Search This Blog

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Just what I needed.........

........more lil orphans to take care of.

  Not like I dont have anything else to do. Gosh it takes an hour twice a day to just feed the lil orphans that I have now. A total of 4 lil chicks that the momma hen kept tossing out of the nest and wouldnt take after hatching. One of them was wet and his body so cold I almost tossed him thinkin he would not live. I am glad I didnt because when I brought him in the house and put him in the incubator and got him warm and dry he is doing fine. So I got 4 babies with no momma that will take em. The lil orphan kittens are doing good. They have learned that I am their food source but they still dont let me pet them. But thas ok too. As long as they get food and water is what matters. I have to refill water pans several times a day for the animals and birds that are out in this unbearable heat we have been having. We havent had rain for most of a month now. There are no water holes or creeks for the critters to find water. With the mild winter we were kinda prepared to have an abundance of insect pest like mosquetos and fleas, ticks and the like. But there has been very few. I guess because there is no water for them either and they died. Not saying thats a bad thing tho.
We on Saturday as I was going down the hill to feed the lil kittens I took a tumble. Not a pretty sight for sure. At first I thought for sure I had broke my arm and maybe foot. But as time went on my pinky finger side of my right hand hurts really bad as does the big toe on my left foot. Of course being hillbilly I was barefoot and got my feet caught in some netting that I had placed near some landscape plants to keep the chickens from digging them up and hit the ground hard. Any way I went to the doc today for other things and had them do an xray of my hand to make sure I didnt crack the bone. I am sure it is not a complete fracture but maybe a crack due to how much pain it gives me. Not the time of year for me to be handicapped too.
Guess I will get the results tomorrow if its broke or not.
We had planned on butchering off the cornish cross chickens this weekend as they are now over 7 weeks old and still not big enough to butcher. They should have already been in the freezer. They have had high protein feed 24/7 and that makes em grow. Not these. I always ordered my chicks from Marti poultry farms in Missouri and found that they have closed down due to illness in the family. It was a family operated business from what I gather. I orederd from McMurray hatchery this year and not sure if they dont have good breeding stock or what , but this group of chicks have not grown like the ones I got from Marti. So I guess I will try another hatchery next time I get birds to see if I can find one with better quality.
We have been picking strawberries again and raspberries every other evening. I have enough raspberries now to make a batch of raspberry jam I think. Maybe I will do that tomorrow if its not so hot I cant breathe in the summer kitchen. I really need to go get a load of mulch to use on my herbs and go ahead and water them I guess or I may lose a lot of my new plantings. Probably the only things that will get watered will be the new stuff that is not established good yet. The rest of the plants will be ok I think. So thas my options for tomorrow I suspose.
Not much else happening here ,so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Sometimes I feel like the Clampets house

I guess if you are on a farm everyone has those times. Somehow this summer I have managed to inherit several orphans here. First it was the lil kittens with no momma. They are doing fine. After the last post I started setting out a bowl of food (home canned chicken and stock) for them early in the morning and late evening and they have learned to sit nearby the food dish in the weeds and wait for feeding time. They will sit and watch me put their food out but still wont come to me. Thas OK tho as long as they eat. I have to make sure they eat before I let the chickens out for the day or they steal the food. All the while I have to make sure Luna and her lil girls have food out so they don't take the kittens foods. Kinda tricky and time consuming to get those critters fed. Then I let the big chickens out after the kittens eat so they can do their thing. Which usually includes dusting under my shrubs. They move a lot of dirt but the base of some shrubs are sure weed free. Not to mentioned fertilized. So its all good. I let the chickens out today and checked on the hens with the babies. The first babies are about a week and a half old and doing good. I had one lil fellow that hatched out late and his momma didn't want him. I had him in the house with me one night till he got stronger and then took him back to the hens. Not sure what problem one of the hens has with the lil one but she kept beatin him up every time he got near her. I cant have that crap so he is back in the house in a box and is very happy not to have his lil head pecked for living. So now I have to make sure he stays warm so he don't fuss all night and keep us all up. Cant imagine how this is all gonna end. I can see me having a chicken that sits on the front porch with me because he don't know hes a chickens. Then the morning care includes making sure the meat birds are cool enough and doing OK. Yesterday I had to take a box fan and put in the building with them to move the air a bit in there. They were getting too hot. Those Cornish do not tolerate extreme heat or cold well at all. They do suffer. So this morning when I checked in on them they were doing what most chickens do, sitting in front of the fan where its nice and cool. Our temps are supposed to cool some this weekend and first part of next week so that will help the birds some. It gets to be a full time job keeping water out so all the critters have access to fresh water all day in the heat.
We are hoping for rain soon. Even tho the gardens are doing well they sure could use some rain. We did enjoy the new taters with our sugar snap peas last week. I had wilted lettuce and onions with bacon one day for lunch. Dang I could eat that every day for life I think. Just one of those comfort foods I grew up on. I usually just fry up some home grown bacon that I have cut in lil tiny pieces till it gets crisp. Drain off some of the bacon grease then toss in some sliced green onions till they wilt and then put the lettuce in the skillet till its wilted a lil and toss to coat well with the fat. Put in a big ole bowl and dig in. I put the bacon bits back on top of the lettuce after it wilts down good and for me thas a good meal. Especially if ya have some leftover cornbread to go with it. Can we say HOG HEAVEN!!
I have to tell ya about my lil observation this evening. After I had fed the lil orphan kittens and they had ate I saw our older white momma cat (the only momma we have now) had went down below the house in the yard with her kittens which are older. The momma cat and her kittens were playing with the lil orphans. When it was almost dark I saw the momma luring all the kittens back up toward the house and out back toward the outbuildings where her kittens have been staying. Kinda makes ya think that if humans don't interfere with nature, nature will take care of its own. I have to wonder if the momma cat knows the lil kittens (her grand kittens) are orphaned and is tryin to lure them back up to the house to stay in the company of her kittens so they can show them where the food bowl stays. I always feed the momma cat and her young on the back deck under a picnic table and they know there is food there. And we think animals are dumb. All animals have God given instincts and teach their young to survive. Even in watching Luna with her lil girls is amazing. She led them up here to the house where she knew there would be food when they were old enough to start on solid food. As long as she was nursing them before they were ready to eat, she kept them down across the road under the old house, safe, dry and cool. If I had leftover rolls and such I know Luna enjoyed I would give them to her in her morning food bowl. I watched her several different times take one of the rolls in her mouth and take off down the yard, across the road and take the roll to her puppies. I guess she knew it was soft enough for them to learn to eat and after about a week of this she started bringing them up to the house. I was watching her when she brought them up the other morning and she would walk slow ahead of them occasionally looking back till she led them to the water bowl I had out for them. So now they know where the water bowl is at. I feed Luna in her bowl and put the lil girls food in another container near hers. She will growl gently if they get in her food, they will just sit down an watch her. Then they will go eat from their bowl. I have noticed that she don't eat the food from their dish even if hers is empty. She will come to me when I go out on the front porch and with her body language let me know her bowl is empty. I am always amazed at the awesome work of God and his creations.
Not much else happening here, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The first fruits.....

We went to pick raspberries and check on the garden this evening and got to harvest enough goodies for supper tomorrow night. Our potatoes are doing really well considering we planted later than normal and we haven't had enough rain. I found a cabbage head that was big enough that I cut it. They are not done growing yet. We picked about a gallon of strawberries and a a quart of raspberries too.

 Not bad size for taters, I think I can be happy with these. It will be another 2 months before we dig so they should be good size by then.

 One of our momma cats died an untimely death and we didn't know she had babies. Today when I went out to feed I heard a kitten crying and saw this one. I did manage to catch it as they were kinda wild having not been here at the house. I brought it in and tried to feed it and sat it on the table with a dish of milk(yeah I know, not good for kittens) and he had no interest. But he sure liked the smell of Rodgers dinner. He did share a piece of steak with the lil fellow. Cut in tiny bits the kitten can eat so I guess I will be feeding it till he get big enough to fend for himself. Later this evening when I went out to feed Luna's girls I heard another one. I cant catch it so we let this one go back with its sibling and left them a lil bowl of chopped up canned chicken for supper and maybe I can try tomorrow and see if I can pet the other one. I am thinking I got far too many lil critters all of a sudden. But I can let anything be hungry tho I know I will regret having too many cats.

I had my laptop on the table and the kitten walked across the keyboard till the puter started beeping and he decided that was not the place to be. At least the lil fellows have a full belly tonight. Trust me we do not allow animals on the dining table often. I have only had 1 cat stay in my house in 32 years and she never got on any thing. But this was just a lil baby. Oh my!! OK I have my weaknesses.

We have been having some really hot dry weather here. The yard looks pretty rough without rain and its too hot for the momma hens to being their lil chicks out of the building. So they scratch in the house and the lil ones are alas full so they eat good. I want to witness the puppies first encounter with the settin hens. That will be worth seeing. I am having to keep water bowls in various places for all the critters here and normally there is water for them in the drainage ditches and places so they don't have to go far for water. My herb bed is kinda scrubby looking too with the heat and lack of rain. I know ya probably thinking, "well water it". But we don't water here. If the plants are established they will do down deeper and find water and that in the end makes for heartier plants. This my dad taught me. I have seen it proven many times, so we wait for rain. I do water stuff that is in pots tho, such as the grapevine starts and a couple trailing tomatoes that I have planted.
That's about all the happenings here, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Monday, June 11, 2012

The puppies are home!

Finally! Luna has brought her lil girls up to the house so we can see them. They are so dang cute. I can see where I will be spending a lot of time. I guess she figured it was time to start them on food and the front porch is where the food bowl stays. And I did get pics of them today.

The top pic the lil one was hiding from me under her momma. Then she tried to run back to the house and she is far too fat to run and I caught her, so dang cute.

Finally tonight blogger will let me load photos so here are the ones from the garden that I could not load last night.

The bottom pic is the field where we had corn last year and as most know corn is a heavy feeder. It will take most all the nitrogen out of ground. So to replenish the nitrogen we decided to plant the field in Pink Eye Purple Hull cow peas. They fix nitrogen in the soil and after harvesting what we want of the peas the plants will then be turned back into the soil as green manure. Hopefully it will improve the ground some. There is a row of cantaloupe about 1/3 the length of this field. If each plants makes one melon we should have at least 2 pickup loads. What to do with all the cantaloupe?
As you see from the top 2 pics our garden is still small yet, we planted later than normal for us. It did need rain. Today we had a few good showers of rain that I know helped a good deal. Would be nice if it rained a slow steady rain all night. But God will give us what we need I am sure.
My momma hens so far have hatched 2 baby chicks. There should be more tomorrow. Then I need to find feeders and water tanks for the lil ones as I took the other tank to the other building for the Cornish cross. Such is life.
Not much else happening here, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Slow and steady as we go

That seems to be my way of life these days. Not sure what happened to my energy but it is long gone. I had to adjust some of my meds back down and it did seem to help some. I have felt a lil better the past few days. On those crappy days I just don't get a single thing done outside in the gardens. I have decided that if I don't feel like being out there in the heat I am best to just stay inside and do what ever needs doing and let it go at that. It is really exhausting to force my body to keep going when I feel so rotten. Any who, Rodger has got the garden all worked out and it looks pretty good. We sure do need rain tho. We planted a lil later than normal for us and missed all the early spring rains. The plants don't have deep enough roots yet to get water down deep as they would if we had gotten it planted earlier. So they do suffer some in the dry weather. But I am sure we will get rain when we are supposed to. I bet my dad is sittin up there sayin " I taught ya better than that".We are still having a lil trouble with the tater bugs, but not bad. But I did spray this evening to keep them at bay so they don't attack the tomatoes and beans. The peas are pretty much done and I was thinkin as I walked past the trellis spraying that maybe I need to just go ahead and pull up the plants and plow the ground leaving the fence in place an plant the length of fence trellis in White Half Runner beans. They do make the very best shuck beans. The Ky Wonders that we raise are OK for shuck beans but the half runners are much better.
I checked out the grape vines in the back yard and they Japanese beetles have attacked them again this year. So I caught a bunch of them and the chickens had a feast. Then sprayed with some Sevin to kill the ones I missed. They can destroy a grape vine in a matter of a couple days if left unattended.
Yesterday evening I went down the the old house and outbuilding to check on the Cornish cross and got to catch one of Luna's puppies. Gosh they are so fat and cute. The one I caught was a lil girl and she looked like her momma. As luck would be I didn't have my camera with me so no pics to post here yet but for those of ya that are on my friends list on facebook you can see the pics there. Sorry, I got a smart fone and it is for sure smarter than me and I have no clue how to get the pics from the fone to the puter.
But I did take a few pics in the garden when we were over there. So I at least can share those even tho it has taken me 3 days to find the cable to my camera so I could load them in the puter. Can ya tell I am technically challenged?

Well for some odd reason blogger is cooperating and I cant even upload the pics to the blog. I am done cussin now so we shall go on.

I have been harvesting and drying some herbs along the past few days. I am still researching and studying up on medicinal herbs and making my own natural salves, balms and meds. I did make a small trial batch of skin balm a couple days ago and it does sooth me skin after a shower and don't feel greasy. I love the way it feels and it actually smells nice. I added a small amount of lavender just for fragrance. It consists of coconut oil, round leaf plantain, lavender, comfrey leaf, a few drops of vitamin E oil. Melt the oil in a small pan and add the chopped herbs and stir to get as much of the essential oils from the leaves as possible then add vitamin E, stir and strain in a small container and let cool. The total time on the heat was about 30 minutes. So far I do think this works for me to sooth irritated skin after a shower and working outside.
I talked to my friend Rosie  and got a ton of ideas for different plants that can be used for many things. One thing that grows really well here is dandelion and the dandelion root teas is nearly a cure all for many aliments of the body. But this is still a learning process. I had an older fellow tell me one time that if you didn't learn at least one new thing everyday that you wasted the day. I think he might be right. But dang I don't think it will do me any good to learn things as I forget too quick. I reckon I will need to make an investment in a journal to keep notes.
Not much else happening here, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Friday, June 1, 2012

Movin right along

We are still moving right along with the gardens and picking peas. Tonight I canned up 10 quarts of sugar snap peas. Not sure what the next thing will be to can, probably blackberries. They are looking good so far and I am sure the rain we had last night has helped them along a lot. The raspberries are starting to ripen too. When we picked the peas last evening we drove around the field looking at all the other plants and noticed the raspberries starting to turn in places so it wont be long on those either. I am really looking forward to raspberries this year. They wild blackberries here on the farm produce like crazy every year with no need to do anything special to them. I may ask Rodger to mowed near the blackberries in the field so I can avoid a few chiggers and ticks. I love picking blackberries but I alas get bit by every bug known to mankind. I read somewhere if you increase your intake of zinc in summer it will deter skeeters and other biting bugs. I do have some zinc supplement here so maybe I will give that a try.
While I was in the summer kitchen canning peas I walked down to the strawberry bed that is out back and picked a bunch of strawberries to eat. Those things are still producing and blooming again. I did manage to find the energy to weed the old onion bed so maybe tomorrow I can weed the asparagus bed and get some mulch in there to keep the weeds at bay. I really don't have the gumption to go out there and weed like I have in the past and if I don't fix it now they might be a loss. I walked back to the grape arbor out back and noticed the young chickens chasing bugs near the grapes. I got to looking closer and they were catching Japanese beetles. So I caught all the jap beetles off the grape vines and toss em in the chicken house for the smaller chickens. Now if I could teach them where the bugs live and they could help themselves without eating grapes it would be a good day.
Our temps have cooled a great deal the past couple days. It is actually cool outside this evening. So maybe tomorrow I will feel like getting out in the herb bed and doing some more weeding and get the plants fertilized so they can get well rooted before it gets really hot weather here. Even tho the rain was wonderful for the gardens it was sure rough on my arthritis. Got up this morning with my knee swollen again. Don't know what its problem is. Probably just arthritis flaring up. Dang it sure makes life on the farm rough.
Not much else happening here, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.