on and yes, it could blow the top off.  The thing was a little scary as we were always reminded to watch the pressure and be sure it stayed in the correct area.  We told the story each summer about the lady who went outside for a few minutes and the top of the canner came through her roof before she returned inside.  I really do wonder if this was one of Momma's tall tales or if it happened.  But it worked, we never wandered off and left the canner.

We processed the tomatoes at 5 pounds of pressure for 10 minutes.  and then we would wait for the pressure to drop, unscrew the vent, open the canner, take the jars out and Momma would finish the seal.

We canned a lot of vegetables and Momma was very proud of everything we put away.  I really do miss the days when we all canned together.  I started helping when I was small and have always canned.  Momma's gift to me was my blue water bath and my pressure canner.  The newest type on the market.  My sister would not pressure can because she was afraid of the canner.  I would do her pressure canning and it was always fun to spend a day with her.

When my sister moved to a senior facility, I cleaned out her house.  What a treasure I found.  Momma's canning books for so many years as she always purchased a book every year to learn what changes were made. But my greatest treasure of all was the Kerr book folded open to the page which had the instructions of how many pounds of pressure and for how long to process for tomatoes.  It bought tears to my eyes, for there was Momma standing in front of the wood stove, wiping sweat off her brow with the apron bottom and checking, one more time, 5 pounds and 10 minutes.

                                  Lunch time, Bootsie.
                                               What do you want for lunch?
                                                            A bowl of canned tomatoes and a roll.

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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Triple Creek Farm, September 22, 1012

Yes, there was a blog posted last Sunday morning and it seemed as all was good and well here on the farm.  I had worked the blog last Friday and left a few holes to quickly fill in and post.  Before the blog was posted the farmer fell under the farm.  Saturday, Sunday and Monday came and went I think.  I started saying I need to get moving on Tuesday because I was here by myself and the flock needed to be fed.  After getting to the chicken coop it was a necessary act for me to sit down and rest.  It became a fact, taking care of the flock was a challenge.  I have never missed a night,  except here and there of putting them to bed.  From last Saturday thru this Friday, 7 days in a row I did not put my girls to bed.  If there would not have been help from Mr. Bootsie I would not have made it and I am afraid I may have lost some of my girls.  He watered, cleaned the coop and fed, these are things he never did, he always stood aside and let me take care of my girls.  The fever broke on Wednesday but by this time I had little to eat or drink.  I was afraid of food.  Now,  I know those of you who know me are laughing.  The farm came off the farmer Friday sometime and things have been getting better every hour.

Some the best medication in the world arrived on Saturday afternoon, the wee folk showed up and spend the afternoon, along with their Mom.  I did not tell her what a week I had been through because we had a wonderful visit and I was so very happy having them with us.

This week there will be no IN THE KITCHEN because I did nothing, I will tell you there is no homemade bread left in this house.   If my daughter had not wanted to go the garden I would be able to say this is the first time I had not been to the garden in a week.  Oh, yes, Mr. Bootsie picked eggplants and peppers for her.  She returned lots of egg cartons and left with more eggs for the family.  They are dining on an omelet, this Sunday, made with duck eggs.  Seed garlic was waiting to be opened and she was given a handful of nice heads.  ON THE FARM and IN THE GARDEN I have no reports because I have not spent anytime in either place this week.


Rooster management is still going on and I do not know what I am doing.  And this week, I really did not care as long as all were safe and I managed to end the week with the same amount of birds I started the week with.  I was seeing some social issues when I put them to bed last night.  Momma needs to get things under control.

We collected 29 chicken eggs and 5 duck eggs.  Two of the oldest birds are still molting and some of the cochins are loosing feathers.  I have seen no eggs from the new little girls.  I think they are still a little young.


I never wanted to use this as a platform to let you know that I could ask for a sick day.  I went to school for 9 years and never missed a day.  I worked in the workplace and did not use sick days. The one thing I could not do was fake what we might have done on the farm last week.  Maybe,  not write a post for the week which did not happen, NO.   So, after much thought I decided, I am human and sometimes the body needs a rest.  I know I will be back in few days doing something I should be asking help with, and in the mean time, I have been propping up my feet in front of the fire place out on the porch and enjoying the wealth I have acquired over the years.  My precious daughter and her  husband, 2 wonderful wee folks, Mr. Bootsie who takes more crap and slaps in the face than any human being should be exposed to, and this wonderful place we call home.

After my being under the farm for 1 week it is still here and doing better than I would have expected.  You see, I was shown they watch and are willing to help, just ask and see how quick they take over.  The most important thing I realized is I cannot do everything, directions will be changing some next year and some of our goals are going to be altered.

Saturday morning, yesterday, I heard a grumble from Mr. Bootsie, "She must be feeling better, she has started being b!t@+y again."  I really think he was glad to hear how something did not please me.  I AM ON TOP OF THE FARM and I am so Thankful.

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