Category Archives: A Week on the Farm

Olio-Week’s end-March 17, 2017

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things.

This bitter week is winding down.  Last night was hopefully the last night in the teens that we will experience this winter.  Spring on the calendar is but three days away.  The garden planner alert today was to plant the peas and onions under cover outside and start the peppers, tomatoes, and tomatillos inside.  The cover fabric from prior years is gone so a trip to Harmony Organics in town is necessary to procure more for the two boxes.  The garlic looks like it suffered some damage from the cold, but hopefully it will perk back up with the milder weather.  The daffodils in town are all laying face down on the ground,  the forsythia, ornamental fruit trees in town are all browned, our peach tree lost it’s blooms.  Our forsythia had not bloomed yet, so we may see some of the sunny yellow soon. The weekend is to be milder and Tuesday actually making it into the low 60’s, so some garden time is in order this weekend and early next week.

For Christmas, daughter’s family gave us an Arbor Day membership which provides 10 young trees, plus an additional purchase for our windbreak and flowering shrubs for the driveway bank.  Yesterday, the first of those young trees arrived and they must be put in the ground within a couple of days of arrival.  The suggestion is to put them in a garden area for a year or two to let them begin to establish fibrous roots and gain some size before planting them in the location of choice.  I guess that is going to make part of the lower garden a tree nursery for now, a good use for that otherwise not in use area.  The tree planting helps reduce our carbon footprint and is helping to re establish some areas of woodlot on the farm, where we need a buffer or where it is too rocky to mow.

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The cold weather brought many birds to the feeder and to the deck to clean up the spilled seed.  Feeding the neighborhood birds and trying to foil the squirrels was an enjoyable pastime when we lived in the suburbs on the coast.  With bear in this area, a feeder has been absent for the past decade, but a small cage feeder was hung outside of the kitchen window this winter, high off the ground and it has been enjoyable to see the fearless little birds feasting.  Granddaughter observed this morning while watching them during breakfast, that the chicks in the brooder are the same size as the little finches, juncos, and titmice.

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The daylight saving time change last weekend has school bus delivery back in the early morning with the sun just peeking over the ridge while we wait.  Once home and on to do the chicken chores, it can be seen over the ridge, but not yet over the trees and with no leaf cover yet, it creates an interesting morning view.

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Shooting directly into the sunrise it looks like the sun is shining through the ridge.

The brooder chicks are thriving, growing little wing feathers and boldly hopping up on the heat table to check out the world.

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Fortunately, the screen on top should prevent any fly outs that are inevitable in another week or so.  The outside brooder coop needs a new layer of straw, the brooder nest boxes mounted inside, the sides covered for protection and the pen surrounding to have the new rabbit fencing installed to keep the littles in and the bigger critters out.  It will be time to move them outside in just a few short weeks.  Hopefully these littles will be grown enough for the big girl coop about the time brooder season starts and the great chicken shuffle begins.  The littles will become the layer flock with the Americauna and the half breed, the broodys will go to the brooder coop  and any remaining older hens and Mr. Croak will go to the cull coop where they will live for the summer and as this year’s chicks get large enough, they will be moved to the cull coop as well to provide our families with chicken for the winter.  One young cockerel will move in with the young pullets to be next year’s rooster.  This year’s brooder chicks will be out layers for the next couple of years before they are replaced with new young.

We love our little farm and the chores help keep us young.

A Week On the Farm – October 22, 2016

We went from early fall back to summer and straight to winter, It was highs in the 80’s this week and it dropped to 38 last night.  Today is chilly, gray, and windy.  We still haven’t seen a frost and don’t have one in the 10 day forecast.  Until Friday, my exercise was walking outdoors through the campus or the neighborhoods near the gym while hubby went into the gym to work out.  Friday with the onset of rain and colder temperatures, I joined him inside using the weight machines and treadmill.

The week was spent knitting a hat to get gauge on the Leicester Longwool that I have been spinning and dyeing for a Fair Isle sweater for me.

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This is yarn that I spun, dyed (except for the green), and knit.  Using the hat as a gauge guide, I now have the information needed to work on the pattern formula for the sweater.  I am also knitting a Christmas stocking for our newest grand daughter and garlands for Knotty Ladies for their various cancer garlands that they hang in Tennessee.  We have had too much cancer in our family, taking the lives of 2 of our parents, surgeries for my sister and hubby, scares for one of our sons and me.  This is to bring awareness.

Today we ventured out in the windy, damp cold to the Farmers’ Market and breakfast.  There are still greens, onions, turnips, peppers, carrots, and winter squash available and the meat vendors are coming each week.  We got some produce, some meat and I bought another pound of the wool for the sweater and hopefully a scarf to match the hat.

This week, I sold the spinning wheel that I had been using for a couple of years, and that I had loaned to a friend to try out.  Part of the exchange was the old Ashford Traditional wheel that I had learned to spin on.  It is back in my life and a new/used Louet wheel is on it’s way to me.  The Traddy will be used as a teaching wheel, I have a 14 year old history buff young lady that wishes to learn once my Louet arrives and I have a wheel to use while she uses the Traddy.

The cockerel culls are so randy, they are fighting each other, escaping from their pen trying to get to the hens.  The pullets aren’t mature enough to be laying yet.  The culls will be sent to freezer camp soon.

Week on the Farm – September 11, 2016

Today has been busy, ending a busy week.  The huge line trimmer was hauled out yesterday and Jim went after areas in need, around the well head, around the yard hydrants, patches that have too many rocks to mow with the tractor.  Today, I used it to go around the garden, woodpile, and coops.  That upset the young cull chickens who all managed to escape, one into the garden, one vanished for a couple of hours, the other four herded back into their pen.  The one in the garden was caught and returned, the errant wanderer came home and was herded back into his pen.  Last weekend, son, eldest grandson, and I killed and butchered B’rooster and Mean Girl.  I thought I would miss the morning crowing and did for only a couple of days.  One of the youngsters is trying out his voice, an immature croaking rooster crow.  As most, if not all of the culls are cockerels, we will surely hear a lot more of that before November, when they too are sent to freezer camp.

This week has yielded a batch of Habeñero sauce, another batch of sweet chili sauce, applesauce, and Ginger Pear Conserve, all prepped, cooked, and canned.  Lots of goodies to add to the pantry shelves in the root cellar.

Goodies Habenero

Tonight after dinner, daughter, the grands and I went to the garden, harvested a half pillowcase full of popcorn, 5 gallons of tomatoes and hot peppers.  Once inside, the popcorn was set aside to dry out for winter enjoyment, the tomatoes were stuffed in freezer bags and popped in the freezer so they can be peeled and canned later this week, the Tabasco peppers were de-stemmed, pureed in salt water and set to ferment to make Tabasco sauce in a couple of weeks.  The jalapeños were packed in another pint jar and hot salted vinegar poured over them to begin pickling.  The habeñeros packed in freezer bags, I just can’t face more hot sauce right now.  A few anchos begin the drying process to be used in enchilada sauce once they are leathery dry.

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Today, the gift was finished.  Pictures of it will have to wait until the recipient receives it.

Sometime this week, I will pull the 5 bags of Roma tomatoes out of the freezer and they will be peeled, chopped and made into canned tomatoes, chili tomatoes, and pasta sauce.  There will probably be a few more harvests of them before they quit.  The pepper plants are beginning to bloom thickly, so many more peppers are expected.  I think the Tabasco and Habeñero plants will be pulled, as we just don’t need any more of those peppers.  The Thai peppers are beginning to turn red, I need to find a good use for them. The Jalapeño and Ancho plants need more space and removing the other plants will help provide that.  The dye seed sunflowers need to be cut back before the birds eat them all and the raspberry canes need to be trimmed and weeded.  I still have tomatillos to harvest, but they being transplants are just getting going.

Today was cooler and the week ahead is supposed to be seasonable, so more outdoor work will be done.

Now I can pull my spinning wheel out and begin to spin some of the lovely fibers that have been accumulating.

A Week On The Farm

This has been the beginning of really harvesting from our garden.  The last of the beets were brought in today, the onions have been pulled and are curing.  The garlic is cured and needs to have the leaves trimmed, sorted into shallow boxes and put in the root cellar to begin to use.  Some of each will be held out to plant in the fall for next year’s crop.

Harvest

Today I bought in the first of the tomatoes, two heirlooms and one paste.  Not a lot, but a start.  There were almost enough Jalapenos to pickled another pint.  And enough cucumbers to have some fresh and to make 4 quarts of icicle pickles.  I need to steam the beets, peel them, slice and freeze the remaining ones.  I pulled a good size chunk of horseradish root and used it to make a half pint of grated horseradish, I used a couple tablespoons of it to make a pint of Horseradish Mustard that is fermenting on the counter for 3 days.  That is my favorite mustard.

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Earlier this week, Jim, daughter, and I went out one night after dark, when the 13 chicks all cooped up together and we sorted them into culls and keeps, keeping 4 Buff Orpington pullets to replace the one that died, Broody Mama Wannabe who has not proven herself, and to add two to the layer flock.  I will have 11 layers if they really prove to be pullets.

This week, we have had a series of horrendous thunderstorms.  The garden has been ok in this, but the newly graded, regravelled road to our driveway, and the upper part of our driveway really took a hit, with deep ruts crisscrossing the roadbed.

This is a very yellow time of year in the gardens with the Rudbeckia, False Dahlia, and Sunflowers blooming.  The Sunflowers in the corn, tomato, and pepper jungle are Hopi Dye Seed.  I am hoping to get enough of the seed to dye a skein or so of yarn the lovely purple that they produce.  There are also Russian Mammoth sunflowers and a smaller cluster sunflower that produces flowers about 7 or 8″ across.

 

Browneyed susan False Dahlia Jungle

 

We love our life on our mountain farm.

An Update from the Mountains

I just realized that I have been silent for quite a while, almost two weeks.  It hasn’t been due to illness or vacation, it has partly been due to participating in a Le Tour de Fleece competition, so much of my effort has gone into spinning.  During that period, I obtained a supported spindle and spindle bowl and have worked to learn to use it with some consistency.  That has sidelined the top whorl and Dealgan spindles.  I have carried my little Turk with me too, so that when my frustration with the new skill became too great, I could return to a familiar that is small enough to pack in my tote.

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I have learned to dye roving and played with color.  The one on the left has been spun into yarn.

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Used some natural colors in fibers that I had never used before.

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Taken some of that fiber and blended it with other natural fibers to create a mixed fiber batt on my drum carder and then spun it into yarn as well.

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This is what I have produced during the past couple of weeks.  The reddish bobbin on the right has a mate still being spun on the wheel and those singles will be plyed tomorrow for another skein.  The lime green is being spun on the support spindle.  To ply it, I have learned to Andean ply, where all of the singles on the spindle are wrapped in a specific way on your hand and then plyed from the two ends to the middle.  I am plying it onto a bobbin on my wheel each time I fill the spindle.  There is still a third to a half of the fiber to be spun.

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The little Turk has Merino and camel on it and is almost ready to ply.

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In the midst of all of this spinning, some organizing was accomplished.  We bought me a stressless chair toward the beginning of the month and as it took up much less space than it’s predecessor, and as I took up weaving too, we bought me a three shelf cart that I assembled and set beside my chair with a knitting basket, a weaving basket, a spinning basket, my laptop, my loom, and a vase of spindles on it.  With my wheel for spinning time, or my ottoman for relaxing and reading time, I have spent a fair amount of time in my “time out” corner.

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I did finish my first weaving project, a 6 foot fringed scarf.  I am sure that I will improve with experience, but am pleased with the outcome of this.

A matching cart was purchased and assembled for the utility area to organize and store my soap, lotion, and salve making supplies; and for my yarn and fiber dyeing supplies.  It allowed me to get much of it off the pantry shelves and onto a rolling cart that can be moved to the area where I am working on product making or dyeing.  Eventually, I hope to purchase an inexpensive microwave for the top of the cart that will be used for dyeing as I have found that to be the easiest method tried to date.

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On the farm front, we have started harvesting cucumbers and peppers and I have pickled two pints of jalapenos for  hubby and son so far.

The first two batches of chicks have all been cut loose by their Mama Hens and are beginning to form a flock of young birds that keep away from the adults for the most part.  Some of them still return to Huck’s coop at night, some to the layer’s coop.  The single chick that hatched from the third batch only survived a week and it’s Mama Hen continued to try to sit on whatever eggs were layed that day, but wasn’t committed to hatching them.  She has now returned to the perch with the other adults at night.  One hen is unwell.  I don’t know what is wrong, but I isolated her with food and treated water.  She is not rallying and I am torn whether to euthanize her or keep trying to make her well.  Because of her symptoms, all of the feeders and waterers were sanitized and the entire flock is getting water treated with electrolytes and Apple cider vinegar.  Once the temperature breaks a bit and the sick hen either gets better or is permanently removed, I will sanitize the layer coop and the isolation coop as soon it will be needed to house the culls.

We still love our life on our mountain farm, even though it is hot and humid during the day right now.  It gets delightfully cool at night.

A Week on the Farm – July 9, 2016

This week has been more about fiber arts than gardening, but I did get the blueberry bed weeded again, put down some bone meal and peat moss around them as a friend told me that they may not be thriving because they like acid soil.  A ph test showed it wasn’t.  Hopefully that will help them to improve in health.  I really don’t want to move them if avoidable.

We did not get to the pumpkin patch last weekend, but I worked on it some today.  I looked for pumpkin starts at Lowe’s to see if I could salvage that crop for this year, but was unsuccessful.  There are many pumpkin patches around here in the fall and I will just have to buy a couple for the porch, pies, and soups.  I think that part of the garden is just going to be tarped to kill off the weeds, then plant a cover crop so it is ready next year.

Another area of neglect has been my grape vines.  Today, I weeded around them, put down a rectangle of cardboard, tossed on a pile of spoiled hay and put little fences around them so the vines are not on the ground.  I really need to build two small trellises for them to grow on.

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Mama hen #3 has fought a continuing battle with BMW, I found the wanna be repeatedly trying to share the nest.  Thursday, two chicks hatched and BMW managed to kill one of them.  I didn’t expect hatch until tomorrow or the next day, so I have boxed Mama hen #3 off from the coop to protect her and the chick and she is still sitting the eggs.  If more don’t hatch by tomorrow evening, I will move her and her baby to the Huck’s coop nursery.  All 13 of the older chicks now roost in the top of that coop at night and the hens have basically given up mothering, other to check on them each morning.

In another couple of weeks, once they can’t squeeze through the welded wire fence anymore, I will sort the older chicks into mixed breed culls and pure Buff Orpingtons put most of the pure Buffys into the layer coop, the culls into the chicken palace and close off the nursery once no one is raising chicks anymore this year.  I hope that a few of the Buffy chicks are pullets to replace BMW, who is a bad mother, small and beat up and to add a few more layers to the coop.  Any cockerels will be culls.

BMW has sat the days eggs three times this week and abandoned them at night for the perch or to harrass the sitting hen.

Belated Week on the Farm

This is a week on the farm post with no photos.   It was a holiday weekend, but ended as a work weekend.  Eldest son and his family arrived late Saturday afternoon in time for a homemade Mexican feast for them and the 5 of us living here.  They took a leisurely scenic route from their new residence out of the cities of Northern Virginia.  This makes for a much more comfortable living space for them with a yard, creek, and storage shed for bicycles and gardening tools.  Though the square footage is probably about the same as their condo/apartment in Northern Virginia, it is a better layout with a bigger kitchen and more room to spread out a bit.  Grandson got a bear den of a loft that he claimed as his room.  Back to their place in a minute.

Saturday evening after our dinner settled a bit, we went out to see the chicks and son and I spent a little while surveying what needed to be done with my garden and pulled some weeds.  Sunday, after everyone was up and a country breakfast made and fed, we tackled the garden in earnest.  Between us and grandson, I think about 15 hours were spent weeding, tying up tomato plants, taking down the failed idea of low chicken barriers so they could forage the garden for weed seed and bugs in the unplanted areas (the chickens are confined again to the three runs all open to each other until we need to start sorting out keepers and culls).  Grandson gave up first but gave us several good hours of work.  I quit about 6 p.m. to go in prep and cook dinner for the crowd, and son didn’t quit until just before I was going to call him in to eat.  The garden is looking much better.

Monday, dawned rainy with rain and thunderstorms expected all day.  We just hung out indoors until time to go into town as a family to lunch.  During the hang out time, son spent some time on the internet looking for a good used wood stove for the new place. We planned to leave mid afternoon with our daughter in law driving their car home with grandson, and son and I following in our Xterra pulling our trailer with the furniture that we picked up in Norfolk two weeks ago, along with a recliner that we offered them.  When he found a wood stove just an hour round trip off the route home, we managed to pack the table disassembled, the 4 chairs, recliner, and necessary yard and garden tools in the back of the Xterra bed and left the trailer unencumbered to pick up the wood stove.    While out for lunch, he bought an appliance hand truck because we couldn’t find one to rent on July 4th.  We left our house for the 2 1/2 hour trip to the stove.  The stove is just like one that we bought for our basement and needed very little to make it like new, but the sucker weighs 400 pounds. He and I with minimal help from the guy he purchased it from, got it up onto our tilt bed trailer, anchored it down, tarped it to protect it from the rain and headed for his house, arriving sometime after 10 p.m.  We unloaded the furniture and garden tools and set about trying to get the stove into the house.  The porches, both front and back are about 4 feet off the ground and after much effort and every idea he could come up with, we just couldn’t get it into the house.  It is temporarily living in the shed until a solution is found. The one that had been in the house, was stolen by the last tenant when they moved out.  By the time we quit, it was past midnight and well after 1 a.m. by the time we had a cot for me set up, settled a bit and got ready for bed.  To make their commute, right now, they are having to leave home at 5:15 a.m., so it was an early start.  I got up before they left, but didn’t want to back the trailer up until it was light enough to see the driveway, so I reassembled the table and set it up with the chairs.  By leaving at 6:00 a.m., even taking a slower route most of the way home because of pulling the empty trailer, I was back in town by 10:30 a,m.  About an hour from home, I had a car pull up beside me and hold a sign in the window.  It looked like it said I had a taillight out.  I acknowledged the message and kept going.  Almost immediately, a lawn service truck pull up beside me and waved and pointed back frantically and again, I acknowledged, but it wasn’t a good place to stop.  I stopped as soon as I could safely pull off the road and realized that the sign and frantic gesturing was because the trailer tailgate which is removable had hopped out of it’s track and one corner was dragging the interstate, the gate being held on only by the plastic covered wire with a sturdy leash type clip.  Though a corner was a bit worn, it still fit in the track and so I re-anchored it with the wire but added a ratchet tie down to prevent it from hopping out again.  When we had the tailgate made for the trailer, we suggested to the guy that he drill for cotter pins to hold it in place and he assured us it was heavy enough to not hop out.  I guess we are going to have to put the pins in somehow before we use it again.

The other excitement of the trip yesterday, while hauling the empty trailer to pick up the stove, we got in stop and go traffic on the interstate due to a minor accident that had been pulled to the shoulder.  We had a semi truck come up behind us on an on ramp and get so close that son was afraid that when he started forward in the manual transmission, that we would slip back just enough to bump the truck.  This happened several times before we got to the top of the ramp.  Once on the merge lane, still in stop and inch forward traffic, the danged semi rear ended us.  Fortunately, there doesn’t appear to be any damage, but he didn’t seem to learn from having to stop and deal with us, because once we got going again, two cars were between us and him and he was tailgating the one closest to him.  Then he passed us and several other trucks in front of us.  That is another reason why I try to stay off of Interstate 81, it is a major north south truck route and some of them are just plain rude and crazy drivers.

For now, I think I will just rest a bit and spin a little.

A busy week

This was a week of swim lessons for Gdaughter that lives here.  She is a little 4 year old fish.  Because of her lack of fear and the skills she learned last winter, they put her in a class of 6 year olds and up and she held her own.  Fearless to go under water, jump off the diving board toward a waiting instructor/catcher, swimming crawl and backstroke in a life vest and flippers.  I think she will be swimming well by the end of summer.

Today was a craft/vendor show for support of the Newport Volunteer Rescue Squad.  It was sponsored by their auxiliary that set it up in the Volunteer Fire Department building and served hot dogs, lemonade, and baked goods.  I have to consider my booth fee as a donation to the squad, because the event was not well publicized, was not well marked, and there were only 6 vendors.  Three crafts folk and three catalog sale type vendors.  The traffic was nearly non existent and I didn’t sell enough to even make my $35 booth fee in 5 hours.  I ended up with the full space that one fire truck parks in to set up my booth and though I knew that I wouldn’t sell knit goods in the summer, I still set up my newly homemade stand with shawls, hats, and mitts on it.  Many skeins of yarn, and a table full of soaps, lotions bars, healing salves, and men’s beard products were displayed.

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I finished the skein of yarn that I was frantically trying to get spun and plyed, but didn’t have time to wash it.  I skeined it up and took it anyway as it was lovely shades of green and not the reds, blues, and naturals of most of my yarns.  It didn’t sell, none of the yarn did, though my spinning on the drop spindles to pass the time attracted a fair amount of attention.

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Since it came home with me, I will wash and dry it before I put it in the shop.  It is about 180 yards of worsted weight with a bit of texture due to the Mohair carded in with the Longwool and Romney.

When I got home and unloaded, Jim and I drove to town to pick up a chair that I had ordered.  The furniture store was having a July 4 sale and I was able to pick up a chair I had wanted for about half price.

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Though I am a tall woman, my height is in my torso, so most chairs are not comfortable for me for any length of time as my back doesn’t touch the back of the chair in order to put my feet on the ground.  This chair fits me perfectly and allows me to recline or put my feet on the ottoman, or move the ottoman and spin from the chair.  It required assembly once home, but I haven’t moved from it in an hour.  It is so comfortable.  This is my new spot and I am loving it.

The young chicks are all escape artists.  Being so, they cause the hens angst and then they too manage to get out.  I have moved the netting around, expanded the pen, opened the meat bird pen to them which allows the chicks out through the fence, but keeps the hens in and still they escape.  There is still one sitting 10-12 eggs and another that wants to be broody, but as I am only getting 1 or 2 eggs per day right now, I won’t let her sit.  I am hopeful that if we get a few from this next brood that there will be enough birds to expand my flock a bit and still have enough for the freezer without buying day old chicks and raising them in the garage brooder this fall.

Tomorrow, I am going to take the large cardboard box that held a desk for my stepmom, that we hauled across the state with the table and chairs, and the box and packing cardboard from my new chair, and it will be laid to the path and just outside the garden fence to start the prep for next year’s perennial bed around the vegetable garden.  I am still trying to decide whether to remove the garden fence and return to electric fence and to use the fencing to create a large chicken run around the orchard for them to have more space to range.

Last night we drove up to the hill above our house to see if we could see where the logging noises were coming from, only to discover that they had clear cut the woods immediately behind our neighbor’s fields.  We think that there is land between it and us that is owned by someone else and are hopeful that they don’t breech the hill we see to the west of our lower field. While up there, I took a new photo for my header shot.

House

Still loving life on the our mountain farm.

A Week + On the Farm – June 22, 2016

We were away last weekend, so I didn’t even try to post.  The hay was all baled, not as good a crop as in the past. We need to get Jeff to spread some manure before next spring.  The bales are sitting around the fields and yard waiting for him to return with his tractors and trailer to haul it away.

Our weekend away was to go pick up the table and Hitchcock chairs that belonged to my Dad and Mom and are the dining room furniture I grew up with.  My stepmom decided to replace it with a set she found on consignment that matches her Queen Anne living room tables perfectly and as I didn’t want the other set to leave the family, we drove down to pick it up, renting a trailer to haul it back across the state.  The chairs will replace the chairs we are using now, 3 of our original pine dining room chairs, and 3 folding wood and leather chairs that we bought as our chairs failed, were repaired and failed again.  The table and our 3 chairs, plus an oak kitchen chair to a table we no longer have, will go to eldest son’s house early next month.

This past weekend, we lost one of the younger chicks.  One was reluctant to leave the coop with Momma Hen and either got trampled or just got too cold.  Daughter and Gdaughter found the baby, found Momma Hen and the remaining 8 under the coop in the dark.  With a fishing net, they caught the hen and moved her to the coop’s safety then caught the 8 chicks and returned them to Momma Hen who was angry and upset. All of the remaining chicks get up and down the ramp just fine and are quite the explorers.  Today when we arrived home from Gdaughter’s swimming lesson, both hens and all the chicks were out of the pen and free ranging.  I don’t mind that if they could get back to safety if needed, but they can’t.  I spent a few minutes rearranging their pen so that there is no run off ditch under the fence.  I think that little dip in the ground is where they were escaping.  I wish all of the chickens could free range, but there are too many dogs, including ours that would be a threat to them.

We have another hen sitting a nest with about a dozen eggs under her.  Those chicks should be due around the 10th or 11th of July.  I may yet have enough for the freezer without having to buy day olds to raise in a brooder.

When we returned home, my Dad’s daylilly had bloomed.

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I know that each year that clump will enlarge and I will have a good growth of them at the house.  The ones up by the creek are budded, but I haven’t seen blooms there yet, it is more shaded.

We also found both the edible pod and shelley peas ready to harvest.

peas

I brought in baskets of both and we enjoyed our first dinner of shelley peas, the rest put in the refrigerator for another day.  We will get a second crop of shelley peas in another couple of weeks and most of them will be frozen.

The corn was engulfed in weeds again and I spent a bit clearing the weeds.  The tomatoes need to be tied up again, there are many green tomatoes already and peppers, but they will quit again until the weather cools some.

This weekend, I will be vending at a craft show sponsored by the Newport rescue squad auxiliary at the Newport Volunteer Fire Department.  Some organization and prepping has been done for that event.  Along with this, I made some sample size salves, lotion bars, and soaps as favors for the goodie bags at the spinning retreat in August.

Today is muggy, warm, and windy with rain on and off since last night. Perhaps tomorrow, I can get the tomatoes tied up.

I am trying to finish spinning up a beautiful colored fiber to ply and wash prior to the show this weekend.  I also received a cute Dealgan spindle, a Scottish Whorl-less spindle that I have been playing with before next week’s teaching session at a local camp.  I have made toy wheel spindles for all of the kids and they will also get an opportunity to use a spinning wheel.

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The baby sweater is complete, the blanket is 1/4 complete.  Traveling for 6 hours each way makes for excellent car knitting time.

Still loving life on our mountain farm.

A Week on the Farm – June 11, 2016

This has been a productive week on the farm.  The early veggies are coming in, with garlic scapes made into pesto and chopped for the freezer until tomatoes are ripe and pasta sauce can be made.  Edible pod peas and chard were on the menu last night.  Shelling peas are soon.

The tomatoes were pinched and tied a few days ago, the planted part of the garden, well weeded again.  The pumpkin patch still has me in its clutches.  I mowed the paths and worked with the hoe enough to create 3 hills for seed.  I still need to keep pulling the lamb’s quarters around them until they sprout and send out runners to choke out the weeds.  I am toying with trying to just smother them.

The Memorial Day weekend chicks are 2 weeks old now.  They move in and out of the Huck’s coop with ease, but also seem to be able to get out from under the plastic net fence, but not back in.  That makes the hen absolutely crazy and she will fly at me, pecking through the fence when I am trying to get them back in.  At 2 weeks, they are starting to grow the little wing feathers that come in first.  Another week and they will be scraggly adolescents and not so cute anymore.

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Day olds and 2 weekers mingling and meeting.

The other Broody started her hatch out yesterday.  She successfully hatched all 9 of the original eggs under her and has 9 little fuzzy balls to try to keep up with.  Her babies were moved in their bucket nest this afternoon when we found half of them in the layer’s coop, half in the nesting box, and Mama frantically fluffing and trying to scare off the other hens and B’rooster.  After they were moved she was so thirsty that she stood at the waterer until most of the chicks had escaped from the nest.  Both broods are locked in Huck’s coop now, mingling.  Tonight might be interesting if the wee ones can’t get back into the nest.  I’m not sure that I want to crawl in there with two protective hens to help out.  I may have to.  Maybe she will just create a nest in the hay on the floor of the coop and tuck them in there.  This morning, I found one that had gotten out of the nest in the layer’s coop, a flaw in its design in that there is a 3 inch board to help hold the hay in, but an insurmountable obstacle to a chick less than a day old.  The little chick was cold and lethargic, but perked back up once I tucked it back under the hen.  That gives us a total of 14 chicks out of 19 eggs (plus a few discards that were laid under the broodies by other hens in days that followed them starting to sit.)  A good many of the chicks are “ugly ducklings” as daughter is calling the mixed breed chicks.  They all have some dark fluff on them and can be distinguished from the pure Buff Orpingtons.  I am hoping for a few BO pullets to add to the laying flock.  The cockerels and the mixed breed chicks are being raised as meat.  I really would like for two more broods.  If we could get another dozen chicks, I wouldn’t have to raise any in the garage this late summer.

9 new fuzzy butts

9 less than a day old fuzzy balls

The fields around us are all mowed and baled.  Our power went out today around 1:15 and stayed out until after 4:30.  We went to town to return to the Farmers’ Market as I had lost several of my mesh produce bags, to get the fixings for a cold Mediterranean dinner, and a Priority Box to mail some fiber.  When we got home, we found the smaller tractor with the sickle bar mowing the hardest part of our farm.

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Spring moves on toward summer.  With it the heat.  This will slow down the grass growth and the frequency that it has to be mowed.  We will continue to mow around the house as needed, mow the hill with the trees a time or two, but the whole farm won’t be mowed again after this haying until a late summer/early fall mowing to knock down the invasive stickweed and Autumn Olive that crop up after the haying is done.