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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Good food

Some of the best foods of summer come from the grill. The one thing that can make any grilled food good or not so much so is the sauce. I just thought I would share a recipe for a good Kentucky BBQ sauce. As we near the Independence Day and the celebrations that come with it may I recommend this sauce for your next grill-out.

Bourbon Chipotle BBQ Sauce
(can be used with the meat of your choice)

1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4cup water
1/4cup molasses
1/4 Kentucky bourbon
1 tablespoon chipotle flakes or powder
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon black pepper, freshly ground

Combine all ingredients in heavy saucepan and bring to boil, lower heat and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. If possible make a day or 2 ahead and refrigerate for flavors to blend. Stir well before using.
Apply sauce to meat last 5 or 10 minutes of grilling to prevent blackening. In oven sauce can be added sooner. Sauce heated can be used for dipping. Enjoy!
Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Garden fence

The electric fence around the garden was finished today. The solar powered fence box is in place and just waiting for some unsuspecting rabbit or deer to have dinner on me.
The plowing in the garden is done for the season for the most part with exception of the new corn that was planted just last week. Looks nice without all the weeds that had started to grow between the rows. Tomorrow I will get the shredded paper mulch put under the tomatoes to keep them off the ground and keep down weeds. We shred all junk mail, paper and light weight card board that comes into the house for use as a weed barrier and mulch under garden plants. It will decompose nicely and add to the garden next year when it gets turned under.
It has been really hot here today so now we are looking for a cool place to relax a bit. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Just my thoughts

I would like to take some time to share my thoughts on gardening and heirloom variety vegetables. As I was looking at my garden yesterday, I noticed some things that were too coincidental. All the varieties of veggies that I have planted that were heirloom varieties have done well under adverse conditions. We have had the excessive rain, limited sunshine and still the old stand-bys have thrived. We have open pollinated Boone County White corn planted for cornmeal, and it is dark green and 6 ft tall now. The sweet corn, being hybrid is an abnormal 2 to 3 ft tall and tasseling. It did not thrive under the conditions. Both planted and treated the same. The tomatoes are all heirloom varieties and are setting tons of tomatoes. Peppers are another hybrid that has not done well at all. They do have peppers on them but will not by any means be considered a success. Watermelons and cantaloupes are heirloom varieties and are doing great. And again hybrid squash not so well. This leads me to believe that the heirloom varieties are stronger genetically and can adapt whereas the hybrids are bred for limited conditions and cannot adapt. I draw this conclusions knowing that all the crops in my garden got equal care and nurturing. Hopefully I will live to garden another year and if so blessed I will strive to plant all heirloom seeds. The old ways are still the best, tried and true. This is just one gardeners humble opinion. Til next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


How to Formulate Your Own Chicken Feed

How to Formulate Your Own Chicken Feed

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Just keep trying

We just keep trying to beat the weather and get things to grow like we think they should. Abundant rainfall in our area and limited sunshine has really stunted all the garden. The sweet corn is a disaster. Plants tasseling too short to be very productive if at all. But made another attempt today to boost them a little bit. I decided last night to not plow the sweet corn under, and just planted more in some empty spots in the garden. Now we will wait and see. Today we plowed the garden and then added a bit more fertilizer to the sweet corn and green beans to see if it will make them productive.

The tomatoes are small but there are lots of them on the vines. The other vining crops are starting to produce some fruit. So maybe we just need to be thankful for what we do have. I think the motto "make hay while the sun shines" has some merit. Thank God for the bountiful garden of last season, I did can way more than we needed, so have plenty if this one doesn't produce well. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Simple Pesto

Just something I stumbled across that you may enjoy.
clipped from

Simple Pesto
Wednesday, June 24, 2009 2:04 AM

clipped by: sbemt456

Simple Pesto

2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup Olive oil

3 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts

3 garlic cloves, finely minced

Pulse basil leaves in food processor until evenly chopped, add nuts, then cheese. Add olive oil to the ingredients while pulsing, until the mixture has a smooth, paste-like consistency.

Use immediately or freeze.

Makes 2 1/2 cups

blog it

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The good and the bad

Just had to go check the garden this evening to see how my war on the potato bugs was progressing. It seems that I have made some real progress on them this time. There were a scarce few on the plants. Dug a mess of new potatoes and in spite of the bugs they have done well to this point. Also cut some more broccoli, and got 3 ripe tomatoes. So this is whats for supper tomorrow night. Checked and pulled one beet and with the size I will be pulling them and making beet pickles next week for sure. Took a good look at the sweet corn and am so disappointed in it. It is no more than 3 feet tall and is tasseling. Which means, no corn. Think I will give it one more try and plow it under and re-plant the whole patch. I guess I missed the obvious with all the rain. Too many rainy cloudy days and no sunshine to help the plants make their own food and grow. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Nice day to be out

Today was quite hot but not unbearable like the past few have been. A good day to go out and check on all the growing things on the farm and in the garden. Took time to cut some more herbs to dry and cut a bouquet of flowers. An informal arrangement of flowers always bring a smile. Made my way around the yard and then to the garden to check on bug damage to the potatoes. They are still chowing down. So as bad as I hate to, hauled out the sprayer and vaccinated the bugs, again. The rest of the garden is finally growing good. The open pollinated white corn that we use for cornmeal is really doing well. It will reach a height of 12 to 15 ft by fall harvest time. I have little zucchini on some of the plants, tomatoes are setting on now, beans are blooming, peppers have little peppers on them. So maybe the garden is better than I thought it was going to be.
Little dark Cornish chicks are just too cute. Maybe I will have layers from them by late fall. Guess we shall wait and see. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

They dont make em like my daddy anymore

( November16, 1913 - April 16, 2004)
Today is Fathers Day. I did go visit my dad today for a while. But not in the sense most people visit with their dad on Fathers day. I sat by his head stone for a while with only my own thoughts and wonderful memories of dad. Reflecting on how much he taught me about life and the person I am today is a direct reflection of that. He was a hard working honest farmer all his life here on the family farm. Always a man of his word, an honorable man with integrity and a willingness to help his fellow man. He believed in treating others as you wished to be treated. He was a kind and generous person. He believed that God was in control of all things. He believed that if you wanted something you had to work for it, nothing in life was free. Living through the Great Depression here on the farm, dad had a lot of experience in living the simple life and how to be frugal. I listened to the stories of his life and today I am not afraid of facing tomorrow because he taught me how live and thrive. And he left me the family farm to sustain me and the generation that follows along with the knowledge he gleaned from life. So Happy Fathers day dad and to all the honorable dads out there. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Nuffin happens when its this hot

Was a day here to try and find a cool spot for the day. Temps in the 90's and high humidity again. When I checked on the baby chicks today, even with them being less than a week old, they were hot. Turned on another fan for them which seemed to make em happy. Went to check on the garden and see if there was anything else to harvest. I do have some tiny little squash growing, tomatoes are setting on,and picked a few more heads of broccoli. The beans are blooming, so it wont be long on those. Will be cutting more herbs to dry tomorrow. Have some basil in the dehydrator now, and its seems to take forever to get dry. Maybe I will try pesto next time. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Canning and the heat

The heat here was oppressive today in the high 90's and high humidity. Not a day to have to work outside. Only chore was to keep the chickens cool in the brooder house. With one fan running they seemed comfortable. Just so fun and relaxing to watch little chicks go about their business of living.

With the power outage yesterday due to the storm that moved through, had to can mustard/turnip greens this morning. Had 14 pints and 5 quarts after all of them were processed. Just more to add to the pantry for later use. Then on to the house cleaning that didnt get done in early spring. Somehow I got a late start on spring cleaning. Got the walls washed in about 1/3 of the house and even with a/c it was too hot to do much. So maybe I'll finish that tomorrow. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

More storms

The heat and humidity at 10 am was like August weather here in Kentucky. I did manage to get in the garden and get the mustard and turnip greens cut to can. Got them all washed in about 4 changes of water and ready to wilt down and pack in jars. Then got busy steaming the greens to wilt them and is starts getting dark outside. We had some heavy wind and rain from the storm that moved through. Just as that was finished the power went off. So I have 2 large bowls of wilted greens to can in the morning. The power finally came back on but was a little late to be starting the canner. So guess that is a project for tomorrow morning. So till next time blessings from the McGuire homestead.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Had just enough

Had just enough to do today to keep from being bored. Still drying herbs and weeding various beds. Got all the grass out of the onion bed so the walking onions will have a nice place to live. Went to the big garden to look around and did get to harvest some bell peppers and broccoli. Tomatoes are blooming and setting little tomatoes but the plants seem terribly small. I will be harvesting and canning mustard and turnip greens tomorrow for sure. They are a foot tall already. Should have green beans in a few weeks and beets to can. I have waved the white flag of surrender to the potato beetles, think I lost that battle. They are still alive and fairing well. We had several rain showers today after the stifling heat and humidity. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Drying herbs

Got the herbs cut today for drying. Just cut the basil and lemon balm and that was all I would have room for on the drying screens. Was very hot outside so came into the kitchen to strip them from the stems and wash to remove any dust or bugs. Drained on towels and put them on screens to dry outside in the sun. And you guessed it, it started to rain. So now we have 2 large screens of herbs in the kitchen drying. Usually only takes a few days at room temperature to dry completely. If only I had more screens and sunshine I could cut all the varieties that need to be done right now. But that is just the "if" in the middle of life. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.

Monday, June 15, 2009

New babies and drying time again

Well I have more new babies today. My order of dark Cornish chicks came in this morning. They are so cute. Took them to the brooder house to join the black australorp chicks. Gave them each a drink of water and let them go. The blacks were cowering in the corner, terrified of the little chipmunk looking things that were coming near them. But by evening they were all good friends, eating and drinking together.
Had about 10 more lbs of onions to get dried and next will be drying time for more herbs. Have basil, dill, lemon balm, chives and chamomile to get harvested and ready to dry. The lemon balm and chamomile both make relaxing sleep inducing teas. Chamomile has a mild apple flavor and aroma.
The flower beds are all blooming beautifully in spite of my neglect. They do need to be weeded and mulched but they are low on the list as I put more effort into food producing plants.
So till next time blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Lazy Sunday afternoon

It was one of those lazy Sunday afternoons today. Started out too hot and humid to do much, then some rain showers. The rain really made a difference in the temps. Was so nice to sit on the porch this evening and just relax after a hard day yesterday. Then went to the brooder house to check on the little chicks I moved into there last evening. They had spent the first 2 weeks of their lives in small close quarters and I would have thought they were happy to have some space. But much to my surprise they were all terrified of wide open spaces. They are like a gang, just stay in a group every where they move to in the building. I am sure they will adjust in a few days. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Butchering time

Well today was butchering day for the cornish cross. Sure don't take 5 people long to make parts of 24 birds. All done with the butchering part in about 3 hours. Dressed weight for the birds average about 5 1/4 lb. each. We do things the old fashioned way, decapitate, scald, pluck and dress. In the decapitation process with big birds holding them without causing injury or bruising the meat can be tricky. So as intentions go we never got around to making or buying a "killing cone". So we improvised one. Made from a gallon milk jug, cut off the bottom and then cut off the top of the jug to accommodate the chickens head and neck. Stick their head through the hole in the top, hold their feet and then to the chop block. Works much better than trying to hold them and breaking wings and legs. We all got a good laugh out of the improvised killing cone. After all the messy work is done its on to bag the meat for the freezer and make stock to can from the bony parts such as backs, necks, ribs and wing tips. Had about 20 lb of stock material which gets put in pressure canner along with about 2 stalks of celery, 3 cups carrots in chunks, 3 cups onions, couple tablespoons salt, tablespoon pepper, handful of parsley and good splash of vinegar and cooked at 10 lb pressure for about 1 1/2 hours. After pressure goes down, strain and pour broth in hot quart jars, cap and pressure can for 90 minutes at 10 lb pressure. With homemade chicken stock you will laugh at the store bought version.
Now its on to clean the brooder house and get it ready for more chicks to move in. So till next time blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Friday, June 12, 2009

More showers

Today was a day of running. You run out and do some chores and run back in out of the showers. We had some fairly heavy rain fall last night, enough to raise the river level again. Had to check the garden today between showers to see how things were doing and they seem to be doing fairly well. Things are growing right along with the weeds. Will be canning some mixed greens early next week. This weekend we will be up to our elbows in chicken butchering. That process will start early and end late. The final stage being canning the stock and some of the meat. So I am hoping for a productive day without showers of rain. Till next time, blessings from the Mcguire homestead.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Gentle summer rain

After all the heat we finally got some gentle summer rain today. We as humans are never happy. First we complain about too much rain then we get some drying and complain. But the showers today were a welcome relief from the heat and humidity of the past few days. And am sure the garden veggies were standing up waving, yelling "over here, over here".
Just had to go take a walk through the garden before the shower and it looks good, just seems to be growing slow. Or maybe its just me in a hurry. We have had to treat our potatoes for potato beetles and we seem to have made a little progress. After the showers are over may need to spray again to finish them off. Maybe next week we will be able to pick and can some mustard and turnip greens. And the beets wont be far behind, they are getting to be good size for pickled beets.
So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Kentucky heat

Today we had typical Kentucky weather with temps in the mid 90's and high humidity. Makes for a rather uncomfortable day. Even the chickens were in not happy with the heat. We have 25 cornish cross fryers that are just over 5 weeks old in the brooder house. And with 2 fans going they still didnt get cool. So I just left the door open on the building all day. I was going to be working in the yard in back any way they were safe from predators. This weekend they will be where it stays really cool, in the freezer.
So after getting the birds taken care of I went off to mulch the grapevines. I used a layer of shredded paper for a weed barrier and then a layer of partially composted straw with a layer of new straw on top for aesthetics. Turned out rather nice. I did notice that some of the second years vines have some grape clusters on them. So just maybe we will get a taste of the grapes this year. The cats were no help at all, they were more interested in playing king of the hill. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Monday, June 8, 2009

We have had lots of rain here in the mountains and it sure makes the weeds grow. The garden is growing well but needs a lot of attention. I did manage to get out today and weed some in the bed where the walking onions are and in the herb beds. Walking onions are quite interesting in their growing habits. Making little bulbis on top of the stems that fall to the ground and start the whole process of life over.But I think I have yard gnomes that are going in at night and replanting the weeds I pulled the day before. Such as life, just an ongoing process.
Have a great day and blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Beginning of this adventure

Welcome to my blog. For the next bit I will be sharing photos of dfferent areas of the farm.My goal here is to try to blog about life here on our little farm and hopefully leave the reader with information they can use in some way to make their life better. This is the place I have called home most of my life with exception of about 4 years when I first got married we lived in another area of the county. The McGuire homestead has been in my family for 4 generations, with my 2 sons being 5th generation here. I have always enjoyed the farm life and all the challenges that it holds. We have 100 acres here that could easily support an average family. Although we dont have it up to par yet. We do raise a big garden every year and can, freeze and dry most of our food. We have laying hens and hatch some of our own chicks. Also raise meat birds for the freezer. Also suppliment our meat by hunting and fishing. In the near future we will be raising our own hogs for meat and possibly some cattle.
So enjoy your visit and again welcome!