Friday, August 29, 2014

We're Outta Here!

It's raining, but who cares!  We are off to our week of water, trees, rocks, good company, and  no cell service!!!

The critters and garden are in good hands, thanks to Kurt, Kori, Rollie,and Ardis.  Thanks so much!

So, come back in a week for a BWCA update!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A stormy & busy weekend

Now this is August!  Heat, rain, tornado warnings!  We could do without some of this humidity though! 

Saturday went by so fast I don't know where it went.  All of us were busy with various tasks but we all had to work together to help the corn.  You may recall from my last blogpost that the cornmeal corn was flattened (We've fallen and we can't get up!).  A little garden life-alert button was pushed, and we responded with fence posts and baling twine.  It's not pretty, but hopefully it won't rot!  We really got pounded with a thunderstorm again this morning, but the corn stayed up anyway.

The garden is really producing and I picked tomatoes, more sugarsnap peas, salad greens, green beans, etc.  I am keeping a close eye on those melons, but haven't dared to pick anymore.
Just a few things from Saturday

We've had some geese hanging out in the field this past week or so, on and off, and yesterday we had some visiting sandhill cranes.  It seems like there are not so many around this year so I tried to get their picture. 

They didn't care for my attention and left

As did the geese, but they came back
We are getting ready for our trip to the BWCA.  The goats will be leaving for goatcamp on Tuesday evening and we will be taking off on Friday.  I don't know if there will be a blog here again until we get back... maybe Tuesday, but maybe not. 

Until next time, be well friends!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Of Rain, Wind, and Sun

It’s Tuesday, and I am at home enjoying some precious vacation hours.  We had another rainstorm yesterday around suppertime.  It didn’t last long, but it has left its mark.  There was a little hail but I did not notice that it was especially windy.  Must have been though.  I had a pretty sad sight to see in the garden this morning.
In case any of you reading this are non-gardeners, I will say that corn’s natural posture is vertical.  This horizontal position is not desirable at all. 

I have three kinds of corn this year.  One is very small patch of bi-color corn for fresh eating (almost ready to eat… like maybe tomorrow?) and that was not damaged.  And we have a good size patch of yellow “canning” corn (Jubilee, not much gets canned actually, mostly it’s frozen) which looks just fine (it’s a very late variety and is not ready yet either).  This flattened corn is my cornmeal corn.  Maybe (probably) it caught the wind because it was so tall; much of it was eight feet or better.

So, as I was picking the beans today I was thinking of another story (oh no, here she goes again!) but nothing to do with beanstalks.  It’s the old one about how Sun and Wind got into an argument about who was stronger so Sun challenged Wind to make the human guy on the ground take his coat off.  So the wind blew and blew, but the man only wrapped his coat around himself more tightly.  Then Sun said “I can make him take his coat off” and proceeded to do just that. 

Well, looking at my corn, I'd say that Wind has won this round.  I have seen this happen before though, and I have seen corn as flat as this stand up again.  So we will see.  Maybe Sun (and I) will win in the end.

A couple of my tomatoes were blown over, cages and all, but they were easy enough to stand up again.  Picked a few cherry tomatoes, but overall the tomatoes are pretty slow in maturing.  Picked cucumbers and zucchini, more beans, and some onions.  I was really happy to find a pretty large amount of sugar snap peas too, and this beautiful broccoli and cauliflower.  Today I am expressing gratitude for the unknown person who invented row covers, because these cabbage relatives are spotless and have no little green tenants.

I also harvested basil and oregano for drying today.  The basil is done, dried in the microwave again, and the oregano is in the dehydrator.  We go through a LOT of oregano around here because we have pizza pretty much weekly and make our own sauce.  It’s easy… really!

The goats are pretty happy too.  They enjoyed a care package of treats from Leslie this morning, AND got broccoli and cauliflower leaves…. A particular favorite!
I had an amazing salad for lunch, and there will be some awesome stir-fry for supper tonight.  I love this time of year!!!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

A Rainy Sunday

Here it is Sunday evening and I have posted nothing on this blog.  That's because there's not too much going on that's new.  I suspect come winter once a month will suffice for farm updates...

Saturday was spent much like last Tuesday...picking beans, canning beans, and miscellaneous chores.  We got some much needed rain in the afternoon, and today it has been raining on and off all day.  And chilly.  I don't believe that we attained 60 degrees.  The house is pretty cool too... I myself have four layers on the top half to be comfortable... really!  It was a good day to work on indoor things and there are always plenty of those to do.  Used the opportunity to put together pancake mix and frybread mix for our upcoming BWCA trip, and the last of the dehydrating is done - pizza sauce this time. 

We also got over to Righteous Oaks Farm to visit Ranger and trim his hooves.  I should have brought the camera along but did not.  He's grown a bit and I was surprised at how long his beard has gotten.  I gave that a trim too since it is a handy place for cockle burrs to accumulate. 

Anyway, do have a couple of photos to share.  This first one is of some very pretty beets.  I ran out of room and did not plant beets this year.  These came from Toni, who brought them to work.  They were Enormous; I have never had such huge beets.  They are an heirloom (Chiogga I am thinking) and very tasty.  I had to cut them up, so they did not look nearly so pretty after they were cooked.  I am sparing you an "after" picture. 


And this is Vinca.  Our does have flower names and I have found that not many people have even heard of Vinca around here.  So, I ordered some seed, and this is what it looks like.  Sort of like an impatient, but not.
Vinca minor, sometimes known as Periwinkle
Berube's Split Rock Vinca

and just for fun... my embroidered version!
So, that's it for this week.  Thanks for stopping by the blog!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Terrific Tuesday Mid-August Style

So first, since I didn’t get to it on Sunday, I want to let you know how that watermelon came out.
Not so good.  The inside was edible, but the chickens got a pretty large share.  The rest of them will stay put for a while.

Repetitive outdoor tasks offer ample opportunity for what I call “good think time”.  Whether it is running, hoeing, or picking beans, being outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine is so good for the head.  If I start out worried, stressed, or just plain old crabby, it just won’t last long out there.  Maybe Mother Nature should be renamed, Dr. Nature…

So today, the task was picking beans.  I first reflected, of course, upon what an incredibly beautiful day it is.  I took a moment to be truly grateful for my job, which allows me to live here and provides ample vacation days to do what I really want to be doing on an amazingling gorgeous day.  Then I thought that whoever came up with the story “Jack and the Beanstalk” really must have been picking pole beans when he or she came up with it.  I don’t remember just why it was that Jack decided to climb the beanstalk, but I do recall he had been ripped off by somebody who ended up with his cow.  Not the brightest lad, that Jack.  Maybe he was still suffering from a concussion from that spill down the hill with Jill… anyway…

Tempting.... but I recommend some safety gear!

We got some much needed rain on Sunday.  We were away much of the day, taking Carolyn and her furry entourage back home to her little cottage in the suburbs.  On the way home we took advantage of the shopping opportunities in Cambridge to get our BWCA trip supplies.  A couple of hours in Cub and Walmart and we were very ready to get home!  Just a couple more weeks and we’ll be off to spend a week unplugged in the wilderness with two of our favorite people! 
One wonders, just how big can a zucchini plant get? 

Note to self...plant the zucchini further away from the path next year!
 It’s after lunch now, and after I push the PUBLISH button, I will be doing a repetitive indoor task, which is snapping beans followed up by canning them. I will be listening to an audiobook for that... thank you Carolyn!

I was thinking this blog wouldn’t have any critter pictures in it today, but when I went to get the mail, I just happened to have the camera in my pocket and these pesky (albeit graceful, lovely, and not to mention tasty) varmints happened to be crossing the pumpkin patch (casing the joint, no doubt…), so, here you go.

Mama Varmint

Baby Varmint
I hope you all are enjoying this stunning summer day as much as I am.  Have I mentioned what a nice day it is?

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Of Beans and Grain and Naughty Goats

It's canning season!  Yes, that is exciting!  I guess some folks just don't care to hang out in the kitchen doing this sort of thing, but I do!  I canned some beans on Tuesday, and there are some more on the stove right this minute.  On Tuesday, I had 6 pints to process, so the smaller (more user friendly) canner was a good fit.  Today, I have 8 pints going.  The small canner only holds 7, so I had to get out (cue dramatic organ music) The Behemoth.   

The Behemoth dwarfs my other canner. 

Out in the garden, I have been keeping an eye on the melons.  It’s difficult to tell (for me anyway) when watermelon are ready.  I have picked quite a few before their time, which is no good, but if you wait too long, they are soup inside.  Either way, the chickens benefit. One of the alleged ways to tell is if the bottom where it rests on the ground is yellow.  This big one is, so I picked it today and it is chilling in the fridge.  I’ll let you know how it turns out later, like tomorrow.

I’ll throw in a chick picture here… they are feasting on graham crackers that have grown stale in the Troop Trailer… The little ones are looking much better with more feathers, and you can see one more of the bigger ones in the background there.  

Rollie combined the rye this week.  Kevin says the yield was a bit lower than expected.  Next will be the oats.  Sorry, no photos of the combine in action, which I would have like to have had.  Maybe next time!

Now, it the category of “If it’s not one thing, it’s another…”

Kevin and I spent some quality time together mucking out the goat pen in the shed this morning.  It has been quite a while because Bob(cat) has been down waiting for a part.  So now Bob is running again.  We fork the bedding and poo into the bucket and when it’s full, Kevin dumps it into the wagon to be hauled out to a pile to compost.  The wagon has a hydraulic lift making it easy to unload.  Well, one load was all it could manage today, and a welding project is in order to get it functioning again.

Kevin and Bob take the last bedding away

The wagon waits for a repair job...
And about those goats…

When we are around home, we open the gate between the horse pasture and goat pasture.  The horses help knock down the long grass on the goat side and the goats work on the weeds on the horse side.  They all are getting along fine these days.

 The problem is, Chicky can just walk through the fence on the horse side.  Here she is trimming some weeds on the side of the garage.  Not a bad thing, but there are just too many other temptations out there in the yard, so the goats have been restricted to their designated area again. 

Cute goat eats weeds... but is the laundry on on the line next?
 And life at Ole Lake marches on.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Sunday in the Garden

This post will be short on words (not a bad thing, depending on if you like what I say I guess!) and long on garden pictures.
The corn in the garden has tasseled.   The bees LOVE the pollen and the whole garden is buzzing!

A couple more bees visit a zucchini blossom
I think zucchini plants are quite attractive

as are eggplant plants, but it's disappointing there are no flowers yet
The tomato plot is getting pretty crowded

Sungold Cherry tomato, my favorite cherry-tom
mostly the tomatoes look like this

Abundance!  I have never had sugarsnap peas so tall that I have to reach up to pick them!

And the greenbeans have topped the trellis too.

So, things overall are pretty good.  We just had a little rain shower, which was needed. 

That's about it, time for chores!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

A new view of the view

Wow, it's August!  Highlights of the day: for me, The Dump Run, 6.55 miles of hills and sweat.  For Kevin, coming home from camp with some worn out boys.  For Kurt and Kori, a drive to the cities and back to pick up their aunt.  For Carolyn, a trip up north to begin a week of relaxing vacation.  Needless to say, most of us are pretty tuckered out this afternoon.  

A while back, probably in June (yep, 6/14/14), I posted a picture of the view from the milking stand out the shed and to the south.  Got a little sappy about how good it makes me feel and how much I love to live here.  Anyway, I figure it's time to update the view, now that we are into late summer. The oats are almost ready to harvest. The following pictures are from Thursday evening, after a very long work day.  It was great to relax with my goats, visit a little, and enjoy the view.  ..
This wasn't the best photo, but the only one with 2 cats, 2 horses and 3 deer... can you see them all?
The deer moved up so I could capture them better

How about a garden update tomorrow?