Sunday, September 8, 2019

Turkey Surprise!

The visual signs of fall are everywhere, but the most apparent thing and hardest to ignore is the cool weather we are having here.  We sure had a chilly weekend and although we haven't built a fire yet, I am pretty sure Kevin is thinking about it.  All I can say is thank goodness for our heated mattress pad!

I was busy  making soap on Monday and looked out the window to observe this... I call it The Meeting Of The Minds...  The picnic table isn't usually in the driveway but it was there temporarily while the lawn was being mowed.  I thought it was cute.

A lot of field work has gone on since the grain harvest.  The latest view from the milking stand shows that the field that was hay has been plowed, disced, and is now planted to winter wheat.

Our woods are still mostly green because of the type of trees we have.

The wild asters are in full flower:

and in the garden the roses are still blooming strong and are very fragrant.

Now- the reason for the title of the post.  Penelope the turkey hen had been missing for about a month.  I knew that it was possible that she was sitting on eggs, but since we saw no sign of her coming to the coop to eat, I also thought she might have died or been killed.

Turns out she was sitting on eggs.  Third time is a charm for her - she appeared in the yard on Friday with quite a bunch of tiny poults - it's hard to count them as she is always bustling them away when she sees us but estimates are 12 to 14.

Sigh... nice timing Penelope. 
 
That's it for this post; until next time, be well friends.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

September 1

Here we are, September already!

Since my last post the grain harvest has been wrapped up - the spring wheat is in the trailer waiting to be fanned and we have a little more hay in the barn.

The days are noticeably shorter - the morning view from the milking stand looks kind of like this:

 So here is a view from Saturday afternoon - a beautiful day!  You can see Rollie on his way in from raking the hay.
In the garden I am still waiting on ripe tomatoes.  It's been cool so they are not progressing very fast.  The pumpkins and squash that are planted in the strawbales look great though- you can see them peaking out here and there.

Speaking of peaking, can you spot Scruffy, the feral cat in the long grass?

The turkeys, while not big enough to send to the butcher yet, are getting big and the little toms are acting a lot like their dad.

I harvest a big bowl of rose hips today- this evening they are cooked up and draining.  I decided to make them into syrup.  I'll let you know how that turns out. 
And that is all I have for this evening.  Thanks for stopping by the blog, and until next time, be well friends!


Sunday, August 25, 2019

Early Sights and Smells of Fall

Wow, in only a few days it will be Labor Day weekend - the last hurrah of summer!  It's been a weird one for sure weather-wise - I just picked the first full size tomatoes today!  I sure hope frost holds off for a few weeks!

Here is a view from the driveway across the back yard to the field and woods beyond.  There are already a few leaves showing some color change.

One of the nice things about the changing seasons is the constant parade of wildflowers - here are some that are blooming now.



Out in the garden the roses are putting out a few more flowers, and the rose hips are large and red.


I got home from work on Wednesday or Thursday and found both of the combines in the farmyard - old and "new".

Turned out that the John Deere had a belt that was down to a few threads so the old combine was pulled out to be Plan B.  The oats were ready and are now in the bin.  Kori was home this weekend and helped out with baling up the straw.  Thank you Kor Kor!

I harvested the rest of the garlic on Monday and it is all hung in the garage - it really smells good out there and I love to just look at it - makes me kind of proud - it's really nice stuff.  It needs to cure for a while and then I can trim and clean it up.
The kids moved today from the Winter coop-yard back in with the does.  Hopefully they are fully weaned now.  I will know for sure when I milk tomorrow morning - they may be moving back out again if they are not!  Tamarack and Poppy also got their first hoof trims.  You can tell from the way Poppy is kind of crouching on the milking stand that she doesn't like what is happening here but she did enjoy the snack!


If we couldn't tell any other way, the changing season is announced by Ranger's odor.  Oh boy - it's hard describe the smell of a rutting buck!  He has been living in the back yard for the last couple of weeks but today he moved with his paddock and shelter much further from the house!
 Thank you for visiting the blog - until next time, be well friends!



Sunday, August 11, 2019

Wheat Harvest and Garden Update


We have two kinds of wheat here - winter wheat planted last fall and spring wheat.  The winter wheat is Turkey Red, a heritage variety and that is now harvested.

First Rollie swathed it, which is really just cutting it with a machine called a swather - no pictures of that this time, sorry.  Then Kevin finally got to use the Behemoth - the new to us combine.  It's not so big by the big farmer standards, but much bigger than what we have had before.  It made pretty short work of the two little fields of wheat.



Back in the farm yard the wheat was unloaded into this dump wagon - to me it looks like the thing is vomitng!



The last thing to do is bale up the straw.  None of the usual help was available- Rollie and Ardis were off to a reunion, Kurt was working Duluth this week, I was still at my job and Kori was in Philadelphia on vacation. Kevin put the call out to his scouts.  Wyatt and his dad Tim came to the rescue!  By all accounts they had a pretty good time too.



I am working on another harvest - the garlic.  I have about 1/3 of it drying in the garage now and it looks very good to me.

Here are a few photos from the garden.  The tomatoes in the straw bales are doing way better than those in pots.



The pumpkins and squash love the straw bales.

I will close with an updated view from the milking stand.  Ever changing, I never get tired of it.

Until next time, be well friends

Sunday, August 4, 2019

The Pleasure and Pain of Berry Picking, and another Turkey Curiosity


The raspberries are abundant this year.  I didn’t get time to pick them as I should have this week so when I picked this morning there were many that were overripe and many on the ground- a sad sight.  The deerflies are also abundant so there was a bit of bloodletting.



The strawbale and circle bed plantings are looking good – more on the garden and wheat harvest next week.
Ranger’s paddock and shelter gets moved every week or so.  This morning Kevin moved him right into the backyard.  What we call the Black Forest is a clump of trees that were planted in what was a garden area many years ago – “just for now”.  I am sure Ranger will enjoy the shade and chewing on the trees and some weedy shrubby things that have grown up along the edges. 

While Kevin was working on this project, I looked out the window and it occurred to me that there are some plants there that were part of a perennial planting along the edge of the old garden.  I quickly googled to find out if day lilies might be toxic for goats.  I didn’t find them on any list but found another problem plant – Lily of the Valley.  Oh dear.

I went out to check, hoping that they had maybe died down for the summer but there they were, thriving in the shade under the trees.  A beloved plant that reminds me of my grandma every spring had suddenly become a vile enemy and I got in there and started ruthlessly ripping them out and hurling them over the fence.  More bloodletting ensued but I got most of it.   
Ranger seems to be good with the new arrangement anyway.

So, can you stand to hear about the turkeys yet again?

You may recall that Peanut hatched these poults right around Memorial Day.  She kept them to herself and frequently took them out to the field.  After a few weeks she started keeping them around the farmyard more but kept them away from Penelope and Tom; if they came near she would defend the poults and chase them away.  More recently, all the turkeys are friends and they have melded into a flock.  The point is, Tom has had no part of the poult rearing – or so we though.

Last Sunday there were storms over a large part of our state – some quite severe.  We drove down to the cities right through a deluge for a family party and from the looks of things it rained pretty hard here at home too.  We got home after dark and I still had to milk.  I was milking Vinca (who was quite crabby about this disruption to the usual routine) when I noticed Tom roosting on the hay wagon – just a few feet away from me.  He had both wings spread out protecting three of the poults!  I could hardly believe my eyes, and no camera of course.  Kevin came by in a few minutes and I quietly told him to go get his phone; he was able to take this picture by coming around to the backside of the barn.  A couple of them had gotten down by then but you get the idea I hope.
 
I hope this post hasn’t gotten too wordy and long – thank you for hanging in there to the end.  Next week we will be posting about the wheat harvest.  Until then, be well friends.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

What Kori and Debby had for dinner on Friday

The title of this post is quite different from my usual and I don't usually post photos of food but that is what you are going to get today.

First though because I don't like to do posts without critter pictures, here are the turkeys.  They are getting to be a bit of a pain as they like to roost on everything.  Not that the roosting is so bad, but they have to leave a little something behind wherever they pause.

Now, back to the food thing.  I had the privilege to represent our farm at the Sprout MN's Summer Harvest Dinner as a featured farmer.  Kori came along with me while Kevin stayed home and milked the goats.  Kori took pictures of each course.

I will start with a photo of the menu.  Many of you probably know that you can make the image on your screen bigger by holding the the control key and scrolling your mouse, but if you didn't now you do.

Course by course as the dinner was served the chef, sommelier, and featured farmer each took the microphone for a minute or two.

First course:
This was the tapas course - Kori was actually missing one item but she did get it.  The mini taco was so good - two bites!

Second course:
This was awesome, and I got to eat Kori's mushrooms - her loss!

Third course:
The bun for the slider was made with our Turkey Red whole wheat flour
 Fourth course:
This lamb was really excellent although we were getting a little full by then. 
And dessert, this is the course that I was the featured farmer for:
I do not have the words to describe just how amazing this was - and this was made with our flour too! 

Everything was just delicious.  Everyone there appreciated good, healthy local foods and the people who produce it.  I was just so happy to be there!

Thank you for reading our blog and being interested in our farm.  Kevin and I really enjoy sharing our experiences with you.  Until next time, be well friends!



Sunday, July 21, 2019

Vacation ??? Week

This week was much different than our normal routine.  Kevin and Kurt took time off from their jobs and went to camp with the scouts.  I took time off from my town job too but just stayed home and worked here.

They swatted bugs, slept in tents, tubed down the river, and had campfires.  I rendered lard, made soap and lotion, then made more soap and more lotion.  I did get over to my cousin's place - Righteous Oaks Farm and harvested some calendula flowers.  At home, I dehydrated them.

Before: 
 
After:


At some point I plan to infuse some oil with them and make a batch of soap. 

Here is an updated view from the milking stand - the Turkey Red winter wheat is ripening but is not yet ready to harvest.


This evening we checked the rest of the grain.  This is the spring wheat which is planted in a field just down the road that is rented from a neighbor.  It's looking pretty good.

And this is the barley - not looking that great - this is also in a rented field, a different neighbor but near by.

 This is what those grains look like close up.  Barley on the left, the spring wheat on the right.

The buckwheat is blooming like crazy - the bees love it!

I will finish up this post with the turkeys - they are growing quickly and are much less shy.  They tend to stick together and stay close around the house and out-buildings now.  We thought there would be a second batch of poults, but something has taken all of Penelope's eggs and she has rejoined the flock.

That's it for this evening friends.  I should be back next week - until then, be well.