Tuesday, November 17, 2015

First snow

Awoke in the middle of the night and the weatherguessers were almost correct.  Instead of clear precipitation, it was white.  But at 36 degrees, it won't last long.

This is the first snow for the turkeys and a handful of pullets and cockerels.  The turkeys were the most dramatic.  They were extremely disturbed by the offensive stuff.  Chicken Girl had to shoo them out of the coop.  Three hens flew out and only one made it into the run, the other flew onto the fence and the third went to the right of the run and landed in the snow.  She stood there, paralyzed, and loudly chirped her protests.  I took pity on her and carried her to the run.  The rest that were in the coop took the cue and came flying out in all directions.  I am grateful I survived the event.

This year's chicks could care less except for a couple of them who make flying/hopping advances around the yard.  They look for spots of clear ground where someone walked so they don't get snow between their chicky toes.

But it is always interesting (and sometimes entertaining) when the 'new' birds in the coop get their first snow.

Monday, November 9, 2015

When The Frost Is On The Punkin

Will be in the kitchen today since the rain is coming down, so I will leave you with this wonderful little poem that I ran across this morning.  It kind of sums it all up.  Enjoy!

When the Frost is on the Punkin
By James Whitcomb Riley (1853-1916)

When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin’ turkey-cock,
And the clackin’ of the guineys, and the cluckin’ of the hens,
And the rooster’s hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it’s then’s the times a feller is a-feelin’ at his best,
With the risin’ sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.

They’s something kindo’ harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer’s over and the coolin’ fall is here—
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossums on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin’-birds and buzzin’ of the bees;

But the air’s so appetizin’; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur’ that no painter has the colorin’ to mock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.

The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin’ of the tangled leaves, as golden as the morn;
The stubble in the furries—kindo’ lonesome-like, but still
A-preachin’ sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill;
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
The hosses in theyr stalls below—the clover over-head!—
O, it sets my hart a-clickin’ like the tickin’ of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock!

Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps
Is poured around the celler-floor in red and yeller heaps;
And your cider-makin’ ’s over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With their mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and saussage, too! ...
I don’t know how to tell it—but ef sich a thing could be
As the Angels wantin’ boardin’, and they’d call around on me
I’d want to ’commodate ’em—all the whole-indurin’ flock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Winter preps

We're still here.  Just have been busy racing against the clock of Old Man Winter creeping closer.  Snow levels dropped pretty low a couple of days ago and we received some much needed rain.  Most of that mountain snow is gone now and the chilly nights are now more commonplace.  But sooner or later the snow levels will be here in the valley.  The way it felt today, with the wind chill, it feels like it is already here.

Lots of activity in and around the greenhouse.  The shade screen has been removed from the roof, the roof window vent replaced and moved to the southern side, several roof caps replaced and the louvre window repaired.

Pepper plants that are to be wintered over have been dug out and settled in their respective pots, the inner 'tent' set up and the sissy plants moved into place under the plastic.  I'm still debating on whether to winter over the peppers or just let them go and plant some lettuces or something instead.  I have some long pots with romaine and arugula but want to have some loose leaf and maybe either kale or spinach.

All the peppers, tomatoes and tomatillo plants are pulled and removed from the garden.  And, hopefully, all the fallen tomatillos have been picked up so NOT to have the explosion of 'volunteers' that appeared this year.  I didn't stay on top of them.  Once they bloomed I let them go because the bees love them.  They go nuts over the blooms and I wanted to keep the girls happy.  I just should have pulled the plants once the blooms were done.  Tomatillos are prolific plants, so if you grow them don't plant too many.

Before the rain came only half of the garden is tilled.  I will have to wait a couple of days for it to dry out before I can hit it again.  I've been trying to dig out the blasted common mallow plant since it can propagate from its root and  I don't want to replant them back into the garden.  It is slow and tedious digging but it does work in abatement.  Now, if it was just as successful in getting rid of farmers' bind weed!

All the melon plants, cukes, beans and sunflowers are gone.  Still digging out potatoes... they did really well.... and carrots are still plugging along.  They may have to have a cover put over them if we get snow.

The last major crop is cabbage.  Most will get fermented into sauerkraut and we'll keep a few for fresh eating.  I'm praying that the wind will continue tonight so we don't get a hard freeze.

The woodshed is nearly full and what wood is ready to be split was covered before the rain came.  We have some piles of bark and larger scrap pieces that are left from the splitter that we have been burning in the fireplace instead of using the nicer pieces since it is not all that cold, yet.  Some of those junk pieces are also being used to cook with in the grill.  Around here people do not grill in the winter so bags of charcoal are on the pricey side so in an effort to reduce expenses I'm trying to cook with wood.  Let's just say that it has been a learning curve in cooking with wood but I am getting better at it!  (The family is grateful for that.)  Oh, and did I mention our 'new' grill that we scored from the 'free for the taking' section at the dump?  Woot!

The fireplace has been cleaned, inspected and the firebox cleaned of all soot.  Some of the wood leaves a lot of ash and will fill up space quickly.   It will get cleaned out again once snow starts falling.

Hoses have been drained and rolled up ready to go to the barn.  Outdoor chairs, benches and tables will all be put into the barn, too, to be protected from the weather, as will the smaller chick pens and houses.

The granary and some fencing are still in need of repairs but our gracious neighbor lady gave us some fencing wire and tin for the granary roof, so now that the woodshed is nearly full, we can fit those projects in.

Calves got their weaning shots and we're going to give it go with weaning paddles.  Today was manure management day for the barnyard, corral and livestock trailer cleaned up from the calves.  The bull pen got it yesterday.

Rain is forecasted again but that should bring some warmer temps so we can get one last inspection of the bees, take some honey and get them set up for winter with some bee candy and the hives wrapped with black roofing paper.  Their 'candy' has been made, cut into blocks and set onto cookie trays.  I took advantage of the wind to help it dry out quicker by setting them outside on the picnic table.

Lovely assortment
The coops/runs need a go-over with some hay from out of the goat stall and the dogs/goose have been officially evicted from the greenhouse and moved to the barn with the goats. The shed by the coop needs to be re-arranged since it dual purpose of housing the big tiller and feed over the winter.... and hidden eggs all year round from the handful of meandering chickens.  It is always amazing how a hen can squeeze under the door gap, then under a shelf to lay an egg.  Or you put your hand into a bag of shavings to find an egg or two.  They are quite good at hiding them or not hiding them.  Like in the ash bucket in the back of the shop or in the middle of the run.... by the feeder.

The list is long and the days getting shorter.  As long as there are not many interruptions, we'll get it whittled down.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Take heed

The day before stew.....

A good read.... to get you motivated....


I'm heading out to the garden to finish picking green tomatoes for fermenting.  What are you going to do?

Noise pollution... country style

... farmers and ranchers expenses pdf d clip art photos 1 beef 2 cattle 
It's that time of year.... weaning time.  Oh, the ruckus with all the cry baby calves and the few mama's looking for their young 'uns.   With the cool nights the windows are closed but you still hear them bawlin' through the night.  Makes our bull 'moo' back.  Soon it will quiet down and be just another reminder that winter is around the corner. 

The nights are getting colder and longer.  Daylight doesn't appear until 8:00 in the morning.  The daytime temperatures have been deceiving with 80 degrees. A lovely Indian summer.  The poor tomatoes and peppers are confused.  New blooms and another round of tomatoes.  I'll pickling/fermenting green tomatoes this year.  The sauerkraut and cucumbers are excellent.  Nice and crispy with good flavor.

Wood is being chopped and stacked, the garden is getting the last of it harvested and preserved... the list is endless..... we'll get a little rest when there's some snow on the ground.  But we toil on.  And Lord knows, we need some good snowfall this year.

The storm clouds are rolling in.  In more ways than one. Stopped into a couple consignment stores and they are stuffed to the gills.  Not much buying and not much selling either.  People are jettisoning stuff to make ends meet. Prices are rising.  Even at thrift stores.  Take heed.

Saturday, October 10, 2015


It's been a while since my last post.  Camera still on the blink, so no new pics.  We've been busy with trying to get everything tied down for winter.  The weather has been misleading.  Mid-70's during the day but the mornings are very cool.  No frost, but it will be here soon enough.  Wood still needs to be cut, split and stacked, the garden cleaned up and cow pies tossed in, the usual maintenance and care of the animals, and all the things that life throws at you.  Oh, yeah... and it is deer season.  Ugh!  It always messes up whatever we are trying to get done.

All the cubicle hunters from the southern part of the state all venture up to the middle part of the state to do their hunting.  Now, mind you, we are not against hunting.  We're all for it.  Elk is tasty.  And there is that gang of deer that terrorize my garden at various times during the growing season.  This year they crossed the line by not only chomping on my tomatoes, but also the pumpkins.  I was told that they would do it and now I know that the old timers were not pulling my leg when they said that deer love pumpkin, too.  So for the past few months the dogs have been sleeping in their kennels out in the garden, much to their dismay, along with the goose.  If the lazy dogs sleep through the garden invaders sneaking up on the garden, the goose will let out a honk which will wake the snoozing dogs so they can bark at the garden predators.  And the deer know that the dogs mean business since the one dog loves to give chase.

But now the invaders are the cubicle hunters who come to town with their quads and 4-wheelers.  Very few stick to the 'trails', they make their own.  And I'm pretty sure that most of them can't read. "No Trespassing/No Hunting" signs don't apply to them and apparently are color blind, too.  Orange posts mean nothing.  Oh, and they are definitely liberal since they do not believe in private property rights.  Every year, since we purchased the homestead, Mr. H has to get up before the crack of dawn to head on over to the main thoroughfare of the property (a power line easement) to turn the trespassers back and give them a quick insight as to where they are in terms of what is PRIVATE and what is public (BLM borders the back part of the property).  Most have been polite but there are a few that get upset and voice their opinion using their limited vocabulary.  Then there is the numerous vehicles that stop at the top of the roadway to peer down into the bowl with their binoculars and scopes to see where the game are on the property.  Um, those are cows.... you know... the kind that say 'moooooo'.

There is a good portion of the property that does not have fence but it is posted, yet these guys love to drive wherever they please.  The quad traffic has slowed down a bit for us but the adjacent ranch, that has no home or outbuildings on it, had about 15 quads and trucks traveling through like they owned the place.  A couple of weeks ago a hunter let out his cows.  A few days ago we had two of his heifers show up and this afternoon, a cow/calf pair wandered in looking for water and rest.

These guys all think they can hunt where they want despite fences and postings.  Last year we had a guy who drove on the power line easement across our neighbor's property (which is clearly posted with very large signs), parked on the neighbor's property, hiked up the power line easement, climbed over our fence, shot an elk in our pasture which hopped the fence into the back field and died.  He had to climb over another fence to get to the elk.  By the time Mr. H got to him, he was already dressing it.  Mr. H asked him "Do you have any idea where you are?"  Cubicle Hunter: "Yes, BLM".  Mr. H: "Only if you drag that carcass 400 more yards to the north".  This fellow's dad had told him it was a good place to hunt since he had permission to hunt there several years ago.  Apparently, they pass down the 'privilege' to the next generation even though that privilege expired years ago.  They don't have a clue and don't care.

Just another opening day of deer season. I'll be glad when it is over so we can get something productive done.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

End of season gardening sales

Just because it is autumn and cooling down it does not mean you should not be planning next year's garden.  Check out some of the online seed peddlers to pick up on some good discounts on this year's seeds.  Store them in a cool, dark place and you'll be good to go next year.  Especially tomatoes and peppers that take longer to go from seed to production and you'll need to start them flats in January or February.  Some online stores are even offering free shipping, so it is a good time to take advantage of the sales.

Short on cash, then sell something you're not using or have no use for if you have to, to take advantage of the end of year sales.  We've been trying to sell off some items just to squeak through to the end of the year.  The monthly insurance extortion payments are taking a good chunk of what is left of the finances.  I pay them in protest and curse them each time I sign the check over.  And please no suggestions to get a job... age discrimination is alive and well, which I am sure is result of the insurance companies (workman's comp).  What a racket.

Anyways, enough of the mini-rant.  The above is even more of a good reason to get up and start planning your outdoor gardens for next year.  Check out the online seed sellers and see what kind of savings you can get.  The cost of everything is only going to get higher (can't possibly be 'inflation', eh?) and that $2/head lettuce you purchased this week (from south of the border) will continue to jump in price.  Not to mention the recalls that have been going on for cucumbers grown there, too.   Grow your own.  Only you have you and your family's best interest in mind.