Monday, May 24, 2010

pioneer day

This weekend my parents came down. We had lots of things to do. My husband and my son went to a spaghetti supper for the Boy scouts. They didn't do very well, not enough advertising.They didn't get back until well after 10pm.
  Next Sunday is pioneer day at church. They will have song and testimony.  The choir is suppose to dress up. then we will have supper on the grounds and walk to the creek for a Baptismal.  I did not have anything old fashioned, so I decided to make something.  I was not looking forward to making a dress. My mother suggested a skirt like her grandma use to wear.  So we modified a shirt I already had, then made a skirt and bonnet. The apron was one my mother had made for my vacuum cleaner lady a couple of years ago it just happened to be perfect.  I think it makes me look huge but I agreed to have my picture taken anyway. Be looking at . I am sure that she will explain how it was made in more detail
Today is the day I have to go to town.  I do not enjoy driving to town. Maybe one day I will only have to go once a year.  I am working on a year round garden that makes enough to support us.  We raise chickens and cows for meat. My husband also loves hunting so I don't think we will be lacking in that area.  One day I plan to be off the grid, or at least close to it. The biggest thing standing in my way right now is storage. My husband did set the poles for the pole barn on Saturday and we have the wood for another storage shed.  I am planning on digging a storm/root cellar this summer.
 My daughter just had to try on the bonnet. I am thinking of making her one but doubt she would wear it if it was hers.
I asked for it back to put up till next Sunday and she just had to go show grandma.

Friday, May 21, 2010

What is happening to the chickens?

 The day before yesterday I found feathers in the yard. Now chickens lose feathers all the time especially when they are, but to have that many in one place usually means something happened.  I counted and one was missing so either something happened, or she went to sitting, but with all those feather I am betting on the first.  It has been a couple of days and she is still missing. It is kinda strange because if she was got at night then the feathers are usually under the tree she roost in but the feathers were between the house and the garden. Plus we have four dogs, they don't usually let anything in the yard.  It could have been a hawk.
Yesterday evening my husband brought home some turkey eggs.  While cutting hay he ran over a nest and the hen was killed.  We usually either hatch the eggs in an incubator or under a hen.  I had one hen sitting that had lost 2 other nest but was trying for number 3.  We were going to put the eggs under her this morning because both her eggs and the turkeys were about at the same point in development. I went out this morning and she is gone. Her nest is destroyed and feathers everywhere.  Still the dogs didn't bark. This time I know it wasn't a hawk. I am beginning to think it is one of our dogs. I am going to set up one of those game cameras to find out.  We now have only 3 laying hens.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

More rain

The biddies have moved outside.  This a picture of the great escape from the brooder box. When they start flying around and getting out it is time to move them outside if the weather is nice enough. After moving them the first night it rained and we did lose two. So I put the heat lamps outside and cover them at night or when it is going to rain with a blanket. We haven't lost anymore. 
 It always rains in the spring. The last two weeks have been really rainy.  Not much you can do in the garden when it is that wet.  Our driveway is starting to wash.  My husband will need to drag it again soon to keep it passable.
I didn't notice until i seen the pictures.  This picture has two ducks. I only ever saw the one
 Since it has been raining so much and we can't garden we took a little ride the other day to see what kind of wildlife we could find.  Most of the pictures were not very good. Here is a wild duck in the neighbors pond. We also seen two turkeys and a turtle.

Here in the yard we found this salamander.  The ones we usually find are black spotted, but this one was smaller and light in color. It did have spots though. We also tried to get a good picture of a Great Blue Herring but they did come out either.  I am not fast enough.  The doves and blue birds were to far away to focus.  We like seeing what kinds of animals we can find, identify and take pictures of .

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ditch Digging

Yesterday was ditch digging day. We have to get power and water to the shed. My husband keeps wanting to wait until we can afford to rent a trencher. I find when we wait to rent something, it never happens, but when I go out and start something then he comes and finishes it. So yesterday I went out with a shovel and started digging form the corner of the house to the shed. I made it to the front windows when he came home. He was tired. He picked up the pick, that I can't swing, and would loosen a couple of feet for me than he would sit down. Well his daddy came while he was sitting and I was digging. A man usually cannot stand to have his wife out do him in front of people, so he took the shovel and started digging. They made it to the shed while I cooked supper. I made meatloaf, macaroni and tomatoes, mashed potatoes with gravy, and brussell sprouts.
I still have some digging to do today. The ditch has to be deeper here to get below the frost line, but I think I will have water and electricity maybe by the first of next week

Emily playing in the hole Robbie dug

Casey cleaning out the ditch

Monday, May 17, 2010

Two Copperheads in one day.

Friday it was to rainy to roof. So my husband and the other roofers went to the boss man's house to work on fence.  Ed got there late so he started at the corner post nailing off.  The other guys were about a quarter mile away. Ed nailed to the corner post then tied to the first t-post and reached down to tie to the second when he felt something stick his hand. Thinking it was a brier he kept tying the post.  His hand started stinging so he started looking, and sitting at the bottom of the post was a copperhead snake. He killed the snake but instead of walking to his truck he panicked and walked to the other guys.  The boss man rushed him to the hospital.  Here is the shocking part. This rural hospital did not have any anti-venom. Not only that, they wanted my husband to go out and find the snake before they could treat Ed. My husband went out looking for the snake while the hospital did manage to find a little anti-venom but not enough to keep Ed alive. Finally they put Ed in an ambulance and took him to Springfield, Mo. He was treated there. He had to stay the night and have 4 shots of morphine.

That evening after supper we decided if it wasn't to wet we would burn some of those brush piles we have. so while I did the dishes my husband went out to light the piles.  The kids ran ahead just as they always do, but my husband got on to them, telling them "Ed just got bit do you want to be next". They walked all around the piles trying to light them but it was to wet.  It was starting to get dark so my husband reached for the goat to put her up when he saw something move by his foot.  It was another copperhead.It came out of the pile and into the yard where the kids had been playing. It was the same size as the one that bit Ed. He killed in and no one got bit, but boy was he upset. 

Saturday was spent mowing the lawn.  I had been mowing it higher to get a good lawn started but so much for that. They mowed it so short I have bare dirt in some places. Ed got out of the hospital Saturday evening. He called the house to tell us he was alright. He said that he had been shot by a .22 and a shotgun but nothing hurt as bad as that snake bite, He said he didn't think he was going to make it to Springfield and didn't think the kids would if they got bit.  I thought my husband was afraid of snakes before now I wonder if he will ever let the kids outside again.

   These are some of the pictures that my husband took while we worked in the garden.  Looking at these I do believe that I am the one doing all the work

Friday, May 14, 2010

Soggy Friday

Today is Friday we made it through another week.  It is rainy here, so you can't do much in the garden. I have heard it said not to go into your garden after a rain because you will spread disease, but in the garden after a storm is my favorite place to be. I try to wait for the plants to dry some but when the ground is soft is the best time to pull weeds. 
  We went out last night and tied up the tomato plants.  We used panty hose so the wind won't damage the stems.  We weeded for a while until it was almost to dark to see.  Then we planted some Kentucky wonder beans in the corn.  They grow well together.  The corn gives the beans something to climb on and the beans supply nitrogen to the corn which are heavy feeders.   I usually plant sunflowers at the end of the rows to encourage bees but didn't have any seed this year. We also planted some more speckled butter beans and black eyes, because some didn't come up,  
All my plants are starting to look really good.  It is hard to believe that these brussel spouts even survived.  They were so small and spindly looking when I put them out.  The weather was still cold.  Then comes the biggest plant killer, the kids.   In fact my Emily stepped on several cabbage plants last night.
The potatoes have gotten little potatoes already and my father-in-law has already dug some for a pot of new potatoes.  They did take some wind damage yesterday, but I think I can just hill them and they will stand back up.  No sign of the Colorado potato beetle this year.  Two years ago I planted late potatoes and mulched them with straw.  I usually plant early potatoes and mulch with black plastic.  Well they were eat up by the beetles and we didn't even get potatoes to speak of.  One of the problems, besides the late date and different mulch, was that I had never had the beetles before and didn't know what they looked like.  So by the time I realized I had a problem it was to late.

I cut all of the Chinese cabbage because they were going to seed. I ended up with 25.5lbs of cabbage total.  My family is already tired of eating it so I am in the process of freezing it.  First I wash it. Then coarsley shred it up.  Then I blanch it in boiling water for a minute and a half, cool, drain, and put in freezer bags. We will have lots of greens for this winter. I have also frozen some spinach I was given and some poke.  You can only get poke in the spring so if you want some for later use you have to freeze it.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Our chickens

We have had chickens for years.  They lay eggs for us to eat and the best part is they eat ticks and other yard insects.  When we first moved over to the new place we didn't bring the chickens immediately.  Talk about tick infestation.  It was a nightly ritual to de-tick the kids before bed.  Finally the pen was built and the chickens brought over.  we left 5 hens and two roosters out to be our tick clean up crew and the rest were penned.  It became clear that we were not going to keep the chickens in the new pen so we gave up and they all got out.  This area was completely undeveloped so  we lost all the chickens besides the 5 hen and 2 roosters that stay here in the yard.

We needed to start again so this spring we came across 30 biddies really cheap.  We couldn't pass that deal up. We bought them and then the question was where to put them. They were not old enough to be outside without a momma.  The cat had already got 2 of the other 6 we bought.  In the past we have kept them in a box in the house, But 30 would start to smell bad in no time.

 I had a few totes around so I put the biddies inside with food, water, and a heat lamp. They were still needing cleaned constantly and when they spilt water they were getting wet.  We lost two because of this.  Then my husband went outside and brought in leaves. We just keep piling new leaves in there until we clean it out about once a week. The biddies are happy and as soon as nice weather moves in they will be moved to cages outside.

The older 4 were moved already to the new and improved Biddie pen.  They have free access to food and water and a roost.  The hens will be let out but the roosters will be kept for dinner. 

Here is the nest box we have mounted on the back of the shed next to the Biddie pen. I get about 4 eggs a day. One red hen thinks she is sitting.  she lost her first nest to the dogs. Then she lost her second to her getting confused and sitting on the wrong one. The other eggs could not be saved.  Now I think she might hatch this 3rd nest. We will see.  I am not even sure how many eggs she has. 

She don't seem to mind having her picture taken. In fact she is the most mild hen I have ever had sit. You can reach under her and she won't even flog you.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mother's day weekend

Friday started off nice. I mowed the part of the garden that is not planted with anything yet. It has some wild strawberries that we are finding a few strawberries from. We eat these as soon as we find them so I could tell you how many. My green peppers have blooms. I have never had much luck with green peppers at the other house. We always had ducks and ducks love to eat green peppers.
After mowing I got the loppers and started down the side field. My plan was to burn brush piles after I picked up the kids from school. By the time I got the kids and got back home it was to windy to burn anything. After my husband got home we continued clearing the field and piling the brush. He brought me a new camera home for mother's day. It takes really nice pictures. I am proud to have it.
Saturday my husband and his daddy went to Race bros and bought a sprayer that runs off of the four wheeler. They hooked the whole thing up and started filling it. It started leaking, so they boxed it back up and took it back. I am not sure how the store fixed it but they did. Said they had had that same problem before.After he got home they sprayed 2 sprayers full on the bottom field. He left the field on the right for wild blackberries this year and the side field for me and the goats to clear.
We missed the court of honor for the Boy Scouts. We thought it was that evening but it was at 11am. That is when they were returning a sprayer. That evening we when out and started weeding the corn. My husband trying to get all the Bermuda grass ended up digging up the corn we just planted. I said something and I think it made him mad because he left. But then he came back with the camera and started taking pictures of the kids and me working in the garden. I think he likes the camera as much as I do. We got in late but had turkey, that I had in the oven because the house was cool, mac'n'cheese, stuffing, cranberry sauce and poke salat for supper.
Sunday we went to church, to Shoney's for mother day dinner, and then grocery shopping. We got home, put up the groceries, and went down to his daddy's. I gave Angela the corsage I got for mother's day and we ate ice cream crunch bars. I lead song service at church the had his daddy and Angela over for left over turkey sandwiches for supper.

Here is the new biddy and rooster fattening pen we just finished. It is a lot more convenient than the one we had. And here is our cow hop-a-long. He decided to check out the throw blanket I put on the fence so I could take a picture of it.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Bean Tepees and Barbeque

I have strawberries that are close to being ready. A friend of mine already has 3 ripe strawberries but she already has an established bed. If I can keeep the goats out of them I will have some in a couple of days. All the peas and Lima beans are up. I am going to try growing them on hog panels this year. Two years ago I made bean tepees. The worked great at first. My back didn't hurt from bending over. Then I realized that I built them to high and we were having to stand on ladders to pick the peas. That was a problem in its own. I am going to build more tepees to plant peas on when the potatoes are pulled out, but the will not be very high.

I finally got Hosta to grow. They say it is one of the easiest things to grow but my free range chickens always ate it. The goats were loose yesterday so it has got some damage but i think it will recover nicely as long as I water it today. This is my broccoli. I have never grown it before never had any luck. Maybe this year will be better. I will let you know.
Finally got the rest of the corn planted. The lawn is almost mowed. The weed eater is fixed. The laundry is washed. So I decided to take the kids swimming at the creek. Right as we were leaving I realized my second daughter was running a fever. I gave her some medicine and thought she would be cooler by the creek so we went for just a little while. It wasn't long before she started throwing up so that ended that trip. We decided to grill outside so the kids that were not sick could stay out and play. We had BBQ chicken, grill corn on the cob, and potato packs. The Chinese cabbage recipe of the day was stir fried cabbage.
I don't know if it is a well known recipe or something I made up. I start by frying a little bacon for seasoning and grease. Then I throw in a chopped onion and stir until the onion is translucent. Then I put in chopped cabbage about half Chinese cabbage and half regular cabbage. I cook it down until not much grease left in the pan. Then I add a little Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce to taste. Just cook until tender crisp. I really like this, don't know if my husband cares that much for it, but he eats it.
Today I need to water the potatoes and things on the other side of the garden that the sprinkler didn't get last night. It is not suppose to rain here until Sunday and that is to long without water up here. Since this is a first year garden in this location the soil is kinda poor and don't hold moisture well. Weeding is never done. There is a lot of Bermuda grass in the corn and my husband's solution is to spray it. Who wants to eat anything out of a garden with all that poison sprayed in it.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Chinese Cabbage

This is the first year I planted Chinese cabbage. I picked up a couple of plants at the feed store. I planted them about 1 foot apart. At first they were not doing will. I think they were drying out to fast in the harsh wind . I mulched them with leaves and immediately noticed a difference. A couple of weeks later I fertilized with fish emulsion and they took off. Yesterday I noticed two of them were starting to bolt. I wasn't ready to pick them but I cut those two off at the ground. Together they were about 4 lbs. On Facebook I asked if anyone had a good recipe for Chinese cabbage and boy at the response. I decided on a Ham and Cabbage Soup.
Ham and Chinese Cabbage Soup
1 tbsp butter
2 stalks celery, chopped (I left this out we do not like celery)
1 sm. onion, chopped
1 tbsp flour
2 c chicken bouillon or broth
1 1/2 c cooked ham, diced(i used left over ham bone i had in my freezer)
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 c shredded Chinese cabbage
Saute celery and onion in butter. Stir in flour. Add bouillon and cook, stirring until bubbly, Add ham, bay leaf, and cabbage cook until ham is heated and cabbage is limp.
I cooked it in a crock pot while I went out and mowed the lawn. It was good for a change. Kinda reminded us of mustard greens. I will have to try a different recipe tonight. I had intended to go out and plant corn after supper but by the time I got the grilled cheese cooked and kids fed it was getting late so I decided to just go out and watch the sun set.
First I had to put up goats. The chain was off the gate. So I got my kids to fetch the hammer and staples while I held the gate shut. Both me and my oldest son tried to hammer that staple in the gate and couldn't. Finally I sent for my husband. He got it hammered but it took him 10 minutes. Is old wood harder to nail? By this time I missed the sun set and just went in and got the kids in bed.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Getting to work

Yesterday I was out planting corn when my husband called. His daddy and him came across some good tin they could have. The only problem was they had to tear it off. My husband was stuck at work leaving his daddy to do it by himself. He said get the hammers and crow bars, pick up the kids, and get out there to help.
When I got there he was well on his way removing and stacking the tin. The kids and I jumped right in. By the time my husband got there, his daddy and I, had removed all of the tin. I stayed with my husband while his daddy took the tin to the house and brought back the trailer to load the boards.
My oldest son is at that age where motivation is hard to come by, but he was dragging tin and stacking it. He really was working hard every time my hammer was quiet for a second he had it tearing off to. He also stayed behind to help tear the boards apart so we could load them on the trailer. Then the owner of the property noticed him and sent someone over to tell us he had to stop and get off the boards. I was very disappointed. Finally you get a kid wanting to work and someone says they can't. Oh well I am going to pay him a few bucks anyway for the effort.
I picked up something easy for supper. Hot dogs, mac 'n' cheese , and corn on the cob. Not the best of meals but it will have to do every once in a while. Then we took showers and went to the bed. I bet everyone slept good last night.
This morning I have been trying to catch up here at the house. Clothes to wash and hang out, animals to tend to, and lots of other things.Here is my compost bin busy helping me make vegetables. I made a barrel composting bin out of a plastic barrel. I didn't put a crank on it like some people do. I made the opening off center so that it would always end up on the top. Well this one is full and composting so I am going to make another one but this time I am going to make it centered with a crank because while it is full I cannot turn it.

This is Little Girl a rabbit/armadillo dog. Although walkers are traditionally raised as coon dogs, this one decided she was a beagle instead. Don't worry about the rabbits though, they turn left and her long legs just keep her going straight.

This is Sonny and Jenny aka the rabbit patrol. They are making their daily rounds. They always let me know if something is not right. They patrol form dawn to dust. You very rarely get a glimpse of them.

Monday, May 3, 2010


When we first moved out here last year my husband built a pole shed to keep tools, chemicals, hay and his for wheeler. All winter we had hay in it and animals. It was hard to find anything in it. About the time of the last Bon -fire my husband got that bee in his bonnet and cleaned out the shed. Here is one of my hens a little confused over the change.

Then he really surprised me. He and his daddy went and built shelves and places to put all the tools. I am really proud of him. I think it looks really nice. Now if i can get them to put the things back after using them I think I will be about the happiest woman on earth.

Here is another improvement. I removed the chicken wire on the side of the goat pen. It was built for the chickens. We tired to keep the chickens in it instead of letting them be free range. We even clipped wings and nothing stopped them from getting out. I guess they were to use to being free range. We are in the process of clearing this land but it is still pretty wild so we lost most of our chickens to predators. Although it didn't work for chickens it seems to do nicely for the pony and goats. My big goat was able to get out so even in the pen she was kept chained. The the little goat tore holes in the side of the chicken wire and became a escape artist.
I knew that I would not be able to get the fence back up in the same day so my plan was to keep the goats chained out until the next day. Surprise, my husband got the fence up that night. Now the goats can roam freely in the pen at night and be tied out to eat during the day. They love it.