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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The hot weather is here to stay

I know, we were complaining a week ago about the cool damp weather with all the rain we have had. OK I am done with this hot stuff for a while now. It has been in the mid 90's today and pose to be all week with intermittent showers. The humidity is about too much and its just the end of May. I can not imagine how bad it will be in July and August. None the less I did get a few minor things accomplished today in spite of the heat. I went and got the truck load of straw to mulch the strawberries with. I used 1 bale in the brooder house to get it ready for the lil chicks that will be here this week. ALL 50 of em. Yeah I am a lil crazy at times. But the building is all set up waiting their arrival. When they get big enough to let out they will be allowed to free range some. Well most likely until they find my flower beds and then they will get confined to a pen. Anyway still have the straw on my truck. Rodger intends to till the area between the rows of berry plants before I mulch to loosen up the soil. So maybe we can do that tomorrow. He got kinda busy this evening helping Jason set post to build a pen for his puppies that will be here this weekend. My friend Rosie's Great Pyrenees had puppies and Jason is getting 2 of em. My aunt is taking 1 also and we will have all 3 here this weekend. I can only imagine how cute they are. They do make beautiful dogs. I will post pics for ya to see when we get them. Luna is gonna love this. She wont know what to do with 3 lil girls like her. Jason is building a pen for his so Luna don't go visit an dognap the puppies.
I finally got my greenhouse shut down for the spring season. I had a good deal of leftover plants, some I am planting and some giving away. A co-worker of Jason's is taking all the sweet potato plants, and probably most of the other stuff too. I keep hearing threats toward my greenhouse around here. I think I may have went a lil overboard planting this year. But dang by now they should know that's how I do things.
So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Monday, May 30, 2011

Busy holiday weekend

With this being Memorial Day weekend the guys were off work for a 3 day weekend. So we did manage to get a lot done this weekend. But first off I would like to take a minute to thank all our heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice so we can all go about life as usual. So Thank You from the bottom of my heart.
We were privileged to carry on as usual here as well. Rodger got the corn plowed out on Sunday as it was still a lil too wet on Saturday to do most anything in the garden or field. On Sunday morning we had planned on being in the garden fairly early to beat the heat with forecast in the 90's. Well that didn't happen but we did get there all be it later in the morning. We hoed most of the garden out and finally decided to come to the house and take a break from the mid-day heat. He went back on the tractor a bit later an did plow the corn while I finished hoeing thru the remainder of the garden. It was after sundown before we both finally finished. Oh my goodness the skeeters were hungry and ate well I might add. ON me. Being near the river does have a few drawbacks. Thas is one of em. Rodger said I didn't need to be in the garden this morning and that he would go in there early and run the rototiller. So that he did. The garden looks so nice now that its been plowed out. My dad alas said stuff just grew better when ya plow and work it out. This evening after the sun started going down we started moving the compost and rotted straw from last fall and spreading that around the raspberries. Got those done FINALLY! We had a good bit of rotted straw left and put the rest around the fruit trees in the orchard. The rotted straw stinks and I didn't like the idea of putting that around strawberries where they might come in direct contact with it. Got most of the trees mulched in till we ran out of rotted straw. Tomorrow I am going to pick up a load of straw to mulch the strawberries with and a lil extra for the brooder house. Hopefully I can mulch the strawberries tomorrow evening while Rodger gets the yard mowed, again. I must get the brooder house ready as well for the new babies that will be here end of this week. I ordered a bunch of 50 heavy breed assorted chickens so I can keep some layers and butcher the rest before raising my final batch of Cornish cross this fall. So as you can tell there is never the lack of something to do here on the homestead. I can keep myself occupied 7 days a week here and stay busy. Well except when it gets really hot. Then you most likely will find me in the house. My meds are making me wimpy.
So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Trying to see the pretty things

Dang with all this rain and storms we have had since I don't remember when, I guess I am blessed to have anything left to bloom and look pretty. We have had several pretty good rain showers today and after it stopped I got out and took a few pics here around the house. The big plus with the pretty stuff is I can see it and think of the wonderful friends who have shared seeds and plants with me.

This is the beautiful hollyhocks that Rosie gave me the seed for and they were planted last year. They are just starting to bloom. In the foreground is fever few that she also shared with me. Later on in summer it has beautiful white daisy like lil flowers on it.

The flower border at the back of the house is filled in with plants from my friend Madeline. The old porch rocker is one I sat in as a lil child on the porch of the old home place. It is more for sentimental value than sitting as it is about rotted down. Maybe a few more years left in its life.

The grapevines are loaded with lil grape clusters again this year. They got pruned heavily this spring and are still sprawling.

The border to the left is Lariope (monkey grass) that my aunt Ann had given me last spring. It will thrive almost anywhere and makes a nice edging for drives and such. The herb bed has a lil fence around it now to keep some animals from walking thru it. The new herbs in there are starting to take off now and grow. Still have more young ones to plant in there too.

This is the new bed extension in back of the house. It is planted with leeks and the new strawberry plants from my friends Gretchen and Carl. I am still short 1 bag of mulch to even this one out and eliminate the bare dirt spot.

This is the banana pup that my friend Deb sent me from Mississippi last week. This is the musa basjoo variety. This banana tree is grown for fiber and not the fruit. It has gotten 2 new leaves on it just since I got it. I think they are capable of growing up to 2 ft per week in the warmer summer months. It will also flower when it has 35 leaves or reaches 10 ft tall. I am thinking in a few years it can be moved to a place where I can put a hammock chair under it and have shade.
Anyway not much going on here today will the rain. All I have succeeded in doing is getting my hair cut and just stayed inside. The cool rainy weather does a number on my joints.
So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A little at a time

A little at a time we are getting the rest of the garden planted. We didn't have rain today and this evening after supper Rodger ran the disc and Jason and I planted the melons, watermelons, cantaloupes, punkins and cushaws. They are raising nine kinds of hell because I want to go ahead an plant the rest of the tomatoes and sweet potatoes that are in the greenhouse. Its plant them and let em make what they will or just toss em out to empty the greenhouse and shut it down. Seems to me the common sense thing would be to plant them and not spend too much time working in them, its sure better than the waste of tossin em out. Any way I guess later I can say I told ya so.
I went today to visit a friend of mine who has greenhouses and sells plants for local gardeners and their gardens. She has had a terrible season this year with all the wet weather. No one has gardens out. It has just been too wet. She still has seed potatoes that she has not sold. She has 3 huge greenhouses full of beautiful tomatoes and peppers, cabbage and lots of flowers and no one buying. This season has hurt all the farms and gardens here locally. I just hope we can have a decent garden and get enough to stock up our cellar.
I did pick up some rosemary plants while I was there and a few flowers just for pretty. I usually don't sow flower seeds as I mostly try to grow edibles in our green house.
We are forecast for more storms tonight so that should water my melon seeds in and get them started sprouting and hopefully off to a good start. The okra, eggplant and cukes I had planted are up and look great. The peas are blooming, beets are doing good. I guess the next dry spell we get it will be time to plow the garden and start the hoe work.  But that is all part of it.
Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

A true statement

If there ever was a true statement this is it, if ya don't like Kentucky weather, jus hang around it will change in a lil bit. We got all the things done yesterday that we thought needed doin while the weather was nice. Well because we had more rain in the forecast for today. So kinda had my mind set on just hangin out here at the house knowing couldnt get anything done outside with rain. Well as life would have it, got up this morning and no rain. A nice sunny day, not too hot, just right for doing a few things outside. So out I go. Got my jars of chicken stock and canned chicken all washed off and ready to go to the cellar. Set those aside, an you know how scatterbrained I can be. I wondered off and decided it might be a good time to get the raspberries worked out and the rotted straw and compost put around them. I ran into Rodger on his way back from the orchard. He mowed the orchard yesterday and went to weed whack around all the trees this morning. All's well, cept he told me he chewed up one of my apricot trees. I knew it, he don't like apricots. But I know it was an accident. IF it don't make it I can get another one. So he says he will go help me with the berries. So hoes in hand we go to the field. He hoed out the raspberries while I picked the ripe strawberries off the new plants. And we hoed those out as well. On the drive back to the house I tole him to let me out so I could walk thru the garden to see if my beans I had to replant had popped up yet. They haven't yet and I'm a lil disappointed. But I do have some of em up which is better than none. Everything looks surprisingly good in the garden in spite of all the torrents of rain we have had this spring and summer. The tomatoes look good and healthy but I saw some of the Colorado potato beetles on them, I decided to go back to the end of the rows and start mashing bugs. Yeas I have come to the conclusion that is the best way to control them. Gosh I mashed a bunch of em and clusters of eggs too. Rodger suggested we do another walk thru the taters to see if the bugs were still bothering them. Yes they are but not bad. So down on m knees again mashin bugs. I really need a hobby. Here is a few things I have learned about the bugs. If you find just one bug on a plant, look for the egg clusters. That means they have already mated and one is still living to lay eggs. And 99% of the time there will be one bug already dead under the plant. Then if you find 2 bugs mating on a plant, you will not find an egg cluster. Just this lil bit of info helps speed the search along. This makes I think the 3rd time we have went thru the taters mashin bugs. AND this is the first time in years the plants have gotten this big without being stripped of their leaves. NONE of the medicine I have sprayed with in the past has worked. So as long as we can stand it I think this will be our best bet for tater bug control, mash em. So far, so good. Well after all this crap and now I can walk right cause my feet and hands keep getting tingly and feel funny. Not sure if its my blood pressure meds, sugar, just dunno. But we came to the house to get something to drink. We had planned on going back to the garden with the wagon and taking the rotted straw and compost for the raspberries. To beat all I was ordered to stay the heck in the house. Who do he think he is anyway? We got a snack and something to drink and were getting ready to head out to get the compost and straw and it started to rain. Just big drops at first, then heavy rain. Then slowed to only showers and I went to the summer kitchen to wash the strawberries and tote my chicken stock and chicken to the cellar. Then came the downpours of rain. We both were in the summer kitchen and ya would think someone had tossed a hand full of marbles on the tin roof. Made a bad racket for a while. We got HAIL! Not often we get hail for some reason, but today we did. Some of it small pea size and some the size of a good size marble. Not one of those quick lil bit of hails and over with. This went on for about 10 minutes or so. We were blessed it didn't destroy the greenhouse or hurt any plants here at the house. I doubt it hurt the garden either as the plants there are small enough to not be huge targets. So now we are walking on a sponge again. I guess the rain lasted an hour at most but it did soak everything. I finally got my canned stuff put away in the cellar and came in to fix supper.
I had soaked some shuck beans this morning and put those on to cook. It was just the 2 of us eatin, Jason is out somewhere. We had shuck beans with potatoes, fried cornbread, an hard boiled eggs for supper. So now am stuffed and am thinking serious about a nap.
Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

I hate chicken and I need a nap

I bet ya never thought you would hear me say that. Well I don't really hate chicken I jus don't like chicken much right now. I have been at it since about 9 am first butchering chickens and now am sitting here in the summer kitchen cooking the bony pieces down for stock in the pressure canner. Then it all has to be strained and put in jars and processed. I have a bowl in the fridge that has the boneless thighs in it. Those will get raw packed in jars, covered with the strained stock and processed as well. Not hard to do at all , just boring time consuming stuff. The weather here has been really nice today. High in upper 80's, kinda hot when ya have to stand still and cut up chickens. Jason had to work today and that left Rodger and I to do all the butchering. If Jason had been here he would have had the task of cutting the chickens up. Ended up with 18 total in the freezer. I sure could think of better things to do than sit here and listen to the pressure canner. Things such as take a nap, mulch strawberries and raspberries, ya know, stuff like that. But it is all in a days work I guess. This means we will have lots of stock and canned chicken for different things this summer. I will be ordering more chickens this coming week to raise for butchering later. I think I am gonna order a batch of the frying pan specials, heavy meat birds,  from Marti Poultry farms and that way I can keep what ever pullets I want out of the bunch and butcher the rest. I have convinced myself that mixed breed hens just lay better than pure bred stock.  The laying flock I have now will be butchered off this fall when I have some replacements ready to take their place. But thats another day. Oh, if the world doesn't end this evening. Ok I was tryin to make a funny.
Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Friday, May 20, 2011

Fried green tomatoes

As I write this I am eating a plate of fried green tomatoes. But no they did not come out of the garden this summer already. I was digging around in the freezer today and stumbled on a bag that I had chopped an frozen last summer. I was happy as a pig in slop. So I decided to fry them up for a snack tonight after I got in from outside stuff. And boy howdy are they good. Good Lord willing this summer I am gonna put more baggies of chopped green maters in there. I like em when they just have a slight blush to em but not red ripe. Well if I cant have a fresh one from garden right now this will suffice. Here's how I do my fried green tomatoes.

About 2 cups of chopped green tomatoes with just a lil blush of color, sprinkle with about 1/2 cup cornmeal, 1/4 cup flour, salt and pepper and mix up really well. It will be a crumbly mix. Heat fat, preferably lard in a skillet till very hot but not smoking. Add the coated tomatoes and fry till they are brown. I stir mine so they end up for the most part in pieces. Plate em up and enjoy.
Hope this whets your appetite for fresh garden veggies. Now I am waiting on fresh ripe maters.
Not much happening here right now, still a lil wet for now. We didn't have rain today and the temps were nice. Suppose to be in the low 80's tomorrow so good weather to get some things done. Rodger and Jason got the yards mowed this evening and all the trimming done. So that is one job out of the way and the yard looks so much better.  Tomorrow is chicken killing day so we will be rather busy. I have my table set up and all my implements ready to do the job and make stock. Rodger wont be tied up with the chicken killing project long but I will probably be out there most all day and half the night. It does take a long time to make stock and then can it and some of the meat. But this will be the first canning project of the new season. But tomorrow night I know my joints will hurt like the dickens. They alas do when I over use em. But I keep plugging along.
So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

The changes from day to day

It amazes me how the weather can change from one day to the next. Yesterday I had the heat on and couldnt seem to get warm and today I had to turn the A/C on for a bit. It is starting to warm up a bit and I am so thankful for that. Cold and wet weather does not do tender garden stuff one bit of good. The corn has a pale look to it from the cool and it also encourages flea beetles to eat on the new tender growth.  But today was rather nice even tho we did have some sprinkles earlier today it warmed up nicely. I am telling you I am a wimp. I didnt get out to do much till it was warmer this afternoon. I did transplant some of the stevia plants to the herb bed and kept 2 in a big pot in the greenhouse for safe keeping. Just to make sure some of them make it. I moved the thyme to the herb bed as well and planted some of the different varieties of tomatoes that I want to keep secluded for seed.  I had a few pots of flowers that I had started and now have those in pots to bring on the deck a lil later. The hyacinth peas are planted in 2 big pots that will sure need a trellis. Tomorrow I will need to get all my butchering stuff together to butcher on Saturday. I think this time I am cutting all the chicken up for frying and just canning the stock alone in jars. I made a rotisseri chicken for supper and decided to fine tune the chicken rice recipe that I had been using. We do like the rice a roni mix stuff and I can make it much cheaper. It is rather simple if you have your own good chicken stock. So I am sharing the recipe. This will make enough for 4 hearty appetites.

Rice O Roni My Way

1 cup long grain rice (long cooking)
1 cup angel hair pasta broken in 1/2 inch pieces
5 tablespoons butter
3 cups good chicken stock
3 bouillon cubes crushed
1/4 cup onion flakes
4 teaspoons parsley
1 teaspoon marjoram
salt to taste
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
!/2 teaspoon garlic powder

In skillet or heavy cooker brown the rice and pasta pieces in the butter till lightly browned stirring often. Watch this because it can burn rather quickly. Add chicken stock and remaining ingredients and simmer till the rice is done. If it gets a lil too dry before the rice is done add more chicken stock or water.
Serve with your choice of chicken, fried,  baked, or roasted.

You can substitute chicken soup base for bouillon if so desired. Or even add a lil bit the the dish to enhance the flavor. Enjoy! (This is very very close to the box rice a roni mix stuff only with more flavor an less salt.)

Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Odd jobs done

Still too wet to do much in the garden. But at least we are finally getting some odd jobs done around here. After I got my herb bed extension done I was needing to get some kind of fence around it to keep the dog and cats from walking in there. Really hated to use any kind of heavy fence as it would make the place a lil unsightly. We still had a lot of the nylon deer netting left so we nailed short stakes/post around the bed and put a strip of the deer netting around. It is thin enough that it is nearly invisible from any distance yet it will be a barrier to keep the animals out. I would have used the same method in this bed as I do the others with exception this one is much larger and I don't have any woven fence wire to put on the ground over the plants. None the less it is secure and still looks ok.
According to the local weather the rain is due to end by tomorrow and it is gonna start getting warmer. I am so dang tired of being cold and wet. It hard to think of wearing a jacket on Memorial day. So am hoping that just maybe things will dry out a bit so we can plant melons and get the other field of corn planted. Not to mention the fact that I still need to mulch my strawberries. Not sure how much of that stuff will get done this weekend as I plan to butcher chickens on Saturday. They are huge and need to be in the freezer.
Not much else happening here on the farm. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Too cold to garden

Our weather has went to chit, it is far too cold for anything to grow IF you can brave the mud to plant. I think we are in the midst of what we call "blackberry winter". It is no higher than 50 degrees during the day and low 40's at night and all with rain showers. Even with all the rain the garden stuff we have planted does look rather good. The corn came up pretty evenly, the green beans are up and doing good. The tomatoes, sweet potatoes and peppers that we transplanted last week look good. Rodger was in the field last evening and said it seems there are not any tater bugs on the taters right now. But I am sure they are laying down there under the soil just waiting for the sun to shine so they can chow down. As for garden stuff we have all the really important stuff planted. Still need to plant watermelons and cantaloupe and probably pumpkins and cushaws.
I was sitting here today and decided it might be a good idea to kinda draw a plan of where all the different herbs are planted in the herb bed.  As it is I have 26 different varieties of herbs planted, either plants and/or seeds sown.

chives-plants and seeds
parsley-plants and seeds
dill-plants and volunteer seeds
caraway-plants and seeds
lemon mint-plants
fever few-plants
stinging nettle-plants

I do think I pretty much have the seasoning part of cooking supplied for now. Unless I find something else that I can grow to use. Some of the herbs are first timers for me, most I have raised for years. The fever few and lavender are the ones that are not in the herb bed, as well as stinging nettle and comfrey. Herbs do sort of cover 2 aspects of gardening for me. They are really pretty plants, most of them flower in summer and for culinary use as well. Keeps me in the clear when hubby tells me I don't need any more flowers. "But hunny these are herbs". Cant help it they are pretty as well.
Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Too wet to plant..........again

It was kinda cool this morning and had rained a lil bit over night. Still over cast but not raining about noon and Rodger had went out to get another bag of mulch. I thought 1 would be enough to finish the project that I had started. I got the mulch spread on the bed in back of the house and still came up a lil short. Probably 1 more bag will finish the leeks. Maybe get to that on Monday. Then it started to rain again. We got some pretty heavy rain but didn't last long. Just enough to settle in the seeds that I had planted on Friday evening and give the new strawberry plants a nice boost. My online friends Carl and Gretchen sent me some beautiful strawberry plants, a different variety than the ones I already had. Jason and I got those planted on Friday evening and fertilizer put near them so they should grow by leaps and bounds. Everything has been side dressed at this point so now we wait and hope the garden grows well and produces good.
It had rained too much this morning to get the other field of corn planted  so that will have to wait till next week also. Only planting another half acre or so but it needs to be in to have plenty of time to mature. It is a long season heirloom variety that we can use for cornmeal or stock feed.
With the cool weather today I thought a kettle of tater soup was in order. It was so good. I love potato soup with lots of onions and garlic and I sprinkle my bowl of soup with finely chopped dill. So yummy for the tummy.
Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Friday, May 13, 2011

Finally making progress

Well the railroad company finally got our crossing fixed so we could get to the garden last evening. We got about 300 tomato plants transplanted, 100 sweet potatoes, and about 50 or so peppers of various varieties. The corn and beans we planted a couple weeks ago are up and look really good. The potatoes are coming up as well. AND the Colorado potato beetles are eatin on them as they come out of the ground. I think the tater bugs are holding on to the plant and riding it out of the ground. Each plant that was emerging had no less than 4 bugs on it. It was pitiful, Rodger and I went up the rows mashing the bugs. So we killed round one of bugs.

The taters have barley emerged and the bugs have already attacked.

3 long rows of tomatoes and 1 row of sweet potatoes transplanted to the big garden.

Rodger has a good start clearing the hill in front of the house. We can actually see the garden from the front porch.

The front herb bed and the new extension that we finally got added on. Most of it is planted. Some are transplants and some places I have sown seeds.

Flowers on the front side walk are blooming.

My peonies bloomed for the first time this year and do they ever smell heavenly.

How the heck long does it take hollyhocks to bloom? These things are huge and have buds where the flowers will be but no blooms yet.

The onion bed extension to the right in the back yard. As you notice it is kinda nice to live near railroad tracks sometimes. They do leave ties around about ever 2 or 3 years.

I was hoping to get the small seeds planted in the garden this evening but we have Had a lil rain this afternoon with more expected. But this will sure help the tomatoes and things we set out last evening tho. Ah, all in a days work.
Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Just one of those days

Do ya ever have those days when you just don't even want to get out of bed? One of those days you feel like crap but not really sick? Well I think I had one of em today. Or maybe the 2 days work prior had caught up with me. Dunno, but I have not managed to get a thing done today. But on Sunday I did get my herbs planted in the new herb bed extension that I wanted to do. The plants are small yet but will grow this summer and fill in nicely. But in the meantime it does look kinda bare. Also got the leeks planted in the bed out back. I still have some other things I want to plant in the herb bed but just sure didn't feel like doing it today. Then after the guys got home from work and we ate supper Jason went with me to get a load of mulch for the ornamental and some of the herb bed.  I use free wood chips to mulch with. The do help keep in moisture and keep down weeds in the pretty stuff. As most of the chips were hardwood chips I didn't mind using them on the herbs that I had just planted as well. That was a hard job for both of us. Jason loaded the mulch into the truck and then loaded it into the wheelbarrow so I could put it around the plants. By bedtime last night I was done. And it was near dark when I finally got done with all the lil projects. We have had some 80 plus degree days and even a few with no rain. Not sure if 2 days of working outside in the heat did me in or what. The heat is great for the plants in the greenhouse but not so much for the chickens in the brooder house. The Cornish do get really hot during the day. They have a fan in there but they have such fast metabolism and produce so much body heat that they can die from heat exhaustion pretty quick. So till butchering time that will be a full time chore trying to keep them cool. Not sure but may go ahead and butcher them at 5 weeks so they don't suffer in the heat. Kinda depends on the weather later this week.
So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

The herb bed extension is done

We got the timbers laid last evening for the herb bed extension and the timbers in place for the bed extension out back on the end of the onion bed. Rodger hauled some dirt last evening for the herb bed. Today he finished it up. Dang that is a big area to plant. But thas OK, I can fill it. He also got the dirt put in the bed our back. Jason and I used the rack to level all the dirt off and make it nice an pretty. I was going to try to get some stuff planted today but it started to rain a lil bit and I decided against planting in the rain. We just got enough rain to make a lil layer of mud on top of the soil. If we don't get more rain over night or tomorrow I might get them planted. The rain stopped pretty soon and I did get the used bedding out of the brooder house and fresh straw put down for the Cornish cross. The old used straw is piled to compost for a while and then it gets used to put around the raspberry plants to mulch and add nutrients to them.  I do like to try and keep the Cornish dry and clean. If their bedding gets soiled they do get pretty nasty at butchering time. All they do is eat, drink and sit down. They are quite big for 4 week old chickens. Just a couple more weeks and they will be in the freezer.
When we were finishing up the herb bed, I was needing some weed barrier to put down under the dirt to keep weeds and grass from the yard from coming up thru my plantings. When I started out I was using shredded junk mail that I shred all year long and save just for this kinda stuff. Then I ran out and used paper feed bags that we had saved. Just split those open and put them on the ground over the grass and hose em down and cover with soil. I soon ran out of those and had to resort to the plastic weave feed bags that chicken feed and such come in. Those are split and laid on the grass too just like the paper one. Water will go thru but weeds wont come up thru them. They will eventually rot under the soil but they are free so who can complain. I still have a LOT of those plastic weave feed bags left to use as a weed barrier around the fruit trees in the orchard. I guess the next project will be hauling mulch to mulch in the planting in the beds. When I get them planted. Maybe tomorrow if we don't get more rain. Guess we wait and see what tomorrow holds.
Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Friday, May 6, 2011

Another day without rain

We had another day without rain here today. The ground is drying out nicely but dang it we cant get in the garden. The railroad company has taken out the crossing and it wont be put back till next week. This would have been a great time to get the rest of my garden planted and the plants transplanted that are in the greenhouse. But at least Rodger and Jason got started on my herb bed extension in the front yard this evening. We might get that done tomorrow and ready to plant. The extension is actually bigger than I had anticipated. But that is good too. Just more room to add plants. The bed started out about 22 ft long by 8 ft wide. It will be 8 ft longer on one end, and we added another 8 ft to the width on the side. So total space is about 30 by 16 ft. Rodger got started this evening moving the dirt into the new bed too. Its gonna take a lot of trips with the lil tractor bucket to fill all that area in. In the morning I need to round up more stuff to use for weed barrier. I used shredded paper this evening for what we got done. Guess I need to raid the building and dig out all the old card board that we have around. Last resort will be paper feed bags. But I really want to save those to mulch around the fruit trees in the orchard. Not sure how much we can get done this weekend beings we are forecast for 20% chance of rain till next Thursday. Maybe it will miss us. I can only hope. The wild blackberries are in full bloom now so as soon as they start losing their bloom we usually get several days of cool rainy weather.  We surely have to get all the planting done in the next week or so. We will be butchering chickens the weekend of May 21st. They will be 6 weeks old then and huge. On my to-do list for tomorrow is to get the brooder house cleaned out. The new herb bed will be a good place to put the fresh manure from there. It will have time to rot before the lil plants put roots down to get into it. And it means I wont have to move the compost twice.
So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Monday, May 2, 2011

A nice day even if its wet

The weather here was fairly nice today. We did have some sunshine and a breeze blowing to help dry things out. The ground is still quite soggy but I did manage to plant some roses in spite of the mud. Rosie had given me some Rugosa rose starts when I was at her place earlier this year. I had them in a paper box sitting in the greenhouse. I kept them watered and they had leaves and were starting to grow in there. I got out today and dug a trench, added some good soil and planted them. That did free up a good deal of space in the greenhouse too. I had talked to her today on the phone and we were talking about old fashioned roses. I knew where some were growing at the old house site and told her I would get one dug up and potted to bring to her when I come to get Jason's puppy. So I have a rose bush in a pot and got an extra one to plant here at the house. I planted it near the old farm equipment in the lower end of the yard. I got about 10 total rose plants planted and only got 1 rose thorn prick the whole time. I did good. Normally I get tore all to pieces.
The other day I found a good recipe in a magazine for filled cookies that I want to try. They sound easy enough, even tho made with a box cake mix. I didn't have a piece of paper to write the recipe on so I put it in my phone.

Filled chocolate cookies

4 whole eggs
2 18 oz boxes of devils food cake mix
2/3 cup oil


1 8ox pk cream cheese
1/2 cup butter softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In large bowl mix cake mix, eggs and oil, the batter will be stiff. Pinch off pieces and roll into about 1 inch balls. Place on paper lined baking sheet and flatten. Bake till light brown and still slightly soft in the center.
Let cool on pan for a few minutes then move to rack to finish cooling.
Fill and enjoy

To make the filling:
Beat cream cheese and butter till light, add vanilla beating well, add in powdered sugar and beat till smooth. IF filling is a lil too soft, chill for a few minutes to stiffen.
Spread filling on half the cookies, and top with other cookie halves.

Enjoy with a cup o coffee or glass of cold milk.

I might just make some of these tomorrow if I cant get outside to work in the gardens. But I think I might use yellow cake mix instead.  Pretty sure these guys here will prefer them made with chocolate cake mix tho.

So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Dang it rained again

At some point last night it rained. I know this cause all was wet and soggy this morning. Jason said it stormed really bad last night. By dang I was too tired to hear it. I slept right thru the storms. So needless to say there was no working in the berries today. Am pretty sure it was mud over in the garden. So we have not done much here today. I did clean up the house, took care of the chicks and started some more tomatoes. Yep, more maters. My friend Sheri from up in Missouri sent me some seeds for Tumbling tom (red and yellow) tomatoes that she says are best grown in a hanging pot. Also some Red House Free standing (heirloom) tomatoes that she said needs very lil staking, and some Juliet grape tomatoes. See I am alas up to trying new things. It should be warm enough now for the greenhouse to stay warm enough for the tomatoes to come up pretty quick and do well. I have a lot of tomatoes in the greenhouse that need to go to the garden and that will happen the next few dry days we get so we can work in there again.
Here at the house I finally got my sun shades made for the front porch. I had the burlap cut and had Rodger cut 2 strips of lumber for me to tack the burlap to. It is mounted under the ceiling on the west end of the porch. I am sure it will help keep the front porch much cooler this summer. Should keep the sun from beating in on the front of the house too. I love sitting on the front porch but when the sun shines in there in the evening it can get unbearably hot. Now it would be nice if I could get the stain and sealer put on the porch and railing out there to protect it better. Still am thinking of planting the 2 wisteria vines I bought on the south side of the porch and let them grow up the railing to shade the south side a bit in summer too. Plus they do smell pretty too.
Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.