Tag Archives: harvest

Sunday musings August 17, 2014

This is the first Sunday in 6 weeks that I could be lazy.  The first Sunday where I didn’t have to arise by 7 a.m. prepare breakfast for Grandson #1 and supervise a math worksheet and a writing assignment then encourage him to practice his guitar and his Kung Fu forms.

I was tired last night.  I drove for 5 hours and once home alone as Hubby was out on his BBH riding, I turned on the Solar Charger that I installed just before leaving to charge the electric fence.  Reluctantly I touched the fence at the farthest point from the charger and nothing.  It is a 12V impulse charger, so I should have felt a zing every few seconds, nothing.  Again I read the manual.  I had attached everything correctly, but I had tried to run the wire in two directions from the charger to give me a better place to put the gate without having to bury the wire in PVC pipe below the gate.  Assuming that to be my problem, I disconnected everything and determined that the gate was just going to have to be where the charger is mounted on a wooden post and rewired the fence in a continuous two strand loop from charger to gate opening.  When I turned the charger back on, still no zing.  In walking around the perimeter, I realized that the wire was touching the welded wire fence of the auxiliary chicken pen and must be grounding itself.  That corrected and the charger on, I did indeed get shocked on both sides of the gate opening.  Now I need a third gate and a second non conductive post to hang the gate for our convenience.  The garden and chicken pens are within an electric force field.  It won’t keep the bunnies out, but it should keep the neighborhood dogs and coyotes out of the chickens and the deer out of the garden.

Once that was complete, a walk around just to enjoy the beautiful afternoon, I discovered …

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The apple and Asian Pear trees are only three years old, so I stripped most of the flowers from them this spring to give them another year to establish.  I left a few flowers on one apple tree and the larger Asian Pear tree and was delighted to find 4 apples (one was badly pecked so I gave it to the chickens) and 8 Asian Pears.  I ate one pear standing right at the unsprayed tree, Tossed the two tiny malformed ones to the chickens.  Our first tree fruit.  The peaches produced small hard peaches that all oozed sap.  I assume they were attacked by something.  I will have to do some research as I won’t use pesticide spray on my fruit, near my vegetable garden and the chickens.

Once I was finally moving this morning, after dog and chicken chores, and enjoying a bowl of homemade granola with coconut milk and a cup of coffee, I hauled the lawn mower out to cut the area inside the electric fence that is not vegetable garden, compost bins or chicken pen and also the grass inside the auxiliary chicken pen as there are no chickens in it right now and the grass was getting quite tall.

Later we must make a Tractor Supply run for dog and chick feed and perhaps to purchase the gate.  I can get our neighbor to help me hang it this week.  As I was mowing the area above my garden, I realized how much slope the yard has between the area that Son #1 and wife had established as the upper garden and where my vegetable garden is with the compost bins in between.  As we are going to remove the compost bins and just leave me a compost pile, I think we will have to terrace that area making a 4 tiered garden as we expand the garden and berry patch back up the slope.  It has been nice having the space this year for the pumpkins, winter squash and sweet potatoes.  It will be nice to have more space for summer squash and cucumbers to spread out, a place to again plant potatoes which we haven’t done in a couple of years and more room to spread out the tomatoes and peppers so they aren’t quite so crowded.  Since I have started using the heavy spoiled hay mulch system this year, there has been much less weeding to do.

Planning continues as our little mountain farm evolves.  Life is an adventure!

 

Noah, we need help.

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Please send Ark plans.  Today is our 5th straight day of rain, often heavy.  This rain allowed only that the scaffolding be erected over the weekend, no caulking done to allow the staining.

It is the 5th day that harvesting in the garden has been difficult to impossible.

The chicken pen is so deep in mud that my muck boots sink a couple of inches each time I have to enter the pen.  I would clean out the coop and throw the soiled hay over the mud except that it won’t stop raining long enough for me to uncover the hay to put clean dry hay inside.  The older three of this years chicks are now 24 weeks old and I am hoping for eggs soon.  To encourage them, I put fake eggs (golf balls) in the nesting boxes.  Broody Girl is still being stubborn and has managed to move two of them into her box so she is sitting on 3.  I move them back and she relocates them again.  She is sure being stubborn about being broody.

The new babies are thriving in their brooder.

The rain has done nothing to help the lake at Mountain Lake.  It began to leak a few years ago and went totally dry for two summers.  Geologist and soil scientists studied the lake bottom and attempts to repair it were made.  The lake partially refilled last summer after the repairs were made, but mother nature had other ideas and the lake is only partially refilled and lower this summer than last.

Olio July 17, 2014

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things.

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Rainbow at sunset.

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An overflowing 8 quart bucket of garlic now curing in the root cellar.

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Peppers and sunflowers, newly planted bush beans.

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Pumpkins, winter squash, sweet potatoes taking over half of the compost bins.

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Chard and sunflowers.

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Haircuts for grandson and granddad.

It has been a busy week with bike riding learning sessions for grandson and he can now ride around the bus loop, in and out of grass, stop with the brakes if he is going slow enough, ride up and down an incline, start without help and says, “This is easy!”  Why oh why did he make such a fuss just a few short days ago.

We have had several trips to the library, have done the daily writing and math practice and he is doing his chores with minimal complaint.

On a less positive note, I just got a call from my father and my sis who had Rotator Cuff surgery today, instead of going home has been put in ICU on a ventilator because of breathing problems.  Thoughts and prayers sent on the way to Kansas are welcome.

 

 

 

 

 

Olio – June 27, 2014

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things

The Raspberry jam salvage was a success.  It is spoonable, spreadable, and isn’t so sweet it makes me gag.  A win.  The wild Blackberries are so thick with fruit this year, I have a dilemma.  I don’t need any more jam.  My daughter who LOVES blackberry jam made a pantry full of Strawberry Jam when the berries were ripe in Florida, so she doesn’t need jam either, but I can’t resist foraging for blackberries on the farm.  I can freeze them and use them in smoothies, cakes, and cobblers, but we aren’t dessert eaters unless we have guests and then hubby would rather I make apple, lemon or pumpkin pie rather than cobbler.  What’s a girl to do?

The rain held off long enough for me to get everything that wasn’t hayed, mowed.  Jeff is coming a few times a day and hauling off 9 bales of hay at a time on his lowboy trailer pulled by the behemoth tractor.  There are still 45 bales to go.  The mowing was a priority as I am off to babysit for 5 days then bring RT and L back here with me on July 3.  We will send 8 chickens to freezer camp, hang a gate, watch fireworks, and feast for the two days RT is here, then he will catch a bus back home to be back at work on Monday.  L will stay with us for about 7 weeks of his summer vacation.

The teenager chicks are looking like I may not have to wait until August to get eggs from them.  Many of the girls combs and waddles are growing and turning red.  It won’t be long before I start seeing wind eggs in the coop and then pullet eggs in the nesting boxes as they figure the process out.

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They are hiding from the heat, the culls are dustbathing to keep cool.

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I dragged the chicken tractor to a new spot to give the culls something fresh for their last week.  Jim will be in charge while I’m gone.

The last of the spoiled bale of hay needs to be moved over to the garden and some areas remulched.  We had a chicken escape and they got in the vegetable garden and the new flower bed and made quite a mess.  Between that, some thin areas that are starting to show weeds, tomatoes and peppers tall enough to mulch around, I need to get that task done before I leave also.  I might actually welcome a rain shower while that is being done to cool things off a bit.  The garden is thriving, the kale is winning.

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The sink is full, the chickens got at least this much and there is plenty to take to Northern Virginia for them when I go up.

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First Tomatillo.  Can’t wait for a crop of them.

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The peas are almost done.  If I cool off enough from working out there, I will pick a meal’s worth for tonight.

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It amazing me how quickly the raspberries ripen.  I picked the bushes clean yesterday and treated myself to a hand full while I was weeding.  I save a hand full to have with my yogurt tomorrow.

Lovin’ life on our mountain farm.

 

The Harvest

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Yesterday just as they finished mowing the lower field, it started to rain.  We probably got two inches yesterday evening and last night.  This morning dawned thick and gray and it didn’t look good for finishing the hay.  Jeff unhooked the baler and added a second fork to the back of the tractor and started moving the already baled hay into trailer size loads around the fields.  The sun finally came out and the wind picked up, so they tettered the mowed field twice and let it sit for a couple of hours, raked it and finished baling it about an hour ago.  The total hay harvest this year is 96 big round bales.

While they were baling, I picked more raspberries.  I need less than a cup to make a batch of pure raspberry jam.  Another day or two and I will be set.  The peas are filling out faster than I can pick them and certainly faster than we can eat them, so tomorrow I will pick, shell and freeze at least a few packages for the winter.  There are tiny peppers on some of the plants, blossoms on the tomatillos, the cucumbers, squash and beans are continuing to grow.  I think there will be a handful of blueberries soon too.  The chickens are enjoying the over matured kale leaves.  I think a big armful of kale and chard will accompany me to Northern Virginia in a week when I babysit for 4 days and then bring our oldest grandson here for a few weeks of the summer to help his Mom and Dad out.

The 3 jars of mustard finished their ferment time yesterday and today and were completed and packaged in 8 oz jars for summer enjoyment and to share with our kids.

We started our morning at the Farmers’ Market and came home with radishes, turnips, carrots, spring onions, flowers, beef and pork.  We are set for a week of good eating.

Lovin’ life on our mountain farm.