Sunday, June 24, 2012

Triple Creek Farm, June 23, 2012

Spring becomes summer, the way my garden is located I will be able to be in the garden.  I tried to plan things when we moved here to work with the seasons and the conditions.  I get quite a lot of morning shade in part of the garden.  I have one section which gets sun most of the day.  The coop is located in the woods with shade all day.  I think the temperature around the coop is always cooler and I sometimes go there to cool down.  The setting area for our home is facing the northeast and is cool in the afternoon.


I have started to freeze all of the extra raspberries.  I freeze them on a baking sheet and then put them in freezer bags, this way I can remove what I need.  I try not to freeze anything in a lump.   I made a 1-2-3-4 cake and we had raspberry shortcake.  Mr. Bootsie loves big and fluffy yeast rolls.  I baked a large pan of these, he made dinner out of them.  Loaded the dehydrator with green beans and I have almost a 1 quart  jar filled, they will be oven canned and put away for the winter.   This week I have frozen 2 quarts of raspberries, beet greens and Holland greens.  A recipe for Cajun-style Pickled Green Beans and Carrots has been on Facebook this week, put up 4 quart jars of this.


Not much going on as we have not seen the builder.  Mr. Bootsie has been looking at some of the other chicken runs in our area and he feels one farm had some great ideas on how to cover the run with a lot less work than he did before.  He will be out gathering the materials to cover the duck run.


Tuesday morning, I decided the brooder box is getting to heavy for me to carry by myself.  Plus the temperature at night this week was warmer than we have seen all summer.   It is time for a change. No more brooder box.  Wednesday the peeps were 8 weeks old.  They made the adjustment like champs.  The chicken tractor is setup in the duck run and they have adopted the peeps.  When I let the peeps out in the morning, Tweedle and Deedle wait for them and walk to the duck run with them.

There is still one broody in the coop.  I take all of her eggs every night but it seems not to be enough.  I will not have baby chicks in July, I do not care how long this takes.  No more until fall if one of them is broody and maybe this one will be.

The egg count this week is 48.  With the hot weather the count may go down.  Weather does effect how they lay.


The vegetables in our garden are beautiful.  All of the rain has made everything grow and now the produce is starting to come in.  Weeding time is now becoming picking time.  This is the time of year when the garden can get in front of you.  I always try to weed when I am picking so there is some sort of balance.
The harvest, this week has been 5 3/4 pints of raspberries, 7 pounds of green beans, 6 beets, 4 onions and 1 basket of Holland greens.  I find it is good to record how much you harvest so you can use this information in planning next year's garden.


As I am writing this I hear Mr. Bootsie playing porch setting music on his guitar.  It brings such a comfort to know we have the things we need and can enjoy the pleasant things life brings.  I enjoy working in the garden and taking care of the flock.  I was raised to work the land and I do not regret what I was taught.  I find it a challenge to learn more and further my skills.  Each day is an adventure and I do enjoy living it.  Thanks for sharing my life here on Triple Creek Farm. and I hope we bring you a bit of pleasure.

                                                 Updates can be found on Happy Hallow

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


We had a nice garlic harvest this year.  As the land improves the heads get bigger.  I am growing quite a lot of stiff neck garlic.  I will be adding elephant this year,  it is the mildest garlic of all.   I pulled all of the garlic when the 2 sets of bottom leaves dried.  I took the time to clean it when it was pulled.  It was bunched and hung to dry.  I go through the garlic and choose the largest heads to plant in the fall.  I store these until around the first of October.  I try to get the garlic in by the 2nd week of October.  It has time to start growing and get established before the rough winter sets in Central Virginia.

I am going to order at least one new kind of garlic to add to the crops this year.  I do this every few years.  I may pick some up at the grocery store if I see some soft neck.  I like to braid my garlic and love to grow the soft neck as it is much easier to braid.  I cut all of the roots off the garlic as soon as they have dried.

After selecting the sets for next year, I will dehydrate quite a lot of my crop.  I thinly slice and place in the dehydrator until it is dry.  Store in a jar and as I need garlic powder it is ground in a coffee grinder.  I do not grind a large amount as it stays fresher if you do small amounts.   The dried slices will be good until the next crop comes in.  I use the slices in a lot of things I cook.

The heads will be stored in a dry, cool, dark place and used throughout the winter.  I roast the heads, we squeeze the cloves into lots of things, potatoes, rice and grits.  Roasted garlic and hot bread are a marriage we enjoy.    I did locate a recipe, just the other day, for canning garlic.  At this time I have not tried this recipe;  however, this is on my to do list.  I will post a comment when I give this a try.  If any of you should try this I would enjoy hearing from you.

The garlic cloves are used in many ways.  I am always making dressings with them.  I like to have  extra virgin olive oil with garlic and a few herbs mixed together.  This is wonderful on bread, salads, pasta and a lot of your cooked vegetables can be dressed with this oil and a bit of cheese to add another layer of flavor.   I make this up fresh when I am going to use one of these mixtures.

If you have garlic breath you can always add some fresh parsley to the herb mix and that takes away the garlic smell.

Plant garlic in your garden, it does well in containers (will need to be fed more), also.  I feed my garlic sets in January and March, keep the weeds pulled, begin harvesting green garlic in the spring.  The stiff neck garlic will have scapes, a real treat and then the cycle begins as we harvest the garlic.

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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Triple Creek Farm, June 16, 2012

Cardinals, yellow finches, house wrens  to name a few,  the herb garden seems to be the gathering place for so many different types of birds.  It is so peaceful setting out in the evening listening to all of the birds calling.  The hummingbirds are enjoying the passion flower.  The dead trees have the woodpeckers working on them.  Some of the birds are starting to trust us.  The cardinals were within 15 feet of us one day.  Butterflies are floating around kissing the flowers.  The bee balm plants are almost as tall as I am.  The bees are darting from the bee balm to the roses and over to the lamb's ear.  I surely would love to get my hands on the honey these babies will be making.  Maybe I should follow them home one evening to see where they live.


The slider buns (cooked on the whoppie pie pans) I made last week worked wonderful and tasted real good.  This week,  I made 2 loaves of white bread and pizza crust.  I try to keep pizza crusts in the fridge,  during the summer,  there is always something to put on them and we can cook them on the grill.  I proof the crust for 7 minutes at 350 degrees and you can handle them.  I use the pizza stone on the grill.  Preheat about 20 minutes.


Mr. Bootsie has been helping with the girls every evening and that way I can do somethings in the garden.  With all of the rain the builder has not returned.  So things will happen when they are supposed to happen.


Aurora made the decision Monday to join the hens in the coop.  Her return is a little hard as they are all picking on her.  I never thought I would see a chicken torn as to what to do.  She wanted to be with the peeps and the big girls.  She had to make her decision.  I think it was a good one.  The peeps are marans and they are as large as Aurora at this time.  She is a little cochin, she has lost quite a lot of weigh during this 9 and half weeks.  Sunday, she went out for the afternoon walk with the other girls and we thought she was going to stay with them and at the last minute she went back to where the peeps were.

The little peeps do not seem to have a problem adjusting to being on their own.  Wednesday, they escaped from the chicken tractor and were with the ducks.  They had made a dusting place and all of them were content when I walked in thinking what has happened to them.   Put them back in the tractor for that is where their food and water is.  The ducks have food and water but the food is not what the little peeps need right now.  Water is okay to share.

Before this week was over another cochin has become broody.  Twenty one days will take us into summertime and I feel it is too hot for a hen to be in a nesting box.  So I am going to try and change the mind of this one.  I can already tell this is going to be struggle.  She has taken up the nesting box day and night.  Flatten out and has a really warm spot under her.

We gathered 46 eggs this week.


We have had a lot of rain this week.  Garden is really growing.  Stick bugs are being checked daily.  Some days there are none and the next day we will find some.  Pulled turnips and froze the turnip greens.  I am putting some of the turnips into the compost pile to help the land.  Containers are doing real good.  They require a little more care but I am beginning to think they are worth it.  What are raised beds but big containers?


This week we were visited by the wee folk, they were with us Thursday and are staying until Sunday. We went to the local farmers market to see what is going on in the area and I think my little garden is doing almost as well as the farmers at the market.  The wee folk know where the raspberries are planted and when to pick them.  They can be seen in the garden walking the row picking berries and eating them.  They were telling me they would be back to help with the blackberries.  Our vines are loaded with green berries.  Saturday, I graveled a potato hill, some nice potatoes were coming out of the hill.  Next week, fresh string beans and new potatoes.  Summertime on the farm.

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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Triple Creek Farm, June 09, 2012

New beginnings, things change and yet there is something in your life you can depend on.  A few days ago Mr. Bootsie and I realized we have been married for 31 years.  It really does not seem like that long.    My dream was to return to a small farm, have a garden and few chickens.  My small farm could have been a couple of acres or a large lot where you could have chicks.  When we settled here it was a dream come true for me.  I really did not expect to see us make use of the land but we have and we are just beginning.  Mr. Bootsie has developed a love for the land and the animals.  His tie to the country was going to visit his grandparents until they moved to the city.


I really have not had the time to do anything creative for a while.  I am keeping the sourdough alive by making bread, the kefir is being fed and used in dips, salad dressing and smoothies.  We had cereal for our evening meal one night this week.  This week I finished freezing the sugar snap peas.

I made a trip into the city this week and found this nifty whoopie pie pan, I have been wanting a pan to bake buns for sliders on.  I made up a batch and I am so pleased with the results.  Mr. Bootsie wanted to share the wonderful smell of fresh baked bread with you.

I was on a guilt trip and Saturday night I made stuffed onions for dinner. 


I could not believe it!  A builder showed up on Monday with his equipment and I did not know he was here.  I went to the coop to check on the girls and there he was clearing the land.  He worked all day and that night we had a good rain.  He could not work after that as the land has been soggy.  There has been a rain just about each evening this week.


We had a 3 egg day on Thursday.  I have been expecting a slow day as the girls have really been putting out the eggs.  Most folks do not want the little eggs so I have been boiling them and feeding them to the ducks and chickens.  I think they make wonderful deviled eggs, the size is just right for 2 bites.  The egg count this week was 45.

Moving day was Saturday.  The little peeps 6 weeks old made their way to the duck run.  They will be in the chicken tractor during the day and staying in the coop at night.  The duck run is much larger than the chicken run, it is not covered so I will be using the tractor for the protection of the little ones.  Aurora was so pleased to return to the run.  The others were not treating her very nice.  I guess with her being out of the coop for 9 weeks they have to accept her again.  She went on the chicken walk with them and it was a little dicey.  I keep everything open during their walk time so they have lots of places to go if there is a problem.  All of my oldest girls came and visited with the little peeps.  Feather spent more time with them than anyone.  She had to go and visit as soon as they were moved into the area.


I posted a garden walk blog earlier this week, join me in a walk through the garden.  I learned more about blogging doing this one,  I plan to do others and I think each will be easier.  If you have not seen this post check the sidebar and click on it.  You will learn a lot about my garden.  If you have seen it Thank You for reading this post.

There are more critters in the garden.  I have lost 2 sweet potato plants to moles.  They pull the plant underground and eat the roots.  I have been able to replace the plants as I had a few extra plants.  Rabbits are eating the peas and other greens.  All of our lettuce is in raised containers and too high for the rabbits to reach.  Traps are set, mole traps and small animal traps.

Picking water logged raspberries, lots of blooms on the string beans, small zukes followed with squash blooms, cucumbers are starting to climb and a few squash bugs and eggs being done in.  Weeds are about the best crop we have with so much rain.  I am feeding the containers on a regular basis.  The poop plant at the chicken coop has produced some poop and I will be side dressing with it.


One night this past week we walked the garden and some of our woods.  Went down the wood's path to close up the coop.  Our woods are loaded with ferns, beautiful ferns, wild flowers are blooming and the flowers I planted are blooming.  The herb garden smells so good.  It is almost time to start cutting back the herbs as they are getting quite large.  The chores never end and the rewards for our work do not stop coming in.

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Walk Through the Vegetable Garden

I find myself wanting to share my garden with each and everyone of you.  I look forward to my visits with you to share the events of our little farm.  I want you to enjoy our garden as we do.  We take a walk through with a favorite beverage, be it a glass of iced tea with lime, a cold beer, a glass of wine or my summertime favorite a snow cone.  Today, I am taking a few pictures, this way you can get a feel for the garden.

Our vegetable garden was cut out of the woods, the felled trees were used for the borders and then filled with compost.  I, also, do some container gardening.  There were so many trees, which were large, the ground was loaded with roots.  The decision to go on top was a good one because we did not have the equipment to remove the roots of  the trees.  We had one load of fill dirt delivered and that was the biggest mistake of my life.  I will never get screened fill dirt again.  If I need to purchase soil it will be compost.  It may cost a little more but it you want vegetables it is worth the difference.  I am still working on the fill dirt to make it productive.

First stop along the way is the turnips.  With all the rain we have received they have beautiful tops and I am going to harvest the greens.  The roots of some have gotten a little large and I will be feeding the compost pile with them.  There are some which are small and I will be enjoying them.  Turnips may be canned for winter storage and it is suggested to freeze, mashed, adding to au gratins.  Fresh,  I add to salads, stir fries,  cook with potatoes, onions and carrots.  They may be roasted in the oven or added to a pot roast of meat.  The greens are cooked, we do enjoy a good pot of salad greens.

 This turnip was just pulled from the soil.

I grow a lot of things in containers,  you will need to feed the containers often to get a good harvest.  One of our favorites is tumbling tom tomatoes with eggplants and basil.  The tomatoes make for a wonderful snack while walking through the garden, eggplants are easier to be seen and the basil is always ready to be picked to add to salads.  Most of my containers are supported to waist high so I do not have to bend over to collect the produce.  This year I am trying some low containers with lettuces and these have been working very good.  I have enough lettuce for us to eat and with feeding more I should have a plenty to last into the summer.

We have been fighting the squash bug for several years.  I am planting some squash which seem to resist the bug. Tromboncino stood up to the squash bugs last year and I am counting on it doing the same this year.  This is a climbing plant and it is planted under a support.   

Another plant I support is the climbing spinach also called malabar spinach.  I enjoy this plant so much in the garden and in the kitchen.  I do not use this for fresh spinach, a lot, but I do use the cooked spinach.  We make quiches with it and spinach pizzas.  It is dried and I add it to a lot of soups.  I freeze this veggie as I do use it all winter.  One thing I like about this plant the bugs really do not bother it.  The more you pick the leaves the more it will grow.  This is one plant I would always try to have in my garden.  It was a find from the old Victory Garden programs and it has become a staple with our family.

Walking onions or Egyptian onions are also a staple in our garden.  I plant some of the walkers as soon as they drop for fall onions, the ones I do not use will winter over.  I do plant in October when the garlic and other onions are planted.  The walkers can be used in salads and cooked.  I pickle a number of these and freeze some to have with peas in the winter.  The bulb is dug and I can them.   I found a bag of sets this spring which looked as if they had gone bad and just threw them in the garden in a bare spot and now I have lots of spring onions to add to salads

I plant some potatoes just to be able to gravel the small potatoes to go with green beans in the early summer.  I enjoy potatoes cooked many ways and plant several types; fingerling, blue, red bliss, russet and several white cooking ones.  I fry the fingerlings, they make the most wonderful fried potatoes with onions.  I always try to plant some of my potatoes in October, any that do not come up can be replanted in the spring.  I learned to do this watching the potatoes come up where they were planted last year and some were missed being harvested.  It does make for less work in the early spring.

We will continue our walk through the garden on another day.  It has been a pleasure sharing what I grow with you.  As the garden changes everyday I make my trip once or twice most days.  I enjoy seeing the plants grow and look forward to the harvest.  There are many things there we did not see today. 

                   I would like to make a toast to
                                          A Wonderful Harvest
                                                         clink, clink, clink!!!

                                          Next time, bring you gathering basket.

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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Triple Creek Farm, June 2, 2012

Thursday morning,  A critter was caught in the trap,  Mr. Bootsie took this opossum to the river.  He has a friend with a large farm who welcomes our critters.  The traps have paid for themselves and we shall be leaving them in the garden for a while.  We are hoping this is the only one, but we know better.  We are in the middle of the woods and there are lots of animals.


Sugar snap peas are coming in and I have been freezing them.  I blanche the peas, totally cool in ice water.  Drain the peas, place on cookie sheets and freeze them.  Placing in container after they are frozen.  This way I can take out as many or few as I need to use.  I use the method for a lot of things.  Berries, squash,  peppers and anything I may want to use just a small amount of.

The oregano is starting to  blooming and I cut it back.  The dehydrator quickly took care of the oregano.  I have 1 quart jar full.  As the other herbs are ready I will be making my blends.


Pole barn prep is going on.  Builder has promised to be here Monday.  If you have worked with a builder you know the schedule can change, we have had such a wet spring he could very easily be running behind.  I just hope I see him this week.  Mr. Bootsie has cut all the small brush which was growing on the site off and it does look nice.  There was brush taken out where we know there has been a ground hog at times. We wanted to find the critter going after the garden.  Spring cleanup in the woods is about cutting down the brush.  Everything is starting to look so much better.


Little peeps are now 5 weeks old, feathers are completely in on 1 and the others are close behind.  We think we have 2 pullets and 2 crowers.  But who knows, I will not be sure until someone crows.  The little peeps spent Saturday morning in the garden.  This was the first time for them to be out with us working.

My big girls have been so busy the month of May, they laid 218 eggs.  This week the egg count was 48.  I am so pleased with the production of my little flock.


Squash bugs are here.  I have been taking out the bugs and beetles.  We are picking lettuce, sugar snap peas, assorted greens and pulling spring onions.  All of the garlic has been harvested, cleaned, hung for drying.  Roots still need to be cut and I will braid some.  Why?  Because that is something my sister and I did years ago and I love the memories it brings back.

Raspberries came in this week and I love having my snacks in the garden.  Blackberries are growing so good.  I will be putting up greens this coming week.  That is, if a critter does not get them first. The garden is planted and growing.  It is now time to hoe, hoe, hoe.  I will be planting some additional corn and beans.  It is time to start thinking about the fall crops and getting the seeds started.


One thing I look forward to in the summer is a tomato sandwich.  A real tomato sandwich, made with a tomato I picked off my vine.  I had my first one this week.  Blooms set in the greenhouse and I brought the plant outside and ripened the tomato.  It was wonderful.  There are 2 more just about ready to be picked.  This is the first time I have ever done anything like this and I am so excited.  I am going to try and have some this winter in the greenhouse.

I know you are there because I see how many are reading the pages.  Please leave your comments here or on the facebook page.  I do enjoying sharing with you and I will take the time to enjoy your comments.  Thank you for visiting our little farm and come back real soon.

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