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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Winter is in the air

Winter is in the air this evening. We still have some rain falling and its quite chilly outside. Not that I have been out there much for the past few days. I have went as far as the front porch today. My surgery went well on my elbow but I am having a lot of pain. So with that I am taking a good deal of pain meds to help control that. So my days consist of sleeping and more sleeping. It will get better with some time and healing. I had doctors appointments for the 2 days prior to surgery. And at both facilities there were bunches of people there with the flu. At least 50% of the folks there had masks on. Not sure if it was for their own personal benefit or the benefit of others. The main stream media has caused so much un-necessary fear among people. This flu like all communicable illnesses can be halted by common sense cleanliness. But that's just my opinion.
I cant type long and use the right hand so this post will be short and sweet. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Am home after surgery

Well I have survived my elbow surgery and am home. Rob had me home by noon today, the surgery didn't take too long but the doc was late getting there due an auto collision in his neighborhood. I was still out of surgery by 9 am and on my way home by 10. I am doing OK, just having some pain and doc said I would have for several days. A friend is coming to sit with me tomorrow and hopefully after that I will be safe alone. I guess the meds they gave me in surgery are still making me a little dizzy when I stand. Am also starting to feel some pain and soreness all the way to my shoulder. I will survive this too I think.

I did have a nice surprise this evening when we fed my young pullets. One of them had laid their first egg. Yah for them. They are only 4 and 1/2 months old. So I am happy to know they will be laying good very soon. Now we need nest boxes for them. Farm fresh eggs are a must at this place. After all what is a farm without fresh eggs?

I got a call from Jason out there on the road and he probably wont be home till Thanksgiving. Dang I miss having him around. I got no one to fuss at now. lol I think Rob is coming back home this weekend, maybe on Sunday to help out here on the farm. We still have 3 more rows of sweet potatoes to dig and the bread corn to pick. Not sure if it will be dry enough to do either this week.The weather was really nice today with temps in the low 70s and sunshine. Still nice out for night too.

OK it time for more pain control, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

On the road

Not much getting done on the homestead this week with the rain and all my doctors appointments. Did get my dark Cornish ran on Craig's list for sale so am hoping I can move them pretty soon. Takes a lot of feed to keep 28 birds happy.
I feel like I have been on the road all day. Had an appointment with orthopedic surgeon today, kinda a pre-op thing so he could tell me what to expect with my surgery tomorrow. Then back home to pack and then go to my son Robs house for the night. He is the one taking me to surgery tomorrow. Not really looking forward to not being able to use my right arm for at least 2 weeks. But maybe the pain will cease. Am thinking this is going to be a long winter.
The rain finally stopped last night and today was fairly nice. But it is rather cold out this evening. We got to Richmond early enough to have dinner at Red Lobster. I think I got my shrimp fix for a while.
Got to get up early so guess I am off to bed. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It rained again

I had big plans for getting some stuff done today in the yard. Had a doctors appointment this morning and thought I would get to work when I got home but that didn't happen. It started to rain as I left the doc's office and has rained all afternoon. The weather man said it will dry out some tomorrow but I wont get much done then as I have another doctors appointment in the morning and will be going to my son Rob's house for the night. He will be the one taking me to the surgery center on Thursday for my surgery. Not looking forward to this at all. It means I wont be able to do any thing in the yard for quite a while.
The rain today really cooled things off around here. Kinda chilly and damp in the house. A fire sure would feel good. Its getting to the time of year when we need to move some firewood closer to the house for quick use. There is nothing as comforting as a nice fire in the fireplace when ya have someone to share it with.
I will try to keep up with my blogging after I get home from surgery. Not sure how that will go, guess I can get used to typing with one hand. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Finally done canning chicken

I finally got done caning chicken this evening. I sorta got a late start but it took all day. I had 3 canners full to process. There were 17 quarts of chicken, 11 quarts and 8 pints of stock. I canned some of the stock in pints because I use it to cook lentils. All beans and legumes need to have animal fats cooked in them to unlock all the nutrients for the human body to absorb. Spent the day outside while the canner was going just doing odd jobs that I want to get finished before I have surgery on Thursday. I did reorganize the root cellar to better fit my needs. And while I was doing this I was thinking of a Tom and Jerry cartoon I had seen some time ago. In the cartoon Tom was locked in the house and had only 1 can of food ad Jerry hid the can opener. That's how I will feel after surgery. I have all this canned food and will only have use of one hand and wont be able to open jars. As my friend Jen would tell me "you are a mess. Got more projects to complete tomorrow so off to bed I go. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Done butchering

As of today I am done butchering chickens for the year. We got the dark Cornish roosters butchered today and I also butchered off my old laying flock of black australorps. There was a total of 16 birds. They were done laying and molting and the Cornish will be laying about the same time the australorps would have started back so they are headed for the stew pot. I am still pressure cooking some of the chicken parts for stock as I write this. Got one canner full done and strained and one cooking now. Am going to strain that one and put the stock in the refrigerator and can it tomorrow. I have my water bath canner full of the legs, thighs, and breast meat to can tomorrow also.
When I ordered the dark Cornish this year, I ordered 10 pullets and 25 straight run chicks. And of the straight run only about 10 were roosters. I guess if I had ordered just the 25 straight run I would have likely ended up with no pullets. But now I have too many. Such is my luck. So I think I will offer about 10 of the pullets for sale with one rooster. They are too good a bunch to butcher for meat. And besides I will have enough meat canned to do for quite some time. So I'm off to strain the stock and then hit the bed. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

A beautiful fall day

The weather was just beautiful today here in the hills of East Kentucky. Warm enough to make working outside so nice. I got out and spread some compost on the asparagus and onion bed so I can work it into the soil and then put on the mulch. Maybe tomorrow evening I will get the rest of the compost spread on the herb bed and strawberries and prep them for the mulch as well. I got a lot of cleanup work to do before next Thursday when I have surgery on my elbow. Am thinking that will put the kibosh on my working in the yard and gardens around here. At least this fall. Tomorrow I will be butchering the rest of the dark Cornish and all the old laying flock if Black Australorps. Then I will can the meat and probably freeze some as well. But its now or never to do the butchering as it will be late in November before I could be able to do that stuff and a little too cold for my liking to be outside butchering.
When I was on vacation I stopped in central Kentucky to spend a few days with my friend Rosie and her hubby Sam and she sent me home with a large brown grocery bag of sage leaves to dry. I have those on window screens in the kitchen now but am thinking I will put them in the dehydrator to speed the process so I can get them ground and stored before my surgery. Might be a little hard to crank an herb grinder with one hand. While I was there she taught me to make Oatmeal soup. I was a little apprehensive at first due to the fact that the only way I had ever had oatmeal was as a cereal. It is very economical and so darn good. So for the benefit of some other friends who had ask for the recipe I will post the instructions just as Rosie told me to make the soup. So here is Rosie's German Oatmeal soup:

1 med. onion minced
1 cup oatmeal
2 tablespoons of oil
about a quart of water
1 bouillon cube
Swiss cheese
fresh chives
black pepper to taste
2 whole eggs

Put oil or butter in kettle and saute minced onion till it gets golden. Dump in the oatmeal and stir to toast the oatmeal. Add water and bouillon cube and simmer till it thickens a little and the oats are done. Just before serving break the eggs in the soup and stir to break the yolks and mix the eggs into the soup. Similar to egg drop soup. Simmer a few minutes to cook the eggs. Season to taste with pepper. Ladle into serving bowls and shred Swiss cheese on top, sprinkle with chives and enjoy. I know it sounds strange but is so good and filling. I don't eat cheese and I really enjoyed this soup. Thanks Rosie. Great when you want something hot and comforting for dinner.
Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Got a few things done

I managed even with the rain to get a few chores done outside today. My rosemary plants are in pots and in the house for the winter, as are the aloe. I also potted some of the chives and parsley and brought them in to see if they will do well in the house so we can have them fresh this winter. The day started out with rain and in early afternoon it was sunny and quite breezy. Just really nice to be outside. I sure hope the ground dries a little this weekend so I can mulch the asparagus bed and herbs for winter. I dug some horseradish today as well. And dang those roots are huge and very straight. Should make them easier to peel.
While I was away on vacation the guys got the solar panel installed on the root cellar so we now have solar lights in there. Those will come in handy if we need to use the cellar during storm season.
All and all it has been really quiet around here today. Jason, my oldest son is working again driving a truck so he is not here like usual. But he does call and email photos of where he is. Guess in a way I get to see the country from the windshield of a rig. Kinda cool eh?
Rob, my youngest called home today as well to see if I was back from vacation. Sure was wishing he and his girlfriend Amoy could come home this weekend to help butcher chickens. But they both have to work so that kinda leaves us to do the butchering ourselves. I have about 20 birds to butcher and can this weekend. Makes me tired just thinking about all that work. But it will sure be good when they are on the table. Maybe I will just get some sleep for now. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Home at last!

Well I finally made it home today, well this afternoon. Got home just in time to get the truck unloaded and Jason had to load up his stuff and head out to his new job. He is finally on the road driving a truck again. I am so happy for him to have found a job in these tough times but I know I will miss him being here all the time too. He is really doing what I have always wanted to do, truck drive and see the country. Maybe I can just live that dream through him. Robert, the youngest will graduate college in December and move on to make a life for himself. We are so proud of him for sticking with it and graduating college. Darn it seems like only yesterday they were both just little boys. This growing up sure does make it hard for momma.
Am glad to be home but I had a really good vacation with family and friends. Got to spend time with my aunt in western Kentucky and some friends there. Then on the way home stopped off to visit some friends in the central part of the state. I always enjoy time at Sam and Rosie's place, and she is such a wonderful cook. Last evening she taught me to make oatmeal soup. OK I know it sounds odd to most folks but you just have to trust me, it is really good and filling. Just hits the spot on a cool fall evening.
Tomorrow I will be trying to get some things done here on the farm before it rains again. I have some plants that need to be potted and brought in before heavy frost kills them. My rosemary for one thing has to be potted. If I get an early start I might get that done before it rains. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Just relaxing

As you are aware I have been on vacation this week and have enjoyed it. I stayed last night at the guest house on the lake. Got up this morning and the sun was shining for the first time in a week. Was a beautiful peaceful setting watching boats and barges go by on the lake and enjoy my morning coffee. The temps are rather nice too for a change. Mid 60's here today in western part of the state. I guess tomorrow I will head in the general direction of home. But will make another stop half way there to visit some friends and spend the night with them before heading on home. I know I have lots to do when I get home. Only have a week to get all caught up and have surgery on the 29Th of October. Not looking forward to that at all.
Enjoy the photos and till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead on the road.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Seeing the scenery

The scenery on my vacation was just a bonus of the trip. On my way through Natural Bridge state park I took a few photos of the changing trees. So pretty this time of year. Its always good to visit my aunt and my friend that lives near her when I come west. Their season is a few weeks behind us so I can have the best of both worlds. The gardens are just finishing up here so I did get to help do some canning. We have made apple sauce and apple butter. Also made some cushaw butter for my aunt as well. Just the time of year to wind down and finish up with laying the garden by for the winter. Maybe I can get in a day of fishing on Kentucky Lake while I'm here as well.

Got an email from Jason back home and they have most of the sweet potatoes dug. So far 11 1/2 bushels with 3 more rows to dig. That's a lot of taters! I suppose I will have lots to do when I go home after my trip. Enjoy the photos of the scenery and till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead on the road.


Friday, October 9, 2009

The weather went crazy

I went out side earlier today and noticed a big change in the temperatures from yesterday. It was hot and humid, not like yesterday when you would be comfortable in long sleeves. Then I decided to watch the weather channel after seeing how dark the sky had gotten. We had a tornado watch most of the evening. These are the first storms we have had all year, no spring storms, just the rain. Early this morning we had some heavy rain and some wind. The wind has been erratic all day. Several times today the wind would gust and blew a few things over in the yard and then we would get a down pour of rain. At this point I think the storm warnings and watches are pretty much over for the night. We are due more rain tomorrow. And likely it will as I will be leaving on vacation. I will try to take some pics of the Natural Bridge state park area as I pass through and post those for you tomorrow night. Eastern Kentucky is just beautiful this time of year. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Cool fall rains

It has been nice and cool for the past few days. With some rain almost daily. We have had enough I guess to settle the dirt down where we covered over the root cellar and contoured the hill. Jason got the grass seed sowed today and then we got another light shower after that. So the seed should sprout and not get washed away. We still have a good bit of clean up and raking to do to really call the area finished. But that will be after some drying time.
The trees are taking on their fall colors right now and are gorgeous. Next week our temps here are supposed to drop to the 40's at night. That's almost cool enough to turn on the heat. Well I sure am not ready for that. Where the heck did my summer go?
I made some of the Pina Colada jam today and dang was that stuff good. Was thinking it would make a fine treat on top of some homemade ice cream. Now if I just had an ice cream freezer.
I will be leaving here on Saturday morning for a couple week of vacation. Just need a change of scenery once in a while. I will be visiting some family and spending time with some special friends.
I do know that when I visit my aunt in the western part of the state I will have the assigned task of making some muscadine grape jelly. Then the following week when I visit some other friends, there is no telling what kinda projects we will undertake. I am really looking forward to this road trip. Then back home for about a week and I have surgery on my right elbow to fix the tendinitis that started 2 years ago when I got hurt at work. Not sure yet how long the recovery will be for that, but I have all winter. Just as long as I got Internet and can type with one hand, I will survive. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

All the hassle

This has been one of those days when you realize just how much hassle it is to deal with the government. My son is taking a new job and it is unreal the hoops he had to jump through just to get all the proper paper work to take the test to get his HazMat endorsement on his CDL. I think he talked to every government agency in the country trying to get to the right department that could do a background check and take finger prints. Then only with a appointment and certain days of the week to the tune of $175, not in cash but money order or certified check. Then try to get a passport, that was a whole different animal. And only a few select post offices will do them. So he had to drive to another town for that. But I had promised to take a friend to the doctor in that town so that was a little bit of gas saved. Finally after about $300 and all day he has the proper credentials on their way, after a 4 to 6 week wait.
And the doctors office was another brick wall. My friend has been a hair dresser for 30 years and it has taken its tole on her hands and feet. She has cut my hair for some 25 years or more and was the one to give my boys each their first haircuts. She has no medical insurance and she never gets proper treatment, just the run around and sent on to someone else. I cannot imagine how bad it will be with government controlled health care. I don't even want to get started on that issue. I haven't done anything physical today but dang I am exhausted. Think I will stay home tomorrow, maybe I will have a more productive day. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The root cellar construction

I was thinking that maybe this post and the pics would give someone some helpful ideas if they intend to build a root cellar/storm shelter of their own. And as the old saying goes, sometimes pictures speak louder than words. So I am hoping that will be the case here.
This past spring we decided to build a root cellar in the bank behind our house. It involved a lot of dozer work to make the hole and level place for it to be poured. It was formed and re bar was in place and concrete was poured by a contractor. First the footers, then the walls, next was the roof and last was the floor. The floor was poured on a bed of gravel and the inside floor actually rises above the level of the footer to help prevent water seepage. Then the header over the door and wing walls to hold back soil after covering it over were poured last. After a week or so of curing the forms were removed and the finish work was to begin. At this point the contractor was paid and never returned to finish the job. There were some uneven places that needed to be ground out and some patch work to do. We had to do this our self. Then the hole was drilled for the ventilation pipe and a small hole for wiring for the solar lights that will be installed. Next step was the water proofing sealer that had to be brushed on the outside to make it water tight. Also on the roof we added a layer of felt paper to help prevent water from entering. After the water proofing material dried there was a ditch dug out at the perimeter of the cellar to allow for installation of a drainage pipe to carry water away from the base of the cellar. This pipe had to be placed below the level of the footer so there would be no under ground water sitting above the level of the footers. A layer of gravel was put on top of the pipe and then a layer of hay was put on. The hay will catch sediment from the water seeping down and not clog the drain line over time. Then the dirt was all pushed back in place and smoothed for replanting of grass. I painted the walls of the cellar on the inside for ease of cleaning and ease of disinfecting if the need arises. This cellar is going to be dry on the inside but if we store root crops that need moisture that can be produced with containers of water. Mostly what will be stored in our cellar will be canned foods and things that don't require a lot of humidity. The remainder of the work on the area around the cellar will be mostly cosmetic. Although the front exposed wall will be painted a lighter color the help reflect heat in summer. Also I am intending to plant some kind of vining fruit to help cool the building. Enjoy the pictures, and till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Playing in the dirt

We have been playing in the dirt for the past few days around here. The root cellar is finally covered over and we are now ready to start seeding the ground to hopefully prevent it from washing down the hill to the house. The drainage ditch is dug out, the landscape gravel is back in front of the outbuilding so we don't walk through mud going in there. I have to say it does look better. In the process of moving the dirt back with the dozer, several huge rocks were unearthed. Those were placed behind one retaining wall as water breaks. Maybe I can get some kind of ground cover planted there to make it look better. Also there are 2 areas in front of the cellar that will probably be herb beds and maybe some kind of vining fruit to cover the front of the cellar in summer to keep it cooler. But first order will be a coat of paint on the front of the concrete. Still several little projects to do but progress is being made.
I did finish painting the inside of the old farm house and got the trim done. Still need to change out the tub fixtures and call it quits. Lots to do before cold weather. Till then, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Still keeping on

Well we have all been hard at it all day today with various projects. The root cellar finally got covered over and is now officially under ground. Just hope it don't rain till we get all the minor leveling done with the dirt. Still need to open drainage ditch to carry water away from the deck and back of the house. Some very large rocks need to be positioned to slow down runoff of water when it does rain. I will still need to get the one flower bed dug out so I can have a rock patio put in its place before winter. I can feel the blisters starting on my hands already from the rake and shovel.
I have painted all day at the old farm house and still have the bathroom to paint and some trim work to do before calling it done. Then some cleanup and I will quit, maybe.
Tomorrow Rob and Amoy will be here so Rob can help with the finish work on the back area of the house and around the cellar. Can always use another strong back and muscles. The kids are really good to come home and help out when they have time off work to do so. Guess I will have to feed some of "moms home cooking". Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Friday, October 2, 2009

Another day in paradise

Its just another day to try and get a lot of things done before the weather changes into fall. We have gotten most of the old farm house painted inside, still have 2 large rooms and a bathroom to paint and then the trim to finish. While out of town to a dentist appointment we had to do some shopping and picked up some paint at a discount store. It was a good name brand for $25 for a 5 gallon bucket. It was a light beige color which works great for the house. Also got 3 other gallon buckets of white paint for the trim. All really good quality paint and saved a bundle of money on it.
We have the dozer back here to get the root cellar covered over so we can plant grass on it before too late in the season. The top of the cellar will end up having about a foot of dirt on it to help maintain an even temperature all year around.
I have been wanting to get some pears off the tree to ripen so I can make pear preserves and haven't done that yet, so maybe I can do that tomorrow after I finish painting at the old house. The mustard and turnip greens I cut a week or so ago have grown back and need to be cut again. I have to get some straw next week and finish mulching all the plants that need to be mulched before winter. Dang I only have a week to get all this done as I am leaving on vacation October 10th and will be gone for a couple weeks. A much needed break before I have surgery on my elbow and am house bound all winter. Not looking forward to that at all.
Jason got the final mowing done on the farm yesterday and day before, it looks nice and tidy for a change. I noticed lots of fallen leaves got chopped up with the riding mower. The trees are starting to change into their coat of many colors for fall. And with the big full harvest moon, makes want to find a warm spot and curl up for a good long nap. Maybe that's a good plan. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.