Tag Archives: farming

It’s Still Winter but…

We have had very spring-like weather this week – so much so that I did some work in the garden. As far a I can remember this is the earliest in the year that I have worked in the garden.

Thyme

After pruning last year’s dead foliage off some of the plants and raking dead leaves from their winter resting place I discover that the thyme is growing green leaves

Oregano

as is the oregano

Sage

and the sage.

It’s not only the herbs that are coming back to life. I also spotted dandelions, winter cress and some other UIP’s (unidentified invasive plants) which means that before long the weeding will commence.

In addition to my work in the prayer garden my husband fluffed up the straw mulch in the garlic bed in order to assist the shoots that are beginning to emerge from the ground. We also raked out the straw that was blanketing the strawberry bed and discovered bright green leaves forming on the strawberry plants.

The chickens have been loving this weather. They spend most of their days out scratching and pecking finding bugs and grubs and bits of green vegetation. They did however think that seeing me or walking towards their coop was their cue to fall in line.

Others came running to greet me.

I didn’t have any treats or table scraps for them but they were satisfied when I scattered some scratch on the ground for them.

I then went on to gather eggs – a full dozen that day. 🙂

We have come a long way since December when we were getting one egg every three or four days. In November our flock went through a late season molt. I didn’t take any pictures of the molting hens because they looked so pitiful with their half naked bodies and new feathers poking though their skin that I felt sorry for them. Molting takes so much energy from the hens that they stop laying during that time. It was some time in early January when egg production gradually began to pick up again.

In December, for first time in 5 or 6 years, I ran out of eggs. Thankfully in the spring of 2020 my sister and her husband started their own flock and by fall their hens were laying well. Chickens don’t molt their first year so they did not experience the egg drought like we did.

It was strange a strange feeling, and we had a good laugh, the day I called my sister and asked “do you have eggs?” The tables had turned. For many years she had been calling me every couple weeks and asking “do you have eggs?” I couldn’t have been happier when she replied “how many do you want.” 🙂

It is time to consider adding to our flock so that our egg supply will continue through this upcoming winter. Perhaps rather than buy chicks we will allow a hen or two to brood some chicks. I’ll let you know what we decide.

Have you been experiencing spring weather?

Woo Hoo The Garlic Is Planted

It’s hard to believe that a whole year has passed since I last wrote about having the garlic planted. This is something that I blog about each year, mainly so I have a record of when we planted, how much we planted and how the weather was.

If you are curious about how we plant garlic you can check out this post from 2016.

Relying on the 7 day weather forecast it’s always a gamble, but I must say that our plan came together quite nicely this year. It was Wednesday, a week prior to planting, that I looked at the forecast and noted that we had a nice weekend coming up and temperatures were suppose to remain good through the following Wednesday, October, 14. Monday night was supposed to bring rain followed by dry days Tuesday and Wednesday.

It would have been prudent to plan our garlic planting for the weekend, as my husband suggested, but I really wanted to have the kids over for a picnic since I didn’t know when we would have the chance to do that again. We decided to roll the dice and wait to plant until Wednesday. Monday and Tuesday were prep days. On Monday My husband tilled up the ground where we were going to plant and I began splitting the seed bulbs into cloves. We had rain, as predicted, on Monday night, but Tuesday was warm and mostly sunny giving the ground a chance to dry up some. I finished splitting up the bulbs on Tuesday.

It was shortly after 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday when we made our way to the farm to begin planting our 2021 garlic crop and it was right around 5:30 when I said “WOO HOO! the garlic is planted,” followed by a short prayer “Lord please bless our efforts.”

In that 3 1/2 hours we planted nearly 1100 garlic cloves. The soil was moist and loose making for ease of planting, but having to continually chase chickens out of the area, so they didn’t dig up the planted garlic, slowed us down some. We also lost some time when I had to take the boys home after Ranger decided to run though a patch that we already had planted. After all the garlic was in the ground we enclosed the patch with a temporary plastic fence that will deter chickens and dogs and deer that may be wandering in the area.

Today I am even more grateful that we planted the garlic on Wednesday since we had rain again on Wednesday night and on and off on Thursday. Friday and Saturday were dry but the rain started again last night, continues on and off today, and is in the forecast for each day in the 7 day forecast.

It may seem odd but I have begun to think of garlic planting as the beginning of our growing season – almost like the New Year – something to be celebrated. Perhaps next year we’ll have champagne and fireworks. LOL.

For anyone who may be considering growing garlic next year, in northern parts of the world now is the time for planting. Garlic takes about nine months to grow and we try to plant about 6 weeks before the ground freezes. This gives the garlic time for it to establish roots. Ideally the garlic will not sprout green leaves before the freeze comes, but in past years when we have had this happen the garlic did not seem to be damaged by the leaves freezing.

Thanks for reading. 🙂

Glimpses Of Autumn

Summer has transitioned into fall and the scenery seems to be changing a little each day. These are some of the scenes we have observed over the past few weeks.

I think autumn is my favorite time to decorate. We did a bit of this at the farm. The cut sunflowers didn’t last long though. The weather was still warm and they began wilting the next day.

The pumpkins and corn stalks will last throughout the season – assuming that a hungry or curious deer doesn’t decide to take a bite.

The outdoors really doesn’t need much help with decorating though. Nature does a fine job. Maple trees seem to show their fall color early.

From pale yellow to bright red, they make an gorgeous display.

The red leaves on this oak tree had me baffled. It wasn’t until I got close that I realized that the red leaves were not oak, but a Virginia Creeper vine that was climbing on the tree.

Despite our early frost there are still wild flowers in bloom.

Some of our hardy annuals are still providing color as well.

Even a few hibiscus buds have continued to open.

The leaves are beginning to coat the ground

and drift on the water.

Under an oak tree is no longer the best place to picnic – unless you don a hard hat to protect yourself from the falling acorns. Upon seeing and hearing the nuts fall I mentioned to my husband that I suspected there was a squirrel in the tree throwing the nuts down at us. He laughed and assured me that these nuts were just falling naturally as nuts do this time of year.

Interestingly there are no hickory nuts this year. Last year we had many hickory nuts and fewer acorns.

The frost turned the forsythia leaves a dark purple color.

Yet the lilac leaves remain green.

The deer are still comfortable grazing in the field.

They tend to disappear mid November once firearm season begins.

Thanks for visiting.

Do you enjoy decorating for the different seasons or holidays?

Pumpkin Recipes

I finally made pumpkin pie for my husband. It was a nice birthday treat for him. 🎈🙂

Since we have had such a bountiful pie pumpkin harvest this year we have given some to family and friends, and in doing so I promised to pass along my pumpkin pie recipe to a couple of people. I had planned on just reblogging a post from a couple of years ago that included that and some other recipes for them but for some reason new editor would not allow me to do so. The feature that used to allow me to “copy a post” is now missing as well, so I have copied and pasted several of the recipes from that post into this. For long time readers recipes 2-6 are repeats from the previous post. Recipe #1 however is new to this post. I hope you enjoy.

Pumpkin Recipe # 1

Begin by measuring the circumference of the pumpkin. Write down that number. Then measure the diameter of the pumpkin and remember or write that number down. Lastly divide the circumference by the diameter. You now have pumpkin Pi. 😁

LOL! (You can thank my dad for that one.)

Pumpkin Recipe # 2 – Pumpkin Puree

If you have never cooked a pumpkin before it is very simple. Usually the small pumpkins are use for cooking, but larger ones are just as edible. While there are other ways to cook pumpkin, this is the way I do it. Cut the pumpkin in half,  scoop out all the seeds and gunk? goo? slimy stuff? You probably know what I’m talking about. Put the pumpkin halves in a baking dish with a small amount of water in the pan and cover it with foil. Bake at 350 degrees until it is soft probably 60-90 minutes. Allow it to cool, then scoop the pumpkin out of the shell. Your pumpkin is now ready to eat, or at this point you can put it in a food processor to puree it before using it in other recipes. Here are a few recipes you might try.

Pumpkin Recipe # 3 – Easy Pumpkin Pie

2  cups pumpkin puree

1 can sweetened condensed milk

2 eggs

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ginger

1 unbaked deep-dish pie shell (I usually buy these but you certainly can make your own)

Mix first 7 ingredients until thoroughly mixed. Pour into pie shell. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes then reduce heat to 350 and bake for another 35-40 minutes.

Pumpkin Recipe # 4 – Pumpkin Cake

2 cups flour

2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup canola oil

4 eggs

1 3/4 cups pumpkin puree

Preheat over to 350. Grease 9×13 pan. Mix together flour, baking powder. baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix together sugar and oil until well blended then add eggs and mix well. Mix in pumpkin. Add flour mixture and mix until thoroughly blended. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 30-35 minutes, until the top springs back when lightly touched.  I love this cake and it pares well with a cream cheese or vanilla frosting.

If you have baked more pumpkin than you need for a specific recipe this puree freezes well. I usually measure it out, (2 cups for pie) then put it in plastic freezer containers.

Pumpkin Recipe #5 – Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Now I hope you didn’t throw away those seeds that you scraped out of the pumpkin, because roasted pumpkin seeds are also a great snack. While I have only made the regular salted variety this link has several different ways to try them.  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/pumpkin-seeds-recipe.html

Pumpkin Recipe #6 – Facial Mask

Lastly if you would like to try pumpkin on your skin you could make a pumpkin facial mask by blending together 1/4 to 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, 1 egg, 1 tsp. honey and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon. Apply to face and allow to sit and dry for 15 minutes before rinsing off with warm water. If you have any left over dispose of it. This product should be used immediately after it is prepared and it will not keep.

Thanks for visiting.

Fresh Off The Vine

We are thankful for a decent grape harvest this year, especially since we had no grapes last year.

We grown both Niagara and Concord grapes. My husband harvested them as they ripened. Since not all of the grapes on the same bunch ripen at the same rate some may have been a little under- ripe and thus more tart than the riper ones.

He ended up harvesting them in three separate batches – each about the size of the one in the above picture. I didn’t weight them but would guess each batch was between two and three pounds.

In the past I have used homegrown grapes to make jelly and wine, but the thing we enjoy the most is drinking grape juice with our breakfast. :)The juice is naturally tart so I add raw honey as a sweetener.

From the three batches I produced 11 pints of juice.

We currently have eight pints in the freezer. Yes, we have enjoyed this juice three times so far with our breakfast and I really don’t think the other 8 pints are going to last very long.

You’ll notice that I did freeze the juice in jars, so I thought I should mention that not all glass jars are suitable for freezing liquids. Jars, like the ones I have used, where the sides are straight and the opening is the same size, or maybe a little larger, than the jar are suitable for freezing. Jars that have a curved sides that form a neck and a smaller opening at the top should not be used for freezing. The following article explains in more detail https://www.gardenbetty.com/how-to-safely-freeze-liquids-in-mason-jars/. The other thing that is necessary when freezing liquids in jars, or other containers for that matter, is to allow plenty of head space in the jar. You can tell in my photo that the jars are not filled all the way to the top – that is what I mean by head space.

Thanks for visiting.

Now tell me do you prefer juice, jelly or wine?