Monday, September 28, 2015
We took out every plant, raked it smooth, and put down fresh mulch. People kept driving by and commenting that it looked good. Its nice to live in a small town.
That pile there is only about 60% of what came out of this bed.
Sunday, September 27, 2015
Saturday, September 26, 2015
From the top,
Production Red, a cross between Rhode Island Reds, and White Leghorns (remember Foghorn Leghorn of cartoon fame? He was a white Leghorn). Production Reds are bred for heavy production of very large eggs consistently.
Plymouth Rock, an old heritage breed, solid white, like your grandmother or great grandmother might have raised.
Light Brahma, these are also an older breed, very large and heavy, and supposedly good for winter egg laying when ither breeds slow down. This will be mynfirst time trying this breed, so we will find out. My teo roostees are both Brahmas, nice boys so far, and very good to the hens, finding bits of food on the ground and calling the hens over, racing to protect them if a hen calls a distress call. So far they are totally non agressive to us.
I also have New Hampshire Reds, and Black Australorps, which I think are by far the prettiest, but also the hardest to get to pose for the camera.
You can see the differences in comb type, some large, some small. A smaller comb is generally better for cold weather climates, as those little points can get frostbite.
Here is a little known fact. You can tell what color eggs a chicken will lay by their earlobe. What? Chickens have earlobes?
Here you can see an earlobe, the red comb-like structure right where you would expect an earlobe to be on the side of her face. Her actual ear is a hole covered by fine feathers right above the earlobe.
So, if a hen has red earlobes, she will lay brown eggs, or in the case of certain special breeds, colored eggs in shades of blue or green. If her earlobe is white, she will lay white eggs. This girl lays brown eggs.
Now go impress someone with this bit of trivia this week!
Friday, September 25, 2015
Thursday, September 24, 2015
But the fence is in, its all mulched, and cleaned up, and hopefully the insurance company is happy now.
We still have to trim the fence posts and paint it, but no rush on that.
I think it looks pretty nice.
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Seed germinates more quickly and gets established sooner.
Doesnt wash away as easily in a heavy rain.
And, maybe most importantly, doesnt attract the wild turkeys to come and gobble (ahem) all the seed.
Really, you would think if they have to add color to it, that they could make a more natural green.
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
These plum tomatoes will be the last of the vine ripened ones for this year.
As slowly as harvest season seemed to take to arrive, it is gone in a flash. Or thats how it seems.
With frost looming on the horizon, and general temperatures dipping into the low 40s, summer fruits begin to falter, and it is time to say goodbye.
So today, I picked the last of the
Vine ripened tomatoes
Mini bell peppers
And already finished are
It is a little sad to say goodbye to all the daily goodness... we still have the cold hardy greens, cabbages, more carrots, turnips, and celery... more and more garden beds are empty and cover crops are planted. But, it is nice to see the storage shelves full, and know we will enjoy our own garden goodies ovee the winter. And frankly, I am TIRED and will enjoy a little break!
Monday, September 21, 2015
So, disappointing as the pear situation was, this called for alcohol! You cant go wrong with boozy fruit, I say!
Picking through the bucket of pears, I ended up with enough peeled and cored slices to make 6 pints of brandied pears. And there was brandy syrup left over, which I am not about to throw away, so I canned that up too. If my taste testing before processing is any indication, these will make a lovely dessert this winter, poured over a slice of pound cake with a bit of real whipped cream. Or possibly eaten straight out of the jar. At midnight, when I am the only one awake.
How to make them? Easy schmeasy.
Brandy, duh, about 2 and a half cups.
About 30 smallish pears, or maybe 10 pounds total, ripened.
Lemon juice, 2 TBS
Sugar, 4 cups
Water, 3 cups (note: I had lots of syrup leftover, so you might get by with less water, and sugar to start with, or boil it down further to reduce it)
Whole cloves, or cinnamon sticks, if desired
6 sterilized pint jars and lids
Large pot or water bath canner if you are going to can these.
Peel, slice, and core your pears. I tossed mine into a large bowl of water with the lemon juice as I sliced, to keep them from browning. You can also sprinkle the lemon juice over the pears and mix to coat them.
In large saucepan, bring water, sugar, and spices to a boil. Add the pears, and boil for 5 minutes.
Strain out the pears, and fill your jars up to 1/2 inch below the rim. Leave the syrup simmering while you are filling the jars.
Once your jars are full, remove the syrup from the heat, scoop out the spices, add the brandy , and stir to mix well.
Pour the brandy syrup over the pears in the jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.
Remove any air bubble in jars by running a knife or spoon around the edges inside.
Make sure the rims of the jars are clean, and place lids and screw bands securely.
If you plan to can these, you will want to process them in a water bath for 15 minutes, adjusted for your altitude. Follow directions for general water bath canning procedures. There are many books and websites with directions. Here is a good one.
Water bath canning directions
Its not difficult, just basically you are immersing the jars in boiling water for a specified time, which not only sterilizes the contents but also seals the lids on the jars.
Remove the jars from the canner. If any jars fail to seal,(might take up to an hour) just put that jar in the frig and use it up within about two weeks. Poor you, being forced to eat them so soon.
And thats it!
And now I have to decide what to do with the approximate 60-70 pounds of apples I have left... and a small box of plums that a friend kindly shared.
I also continue to dehydrate everything in sight. Here are some apple slices, green chiles, cabbage, tomatoes, and mushrooms.
Saturday, September 19, 2015
I think I will go ahead and paint the sliding wood door here the barn color, like the stable door on the other side.
And the wood shed is under construction on the end.
Friday, September 18, 2015
|These huge sunflowers will each be about one third day's ration for our flock. They are a rich siurce of fat and protein. We will let them dry and then just toss the whole thing into the pen for them this winter.|
The plan is to try to grow most of our chicken's food, and get away from commercial feed products. Besides being expensive, these foods are all "dead" grains. It would be like you eating fortified cereal three times a day. You might get some vitamins and minerals and calories, but its not like real fresh food.
Growing their feed takes some infrastructure, and is a gradual process, but these foods will include things like sunflowers, oats, buckwheat, and corn, wich will be sprouted to increase its bioavailable nutrient content. . Live protein will be gotten from either mealworms or earthworms grown in a bin in the cellar. Unfortunately, this year's corn crop was mostly destroyed by wild turkey and deer. We hope to prevent that problem next year by fencing.
Chickens' natural diet is about 20% greens, which they get aplenty during the summer months. But how do we provide this kind of real food for them in the middle of winter?
I will sprout wheatgrass and other microgreens for them in the windòwsill, but I dont have enough space to grow all they need.
So this fall, I am taking some of the abundant harvest of kale, spinach, and chard, and dehydrating them. The resultant flakes of dry leaves can then be sprinkled over their other rations for a good nutritional boost.
By the way, it is this natural diet of greens and various insects that give eggs their deep orange colored yolks and rich flavor.
|Here two kinds of kale leaves are drying in a window screen on the front porch. I will run them through the dehydrator once they are mostly wilted, just to ensure they are really crispy dry for storage.|
Thursday, September 17, 2015
Well, not like a time-lapse photo. Maybe more like "garden progression". I was just looking at it today and remembering what it all was when we moved into the house 10 months ago.
What it looked like when we bought the house. Kinda weedy.
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Once we get a larger fence installed, it will be easier to jist turn them loose to do their goat mowing.
They are the cutest mowers ever.
Sorry for the awful photos, I cant seem to get any photo editing software to work on this tablet.
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
|THIS BUTTERNUT SQUASH IS GROWING THROUGH THE FENCE. WHO WILL WIN, FRUIT OR WIRE.?|