Sunday, September 27, 2015

Late September

Amazing, but we have had no frost yet!  Patchy frost is in the forecast however, so I had better get the rest of the tomatoes and peppers picked.

So, no blog last week.  Sunday evening I thought about it, but didn't really have much to say... almost could repeat the previous week and didn't have any cute critter photos to share. 

I'm still doing much of the same things... making tomato sauce and cheese.  I have gotten the Jacob's Cattle Beans picked but not shelled and the onions pulled and in the garage.  This was Flowers Funny Farm weekend which is a Boy Scout event that takes place here every year.  The boys came up to the house from their campsite on the other side of the woods to the south and picked the pumpkins.  They sell the pumpkins to earn money for events like camp.  This was a good incentive for me to get out and pick my pumpkins and squash, since they are in the same patch.  Plenty of pumpkins for pie and muffins, but not as many squash as I would have liked.

Pumpkins for the Scout families to pick up
the overflow area

2 kinds of pie pumpkins and 3 kinds of squash

Something new for me was making Pepper Jelly.  Since discovering the delights of goat cheese with Pepper Jelly on wheat crackers, I have been buying the stuff at the farmer's market.  I do like to support the folks there too, but since I have a good supply of peppers this year, it seemed like a good idea. I used the Surejell recipe and it turned out well, at least the first batch did.  I now have two batches done and I'm not sure the batch I made today is setting up right.   As I type this my hands are still feeling the heat and it's been several hours.  I think washing the dishes has intensified the burn.  Yeah, I know, I should wear gloves... but I'm just not a glove wearing kind of gal.

Tasty and pretty too!
One more picture of the tomatoes in the greenhouse.  I pruned them some today, heaping vines in the wheelbarrow to overflowing.  I transplanted a few lettuce plants in there around the bottom of the plants.
up to the roof and then some!

Still to do... dig potatoes, carrots, beets, cabbages, and whatever else is out in the garden still, pick apples (and make applesauce), clean up the garden, harvest the cornmeal corn (not yet though), clean out the chicken coops... and that's just my list... you should see Kevin's!  He has the big jobs!

A quick animal update... pigs are happy, young roosters are about 3 weeks away from the freezer, hens still aren't' laying very well, the does are still milking, but a little less now, and Ranger is even stinkier!  Cats are good and there is a stray around from time to time. 
ForestRanger were very interested in what the Scouts were doing with the pumpkins, but the kids were more interested in visiting the less odorous animals... like the pigs!

Anyway, there you go.  I'll be back with a new blog next week, or maybe in two again.  Until then, be well friends!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

A New Good Thing

If you visit my garden it will pretty obvious that I like rusty stuff. 

I used to be very interested in ornamental gardening, still am I guess.  On my bookshelves are many flower gardening and design books, and although I do not have the time for many flowers any more, my current vegetable garden has been influenced by this interest.  I like structure and I like rustic.  So I am tickled with my new tuteur.
tuteur... A four-sided pyramid- or obelisk-like trellis designed to train climbing plants.

This is something I've had in my head for quite a few years.  When Matt Hurd started bringing welded garden art to the Farmers Market in Aitkin, I just had to ask him if he could make it form me.  He did, and it is perfect.  I LOVE it!  I have all winter to decide how fit it in to the garden.

Otherwise, a usual fall weekend around here.  We dodged a frost-bullet Friday night and the weather has been grand.  I cooked up and canned more tomato sauce; Kevin did some field work.  We ground feed for the critters.  Kevin moved ForestRanger's house and paddock, as he does every weekend so they have fresh grass.  Thank goodness they are getting further from the house as Ranger is getting even more stinky.  As you can see in the photo, they are close to the road, so passersby would be well advised to keep their windows rolled shut!

That's about it.  See you next time and thanks for stopping by the blog.  Be well all.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Great Pig Escape!

Well, it wasn’t that great actually, but it makes for a catchy title.  I was home on Tuesday, using a vacation day to cook up some tomato sauce and get some other things done.  Kurt was heading out the door to work and stopped on the deck.  “The pigs are out” he said with no great excitement, much like I would say “dinner is ready” … like this was not at all an unusual event. 

In truth, it was a very unusual event.  Our goal is to keep our pigs well fenced, hopefully avoiding such an occasion. Having raised a few pigs over the years, this break out may be a first; of course I am not known for my recollection skills, so maybe not...

Though Kurt was quite calm about this, I was not.  The last thing we need is our bacon wandering into the garden or worse, out on the road.  Visions of our pigs slogging through the tamarack bog out to Ole Lake passed through my sub-conscious...I told Kurt to call work because he was going to be late.  I heard him say “Hi Matt, I might be late, I have pigs out”.  I would guess that Matt was pretty understanding about the situation… this is the same Matt that helped us get these pigs in the first place and himself an experienced swine-raiser.  I reached for the house phone to call in reinforcements.  Turns out, Rollie was out for his morning walk, so he missed out on the fun. 

In actuality, it really turned out to be a non-event.  The pigs evidently had not been out for long and although they were a little excited it wasn’t all that difficult to lure them back through the break in their fence.  Once they were shooed back to the general vicinity of their pen, a bucket of food was all the enticement needed to put them back behind bars.

Naughty piggies!

and Boypig enjoying their new environs!
Yesterday the pair got moved to new digs.  Kevin fenced off a verdant portion of the former horse pasture adjacent to the winter-coop yard where they have been residing.  After pulling in one of the pasture shelters, the pigs were ushered in and appear to be delighted with the new arrangement.
Otherwise, the routine of the place is reluctantly shifting into fall mode. Kevin is discing and hauling composted manure out to the field and I work on making tomato sauce whenever I have enough ripe tomatoes for a batch.  There is a lot to do yet … potatoes to dig, cornstalks to cut down, apples, carrots and onions to harvest, etc. but with the current warm and muggy weather, and today rain, these things are put off a bit.  This afternoon, depending on the rain situation, we are planning to attend another SFA farm tour and potluck event.  Tomorrow, Labor Day, is predicted to be cooler so we have put off cleaning out the does living quarters in the barn until then.  I am also hoping to cook up another batch of tomatoes.

So, posting during daylight hours today.  Happy long weekend, and be well all!