Saturday, March 30, 2013

Triple Creek Farm, March 30, 2013

I can already tell, I am going to be much busier this spring and summer than I have been in the past.  I have started a page on this blog about letting nature telling you when to plant.  I am trying this procedure this year as our spring in not coming and I need to get my garden planted.  In the pantry, a lot of my jars are empty which means I will be doing more canning.  I plan on adding a page in April about how many eggs are collected.  If you follow the production department of the coop this will interest you.  I am doing this for my own record and being able to keep this information on one page.  My week in review post is my record of what happened on the farm.  I can refer to this to see how things are going this year comparing to last year.  I will do my best to keep this interesting.


Wednesday was a windy, chilly day.  I hid out in the house and tried something I had been gathering the ingredients for.  I made ricotta cheese.  This was my first time making cheese.  I was so excited doing this.  You will find the recipe here.  I used this cheese to make a ricotta spinach filling for ravioli's.  This was my first time making pasta.  I was most excited about cooking the raviolis and not a one of them broke.  This was an afternoon of my learning a new skill and making a check on my bucket list.  Would I do this again?  Yes, I was very pleased with the dish I made, we had a very nice dinner and I froze some raviolis for another time.


We are still working with the goats, as with other animals when a new one comes there is an adjustment time.  Gracie is so jealous of me, I really have to try and balance things with her as she will go for the new girls when I am around.  I have not been pleased with her attitude.  I do understand because when we bring in new chickens it takes a while for everything to settle down.  A lot longer than you would think.  My ladies are doing good, I had hoped things would settle down a little quicker.  Friday, I spent time in the lot with them and had everyone playing together for quite a while.  Then all at once, Gracie remembered she is my momma and she should not be playing with anyone but me.  


Life in the coop is quiet and everyone appears to be very happy.  We clean houses, change bedding in the duck house, gather eggs and keep everyone fed.  Until I make the decision to bring in new faces,  things will continue to be very peaceful, I think.  Deedle aka Momma Duck (who has never had any babies) laid another 7 eggs this week.  We have a drake but I think he is worthless.  The girls knew it was Easter week and started hiding their eggs in the bedding.  I managed to find 44 eggs this week.  Saturday evening we were not able to collect the eggs because there was a broody on the nest, I decided to leave the eggs and see if she is still there in the morning.  I may be thinking baby chicks if she if still on the nest.  I will need to locate fertile eggs as we have no roosters.


Gathered lettuce from the cold tunnel, planted Chinese cabbage and arugula in the tunnel.  I set two tomato plants which should have tomatoes in less then 2 months, these are in the tunnel, I am learning what to do with these plants.  I am working seedlings and they are everywhere.  The squash I planted in the seed trays came up in 3 days.  I have more lettuce ready to transplant to the tunnel.  

Look what I found in the tunnel on Saturday while I was watering.  Broccoli starting to make crowns.  


The temperatures are starting to come up a little.  We are still experiencing below freezing morning temperatures.  The soil is cold.  Water on the ponds is frozen in the mornings.  The hoses were reconnected so we would have running water but we have been watching the temperature and turning the water off and draining the hoses.  This spring is below normal and I am waiting to bring in baby chicks. 

This is Easter weekend and may your holiday be wonderful.  If you have celebrated Passover or enjoying this Easter Sunday I hope all is good in your world.  May each of you be blessed in your own special way.

Monday, March 25, 2013

A Snow Covered Morning on the Farm

  I know there are those of you who have a snow cover most of the winter.  We do not have a lot of snow but this morning it was such a pretty snow I wanted to share with you.

This is the view from our front porch looking down one of the roads we use to access areas of the farm.

                      The trees are covered with the wet snow and are heavy with the weight.

The clothes line was covered with snow but it fell off quickly, I could hang laundry today if the weather folks were not promising us a mix of rain and snow later.

Another view through our woods, even the land we are clearing looks pretty covered with snow.

The ladies were fed and watered, their barn is dry, why do they prefer to be outside eating pines branches?

              The Redbud tree is covered with snow and in just a few days it will be in bloom.

Mr. Bootsie was outside at midnight cleaning the snow from the cold tunnel, what is on top fell between midnight and morning.  

A country lane, this is our driveway this morning, if you follow this you can find your way to the highway.  Thank you for sharing my snowy morning walk.  I must tell you before I had the pictures posted, the trees were losing the snow.  This was such a pretty picture to wake up to, Mother Nature never lets us down!!!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Triple Creek Farm, March 23, 2013

Winter, Spring, we have a little bit of weather representing each season.  This time of year the weather seems to have a difficult time making decisions about each day.  I am so ready to get things going in the garden.  The land is very wet.  I was checking onions and found a number of them rotten, the land is like a sponge.  If we do not get them planted we will not have a harvest.  So, I am taking chances and planting them, I do hope we have an onion crop.  The ones planted last fall are doing good.  March is time to feed the onions plants, the final feeding, but I am not sure what I am going to do, I use a dry root vegetable food I will be watching the weather.


Baked potato soup filled my pot, I was so pleased to see we have leftovers for a second meal.  Worked on the oatmeal bread recipe,  I make a loaf using all purpose flour and we decided we did not care for it.  We much prefer the bread made with unbleached bread flour.  I, also, made burger buns I cut the dough into 12 pieces, let rise and baked for about 40 minutes, they are quite tasty.  Cleaning the freezer, we enjoyed spinach pizza.  There was one salad made with lettuce and onions from the garden with a soft fried egg on top, this is so tasty you do not need to add dressing as the egg yolk makes the dressing.


Mr. Bootsie worked the roads this week.  This winter has been hard on the roads and gravel is needed.  He hauled in a load and worked the low spots.  It is much to wet to try and bring in a large dump truck at this time.

Friday morning was the first time all of the goats have eaten together,  they had breakfast in the new goat barn.  First meal for Hershey and Gracie in the barn as well as first time eating with new ladies.  All went well, no one walked away from their bowl until it was empty and they ate at the same speed so this was a non-event.  They ate, drank water and went outside to eat more of the pine.  We are bringing them limbs from the pine trees we loss during the storm.  This puts another step in our cleanup but the ladies are enjoying the pine needles and eating the bark from the limbs, good food for them and I am pleased to make my day a little longer because they are enjoying our rubbish.  Tonight, Saturday, we have all 4 of the ladies in the goat barn together.  I checked on the about 8:30 p.m., they were all laying down, this is such a big adjustment for all of the ladies, including me.

We purchased a wagon a few years back knowing the bed was not in good condition.  I could see this wagon would make a wonderful logging wagon for us.  We have woods which need to be thinned, the dead trees taken down and making a place we can enjoy by cleaning the forest floor.  One project off the Honey Do List.  Logging Wagon is ready to roll, waiting for the ground to dry, pack a lunch and have fun in our woods gathering wood for next winter.   I am sure we shall find many other uses for the wagon,  I must confess, I feel like it is Christmas morning and the long await present I wanted is under the tree.  A logging wagon in our pole barn!!!


The coop is the most content place on the farm.  Oatmeal for breakfast for the girls and Tweedle.  In the afternoons they receive a large bucket of chickweed.  Hawks are flying over during the day so the girls are staying in the runs most of the time.  We feed them and they give us eggs.  Deedle laid her 7 duck eggs again this week.  Production is picking in the chicken coop, 46 eggs were collected this week.


 Spinach in the tunnel
Maybe it is better that I have no idea about what I am doing in the cold tunnel.  The plants are looking delicious.  I picked all of several lettuce plants.  There is lettuce coming up and I will be transplanting this to the tunnel.  We can have frost here until around Mother's day.  I will plant somethings in the tunnel to ensure being able to harvest.  The peas I planted in the tunnel are starting to take off on their own.  I planted kale plants in the garden, covered with floating row cover and plastic.  The row covers are being pulled back to water as this land is quite dry.  I was pleased with how good the kale was looking after two days.  Bedding plants are coming up and I am, also, up potting to have a lager root system and the plants be stronger when they are installed in the garden.  The garlic and onions are looking wonderful.  Blue podded and dwarf gray sugar peas were planted on Friday, these are not in the tunnel.  Peas should be planted when the daffodils are blooming.  I have never started squash plants inside but this year I am going to do this, I am trying to beat the stink bugs.  I would like to harvest some squash this year.


We have now been living on our little farm for 7 years.  Mr. Bootsie hung a cabinet this week which moved here with us and has been sitting in a corner for 7 years.  I have hopes of lots of projects being completed   Both of us were very involved away from the farm the first years, I settled in about 2 years ago and Mr. Bootsie this January.  I would like to think we are going to work together and accomplish much.  This has been my dream and he is now starting to see why farming is so rewarding. The man who never cared for a salad with lettuce said to me this past week,  "I have eaten lettuce before, there is no flavor, but the lettuce from the cold tunnel you can taste, it is loaded with flavors."  For me, this is what makes me enjoy all of the work, time and effort I put into the garden.

If you do not follow us on Facebook there is a link at the top of the page.  I try to post something there on a daily basis about the activities on our little farm.  Come visit, share your thoughts and suggestions with me and lots of others who follow our page.  This week, because of Facebook, we are sharing seeds for a crop we grow with another farm.  I know many of you have opinions about the social network, here on our little farm we use it as another tool in our box to help us learn from others.

Please note when you see words a different color, you can click on it and it will connect you to a reference,  such as oatmeal bread recipe, the recipe appears.    

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Triple Creek Farm, March 16, 2013

When the first flower blooms you know Spring cannot be far behind.  After the snow of last week and the spring days of this week, I am so ready.  I was out in the cold tunnel working on my plants and inside working with the seedlings, my garden cannot come quick enough for me.  I did get excited Monday afternoon when I found these crocus blooming.  I have been watching birds come into the flower beds, bluebirds, cardinals, bluejays and some I am not sure who they are, collecting the overwintered grasses to work their nest with.  I must start cleaning the beds but maybe I will wait for a few days and let birds harvest more of the plants.


This week I have not done a lot of cooking,  baked a loaf of oatmeal, whole wheat bread and it was delicious.  In my effort to empty the pantry I made a pesto, Dried Tomato Pesto which Mr. Bootsie said was a very good dish, loaded with flavors.  He does not eat much pasta but he had 2 helpings of this pasta and was putting the pesto on a pepperoni pizza.  I was told do not loose this recipe.


The goat barn is coming along.  The pasture door is finished, a window had been put in up high to let some light in and a little drop door has been installed to the outside so we can look in without bothering the girls.  The outside door has been in place and the girls are using it daily, I hope this will make the change easy for them.  Roof has been finished, we have started using the barn but not for the girls you know about.  We have been blessed with two wonderful new girls.  They are mini mixed Nubian and Alpine.  Belle and Lacie came to live here on Tuesday.  Things have been interesting.  There is a pecking order in the goat pasture this week.  At nighttime, they are bedded down in different barns.  During the day they are
in the same pasture.  They are doing better everyday.  The barn is being changed a little each day to make it a more usable.  A roof vent has been installed, protected with rat wire and a trap door on pulleys to have air movement in the barn and I know the girls are safe at night.  We found out we need to be able enter the barn through all of the doors and latches are being put on them.  We will in time get this working for us.  The girls have been helping with clean up from the storm, they await another load of pine limbs to nibble through.  Our roads which we use to get around have all been opened and the drives are all opened again.  We have lots of pine to do something with.


Everything is good in the coop, there is no one wanting to become a mother hen at this time.  I am thinking I will be getting some baby chicks when things settle down in the goat pasture.  They just keep on laying, I keep gathering and this week I gathered 45 eggs.

In the duck run, they are busy hunting in the ground, Deedle is always dirty, Her face needs to be washed every time I go to the run.  She is one happy duck and just keeps on laying 7 eggs every week. I never knew a duck would lay that many eggs.


The onions and garlic are growing.  Lettuce in the cold tunnel is wonderful.  I planted broccoli in the tunnel this week along with some snow peas I had sprouted and started in peat cups.  Those things never work very good for me.  I had a few peat cups left and just needed to use them up.  Bedding plants are growing.  I can see my work is getting ready to start.


On my walk, this morning (Saturday),  I found more flowers blooming.  I love the mini iris and daffodils and they are blooming.  Mr. Bootsie is busy working on water running, everywhere we need it.  By the end of the day,  the hoses will be connected and no more gallon jugs of water to carry everywhere.  For me that is as good as a night out on the town.  I can water the tunnel and get it as moist as it needs to be without having to make lots of trips to my water source.  The plants can come out and go into the cold frame and the temperatures every night this coming week will be above freezing.  Wednesday Spring begins, WELCOME, WELCOME, WELCOME how I have waited for you to come.  I knew it was coming the flowers alerted me.    

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Triple Creek Farm, March 9, 2013

I have missed being able to share with you, this past week there were computer problems.  We did not get a lot of work completed this week.  Monday, we went into the big city to pick up a new device for the computer and some provisions in case the promised storm came our way.  Storm arrived about 10 on Tuesday evening.  Wednesday morning we loss electric power and land line telephone.  Snow left around 4 Wednesday afternoon and there were about 6 inches on the ground.  Around 4 on Friday afternoon the electric power was fixed and the telephone was working on Thursday evening.

I must say, I have a lot of respect for those who farmed before our lives became so easy.  Every time I needed to wash dishes I needed to heat up water on the wood stove.  The wood stove was a blessing as it kept us warm, heated water and we able to make something to eat on it.  We had several trees come down and with 2 roads coming into the property we had always thought we could use one of them.  Not with this storm, both roads were blocked with trees downed.  So, the main road was opened and next week we will be cleaning up the down trees.  Not one tree was good for fire wood, one tree was a cedar and this will become a fence post.  

The goats and chickens had no interest in coming out in the snow.  We just feed them twice a day and they stayed in the coop and barn.  But the ducks were in the pond swimming when the temperature was above freezing and they spend the days under the chicken coop where there was nothing falling on them. 


I had put corned beef in a brine and the 10th day was Monday afternoon.  I cooked the beef on Tuesday and I was pleased with the results.  I will be making more of the corned beef as both of us were impressed with the flavor of the meat and how good it tasted.  I made corned beef hash with eggs for breakfast one morning. 

The soup this week was vegetable beef and I was so pleased it was in the fridge and we could just put a pan of soup on the wood stove and heat it for a meal.  


The girls do not let us down and they laid 43 eggs this week.  There were 7 ducks eggs collected.


The cold tunnel made it through the snow,  Mr. Bootsie cleaned all of the snow off,  Wednesday morning,  as the tunnel was sagging.  He was able to push it up and add some extra support, with another cleaning of snow Wednesday afternoon the tunnel made it through this storm with no problems.    I am working bedding plants and thinking about springtime gardening.  


As I look back over this week, I am thankful all went well.  This is the first snow with ducks and goats, they seem to know what to do to take of themselves and we just follow their lead.  I learned quite a lot and planning in the future will be quite a bit easier.  Now we will be cleaning and waiting for the land to dry so we can get the garden it.  It is almost time to plant potatoes, the land is much to wet at the present to even think about potatoes.  

Thank you to those of you who continue to follow our post, check things out on facebook and e-mail me.  I do enjoy your comments.  I am excited about spring on our little farm and of course, sharing the adventure with you.