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Monday, May 31, 2010

Picking and canning peas

 This has been a slow chill out weekend for us. Amoy came to visit and spent the night. I think she is as lost without Rob as we are knowing he is so far from home. She is a nice pleasant lady to have around. Not to mention we get to spoil the lil grand dog. lol We didn't do much outside today with the heat and humidity. Late this evening we went to the garden to check on things and pick peas. I did not think they would produce as well as they have so far. I took enough baskets to pick maybe a half bushel. We pick a bushel or maybe a little more. If I had thought there would be that many I would have went out and pick them earlier so I wouldn't be all night canning peas. But I didn't, so here I am canning peas at this hour. And there will be 2 cannings of them. my canner will do 14 quarts at a time and I have 25 quarts in jars now. I might get in bed by 3am.
We had a light shower of rain this evening also, but only enough to cool the night air a bit. The garden stuff is growing really well but dang the bugs this year. I am still battling the potato beetles and now I have noticed that the little bean plants have some bean bugs too. So I am off early in the morning to spray all them again. I have read several times that nicotine is toxic to bugs. I have already used a strong pesticide on the taters. But I did purchase a couple packs of chewing tobacco last week and set it to soak in water to extract the nicotine. This time spraying I am going to mix the nicotine with some water and spray a few rows of potatoes with just the nicotine spray and see if this makes a difference. If it does, guess what I will be growing next year. This is going to be my experiment for the season. I will post back to let you all know how it effects the bugs if at all. I do know it stinks to high heavens.
So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Sunday, May 30, 2010

I like holiday weekends

I like these long holiday weekends. Got outside today and did some cleanup out back from the summer kitchen construction. I did get my outbuilding cleaned out today and now I have walking around room. Jason got some of his belongings out of there and put in storage. Now maybe I can organize the things that I need in my own building again.
I planted some hollyhocks that I started from seed that my friend Rosie had given me. They are going to be growing in front of one of the cellar wing walls. Some of the flowers there are blooming and it does look nicer than bare dirt.
Tomorrow we are picking peas again and hope this time to put more in the freezer or maybe have enough to can a few jars. Rodger went into the garden today and said everything we planted last week is up. So that sounded promising. We will be in there with hoes tomorrow to get the weeds out that we missed with the rototiller last week. I just hope it is not as hot tomorrow as it was today. The heat was like we usually have in July and August here. It was kinda odd, when I talked with Rob last night from Elco Nevada, he said it was like 40 degrees there and we had 90's.
So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Trial run

I did a trial run of canned corn today just to see if we would like the taste. I have corn in the freezer from last year and decided to thaw some and can it to see how it would do. It was a sugar enhanced corn and with processing it did turn a lil dark. This is caused from the long processing times and the sugar content. As soon as our corn gets ready this year, it is a normal sweet corn, I will can a batch of it to see how it compares. Although the corn I canned today tastes fine, the color is not to my liking.
I picked a few more strawberries today and put them in the dehydrator to dry. They can be used in cereal and tea once they dry. Also cut some peppermint, lemon balm to dry and chives and dill got chopped and put in the freezer.Neither dill nor chives are good dried.
Not much else happening here today, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Friday, May 28, 2010

Part 1: video

As you remember a few weeks ago our friends Chris and Tammie were here to do a video of the farm. Well part 1 is done and on YouTube.  I think Tammie did a wonderful job putting this together and showing our place at its best. Even tho it rained all that weekend Tammie had fun and got a lot of video footage. Here's the link for all who want to see our little place and its history.

You can also see Tammies' blog and the other videos that she has done. The blog address is in my blog list to the left, The Unusual Farm chick.
To see some of the old pictures almost come to life was just amazing for me. My dad has been gone 6 years now and I am sure he would have been proud of this portrayal of his life and those before him and to know we carry on the same as he did.

Haven't done much on the farm today other than clean up here and there. I even cleaned out the vehicles and got the pollen and dust out of them. And gosh was it hot outside. I was sweating like a ho in church! I had to go into the summer kitchen a few times to cool off. I had to be outside anyway so I did cook the most of supper out there on the gas range to keep the heat out of the house. I am thawing some corn from the freezer to can tomorrow to see if we like canned corn. If it cans up OK I may just can up all that is in the freezer so it don't freezer burn. I will let you know how it turns out.
We got a little shower of rain this evening at sundown and that cooled things off nicely. And I am sure the garden will be happy too. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Odds and ends

I have done odd and ends today that didn't as a whole amount to much. Had to get up early to take my friend to therapy today then back home. He is doing much better with eating and walking, now his feed tube it blocked and is causing him a lot of pain. But hopefully that comes out this week for good.
When I got home I checked on the strawberry jam I made last night and it had all sealed. Yippee!!! Am thinking strawberry jam with cream cheese on pancakes would be mighty good. Maybe a weekend breakfast.
I got a lot more dill weed cut, chopped and frozen for later use. I think I will let the rest of it make seed heads to use in dill pickles. If they mature before the cukes I may just have to cut them and freeze them as well.
We did get more sweet corn planted this evening too. We never seem to have enough corn in the freezer to do us all year. While we were in the field Rodger and Jason finished plowing the bread corn out and put another round of fertilizer on it. I have one row planted on the outside edge of Kentucky wonder bush beans, pumpkins, cushaws and sunflowers. The bear row is half the length of the corn field, gonna be a long row to pick.
So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Making Jam, weeding beds

I took time today to make the strawberry jam with the berries that I had been picking. Some I had frozen till I had enough.Thawed those and got the jam done. I had 5 pints and 8 half pints. That should be good on a hot biscuit or over ice cream or melted on pancakes. Uses for strawberry jam is limited only by your imagination.

Got my ceiling fan installed in the summer kitchen too. This will help a good deal and maybe I wont need to run the A/C so much. When I am busy out here it is a waste to run the air conditioner with me going in and out all the time. Its a little fan and its so cute.

It was really hot here today. I got out early and got the onion bed and asparagus bed weeded this morning. I think there is room on the south side of the onion bed to put up a little trellis and plant some gourds. I really would like to have some luffa gourds to dry and use for scrubbing things outside and to use indoors as well. I think it would be cool to have the luffa gourds sliced into chunks and then make some homemade soap and embed the luffa in it. Would make a really good scrubber for the bath. Hmmm, maybe I will do that soon before the garden stuff comes in. Not much else happening here today. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Picking peas, cemetary clean-up

I had a follow up visit to the eye doctor this morning and as I went by the cemetery just past the house some people were mowing and cleaning up for the up coming Memorial Day weekend. I stopped and talked with them for a few minutes. I gave them some cash to help with labor and gas because they had mowed my family plot off where my dad and grand parents are buried. They are to be commended for doing this task for no pay other than they like to see the place look nice. After my doctor appointment I got some rakes and went back to help get some of the limbs and debris off the place. I did get a chance to plant a rose bush near my dads grave.
This evening after supper we went to the garden and picked the peas. They are doing much better than I had anticipated. We picked a bit less than a half bushel. Not enough to make a canning so I am gonna cook them about half done and then freeze them.

These are sugar snap peas and are so sweet and tender even with the pods filled out well. These should be tasty with some bacon grease cooked with em.
Rodger got most of the bread corn plowed out this evening after he helped me pick peas. I did give in and spray the potatoes while he was plowing. I sure hope this does the job on the tater bugs. I was kinda beat this evening so I am going back tomorrow and plant some more sweet corn in one of the empty spots in the garden and see what else I can come up with to plant while no one is looking.
Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Finally finished..........

We it has been sunny and hot today and the ground has dried out nicely. So after supper we got in the garden and got it all fertilized and plowed out. Got the peppers all transplanted to their spot, planted 2 rows of Yukon gold seed potatoes that were given to us, got the vine crops in, transplanted the sweet potato slips that we had, and planted a row of Kentucky Wonder bush beans down the field beside the bread corn. Had about a half row of them and then planted some cushaws and pumpkins. The whole things looks rather nice after it got plowed.

 Tomorrow will finish out that row with some sunflowers. Of all things not to have, I don't have any zucchini seed. Guess I will get some tomorrow when  I am in town.
I got my greenhouse emptied out today, so tomorrow if it is not so hot I will try to get the mess cleaned up in there and get some flats ready to start fall seedling. I think I will fill about 3 large pots with good potting soil to use for plantings of lettuce and other salad greens.
The Colorado potato beetles are in full force again this year of the potatoes. I don't like using spray in the garden but if we are to have potatoes that seems to be the "don't like" that I will have to do. We totally lost our potatoes to the bugs last year and I am not giving in this time. So war has been declared. I am doing battle in the morning.
So am off the bed, till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Summer is back

Summer is back with a vengeance. It was hot today, in the 90's,  not that I am complaining. We had planned on working in the garden today but the ground was still soft and muddy. So tomorrow evening we hope to get some more potatoes planted, peppers and the vine crops in. I am going in there early to spray for the potato beetles in the volunteers. A guy that used to run a farm store here in town gave Rodger and Jason a 50 lb bag of Yukon Gold seed potatoes that have good sprouts on them. Seeing as how the ones we planted didn't come up we are going to try this again. Everything gets fertilized tomorrow too as well as plowed out.
The yards finally got mowed today and trimmed. Gosh it looks so much better. I do need to rake the front part of the yard. I plan on putting some of the grass clipping in my new compost tumbler along with the manure out of the brooder house. We made  a run to Tractor Supply today and got one of the Wizard compost tumblers. Considering the material it is made of, I think it will last much longer than a regular metal 55 gallon barrel. I just cant manage to turn a compost pile like it needs to be to work well. Just one of the bleeps of my work injury.
The plants all get taken out of the greenhouse tomorrow as well and go to the garden for transplanting. Then I can clean out the greenhouse and tidy it back up and get ready for fall seed starts. I do plan on starting some cabbage, broccoli and probably get some lettuces going for use in the fall and winter. By then I should have some compost ready to use.
I still have some weeding to do here in the beds at the house. So many little things to do around a place in summer. I got the strawberries picked today and strawberry preserves are on the agenda for this week as well. While we were out today I went looking for some Sure-Jel for jam and jelly making. I have a few boxes here at home but like to keep a good stock of it. The Walmart we went to had 2 boxes left and that was it. So I got those and I need to keep an eye out for more. I do make a lot of jam and jelly during the summer. I have a pretty good stock of sugar for that purpose as well.
Not much else happening around here, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Herbs, gourds, kittens and such

I have been outside messing around all day today. Amoy came last night and spent the night and went home this morning to be ready for work tonight. She took lil Abby with her. Dang I miss having the puppy here. After we saw her off this morning I went out and cut some of the herbs to dry. I got the tarragon cut and the sage as well as the rosemary.. I also cut and dried some stinging nettle for a medicinal tea. The tea of stinging nettle is considered a blood purifier and is good for the liver. The others were culinary herbs that we use.
Then I got started cleaning up some of the gourds that we managed to save last year. Some I made dippers out of to use to dip water from the rain barrels for the chickens.

I also had some apple gourds that I cut the tops off of to use for holders for potted plants. Some I cut with a dremel tool and some Jason cut with a hack saw.

They kinda look like they have wood grain. I think I will paint the one little apple gourd red just for kicks.

Our cat, Slinky had her babies today. I was surprised that she had them on the porch in the rubbermaid tote that the cats used to sleep in last winter. She has 5 lil babies 3 are black and 1 is light gray and 1 is striped. It is hard to see in the dark box with the kittens all waded up together.

Just what I need, some other little critter to take care of. But at least she had them here so we can tame them. The white cat that is here has had babies too but we havent seen them and likely wont for a while. She has been here for over a year and still will not let us pet her.
I had some make shift gates up on the porch and deck to keep Luna from tracking mud all over. Rodger got started on the gates today. One is up, and another is in the glue clamps. Two more to go. They work nice and are spring loaded so they will close behind us. So we have all been busy today.
Tomorrow is mowing day if it dont rain tonight. Gosh our yard is getting big. And I will probably have to rake most of it. May try to get my peppers set in the garden tomorrow too. They need it and then I can clean out the greenhouse and get that ready to start fall seedlings. It just never ends. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Friday, May 21, 2010

I finally got in the garden

I finally got into the garden this afternoon. It had rained this morning a little bit. but not enough to make a big difference in the mud. The rain we have had has packed the ground down hard around all the garden plants. I did pick a mess of sugar snap peas for dinner tonight. In the next week or so I should have enough to can a few jars of them. The mustard and turnip greens that I cut last week are just as big as if they were never cut. Maybe I can get some more of them to can this coming week. Just another couple weeks till the beets will be ready to harvest and make pickled beets.
The herb bed has is filling in nicely. I cut some dill to chop and freeze this evening. Dill is better frozen than dried. It is good with fish or in potato soup or potato salad.  I have more herbs that need to be cut and dried this weekend too. Mint for teas, oregano, and tarragon. Maybe if we don't get any more rain I can weed the onion bed in back. Wont be long till I cant tell the difference in onions and grass in there.
After the partition was put in the brooder house and the chicks in there I ordered 25 Cornish cross to have some quick meat in the freezer. Now I may have to move the little ones to the other chicken house to make room for the Cornish up here near the house. This is where they will be butchered and they don't tolerate being moved well. So easy to injury them when they get so big. So am thinking it would be better to move the dark Cornish. Too many birds and not enough buildings.Not to mention the incubator is full of eggs again. Somehow I always do this and get birds of all different ages till I run out of space. But I guess that is how you get meat in the freezer. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

A dreary day

It has been a rather dreary day here. But at least it wasn't raining. It did dry a little today and then around dark it has started to rain again. The yard is a mess now and the garden is no doubt getting taken over by weeds. I know it will be too wet to plow for some time. So am thinking tomorrow I will just do the weeding the old fashioned way and go in there with a hoe and get some of the weeds out. I prolly have peas ready to pick and can. The sugar peas were blooming like crazy last week and it don't take long till they are ready. I really need to get the rest of my mustard and turnip greens cut and canned too.
Rodger got the partition put in the brooder house this evening so the little chicks could be put in with the bigger ones and not get walked on. Now I need to round  up another feeder so both bunches have a feeder. I need to make some more feeders from 5 gallon buckets as the ones I have are deteriorated to the point that they are cracked. Need to be on the lookout at flea markets for 2 inch deep metal serving trays to use for the bottoms, I have plenty of 5 gallon buckets.
Not much else happening here, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Am Thankful

I am so thankful that I can see better today without pain. Gosh I have never had anything like this cornea edema in my life and it hurt more than having a baby. You can bet I wont even go in the bedroom with my contacts in again. Lesson learned.
It has rained a good bit here today and is too wet to get any where near the garden. I still have some things to get planted over there. Everything needs to be fertilized and plowed out before the weeds get a good start. As I get older I don't care much for getting out in the wet grass and messing around like I used to. And we are supposed to get rain thru Tuesday of next week here. The yard is out of hand, prolly need to mow and bale it. Last evening we got the between rain showers we got mulch put around the azaleas, blueberries and grapes. If I get half as many grapes as I have clusters on the vines I will have more than I can use. The herb bed and onion bed out back need to be weeded but I just cant bring myself to get in there as wet and soft as the ground is.
My next little project that I want to do before the garden takes all my time is to build another flower bed somewhere here in the yard for my perennials. Most of the stuff growing here is edible but the pretty things are just good for the soul. We have tossed around the idea of building a retaining wall in back of the house to aid in drainage. If that happens we have to take out the back deck, the rock side walk and my perennial bed. I hat to move all the plants but I know the back side of the house will look nicer for it. We shall see, maybe I can come up with a better idea.
My lil grand dog will be going home on Friday with Amoy. We have had her for over a week and you do get attached to those little critters although they do take a lot of time when they are little ones to keep them from getting injured. I am sure I will miss playing with her. She is entertaining.
Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I have been pondering today trying to figure out where I am going to put chickens of different ages to keep everyone safe from abuse. I have a good brooder house for lil babies and it has 16 in it that are about half grown. I am thinking I will take the deer netting we have and staple it to a strip of lumber and attach it to the wall and make a partition in there to separate the chicks till the little ones get feathered out. I don't want to ask for another chicken house to be built.
Haven't accomplished much today here at home. I had what I thought was pink eye and ended up going to the eye doctor this afternoon when it got worse. Well as it turns out I don't have pink eye, the cornea is swollen and inflamed from sleeping with my contact lenses in Sunday night. So I have steroid eye drops now to use for a week. And they tell me not to wear my contacts for at least a week like I could stand to put them in anyway.  Just my dang luck. I have never had anything so painful in my life. As the eye doctor said the cornea in the eye has the most sensitive nerve endings in the entire human body. And I can believe that.
Not much else happening here, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Monday, May 17, 2010

A nice weekend with too much rain

We didnt do much here on the homestead this weekend. It has rained and will be days before it dries enough to get in the garden to plant or work. So we just chilled out this weekend with some friends from Ohio. Tammie does a blog about homesteading and travels around a bit to do videos in various places of life on the homestead. She had read my blog and wanted to come visit and do a video here. A gentleman that I am aquainted with from a forum I frequent is her camera operator. So with consent from all parties they came for the weekend to do a video here on the McGuire homestead about the history, past and present. I will post the link to the video as soon as Tammie gets done with editing and gets it on Youtube in a couple weeks.  They arrived on Saturday and of course we had the most rain of the year for that event. Rain or shine, the video got done. I hope they enjoyed their stay as much as we enjoyed having them. Thanks, Tammie and Chris.

I hatched 9 more baby chicks this weekend as well from the eggs of the Arucanas that my friend Rosie had given me when I was there a few weeks ago. I had 2 lil dark cornish that had hatched last week and put them all in a box with food, water and heat till I can get the other dark cornish moved.out of the brooder house. I had them sitting on the table in a box when the bigger ones jumped out on the table. Abby was so fascinated with the little chicks and tried so hard to be tall enough to see up on the table. She is adorable.

With all the rain we have had this weekend, my drainage ditch in back of the house is fulled with thin mud that needs to be shoveled out to let the water drain.So am thinking sometime today I will take off my shoes and get in there barefoot and clean the ditch. I would rather have my feet in the mud that to have my shoes in the mud and it will be easier to walk in there without em. While I have my shovel out I plan to find a nice place to plant the cabbage rose that Tammie brought me. Guess the guys are gonna love another rose bush to mow around in the yard.
I got a call from Rob yesterday and he and Amoy made it to Elco Nevada and he is getting settled in for his internship there. I am looking forward to seeing the pictures they took along the way. Maybe I can share some here for you all to enjoy as well.
So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Friday, May 14, 2010

We babysittin this week

We are baby sitting, well actually puppy sitting for Rob and Amoy. Rob is on his way to Nevada to do his internship for college and Amoy rode there with him and will fly home next week. So we got to keep our lil granddog. lol As you can guess we don't have grand kids yet but we have a grand dog. She is a sweetheart and a good lil girl. Papaw had to take her out this evening while I was busy in the summer kitchen. Now keep in mind this is a man who don't take kindly to little critters in the house. But this is his baby's lil baby.

I love my summer kitchen. I have already given it a trial run canning baked beans  and mustard and turnip greens out there. So nice to not have that mess in the kitchen here and keeps the heat out of the house. I did manage to get about half the mustard and turnip greens cut last night and canned. Maybe I can do the other half next week.
While we were in the garden last evening Jason plowed the ground up to plant more sweet corn and we got the cukes planted as well. My beans are up and look good so far. The tomatoes are coming along nicely and the peas are loaded with blooms. I should have enough salit peas to can some this year. I love good salit peas, the kind you cook hull and all with some bacon grease.That and a chunk of cornbread makes a good meal.
I will need to pick the strawberries again tomorrow as well, they are doing good this year. Might even get enough to make strawberry jam.
We have some new friends, Chris and Tammie, coming from Ohio to visit tomorrow to do a lil video for her blog. If I am permitted I will try to share that with you all at a later date. It should be fun. They will be staying in the old farm house here for the weekend. 
So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Doing nothing

We have had some rain for the past couple days here, off and on. And it is still cool at night. Over the weekend we had frost advisories so I didn't set my peppers in the big garden yet, I don't like the idea of getting up at daylight to wash the frost off or lose my plants, so I chose to wait. Maybe this week we can get them in. I still have a couple more different kinds of beans to plant and all the vine crops need to go in.
I got rather flustered with my last hatch of chickens from the incubator. Don't really know what the issue was but I only had 2 out of 42, and a feller could starve like that. I possibly held the eggs too long at room temp before setting them and they lost their viability. So I will likely go ahead and order some Cornish cross just to get some meat in the freezer and continue setting my own eggs as well. Not my original plan but the best of plans can go amiss sometimes on the homestead.
I took me back to the doctor today for this stinking bronchitis that I thought I had. Well I was informed that I have mild pneumonia. Just my dang luck. Got a steroid shot, antibiotics and cough syrup. I do feel much better this evening with just the shot doing its thing. Now if I can only sleep without waking up coughing all will be good in the hood.
I am off to get some dried beans soaking to make baked beans to can. I think I will pick the mustard and turnip greens tomorrow to can if I still feel OK. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mothers day

Hope all the mothers out there had a nice day with their family and friends. I was blessed with 2 wonderful sons and  a sweet heart future daughter in law. Jason and Rob were both here to enjoy the day with me but Amoy had to work. But there will be others I am sure. I went to see my mom yesterday for Mothers day and took her flowers and some snacks to the nursing home. She is doing OK. We hosted a cookout today for Rodgers family for Mothers day. They all enjoyed the food. We had grilled chicken and I ended up frying about 8 lbs of pork tenderloin, potato salad, coleslaw, baked beans. All home made of course. All this done in the new summer kitchen which made it nice to not have to clean house afterwards.
So till next time, Happy Mothers day to all the moms, and ladies that have been the mom figure to some thing or some one, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

It too cold.............

It is too cold for this time of year. Dang our temps go from one extreme to the other these days. We went out today to get things we needed for the cookout tomorrow and it was nice enough out. Got home and decided to try to get the celery transplanted and some of the other things planted. The wind was blowing so hard and it was cold. I was really wishing I could trade my shorts and tank shirt in for some sweats. I had goose bumps. Got the celery planted and 2 kinds of beans. Also planted some petunias in the potatoes as they are supposed to repel the colorado potato beetle. We will see if it makes any difference. Still have marigolds to plant in the rest of the garden. We decided to wait till next week to transplant the peppers and finish planting. We have a frost advisory for tonight and the temps are supposed to be in the mid 30's. Cant say I remember it ever being this cold this late in May. Almost everything is out of the greenhouse so I will probably be closing it up in a week or so or at least till its time to start fall plants. Not much else happening on the homestead today. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Friday, May 7, 2010

Fertilizing, planting and transplanting

It has been one busy hot day today around here. It started with some errands this morning. My buddy Gene that had a stroke on April 1st was in need of a haircut and the same lady is the one that cuts my hair. I picked her up this morning and we went to see Gene for a bit and we both got a hair cut. That was a good start to the day. Got her home and came back to help Jason transplant tomatoes and plant beans in the garden. He already had 5 rows of pink eye purple hulls planted by time I got home. We got started on the tomatoes and all those are in. I had 4 rows about 50 plus feet long of those. If we dont get rain tonight we Rodger and I will finish planting the rest of the beans and such tomorrow. Although it was really hot today the tomatoes hardly wilted.
                                                        (tomatoes after they were transplanted)

The peas are blooming, the mustard turnip greens are ready to can, thas a project for next week. The potatoes we planted are not coming up like they should, the onions do look great, the lettuce is ready to eat, the carrots and beets are doing good as well.

                                                    (the rest of the garden)

                                                         (the volunteer potatoes)
As for potatoes, we planted taters last year and the bugs ate the vines up. The potatoes were not worth digging. So this spring they were turned under with the rest of the garden. The volunteers came up and are about a foot tall already. So when Jason ran the tiller in the garden getting it ready to plant everything else he plowed thru the taters and made them into rows. They will get fertilizer a lil later and we will see what they do. If these make good taters, this is the way we will plant them from now on, or should I say let them come up volunteer. We shall see.

                                                                (orchard beyond the garden)

The trees in the orchard all have leaves on them and seem to be doing ok. We have been keeping the grass around the trees mowed  with the riding mower and letting the rest go to seed. There is a really nice stand of grass on the orchard area. It is located on the end of the river bottom east of the garden. And we do need to mow again real soon as some of the grass is waist high.

                                                         (Jason side dressing corn)

The one acre field of corn that we planted for cornmeal is up and it was time to side dress it. They found out that the corn planter and the cultivator are set for different width rows. So the tractor cultivators can not be used to plow the corn. It will have to be plowed with the rototiller. So with not using the cultivator we had to figure out a way to side dress the corn with fertilizer without doing it by hand. Rodger and Jason rigged the side dresser on the 4 wheeler so we could use it. It worked like a charm. It was bolted to the rack on the back of the 4 wheeler and when Jason would take off down the corn row he would trip the machine to let the fertilizer flow out the tube that was attached to the hitch on the 4 wheeler. It did a better job than we could have done by hand.

                                                        (adding 100 lbs fertilizer to machine)

                                            (the little chute drops the fertilize near the plants)

The fertilizer gets dropped right beside the corn in the row so there is no waste and you dont fertilize the weeds and grass. We used 19-19-19 fertilizer and the usual amount is about 400 lb per acre. The flow rate on the side dresser was set for about that much. That was so easy and now we are thinking we will likely use this method to side dress all the garden as well. It sure saves my arm and back from doing it by hand and you are done in a third of the time. It only took about 2 hours to do an acre of corn. And that was a lot of smoke breaks.
While Jason did that I was in the garden getting the weeds out of the strawberries and some other stuff. It was really too hot in the middle of the day for me to be doing that. I think I got a little bit too hot. I got really weak and felt kinda odd. So I came on to the house and had about 3 big glasses of water. I got my self a little bit dehydrated. Or maybe I am getting a little too old to do this stuff in the heat of the day any more.
So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

I hate cleanup work

Of all things to do on the farm, I guess I hate cleanup the most. We are kinda planning a cook out this Sunday Mothers day so every one can visit with Rob before he leaves for Nevada next week. So Jason moved a bunch of equipment today so there would be room for a picnic table out back near the summer kitchen. The table will also be used for some prepping of garden produce when it is picked. Such as corn, you just cant shuck and clean corn inside. Things like that require a lot of space for waste and making a big mess. The stuff is all moved except the picnic table. It first has to have the stack of lumber moved off it and the lumber stacked elsewhere. Still some minor cleanup that I can do by my self. Mostly light stuff.
Jason is planning on side dressing the bread corn using the side dresser that is supposed to attach to the cultivators. He and Rodger rigged it so it is sitting on the back of the 4 wheeler cause the tractor would run over the corn if they try to cultivate and fertilize at the same time. I will get some photos of this in action tomorrow and post here, maybe someone else will need an idea like this. After the fertilizer is on they will use the tiller to plow it out. The goal is to not use any weed killer on the corn ground. Hopefully after he finishes that we can get the tomatoes and stuff transplanted out of the greenhouse. It is supposed to rain a little bit on Saturday so that will help things grow.
The strawberries are starting to get ripe in the bed in the back yard. I sure hope there is enough to make some strawberry preserves as I have a friend that enjoys them. And they are good on a hot biscuit. Not much else happening today, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The kitchen is done!

I am so happy, my summer kitchen is finally finished. I have already started getting my canning supplies together and getting them put in place in there. Early next week I will be canning greens. It has really turned out nice out there. We still have some landscaping to do, but the kitchen is usable now. I still need to add the small table top refrigerator and microwave and finish moving my canners in there.

I have plenty of counter space here for processing and canning, butchering or what ever needs doing. We have a concrete floor out there so I purchased some of the snap together rubber foam type mats to use on the floor to make it a little easier on my back. (Doin a happy dance)
We are hoping that it is dry enough tomorrow to plow the garden and get the rest of it planted. Hope to empty out the greenhouse too of all the tomatoes and peppers and other things that need to be moved. The garden did survive the heavy rain we had earlier this week. The peas are starting to bloom now, so not long till we have fresh salad peas. The corn has come up well too. The new strawberry plants are blooming too, and the fruit and nut trees we planted in the orchard have leaves on them as well. So as far as gardens it is starting a lot better than last year when it rained all summer.
Good news, Jason has a job interview tomorrow and starts work on Monday in the oil fields where his dad works. It will be nice to have him working here near home and living on the farm.
Rob leaves for Nevada next week to work and do his internship in the Barrick Gold mines in Elco. This momma aint too happy about her cub being that far from home but they do grow up and leave the nest in spite of us. We tried to give them roots and give them wings. We just pray for their safety and that they are happy in what ever they choose to do.
Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I should be busy

I feel like I should be busy this time of year but seems as though things are progressing slowly. All I managed to get done today was some tomatoes transplanted from the greenhouse to the bed in the back yard so we can have early tomatoes to eat without going all the way to the garden. I transplanted some Japanese black tomatoes. I want to try to save some seed from those and with them here in the back I can keep the seed pure.
Rob and Amoy came home today to visit. Little Abby still had her cast on her leg from her accident. We did manage to take that off and she has to learn how to walk normal again. She is so cute. I dont have grand kids but have a lil grand dog. I do get to puppy sit next week when they leave for Robs internship in Nevada. my intention is to spoil her rotten while she is here. They wont like me when they get there little dog back. lol
Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Monday, May 3, 2010

Too wet to plow.............

As the old saying goes, too wet to plow and I cant dance. The ground here is squishy under foot every where you step. I don't know the rain fall totals for this area but I do know it was a lot. The sun was shining today and it was really nice out. I haven't been in our big garden yet to check on the plants, didn't relish the idea of getting mud over my boot tops. Tomorrow I will check on that and probably spray for potato bugs already. The potatoes we planted last year that didn't make anything were left in the ground and after the garden was plowed this spring they have sprouted and come up. Depends on how much space we need in that area, we may just leave them be and see what happens. Rodger checked them before the rain and the potato beetles were already attacking them. So maybe if I spray them now I can keep the bugs from getting the ones we put in this year. It is worth a try.
They got the propane hooked up in my summer kitchen today and it all works like a charm. I think they plan on doing the plumbing tomorrow evening. If that all goes well, it will finally be finished. Yay!!!!!!! The beginning of next week I do plan on canning mustard and turnip greens. They are ready and nice and tender.
I still have this nasty bronchitis or what ever it is. It is really beginning to wear me down. I do feel some better today although very tired. If I could just sleep all night without coughing it would be so nice.
Time for a shower, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Things are growing and getting done

Things are getting done around the place. Rodger and Jason are working on the plumbing and getting the propane hooked up in the summer kitchen today. The lights are hung and are gonna be great. I do like flouresent lights over my work areas in the kitchen. It has rained all weekend here and I am sure there is flooding in the lower areas of the county but we are in no danger. All the plants that were transplanted last week are looking a lot better after this rain. Everything is so pretty and green and growing really good this year. Here are a few pictures to give ya some perspective.
The hops vines are going wild near the corn crib.

The strawberry plants are loaded with little berries. Hope to get enough to make some strawberry preserves this year.

The walking onions are getting ready to drop sets, the leeks are looking a lot better as well. This is the first time I have grown leeks.

The grapevines have lots of little grape clusters on them. This might mean some grape jelly this year.

The pear tree has too many pears on it. I will likely have to fruit prune the tree in a few weeks.

My azaleas are starting to bloom near the driveway. Lucky so far that they havent been mashed by a vehicle.

The cold hardy kiwi that we planted last year are really growing this year. Not long before we need to complete the trellis for them.

The herb bed is filling in nicely too. I finally have plant labels on all the herbs. No guessing what is planted where now.

The flower bed on the right side wing wall of the cellar is just planted and should fill in before long. The opposite side had the thornless blackberry and lavender.
Till next time. blessings from the McGuire homestead.