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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