Search This Blog

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Snow comes and goes

The snow came quickly and is leaving just as it came. The temps were well above freezing here today and most of out snow melted off. In most places you can see the ground where the sun could hit. Most of our road is shaded so that is a whole different animal. But February will be here tomorrow and my dad always said it thaws a little bit every day in February. So I am gonna believe we are on the slide into an early spring. We may have a few more days of snow but it never lasts long this time of year.
Only 2 weeks till pea planting time and I am thinking they will be planted in the mud. We always planted peas on valentines day here and when we do we always have good peas. Even if the ground is wet in the garden the seed will be fine and not rot because there is a lot of sand and it does drain well. That is with normal rainfall, not like we had last year. The ground was so saturated the water had no where to go, so it just sat there. And lack of sunshine along with rain, the gardens did no good. But with lots of canned stuff from the season before we are fine in that area. Just hope we are blessed with a better garden this year. Not much else on my mind tonight, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Saturday, January 30, 2010

We got snow!

We got a good amount of snow last night as was predicted. This is the first big snow we have had in a long time. Like several years. We got a total of 7 inches here, an that may not sound like a lot till ya have to walk in it or shovel it. These pics were taken from the front porch and back deck, so ya know I didn't shovel or get out in the snow. Enjoy!
Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Friday, January 29, 2010

Its finally snowing

The big snow storm that we have been waiting all week for has arrived here. The snow started about 7pm this evening. Not really snowing hard just a light steady snow. Those are the kinds that will cover the ground while you are sleeping. Still don't know how much we are getting in our area as they keep changing the forecast. I can guess as well as anyone. I think we shall get anywhere from 1 to 12 inches. We shall take what comes, its not like we can cancel the order.
Got to chat with Jason for a bit online tonight. He is doing fine, actually he is in a hotel in St. Johns, Newfoundland. He said it was going to be nice to have a hot shower and get some sleep. He should be back in the states by late Monday or Tuesday. I think he is enjoying his trucking adventure up there. Think maybe I will let him post on here and tell ya about his trip an the things he learned about the people of Newfoundland. I always like hearing first hand stories about the places and people from different areas. So far the people he has met there have been really nice folks. I will just be glad when he is back in the lower 48. But that's just me being a momma. He says the weather there is better than here for right now. Hard to imagine with them being that far north.
The chickens have decided they don't like the cold wind. They will get out and scratch in the snow but when a cold wind kicks up they want to head for the chicken house. But that is what I do if its windy outside in winter. Head off to a warm spot.
Not much happening here on the homestead right now in middle of winter. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Oops, its been a while

It has been a few days since I have posted on here. No I didn't fall off planet earth. I have just been a little preoccupied with different things. Jason is in a foreign country and I haven't heard from him for a few days. Makes a momma kinda nervous when she don't hear from the cubs. As you know he drives a truck and has taken a load to Newfoundland, the island off the coast of Canada. Yeah I know Newfoundland is an island and you wonder how he is driving there. It is by means of a ferry. He was to take a ferry from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland, drive 500 more miles, drop his load and take the same route back. Am thinking he should be back in he lower 48 first of the week. Cell phone calls are 79 cents a minute so those are out. Guess if he makes this trip again I will need a passport so I can ride with him. I think it would be so cool. Hes really living my dream doing what I have always wanted to do. So an email from him would be nice.
I have 3 appointments next week in Lexington with various doctors. So on Tuesday night I am going back to Richmond to spend the night with Rob and Amoy. I always enjoy time spent at their house. That is the one time I have someone pleasant to go shopping with. We will probably be going to look at a truck that Rob is wanting to buy while I'm there. He really needs a newer one. He is still driving the blazer that we own and has for several years. I don't mind him having it cause he does take really good care of his vehicles. Dang it stays cleaner than mine that don't git driven.
We are all hoping we don't git the snow that has been predicted for this area. Maybe it will stay south of us for the most part. Not that I wish bad weather on anyone. I can deal with the cold as long as the roads aren't slick. In my old age I have become quite the klutz. Not many people I know can fall off their own porch or in level ground, but I can. I have seen me do it. Other than cold, all is well on the home front. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Another canning day

Well the beans soaked overnight and I got the chili beans made and also canned some pinto beans with ham. I am usually the only one that eats em. I ended up with 14 quarts of chili beans for making chili and 8 pints of pintos with ham chunks. We do use a lot of chili beans in winter making chili. This is my kind of convenience food. Its easy to open up a jar of beans and have a meal. All the jars have sealed and will be put in the cellar tomorrow. I guess my next canning project will be to get the ham out of the freezer and get it canned up before it freezer burns. All good projects for cold rainy weather.
We have had rain all day, starting about 3 am this morning. The creeks are up and there is a tide in the river as well. We never get flooded out here but do get flooded in at times. Which I really don't mind. That guarantees no one will knock on the door. No I'm not mean, but a rather hospitable person. I do like company from time to time. But till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

A beautiful day

The weather was so nice today that you just had to get out and go somewhere or do something constructive. Well in a small town you are limited on places to go, so I just went into town with my little shopping list. Nothing really major, just needed some routine things that I had put off for way too long. Kinda wanted to go to the old farm store here in town to see if the owner had any fence wire left from when they had a farm store franchise. I really want to fence in an area around the hen house across the road and put my layers down there so I can use the building up here to raise fryers in this spring. No luck there, so I went bust on that search. Guess I will have to just suck it up and pay a higher price in the big city for fencing. Then on to the local dollar store to fill my list. I did remember to pick up some zip top freezer bags to put the cornmeal in. The fellow that runs the grist mill finally got to grind some today with the nice weather. So we now have about 120 pounds of fresh cornmeal. That will keep us well supplied for the next year till we have more corn and the mill is grinding next winter. We did save enough of the Boone county white corn to plant about an acre this spring for chicken feed and our cornmeal.

We are supposed to get rain for the next week and some gusty winds for the next couple days so it will be a good time to stay in side and get some restocking done in the pantry. I have 8 lb of pinto beans soaking right now to make chili beans with tomorrow. And I always soak too many for the size kettle I start out with. I put 8 lb of beans in a 16 quart cooker and the beans have swelled up almost to the top. Now I got to put some of em in another kettle. It will probably take me all day to get all of em canned. I never do small amounts of anything. Leave it to me to work my self to death. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Finally made the hominy

Well I finally got the hominy made that I had planned on making back in December. Hominy is very easy to make, it is just time consuming. I make lye hominy as opposed to using lime. I just think it is better for you. The whole process makes the B vitamins in the corn more readily available to the human body. This information I got from the book "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallen. I will try to give the recipe and instructions for making lye hominy. First and foremost you must make sure you are using pure lye, not drain cleaner. I prefer Red Devil brand, which is pure sodium hydroxide. Keep in mind this chemical will burn the skin if you get splashed. When lye is added to a small amount of water it reaches boiling point almost immediately. OK, thas the warning, here the instructions.

Rinse 4 quarts of dried hard corn, this needs to be white or yellow old fashioned field corn, not popcorn or dried sweet corn. Add the corn to a stainless steel or enamel cooker. The corn when cooked will more than double in volume, so take this into account when you choose your kettle. Add cold water to cover the corn by a couple inches and then add 1/8 cup of lye. Put the kettle on the stove and boil for about 40 minutes. When the corn starts cooking you will notice the water has made the corn look kinds yellow funny colored, its OK this will happen, its normal. Stir the corn with wooden spoon to keep it from sticking to the bottom of your kettle. Take off burner and let sit for about 20 minutes or so. Then tilt the kettle so the faucet will run water into the corn and let the water run an overflow the kettle draining the lye water out and down the drain. Do not get this water on your skin, it is lye water and it will burn. If you do get splashed by accident, immediately rinse the water off with plain vinegar to neutralize the lye.When you run the water in the kettle for a good bit you will notice the water is more clear and not the brown looking stuff from before. You are essentially diluting the lye water. At this time you can pour about 1 pint of plain vinegar into the kettle with the corn and stir it a little bit, this will totally neutralize the lye. When the water is cool enough to put your hands in, work the corn between your palms to get off the skins and hopefully the little brown or black tips. If the tips don't come off, don't worry, they are just corn too. At this point you can float the skins and tips off the corn water, then rinse corn and return to kettle. Cover with clear water and put back on the stove and cook for about 45 minutes to 1 hour till corn is tender. Have your jars ready with lids and rings. Ladle corn into pint or quart jars to no more than 1 an 1/2 inches of the top. Fill the jars on up to within 1/2 inch with cooking liquid or water. You can add 1/2 teaspoon salt to pints and 1 teaspoon salt to the quarts. Put lids on and put in prepared pressure canner. Process pints for 60 minutes, quarts for 70 minutes. Remove from canner to cool. Now enjoy your nutritious homemade hominy. Dang I'm tired from all this typing. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My seed order arrived

It was so nice outside today but dang I did'nt get to enjoy it at all. I had a doctors appointment and that messes up the whole day. But I was like a kid in a candy store today when my seed order arrived. I knew about what I had ordered but when you have those little packets in your hands it becomes more real. We still have several different kinds of seeds that we saved from last year to re-plant plus all the new ones I just got. I did order a good supply of herb seeds this year for things I don't already have growing. Mostly culinary herbs and a few for teas. Then I sorted the seeds by planting times in our area. The ones that need to be planted in cool weather like peas, carrot and lettuces that get planted in February. Then we plant potatoes in March. Then in April we usually plant our corn and beans. Then everything else that cant take a light frost gets put in after the first 3 days of May. When I was growing up we never planted on the first 3 days of May as the old folks said that was "flower days". Which meant you would have flowers but no fruit. Dad said he had that happen to him one time so I don't take a chance on it. May have just been a coincidence but none the less. Then in March I will start all the tomatoes, cabbages, broccoli, peppers and such in a cold frame or green house, which ever I have at the time. Most all the seeds that I got are open pollinated so we can save our own seed for next season. This year the seed order came to $153. Dang that is a months groceries right there. But I can grow more than a years worth of food from that too. Now I have to get busy and order some more strawberry plants and get some fruit trees. Still lots to get ordered. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Been cooped up long enough

I have been cooped up long enough for this winter. I think I am solar powered. If the sun don't shine, I don't function well. It was nice outside today with temps in the 60's but the mud is awful. I need to get some fences put up so I can keep the chickens out of the flower beds and stuff without having to keep them in the building. I guess I am gonna have to set some post and put up some fences to direct their path to the far back yard and not allow them to be near the house. As spring approaches the strawberries, flowers and herbs will all be the first thing to green up and the chickens do like green stuff in their diet. I think I need to got the the farm store that went out of business and see if the fellow has any fence wire left over that I can get really cheap to use. Maybe I will do that tomorrow on my way out to the doctor. Also need to do some shopping around an get the building material to get my summer kitchen built. If we can get it all finished before the middle of march I can use it as a green house to start my seedling in for the garden. If not I guess I will have to use the swing set frame from the other house and cover it with plastic. My garden seed order should be here in a few days so I can sort everything out and decide what needs to be started and when. I think I just want to play in the dirt. Its just not normal for me to not have dirt under finger nails. Then when summer gets here that will get old too. As humans we are never satisfied. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Its January

You can tell it is January with the cold temps and now the rain. We have had rain for the past 24 hours, not really heavy but steady.Although it is warmer at 45 degrees it still feels cold with the rain. Not that any is good ,but this was not the ideal weekend for a funeral.This weekend has been spent with family and friends but not a happy celebration. An aunt by marriage passed away on Thursday morning and her funeral was today. It was her wish to have her funeral on Sunday after church so no one had to miss work or church. This lady will be missed by all who knew her. She was a 2 year survivor of pancreatic cancer. Not your typical funeral service tho, several songs were sung by the folks who attended the service and some of her favorite bible verses were read by her grand children. In my eyes she was the family matriarch. God rest her soul.
Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Friday, January 15, 2010

It feels like spring

The weather was so nice today. Temps in the 60's and sunshine. Gosh I really wanted to play in dirt somewhere but it still would have been more like mud. I actually got out on the back deck in short sleeves and sprayed the deck with the hose to get some of the mud off that the dog and cats have brought on there. Not like it will stay that way very long but it looked better for a bit. I am ready for spring now, am all done with cold and snow. It is supposed to be warm and sunny this weekend as well. The chickens sure did enjoy their time outside scratching around. They got their corn as usual and went about picking up grit. They always go straight for the remains of the compost pile that they tore apart this summer. They are still finding worms in the ground there and lots of stuff to eat. They eat very little of their laying pellets when they are allowed to roam in the afternoons.
I went out to town today, something I don't do often. I think everyone and their brother was at the local car wash cleaning the road salt off their vehicles. The only thing on mine was little cat paw prints from the cats climbing around being curious. I went out to visit my mom at the nursing home today and see how she was doing. She seems to be doing pretty good with her therapy. She keeps saying she is going home in another week but I don't think she will be walking well enough to do that. She just don't realize that she really needs more time and therapy to be able to manage well at home in her apartment. We shall see.
Rob had come home yesterday to visit and spent the night. He had ask me to fix him breakfast like he remembered when he was little. The same kinda thing I had when I was little as well. So we had bacon and I made gravy. In summer we would have bacon or sausage and gravy over a slice of tomato on white bread. That is just one of our comfort foods I guess. Not something a person would want everyday but it was a nice treat. Jason had a bacon sandwich. He is not much for the gravy and white bread. It was nice to have them both here for a bit together. And as usual it was like having 2 little boys in the house again. But I guess that is only a feeling that mommies would know. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A spring like day

It was nice and sunny out today with just enough cool in the air to remind you that it is still winter. Most of the snow is gone with exception of the road. It should melt in the nest few days but for now it is packed snow from vehicles traveling. Well not my vehicle as I haven't been off the farm since last week. Really don't have a need to go anywhere in this nasty weather.
Jason was home overnight so he could go take his test for the hazmat endorsement on his CDL. He passed as usual with flying colors and is now going to be working for a different company. He is hoping to make better money too.
Rob will be home tomorrow to spend the night. He has some time off work and is finished with school. Maybe he is looking for a little break before he heads off into the work world full time.
Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Things are looking up

Maybe things are looking up this winter. Sometimes you just come to the realization that no matter how many problems and obstacles you have in your life, you are still much better off than many. I guess when we get down and life seems to be kicking us, it does the soul good to take a look at those around us.
Yesterday I was more than angry to find my rental house a mess and the tenants not there taking care of the place as they had promised. But I guess I should be thankful that I have more than one house. Maybe I shouldn't complain about the mess they left, I still have enough physical ability and common sense left to be able to clean it up again. Then after I was thinking for a while, maybe people who have nothing are jealous of those who do and wish to destroy them or take from them. Maybe people who have nothing think they deserve to reap the benefits of the hard work of those who do. Who knows? None the less life goes on.
The weather is supposed to warm up a good deal this week which will be a nice change. Most of our snow is melted now as it was 35 degrees today. The chickens sure did enjoy being able to see the dirt and scratch around in the mud today. All Gods creatures have a built in survival instinct if humans wouldn't interfer with them. I have talked to folks who think they need to insulate their chicken houses in winter. I had a pullet one night last week that stayed outside in the elements and 15 degree weather all night with no shelter, accidentally of course, an she survived and did just fine. They do put on an extra layer of protection in winter no different than we put on a coat in winter.The cats have a heavier coat in winter, they still hunt in the coldest of weather. The dog has a good heavy coat and loves the snow and cold. Critters like humans will dress for the weather, and sometimes even more so. These are just my observations of course. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Humans with no self worth

It is hard to believe that there are people in this world that have no sense of pride, no self worth what so ever. They do exist as I have found out seemingly the hard way. I have a rental house here on the farm that I had rented to a couple, and once again with the idea in my mind that every one deserves a chance to improve themselves. And once again I lose faith in the human race. This woman had nothing, no furniture, nothing to keep house with. She begged, bummed and appeared a charity case to get what she needed to exist on in the house. They draw a check, my damn tax money, and will not pay their rent or utilities. They abandoned the rental house during this cold weather, now all the water lines are froze. More money out of my pocket. They got government assistance with paying deposits, rent and hooking up utilities. I went to the house today to check to see if the water was frozen. Knocked on the door and could hear something or someone moving inside the house. We called the sheriffs department to go in with us all to find the front door unlocked. Garbage is strewn all over the house with a small dog abandoned inside the house. Can you only envision the mess. All the water is frozen, so we shut off the water pump and changed the locks on the doors. They had left the oven on with the door open and a small heater running in the house. The dog had dragged some blankets in front of the heater. A total fire hazard. I was too mad to breathe at this point. This woman is younger than me and to my knowledge has never worked a day in her life. A leach on the back of society in my opinion. Somewhere in her mind she may think that I owe her a free place to live as the government has given her everything else. Do these kind of people have absolutely no pride or dignity at all? How can someone live by asking every charity organization they know for help? At what point do they run out of people to free-load off of? Well she has found that my name is not charity. Even her own daughter said this is how she does everywhere she goes. Damn, what was I thinking? This is my rant for the day. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Winter makes me lazy

I happen to be one of those people that has "bear" tendencies. When the weather is cold outside and all the harvest and preserving is done I like to just hibernate. I think hibernating takes on many forms for many people. Many people like to get out and play in the snow, I am not one of those. Some like to just stay inside and read and relax. Others take this time to do crafts and enjoy hobbies. For even others, life goes on as usual. I personally fit somewhere in all these categories. I do read some, make plans for spring and gardening, do some little projects that are put off when the weather is nice, eat and sleep a lot. This I think is one of the great rewards of homesteading. You stay very busy in spring, summer into fall then after all is done you have a few months to rest, plan and relax. I ideal life for me would be the pioneer life I think. The old ways of doing things. I was blessed enough to grow up on this farm. When I was younger, in spring dad would hitch the mules and go to the field and plow all day only coming in for lunch, which was always from stuff grown on the farm. Growing up we bought very little from the store. In evening he would come in to supper, wash up and at dark we went to bed. At daylight it all started over again. We worked hard all summer to raise and can and preserve enough food for us and for the livestock. We raised all the feed our animals ate. And looking back I don't remember ever having sick animals on the farm. We had hogs for meat, raised from breeding stock we kept. We had chickens for eggs and meat, again raised from our own birds. We had cattle, no more than about 12 at any one time. We had our own milk and made milk products to use. Some of these things that were produced on the farm were sold to neighbors for cash to do other things with. In my younger years the only true cash crop on the farm was tobacco. The cash from the tobacco crop along with a little cash from selling a few pigs and maybe some cattle paid all the bills and money to save. The only bill we had when I was growing up was the electric bill. We never had a vehicle or the expense that went with it. We never had homeowners insurance, you just used common sense and protected it from accidental fires. Health insurance was never heard of then. But we didn't need it, we never got sick and if we were ailing with something it was an old remedy that was used. I always wondered later in life why I wasn't allowed to do a lot of the stuff my friends did. Now I know, it was to keep me from getting injured and needing medical care. Insurance in my opinion has made people very careless in all aspects of life from homes to vehicles to their own health. We didn't have a phone or TV. After all if we wanted or needed to talk to someone, we would walk and visit. And as far as TV, after working all day on the farm the last thing you wanted to do was stay up late and watch TV. I have to agree some of the modern things we have now make life a little easier but they do come with a price. And that in itself is what has taken people off the homesteads and into the work force. We simply work a job to earn a wage to pay someone to do for us what we should be doing for ourselves. Looking back I think I had a good life growing up and didn't know it. Yes it is nice to adjust the thermostat year around to a comfortable setting but its not a necessity. Yes it is nice to get in the car and drive to where we want to be but at the cost of our health in the long run. We work ourselves silly paying for the car, insurance and fuel and get no exercise in the process. If you sit and think about things we all do on a daily basis it is easy to see why our health declines faster today with all these things than people did 100 years ago. OK I am all done rambling now. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Friday, January 8, 2010

I am glad the lied

I am really glad the weather man lied this week. We only got about an inch or so of snow. You can still see the ground in many places. In winter you can see the river from the front porch. It has patches of ice on it with snow on top of the ice. Also it hasn't been as cold as was predicted and for me that is fine. I went out this morning to feed Luna and the cats. Luna came running back to the porch and I ask her why she was messing up the snow and she got a sheepish look like she had done a big no-no. She wanted to play with the cats in the snow but they wanted no part of being wallowed in the snow.
This afternoon when the sun was shining I went out and let the pullets out for a bit. They were all excited when I opened the door but when their feet hit the snow, they hopped right back in the building. It is a chore to keep the water from freezing in the water pan for the birds.
I think I have finally got all the bed linens washed and changed around. I get bored in the house and feel the need to just change colors of things once in a while. I could probably be more productive if I got busy and finished my seed order for the spring. I have a lot that I saved from last year and some left from the planting last year. I would sure love to build another strawberry bed so I can plant more berries. I think I need to get more raspberries too. I have some grape vines that are going to be 3 years old so they should produce pretty good this year. Although the blueberries that I planted are not doing any good. I think if I ever plant blueberries again I will just plant them on the hill in back of the house in the edge of the woods and mimic their natural habitat. I am sure they would have done better. You live and learn I guess when you live on a farm. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A long day

It has been one of those days ya just don't want to get out of bed for around here. I had a doctors appointment this morning and a dentist appointment this afternoon. And my back just does not allow me to travel that many mile all at once anymore. I don't do well sitting in one position for long periods of time or standing or walking for that matter. But we made it home late this evening finally. We did have to make a few stops while we were out to pick up a few things that are not available here locally. We got a couple sheets of Styrofoam insulation to add to what is already around our water pump to make certain it don't freeze if the temps drop as low as they are predicting this weekend. I also picked up a couple heat bulbs so I can put one in the chicken house for the pullets so they will be warmer if it does get bitterly cold. Also this is our first season with the root cellar so we are monitoring the temperature in there. I would surely be in a pickle if all the jars of canned stuff froze because of negligence. We do need to pick up another couple (5 gallon) cans of kerosene to add to what we already have just in case of power failure. Then hopefully it wont get that cold. But we are a little better prepared if it does.
While we were out today I found a good price on clear plastic that I can use over the swing set frame for a little cold frame/green house this spring. As I will probably be at home for another couple weeks before I get out again I think it is a good time to get my seed order for spring sent out. I have been looking over seed catalogs for the past several days now and tomorrow I think I will finalize my order. Just looking through the catalogs at all the pretty flowers and veggies makes you think spring and warmer temperatures. Kind of a mind over matter thing. Maybe i wont notice it being so cold. Keep the home fires burning, till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Monday, January 4, 2010

Got some, getting more

Snow that is. We have been getting little snow showers every late evening for the past week or so. The animals are all doing really well with the cold. For some reason the cats sleep on top of the tarp covering the patio furniture on the porch most days instead of in their little warm place I made for them out of the wind and weather. Of course Luna loves the snow. She wont sleep in her dog house at all. She prefers to be on the porch on a blanket. Maybe to be closer to us or something. The pullets are still laying fine in this cold weather. Only issue is having to give them water several times a day. We are supposed to get more snow this week. We really haven't had any real snow with big accumulations, just a light blanket at night to cover the ground. We are also forecast for temps in single digits this weekend which is a little colder than it normally gets here in Kentucky.
I don't get out anyway so why should I worry about the cold. I do have sympathy for one who do have to work out in the cold weather. I do worry about Rob and Amoy driving to work in Lexington and Jason being on the road in the semi in this weather. But I am certain they all keep warm clothes with them in case they should get stranded.
Hopefully this cold weather will destroy some of the pesky bugs that devour the gardens in summer. The cold would kill more of them if it got really cold before it snowed, the snow does insulate some and protect the larvae. We have some grass seed that needs to be sown on the hill in back of the house where the soil was disturbed when we built the root cellar. In this area, the old farmers would sow their grass seed on top of a snow so when the snow melted it carries the seed into the ground. Really the best time to sow in while it is snowing. That way the snow covers the seed and the birds don't eat em as fast as you sow them. Just things to do in winter time on the homestead. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Too cold for man or beast

It is winter time for sure. Too cold to be outside doing anything. This is the third day in a row that I have been inside all day and not gotten out of my jammies. It is kinda nice but also gets a little boring too. You can only clean house so much and surf the Internet. I am not a TV person so that is out of the question. I have done some work on my cook book that i am putting on my computer. Just compiling recipes that I use for cooking and for canning. I have an old Kerr canning book that has some really good recipes in it. I think it is from the early 80's. It is choked full of good information.
We are still having some snow flurries like we have had every night for the past week or so. Nothing accumulates but you can see the flakes falling. It is bitterly cold out tonight too. Last time I looked the temp was about 18 and good thing we don't have wind, the wind chill would be unbearable. It weather like this that I don't mind the fact that I don't have any live stock to take care of or try to keep warm. The chickens are fine in their little building as it is mostly air tight. And they do have plenty of straw on the floor. It does get to be a problem keeping the water thawed for them. We usually just take fresh water out there twice a day to be sure.
The plans are finally drawn for my summer kitchen. I do now have a good idea of the building materials that I need so I will be getting those soon. It just might get built this winter and spring. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Its cold!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is bitterly cold outside today. We have had a fire in the fireplace all day which helps keep the house toasty without the electric furnace running too much. Early today I had the task of going to the out building to the big freezer to get something to cook for dinner. I needed the last bag of cornmeal which incidentally was in the very bottom of a 20 cubic foot chest freezer. So in freezing temps I was out there digging thru frozen food for a bag of cornmeal. Not a pleasant task, but I got my last bag of meal out along with a venison roast to make a kettle of stew. I make my stew in a pressure cooker and it tastes like it has cooked all day and takes just a total of about 30 minutes to prepare. Here is the recipe:

30 minute all day stew

2 lb stew meat cubed
4 cups cubed potatoes
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups carrot chunks
1 cup celery cubed
salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons beef base
cornstarch for thickening

Brown meat in oil in bottom of pressure cooker. Add vegetables, salt and pepper to taste along with the beef base and water to cover. Put on lid, place weighted dial on vent and heat to pressure for about 4 minutes. Let pressure go down, open cooker and thicken the gravy with a mixture of cornstarch and water to desired consistency. Serve with cornbread, crackers, or a hearty bread.

This stew is really good made with pork, beef, chicken, or venison. If veggies are in large chunks this same recipe can be cooked overnight or all day in a crock pot. But always always brown the meat first. A cheap hearty meal for the cold season.

Other than staying warm and eating hearty there has not been much happening on the farm today. We are still having a few snow flurries from time to time but nothing to write home about. Stay warm and safe. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Friday, January 1, 2010

My winter garden

We have started getting seed catalogs in the mail already. Well really for a few weeks now. We are heading toward spring now so I am dreaming about what to plant. I am aiming toward most if not all open pollinated or heirloom varieties this year so I can save my own seed. Tomatoes are the big thing here. I have grown several different varieties of heirloom tomatoes in the past. But when I was growing up we always raised the Rutgers. They are a good all purpose tomato for juice and for canning. And they grow exceptionally well on our farm so I think that is what I am going back to this year. I will also grow some Amish Paste tomatoes for drying as well. We have the space to grow so much more than we have been in past. We have always bought pinto beans and other dried beans but I can grow them here so I am thinking I will plant a few varieties to dry as well. Ah dreams of summer and gardening. We are planning on getting fruit trees this spring too to get the orchard started. We got the area prepped last summer with grass sown. So it is ready for trees.
Tomorrow I am planning on sending someone to the lumber store to get shelving material to build more shelves in my root cellar. I filled all the other shelves that we had built and its getting kinda cluttered in there. Maybe we can get that done if its not too too cold outside. Just hope this time the weather man is wrong and its warmer than he said it would be.
Very soon I want to get my summer kitchen built too. I think we can maybe work on it on nicer days and get it done in time for spring. I read a really good idea today on the forum that I frequent for a temporary cold frame/ greenhouse for starting plants in early spring. Use an "A" shaped frame from a swing set and cover it over with clear plastic and anchor the plastic to the ground on 3 sides leaving one end so it can be easily opened to access the plants inside. This is very similar to what we did last spring only on a taller scale. And I would have more room to start more stuff. Yippee!!!!!!! But I always grow my best gardens in the middle of the winter in front of the fire. It never hurts to dream big now does it? Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.