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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

As the garden grows

Up until today we had not had a good rain for several weeks. But by golly, our garden was growing in spite of the fact. It looks really good thus far. We did have enough tobacco sticks to stake about half our tomatoes. And yes, damn I planted far too many as usual. We probably have about 230 or so tomato plants out this year. We staked one row and a week later when we went back to stake another the first row had grown to the point it was almost ready to be tied up again. And all with no rain at all. But this afternoon we got a down pour of good rain. Although a lot ran off due to the ground being so dry but in the garden where it had been freshly plowed just last weekend I am sure it soaked right in. Thankful for all these blessings.

We dug a few of our potatoes a week or so ago just so I didn't have to buy fresh taters to use in our meals. And low and behold they have done pretty well. Rodger and I were talking and wondering why the plants looked like they were dying and thinking it was kinda early. But when we got to the house and I searched the web for info I found out that Yukon Gold potatoes mature in 90 to 100 days. And we planted them on March 18th, so they are mature and its time for them to die back. And to beat all, I still had about a gallon of taters still in the cellar with sprouts on them from last year. We decided that if they mature in just 90 days we had plenty time to plant more. So on Fathers day Sunday Rodger planted the rest of the old taters. Now we care for them and see what happens. We usually don't get a killing frost down here on the river till very late September or October. So they will have time to make lil taters. I am not really panicky if they don't get very big I will still save them for sets to plant next season. Yippee!! for me.

We have had a pretty productive summer so far. I young pullets, Buff Orphingtons, are growing into beautiful girls. They should start to lay in another couple months. My older girls are not laying worth a crap. Not sure what is their problem either. It sure is not diet because they eat well and are well cared for. My friend Deb said she had some hens that just totally stopped laying after 1 year old. Well I aint gonna feed em good food if they wanna be free loaders. Nope, aint gonna. So as soon as my young girls are of laying age, it will be off with their heads. And another reason they are taking up prime realestate out there in the bigger nicer hen house. Another task for a later date. In the meantime they will eat as well as they have been. I sure don't like keeping them penned up during the day but as of right now I don't feel I have much choice. I lost 4 big hens in 2 separate weekends. Some critter, am kinda guessing a bobcat snatched 2 one weekend and 2 more the following weekend. What ever, if a bobcat, was getting them so fast that it didn't even startle or alert the others. So till we have a fence, which will take time to get put up they will have to stay inside. Although I do let them out if I am not busy in the late evening and can literally sit out back to keep an eye on them. My lil Sasha dog is a tad too small to keep them safe just yet. I was even concerned for her safety as well. Her pen can be closed on all sides and the top to keep a booger from eating her. Just cant have my lil girl gettin got. She is definitely my baby. I brought her up on the front porch a few days ago when we were sitting outside. I came inside to get a drink and went back out she was standing on my shoes so she could stare at the door and patiently wait for me to come back. She is a little sweet heart for sure. She ran and played so much that evening she didn't even fuss about going back in her pen that evening. She willingly went in, flopped down and in no time was asleep.

My friend Sissy sent me some thornless black berry plants this spring and we have those planted inside our garden fence in the field. Geez those things have taken off and growing like crazy.



I talked to her the other day and she advised me to go ahead and tie the limbs up to the fence to keep them growing up-right to make picking easier. So that is the plan when we get in the garden after it is finished raining. The short canes that have flowers on them are from the 2 year old cane that was with the crowns when she them them. I am certain I will have more berries than I could possibly know what to do with next season as these are very heavy producers. I am so thankful for her and blessed to call her my friend. It will probably take me years to get use to picking blackberries without worry of getting stuck cause the ones we have always picked growing wild have tons of thorns on them. I still find myself using caution when messing with these thinking "briars in my fingers". Maybe I will get use to not being stuck. Since this photo was taken Rodger has weed eated the area around the plants and it does look much better. But see I aint fake and will take photos no matter how bad things look. I did add a good layers of chicken manure and straw from the chicken houses around each plant so they are really dark green, greener than anything around them now. Looking forward to an abundance of berries next season. This year I guess I should pick some of the wild ones growing here so we can have an occasional cobbler till then.

I spent some time in the herb bed harvesting some more Chamomile for tea and getting my basil cut and in the dehydrator. I really am nearly out of Italian seasoning mix here. Not sure how I let that happen but am about to replenish my stock. Once the dehydrator is empty again I will dry more long leaf plantain and round leaf as well. Lots of wild herbs and tame ones to get dried. I try to make my own seasoning blends every year so they are always fresh and flavorful. Once you get used to using your own dried herbs and seasonings you will find out just how stale and tasteless store bought ones really are. It is amazing the difference in flavor. I am gonna try something a little different to try and keep worms off my cabbage. My friend told me she had read that sage repels the cabbage moth which is what actually lays eggs on the cabbage that turn into the lil worms that make holes in the cabbage. So am thinking I will make a strong sage tea and spray it on the cabbage real often to confuse the moths. Supposedly any plant that has a strong smell will confuse them and they cant find the cabbage to eat on. And sage can be pretty potent. Worth a try. Maybe I will remember and report back on success or failure. Yep you all are thinking, "she cant even remember to post on the blog much less remember this" and you might be right. We shall see.

I am thinking it is bedtime around here. Then see what tomorrow holds. Good things I am sure. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.

Stella

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Its been so long, may as well start here....

It has been a little over 6 months since I last posted here. I can tell you my memory is not good enough to remember what all has happened to give an actual update so I guess I will just start here and go forward.
I get emailed comments on occasion asking me to keep writing, so here goes.

But I can remember back in December we had Rob, Amoy and both the grandsons home over the Christmas holiday. We got to help celebrate lil Zachary's 1st birthday. And what an honor and such a sweet lil boy. He reminds me with his actions and mannerism of his daddy at that age. A loving, sweet calm lil boy that never sees a stranger. So generous with hugs and sugars. And you know this grammy loves that.



Can you tell these are the most important things in my life. Such precious things those little grand babies.
We did take a road trip across the country in April this year to be in Arizona for Liam's 3rd birthday party. It is so hard to believe he is 3 already. And far too smart for such a little person. We had to drive to Arizona so we could take Liam a bicycle for his birthday. (papaws idea) I know there is a big box store out there where one could have been purchased but nope, we drive and take one.

 This is a little snuggle bug. He went right to sleep with papa watching cartoons.


 Liam's 3rd birthday party with lots of his little friends from his and Zach's play date group.


He thoroughly enjoyed his new bike. Now when they go to the park he has a bike to ride like the big kids do. I can only imagine the skinned knees and bumps and bruises when he is old enough to get the training wheels off.  It is so worth the few dollars spent to see their lil hearts happy tho. We enjoyed our visit and time with the kids.

We got back home shortly after the first of May just in time to be ready to start planting our garden. It rained several times while we were gone so needless to say the ground was too wet to plow and plant. So we wait. I had huge plants in the green house waiting to be transplanted. We finally got a couple dry days and got everything planted on May 16th, which is late for us. We like to plant corn, beans and such the last week of April and transplant seedlings after the first 3 days of May. That is how dad always did it. But the wet weather held us up a lot. We planted the garden on Monday evening and it rained on it Monday night. Then finally the following weekend it was dry enough again to get out field corn planted. We planted almost as many sunflowers (black seeded sunflowers for chicken feed) as we did corn. Then on the other 1/3 of the field we planted Purple Hull peas as wildlife food plot and to rebuild the soil. The Purple hull peas are excellent to fix nitrogen in the soil after it has had corn on it previously. Not to mention the deer and turkeys love them. All the garden and corn, peas and sunflowers are up and look great. Now comes time to use the hoe and tiller to keep the weeds from taking over. This year we did decide to put a 5 ft tall fence all the way around the garden to keep the deer out. It is a permanant fence but the ends can be taken down in fall to allow the use of the tractor to plow the ground. Lots of expense and work just to prevent dang wildlife damage. But you do what ya gotta do I reckon to eat.

My laying flock of hens are getting to be kinda crappy layers. Not sure if they are molting or whats up with them. So this spring we decided to just order some baby chicks and just raise an all new flock of layers. I got 25 Buff Orphington babies in early April. They are doing great. Should be laying in a couple more months. Then for the others it will be "off with their heads". I think we have decided we are gonna have to fence in a pen for the chickens to run in. Something caught 2 of them last weekend in daylight and then today I lost 2 more. I am guessing we have a family of bobcats here somewhere. I will get the full grown hens and make a quick get a way before it even startles the others. That is damn frustrating to lose them and not even see what is getting them. Last weekend the 2 that were taken were not 25 ft from the front porch. Talk about mad. Yep, I was. Hubby and I were talking last week that we needed to get another dog like Luna to keep the birds safe. SO...........we got one. She is just a lil baby right now but she will grow. Meet the newest addition to McGuire homestead. Sasha Marie. I use my middle name Marie for her so Rodger wouldnt insist on calling her Marie.

Yes she is another Great Pyrenees. And good grief what we do for our little critters around here. To keep her safe from predators till she is grown Rodger and Jason put up a pen for her. I used a large shipping crate to fashion her a "dog house". I thought cedar shaving would giver her a lil added protection from fleas and ticks so we put cedar chips in the dog house covered with a bath towel for bedding. Too hot here to even think of warm stuff. She would not stay in the dog house even if it was raining. You could put her in, she would run right back out. I thought well dang she dont like the cedar. In the middle of a big bad thunderstorm I got splashing thru the rain to go rake out some of the cedar and I took a towel with me tucked under my rain coat to keep it dry to put inside for her. I picked her up, she looked like a wet cotton ball, and put her in the dog house, she sniffed the towel and laid down. She has been staying inside now out of the rain. I guess it had my scent on the towel where I had tucked it under my coat and it was familiar to her and made her feel safer. I was a happy camper to know she at least would get in out of the weather. I will add more cedar shaving back in there later to make it softer for her and leave the towel as her "security" blanket.
Sasha was born April 17th so she is just a bit over 6 weeks old. She had her first vet visit today. Got her shots started, wormed and Frontline put on her.. She goes again at 9 weeks and again at 12 weeks for boosters and her rabies vaccine.. After that she will be good for a year. I was suspecting that with other dogs around at the vets office she might start missing her momma and cry a lot but she was calm as could be and just ignored the other dogs. Even ones that wanted to kiss her hello. She tucked her head under my arm to avoid other puppy kisses. I am thinking this lil girl is gonna grow up and be very very spoiled. I really would like to have gotten 2 to raise up together so they dont have to work alone here but its hurts the pocket when you look at paying $150 each for 6 week old babies plus shots for them. So for now she is an only child. Maybe a little later I can get her a sister.  Just hope she will grow up and be as good a working girl as Luna was . She is gonna have some big shoes to fill with that task.

We had big plans to do some weed eating here tomorrow and maybe work in the garden some. Grass and weeds are the things that grown best with all this rain. But it rained a lot this evening and is still raining now so none of that will happen. But I think the fellows are planning a trip to the farm store to pick up 5 more cattle panels to extend our bean trellis this year. We planted our bean rows 60 foot long this year instead of the 40 like last year. We bend the panels into an arch shape, anchor the ends in each row of beans and the beans climb the trellis and you can actually pick beans in the shade of the trellis. I dont know why we didnt do this many years ago. But I guess as you get older you try to find easier ways to do stuff. Now we need to gather up all the tobacco sticks to stake the tomatoes with. The fence panel we keep to trellis cukes still needs to be put up as well. I would like to get the garden plowed and hoed out before we trellis cukes and beans. I just pray we have a bountiful garden this year. We are running kinda low on canned stuff here. We had a small plot out back here at the house where we raised Turners yellow field corn last year just to save the seed. I planted a good handful of Ky Wonder pole beans to save just for seed. This year we planted the Turners yellow corn and had enough seed to plant almost an acre. I saved enough seed from the few beans we raised to plant 2- 60 ft rows in the garden with enough left that in an emergency I could grow them out again for seed. I only planted the one single variety of beans to keep the variety pure. I had gotten the seed from a friend in west Ky a couple years ago, planted and lost all but about a handful of seed. Phew, that was close. To me it is sad to totally lose all the seed for an old heirloom variety that you know is pure and a good variety.

I have picked about 4 gallon of strawberries so far this summer and put them in the freezer. I had a big bowl full in the fridge that I used to make some homemade strawberry ice cream. Oh my, it was so dang good. Not too sweet, great strawberry flavor. Not sure I will be able to eat store bought again after that.. Now I need to work on a recipe for Maple Nut, my all time favorite. Cant be that hard to duplicate.

I guess I should end this lil update and put me to bed. Tired all to pieces and have not done anything worthwhile all day. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.

stella

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Time keeps marching on.......

And it seems the older we get the faster it marches. This spring and summer zipped by in the blink of an eye and here it is the end of October already. Geez, but life is good.

In spring we started with the most beautiful garden we have had in many years. Rodger worked hard to keep it plowed and the weeds chopped out. Gosh we had nice healthy plants, weed free, nice color and all was great, till the rain started. Then it was all down hill from there. We probably had 150 tomato plants and didn't harvest a 2 gallon bucket full total. Jason had planted some orange "dads sunset" tomatoes at his house to save the seeds, 6 plants total and we harvested nearly 2 bushels off just those plants. Too much rain got disease started in the garden and blight got the whole thing. I only canned about 4 cannings of green beans, dug about 4 bushels of Yukon gold potatoes, and barely 1 1/2 bushels of sweet potatoes. Carrots were nothing to write home about, peppers were sure not much. But I reckon we will still eat regular. Thank God we canned and froze lots last year and should be OK till the next season produces. Then we start all over again with high hopes.

In June Jason and I went to Arizona to see Rob, Amoy and the babies. As usual we drove. Sure enjoyed spending time with them. Nothing like those grand babies. and gosh are they ever growing.

That little Zachary is 10 months old and trying to start to walk now.  Liam loved his uncle Jason. Jason sure enjoyed spending time with those babies too. Almost as much as I did. We had a good trip and made it home and hit the ground running to get caught up with all the outdoor summer stuff here on the farm.

Rodger and I drove to Arizona again in early October to see the kids and to get away for a break. We also had a good trip. Of course Rodger got to enjoy the grand babies too. He had not seen Zach since he was 4 days old. We had a family outing to the zoo while we were there. Liam sure enjoyed it and all the animals and birds. Actually that was my first ever trip to a zoo. It was a nice day to go, not too hot. Its always better to see those things with little ones as you can see things thru their eyes and see them experience sights they will remember for a long time.  (I would post pictures but I think they are all still on my phone) Dang I am slacking.
 
We did get to help Rob and Amoy with some home improvement projects too while we visited. Rodger and Rob got a garden bed built so they can raise a few veggies and some herbs to have fresh stuff from their own garden. I helped Amoy make a padded head board for their master bedroom. It turned out really nice. We left to head home and planned to drive around 10 to 12 hours a day, no more than that. Long days sitting in the car is sure hard on the old body. We got to do some sight seeing and shopped a bit on the way home. At least we didn't get stranded in an ice storm like we did coming home in January. I never want to do another one of those events. Too old to sleep in the car on the road side.

We had to dig sweet potatoes the day after we got home from our trip cause they had forecast frost. They would have been no good at all if they had gotten frosted on. Just this past week I finally did get those canned. I didn't think they would have stored well as much rain as we had. So to preserve them I opted to just can all of em. Worked my azz off. It takes a long time to scrub and cut nearly 2 bushels of sweet potatoes and get them into jars. Then process for 95 minutes in the pressure canner. I did 3 cannings, total 42 quarts. Talk about a long day. Then spent the next day while it was raining inside the house, cleaning windows, and shampooed carpet. What the hell was I thinking? Too much for me in 2 days. So then had to take a couple days off to recover. Now I hope to get the ceiling painted in the living room this weekend. And the walls, if my body holds up that long. Then crash for a couple more days. It is supposed to be a bit cold this weekend with rain. Good days to just stay inside.

I am gonna make a diligent effort to keep posting here and not let many months slip by again. But I guess that is part of blogging, it comes in spurts. Or maybe I procrastinate too much. Naw, not me.

So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.

Stella


Monday, April 6, 2015

Spring and gardening season again

I think we have finally arrived at spring and left winter behind. We have had our fair share of rain along with the warmer temps too. Last week Rodger did manage to get the garden worked up and sowed our carrots, beets and some parsnips. The parsnips are new for us this year. I thought we might like a little change from carrots in soups and stews. Not to mention the parsnips are suppose to keep better than carrots. He planted the beets and parsnips in the same row so the beets can mark the row for the parsnips. They do take a good bit longer to sprout and grow. I think it is also possible to leave them in the ground till after frost to make them sweeter. I guess we shall see as we learn about this old fashioned staple.

We went to a nursery a couple weeks ago and got 6 more apple trees and planted them. The deer had killed several of my young trees. It really makes me mad that with all the trees and woods around the deer go to the middle of the field and scrape on the young trees. Once the bark is damaged it will kill the tree. So now we do have some bigger ones planted now. Also got the muscadine grape vine and mulberry tree planted that my friend Deb got for me. I had kept them in the cellar since we got them home in January so as to not kill the roots on them. They are getting leaves now and look promising.

The green house is up and going well. So far my seedlings are doing good. So now we just baby those till time to transplant to the garden when they are big enough. I have got the herb bed cleaned out and more mulch put down. It is ready for some new plants when they are big enough as well. I still need to work on the fence enclosure around the herb bed. It don't have to be super tough, just a barrier to keep the chickens and cat out. I put up a temporary fence several years ago and it is still there. The stakes need replaced with something a lil more sturdy. Its lil jobs that take the most time when all added together.

Rodger and Jason made a trip out of town last weekend to get a load of mulch so I can mulch around the apple trees in the orchard. That should cut down on the risk of them getting damaged with a weed eater. That has happened before. That is how I lost one of my apricot trees after it was a couple years old. So now we have the wagon sitting with about 30 bags of mulch waiting till it is dry enough in the field so we don't get bogged down with the wagon. And it is supposed to rain all week, roughly a 60% chance of rain every day till next week. Hope we don't get as much as we had late last week. It rained so much so fast that the water was over the road in 3 different place on our lil road. No danger of houses or anything getting flooded but the river was very big and came up really quick. Typical spring tho.

Not much else happening here on the farm. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.

Stella

Saturday, March 14, 2015

We made it thru....

thru the nasty weather of Ky winter. At least we hope that we are past really cold bad weather now. At least we are not covered over with over a foot of snow and below zero temps. Last few days, well most of the week, the weather has been warm-ish, around 50 degrees or so. Although it has rained more than we think we need. The river has been up now for the better part of 2 weeks. It will stop raining and dry some, the river level drops down, then rain again and back up it goes. But it will be spring in a few more days and maybe we can dry out some. several days last week I was able to at least open the doors and air out the house some. Geez, who knew fresh air could be so nice? I should have had my lil greenhouse up and some seeds started already but with the cold and rain that has not been at all possible. It is suppose to be nicer with no rain tomorrow so we might get that done. The early spring frogs have been calling for the past week or so now. Love to hear those in spring. It just reminds us warmer weather is around the corner. Lots of things planned for the spring and summer here too. We have fruit trees to plant. When we stopped in Mississippi in January to see our friends Deb and Danny, Deb had gotten me a mulberry tree and a muscadine grape vine. We will need to buy more apple trees to replace some we lost to deer in the orchard. I still need to move my raspberries and mulch the grape vines we have planted in the vineyard. This ole country gal cant wait to get her hands in the dirt. Got a few new things to try in the garden this year. We plan to plant parsnips this year and try celery again. I also ordered some new varieties of tomatoes to start. We are going to plant Marglobe this year for one of our red tomatoes. This is another old time variety that we use to raise here on the farm that did really well. Too bad I cant remember the name of the other new ones I ordered. I will be planting the blueberry tomatoes again this year in the herb bed for quick snaking out of hand. They do produce profusely for me. Then the usual sweet corn, white corn field beans, cukes, peppers of several colors, might even plant taters again. Ours sure did not do too well last year. But I do still have a few more quarts of them canned so it was not a total loss. It just gripes my azz to buy potatoes from the store. I know the store ones have been sprayed to hell and back and then you may cut one of em and it be black or worse on the inside.

We did get our cornmeal taken to the grist mill and ground today. I had not had a chance to put the corn in the freezer due to lack of freezer space to kill bug eggs in it, so I did put the ground cornmeal in the freezer at Jason's house to freeze for a couple weeks then will vacuum seal it for storage. It makes the bestest cornbread ever. I have tried to talk the fellow at the grist mill into getting a milk cow and selling fresh milk. He said he had thought about it. So I am crossing my fingers. Would so love to have homemade butter and milk. So much healthier for you than the so-called milk you get at the local grocer. Although we have found that some brands of store bought milk are labeled and certified to say they do not use hormones in their dairy practices. We buy the brands without hormones. I guess the lesser of two evils if you will.

After the loss of my sweet Luna last fall, we now have a problem with opossums and skunks here at the house. My whole yard front and back looks like a huge sponge with so many holes dug by skunks. I have had numerous opossums come on the back deck to steal cat food. We have managed to eradicate a couple of em, still we have at least 2 that still come around if we forget to bring the cats bowl in at night. I guess that is just one hazard of living so close to the woods in the country. I also heard a bunch of coyotes howling this evening somewhere close when I went out to close up the chickens for the night. Out here a good dog is almost a necessity to keep critters at bay.

Rob and Amoy are buying a house in Phoenix this summer. I am so happy for them. And Rodger said I am allowed to go help them move if they need me and watch the kids. Imagine that! Hard to believe Liam will be 2 next month and the day after he is 2 Zach will be 4 months old. They are both growing so fast. My beautiful lil boys. Love them to pieces.




Nothing like grand babies. You don't know love till you have grands.

Not much else happening here on the homestead, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.

Stella

Monday, January 12, 2015

Giving account for my self....

I bet you are thinking, "about dang time", right? Well I am alive and well. I think every day that I need to post an update on my blog and them get busy and say, oh I can do that tomorrow. Then I look and its been over 2 months since last post. Shame on me again.

As of last post I had some roosters that needed to be butchered off, well they are still alive and doing well. I did not get time to take care of them when we had some half way nice days in late fall. I still am feeding them and guess now I will have to wait till we get a weekend of well above freezing weather to do the deed. They are going to be stock and canned chicken so it wont matter much, just more meat the bigger the bird. Although I did have to separate them into another building alone so they didn't hassle the young hens to death. They don't fight among themselves and get lots of food and drink so its all good. My young layers are laying well now. I get more than enough eggs to keep us in supply and a few to sell. Actually have a few dozen in the fridge as we speak.
I left in early November to go to west Ky to work at the hunting lodge again this year. Dang, talk about hard on the body. Sure made the ole arthritis flare up pretty bad. But it was fun to get to work and visit with Karly and Glenna out there. I really enjoy that time of year. I came home as soon as the season was over. I got home the Monday before Thanksgiving late in the evening.  I came home with lots to do and a short time to get it done. I had a doc appointment each day for the next 2 days to get ready to leave again. I ended up having a sinus infection and bronchitis. Not a good combination if you plan to fly anywhere. I got meds and a couple shots and was a tad bit better by time I had to leave for Arizona on Thanksgiving day. Yep I am off and gone again. We were expecting our second lil grandson in mid December. He was due the 19th. But if like his big brother Liam he made an early appearance someone needed to take care of Liam while momma and daddy had lil Zach. So I was more than happy to do that as any grandmother can imagine. I arrived in Phoenix the afternoon on Thanksgiving day. We waited and waited for Zach and waited some more. The plan was for Rodger to drive out as soon as Zach was born so he was constantly waiting for the phone call. The long and short is Amoy was induced on December 28th after going 8 days over her due date and lil Zachary Donovan was born that evening. Such a precious lil fellow. Hes just a lil fellow but his big brother was scared to death of him at first. He is starting to like him now so I hear. We think he is perfect just like Liam.


Nothing in this world compares to the love for grand babies. I am so thankful I lived long enough to learn this fact.
As the story goes Rodger left our house on Christmas day to drive to Arizona to see this lil boy and bring me home. He arrived late Friday night because we knew Zach would be coming on Sunday. At this point I had been away and not seen Rodger for a month. We got to enjoy Liam and cuddle Zach for a few days and then it was time for us to head for home. The weather went to crap as we planned to leave. We left on New Years day headed east. We knew of the freezing rain that was forecast ahead of us but was guessing it would be gone as well ahead of us. Not the case. We spent a few hours sleeping in a rest area in Texas because we were not able to find a hotel room. Then decided to just drive on after a rest. It was late night and we hit more rain and snow and ice on I-20 thru Texas. So Rodger decided we would pull into an abandoned weigh station and just sleep till daylight. So nice gas was cheap and we could leave the heat running in the car as it was about 25 degrees. We woke up about 6 am with the car covered in ice and the whole parking lot full of semis. Well we may as well move on and see how the roads were as some of the big trucks were pulling out. They were still ice covered and slick. SO many big trucks wiped out and 4 by 4 vehicles wiped out along the interstate. So at the next exit which was Sweetwater we decided it might be a good idea to stop and get some hot food and see if we could find a hotel there and try to just sleep and hope it melted. As we were blessed we did find a room and got a hot meal and slept most of the day and all that night. We left Sweetwater early Saturday morning and headed on east. Our plans were to go see our friends Deb and Danny in Mississippi on the way home. We made it to their house about 9 or so on Saturday night. As is custom of a good southern lady Deb had a hot supper waiting for us. Oh my, my very first crawfish stew and it was so very good. I even froze a bag and brought some home for my supper the next night. Jason is a picky eater and he loved it too. Maybe Deb will share her recipe with us and I will post it for ya here. We stayed up late visiting and then started out the next day on for home. We made it here late on Sunday night January 4th. So yep, that is what I been up to for the past 2 months. I loved every minute with my lil grandsons, I did get to spoil Liam longer as I waited for Zach and enjoyed getting to see our friends in MS but by golly there is not place like home. Since we got here the farthest I have been from the house is out back to take care of my chickens. No plans for going much farther any time soon either. We have had rain all day today and then tonight they are forecasting freezing rain after midnight. So that in itself will keep me on the farm. Not that I mind at all.

So back on the farm. All is well here with one exception. While I was gone in November to west Ky Rodger called to tell me that my Luna was gone. We had her 6 or 7 years and for some reason she made a bad decision crossing the railroad and got hit and killed. Needless to say it broke my heart. I miss my big girl so much. When I go out to feed I am totally on my own to make sure some critter is not out there to get the chickens or worse, me. She was for sure my security here. Not sure I will ever find another girl as sweet and loyal as she was. Hard as it is I do plan to get another Great Pyrenees in the spring. Am thinking this time maybe get 2 girls and have them fixed. I personally think females are just better guard dogs and protectors. We do have a problem here with people dropping off unwanted dogs that can be a problem with the chickens and there is no Luna here to protect them. But life goes on with that sad note.

While I was away my freezers got filled with deer meat. That was a nice thing to come home too.With one small problem, all the chicken is in the meat freezer under about 3oo lbs of deer meat. So if we want chicken I have to do some serious digging in the freezer and that is no fun at all in freezing weather. But it is doable. We are so blessed that the freezers are full and cellar is well stocked. But once in a while we like to get a box of ice cream and really cant do that right now for there is no room in the freezers. It is a good problem to have tho.

Not much else happening here on the farm. So till next time (not as long, I hope), blessings from the McGuire homestead.

Stella

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Can I hibernate now?

If only I could I surely would hibernate about now. I think winter may have started a little early this year. We had snow on November 1st. It didn't stick at our house but Jason said it covered the car tops out on the ridge. We are blessed to be down in a valley along the river and we get ugly stuff like that later than most every one else. This morning we had planned to get the Cornish cross chickens butchered off and when I got up we had had our first good frost of the season too. It was a tad nippy outside. Rodger already had the water kettle filled and a fire going when I went out with my cup of coffee. We did get the chickens butchered and I got the stock made. I thought I would just wait till tomorrow to can it up so as to hopefully not cause another arthritis flare up. I can hope, right? Most the the birds were so big it took 2 people to zip the bags closed on em. They will make a nice hearty roast chicken and then a wonderful kettle of soup or dumplings the next day. I de-boned the thighs to use in gumbo when I get time to make and can that. Gumbo is a long day process. Takes a good bit of time to brown all the ingredients and to make the roux. Then 90 minutes in the pressure canner. I will get it done soon.

Not long till modern gun hunting for deer around here. Today when we were butchering chickens out back we had 3 nice deer run up in the back yard. Luna barked at them and they took off. She don't chase them once they are out of the yard tho, which is good. She just does not like any kind of critter in the yard. This is her territory and she protects it.

I think all the garden spots have been put to bed for the season now. The trellises are taken down and stacked that we use for beans, the fence to trellis cukes is down and stashed away. The tillers are put away for the season. My herb bed looks like shit and will likely stay that way till spring. Goodness, fall slid past and winter is upon us and dang it, I was not done. It is true, time waits for no one. But we had a pretty good garden this year, got some stuff canned to help out, should have plenty of corn for cornmeal later and some for chicken feed as well. The chickens do like their corn when the temps drop. I will have a few more to butcher off about mid-December when they are big enough. The last hatch is still too small and it would be a waste of life to butcher them right now. And life goes on.....

Not much else happening here on the farm, so till next time, blessing from the McGuire homestead.

Stella