Monthly Archives: July 2022

A Good Busy

Hello and welcome. August is upon us and I feel like I’ve been MIA (blogging action at least) for a while. It has been longer than I like to go between posts so I’m going share a hodge-podge of things that have been keeping us busy.

Dog Tails

Ruby has been with us for nearly two months now and we are all happy she’s here. When I first introduced you to Ruby I had mentioned a few things that she needed to learn. She has proven to be a quick learner. She no longer tries to get in bed with us at night and rarely puts her paws up on our chests. She is doing well with knowing that she can shoo the chickens out of the barn or off a chair, but she does not chase them for fun. The chickens are no longer afraid of her. To them she is just part of the farm family.

When we adopted Ruby from the shelter we were told that she had not been well socialized and took a while to warm up to people. While at times this may be the case, she had no problem socializing with people and other dogs when we had a family picnic at the farm.

Ruby swimming with the family.
Ruby always eager to play fetch.
Ruby playing chase with Captain and Misty.
Ruby waiting for Kara to throw the frisbee.

It took a few weeks for Ranger and Ruby to bond. At first Ranger seemed to think of Ruby as an intruder, especially when he would be getting attention from my husband or me and she would push her way in or when she would curl up on my lap as I was kicked back in my recliner (he was used to having the choice of my lap or my husbands.) But it wasn’t just our attention that Ruby sought. She worked hard to get Ranger to be her friend.

Often modeling his behavior or initiating play sessions.

She just doesn’t understand the concept of hunting.

Nowadays Ruby and Ranger spend a lot of time ruffhousing or wrestling.

Ruffhousing

Sometimes it can look and sound like they are being mean to each other, but they are just playing and having fun. They really have become good friends.

Besides ruffhousing with Ranger, Ruby’s other activity of choice is playing fetch. A ball, a frisbee, a stick – if we throw it Ruby will fetch it and bring it back to be thrown again. She is definitely a retriever.

My husband often comes home with a sore arm from throwing the ball so many times, but Ruby’s not done, after she eats, she will go get a ball and bring it to me or my husband, wanting to resume the game that was started at the farm.

Incidentally, she has also learned not to chew up her toys. In the first several weeks she chewed up several balls and other toys. Each time she would chew a hole in something we would throw it away as we didn’t want her swallowing plastic or whatever materials the toy was made out of. We began monitoring her and telling her “no chew” or “be nice” when we saw her chewing up a toy and she has since stopped destroying her toys. We do still allow her to chew up sticks.

Making Curtains

Last week, our hottest week so far this year, was a good time for me to have an inside project to work on, so when my husband suggested we needed new curtains for the kitchen and back bathroom I decided to make some. It was also perfect timing because my sister, K.C. was in town for a day, so we had lunch together then made a trip to the fabric store. πŸ™‚

Below are the results of this project.

Kitchen curtains are opened most of the day.
But necessary to block the morning sun.

My husband and I agree – we Love the kitchen curtains! Even when they block the sun they still brighten the room.

The pattern on the bathroom curtains is honeybees and clover. πŸ™‚

We also like the bathroom curtains just not as much as we love the kitchen curtains.

Chickens

It’s been a while since I have blogged about the chickens and quite honestly it hasn’t been our best year of raising chickens. In the spring we lost about half our flock to a fox or family of foxes. We can only assume that there was more than one because on one day we lost seven chickens in just a couple hour time frame. They were not killed on sight they were carried off by their predator(s). On a few other occasions we lost one at a time.

The fox was pretty bold. My husband yelled to chase it off a few times. It has been at least a month now since there has been any evidence of fox in the area, so think that perhaps it has raised its young and moved on.

These chickens are some of the chicks we bought this spring. Out of the 12 chicks we started with this spring we still have six of them – two black and four white. It’s too early to tell, but we suspect one of the white ones might be a rooster since it’s comb and wattles are far more developed than the rest of them. We expect the hens to start laying in August.

Garden Stuff

The gardens continue to do well. Having everything mulched heavily with straw has worked so well. Not only has it kept weeds well under control it helps the soil retain moisture making it available for the plants.

Our squash and pumpkins were planted late but they are doing well.

They are beginning to blossom and form fruit.

Melons and cucumbers were also planted late but are blossoming and forming fruit as well. We did pick our first cucumbers this week and I plan on making pickles soon.

Look at the little watermelon. So cute!

Cabbage is looking good – I’ll be making sauerkraut this year.

We’ve started picking tomatoes. I’ll probably have enough to start canning next week.

Stuffed peppers are on the upcoming menu. We have been including garden produce in our meals each day. Perhaps I’ll share some of these dishes in future posts.

So far this is the only sunflower to blossom since the deer ate the tops off of most of the plants. It is a beauty though.

Thanks for visiting. Watch for future posts on how we are eating and preserving our harvest.

July 2022 Garden Update

I’m happy to report that despite our lack of rain our gardens are doing quite well.

BERRIES
We’ve been harvesting blueberries for several weeks now and what we are not eating fresh I have been putting in the freezer. We’ve also picked about a quart and a half of strawberries despite them just being planted at the end of May.

GARLIC
My husband harvested the garlic last week – a total of 270 bulbs are now drying in the barn. What an easy task it was compared to the years when we grew between 2000 and 8000 bulbs.

GREEN BEANS
We began picking green beans a couple weeks ago and after a few meals my husband was getting tired of them. (He doesn’t like them as much as I do.) I saved our pickings for a few days and had enough beans to can 6 pints. Since green beans are a low acid food canning them requires using a pressure canner and since I have little experience in doing this, I am extremely pleased with the results.

I expect I will be canning another batch of beans this week.

POTATOES

Two days ago, when I offered to make a potato salad for dinner, I thought it odd when my husband hesitated. He then suggested that maybe some of our potatoes were ready in the garden.

He brought me home some beautiful red skin potatoes which I transformed into our favorite potato salad. Oh, so good!

PEPPERS
We have also been picking some peppers – banana peppers, jalapeno, cayenne and a bell pepper. In addition to adding peppers to our morning omelet I made a batch of the poppers we enjoy so much. The popper recipe can be found in this post from September 2020.

Thanks for visiting.

Are you enjoying any fresh summer produce?

Innovation

Earlier this year my husband mentioned wanting to buy a landscape rake to use to remove leaves and pond weeds from around the edges of the pond. A landscape rake has a long handle and a wide head that would allow us to reach father into the water from the shore and remove more weeds at one time. I told him to go ahead and buy one. “They are expensive,” he said. About a week ago when we began raking the weeds from the pond, I told him to go ahead and buy the rake. He had another idea.

Using materials we already had on hand he built something similar to a grappling hook but perhaps we should call it a grappling rake.

He started with one rake head tied to the nylon rope and while it did work to remove some weeds it would always land upside down when thrown into the water, so it was not as efficient as it could be.

He then found a second rake with a broken handle. (Imagine that! We had two old rakes with broken handles hanging around.) He used two 1 1/2inch hose clamps to connect the rake heads together back-to-back. He then secured the rope around both rake handles.

The rope is about 20 feet (6 meters) long. He tied a loop in the end of the rope opposite the rake heads. The loop makes it easier to hold onto the rope while throwing the rake end out into the water.

The rope floats just in case you forget to hold on to the end.

In this case having a good retriever nearby might come in handy.

Once the rake has landed on the bottom simply pull the rope in.

It is quite efficient in removing a large amount of weeds at one time.

Home Sweet (Froggy) Home

I learned something this week. I don’t think like a frog.

Regular readers will remember this recent post about the frog who was interfering with my watering routine by hanging out in my watering can. We thought we had solved the problem by giving it and alternative housing option. It was a pretty cool setup if you ask me.

The frog, however, didn’t ask me and apparently didn’t share my opinion because it left its new home that evening and did not return. After a couple of days of keeping my watering can in the mud room, we started leaving it on the deck – up on the table. On Tuesday when I was refilling the watering can with the hose guess who hopped out. Yep! Somehow that frog had found its way back into the watering can even though the can was up on the table.

Well, its persistence paid off. When my husband got home the frog was hanging out on the garden hose and since my husband wanted to use the hose, he moved the frog back to the watering can.

I then placed the watering can in the flower bed. I think it’s garden art with a purpose.

Later that day, when my husband was going to the farm store, I asked him to pick up another watering can. He obliged. πŸ™‚

Lavender In Bloom

My sister sent me this meme yesterday.

I replied, “You know me well.” πŸ™‚

Our lavender is blossoming right now.

It takes up a large portion of our prayer garden and is lovely in contrast with the red roses and the yellow evening primrose which are also in bloom.

The lavender is a favorite of the bees.

While the honeybees were indulging as well, the bumble bees were the ones that I could capture in my photos.

I do regret that there is no feature that allows me to share their wonderful fragrance with you over the internet.

Thanks for visiting.