Sunday, August 13, 2017

Another Chilly August Day...

The calendar tells us that it is mid-August.  Our high temp today was 62 degrees.  Just doesn't seem right.

I just have a bunch of random thoughts this evening and am not even sure where to begin.  You might be wondering how the pigs are doing - I'll say not that great.  At least none of them died this week but their condition and lack-luster appetite is concerning.

In the coops, the turkeys are routinely putting themselves outside of the fence and then calling until I trot out to open the gate so they can go back in.  I'm getting pretty well trained. 

The pumpkin patch is looking pretty good.  I tried to get some pictures out there of the blossoms and one of the bigger pumpkins but they are just not blog worthy, sorry about that - so you get these:

Cheese - Kurt and I made this farmhouse cheddar around the end of October and it has been aging in the wine fridge since then.  The flavor is good - quite sharp, but the texture is on the dry side.  It does not melt like a store-bought cheddar does so it wasn't a hit in Kurt's omelet. I am really enjoying crumbling it up on my salads and I think it would be good in a pasta salad, so may give that a try.

Spot - She has a talent for finding the sunniest place to nap - here on the dusty backside of the baler.
Ok, just noticed the wrapper on the baling twine next to her ... that makes me giggle a little - wonder what she is dreaming about?

Hoover - He likes to hang out as close to me as he can, so that means he is frequently underfoot in the kitchen.  You might think this was just a momentary pose but I believe he was sleeping when I took this one.  The kitchen floor was recently redone in painted plywood (thank you Rollie!).  That is working out okay so far although I do intend to put another coat on at some point - this winter maybe?
Sunflowers - behind the house they are really blooming - just beautiful.  I took 2 pails of them to the farmer's market yesterday to sell by the stem and they sold out by 10:30.  I will take more next week and hope they go well again.
With that, I will wish you a fine evening.  Be well friends!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Harvesting begins

Wow, this has been such busy weekend for me - I haven't been home a whole lot.  This post will be brief and short on photos I am afraid!

Our first harvest of the Turkey Red winter wheat is combined and in the shed.  We didn't get the yield we had hope for, but for a first time growing it we did all right. We will keep a little to grind for flour, and a little for our favorite local bread baker, but most of it will be going back into the ground in a couple weeks for this next year.  We will also have hard spring wheat to harvest later this fall - that is the the wheat we've been growing for several years now.
Rollie is at it again

We haven't lost any  more pigs but we are still concerned about their health - will keep you posted on that.  And reports of the demise of our turkeys have been erroneous.  They all just great. 

One of the things that has been filling my time is an event that our Sustainable Farming group is planning - we call it Farm2Familes.  It is a community event to bring farmers and consumers together in a fun and educational way to benefit all.  That's coming up on August 26.

Today I just had fun.  My friends Sara and I did a 5K in Minneapolis this morning that ended in Target Field and then attended the Twins game in the afternoon.  After the drive home from the cities I am whipped but will be ready to do it again next year!
Outside Target Field afterward - kind of sweaty but all smiles!
One more thing I will add - the sunflowers are starting to bloom providing buckets of sunshine which we take to the farmer's market to share. 

Until next week, be well friends!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

And Then There Were Four

I will get the bad news over with right away.  We have had another pig loss.  Hopefully that will be the last one we lose this season.

Speaking of the pigs though...  Kevin gives me a hard time now and then for getting sidetracked.  Multi-tasking is my usual mode of living around here and I cannot deny that I do forget things and lose items because of it.  Today though, someone who wasn't me didn't chain the pig gate closed.  Four wandering piggies can do quite a bit of damage in a short amount of time!  The area in front of the summer coop was the site of a major excavation and Kevin had to get Bob(cat) out to repair the mess.  They visited the composting area and rooted up some turf there - I include the picture not because the rooting is so interesting, but because the squash or pumpkin that has volunteered there is so nice looking!


No one saw them in the garden, but the evidence is telling the story.  At least one pig wandered in there (yes, the garden gate was open).  Amazingly, the miscreant only plowed down between the tomato plants.  Other than messing up my mulching job, nothing was damaged! 

The garden is a mess - lots of weeds that I just do not have time to manage.  Everything is behind schedule of course from late planting.  I did pick sugarsnap peas today - yum, and the raspberries are really abundant.  I have to admit that I do a bit of grazing while picking - they are so good.

Just a couple more photos to add, then off to bed with me.  The first is of some of my hens.  I put an extension on the summer coop pasture so they would have more grass.

And this turkey who made it up to the roof of the coop, and then was reluctant to fly down.  He did eventually of course. 

And lastly - the new addition to the goat herd!  He doesn't have a name yet and already I can tell he's going to be trouble.  I caught him in the middle of my squash patch!

Next week I will let you know how the winter wheat harvest went.  Until then, be well friends.



Sunday, July 23, 2017

Ups and Downs of Farm Life

It was quite a week.  As I mentioned last time, Kevin was off to camp so I had pig chores to do.  They haven't been eating as enthusiastically as they should lately and some of them are on the thin side.  On Tuesday, I found out why.  Without going into detail, I found evidence that they have worms.  So did some research on this thinking that when Kevin got home we would get some product and take care of this problem.  I was not prepared to find a deceased pig on Wednesday morning!  And it wasn't even one of the thinner ones - it was the one I referred to as The Cadillac Pig - long and black - the largest and nicest one out there!  More research and phone calls to find out what was available locally.  On Thursday talked to our vet and Ardis helped me out by driving to the vet's office to pick  up an inject-able wormer. 

So, Thursday evening, Rollie and I were going to inject these pigs.  Right....  He was the catcher, I was the sticker.  We gave them some slop and he caught one of the remaining black ones.  In went the shot, with the porker squealing blood murder.  And that was the end of that.  What followed was Rollie and I getting some exercise following the pigs around the paddock and not getting near any of them!

Enough with the pigs.  Except that I did take a couple of pictures of them today.  The black ones have these floppy ears so we don't see much of their eyes. 

Today I got low and yep - they do have eyes under there!  

The trouble with trying to take pictures of pigs is that they keep coming too close!
I will share a little success story from the Winter Coop. 

This hen was very lame.  She had some kind of injury and could only get around by hopping around on one leg .  Mainly she just rested on the ground most of the time.  The other hens were starting to pick on her so I moved her in with the chicks and turks.  I really didn't expect her to live but she kept eating  and after about three weeks, she is doing much better!  She moves around on both legs with just a slight limp and has started laying eggs again. 

And now a little mystery story.  Behind our house is a grove of densely planted pine trees that we call the Black Forest.  These started as tiny trees planted out in the garden in the 80's and they never got transplanted.  Now they are quite large and impenetrable and provide a good home for birds and who knows what else.  Yesterday, I noticed a bit of color out there while standing at the kitchen sink - thought it was probably something that blew in there - a scrap of paper or plastic escaped from the trash... anyway, I went out to take a closer look and sure got a surprise!

This base of this lily is about 2 feet back under the tree branches. We have lived here for 15 years now - there has never been flowers there.  Maybe Ardis planted this a long time ago?  How did it survive? 

I will close with a turkey picture - this one launched herself off the roof to freedom but after a while missed her siblings - isn't she pretty?

Be well friends!


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Mid-July Moments


Today is Kevin's birthday and he left for a week of camp with the scouts.  Hopefully he will find time to relax a little while he is there.   Kurt and I get to do some extra chores but it's not too bad really.  Note to self though - wear knee high boots when feeding the piggies - I had muddy noseprints on my bare legs this afternoon. 

The chicks are getting so big!  The two batches and the turkeys are all co-mingled in the Winter Coop now.  The younger chicks stay to themselves; I have not seen the bigger ones pick on them at all, but the little ones do seem to be intimidated by them.  The picture below shows some of the older chicks.  Notice how some of the red birds have grey legs?  That must be some of the Austrolorp in them coming through.
I haven't said much about the garden this season.  I've had to scale back a bit from what I usually plant.  The tomatoes look pretty good; none ripe yet but the plants look decent.  Overall the garden is doing ok, such that it is.  The weeds certainly are flourishing.  It looks like I will be busy with raspberries in a few days. 


This post is pretty brief, I was just to busy to take many pictures or even think creatively it seems.  I do have these to share - the first  is some half-formed cattails, I think they are pretty interesting. 

And then caught a silly photo of Forest -

Be well friends.


Sunday, July 9, 2017

Mid-Summer Simmer

Another week gone again.  This one was notable for the holiday, and some stormy weather. 

I spent part of Independence Day out in the garden - a beautiful day!  As you may know, we move the pig shelter an paddock around every few days, and on Tuesday they were right up against the garden.  The smell of roses and the smell of swine makes for an interesting combination!  I did enjoy listening to them talking to each other in their grunting pig language.

We had storms roll through Thursday morning (at least I think that is when it was) starting shortly after mid-night and continuing on most of the night.  We could have done without the hail!  We were worried about the grain of course, but it seems to be fine here.  There is damage to crops in other parts so we are fortunate.  The pumpkin plants did get beat up a little, but are flourishing anyway.

A new crop for us is buckwheat.  It is blooming now and I walked out to get a closer look this afternoon.  It's kind of pretty and the butterflies and bees are loving it!  The field was just humming.

Those turkeys!  I tried again for a better picture - they are such pretty birds - I think so anyway.  Two of them are pretty dark and three fairly light.  I think (not for sure) that the three light ones are hens and the two dark ones are toms.  You can see a couple of the chicks in the photo also - these are from the first hatch and are getting big.

And just sharing - my clematis is blooming and is so pretty!

Thank you for stopping by the blog.  Until next week, be well friends!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

July

I cannot be the only one who is astonished to find that it's July already.  Independence Day this week, AND the Aitkin County Fair.  It's way, way too early to be fair time!  Most years we take some grain, some canning and baking, maybe a quilt, but this year there won't be any exhibits from us - just too darn busy.

So I want to show you how big the pigs are getting. Kevin moves their house and pen every few days and they make short work of digging up the ground.  They moved again today; these photos are from yesterday.
The three black pigs are much bigger than the others - I guess we should have gotten six of those!  The brown one is the smallest - here you can see the size difference.

Speaking of getting much bigger - check out the turkeys!

As usual I had to herd them into a corner to get a picture - most of the time I see them like this - trying to get away from me... ingrates!
We've had a fair bit of rain this week but today was sunny - the hens took advantage to do some sun-bathing.  The one on the right is one of three Dark Cornish that I have - really beautiful birds.  You will notice that the black one has clipped wing feathers - she's a naughty one!
Lastly, a little addition to the naughty dog story from last week - you would think I would be a little more careful!  Last night I put the laundry basket filled with dirty clothes out on the landing to make sure I wouldn't forget it in the morning when I went down.  Well - I left it just a little to close to where Hoover sleeps clipped to the railing.  You can guess what happened...  -  no picture of my chewed up bra though!

In closing, I will wish you all a safe Independence Day.  Be well friends.