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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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
                                                 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 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.


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.