Sunday, December 29, 2013

Triple Creek Farm, December 28, 2013

Mr. Bootsie has been retired a year this week.  Adjustment has been hard but we managed to learn how to live with each other 24/7 and get a few things accomplished.  The garden was planted and the veggies were preserved for our use through out the winter.  He has been a great help with a lot of the chores I was trying to manage all by myself and has taken a lot of work off my shoulders.  I think the biggest adjustment for me was having more meals to make.  I told him in the beginning I would make only 1 meal a day but he has worked and tried to help me, so I caved and now I do 2 meals most days.  This has extended my time in the kitchen, and I am having a very hard time making the balance with everything I do.

I have come to the decision I do not have enough time to post a weekly blog about our farm.  I know I have told you in the past this is my journal and it will continue to my farm journal. The format may change, I do want to keep you in touch with our farm but I must make things easier for me. I have always used the time I sit in front of the computer as a break from the action, the heat outside during the summer or a chance to warm my cold body during the winter.

The everyday life here on our farm has become a schedule and chores come first, baking seems to be about the same because I have bread doughs which work and I do not find it exciting to share over and over the same old things.  I went through a number of our pictures and they became very boring.  Now, this is not to say that when I find a new recipe, I am excited about, you will hear from me.  When I find I am growing something in the garden you may be interested in I will show you.

With the thinking of spring and the birthing of goats, I am wondering about time for milking and cheese making.  This will be added to the chores I do and I must lighten my load.  I am starting to learning about the process of cheese making and the supplies I will be needing.  Mr. Bootsie is preparing to build a milking stand, enlarge the pasture and lots of other chores to make things easier for us.

I have enjoyed the time I have spent with you weekly but time has come, for a change.

This week a new recipe was creamed cauliflower which was used in place of creamed potatoes.  Very easy, Steam your cauliflower until tender, Mash with the potato masher and add lots of butter, salt and pepper.  Delicious and easy.

One of the oldest girls I have in the coop started laying after her molt.

We were away with family for a couple of days this week, oh, everything was taken care of on the little farm, it can run well without us.

Now, before we meet again, everyone will welcome a New Year, 2014.  I wish you a Happy New Year and may this year be a wonderful one for each of you.
 
Blessing, My Friends, May you have lots of Blessings!!!!!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Triple Creek Farm, December 21, 2013

Sunday morning, the clock went off and there were feet hitting the floor.  Hay is running low and the farm we buy hay from is selling today.  It sounds like a big deal but when we get there and folks are loading up 40 and 50 bales of hay, our little 10 bales are nothing.  I say nothing but I would not want to tell the ladies and their playmates there is no hay for them.  I have learned, when talking with folks who have no farm animals, they do not understand the importance of feeding on schedule.  When we made a decision to have a small farm without help we became married to the farm, a decision I love, I chose this way of life for my golden years and there is not a day I do not find happiness on our farm.  It is hard work for someone our ages but the rewards are priceless.

IN THE KITCHEN

This week I finished preparing one of our tromboncino squash.  This squash was used in bread for Thanksgiving, stored in the fridge and I am making bread for Christmas.  This was an easy store in the fridge, covered the cut end with clear wrap and cut the end off when I was ready to use again.  I made slaw from the squash, this was a first for me, using the winter squash raw.  I was pleased with the results, and will be adding this our meals.  Winter salads are difficult, at times, because we do not go to the produce market a lot.  I made the squash puree and decided to try squash pancakes, they were very tasty with apple sauce or  fried apples.  I have decided not to do a lot of holiday baking, as one thing is eaten I will make another.  The soup for this week came from the canning pantry, vegetable beef made with vegetables from the garden back during the summer.

ON THE FARM

I am starting to notice the girls are eating more, I hope this is a good sign as I have not seen anyone go into season and I am hoping there will be baby goats in April.  When I read of others miscarrying I become concerned because I have no idea what I am doing.  I keep reading and hoping I am finding the answers to any questions I may have.  With last week's weather and additional rain falling the land is not drying out and that slows down our plans to do anything.  I do not need to have something stuck in the land.  We can just take our time and maybe someday things will be done.

IN THE COOP

Another one of the girls has molted,  Little Grey is such a big bird you can hardly tell she has molted but she was one of my best layers and I sure do miss her eggs.  No signs of eggs from the welsummers. I was hoping to see some but they seem to be holding out.

IN THE GARDEN

I harvested Holland greens this week, these greens are wonderful, Mr. Bootsie likes them and they are so easy to cook.  I was so pleased to pull back the cover on the row tunnel and find there were enough greens to harvest.  This makes all of our work for the winter garden worthwhile.  I am hoping there will be more to harvest as the season goes on. There will be enough kale to harvest this week.  I have swiss chard greens I can use in salads,  The celery is growing and I tasted the celery this week, the flavor is different from the celery I have used it the past.  This has more punch and a very fresh taste, lots of pretty leaves at the top which I shall enjoy using in the stocks I make.

IN ClOSING

As I walk around our farm and see holly trees with berries, running cedar floating over the forest floor, I remember Christmases past.  We would go out with baskets and harvest these greens and bring them home to decorate for Christmas, It was a very quick time because the decorations would be put up just a few days before Christmas and they left before the New Year arrived.  The applesauce cake, fruit cake and Chandler's gelatin would be made.  There would be family and friends coming after supper during the week between Christmas and New Years.  There were nights we would be home and nights we would be going to visit, everyone knew the night we would be home even without telephones.  There was the Christmas morning, when I came down and found a baby calf wrapped in the official calf coat  behind our stove because it was too cold for him to be outside.  During the morning this little guy found his legs and stood up.  I don't remember what was by the tree for me but I shall never forget the little calf,  Momma told me Santa brought him and we needed to take very good care of him.  After he found his legs, he was taken outside to be with his Momma in the barn.

I wish for you my Friends, a joyous, safe and Merry Christmas.  May your life be richly blessed, May your heart be filled with goodness and May you make a memory which will stay with you forever!!!
                                         
                                                       MERRY CHRISTMAS

                                                 The Bootsie's of Happy Hallow
                                                                      and
                                                 25 special, special farm workers *

* 2 very special visitors for a neighbor's farm and our staff of 23 made up of  4 goats, 17 chickens and 2 ducks

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Triple Creek Farm, December 14, 2013

Following the rules we learned long ago, if you prepare you will be alright, and once again it worked.  We did not have much of a storm. This was good because Mr. Bootsie had not been home when it was time to prepare and this was his first experience learning what I do when bad weather is expected.  The second one which came during the week was not much of storm.  Saturday morning when we were feeding, the necessary precautions were made without thinking  because we may have another storm.  Around 12:30 Saturday afternoon in came the rain with the ice pellets but it quickly turned just to rain.

IN THE KITCHEN

I am always afraid I am going to forget to work the sourdough starter.  I let my starter die last year during the holidays and this starter is very tasty, I would really regret loosing this one.  I decided to whip up a coffee cake one evening while I was making cornbread for supper.  As I was about to remove the coffee cake from the oven, I looked over and there set the oil I should have put in the coffee cake waiting.  There were 5 minutes left in the cooking time, so needless to say, there was nothing I could do to correct the mistake.  My first thoughts were I have chicken feed.  Well,  as luck would have it, this is the best coffee cake I have ever made.  The problem  or challenge now is working with the recipe to get the ingredients correct, at which time, I will share the recipe with you.  Soup of the week was chili.

ON THE FARM

We did not loose any trees with the weather; however, Mr. Bootsie took down several which were bent and hung in other trees.  The goats enjoyed the pine and there is firewood for us.  Drainage ditches were checked and some were worked so they would continue to drain.  There are several projects on the drawing board, all involving the goat pasture and barns, this will be our first birthing and we really are not prepared.  There is time but this must be addressed.

IN THE COOP

Things have been about the same in the coop.  Mr. Roo has come into his own and I am hoping I will have eggs from my girls to set this spring.  I went back and checked my records on Momma Duck and she started laying September 2, 2012, she has skipped a few days but for the most part she has been one egg producing machine.  The girls are packing in on the roosting poles at nighttime and seem to be staying very warm.  I am watching the temperature because if is should really drop Mr. Roo will have his comb coated with jelly.  He has a beautiful comb and I would hate to loose some of it to frostbite.

IN THE GARDEN

Checking on the tunnel and keeping it watered.  In a few weeks everything will start to grow.  It looks as if everything is setting and waiting at this time.  Most of my gardening was done by the kitchen table this week.  My seed box is cleaned and organized.  I know the seeds which need to be replaced, I found some old friends I thought I would have to order by they were in the wrong places.  I am waiting for the land to dry some so I can start on my winter projects.  We have been cleaning out the coop and barn adding the wonderful manure to the garden.

IN CLOSING

While I was writing the blog, Mr. Bootsie bought me come hot tea and warmed coffee cake, needless to say it was the end of our coffee cake.  Now I need to find something wonderful to share with you for I hope you will be stopping by for another visit.  As all of you are getting busy for your celebration I wish you the best of the season.  Here on the farm because I was raised in a Christmas home and I love the season, we wish all of you A Happy,Joyous, Merry Christmas!!!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Triple Creek Farm, December 7, 2013

Our tummies are full of leftover turkey, lots of sides and gravy, before the week was over we needed the strength from eating all of this holiday food.  Preparing for an ice storm, now I really do not like ice storms. The first thing you think about is the power and when will it go out.  How many days will it take for them to reinstate the power.  Precooking things which will keep in the fridge, making an extra amount of bread and knowing there are many jars of soup canned which will be heated on the wood stove.  Feed for the flocks,  checked to be sure there is food and hay for about a week.  We really do not have a lot of bad weather, thank goodness, so it is important we make all the necessary preparations to take care of our animals, our farm and ourselves.

IN THE KITCHEN

I found a recipe for Crockpot Turkey, Cabbage & Rice Soup which sounded like a good wintertime soup.  Mr. Bootsie called this a very hardy soup, filling and a good use of leftover turkey.  I made my turkey salad with homemade pickles and the juice from the pickles.  Before the week was over I was in for a change of pace, broccoli slaw is something I enjoyed when we lived close to the grocery and I would pick up a package but now this is really out of the question.  We did buy a bag of fresh broccoli as the crowns were on a good sale.  I found a recipe which I used as a guideline.  I made a few changes and will work on this recipe, when I am pleased I will post my recipe.  Mr. Bootsie requested a turkey pot pie as I was making some meals we could easily reheat.  I have been working with clear-gel and I was very pleased with the filling, it stayed in place.  So many of my pies have run all over the pie plate after my cutting them.

ON THE FARM

Drainage ditches have been opened and all of the leaves cleaned out.  Fresh leaves have been added to the goat barn, the hay covered and grain barrels filled.  Some of the gutters have been cleaned out.  We will try to do everything to make our animals comfortable during the storm but we must think of our own safety.  There is fuel mixed and ready incase we need to remove trees from the roads.  You never know what will happen and we try to prepare and hope that we prepared enough.

IN THE COOP

I feed an all grain pellet mix to my girls but I was not pleased with my eggs.  The city folks thought they were beautiful but I knew from the past there was not enough strength in the yolks.  I caught this one day when I was mixing duck eggs with hen eggs.  During the winter I feed a treat of sunflower seeds in the evenings.  My girls love this treat and will beat me to the coop when they see me coming with their bowls.  If Mr. Roo sees me heading to the feed buckets he announces treats are on the way, before I can finish there are girls all around my feet. ready to help me find my way.   Needless to say, they really like the sunflower seeds.   Here are some of my eggs and you can see there is a strong yellow color to the yolk.  This is what I have been working for.  I am so pleased to have learned how easy it is to adjust the diet of the girls.

IN THE GARDEN

I am just hoping I will have a garden tunnel on Monday, We know we can remove the snow from the tunnel and keep it safe, sleet and freezing rain are different.  As I have watched the weather all week trying to make the right decisions, I have thought about the tunnel and what it would be able to stand.  Temperatures at my last weather check are going to hoover around 31 to 32 degrees and this gives me hope.  There were a few nice days this week, I pulled the covers back from the row tunnels and watered those beds.

IN CLOSING

The weather does not change our farm adventure.  There should be, at least,  one goat who is now 1 month along the way to becoming a mommie.  I am hoping there are 2 because things do look promising.  In a couple of weeks I will have a better idea about my other 2 ladies.  As we think about  the last hatching of our baby chicks starting to lay eggs it is time to start planning for our spring adventure.  I wonder what I did for so many years when I was away from the amazement of the farm.

To all of our friends and neighbors, North and South of the Equator, all around this world, please be careful and take good care of yourselves.  This week has reminded me of no matter where you are there is always something to prepare for, I appreciate the kindness of others checking with us as they have heard the progression of this storm across the United States.  As one friend said, "This type of winter weather is norm for us but I know it is an event for you."  This makes me feel a little better about prepping for this storm.  I am hoping it will be close to a non-event and we passed the test but only time will tell.  I will update you next week!!!



















Sunday, December 1, 2013

Triple Creek Farm, November 30, 2013

I shared with you last week the wine had been bottled, the story continues.  I awoke Sunday morning and started getting ready for my day, I walked by the laundry and I could smell wine.  Looked inside and there it was, a cork blown and wine all over the floor.  Must have been a gallon in the bottle because it was everywhere.  On the walls, baseboard, floor, counter, dripping down the wine rack and sprayed all over the cabinet in front.  I scrubbed the floor 4 times to finally remove all of the purple sticky goo from the floor.  Checking the bottle there was less than one half of a regular wine bottle loss.  What a mess it made.   Lesson learned...never, I mean never allow Mr. Bootsie to put away the new wine before it has finished working and aging.

IN THE KITCHEN

There were no new adventures in the kitchen this week.  A lot of prep for our Harvest Meal and day of Thanksgiving, our menu has been about the same for a number of years, just a little less each year.  We did open the cowboy candy which was made during the summer.  We were told if you let it age it will be much better, I am pleased we waited for a few months because this was delicious.  This is going to be a staple in our pantry, I found Mr. Bootsie eating potato cakes with cowboy candy on them.  Grinning he said, "You can eat this stuff with anything."  For me this is what Thanksgiving is all about.  Opening the new treasures in the canning pantry.  The cowboy candy filled the bill at our celebration this year.

ON THE FARM

I do look forward to the slowing down and this seems to happen around Thanksgiving.  I have been able to spend time in the goat pasture, it is very important to work with our animals.  All of our 4 girls came here from living on other farms for at least the first 6 months of their lives.  They have adjusted to us well, but now they must learn to trust us, I want to milk so I am working on the underside of their bodies rubbing them, they need to learn my touch because this is going to be new for all of us.  We still have our 2 barn guests.  I am really enjoying these guys.  The little one, Clue, sees me coming at night time and he heads for the barn, knowing I am going to have a treat for him and him alone.  Seeing how he has learned my way of doing things makes me so excited about having little ones to raise.  Lou, knows the girls all go into the barn before him and he waits each night until the door is opened for him to come in.  Happy to be with his girls inside the barn, he quickly settles down on the floor, ready to go to sleep.

IN THE COOP

The coop is turning into a merry-go-round.  This week Little Grey is molting, such a sad looking girl.  Mr. Roo has found his voice and he is using it.  He now sounds very accomplished. Egg production is dropping in the coop.  The ones laying eggs are continuing to find places other than the nesting boxes to lay their eggs.  Mr. Bootsie has about 5 places he checks daily for eggs.  Aurora is starting to move her place to lay on a daily basis. The ducks seem to be very happy as long as we break the ice so they can take a morning swim.  Momma duck is laying her 1 egg each day.

IN THE GARDEN

Garden has been cold this week, I really did not get out there to do any cleaning.  The few plants I have in the tunnel are covered with floating row cover.  There was a good rain during the week which helps with the watering.  I started seeds for the tunnel but I just got busy and the seeds well..you know...I will be starting more.  I am getting things organized to order my seeds for next year's garden.  I am looking for more interesting plants,  I think I may have found another squash to try.  If you have any suggestions please let me know on the Facebook page.  The link is on the upper right hand side, just click and you are there.  I would appreciated your suggestions as I do enjoy growing new and interesting vegetables.

IN CLOSING

I am settling down for the cold season.  This is when I start my seeds and my gardening comes inside. A lot of my work will be done this winter with my feet in front of the wood stove, I will be learning about birthing and raising goats.  This is a must do for I must be prepared for our new adventure.  I know one of my farm friends is going to start having babies in a couple of weeks.  I hope to be able to enjoy the birthing on her farm so I can get some first hand knowledge.

We had a wonderful harvest celebration and Thanksgiving on the farm.  We are thankful for the productive year, the lessons we learned and hope for the future.  As I put this week to bed, I am already thinking about a new soup using the turkey from our harvest dinner.   I welcome you to stop by any time for I just love our time together.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Triple Creek Farm, November 23, 2013

Temperature changes, watering the tunnel and row tunnels,  night time is coming earlier each day,  this brings adjustments to our little farm.  Needless to say there is the gathering of wood for our house,  the deep layering of leaves in the duck coop, chicken coop and goat house.  Deep mulching the onions and parsnips we are leaving in the garden.  Adding mulch to the tunnel helps to keep the soil warm.  I do believe old man winter is coming to visit.

IN THE KITCHEN

We had the pleasure of sharing our home with a special friend for a few days, she is always wanting to know what is knew here, so I made the squash and apple soup, squash muffins and garlic, onion pizza. There was an extra crust which I used to make a spinach pizza.  Breakfast, one morning, was frittata made with potatoes, onion, garlic, spinach, eggs and cheese, there was a side of sausage and homemade sourdough bread.  The wine had slowed by Friday,  Saturday it was time to strain and bottle our first batch of wine made with our blackberries.  So far, so good, the sample we had was excellent.


ON THE FARM

Tuesday morning, my ladies at least 2 of them were very interested in Lou.  His visit to our farm may be very productive.  In a few weeks I will know for sure.  We are goat setting for a friend.  She asked to bring a little guy over to help with weening him.  I think I am falling in love with this little one.  If Lou needs to go home maybe Clue will be able to stay with us for a while.  Mr. Bootsie and I went out one afternoon to cut holly and a little cedar.  I  was thinking I could use this to make holiday decorations but I missed out this time.  Happy Goats, munching on the holly.  Saturday,  with weather conditions which may be changing next week,  we took several hours to cut some additional holly trees and place them beside the pasture.  They will keep for a few days in the cold and if the weather gets bad we are ready.  The hoses were all disconnected, once again,  this was completed Saturday night after all of the animals were put to bed.

IN THE COOP

Mr. Roo has gotten his crow working, he sounds like a real roo and now we need to name this beautiful creature.  When I come to feed and put up in the evenings, he crows when he sees me coming with the food bowls.  Okay, girls, Momma is here and has the evening meal ready for us.  They get scratch and sunflower seeds at night,  the girls come in, eat and find where they want to spend the night. Saturday night all of the girls put themselves on the roosting poles.  I do hope this will continue, as the days get shorter,  I may be a little late getting to the coop.  My girls are now going up between five and five fifteen, in about 3 weeks it will be earlier.

IN THE GARDEN

I had one beautiful spinach plant and the mole had a salad.  I was really unhappy about this.  Mr. Bootsie and I are now planning on making baskets for each plant we put in the tunnel.  I am afraid to put anything out to kill the moles as I have never used any harsh chemicals in the garden.  So I will keep putting goat jelly beans in their run and hope they get tired of being bombed with goat poop.  Saturday, I dug my first parsnips, I decided it was time as the mole had eaten at least 2 parsnip roots.  I have never grown these so I was quite proud of my harvest.


IN CLOSING

I am so pleased as I think of our family feast.  Each year, since we arrived here on the farm, we add something we have grown in our garden to the table.  This year we have several new veggies, finally we have butter beans  and country gentleman corn in the freezer. not a lot because we shared with the raccoons and moles.   There were enough potatoes to can a few this year.  Now as I think to next year, with little ones expected in April, I am excited about milk, butter, cheese, and other dairy products after we start milking our ladies.  Oh, yes, we are Thankful.  Thankful ,we have the pleasure of living on this farm and sharing it with our animals.   Thankful, for all I have learned in the past 7 years.  Thankful, for each of you and the blessing you bring to me.  I can never say Thank you enough because I  enjoy this time we share, and I look forward to sharing what the future holds.

May each of you have a harvest celebration in your own way, I know some places have celebrated and others will follow, What ever your custom may each of you be blessed.  To my fellow Americans, Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Triple Creek Farm, November 16, 2013

During the fall and winter I have a lot more time to play in the kitchen.  Some would call it work, but I  enjoy learning and working on new projects,  I want to learn to grow veggies and fruits I can use in the food preparation, I want to reduce the cost of food in our house but have an interesting and varied menu.  I have been busy all this week working with one of the squash we enjoyed as a green squash during the summer and this squash turns into a winter squash if left in the garden.  This is our first year to harvest this as a winter squash.  I learned I need to leave a few earlier in the season to grow into the winter squash, I had the pleasure of harvesting 2 this fall and now I am learning how to make wonderful dishes with the squash.  The squash is zucchette Rampicante-Tromboncino.  My seeds came from Pinetree Garden Seeds at superseeds.com, this is one of my favorite seed houses and they have signed the safe seed pledge.

IN THE KITCHEN

There is always talk about natural fermentation, the wine I am making was kick started with yeast.  I do think when my momma made her wine she let it set and collect the wild yeast.  With the amount of bread made in this house, sour dough and kefir working, I should be able to capture some wild yeast to start the process of making wine.  We were watching the wine work on Sunday,  3 days into the process, and we have a little contained volcano working in the pantry.  I have made wine before, but I really just put it the containers and went on my way.  This one I am stopping and looking, it is very interesting.  Right now, I am happy using yeast, but one day I may try natural fermentation.

                                This picture was taken on Friday morning, Day 8 of fermenting. 

In using this new squash, I made butternut squash and apple soup. Butternut puree and Squash muffins.
This squash will be in our garden because we are finding ways to use this veggie.  I have not started making pasta with it but it is on the list.

ON THE FARM

Lou is visiting and having a wonderful time, he became very friendly with another of the ladies this week.  On Thursday, he and Belle became the very best of friends.  Mr. Bootsie is locating trees which we can bring down easily for winter fed for the goats.  He has been busy taking down the watering system and replacing the watering system when we find there are a few days of nice weather.   As every thing we have water going to runs down hill, it is very easy to drain all of the hoses and fill the duck pond at the same time.  

IN THE COOP

The mornings have a new sound, I never thought I would be excited to hear a rooster crow but it sure puts a smile on my face as he is getting a stronger crow every day and now, he is practicing during the day.  Eggs are slowing down, it will be a while before the little welsummer chicks begin to lay.  I am hoping with the duck eggs I can make it through the winter and continue to feed the girls some eggs each day.  The only problem,  I am expecting,  Momma Duck may go into molting at anytime and there would be no eggs from her for a while.   There will be more molting but the coop is in recovery at this time.  Eva has starting looking like a chicken without tail feathers, but her body feathers are coming in nicely.  

IN THE GARDEN

I planted seeds,  this week,  to install in the tunnel when they come up.  I have beets coming up in the tunnel, watercress is starting to grow in the greenhouse.  We are pulling off the winter covering off the row tunnels when we can, I do like to let Mother Nature bless these plants with rain.  There are a few turnips in the garden.  I will be pulling these to go into salads.

THERE ARE 2014 SEEDS GUIDES ON THE COUNTER WAITING FOR ME, I HAVE RECEIVED 3 THIS WEEK, I am so ready to go on a shopping trip!!!

I will be spending sometime organizing the seeds which I have on hand, filling in the voids with old trusted seeds or looking for something new and exciting.  I must get this task underway as I like to order my seeds before the new year.  

IN CLOSING

A few cold mornings have reminded us we must carry water for all of the animals during the cold days of winter.  The use of gallon jugs returns for this purpose.  The trees are now fingers reaching up to the heavens, looking for the warmth of the sun, I will be planting seeds all winter for the tunnel, and I shall be looking for the warmth of the sun to grow the plants in the tunnel.  I was pleased to get somethings started earlier this year, but I hope I have learned I must start much earlier than I did.  On a farm if you pay attention, you can learn from your mistakes.  I have made my share but I have learned quite a lot by making mistakes.  People will share their victories but I admire those who share their failures.

This was another good week on the farm, I think, only time will tell.  I will need about 5 months to be sure.  Please drop by and see if things are working out because April could be a very busy month for us.  Have a wonderful week!!!




Sunday, November 10, 2013

Triple Creek Farm, November 9, 2013

With the slowing of the garden, I thought I had made all of the decisions I would need to make for a while.  But life on the farm is always about something.  This week I started in new directions.  I am hoping with a wonderful mentor I can learn and my choices will be make us a stronger farm.

IN THE KITCHEN

Sunday morning, I made a sour dough coffee cake, there were leftovers and we did enjoy them for breakfast several mornings during the week.  There were ribs, bbq'ed for supper with cole slaw, I have never liked my cole slaw and I am always looking for a dressing which I can find on my shelf.  I think I may have the problem solved.  I made a kefir milk ranch dressing using my chive vinegar and I must say this was good coleslaw, even received a that is really good from Mr. Bootsie.

Wednesday,  It is time to remove some of the blackberries from the freezer, I am not going to can them because there is syrup and jelly on the shelf.  With pickling season over my large container is clear for a new adventure.  I am going to try my hand making blackberry wine.  I found a recipe very close to the one Momma made years ago, very easy and takes less than 3 weeks.   Thursday, the berries have been strained from the liquid, sugar and yeast have been added.  The directions says 15 days, now I need to find something for Mr. Bootsie to do so he will stop going in and checking on the wine.

The soup experience was an Italian Pasta E Fagioli soup.  This soup has no meat, there are 9 cups of chicken broth or stock and this gives the soup a very meaty flavor.  The cooking time is quick, warms up well and Mr. Bootsie did all of the prep work on this one.  I must say it was a super easy soup for me to make.  Yes, it was good and we shall make it again.

ON THE FARM

This week on the farm had been a week of doing our regular chores, one damp day Mr. Bootsie did inside work and painted a wall for me.  He, also, did some detailing on my 1988 van which I will not give up.  It is wonderful for moving goats from one place to another and is great to use when making the run for feed for the everyone.

Friday morning, As soon as the ladies came outside I saw the flagging.  I watched and wanted to be sure I was right.  They were fed and when they returned to the pasture I knew I was right not 1 but 2 of them are in season.  I contacted my friend, less than 2 miles away, who has goats and she said get Lacie loaded and bring her over.  Lacie has never been away from her sister, Belle and I was sure we were going to have problems.  I went into the barn to gather the collar and lead, turned around, Lacie was standing right behind me.  I put the collar on her, hooked the lead, opened the barn door and out of the barn we went.  Lacie was showing me the way to the van, now it was a little different story when it came to loading her but not difficult.  I placed her feet in the van, gave her a push, she was loaded and ready for her trip.  After arriving at the farm, she and the gentleman goat quickly became friends, such good friends that the farmer loaded Lou into the truck and delivered him to our farm.  We, now, possibly have 2 of our goats expecting and we are hoping before Lou returns to his farm there will be 4 goats expecting.   I learned so much on Friday as this was a totally new experience for me.  We cannot express our Thanks to our neighbor enough for taking time from her busy day and helping us with this new journey we are starting.


The two ladies to the left is Belle and Lacie,  the one with horns is Gracie and their new gentleman friend is to the right.  Happy day for all on our little farm!!!

IN THE COOP

It is so amazing how quickly things change in the coop.  My little Eva is recovering from the molt, we are seeing tail feathers.  All 17 are now eating from the same food bowls and the food fight is over, not everyone can get on the roosting pole by themselves but we are seeing changes.  I believe the spring born peeps became very upset when the summer peeps starting making their way to the roosting poles as we were helping the spring peeps.  Several days this week there were no eggs.  I sent Mr. Bootsie on an egg hunt and he retuned with enough eggs for us to know he had found where the girls wanted to lay their eggs.  Mr. Roo is doing much better, there were crows this week, sometimes he struggles but once in a while we hear a beautiful crow.  There will be no more little peeps until spring but I will be excited when the journey begins once again.  

IN THE GARDEN

We have turnips which have developed their bulbs, the parsnips are awaiting frost.  There is something fresh to eat from the garden.  The tunnel is starting to grow and I am looking forward to having some veggies during the winter.  It continues to be easy watering the tunnel because the hoses are still connected.  I will be loosing this pleasure in a few weeks.  I am quite ready to start gardening sitting by the wood stove, where or where are the seed books?  I  will have so many decisions to make.  

IN CLOSING

This week was a 180, I was ready to think about settling in for the winter, warming my toes my the wood stove and having lots of comfort food.  Little did I know that I would need a milking stand built, a place readied for Momma goats and if all goes according to plans dreaming of playing with new farm animals. I am so excited, The Date is April 7, 2014, I welcome you to join us on this journey, learn with us and join the celebration if everything works out.  Life on the farm, Why? Why did I stay away from the farm for so many years?

Thank you for joining me and sharing with us.  May you week be safe!!!  


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Triple Creek Farm, November 2, 2013

There has been a crispness in the air, fall rains with not always gentle winds are bringing down the many leaves, all around me there are signs of the ending of our spring and summer growing season.  It is time to remove the growth from many of the herbs, mulch them and cover with large nursery pots.  During the winter my garden looks as if I am growing pots and I always have a crop failure.  I place the pots over the plants I wish to save, pour a five gallon bucket of mulch over the pot, let it flutter around the pot and secure it is place for the winter.  This will keep the roots of my plants alive and warm.  My pineapple sage has been with  me for 2 winters and after this winter I hope I can say 3 winters.

IN THE KITCHEN

The garden was gleamed by Mr. Bootsie.  He picked may butter beans, we shelled and processed them for the freezer.  Each time something is added to the freezer there is question of where is this going to go.  I made a pot of cheesy broccoli soup, the broccoli came from the freezer and I used the space for some ground beef.  Now,  I have to work on using what has been stored for our winter use.  This is a must for I have always been a little laid back using what is in the freezer.  I have lots of veggies to make stir fries  and I must make my plans for our meals earlier in the day, I like to have things in order when I start to cook and not wonder what I am going to add.  Mr. Bootsie has decided it is fun to chop onions and grate cheese.  He is always willing to help do these chores so we can move on to other chores.

ON THE FARM

Splitting wood, mulching the herb garden, cutting a new trail through the woods to the mail box, these are some of the chores we have worked on this past week.  Along with mulching the herb garden I am taking out lots of lemon balm.  Let me share with you, I planted the lemon balm to help with run off and it did.  I was pleased, my run off problem was solved and I did not thin the lemon balm, this fall there has been a tangle of roots and I have spent a number of afternoons digging them out.  The girls in the coop have been pleased as they are finding things in the roots and they love the leaves.  The vegetation for the goats is changing.  They are not interested with the leaves from the trees as they are changing colors are becoming very brittle.  We will now be cutting down holly and pine for them.  Saturday morning, we went and picked up a load of hay and straw.

IN THE COOP

Molting, I think we are going to be molting for quite a while, some of the girls have shown no interest in loosing their beautiful feathers.  I would like to get this over before the cold of winter settles in but I have nothing to do with this, I just have to wait it out.  The blending of the flock is going along quite good.  All of the girls are starting to eat from the same bowls, they are quite mean about pecking when it comes to food, I do wonder if it bothers me more than it bothers the chickens.  They get loud and run off but it just a few seconds they have returned and are eating from another bowl.  I have one who will not fight for food, I do make special arrangements for her.  In the evening before roosting she is given a bowl and put by herself, she seems to enjoy having a quiet place to eat.  The little peeps are still displaying some difficulty getting on the roosting poles.  This week has been quite an improvement.  The little roo has stopped trying to crow but on Saturday morning he made 2 attempts.  He is growing and becoming a beautiful bird.

IN THE GARDEN

Most of the garden is brittle and brown. I did mange to find some climbing spinach under covers which looks really good.  Every garlic and walking onion set I planted came up.  My garlic sets came from the spring crop, I go through my cloves and pick the largest, use these for sets, the smaller cloves are used in the kitchen.  I planted regular onion sets I purchased and they are doing quite good.  These will all be mulched before the cold of winter comes in.  The plants in the  tunnel are starting to show growth.  Chickweed is growing and the girls are having a bucket of chickweed several times a week, the ducks enjoy this treat.   We are starting to pull out the annual beds and prepare the soil for the winter.  I like to have as much ready for the spring as possible.

IN CLOSING

I have found myself wanting to take long walks in the woods and explore our farm.  I took the goats out for a walk one evening this week and we went to a creek they had never seen before.  Don't worry they did not try to cross.  I am finding bird's nets in the trees after the leaves fall.  There are turkey tail mushrooms growing on the downed trees.  I want to cut some trails so I can roam through my woods.  I love finding the gifts Mother Nature has left for me.  I think I may be able to find more wild flowers if I can get some trails through the low lands.  The Canadian Geese are coming in every night while I am putting the girls to bed.  They "honk, honk, honk" their way to the pond.  The flock is getting bigger each year.  There are 2 large deer which spend the evening in front of our house, eating from the herb garden.  We are lucky to have all of this nature around us.

Enjoy your week, Thank You for stopping by,  I look forward to our next visit!!!!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Triple Creek Farm, October 26, 2013

I have been dehydrating veggies and fruits for several years and I have found ways to use what I have dried but I am not sure I am using what I dry to the fullest advantage.  Last winter, I started adding dried spinach to soups and salads.  I found there was never any complaints about what is this in my food or what do I taste that is different.  With the adding the spinach into salad dressing and dips. once again,  I enjoyed what I was doing and received compliments about the interesting tastes I was developing.  So this year, we are drying spinach, onions and garlic to add to spice blends and zests for our many different soups.  I have learned if you want to make a hearty and filling soup add these dried items, the soups just seem to come alive with flavor and the texture of the soup is a little thicker without having a roux base.  Yes, I am always looking for ways to make my day a little easier and please those I cook for.

IN THE KITCHEN

I pulled out the recipes I was working on last winter for soups which I added ingredients from the freezer, canned and dehydrated.  I have always known if I do not have a way to use something it does me no good to take my time preserving it for use at a later date.  One of my main projects has been a great northern bean soup with homemade sausage, lots of onion, celery, carrots,  garlic, I use a quart of bloody Mary mix or tomato juice for my base, fill the flavor with dried green onions and spinach.  This is one hardy pot of soup.  This is my recipe and I am so pleased is was accepted well.  When I serve this, I put a wedge of corn bread  in the bottom of the soup bowl and pour this mixture over the corn bread.  I will continue working on this until I have some measurements to share with you.  When I am working on a recipe I do cook a lot like my Momma did and forget to measure everything.

ON THE FARM

We started adding hay in the barn this week, there is always some there but I knew the cold was coming and I wanted the ladies to eat hay to help keep them warm at night.  They are continuing to free range in the afternoon, I am not sure if they will want to come out after all the leaves have fallen.  Lady Gracie has found the Virginia spiderwort plants, I knew the deer would eat them down to the ground and now I can add goats to this list.  One evening this week, she found more spiderwort and Mr. Bootsie had to take her grain bowl and show it to her before she would return to the barn, I know she was saying, but Daddy this is so good, fresh and green.  If I leave it the deer may get it tonight.


IN THE COOP

Outside the coop has been getting some attention as the falling leaves will weigh down the covers of the runs.  Mr. Bootsie informed me it was time to blow the leaves off the top.  Now, all of you know the girls really love this.  So I open the gate to the runs and he fired up the leaf blower which in turn has 17 chickens flying, running and trotting past me.  The ducks were waddling so fast they were falling over their own feet.  Everyone had that what are you doing to me look and I am never, never coming back in there so you can do that to me again.  Of course, the goats did not know what was going on and here they come to offer their support to the girls.  The girls, who don't want anything from the goats except space and for them to stay in their pasture were not pleased.  So, the girls take off again heading for their safe space which is howling and leaves are flying.  It was a wild few minutes and we will be having a few more of these events before all of the leaves are off the trees.   I just think I will keep the goats in there pasture and not let them free range with the girls while Mr. Bootsie is blowing leaves.

The temperature fell on this week, I made my personal goal, the peeps are in the coop with big girls, on the roosting poles and all is good.  Food is still somewhat of an issue but we are working through this.  It will take longer to have them eating from the same bowls, as I am thinking I may need to add another bowl for all of these girls and 1 little guy.  There has been a smile on our faces because once again we have merged the flock without issues.  The brooder has been taken out of the coop, cleaned and stored for the winter.

IN THE GARDEN

Frost is coming, prepare, We did it all.  The tunnel cover went on and all the floating row covers are in place.  Some small beds of greens have been covered.  I must say this year went like we had a plan.  I may pushed the bullet not cleaning the tunnel a little long, but, we made it.  I gleamed the garden, mulched some of the onions and now I am waiting for the results of two cold nights below the freezing mark. Saturday morning check everything looked as if we may have saved our garden for a few more days.  I do not pick the last of the butter beans until the frost has hit the vines.  I left a few peppers but very few incase there is Indian Summer.  Now as I play the waiting game each thing I find will be a treasure.  The tunnel has some plants in it and next week I will be adding to the tunnel.  By late Saturday afternoon, I knew Mother Nature had won with the freeze on Friday night.  The climbing spinach looked as if I had cooked it on the vines.  Butter beans has some burnt leaves but I think I may be able to pick what is remaining on the vines.  Pole beans were burnt from the cold.  But the winter garden is looking good.  Parsnips have been waiting for the frost, this is my first time to grow them and I will be digging some to see if I or the moles are going to have parsnips.

IN CLOSING

I must stop and reflect because this year has been our best garden ever.  To remind us they are still here, another raccoon was caught this week and relocated to our friend's river farm.  With all of the problems we had, there was a good harvest, we did loose some of our crops but I can't dwell on that.  We did harvest quite a lot of vegetables, we have eaten from the garden all summer, have quite a bit stored away for winter and next spring.  I have learned more about preserving our harvest and how to use it.  When are the seed books coming to my mail box?  I can hardly wait to see the new selections and learn about some old ones being returned to the market.  I have a few items I have been searching for and I will be on the net hoping one of the seed houses has located some of the plants I treasure.  But, first I am going to have to clean my house, get things ready for the holidays and dream about what our future holds.  Next week I know I have to help with the gathering of some firewood, It never stops!!!!

Have a wonderful week, stay healthy, keep smiling, spring is on its way!!!!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Triple Creek Farm, October 19, 2013

Wednesday, I knew I could no longer play the waiting game, they must come down, all of the beautiful squash plants had to be pulled from the tunnel.  I pulled, stacked, cut with my nippers and after about an hour I walked outside the tunnel and saw the empty side of the tunnel.  My heart sank, it was as if I had just destroyed the garden of 2013.  We have enjoyed so many loaves of cucuzzi bread, squash with onions, the squash apple pie plus many dehydrated squash this year.  I stood in the garden looking at this as if I were in a graveyard I could feel my eyes tearing, I was looking for a few missed squash to take in the house just as some like to take a few flowers from the graves.  For some reason, this part of the garden has meant so much to me.  I really felt like I had accomplished something every time I walked into the garden and saw this jungle I had created.  There were several types of climbing squash plants and I decided to add the climbing spinach.  I have a large bag of spinach in the fridge which needs to be cleaned, frozen or steamed and eaten.  After feeling sorry for myself, I decided that next year will be better.  I know for a fact I will be pulling the plastic off the tunnel once again when the weather is warm and I shall have climbing plants on it.  Mr. Bootsie has promised additional cattle panels next summer as we all enjoyed this year's crop in so many ways.




IN THE KITCHEN

I had to do it, open one jar of the potato soup which was canned.  I used 1/3 cup of the soup mix I made a couple of weeks prior to thicken the potato soup, it was delicious.  I am so pleased with the results of this  and being able to have a meal on the table in 30 minutes from start to finish, I know I shall be canning more potato soup in the future.  We have been trying a recipe, this recipe was for baked sweet potatoes using coconut oil.  I thought about this decided to try this recipe using russet potatoes.  We have made this twice this week, slicing the potatoes a different thickness each time, I decided I like the potatoes sliced very thin, oven fried and served with a kefir ranch dressing.  I think from everything I am reading these chips may be very good for us to eat or maybe not,  but they really did taste good.

ON THE FARM

Wood gathering has been going on this week, the new log rack has been filled and covered by the house.  Mr. Bootsie is already in love with this change.  There is enough wood on this rack to last quite a while.  We may be able to fill only once a week when the weather is moderate.  Friday afternoon, was spent replacing the posted signs around our property.  We are in an area which is not to be hunted, but people see woods and totally,  do not realize there is a barn and pasture lot in the middle of the woods.  I fear for my ladies as some of those who hunt around here do not hunt with a clear head and may take a shot at something that resembles a deer.  I, also, fear for myself as I am always moving through the woods doing projects.

IN THE COOP

Progress is being made, the efforts to learn how to crow are starting to pay off.  We are now hearing a err, err so the rooster is on his way to finding his voice.  If his voice is anything like he is there will be beautiful music around here in the mornings.  I have had real progress blending the flock.  I have always known food was the problem, I have tried feeding the little peeps in their own bowl with the big girls, I changed the way I do this and feed the little peeps in the coop and the girls outside.  After everyone has eaten, I let the little peeps go where they wish,  leaving the brooder open so they may come and go.  They do spend sometime in the brooder but real progress is being made and they are not being pecked by the big girls.  I may make my goal of having everyone in the big girls coop before cold weather sets in.

IN THE GARDEN

With the tunnel being replaced this coming week, I am in the process of replanting most of the garden.  There are butter beans, pole beans and spinach remaining from the summer garden.  Turnips are starting to develop the thicken roots but the tops have been eaten off, I really do not know if they will develop but I hope they do.  I am pulling lots of chickweed for the girls almost everyday.  I found myself looking a seed book thinking what shall I order for next spring.  The row covers came out this week and I have them over the beds I planted this week.  I started digging the lemon balm from the herb garden, I had no idea the size of the root system these herbs develop.  With digging them up, I am finding they have worked the soil, while it is hard work I am finding beautiful soil under them.  I have planted potatoes in the garden.  I like to start some in the fall and hope for early potatoes in the spring.  I will be mulching my onions and potatoes in the coming weeks.

IN CLOSING

The pace has slowed, I am quite ready for a break.  Living on a farm there is always something to think about,  Saturday morning, I went to the barn lot and realized Lacie, one of goats is in heat, I am going to skip this opportunity and see when she cycles again.  The way I figure we could have a late March birth and I would rather wait until April.  I know there are many ways to look at this but I do not feel I am ready to have little ones in the snow.  This will be a new venture for both of us and I would like to make it as easy as possible.

I keep thinking there is not going to be anything to share with you but there is always something going on around here.  With 4 goats, 17 chickens, and 2 ducks life just doesn't get dull.  Thanks for stopping by, I do look forward to our visit.  You can always visit the Facebook page to leave a comment about our post, some feel it is a much easier way to comment.  Looking forward to hearing from you!!!  Have a wonderful week!!!!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Triple Creek Farm, October 12, 2013

The fall rainy season arrived, it normally arrives when the State Fair of Virginia is here but this year there was no rain during the fair.  It has rained from Tuesday forward this week.  Mr. Bootsie has taken this time to add another notch to his tool belt, he and the canner have become friends.  He has learned how to fill jars with head space, how to wash the tops of the jars with vinegar or water, closing the canner, how long to vent but he is totally confused with the different processing times.  I guess he just needs more practice.

IN THE KITCHEN

With Mr. Bootsie manning the canner this week we have put up 20 quarts of provisions, 7 quarts of a potato soup base, 1 quart of beef stock, 5 quarts of potatoes and 7 quarts of veggie beef soup.  The canning shelf in the pantry is looking very secure for the coming winter.  I have been baking some bread, we have been eating spinach salads along with French onion soup I made this week.

ON THE FARM

I can say there has been very little done on the farm this week, aside from the caring for the animals and checking the drain ditches. Monday before the rain came there was a good size pine tree felled, it was cut into sections and taken to the goat lot, they have eaten just about all of the bark from this tree.  This has been a good treat for the ladies and worked well as we did not have to go out each day and cut saplings for them.

IN THE COOP

The struggling sound coming from the coop is starting to sound a little more like a crow.  It needs more work but the little guy is trying.  The coop is being opened up in the afternoons for the little peeps to start their journey over to the laying hen side of the coop.  It will be a while before they start to lay but I want to have them settled in before the cold weather comes.  I use the deep straw method of bedding,  I do not care to do the whole coop, only where the girls lay and roost.  Molting has taken over the coop and most large egg layers are not laying, the cochins are all laying but they lay small eggs.  My pullet's eggs are getting bigger than the cochin eggs.  The first order of business after this rain will be getting sand from the creek to go into the runs, the duck run needs lots of sand.

IN THE GARDEN

The garden is having to take care of itself, when the weather clears I will be removing the squash vines from the tunnel.  We have had lots of enjoyment watching them grow this season.


The onions and garlic are really coming up.  The okra which was eaten by the raccoons is starting to bloom.  As I have always grown okra for the lovely flower, I was pleased to see it bloom.  I enjoy eating okra but I love the blooms.  Still picking peppers, climbing spinach, pole beans and butter beans.  I have lots of flowers blooming in the greenhouse and this has been a bright spot for me this week.


IN CLOSING

I am pleased when we have sometime to be inside as I get a chance to clean and organize the pantry, take a good inventory.  I keep a constant list going of things I am running out of.  I do try to be very organized but sometimes you forget to add something to the list.  Mr. Bootsie found another leak in the water lines so the plumber has been called once again.  This new stuff is not lasting but we are adding shut off valves when we find a leak, in the future it will be easier (?).  There will be dry wall repair but it all comes with upkeep of your home.

The rain should be gone by next week and fall chores must begin because I lost this week and I have been taking chances hoping the fall would be a long fall.  Leaves came down with the rain and my woods are starting to take on the sad look of winter.  Here's hoping I can get somethings accomplished by the next time I see you.  Enjoy your fall or early winter!!!


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Triple Creek Farm, October 5, 2013

I love the fall/autumn season, I love to see the earth prepare for the winter.  Walking down to the pasture lot kicking my way through the fallen leaves reminds me of being a child playing in the leaves. I know we will be dropping trees, because without the leaves, they are much easier for us to handle.  The goats will be missing the leaves as they get saplings every day.  In the winter, they will be fed holly and pine.  This helps us with the clean up of the forest floor.  I am watching the girls very close to see if they are thinking of coming into season.  With the two I wish to breed, this will be their first time and I hope I do not miss the opportunity this year.  I have told everyone in the coop there will be no more baby chicks as winter is coming.  They have to wait until spring for any more little peeps.


IN THE KITCHEN

I have had a recipe to make a condensed cream soup mix but I wanted to use my supply of creamed soups before making this mix.  I was planning to make the green bean casserole with the french onions for supper Monday night.  Walking into the pantry, there it was, no more cream of mushroom soup.  Off to gather the ingredients I had stockpiled to make this mix.  I was so excited because it will save money, save pantry space and I think I will find many ways to use this mixture.  Here is the link to the recipe.  I am very excited to have this mix on my pantry shelf.  I have other homemade mixes, they are a staple in my pantry. I am going to make this soup and when I heat it I will add in some dried mushrooms which I will chop.  This worked very good, the green bean casserole was very tasty.  I enjoyed the flavor of the herbs in the soup mix as this bought a new level of flavor to the casserole.  I am very pleased to have made this soup mix.

ON THE FARM

We have woods behind our house, they are across a creek.  I have been wanting to go through these woods and collect all of the dead trees from the forest floor.  The first load of dead trees were bought in this week to be made in our own mulch.  There are some huge oaks trees on the floor which a storm laid down for us.  Lots of good firewood, this is our first step at making a road to get down to where these trees are located.

IN THE COOP

Sunday morning, when approaching the coop we heard a strange noise, we just went on our way as we were not sure what this was.  Monday morning, there was another noise and we could tell there was a welsummer rooster trying to find his voice.  As the week progressed I can now say it sounds kinda like a crow but there is plenty of practice needed.  With the welsummer starting to crow this answered the question of Heathcliff being a rooster because this bird has never tried to crow.  Mr. Bootsie found Heathcliff on the nest Monday, and I know I am collecting 2 pullet eggs.  There were 2 little peeps in the first hatching and both of them hens,  Our second hatch 5 little peeps with 4 hens and 1 rooster.  We had a good year hatching.  I have, once again, started the blending of the coop.  So far, so good.



IN THE GARDEN

The night time temperature has been quite moderate, so I am starting to play the I have a few more days game with Mother Nature.  We seem to have new pests in the garden.  I walked through and there a 4 traps set.  Snow peas have been nibbled off, the lettuce, kale and Holland greens have been eaten.  So far, they do not care for turnip greens.  Garlic, red, white and yellow onions are coming up.  I am going through the harvested onions looking for the multiplying sets, I know there were a few harvested and I tried to save all of them.  I planted rhubarb seeds, but I saved half of them just in case they do not come up, to replant in the spring.  I am going to do several things this way.  My momma would plant a number of things in the fall saying the plants would be much stronger if they overwintered.  So, I am going to give this a try.

IN CLOSING

I know the end is close for the summer garden.  There are a number of cucuzzi hanging in the tunnel but they are much to large to harvest for food.  I just let them go because the wee folk (grandchildren) enjoy seeing how big they get.  I have a large number of small ones and with promised rain on Monday and Tuesday I think I may be able to harvest a few more to make more cucuzzi bread.  I can store this bread in the fridge for 6 weeks,  this would give me fresh bread for Thanksgiving.  I know I can freeze it but I would rather not.

Thanks for all of you who visit our little farm, time for all of us to get the onions sliced and placed around the living areas in our homes.  They will collect all sorts of germs.  I have put a few in the keeping room, when I start hearing flu shoot time, I do the onions to help protect the house from germs. Have a wonderful week and stay safe.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Triple Creek Farm, September 28, 2013

Everything has been going good on the farm.  Then the apple cart gets turned over and they are running everywhere.  We do not have any apples except for the ones we purchase but this week we have had some interesting things happen.  I think I may have lost my position in the kitchen, we can not sex a chicken any better than a fish and my first mistake with kefir.

IN THE KITCHEN

Mr. Bootsie decided he wanted to make the cowboy candy which is made with jalapeno peppers.  I was impressed as he chopped all of the peppers and I did not have to get the gloves on to keep my hands from being on fire.  This turned out to be a wonderful project and there are 4 pints of candy on the shelf and a little extra syrup in the fridge.  I mixed some of the syrup with pickled peach syrup and glazed pork chops, they were very tasty, not hot just interesting. Yes, I will be doing this again.  He was so pleased with himself that he decided he would make the jalapeno jam.  Again, he chopped of all the hot peppers and I did the mild ones. When it came time to cook the jelly he manned the station in front of the pot, stirring and watching the pot boil.  He really has an interest in learning how to preserve food.



Kefir sour cream, this was a total mistake but so delicious!!!  Mr. Bootsie almost always puts the milk in the kefir jar for me.  He just wants to help as much as possible.  I had a really big grain, which I looked at thinking I should divide this but I will wait until the next batch.  When I went to check on the grain there was whey on the bottom of the jar, never have I had this happen.  I let the jar set another 24 hours and poured off the whey.  This left me with some delicious cream.  I have many directions I could go with this, but I decided to make a baked potato dressing.  I learned a bit more about working the kefir, I have always said I wanted to learn how to make other foods with the kefir milk and I think the kefir grains were tired of waiting for me to do something new.  I am excited and now I know I will be trying other cheeses and creams with the kefir milk.  I always have extra grains if any of you would like grains.

ON THE FARM

Every day there are projects to do, Guttering is finished on the pole barn, we were having so much water coming off the roof we needed to do something.  Now we are thinking about harvesting the rain water to use on the garden next year.  With thoughts of fall and winter coming the woods are being checked to try and remove trees which will be a problem with a snow load.  There are a number of tall, thin pines along the road, I hope we can remove more of these and not have to cut our way out if there is snow this winter.   

The goats are let out to munch leaves as we know the number of days there will be leaves on the trees is limited.  I am trying to save all of the holly and pine saplings for winter.  We are continuing to cut saplings for the ladies to have in their lot.  I removed some of the goat manure to add to the soil in the cold tunnel.  I hope to see good results using their droppings.

IN THE COOP

When the spring peeps starting coming into their own, one starting growing tail feathers, so with my little bit of knowledge about chickens I decided this one was going to be a rooster.  This week we had  pullet eggs in the coop.  There was a difference in the color of the eggs.  I now do not think I have a pair of chickens, I have not heard any trying to crow.  We still have tail feathers not a lot but some.  I totally have no idea as to what type of chickens we have but I know Heathcliff is going to be a difficult name for others to understand.   Rooster or hen I want the name to stay Heathcliff,  Mr. Bootsie on the other hand is starting to call this bird Henrietta.  I would appreciate any information you could give me about my chickens.  Is this a confused rooster or is it a hen with pretty tail feather?

IN THE GARDEN

Planted 3 pounds of onions this week.  A pound each of white, yellow and red.  The first row of garlic was planted.  I am having lots of trouble getting my seeds to come up.  But I will keep trying.  Bed is dug for the walking onions and they will be planted next week.  I need to add manure and ashes to the soil.  We have been picking a few cucumbers each day but the plants are winding down.  Nighttime temperatures are getting a little low for somethings.  Pole beans and butter beans are producing.  Picking the climbing spinach and freezing 10 ounce packages of it.  A few tomatoes are coming in,  I do not expect to have any green tomatoes to store this year.  The okra which was eaten by the raccoons is trying to bloom.  It would be so special have a few pods of okra after all we went through this year.  I am not counting on harvesting any okra but I would love to see the plants bloom.  The seedling peas are up in the tunnel and greenhouse.

IN CLOSING

I am starting to have a few minutes a day to spend in my flowers and herbs.  They have been so ignored after being moved here.  I spent all of my time working in the garden and learning how to preserve the rewards of the garden.  Then came the chickens and I never made it out to do any weeding or dividing of plants.  I just moved chives into the garden.  They were planted in the herb garden when I moved in the plants, I now have 2 types of chives in the garden.  There are some in the herb garden to be pretty but we use a lot of chives and I want to have enough for Mr. Bootsie to make chive blossom jelly.  I am pleased to finally have time to take care of some of the plants I enjoy.

We are preparing for winter, the tunnel cover will be going on after the cucuzzi squash are removed.  They have grown all over the tunnel and will be a project to remove.  I knew this when I let them go.  We have really enjoyed watching them grow and eating them.  As we think about the shortening of days I may have time to finish some of my inside projects or I may just find a soft pillow and rest until it is time to order my seeds.

Loving this weather, because I am able to spend a lot of time outside.  Thanks for stopping by!!!   

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Triple Creek Farm, September 21, 2013

Fall is in the air, there was one extremely chilly night this week.  Next week the night temperatures may be a little warmer.  Some of our friends have had frost in other parts of the country.  We shall welcome the fall on Sunday and I hope fall will last for a long time.

IN THE KITCHEN

Our soup of the week was a chili, I am trying to return to my schedule of a soup a week.  I miss having a quick and easy meal ready to serve in just a few minutes.  I decided it was time for me to learn how to fry grits.  I have fried them twice this week.  The second time was much better than the first.  Both batches of fried grits were enjoyed, they taste quite different to grits, I really want to keep at this one until I am able to fry perfect grits.  I made spinach pies and finally learned how to use the "as seen on TV dough press.  The pies were a nice size and the tomato jam, from the pantry, added a wonderful flavor to them.  

ON THE FARM

I have been working on cleaning a flower bed which was started on the drain field, 7 years ago, and has been forgotten for several years.  Wild blackberries decided the worked and moist soil was a wonderful place to grow.  They grew over 12 feet tall and poplar trees decided to come up and support the blackberry vines.  Well, the blackberry vines have all been cut down and the goats have been eating the leaves from the poplars as I cut them and take the trees to the goat lot.  I have some butterfly bushes I want to plant in this area.  It was a real surprise to find plants alive under all of the jungle and blooming.  I am hoping with Mr. Bootsie's help I can do better next year and have a flower bed once again.  We are still clearing out undergrowth and starting to see some progress.  

Monday we had a visitor to the farm, a neighbor's hog came over.  Later in the day the hog went home and had the fence to his lot repaired.  

IN THE COOP

Blanche has decided to start molting again.  This has been a real puzzle to me.  But I guess with some of the older girls, they are going to start laying when ever they feel like they want to lay.  All of the momma hens are laying again and egg production is up a little.  Saturday afternoon, Mr. Bootsie came in and asked me if the spring peep we named Heathcliff could be a hen because he saw that one in the nesting boxes.  Tonight when I put the girls down to sleep there was a pullet egg in one of the nesting boxes.  Now we have to be sure which one of the spring peeps is laying. It may be time for a name change in the coop.   The girls are busy working compost and I am going to be scooping this from their run.  

IN THE GARDEN

Mr. Bootsie has been hauling sand from the creek to add to the soil in the garden.  The compost we are making needs more sand to help hold the moisture.   I found onion sets at the feed store this week.  I wanted to add the sand to the soil where the onions and garlic are to be planted.  Mr. Bootsie located another sand trap in the creek, which is easier to get to and will be much easier for removing sand.  Turnip greens are growing and I think I shall be picking some in a few days.  Inside garden is started.  I potted one spinach plant and brought it into the greenhouse, the seedling pea has been planted.  I plan on heating the greenhouse a little more this year.  I have pondered if it was time to cut one of the tromboncino squash, it is over 5 feet long and I am afraid if I do not remove the the squash it may fall and break.  We did cut this one and it is now inside.  I will be doing more research and I believe I can now treat this as a pumpkin.  I must take the time to learn.  We have been using these squash, much smaller, as summer squash.

IN CLOSING

Life is never boring here on the farm.   I could see an endless supply of sausage and bacon one morning this week, but of course the hog went back to his home, as it should be.  I was thankful we could locate the owner as quickly as we did.  Many Thanks to our local animal control officers who helped with locating the owner.  The garden of summer is ending,  the fall and tunnel garden is growing.  I will miss the summer vegetables but look forward to using the preserved veggies in the pantry.  Comfort food made with our vegetables, this is going to be so rewarding.

Many thanks to all of you who stop by and visit, I enjoy your comments you leave here and on FaceBook.  Have a wonderful week!!!  

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Triple Creek Farm, September 14, 2013

I have been shelling butter beans since, well, forever, and I have seen many a bean with 4 but this one just blew my mind, for the first time in my life, here is a Fiver, grown in my garden!!!  Maybe I am doing something right and never realized I would be rewarded with a gift like this!!!  This is as exciting as a triple yolk egg, my chance of seeing another 5 bean butter bean may never happen again.  As I sit in my rocking chair shelling my beans I really need to wipe the grin from my face, but this is my accomplishment and to my knowledge my gardening hero's Momma and Daddy never has a Fiver!!!

IN THE KITCHEN

I spent a few hours visiting some old cookbooks and found some interesting recipes for sourdough.  Of course, I found one I just had to try.  Sourdough french bread, the recipe is for 2 loaves and is not difficult and the results according to the recipe is a crusty bread.  This bread turned out very crusty and was delicious when rubbed with a fresh garlic clove and heated.   I saw a  recipe for garlic and red pepper jelly,  this jelly was worth making.  I like the garlic and sweet pepper combination, this is not a hot jelly only a sweet one.




ON THE FARM

Mr. Bootsie and I took a few hours this week and visited a farm just a few miles away.  The purpose of visiting was to learn how they are handling their goats,  They have a beautiful ram and so gentle.  Arrangements are being made for our ladies to visit this farm in a few weeks.  I am so pleased to think I may have little ones in the spring and maybe we can start milking.

IN THE COOP

There is peace in the coop, finally.  The only challenge remaining is bringing in the little peeps and that will be a few weeks away.  The little peeps were hatched from welsummer eggs, this is a new breed of chickens for us.  We know there is 1 rooster and 4 hens.  This breed is very easy to identify the sex of the bird at a very young age.  I have been very pleased with their development.  Saturday, was the day to do the fall cleaning of the coop.  New curtains were put over the nesting boxes, coop was scraped, sprayed with vinegar and new straw was put in.  When the girls came in to go to bed they seemed so pleased to have a clean coop which was smelling fresh and they were wondering who picked out the fabric for the new curtain.

IN THE GARDEN

The butter bean vines are hanging with pods, if the cold weather holds off, the harvest is going to be wonderful.  Several pole beans volunteered and I have learned a good lesson from these plants.  I have been planting my pole beans wrong.  Next year, I will be planting them differently.  There has been 1 bean plant on some of the teepees and we have harvested a large number of beans.  Some of fall and winter crops are starting to come up, the bugs have found the turnip greens and Holland greens. I am not happy sharing, so I will nurse these plants along until there is a frost.

IN CLOSING

Plumbing problems in the house has taken sometime away from doing chores.  Problem has been found as this new construction is not built with access doors to the plumbing, there was dry wall to be removed.  Now we are waiting for our plumber to come and fix the leak.  Mr. Bootsie told the plumber he had things under control and next week would be fine.  As I walk around our house and look at where the plumbing is located, I can already tell you, we shall be putting in more access doors as needed.

Leaves are falling, there is a crispness in the air, hickory nuts are everywhere. The squirrels are busy making their winter stash; however, the garden is a no-no.  Every time I find a hole dug in the garden I look for the nut and toss it away.  I learned a few years ago if the winter is not harsh, I will have a garden full of hickory trees, it is much easier to remove the nuts than the small trees.

We have had another good week here on farm and life is good.  I am thinking about making French toast with the bread I made as a wonderful way to start the week.  I hope for all of a week of happiness!!!   Until we meet again!!!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Triple Creek Farm, September 7, 2013

It has been 8 months,  since Mr. Bootsie retired.  He received the telephone call a few weeks past I had dreaded.  I was not sure if he was called and asked to return to his old profession what his answer would be.  Much to my surprise he said,  no, when asked to return for a while.  I had been very concerned, if the opportunity was offered, what he would do.  I had often thought about how this could affect my feelings about being on the farm if he left me to handle it all again.  It seems now I can left any of those thoughts leave my mind.  I know he really enjoyed his job and was proud of what he did.  I was not sure doing the routine of running our little farm would be the challenge he had experienced during his professional days and may not reward him like it does me.  Maybe my city boy is becoming a country box at heart.

IN THE KITCHEN

I am trying to correct the bread shortage.  I have baked garlic cottage bread, sourdough sub rolls and made sourdough English muffins.  Of course, some have been eaten but a few have been put in the freezer.  Pizza crust is starting to become a staple, with the fresh veggies from the garden add some different types of cheese and you have a quick meal.  Dehydrator is going this week drying green onions.

ON THR FARM

It amazes me how different everything is starting to look, the clean up Mr. Bootsie is doing is really making a difference.  We feel this needs to be done because of the number of critters we have around here.  There is now an 8 to 12 foot border around the garden on the outside.  I was working the in garden and looked up to see two poplar trees which are dying.  More wood for the wood pile.

IN THE COOP

Tuesday, Mr. Bootsie found an egg in the brooder side of the coop.  Aurora, one of the mother hens has laid an egg.  Time to move her back to the big girl side of the coop.  I found both of the mother hens setting together, side by side as if they were the best of friends.  Only yesterday, grabbing their little ones and going in different directions as if they did not want the other momma chick near their babies..  It is so interesting to watch Mother Nature doing her job.  We have put the two hatching together as there was only 1 day difference in their being hatched.  The little ones are getting along, with no problems.  I was very concerned about this as I have never put hatching together before.

IN THE GARDEN

I am having to remove a number of walking onions because they will be in the potato bed next spring.  These will be put to good use in the kitchen.  I am moving things around in the garden and making a few permanent beds.  If I can establish some of the garden with permanent beds it will reduce the amount of work I have to do each season.  It always looks good when I draw it out but often when going into the garden I see the sun is not going to cooperate the way I thought it would.  The beds I am working on  need some shade during the heat of the day.  When clearing for the garden the old farmer who was bringing down trees had no idea what I was trying to do and all he wanted to was open up everything like a 40 acre field with sun coming in all day.  I kept saying I need afternoon shade and he kept telling me I did not what I was talking about.  Because he had the chain saw and big equipment he won that round and I am trying to correct the problem.

IN CLOSING

As I have been posting the corn crop was ruined by raccoons, we have caught more than our share in traps.  I decided to clean the corn beds this week, I was cutting the corn stalks into manageable sizes as everyone was broken.  Moving down the row, much to my surprise, I found one ear of dried corn.  This amazed me.  I do have an ear of corn for seeds for next years crop.  I had to stop in the garden, and be very thankful that I have seeds from my crop and I know these seeds are good.  Once again my greatest desire was taken care of.  Do I thank the raccoons for leaving one?  I really do not think they would have left one.  No, there is always someone looking out for you and once again it is shown to me in a very simple way.

Another week is put to bed, we will be moving forward with other tasks.  My friends, I enjoy sharing with you what has happened on the little farm.  I hope many of you understand this is my record of activities where I look back to see how to improve on what we are doing.  May this week be wonderful for all of you, and I look forward to seeing you again real soon.




Sunday, September 1, 2013

Triple Creek Farm, August 31, 2013

The garden is starting to look tired, the season has been very wet.  I saw this week our area has had 8.3 inches over the average rainfall.   We had rain 3 more days after this report.  Because of our raised beds the moisture has not been a problem.   I  have not watered as I have in the past years.  The critters have helped making the garden look sad.  I lost most of the blackberries with the vines being torn down.  All I can think about is next year, maybe things will be better.  The traps are staying set and we do see action around them.

IN THE KITCHEN

I have heard about tomato jam for many years, I remember some of the old-timers eating tomato jam.  I never had any desire to store this away until we starting making some interesting jellies a few years ago.  I have made basil jelly which is wonderful, this year we have made some unusual jellies,  I will try tomato. (Recipe Link)  As soon as the first batch came off the stove the decision was made to do another.  There are 12 one half pint jars in the pantry.  I did have a little bit I put in another jar for us to sample, I know a jar will be opened real soon.  I have been making a lot of bread.  I guess when I made the decision to start baking all of our bread I had no idea how much bread we would be eating.

ON THE FARM

Mr. Bootsie has been busy working our wood yard.  He has been having more help than he wants when the goats are out helping him.  You can now hear their cry when they hear the tractor and wagon start to move.  Some of the trees he has felled are being used in the garden making new and repairing raised beds.  There are some trees we will not burn so this is an excellent use for them.  The goats clean up the tops eating all of the leaves so this another win, win project.  He brings in a wagon load of wood which needs to be split and racked every few days.  The chimney sweep came and our chimney is clean and ready for this season.  The stove has been cleaned and the hearths scrubbed.  With all of this complete I think fall cleaning is going to be on the to do list.

IN THE COOP

I am finding myself setting outside of the coop several afternoons watching the 5 week old peeps play.  They are really growing.  The war of the coop has just settled from bringing in the spring peeps.  They are holding their own most of the time.  If they could just learn to go up on the roosting poles.  Help has been needed every night this week.  Patience is starting to wear thin, but they must be up at night time.  Some nights we play with them and those tired nights they are picked up and placed on the poles.  When the storm came in Saturday, the girls put themselves to bed, all of the girls put themselves to bed, even the spring peeps for the first time.

IN THE GARDEN

We are still picking enough vegetables for our table and put a few away for the winter.  I have started to harden off some of the winter squash, I plant a variety you can use as a summer veggie or storage squash.  The dehydrator has been drying squash and I think I may have enough.  The varieties I am drying I use for pies and breads.  Some of our beds are being pulled out and being prepared for onions and garlic.  Fall planting time is almost upon us.  Turnips are up and some of the other greens.  We are 6 weeks from the first possible frost date.

IN CLOSING

Saturday evening before putting everyone up for the night.  A storm rolled through.  After all the work of cleaning and clearing, a tree came down by the garden.  It all starts over again, this tree is close to the wood piles so it will lessen then task.  There will be more firewood because this one is a hickory.  This is the one thing about life on the farm, there is always something to do.  One nice thing we mange to do almost everyday is stop for a few minutes and plan our upcoming projects.  Of course, any plan can and will be changed in a moment's notice because we have learned to roll with whatever comes our way.
Here's wishing you a wonderful week, Until next time.