Sunday, August 31, 2014

So Easy to Make a Mistake

Now each day things seem to have returned to as normal as it can be on a farm, I am really shocked, hurt and not real pleased with myself.  I was thinking oh, yes we are taking care of everything during the weeks we spent going to the hospital and care facility (this was while my brother was sick) but to my amazement, I was doing a poor job.

About a week ago someone asked me, "Do your goats have worms?"  The shock and horror of I have not been doing the weekly feeding to DE to my goats or birds went through me like a knife.  The next morning on the milking stand I was checking the eyes of the goats, one way to check for worms.  Chickens were all doing good, well, maybe, eggs have slacked off but some are starting to molt and then it hit.  One of the two oldest girls was down.  At first, I thought she had gone broody, 6 years old and never been there before, August, expecting a really cold winter, no way, I am not setting a hen as I have gotten the others to change their minds about being broody, I just do not do fall chickens.

A couple of days later, Ornery,  could hardly move,  WORMS, I was so upset.   I had been giving them a few squash here and there but I have pumpkin in the freezer and I could have made them a pumpkin smoothie.  That afternoon she would not stay out of the water bowl.  I picked her up and put her into the brooder box because I did not want the others to get what she had if there was another problem.   In about 2 days I knew it was over and I was waiting for the death-chicken to come along and take her to chicken heaven.  The first girls being 6 years old just have a forever home and a grave in the garden.  I would do it no other way.  My Wee's helped name them and these girls are so special to me.  We have watched this girl go for 2 weeks without hardly anything to eat, very little to drink and saw no improvement.  I kept pushing, fresh water twice a day, sugar water and fresh food.  One day in total disgust with myself I pushed her head into the water, my girl started drinking.  She drank and drank, Mr. Bootsie came into the coop and saw her drinking asking, "What has changed?" "Just drinking water," was my response.

We have  watched progress over the last week, She is eating a bit more, up walking about, you can tell she is listening to the other birds outside in the runs by the way she turns her head.  She is weak but we feel on the mend, I will never know if this was a case of extreme broodiness or if my girl had another problem.  I am just so pleased this little hen with a huge attitude may be on the mend.  I miss her fussing with all of the other girls, trying to beat me to the door so she can escape only to stop and let me pick her up.  Yes, she was my spoilt rotten girl.

As far the goats having worms, I really do not think they do,  They run, play, eat everything in sight and are just a delight to have on our farm.  One morning this week, I stopped by a chair which has not been used all summer and sit down with all of my critters in their own runs and pastures,  It was such a pleasure watching them working, swimming and resting in their favorite spots.  I have missed the quiet moments I enjoyed with all of animals.

Saturday, as I went into the coop to bed everyone down, Ornery met me at the door, she wanted to return to the big girl part of the coop.  I opened the door and she went right into a nesting box.  Can she be broody?  Only time will tell.  But she went on her on and I am so happy my girl seems to be returning to being herself.

Life on the farm has plenty of ups and downs.  I am so pleased we seem to have a number of good days, we really do try to take good care of all of our animals.  Thanks for sharing a few minutes with my family.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Chicken Salad and Hot Dogs, what do they have in common?

One morning this week I was busy chopping cucumbers, peppers and onions and all I could think of was chicken salad and hot dogs.  No not on the same plate, not served at the same time but there was a strong common thread running through my mind.  In my kitchen I can't make a bowl of chicken salad without adding some of the sweet cucumber relish I can or could I think about chomping into a hot dog not loaded with the same cucumber relish.  I grew up eating Momma's chicken salad and that is what I look for today when I think of chicken salad.  No grapes or pecans just good chicken salad.  Momma always pulled out the big blue roaster when she cooked hen/roosters.  Not only did we have chicken,  Momma would make a pan of noodles,  How I would love to have another plate of her chicken noodles.  So plain and simple but greatly looked forward to each and every time she made chicken.

When picking the garden my basket was filled with cucumbers and peppers, must be time to make relish.  I am having to buy my onions so I picked up a couple of bags of them the last time I went in for provisions.  I gather my supplies to start the relish,  I chop away making small pieces of the veggies, following the recipe I make the salt brine and cover the veggies, time for them to soak and become pickle.  Off to check and be sure I have all of the spices I need for the syrup.  Mamma did not use all of the different spices, she would add up the amount needed and use her pickling spice.  Later in the day the syrup is made and now the veggies are soaking up the brown sugar syrup with lots of seasonings.  Jars are ready and it is not time to fill the jars and do the hot water bath.

You ask why do you can relish?  Because I have never found one that I enjoyed the way I enjoy the relish made with the veggies from the garden.  And this is the ingredient that makes my chicken salad taste like Momma's chicken salad.

Momma would pick the chicken meat from the bones and then secure the meat grinder to the table, always using a kitchen towel to protect the table from being damaged by the clamps.  After grinding the chicken the magic would begin.  I made the mistake of asking Momma for her recipe, she was glad to share her recipe I just wasn't smart enough to follow it. 

 You need a bowl full of ground chicken, a couple of stalks of celery chopped fine, a couple of big scoops of sweet relish, a couple of scoops of Duke's Mayonnaise, a couple splashes of sweet cucumber pickle juice, poultry seasonings, salt and pepper.  Mix Well. Chill in fridge for several hours. Simple enough even a child could do this. 

Needless to say, I was an adult and it was Greek to me.  My first attempt was horrible, and several more were just as disgusting.  Momma was getting older and I knew I had to get this under my belt.  I showed up one day with my chicken, ground, and all of the makings.  Please, Momma, make me some chicken salad.  She said, "NO, you will make it and I will watch you."  If you could have heard all of sighs and hisses coming from Momma as I was trying to measure so I could refer to my directions later.  Then she looked at me and said, "It isn't about measuring it is about how it looks, make it look good."  It clicked, she had made her chicken salad so it was eye appealing just a good balance of chicken,  celery, sweet pickle relish and enough mayo to bring it all together.  Then she added the pickle juice and seasoning to taste.  I have been making my own chicken salad for a number of years and often think of this lesson she taught me.  

I have a few jars of sweet cucumber relish on the shelf of the pantry!!!  We shall have chicken salad and yes, I will be enjoying a hot dog with relish, mustard and onions.  My relish, from my garden, almost.  Momma did teach me many lessons. I cherish each one, because she cared about each of us being able to take care of ourselves.  

Thanks for stopping by and visiting!!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Moving Forward also Looking Back

I wish to send out a special Thank You to all of you,   First for being around all of this spring and Second for your many kind thoughts and prayers.  Someday this will come to an end.  But I can wait no longer,  There is garden to be picked and preserved.  It is time to make sure there is enough wood for the winter.  There needs to be some form of organization in the coop,  I must move forward.  Time waits for no one and it is not waiting for me.  The poplar trees are loosing their leaves, wonderful bedding for the ladies.  Coops must be cleaned and the manure added to the garden.  Herbs are ready to harvest.

I am so pleased the farm was able to function without me.  When we were away, we were in before night time.  This gave us the time to be with all of our animals and be sure all was well.  The garden managed to be mostly planted before things were really bad.  No, I did not spent everyday away but a day away keeps everything out of balance for several days.  I have not made it into a grocery store for over 5 weeks and I am so proud of myself.   With the help of the ladies, we had milk, the girls provided us with lots of eggs and the garden has kept our plates full of fresh veggies.   We were able to continue to bake all of our bread and make cheese.  Knowing I do a good job of planning our pantry and we able to  make it through these types of times has swollen my "BIG" head even more.

This was part of the harvest on Thursday of past week.  The fall raspberries are just starting to come in.  This was our first red noodle beans.  They are under the green yard long beans.,okra, butter beans and  assorted peppers.  Before the week was over black eyed peas were being picked. Of course there are cucumbers, tomatoes and squash.  The garden has been producing lots of veggies for us to enjoy.  Even a few to share.  Some of the plants are starting to show signs of struggle as the summer goes on, however; there will be plenty veggies for us to add to freezer and preserve.  I have been busy making wine and brandy with the berries.

The coop has been quiet, there were 2 broody hens but after several weeks of chasing them from the nest every evening I  believe I may have won this battle.  For me, it is starting to be a little too late in the season to have baby chicks.  We are collecting duck eggs once again.  The spring born ducks are starting to lay, I will be pleased to have duck eggs when I bake once again. I am starting to find large and small eggs, I am so hoping Momma Duck has healed and will be able to lay a good egg once again, but at this time I am not sure.

The ladies, are busy eating as much forge as they can find.  They have found the back door to our home and will come visiting every chance they get.  I have found a treat for them, they love cherry tomatoes.  Mr. Bootsie has been busy taking out trees to make a new area to store some of our equipment, producing lots of leaves for the ladies and wood for next winter.

By now, the family and friends have all shared and life will return to what it was before. Well not quite, there will not be telephone calls just after the sun sets leaving me a message to get down from the roosting poles and give him a call.  When the storm warnings are listed there will not be someone checking to see if all is well, But I have already learned to do without my evening calls, as sickness controlled my bubba's life, he was not able to call me as much.  Time has a wonderful way of putting all things in order for you.

My days will be filled, once again,  taking care of our flocks,planning what new ventures we will have here,  trying to figure a way to add some new animals and have Mr. Bootsie thinking it was his idea.  I have no need to make lots of jars of pickled peaches and sweet pickles.  I will make a few but not the amount I made in the past.  Each time zucchini bread was baked this year, I took Bubba some, I am so pleased he was able to enjoy some of foods he loved right up to the end.

Once again, Thank You for your many kind thoughts, I am moving forward and we shall be in full production quickly.  As i scurry out to pick the garden, my mind is already thinking about what we shall can and preserve.  Take care of yourselves and share a smile with someone just for me.  UNTIL!!!!