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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Butchering and canning

We have been busy this weekend. We did manage to get the fryers butchered off. So now we have about 12 pullets left and 1 rooster and meat in the freezer. I made stock of the boney part and canned that. I think I ended up with about 5 gallon in various size jars. The thigh meat was de-boned and cut in bite size pieces and canned as teriyaki chicken. Some really tasty stuff. I got the recipe from SheChef's blog here. It is simple to make as well for a quick meal.
Yesterday after we finished butchering for the day Jason left to go pick up feed for the hogs. The lady that runs the lil feed store where we all buy feed gave him about 3/4 of a bushel of nectarines. He came back and ask me if I liked em. Well heck yeah I do. So he brought in the box and no way we could eat that many fresh so I canned those while the chicken was cooking to make stock. I had 12 pints and 3 quarts of nectarines. They are really pretty as they make the liquid blush pink when they are cooked.
After we finished butchering today Rodger went to the garden and dug into the sweet potatoes to see how they might turn out. Oh my, they are big and there is several in each hill. I think we planted over 100 plants. I somehow think we are going to have too many sweet taters too. Hopefully we can sell the excess. We can use maybe 2 bushels in a year. It is the time of year we need to keep a check on the weather for frost. If it frost on the sweet potato vines it makes the taters rot in storage. Don't need that for sure as they have to be stored in the house.
Not much else happening around here for now. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Yep I had a oops week. I did really good not smoking till we went to the grocery store on Saturday. Dang its hard to believe that grocery shopping could be that stressful. So I have had a few smokes. But NOTHING like I was doing. Rodger has done well too. He is only smoking a few a day instead of his usual 2 or 3 packs. He does have a rather stressful job. If I had his job I would probably be a drunk too. Anyway, back on the wagon now and feeling better.
Not much happening here on the homestead. I still have a bunch of chickens that need butchered. Most of those will meet their fate this coming weekend. So lots less for the fellers to feed an look after when I leave the 30th for Nevada to see Rob and Amoy for a week. Once I come back home the guys will be deer hunting after that cause by then deer season will be in full swing. Somewhere in all this we still need to dig sweet taters and get those in. We most likely will have frost before I get home from my trip and they don't need to get frost bit. We still have watermelons in the garden too. Not sure what the heck I can do with about 15 watermelons. Maybe freeze some for sorbet or something.
I got in the cellar over the weekend and straightened it up a lil to make room for all the crates that will hold our potatoes. I think we may try to get those in the cellar sometime this weekend as well. After they are in there I have no idea where I will store my cushaws and butternut squash. 
The tomato plants that I had planted around here in the beds near the house to save for seed are blooming again and have little tomatoes on them. I am gonna try to cobble up some kind of shelter of plastic to keep the frost off and maybe we can have a few more ripe tomatoes this fall. Before I leave for Nevada I would like to get some mustard and turnips sown and rutabagas as well. Then once I get home I guess it will be time to sow onion seed too. For this I will use the old flower bed near the driveway. I put black plastic over the bare soil to kill weeds and any remains of flowers that are in there. It is narrow enough that I can make a tunnel of PVC pipe and cover it over with plastic if I choose to.
Thas about it for an update on whats not happening here. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I am gonna be a quitter

As of about 7 pm this evening it has been a whole 12 hours of not smoking. Yea I know that don't seem like much to most people. But when you have smoked for 30 years, anywhere from 1 to 3 packs a day, 12 hours with no cigarette is a big deal.  Rodger is quitting also and that makes it so much easier for me. But good grief, not sure how much of this chewing gum my jaws can stand.  I have cleaned some today and did some laundry to try to eliminate the smell of smoke in the house. Its hard to believe how much more sensitive my nose is after not smoking for 12 hours. I'm sure in a few days food will taste better too. AND that just might become another problem. Well the weather is still nice so I can get outside and not eat all the time.
Not much else happening here today, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Squash and cushaw harvest

We got out this afternoon and went to the garden to get a ripe watermelon. I had already eaten the 2 we picked a couple weeks ago. We got 3 watermelons and I told Rodger we should probably go ahead and harvest the squash and cushaw. We pulled probably 30 winter squash and about 10 or so huge cushaws. We didn't load them in the truck because it would involve toting them a good bit so he said he would go back tomorrow with the tractor and bucket and get them. Will probably take most of the cushaws to Jason's house so he can feed them to the hogs. They sure do like those. I am hoping we can also get them to eat some of the winter squash as we have far more than we can use or give away. I had also ordered some sorghum seed to raise for the seed heads as chicken feed and we cut those while we were in the garden. A nice lil bunch to save seed and plant more next year as chicken feed.
I really miss not having fruit to can this year. I never did get any peaches to put up. But I do still have enough to last us till next summer. Our pear tree has very few pears this year so not sure about them yet. No one near us had apples this year so no apples to freeze for frying. I think I still have enough of those from last year as well. I guess thas why when we can get lots of fruits I do put up far too many and it can last us thru years when we don't have any. Harvesting is about finished here for this year. We still will need to pick corn but that will be another month or so. The sweet taters will need to be dug before frost and that's it for us.
I brought my herbs in from the summer kitchen that I had dried this year and I think we have more than enough of those to supply us and another family or 3. So I got to toss out last seasons dried herbs and replace them with fresh ones.
In our supplies I had made sure to stock plenty of bread flour for making homemade bread. My wrist don't cooperate enough now to allow me to knead bread by hand but I still have a bread machine. It only takes about 3 cups or so of bread flour to make a loaf of bread. I started with 25 lbs of flour and there is 3 1/2 cups of flour per lb. So from that one bag I can make about 25 loaves of bread.  Including yeast, powdered milk, sugar, butter and the flour I figure I can make a loaf of bread much cheaper. The 25 lb of flour sells for about $9 at Sam's club. So I dragged out the ole bread machine and have been making bread the past couple weeks. In our town we have a very limited selection of breads to choose from but if I make them myself I can make any kind I like. And the up-side is I don't make my joints hurt more. Nothing like a hot loaf of fresh bread after a long cool day of working outside.
So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

It feels like fall outside

Gosh I am slacking. I haven't posted in over a week now. But then again not much happening here right now. Last weekend we did butcher off our old laying flock and got the breast canned, stock made and the dark meat canned up. We only had 10 total to butcher so that didn't take long. Jason had to do all the cutting up of the birds as I have been having lots of problems with my wrist of late. It all started when I was working up all the tomatoes a couple weeks back. Not sure if its just arthritis or if I have carpal tunnel syndrome. Either way I know it hurts like hell. Rodger did pick up wrist splints for me and I use those all night and during the day if I don't have my hands in water or am cooking. I am sure this too will pass, just hope it hurries.
Over the weekend we discovered what may be stealing my chickens. I think we have a bobcat den down the hill from the house in the woods. It has grown up in weeds and there are some old fallen trees that are partially covered that we think it hides under. Then when I let the chickens out to run in the yard it lays waiting till one gets near the weeds, grabs it and takes off. Luna wont go in after it. As most dogs will not go to fight with a bobcat anyway. Although she patrols the yard and barks, I guess the cat is just hungry enough that it does not feel threatened by her. I am keeping the chickens in the building this week till the weekend and then we are going to bait the critter. Put a chicken in a cage near where it has got the others and see what kinda animal comes out. Then take appropriate action. Oh the hassles of raising critters on the farm.
This past week with our cooler temps and it seems like soup weather I had the big idea to make homemade bread. Well not with these hands will I be kneading tho. So I dragged out my bread machine that I have had for prolly 20 years and fired it up. It makes great bread too. Now I just have to make a point of having plenty of bread flour and yeast on hand.  As I type this I have a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread started and it should be done in time for a bedtime snack tonight. I love fall with soup weather and home made bread weather. We have had lots of rain here and our day time temps are staying in the 60's. Nice weather for just relaxing for me. This time of year is when I get inspired to make large meals. Just when we really don't need em cause we wont be getting out to work the calories off. Oh well we should be nice and fluffy come next spring.
Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.