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.