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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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Triple Creek Farm, September 15, 2012

On a farm many things happen which tear at your heart strings.   Yes, we will loose some  of our animals, tears fall down our cheeks as dig the graves, there is a big hole in our heart when we return to the pastures or runs and they are gone, but a little one comes along and there is so much happiness.  I think we would not appreciate the new life as much if we did not have the struggles.


I saw this in the "Saveur" cooking magazine quite a while back.  I wanted to try making my own deli-type roast beef.  I did it, started with a chunk of top sirloin  trimmed all the muscle and fat, tied the meat so it would slice easily  used a salt and pepper coating on the outside and seared it.  Into a 200 degree oven it went until the internal temperature was 130 degrees. This took about 5 hours.  The house smelled like the outside of one of the good steak restaurants.  Mr. Bootsie came home from work following his noise inside only to be told no it has to chill for 24 hours.  The next afternoon we sliced the meat and yes, I now have quite a number of 4 ounce packages of sliced roast beef in the freezer.  We will be eating sandwiches made with this meat, subs and open face roast beef with gravy.  This was a first for me, I will be doing this again.  After the prep work there was nothing to it.  In the oven cooking and I was out working in the garden.


The pasture fence has been run, the gates are up.  The pole barn sits inside the fence and we will be using some of the pole barn for shelter.  This has been a big job for us.  This land we have is wooded and from the size of the trees it has not been used for anything for a long time.  I have found some barred wire strung from one tree to another but mostly rotten out.  This was a major accomplishment for us.  Mr. Bootsie had never run a fence and had no idea how to do it.  The last fence job I helped with I was about 8 years old and I held the staples for Daddy.  I never thought I would be proud and pleased with a fence.  This is my first fence on my farm and it is a wonderful fence.  I just hope a tree waits for sometime before it falls on the fence.


With getting things ready for winter one of the first things that needed to be addressed was the ramp into the chicken house.  It broke a few days ago and was safe for the girls to use but it was starting to rot and any snow load would take it down.  The girls now have a new ramp and it will last for a while.
I started hauling in sand from the creeks this week.  The duck run needed sand as well as the chicken run.  I began breaking down another compost pile and hauling it to the chicken run and they spent one afternoon working compost.

This week I collected 5 ducks eggs and 32 hen eggs.


We have a critter, it loves the sweet potato vines and I do not think I am going to be harvesting any sweet potatoes.  There were moles, in the spring, running in the bed and in late summer a critter.  It has also been eating the Italian flat beans.  The corn first-aide worked and I picked quite a number of ears of bloody butcher corn.

Next year I am going to put in the supports when the corn is planted.  Every year we learn a little bit more about gardening.  


I know it is time to start cleaning the garden.  I just cannot get going.  I have been mulching some of the flower beds.  We have been cutting brush and grass.  One nice thing, I do not rake leaves.  They are left on for a winter covering to keep the plants warm.  We are already looking at trees which will be dropped this winter.  I do wish sometimes this merry-go-round would slow down a little bit.  I have just realized how tired I am.  I am going to try and do things easier next year.  Follow Triple Creek Farm at Happy Hallow on Facebook 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Triple Creek Farm, September 8, 2012

Mother Nature has blessed us with quite a bit of rain, the land was so dry.  I will say I am happy to see the soil get some moisture in it.  The fall garden may do well or it may be too wet.  I must plant my seeds and try.  This is the only way I will learn.  I have lots of weeds to pull,  I am really happy about the bonus of moist soil to make the pulling easier.  Will I get it all done?  Who knows?  Anything with a seed head on it I try to leave, the birds which winter over here need to eat all winter.  We do not put out bird feeders because of the bears.  They love the sunflower seeds and the suet.  Yes, we have seen several bears in the past. The was one on the patio, it was large maybe not fully grown but large enough for me.


The dehydrator has been getting a work out this week.  I have started freezing peppers, putting them in packages of 1 green pepper, 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup.  I freeze slices, sliced across the pepper to use on pizzas.  I clean out the jalapeno and freeze them ready to make pepper poppers.

I made sourdough sub rolls this week and I think I finally figured out a lot of the things I have been doing wrong.  I have not been putting them on the baking sheet correctly but the fog has lifted and I can see clearly now the error of my ways.

I baked a Greek pie, using spinach from the garden.  The crust for this was a pizza crust rolled out into a large rectangle, filled half with the spinach, egg, fetta cheese and other ingredients, folded over and sealed.  This turned out to be real tasty.  Tzatziki sauce was a nice addition.


Mr. Bootsie has been busy getting everything ready to put in the pasture fence.  He came home Tuesday with the gates we need and cattle panels.  It is starting to look like a farm around here.  The fence is scheduled to be run this coming week.  I am so excited.  Our farm is going to grow.  Yes, we have plans  to add to the farm family.  Maybe I should correct that last statement.  I think our animals own the farm and we are their staff because they certainly do keep me hopping.

With all the rain, gravel was needed in places on the farm roads, Wednesday afternoon a load of gravel arrived and it is being shoveled in where needed and any extra will be used under the pole barn.


If you missed the news this past Sunday.  Deedle has started laying.  I now have a collection of duck eggs.  I know I will have to start using them or find a client who would like to buy duck eggs.

The rooster would love to come over and visit with the girls, I am waiting for the girls who were born with him to start laying and I will take them to the rooster.  I hope I have a broody to hatch the eggs after I get some.  These are my plans.  I really do not have any idea as to how they will work out.  Buddy is one beautiful bird.  He is many shades of grey and I am having a hard time trying to get a picture of him.

This week I collected 5 duck eggs and the girls laid 39 eggs.  I must tell you the girls just love poached eggs.  I think it may good for them because you add vinegar to the poaching water, the girls need a little vinegar.


I did not do a lot with the weather.  Planted another row of walking onions and put in some Chinese cabbage seeds.  They do not like to be transplanted, there will be cold protection to go over them if  needed.  I am picking beans, spinach and peppers.  It is sad to see the garden wind down.  If we have a few dry days I am going to get out there and work.  The soil is so moist right now, I can use my push plow and get the land ready for winter.

The tomatoes plants coming into the greenhouse look wonderful.  Cucumbers came up but were weak plants. I think I am going to replant.  Temperature is coming down and it may soon be time to plant lettuces and radishes.


Time for me to start thinking about what we need to do before the cold weather sets in.  We always try to leave the outside water on until Thanksgiving.  I will be hauling water after that.  But first, I am looking forward to fall days.  I love this time of year.  Maybe a trip to the mountains, oh yes, there will be a fall provision run to the valley.  We will be picking up apples for winter use.  Pumpkins for the girls, all of the girls, because I love pumpkin bread.  Here I was, thinking I was going to be able to slow down in the fall.  Where did that misconception come from?  I would not have it any other way.  I just all the activities of our small farm.

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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Triple Creek Farm, A Sunday Morning, EXTRA

  We went down to feed the flock, I was busy checking on the girls and Mr. Bootsie was letting out the ducks so they could go to the duck run.  For the last several days I have noticed a large hole in the ground in the chicken run, big dusting hole, the girls do dig a lot of dusting holes.  Mr. Bootsie came back in the coop and said to me, "There is something out here I think you have been looking for.  You were right about the hole."

I went to the chicken run and what do I see in the hole?  Our very first duck egg.  HOW EXCITING!!

In case you do not remember,  the ducks needed a home and we were asked to help find a home for them.  I had planned to add ducks this year and I decided I would take them.  The ducks were named Tweedle and Deedle because we were not sure of the sex, now we are quite sure we have a pair.  

I have said it before and I will repeat it again.  Everyday on the farm is an adventure.  I just could not wait until posting the weekly blog to share this with you.  Next week seemed so far away.  I wonder when I will find another gift from Deedle, I will be watching closely to learn how often she will lay.  And I am sure there are those of you who are wondering what I will do with this egg.  Today, I am just going to admire it.  Once, again, I am so pleased with our little farm.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Triple Creek Farm, September 1, 2012

This week was a four day week for me.  The days Mr. Bootsie is home I do not accomplish quite as much because we have breakfast in the morning and I have a shorter day. When I am here by myself,  I will grab a piece of toast,  a bowl of cereal, fruit, leftovers or what is quick and easy. I do enjoy having breakfast and planning our day, it just starts a little later.  There seems to be quite a number of days off in the fall for Mr. Bootsie and I do look forward to the many things we will get done.  I have a list for him and I am sure he will (not) be pleased.


I have been using the spinach from the garden and made quiches and pizza.  I am freezing more spinach and drying it, also.  Enjoying the potatoes, made creamed, which were just like the ones I remember growing up, and baked some, which were served with butter and sour cream.   We are learning how to use the harvest and not waste the rewards of our hard work.

I use the kefir milk in all of the quiches and creamed potatoes.  I do work the kefir every 2 days as I like the flavor of the the 2 day ferment.  I do not let the grains get large, I remove them when I feel a need.  Large grains ferment quicker.


Mr. Bootsie spent Monday brush cutting,  this a project which will never end.  I have come to the decision we have a yarden and this has taken away some of the need to get things done for me.  A yarden can look bushy and have a mixture of things.  We live in the country and have lots of butterflies, bees, hummingbirds and all sorts of birds which I do not want to discourage.  I love having the natural areas where they can come and feed.


I thought we had two of the big girls through molting and after laying 4 or 5 eggs they decided they would rather molt and they are doing it again.  Some of the little girls are looking quite rough.  So last week was just a break in the action.  There are hens molting.

The month of August I collected 163 eggs.  Back in March 207 eggs were collected.  The weather and the molting has really effected the number of eggs.  This past week 38 eggs were gathered.


Some of the crops are winding down.  Started picking the late beans, these will be added to the  other beans we have been picking.  Cleaning beds and getting ready for the fall planting of lettuce and radishes.  I am watering again as the weather is changing daily, hot to normal to hot.

Potting the winter tomatoes for the greenhouse, have several different type of basil rooted and potted.   I take cutting of the plants I bring in for the winter.  Except for the cucumbers,  I planted seeds for a greenhouse cucumber.  This is my second winter for tomatoes and the first winter for any of the other plants.  I am learning what will work in my greenhouse.  I hope this will be a good year.


I do hate to see the garden starting to look as if it is going to sleep.  Some of the flowers and herbs are also doing the same thing.  I need to remember everything needs to rest and maybe now is the time for me to think about a little off time.  After moving here, I have not thought about myself, I had this drive to get things done before I was not able to do these projects.  I have tried to do as much as possible by myself not asking for any help.  I think this year has bought me to the realization  I cannot do it all be myself.    If I want to see this farm making progress  I must slow down and "Smell the Roses".

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