Sunday, January 27, 2013

Triple Creek Farm, January 27, 2013

Arctic blast is heading our way this week and by the time you are reading this, it will be over.  We will be bringing in extra wood and reducing the temperature inside the house.  We set the thermostat  on 67 but when the chills come in we reduce to 65.  When the fire in the wood stove is worked and maintained I can bring the inside temperature up to 68 degrees.  I like to sleep in a cool bedroom so this works well for me.


Soup of the week, sausage and great northern bean with dried tomatoes and spinach.  This was a very filling and tasty pot of soup.  I made a sausage pot pie, which is one of Momma's dishes everyone came home to enjoy whenever she cooked this pie.  I am working on the recipe so I can post it for all of you. Tried a new muffin, broccoli and cheese, I did not have a good opinion of this warm but after it cooled and the next day they were delicious.  I will make more of these but they will wait for us to eat them.


Biggest job on the farm most of this week has been keeping the wood stove on the floor.  Yes, Mr. Bootsie has been sitting in front of the wood stove resting his feet on the base and let me tell you that stove is in the same place it was last week.  Good JOB...

The goats were given warm water 3 times a day and, also, raspberry tea.  Everyone had more straw put in their barns and coops as needed.  Mr. Bootsie did come out and help with all of the feedings and watering,


The girls have been in the coop most of this week.  It is cute to walk in and see them with their nest made in the straw we have in the bottom of the coop.  We have been bringing them warm water 3 times a day as some days we have not been above freezing.  The girls seem to be understanding we are doing this to try and keep them safe.  I have not had one of them try to get past me and have to chase it down. They are getting a few special treats and they are delivering the goods.  We collected 29 eggs again this week.

Collected these eggs on Friday
The ducks have stayed outside during the day.  They are not happy their ponds are frozen.  We have learned this week when they get cold they sit on the ground.  The cold doesn't seem to affect them and the eggs keep coming, 7 more this week.


Finished the raspberries,  all have been thinned down to 2 or 3 strong shoots, tied and pruned to the top wire.  They do not look real pretty at this time but when the growing season starts, I am going to be so glad this was completed.  Last year something happened and I ran out of time, I paid for that during the season because there were vines everywhere.  Part of the garden was a raspberry jungle.  I think we should have good crop of berries this year.  Mr. Bootsie is in favor of adding in a few more vines.  I have a yellow raspberry plant which was given to me.  I will be adding this with my red.  We will be able to double the number of plants we have.

Blackberries have all been pruned and tied for this summer, there are a few new plants I put in last summer.  We do have the thornless blackberries and I am so thankful after 2 days in the vines.  We would have been torn to pieces had they not been thornless.  I will be putting in a few more blackberry plants.

The day of the lowest morning temperature, the cold tunnel was holding, I covered with sheets and floating row covers and was surprised to see everything was doing good.  I checked the cold tunnel Saturday afternoon and everything seems to be in good condition.


Saturday afternoon the temperature came above the freezing mark.  By the middle of next week we will have warm temperatures again.  The arctic blasts do make us appreciate the good weather we have most of the winter.  I learn a little about how others have to do so much preparing for the winter after a little wake up call like this.  I am thinking seeds, bedding plants and getting more things growing in the cold tunnel.  We could have another blast around Valentine's day but shortly after that late winter begins.  February is the time to get the bedding plants started if you are going to be planting them in April.

I have been sharing with you for a year now.  The first post of this blog was January 23, 2012, I have enjoyed learning how to do this and I have encouraged others to start their blogs.  Many thanks for all of you who have shared some of my memories this year.  I do hope as we continue here, on the farm,  I will be able to share more of our accomplishments and struggles.  Have a wonderful week!!!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Triple Creek Farm, January 17, 2013

Often when the city folks are coming for a visit, I suggest if they are going to visit the farm they need to bring some good boots.  Not those prissy boots they wear to the office but wet weather boots.  When they show up you would not believe the boots I see.  This week we have been blessed with rain, something I had almost forgotten about.  Four days of rain which was frosted with snow!!!  The runs have been a mess.  We have added straw to the runs to cut down on the mud.  The duck run was slick, one could easily fall if not careful, you need good boots. By Saturday afternoon, we were starting to dry out.


Our soup of the week is a large pot of vegetable soup, of course, there is beef in it but Momma always called her soup vegetable soup and so do I.  Carrots, celery, onion, potato, green beans, lima beans, corn, peas and cabbage filled up my kettle I added tomato juice combined with beef broth for the needed liquid.  I have been looking at a recipe for egg white meringue made with a thicker of cornstarch, water and sugar, we tried this on a chocolate meringue pie.  The pie was made on Monday with the final slice eaten on Saturday evening, there was no weeping of the meringue and the taste was as fresh as if it had just been made.


This activity has moved inside our house.  Our basement has not been finished, the construction was completed several years ago and we moved in.  All of the little holes in the trim have not been filled. the wall board in the bathroom needed one more coat of joint compound.  Well, this week has been working out well, The bathroom has the ceiling and 1 wall finished.  Joint compound completed, little holes filled in the trim, it is so nice to see white walls rather than wall board grey with white splashes on it.


With the rain and snow this week the girls have been coming in early as I give them the scratch inside.  I have noticed a change in the pecking order, Smiley, one of the two girls that Aurora hatched this spring, has become the head girl.  Feather seemed pleased to hand over the job to her.  Friday morning, snow on the ramp when the door was opened.  Smiley came out and jumped on the ground, which was white and wet as it was not freezing here, turned around and jumped on the ramp and returned to the coop.  Made an announcement and that was it, the girls all started settling in the coop and remained there all day.

The ducks have been having a wonderful time, 7 more duck eggs were collected and 29 hen eggs.


I planted Chinese cabbage seeds in the cold tunnel a few weeks back and this week I have 5 plants up.  This has put a smile on my face.

I have started seedlings and am so pleased to have some plants on their way.  I will be adding more as time goes on.  I will be putting some of the early plants in the cold tunnel  and I shall try some direct seeding in the tunnel, also.  This is truly a learn by doing project.  For the small amount of work I am doing in the tunnel I see good results.  I do not know if I am just too easy to please or if things are going as well as I think.

Mr. Bootsie added supports into the cold tunnel so it would have some extra strength, the snow load is going to be heavy because the snow is so wet.  He went out after the snow stopped and cleaned the tunnel, we were concerned as to how much of a load it could handle.  I went inside Friday afternoon and everything was normal.


I struggle with many things, and the computer is a challenge for me.  Sometimes I have lots of errors show up on blogger.  We are located out in the country and I run on an air card.  So, I am not sure if my problems are not really my problems because others are experiencing them, also.  But one night, this week, when I was updating my weekly blog I made a mistake and clicked on publish when I was trying to save my update.  Needless to say I spent sometime correcting this mistake, and I am not sure I corrected everything.  For any of you who saw parts of this earlier in the week I am sorry.  I hope there were not a lot of misspelled words and I know I have made some changes because things change as the week progresses.

I am so pleased to see there are new followers, some of you have been around for a while, please know that I appreciate your taking the time to read my blog.  I would enjoy hearing from you about what you like and things which bore you.  Most of all I want to say, " THANK YOU".

                                                Until the next time,  Bootsie

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Triple Creek Farm, January 12, 2013

What a wonderful week!!!  Springlike temperatures, working out side without a heavy jacket, soil is not frozen and I am one happy girl.  There is nothing like a false spring.  Because of false spring, I will be able to make it through the winter if or when it returns.


A longtime favorite in the house is a breakfast casserole, I made homemade sausage, added a couple of duck eggs, grits and cheese and this was a great meal.  It is wonderful using the bounty of our little farm.

Soup this week is broccoli and cauliflower cheese soup, if you check the recipe you will see I made a few changes.  I did a mix of broccoli and cauliflower and cleaned out the cheese drawer in the fridge.  I like a soup which allows me to make changes and use a pinch of this and a dash of that.  This is a wonderful chowder type soup and I use the method to make lots of other soups.  I now make my potato soup by this method.  If you would like to make this soup, milk can be used in place of the kefir milk.


Mr. Bootsie built a goat walk for the girls, they are very pleased with something being added to the pasture for them to play on.

The work on our goat barn is being talked about and Saturday some lumber was obtained to really get the job going.  A small amount of work was done this week,  a lot of ideas were being bounced around as this is the first out building for us.  (Our coop and pole barn were built by local carpenters.)


Girls have been loving this warm weather and the ducks are enjoying some pond time without ice.

I have been bringing in plenty of chickweed for the girls and the ducks to eat.  I hope I will be reducing the crop of chickweed in the garden if I keep pulling it out for them.  This is one invasive plant. 

Deedle is not letting us down,  there were 7 more ducks eggs this week.  The girls are slowly returning to laying, they are not regular but we are collecting eggs.  There were 31 hen eggs this week.


The cold tunnel is starting to work, not because I know what I am doing.  Mother Nature seems to be taking care of the crop in the tunnel.  We did harvest enough lettuce this week for a salad.  

The garlic and onions are growing, January is the month to feed your garlic and onions if you fall planted.  

Seed orders are beginning to arrive.  Planting of the cole crops has begun inside.  Sometime was spent this week reworking the raised beds.  Turning soil and removing rocks from the bed potatoes will be planted in.  I am digging out a 5 gallon bucket of rocks each day.  More rocks will work up by next year but they will be easier to dig up.  

I have been thinning and retying the raspberries.  There is new growth showing on the shoots I am taking out.  Raspberries need the yearly thinning if you want to harvest a good crop.  We will be mulching the berries.  


The wonderful break in the weather this week has me thinking of harvesting our crops and eating from our garden again.  We are using the food we canned, froze and dried last year.  I realize I need to get to the bottom of the freezer and use all of the veggies I froze.  A second set of hands has taken some of the load off of me.  Mr. Bootsie has jumped in and is really helping with the daily activities on our little farm.    

Friday, January 11, 2013


When saplings were being cleared to run the pasture fence everything came to a stop for a few days turned into weeks because of a large hickory tree which needed to be felled and cleaned up.  Mr. Bootsie found a need for the stump in the pasture.  He has built the girls a goat walk.  They are now playing Queen on the Mountain and enjoying him taking the time to make something for them.

This tree had to be taken out for fear of it falling on the fence.  It was discovered when cutting that it was hallow.  Mr. Bootsie cut steps on the tree,  it gave him a place to connect the boards for the goat walk.

A board was put over the hole in the stump to protect little feet.

Pieces of lumber were connected to the tree from two directions.

Cross pieces were attached to the board to prevent sliding.  These may not be needed but we felt it may prevent a fall.  If the chickens come into the pasture I know they will appreciated the cross pieces.

The girls playing Queen on the Mountain.  The brown one is Hershey.  She is the daughter of Gracie, who is black and almost 2 years old.  I think the girls are enjoying their goat walk. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Making Sandbags

Each fall when we start covering the garden with row covers and plastic, I realize I need sandbags.  This year I took action and started making some. They are quite easy and, of course, I used something I was going to dispose of.

Blue jeans around here seem to get torn or worn out in the knees.  I cut off a pair of blue jeans below the damage.

I made 2 seams on the end of the leg which was hemmed.  I put a tie about 4 inches from the top and attached it to the seam.

The bags were filled with sand and tied shut.  We have creeks with sand bottoms running through out the property.  I just collect a bucket of sand and let it dry before filling the bags.  

Here is the finished sand bag holding down the plastic on the cold tunnel.

Another project completed which will be very helpful on our little farm.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Triple Creek Farm, January 5, 2013

New Year's Day is over and  this farmer can only think of garden.  Seed guides piled on the counter with page corners turned just like Momma and Daddy would do and selections being thought about.  Spring must be just around the corner, a few seeds came up and have been up potted.  More seeds are in the soil and being checked daily.  Shelled all of the black-eyed peas for seed and they have been stored for planting in the spring.


Made a pot of potato soup, Mr. Bootsie says it is in the top 10 change that to 3 soups I have made.  I placed 2 slices of cheese in the bottom of the bowl before pouring in the soup and dropped a circle of kefir milk drops on top.  He made himself a second bowl and was quietly saying something like, "I keep telling her I am not doing kefir not cooked."  Oh, yes, he is, I use kefir in salad dressings and he loves them.  I made a batch of sweet roll dough, I will be baking a pan of rolls for Saturday night's supper.


The goats stay out of the barn all day, there are run-ins but they do not seem to really care for the run-ins.  We had fenced one part of the pole barn for them and enclosed the fenced in area with a tarp on the north side.  It has really made a difference in the temperature under the pole barn for them.

The wire ties work real well for holding the tarp in place, Gracie decided she did not like the tags hanging on them and started trimming them before we could get there with the wire cutters to trim the ends off.  Can't have my girl eating plastic so I cut the ends off.  

Saturday, Mr. Bootsie went to see a local who has a sawmill.  He came home with lumber to start putting the framing on the pole barn,  Soon he will be working on enclosing the pole barn.  It will be good to get something started, as I look forward to having the barn enclosed.   The lumber was off loaded by the goat pasture and when I let them out for the afternoon walk they went right to the lumber and started playing on it.  They saw me coming from the pasture with their food bowl, came to the gate and waited for me.  One on each side of me we walked to the pile of lumber and they showed me how they were playing on it.  They were running, jumping, going around in circles and I was pleased to see my girls so happy.  


Frozen water in the ponds, I place the heel of my boot on the ice and push.  All my girl needs to see is moving water and she is in.  She will do a good job of breaking the remaining ice.  There were 7 duck eggs again this week.

Goats spend time visiting everyone in the afternoons during our afternoon walk.  They have learned about the ramp into the coop and now I am chasing goats out of the coop.  They have learned how to steal the pellets in the chicken feeders.  Egg count is improving each week.  I collected 30 eggs from the girls this week.

Month of December 93 hen eggs were collected and 31 duck eggs.


March seems like a longtime away right now. How quickly it will come.  I work my garden with the shovel and a push plow,  I have started turning the earth with the shovel, adding in the manure and compost,  as every day will not be a good day to work outside I have to grab the ones when the ground is not frozen.  I am pulling out a number of rocks, I know this may never stop but it is getting easier each year.


Food from the pantry and freezer is being prepared and eaten.  I am finding new ways to make good meals.  I will be making a pot of soup each and every week for a while.  I do enjoy a good pot of soup and soup is an easy meal when we are busy outside doing work.

We did set down and have a talk about how to move forward because this is a big change for Mr. Bootsie to be home on the farm daily.  He made it from New Year's Day until Saturday morning without leaving.  That was real good from someone who has never been here except for weekends.  I am happy to have a little quiet time so I stayed behind on our little farm.