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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I think I am done planting

For this year I think I am done planting things in the garden. Until I find something else I want to grow that will mature before frost. This evening we went to the garden to so Rodger could finish mowing where the electric fence will go and I had him plow a place to plant some "tobacco worm beans". They are an heirloom variety that was started in a neighboring county. They are in the class of corn field beans. Which means they will need to be trellised. So I planted 2 rows about 25 ft long so the cane poles can be tied up like lil teepee's for the beans to climb on. These particular beans are supposed to have a thin shell and large bean inside when mature and the hulls still be tender. In my search on the net to find more info on them I ran across this site where you can order different varieties of Appalachian heirloom beans and tomatoes.
I used to raise white half runner beans and the last couple times we had them even if you pick them when they were small they would still be tough. We I found out why after looking at this site. I had been ordering my seed from seed catalogs and it is lack of quality control that has caused this problem. Now I know. Any way I also planted more beets, some rutabagas, and melons.
Earlier today I went to the garden to spray the taters again and cut my cabbage to make kraut. I got them all shredded with my grand mothers cabbage cutter and had my German fermenting crock full of the white cabbage. That left me with a dishpan full of red cabbage to do something with. I called my friend Rosie as I was thinking she had tole me she put caraway seed in her cabbage. She confirmed that she does do that so I put some caraway seed in with the red cabbage and added my salt and some shredded onion. I didn't have a crock to ferment this batch so I used a small Rubbermaid container. It sure did smell good with the onion and caraway seed. Cant wait to taste this when it gets done fermenting.
I pulled some carrots while I was in the garden this morning and finally got them washed and sliced and in the dehydrator. It has been a long day for sure.
So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Rambling around

Haven't done a lot here today. Had to take my buddy to therapy this morning and got back a little bit after noon. Checked the chickens as usual and made sure they had food and water. The weather was a bit cooler today and nicer to be out. Riding in a vehicle makes my back hurt much worse than usual so I came inside and rested this afternoon. After supper we went out to get the weed eater from Jason's house. I had taken my berry picking containers with me because I knew there were lots of ripe berries behind the old corn crib. I picked probably a gallon in a very short time, big plump sweet berries. Rodger was picking on the hill above me where I couldn't get to. He also picked almost a gallon.
We took the weed eater and headed for the garden to weed eat where the electric fence will be. The deer are making tracks in the garden and nibbling the tops off the beans and such. So we think we can put an end to this now before they do some real damage. Rodger got one side of the garden mowed for the fence and the rest they will do tomorrow evening. While he was doing that I did finally get my celery mulched. And with the celery near the tomatoes I spotted several ripe tomatoes and picked those. Cut a cabbage head and some broccoli and brought it to the house. I am going to cut several of the cabbage tomorrow and get more kraut started. I will be planting more cabbage and broccoli for a fall crop a little later. I may get more beans planted tomorrow evening as well if all works out. I cant put this off much longer or it will be too late in the year for them to mature. Hopefully I can go thru my garden seeds and see what else I can plant that will make it before frost.
I have to get back over there in the morning and spray for tater bugs yet again. They just simply don't give up. I checked on the cukes and I will prolly get to make some pickles this weekend or early next week. The first patch of corn should be ready in a couple weeks.
After we got back to the house I washed the blackberries and made about 10 pints of blackberry jam. I still have a big bowl full of berries that I might make syrup with. I am thinking blackberry syrup would be good on pancakes. But thas a project for tomorrow as well.
Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Gun rights, rain and stuff

We I have been our plundering around this morning just looking at stuff, thinking and doing very little. Dang it is hot out there. I got the onions out of the dehydrator that had dried over night and put them in a jar and vacuum sealed it. Now I have a gallon of dried onion flakes. The humidity is awful again. I just quit and came back inside where it was cool. My herb bed still needs the mulch, but I will get to that. I did, in my plunderings pull what few weeds and bits of grass out that had started in there. I do have more things that need to be cut and dehydrated. And I will get to that too. Maybe when I don't hurt so much. We are having little rain showers off and on today so that is a good excuse to give my body a break. I just cant do the standing anymore like I used to. Makes the back hurt something awful. Not to mention the sore joints.
In this plundering around, I looked at my greenhouse and the plastic is torn badly on it. So all the plastic will have to be replaced in the spring. Damn and I was hoping to use it this winter to try and hold over some tomatoes and salad veggies. Thas a bummer! But the greenhouse was invaluable to me this spring growing things. With all the bad things that are happening all over our country with regards to weather, the oil spill and the economy, I feel a strong need to plant more than I have done so far in the garden. I don't feel the security in my provisions that I think I should. Yeah go ahead and call me paranoid, but its better to have things and not need em than to need em and not have em. So I think I will spend some time today "planning" for what we need and making lists.
In my plunderings today I was plundering the Internet too, talk about getting around. I was reading something that made me feel better about our nations Supreme Court Judges. Thank God we have a few conservatives among them that still believe in our freedom and rights. If you are so inclined, here is the link.
They voted to uphold our right to keep and bear arms for our protection. So saved one of our rights that should have never been in jeopardy to begin with. So God bless those few judges from a bunch of gun totin, bible thumpin, concealed carry hillbillies.
Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Butchering and canning

I didn't like it but I had to get up early this morning. We had 10 dark Cornish chickens that needed to be butchered and taken care of. We got started about 8 this morning before it got too hot. Only took about 1 1/2 hours to do them up. With 2 people plucking and I do all the cut up work. Then off to the summer kitchen to get the meat bagged up and the stock on to cook. I alas season my stock with celery, onion, carrot, parsley, salt and pepper with a splash of vinegar. The vinegar helps leach the calcium out of the bones and into the stock. So it is very wholesome and good for the body. I had 4 jars of chicken thighs and the rest stock. That is the makings of some good chicken soup or dumplings.
I had planned on going out to pick some blackberries this evening but by time all the canning was done it was quite late. So I can do that tomorrow evening. I did go pick a few wild berries in the back drive way  and ate all of them on the way back to the house. Jason got the yards mowed this afternoon and good thing. Gosh the grass was so thick and it needs raked badly. But I doubt I have time for that kinda nonsense. We got a little sprinkle of rain this evening too and it got even hotter after the sun came back out. If I feel real energetic tomorrow I might rake up some of the thickest parts of the grass and compost it. That's a big IF. I still need to get back to the garden and mulch the celery and plant some other beans, more beets, mustard and turnip and maybe some rutabagas. Next month will be time to start the late cabbage and broccoli plants.
We have  a few tomatoes that are almost ripe on the plants in the back yard. Am so tickled. I cant wait to taste the first tomato of the season.
So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Gardening and other stuff

Gardening is an ongoing process all summer here. You harvest a while and plant more.I went back to the garden today and picked up my onions that I had pulled last night to dry. Rough measure, I prolly had 3 bushel with the tops still on. Some were pretty nice size.I got them spread out on the floor of an outbuilding to dry and hopefully cure well enough to keep in the cellar for a while.

 I peeled and sliced about a bushel this afternoon and got the dehydrator loaded and another bucket sliced waiting to be dried.
 I had some open space in the onion and asparagus bed so I used it to sow some lettuce and a few cucumber seeds here at the house for quick salads.  I used some of the oat straw to put over the seeds to hold moisture and keep down weeds and grass, hopefully. We will see how that works out for me. I may be pulling lots of grass sprouts out and doing a lot of cussing.
Tomorrow is chicken butchering day. I have 10 dark Cornish that are ready to butcher. I am keeping 5 of the pullets to replace some of my laying flock. The forecast is for 96+ degrees tomorrow. Don't think butchering is going to be a pleasant job. Then I hope to get the stock made and some of the chicken canned tomorrow as well. I usually can the thighs and some of the legs for soup and such. Homemade chicken noodle soup is so comforting in winter when its cold outside.
Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Friday, June 25, 2010

A day off, sort of

I took the day off today, sort of. I didn't get out till late to work in the yard and garden. I did manage to rest a little today. It has been another hot day but not as bad as earlier this week. I used some of the straw we got earlier this week to mulch the asparagus bed and around some leeks that are also planted out there. And not giving a lot of thought to where I plant things, there are 3 tomato plants that are about 5 feet tall in the middle of the asparagus bed. But the tomatoes are starting to ripen.
Jason hauled 3 bales of straw to the garden for me and we got the remaining tomatoes mulched and the cukes. I still need one more bale to finish the celery. While we were over there I looked at the onions again and the tops were falling over on them and turning brown so I pulled all the onions out of the row and laid them in the plowed ground to dry till tomorrow. I will get those picked up tomorrow and put on the floor of a building somewhere to dry and cure. Most of them will be dehydrated for onion flakes. Actually the onion heads were a lot bigger than I had thought. I am guessing 40% of them are baseball size, which is good all things considered. I hate peeling little onions but I will be doing my fair share of that this year as well. I will likely use the really small ones when I make chicken stock this weekend. I do plan to butcher the dark Cornish that are ready. We are out of frying chicken and I am really low on stock and canned chicken. I think I might save some of the pullets to replace some of my flock.
On the way to the garden this evening we drove around the big river bottom on the other side of the creek to check out the black berries and wild plums. The plum trees are loaded with lil green plums and the black berries are ready to pick. If I don't get too beat tomorrow I might go down there and pick berries for a while. We shall see what tomorrow holds. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Ah, much cooler!

We got some storms today and the air cooled off nicely. You can go outside without breathing in water. I am hoping tomorrow will be as cool as today has been. This is more like Kentucky weather for June.
I checked on my chickens this morning before I left for the doctor and didn't have any dead ones. So the 3 that were in really bad shape last night that I guessed would be dead recovered. I felt really bad last night when one of em was so hot and I thought he was gonna die in my hand, I dunked em in the water barrel to cool em off. I guess it worked cause they were all living and doing fine. I put some of the fresh oat straw that we had gotten in the building for bedding for the birds. They loved picking thru the immature seed heads for treats.
I took my basil that I had put in the drying box out and put them in the dehydrator to finish drying. If there is no rain tomorrow I will finish cutting my herbs and get the straw put in the bed for mulch. And if the heat don't get me I intend to do the asparagus bed as well.
My doctors appointment went pretty well today all things considered. A few months ago I had a complete blood profile done which was mostly good. I ask the doc about my constant joint soreness and pain. And he knew me before I was a patient and tole me I had destroyed my joints doing the job I did for 14 years. Then he dropped the bomb. He said arthritis got me. I have arthritis in my joints and will have to deal with that from now on. He put me on another kind of med for the joint pain and arthritis. He wants me to take it for a month and see if it helps and if not we try something else. Sometimes life just plain sucks.
Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Heat and chickens

Heat and chickens are not a good combination. And it was really hot today. I have some Cornish cross that I am raising for meat birds. They do not tolerate the heat well at all. They have a really high metabolism and create a lot of body heat. I have 2 fans on them all the time. I had to be gone this afternoon to take Gene, my friend, to speech therapy. When I got home it was quite late and the guys had not been home yet because I had ask them to go pick up a truck load of oat straw to use for bedding and mulch. I checked on the birds and had 2 dead and 4 more not doing well at all. I got the water tank filled and added the vitamin/electrolyte solution to it and forced them to take drink. I might save 2 or 3 of those. Dang I hate losing birds like that. But such is life on the farm. I will add another water tank in the building tomorrow to make sure they have plenty of water. I should have known this would be a problem as I have had it happen before.
We have had another 100 degree day here. With high humidity. Kinda been a yucky day all the way around. I learned today that one of my classmates was dead when he was taken by some friends to the hospital. Not sure of the details but I really feel bad for his family. Then when I took Gene to therapy he tole me he wasn't feeling well and this really concerned me because we are taking him to therapy because he had a stroke. I kinda insisted that he go to the ER after his therapy and he did. They did another CT scan to make sure he wasn't having another stroke. Good news is he was not having a stroke. The ER doc seems to think it is where his brain is healing from the stroke and the nerve pathways are re-routing that is causing these symptoms. He said it kinda freaked him out when all of a sudden he could feel heat on his right side and before today it alas felt cold to him. We think this is a good thing. Needless to say I was so relieved to know he was OK.
I have not done anything here on the farm today other than check on my chicken and feed Slinky's babies. They are big enough to eat canned cat food now. So I put a can on a plate and gave it to them. They sounded like lil pigs eatin slop. The 5 of em cleaned the plate. They are so cute.
So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Heat advisories issued, more herbs

Well I think the weather forecasters finally got outdoors or something. They have finally issued a heat advisory for this area. Like we didn't know it was hot already. Today when I was out doing a few things I noticed some of my potted plants were limp and wilty. Gosh I know how they feel. I felt kinda limp and wilty too.
I got out an fed my lil chickens and had to make a feed run because they were totally out. The lady that runs the feed store had some watermelons there and I thought one of those would go really good on a hot day. This young lady and her husband run a lil feed store out in the country and I am guessing do a pretty good business. It is run from there home in a lil garage building in the yard which happens to be along a main road here in town. I give them all my local business. If you run out of feed after hours or on weekends they will still sell you a bag of feed. I will be getting some oat straw from her to mulch with for now as I don't have any more mulch for the tomatoes and herbs. In chatting with her today, the discussion came around to herbicides. She said she is encouraging people to go back to the old methods of farming and not spraying the ground. She had mentioned that she had read the Round- up that everyone uses on corn around here was becoming ineffective and was killing the farm land. I tole her she could look at one of our big river bottoms and still tell where corn had been grown. Although the ground has been in grass and cut for hay for over 10 years. It still looks very poor. The corn we planted this year was not sprayed with anything, it has been plowed with the rototiller. It does have some weeds and a lot of grass in it but the corn is about 10 ft tall already so I don't think what is growing down low will hurt it much. Any who.........
Rodger and Jason got some of the cukes trellised this evening after supper. He said the garden looked good when they were in there. I might get over there and pull some of the bigger carrots tomorrow evening and get them canned up and dehydrate some as well. I had a small jar that I had dried last year and hadn't used. I was making lentil soup for supper tonight and was gonna use a lil bit of carrot in there for flavor. I got out my spice grinder and chopped the carrots up into flakes and added some to the lentils. THEN I had a idea.......why not make a dried vegetable soup mix with dried veggies. I have onion dried already and flaked some of those. Now if only I can remember to dry some peppers I can make my own soup base and flavoring blend. Just one of those idiot moments, an ah-ha moment that is so obvious to everyone else.
I have cut most of my dill and have it in the freezer to use in dill pickles when the lil cukes get ready. The dill that came up was all volunteer and has already made seed heads. I know they would be dried up and not as good as I like them when the cucumbers got ready, so in the freezer it goes. Finally got my basil cut and it is in the big drying box in the summer kitchen till I get a chance to get it in the dehydrator. I picked a little tray of chamomile flowers for teas as well.
In my blunderings today I found several blackberries that are ripe so I think maybe next week I can pick some berries. Woo Hoo!!! chiggers!! I so dread those lil pesky things. I really want to make some wine with the berries. I still have a good deal of blackberry jam left from last year as well as canned blackberries. We shall see.
Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Monday, June 21, 2010

I cant take the heat

I just simply cant take the heat so much this year for some reason. Maybe I am getting older or just getting wimpy. Dunno but life is hard when its 100 degrees in the shade. I had planned on going out and getting some things done today with the plantings here at the house. We I did get my new hose reels put in place and hooked up. Watered some of my potted flowers and the strawberry runners in the trays. I think they look pretty good and am thinking they will take root and grow for me. I kept coming in the house for drinks and to get cool. I had got another box fan to put in the brooder house for the Cornish cross chicks to help them with this heat. Got that all hung up and cooling the chicks. Then the clouds rolled in along with thunder and some distant lightening. We got a little shower of rain and the temp quickly dropped to about 75 degrees and believe me that sure felt nice.
After the rain was over it was still a lot cooler and nice to get outside. So I cut some of my dill heads and vacuum sealed them to use in dill pickles later this summer. So those are in the freezer waiting.
I used some tobacco sticks to stake the big Japanese black tomatoes in the onion bed so they weren't falling over in the asparagus. These are an heirloom variety and I would like to save seed from them this year. Then finally trellised up my thornless blackberry plant too, gosh it has grown a lot.
I sat out for a bit an watched the lil kittens play. They are so cute when they are little. I think Slinky has 3 boys and 2 girls. Luna is fascinated with them.

We have kinda decided the lil gray one don't want to eat because he is the one getting all mommas milk. Hes the fat sassy one in the litter.  I find it so relaxing to watch little kittens play. So much for my day.
Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Part 2 video- McGuire homestead

The video is done for part 2 of the McGuire homestead. This one turned out great too. Enjoy!

Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Life goes on

Life goes on here on the farm even if it is hot and gets dark. It has been another hot humid day here but I did get a few things done. I went to the garden and potted up some of the strawberry runners so they can be moved to another bed a little later. Hopefully they will live and do OK as they already had roots on them.
I finished drying the rest of my onions that I had pulled yesterday. They are all done now and I had a quart of them. Got to use my handy dandy vacuum sealer on the jar to seal it up. I may pull some of the bigger carrots next week early and  get those canned as glazed carrots. That will get the row thinned out a bit and let the others grow bigger.
We got the rest of the garden hoed out this evening and found we had more morning glory growing than anything else. We used the garden seeder to plant beans with and it does plant them closer together and you just cant get the hoe in there without cutting down the beans. So all the morning glory had to be pulled by hand. We did manage to get the rest of the big garden fertilized tonight. We had some corn and all the vine crops that had not had fertilizer on them. The last row of melons I did by the headlights on the truck. One row of beans I did in the dark. Just hope I didn't get it too close to burn the plants. The long row of green beans beside the bread corn still needs to be hoed out and fertilized. I just was not up to doing that by truck lights. So needless to say this has been a long day.
So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Working in the garden

Seems like I have been in dirt all day. Started out early today and went to the garden to better check my onion crop and decide if I wanted to go ahead and pull them or let them grow a while. Well I decided to let them be for another week or so to grow. They are a little bigger than I first thought but nothing to write home about. I set about pulling all the weeds away from them so they would stay dry and not rot. We have gotten so far behind with plowing and hoeing the garden its not funny. So I got the whole row of onions weeded and the carrots as well. As I pulled some big weeds I had onion bulbs come out too, so those are now in the dehydrator. Had a few mishaps with carrots too. Just sliced them and added them to the dehydrator tray to dry.
I got my new vacuum sealer in the mail today and tinkered with it some. I think I will like it to seal my jars of dried stuff for storage. It was kinda free thanks to Rob and the nice gift card he won from Bass Pro shops. And I got an email to let me know my dehydrator trays have shipped.
After supper we went back to the garden to hoe the tomatoes and get the mulch under them. I need about 6
 more bags of shredded paper to finish this lil project. It was getting really late when I got this much done. 

By time Rodger got the most of the garden plowed out it was almost too dark to see what he was plowing. We still need to go finish up tomorrow night after supper.

Some of the stuff still needs to be hoed out. But it sure looked nice with what we did get done. This is what happens when it rains and you get behind.

Our bread corn (Boone county white) is way over my head now and looks really good. I planted a row of Kentucky Wonder bush beans half the way down the side of this field of corn. They will be  a little later than the rest of the beans we have.There are also some cushaws, pumpkins and sunflowers planted on the row as well.  They get fertilize tomorrow night as well. 
The hay is raked and it will be rolled tomorrow. With the humidity it has been hard to cure hay. But it is doing OK now with today not being so humid.
So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Canning beets, fussin in the garden

I finally got to moving around good today and got to the garden about noon and pulled my beets. I had almost 2 5 gallon buckets of them. Washed em good outside and got them on to cook so I could peel and slice em up to can. Well to make pickled beets from, I don't like beets just canned. I think I ended up with 14 pints and 2 quarts of beet pickles.

And all the jars have sealed. I still have the dehydrator running out in the summer kitchen. So those should be done in the morning.
Went to the garden after I finished with the beets to see how the tater bugs were doing. They seemed rather hungry, so I gave them another dose of nicotine spray. The beans look really good, some are blooming. The tomatoes are blooming and setting tomatoes now. I simply must get in there tomorrow evening and mulch the tomatoes to keep them off the ground.
The fellow that cuts our hay has most of it raked and some baled today. He is also gonna bale the hay that was cut in the orchard. The guys got in there this evening at nearly dark and put up metal fence post beside each of  the fruit trees so they don't get baled. So now we will have some good roll baled hay to feed goats and sheep if we have some this winter.
Tomorrow is a new day, and I start over. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Too hot to be out

It has been more than hot today. The nice rain we had just makes the humidity that much higher. I took Gene, my buddy to therapy today, and on the way home the bank thermometer said 100 degrees. I do believe it was right. I dont normally have breathing problems but today the heat made it really hard. Kinda make ya run for cover of the nearest shade tree.
Back on the farm, the neighbors that usually cut the hay got it all on the ground today. He should start baling it tomorrow if we dont get more rain. Instead of paying us for the hay we are keeping some of the roll bales to use this winter for possibly goats and sheep. Some will also be used as bedding for the chickens. The hay looks thin in the picture but there is a lot on the ground when you walk thru it.

Earlier this evening I was on my way to the summer kitchen to check on the dried onions that are in the dehydrator and found a snake by the back steps. Not sure what kind it was but any kind scares the heck out of me. I killed it with a shovel that was near by and disposed of it. It was headed under the deck I guess to keep Luna company under there.

Not a rattler or a copperhead, my only other guess was a viper that is very common around here. Maybe he was like all other critters out looking for a cool spot. Did I mention I hate snakes. Well I do.
So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Monday, June 14, 2010

Weeding beds,drying onions

We have had a couple good rain showers today. Good soaking rains, not storms but quite heavy rain. It had rained last night and the best time to pull weeds is when the ground is wet and soft. So I went out this morning to weed the onion and asparagus beds again. I wasn't really too hot and humid. Then it clouded up and the thunder rolled in. I made my way back to the summer kitchen just before it started a downpour. Sat that shower out and finished weeding. I wanted to plant some loofa gourds here in the back near the house so I could trellis them an have better luck getting a few gourds. So I pulled the onions that were in one of the beds. The tops weren't dead but had started to turn yellow and they had done their do. Got those all cleaned up and sliced them in the food processor. My dehydrator has 4 trays so I loaded them with onions and had a big bowl full left. I do use my dehydrator a good deal in summer so I got on the net and ordered 4 more trays to fit. That many would have gotten all the onions done in one loading. I ordered some fruit roll up tray liners for the dehydrator too. Am thinking some fruit dried for flavoring teas. Rodger checked the blackberries yesterday and they should ripen in a couple weeks.
It has rained too much to get in the big garden. The cukes still need a trellis, an the beets need to be pulled and made into beet pickles. One day when I feel really energetic I might check the pea vines before they get plowed under to see if they have made more peas.
Not much else happening here today other than still trying to stay cool. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Moving things

I have this bad habit of not thinking things thru when I plant stuff. Then there are the accidents that you just don't know how they happen. I had started some flowering plants in the greenhouse this spring and transplanted them to bigger pots. Well they are blooming and look good, except for one lil thing. Well big thing, there was a  tomato plant in every pot I had. The flowers were getting crowded out but I just cant stand the thoughts of pulling a tomato plant up and destroying it. So off I go in search of some larger flower pots to put the tomatoes in. And I found about 30 or so 10" pots in the basement of the old house that I had forgotten about. All in excellent shape. I guess they were from various things I have bought over the years and just stored them away and forgot. So the tomatoes got taken out of the pots with flowers and got their own space. I set them out back beside the grape trellis and tied the plants up for support. Now I can have tomatoes in the back yard when I need them. I also got a lot of the strawberry runners routed and in soil so they can take root and be moved. I didn't stay out there too long at a time, it was just too unbearably hot. The humidity has got to be 100%.
I checked in on the chickens today and the little Cornish cross are still small yet , just over a week old, but they are really hot natured. I turned the fan on them and took out the heat bulb and replaced it with a regular bulb.They got some fresh bedding today too, the Cornish cross have really wet droppings and can keep a building wet all the time. And of course the heat produces a strong ammonia smell if ya don't keep them dry and try to keep baking soda sprinkled around to neutralize the ammonia.
Not much else happening here today other than trying to stay cool. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

More rain

We had more rain today, which I am sure will do the gardens more good. The beds here in the yard that I fertilized night before last got enough rain to put the nutrients down to the plant roots and be dang, I think they look better already. Or maybe it was just the rain that helped em. But the heat and humidity here are almost unbearable. You can walk outside and it is like you have walked into a mister.
I did get in the cellar today and emptied out some things that have been canned a while and need to be replaced.Got my new storage barrels put where I want them. Just did some general cleaning. Took all the empty jars to the summer kitchen and washed them up so they are ready to go again. Probably next week use some of them for beet pickles. Not too long till the carrots will need to be canned also. They are getting really big now. I got the freezers all cleaned out and rearranged today too. I got out half a ham and have it in the crock pot with pineapple and brown sugar. That will be good for lunch tomorrow.
My hops vines are growing like crazy and multiplying really well. I think I might check them tomorrow and see if I can take some of the smaller plants and get them in pots to transplant to another location later. I have some of the 4 pack plant pots that you get when you buy plants and I am thinking I will use those to start some strawberry runners in and get them rooted. Then I can move them to the big garden or better yet make another bed here near the house. I would also like to propagate some grape vines from the ones I have now. The grapes are getting big on the grape vines in the back yard. Soon I will need to put netting over them to keep the birds from eating all my grapes. I like song birds, but I like grapes more.
So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

More herbs to cut, looking at flowers blooming

I had talked to my friend Rosie today, and it always turns into a long phone call. We can talk about lots of things as we have so many of the same interest. Herbs was one that came up today. In a previous post I had mentioned the possibility of growing feverfew as a cash crop in the place of tobacco. I had wondered in my mind if you cut the feverfew back if it would come out and bloom again this season. I have some planted and decided to dry some for my own use and so I cut mine back and am drying it as we speak. Now I will wait and see if it will put up more buds like most plants do and bloom again this season. If so, I would give some serious consideration to raising it as a cash crop for some extra money. I still need to do more research and see where and how it would be marketed in our state. Fever few is a good herb for treatment of migraines and joint inflammation as in arthritis.
So to share the pictures of the feverfew and the other plants that are growing and blooming around the yard.

                                                          Thornless blackberry is growing great

                                                                 Lavendar blooming

                                                 Flower bed on west end of the house

                                              5 ft tall tomato plants in asparagus bed

                                                  All the little chickens in brooder house

                                                         I found Slinky's babies

Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

We got rain today

We got a nice rain today while we were out of town. I am sure this will do the gardens good. Now that the ground is wet maybe I can get my tomatoes mulched.
Rodger had and early dentist appointment and a late doctors appointment so we had plenty of time to kill between the two. We had found online a place in a nearby town that had plastic barrels and containers. So we paid them a visit. I got 2 35 gallon barrels with airtight lids for sugar and such, 12 plastic totes that have lots of cut outs in them for ventilation when I use them for potatoes in the cellar, 2 large plastic totes for storing carrots and cabbage in the cellar. They also had the gamma seals for 5 gallon buckets so I got 2 of those for now. Then the usual stop at Walmart to stock up on sure jell and pickle mix. This kind of stuff is hard to find in our town for what ever reason. So all and all it was a productive day. Here is the link to the container place if you are close enough to go there.

I have had little chickens hatching for a couple days now. I sure don't know what the problem is but they are not hardy and thriving like they should. I have had several die in the incubator after they hatch. Got to do some research on that lil problem. Jason got home from work before we got home so he fed and watered everyone for us.  
So till next time, blessing from the McGuire homestead.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

This sounds promising

Living in a former tobacco growing state and enjoying herbs, this article caught my eye. I just happen to be looking for information on fever few at the time. Seems as the fever few plants can be started and grown with the same systems used for starting tobacco plants using the greenhouse float tray system. And being female, I do like to see pretty flowers bloom in summer. This might just be something I could do for some kind of income and enjoy the fringe benefits as well. Below is the research info from University of Kentucky.

Other than researching some herbs, I have been watching baby chicks hatch today. So far 10 are out with more making their way to the world. I did take the ones out that were dry and put them in a box in the summer kitchen so they would not be kicking their siblings around like a football.
On my way to feed the other little chicks today I found Slinky and her babies. She had taken them off the porch and hid them away. Well she didn't hide them too good. They are under the smoker beside the door to my outbuilding. Silly cat!
So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Monday, June 7, 2010

A nice day to be out

The weather was really nice today, not too hot, just right for working outside. The sun was shining this morning so I decided to get out and get some more herbs cut to dry. I got the oregano done, some bergamont, and the sage. There was far too much of the oregano and bergamont to put on screens. So I got out the drying boxes we use to do the final dry on our corn for making cornmeal. As it started out one box was about 1/3 full of oregano and the other about that full of bergamont. But once they were in the sun for a bit and wilted down, there was not near as much. Tomorrow I will try to get the chamomile and fever few harvested and put out to dry.
I trimmed my rose bush back that is on the corner of the house and raked the cuttings to the end of the yard. I noticed that the black berries are red right now. So they will be ready in a couple weeks to pick. I still have many quarts of berries canned for cobbler so I am thinking this year I might just make some wine with the berries. Nothing fancy, just the simple country stuff with berries, sugar and yeast. I think I have some wine bottles stored around here somewhere. That would be a nice treat to enjoy this winter. I always think of making dandelion wine when its too late in the season. Ah maybe next year.
When we were in the garden last night I noticed that I have some worm damage on my cabbage. I took some wood ashes over there this evening and sprinkled them. So I can only hope that stops the lil worms. I will go back and check on them tomorrow to see if the worms are still busy or dead.
Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Sunday, June 6, 2010

The little surprises in life

Little surprises in life can be nice once in a while. But for the most part I don't like surprises. Although today when we went to the garden to pick peas, I didn't find as many of them as I had expected but instead I had a lot of ripe strawberries. The plants that were set out this year have bloomed and dang I didn't know they had that many berries on them. I have read and been told that you must pick off the first years blooms to force the plants to produce runners. Well these are making plenty of healthy runners. So I picked the ripe berries. Had about a half gallon of them to make jam later. Some of the strawberry runners have already taken root pretty well. They do need to be mulched to keep the weeds and grass down. The pea harvest was much less than expected this time around. So what we did pick will be supper tomorrow night and the vines can be plowed under now.
When I went to the summer kitchen to hull strawberries and string peas, I checked in on my new baby chicks. Gosh they are hardy little fellers. I think they eat many times their weight in food each day. In one day they are starting to show lil wing feathers. So the little birds are off to a good start.
The weather is supposed to be a lot cooler tomorrow. Maybe I can get some more things done in the yard that I want to do. Like cut more herbs to dry, dead-head flowers, fertilize some of the perennial plants and other odd jobs as I come across them.
Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Saturday, June 5, 2010

More chicks, harvesting broccoli

I got the little Cornish cross baby chicks this morning. The post office called about 6:30 to tell me they were there. I don't function well before my coffee. So I made a cup of coffee and headed out to the post office to get my babies. All arrived alive and active. I had to put them in a tote till we got the old chicken house cleaned out that we had used for storage and move the bigger dark Cornish down there till they are big enough to butcher.

The little Cornish cross are sharing the brooder house with some smaller ones that I hatched. I have another incubator that will hatch on Wednesday of next week. So they will get added to the mix.
We went to the garden this evening to check on the progress of the battle with tater bugs. I did spray the taters again and hopefully this time will get them under control. Everything else looks pretty good. The broccoli had nice heads so I harvested those while I was there. They did better than I thought for getting them in later than usual.

Note to self: always take a basket to the garden no matter what. I was not expecting to have the broccoli ready but cut it anyway and had to put it in my shirt tail till we got to the house. Could have used a half bushel basket about then. So all that is trimmed, blanched and in the freezer. I had 7 quart bags stuffed full of broccoli florets. I don't usually leave much stem on the broccoli as it don't taste as good as the lil florets.
I checked the beets and most of them are the size of an egg, so probably late next week I will be doing beet pickles. I did notice that the cabbage had a lot of little holes in the leaves, so tomorrow I go back to the garden with some dry wood ashes and treat the cabbage. And I guess at the same time I will pick peas again. If they don't have more bloom on them I think maybe they can be plowed under after this picking. It is supposed to be a little cooler tomorrow, around mid 80's. Today it was too hot to breathe outside. Our thermometer was stuck on 90 degrees. Sure made the AC feel good.
Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Friday, June 4, 2010

Pictures so you too can see

Havent done anything here on the place today. Took my buddy to therapy today while Rodger stayed home with a tooth ache. So I thought I would share some pictures with you.

                                          (passion fruit vines that I dug up for transplanting)

                                                    ( potted plants on bench)

                                       (the herb bed has out done itself, I have already cut some)

                                                    (pear tree in bad need of fruit pruning)

                                                              (lots of grape clusters)       

                                                               (more grape clusters)

                                                              (little green tomatoes)

                                                       (One of Slinky's babies)
   Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

On the road

I havent dont much here at home this week. I have been in a vehicle and on the road to somewhere. Took my friend to therapy yesterday and came home after the guys had fixed their own dinner. Rodger was up all night with a tooth ache. With no sleep and our dentist is not in on Fridays he decided he should call this morning and go to the dentist today. He has a dead nerve in a tooth and it is inflammed causing all the pain. No amount of pain meds will relieve it. So he is on antibiotics and some very potent pain meds and goes in next wednesday to have the tooth extracted.
I got some curtains for my summer kitchen today. Got those put up a lil bit ago. They are kinda cute. They are there more to block the summer sun than for looks. I have AC in the kitchen but was hoping not to use it much. So the curtains will help a good deal. When I am canning I am in and out of the kitchen too much to keep the AC running.
While I was out putting up curtains I got a container ready for my baby chicks. They should be here tomorrow morning or Saturday morning in the mail. The post office usually calls me really early to let me know they have arrived so I can go into town and pick them up. I think the postal employees call so I will get the noisy little chicks out of the building. So until I can get the bigger chickens out of the brooder house the new babies will be in a tote here in the house. And I know that plan wont last long, as it dont take them long to start smelling pretty loud.
So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I'm winning the battle

I think I might be winning the battle against the Colorado potato beetles. Last evening I sprayed with pemethrin, malathion, liquid sevin and tobacco juice and today there are very few bugs to be found on the taters. As I was spraying last evening the bugs were falling off some of the plants and seem to not like the spray. They did not do this the last time when I used only the pemethrin. So I don't know if it was the combo or the nicotine that did the job. If it doesn't rain tomorrow I plan to give them another round of the medicine to see if I can eliminate them all together. I don't like using spray but I also don't like the idea of not having taters.
While we were in the field checking the garden I got some of the passion fruit vines dug up and put in pots to see if they will transplant well. It is hard to keep things watered in pots this time of year due to the heat. If the passion fruit vines live I might move them to the front of the cellar and give them something to climb on. The thorn less blackberry is doing great there and has grown alot since I planted it.
I weeded the herb bed again to get the grass out. I think a lot of the grass seed get blown in the bed when the yard gets mowed. My OCD keeps me busy trying to maintain a perfectly weedless bed. I really need to expand the herb bed, really double the size if I can locate enough old railroad ties to do that. And get my wagon fixed to haul dirt in. I really don't like hauling dirt in the back of my pick-up with a topper on it. Too hard to clean out when I'm done. Or maybe I'm just lazy. On to tomorrow and see what happens then. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I think I am behind

Some how I think I am behind with my garden this year. Not sure how it happened. Maybe the rain showers we have been having. I didn't get a good start to this day after being up till 4 AM canning sugar snap peas. But I do have 25 quarts done and in the cellar now. We picked those last evening and I got the harebrained idea to go ahead and get them canned last night so I didn't have to do that today. Not a good plan as getting in bed that late (or early) depending on how you see it, made me sleep in later this morning. But its done now.
I had to go into town today, which messes up the entire day. Got home and gathered up my spray medicine and headed for the garden to spray the potatoes again. The tater bugs are having a field day with them. I mixed some tobacco juice from the 2 packs of chewing tobacco that I had soaked several days ago in with the spray to see if that might kill the bugs. I will check them tomorrow to see if they are dead or just really sick. Large amounts of nicotine are toxic so I would think it might kill em.
We had passion fruit vines growing in the field last summer and Jason kept mowing it over with the bush hog. I pulled some of the small ones up this evening and got them in some water to see if they will make roots. If they do I will transplant them to somewhere bush hog safe. If not I plan to dig some of the bigger plants and move them.
There is an old house seat up the road from us that had some of the best smelling roses growing around. I had Rodger help me dig a couple of them up for transplanting. They have a small rose on them but it does have that wonderful rose smell. I put them in pots for now so they can get over the shock a little bit and then I can plant them where I want them. The guys are just gonna love something else to mow around.
Not much else happening around here other than the awful heat and humidity. IF its this hot now, I can not imagine July and August.
So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.