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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Nice weather for winter

Our weather today was so nice, about 65 degrees and sunny. I let the chickens out to run around today and the setting hens with the little babies came out for a bit today so the lil ones could get some fresh grass. They did OK for a while till a lil breeze blew up and they got chilled and started complaining. The mommas took them back inside to get them warm. I find such relaxation watching chickens. Guess its just my hillbilly nature.
I had a doctors appointment yesterday and the doc changed some of my meds. The one I am taking now has a side effect of causing syncope or passing out upon standing. Just what I need when I have enough problems staying upright. And I am on antibiotics to fix a sinus infection that has lingered for probably 2 months. My arthritis meds suppress my immune system and I can have an infection in my body and not have a lot of symptoms which is what I was doing. Then finally the sinuses got really bad an then I knew. I do feel some better today. Dang being sick can really drain ya. Not that I had a world of energy to begin with. I want to get outside in this nice weather and get some weeding done in the herb and asparagus beds before the weeds get too big. I know its just wrong to be weeding this time of year but dang they are in there and growing. I walked out to the chicken house earlier today in my bare feet and it the end of January. Strange winter we have had for sure. I might get out in the yard tomorrow and piddle around if I still have good balance and feel better. Just have to wait and see what tomorrow holds.
Not much else happening around here, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Saturday, January 28, 2012

At the grist mill today

We got out kinda early this morning and went to get out income taxes done and out of the way. I got to visit with Pauline, a good friend who does taxes here. It was nice to see her and her hubby and both of them look great but are in bad health. With that finished up we had a noon appointment at the grist mill to get our cornmeal ground for the year. I had never been to that particular mill since the fellow got his building built and set up. It was  really neat to see the old engine he uses to grind with. The mill is owned by Glenn and Kathy Kincaid here in our county. Really nice folks. Glenn is partially retired from the school system and farms some on the side. The grist mill is his hobby and he says he will try to make it a lil part time business after he gets retired completely. The mill runs on propane but to start the engine Glenn uses a crank on the wheel and turns it several times to get it going. This is the old way of grinding corn after the hand grinder. I have about a bushel of wheat and ask Glenn if he could grind it on the mill and he said he had never done wheat but sure would like too. So if its not really too cold this week I will winnow the wheat we have and take it to him next weekend to have it ground into flour. That should sure make some yummy bread.

Building that contains the grist mill.
The grist mill in operation grinding our corn.

We had almost 2 bushels of cornmeal ground today and Glenn only charges like $10. Not bad to have a year supply of cornmeal for us and some friends for that price as it don't cost much to raise enough for our use. The rest of the corn will be used for stock feed this summer. I do know the chickens love it in winter time. We brought the meal home and I put it in  the freezer for about 2 weeks which kills any bug eggs in it and then vacuum bag it and store it in a barrel in the cellar.

It is so neat to hear and see the grist mill in operation. If this video will load I will share it with you as soon as I can get it downsized so it will upload in less than one day. Ugh! the pitfalls of satellite Internet. Speaking of Internet, ever since the solar flares occurred my Internet has been so very slow, far slower than normal. Not sure if that had some effect on it or not. If I were computer savvy I could probably re size it myself but since I am not I will have to contact my tech support (Jason) and get him to help me figure out how to do it.

After we got home this afternoon I let the laying hens out and left the hens with the babies in the building. The mommas are feeding and caring for the lil ones and the other chickens don't bother the babies so they are allowed to run together right now. I do have one extra rooster that I need to find a home for. I think our neighbor was wanting a rooster to crow at her house so I think I may call her and let him go live at her house. He is a bother to the hens. I think they are prejudice toward him and holler when he flirts with em and that upsets the buff roo and then a chase ensues. Not good for any party involved.
Not much else happening here on the farm. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


I am stuck in a rut!

I am so stuck in a rut this winter. Gosh I usually use my down time to get things done inside the house as I sure don't spend much time inside in summer. In my mind I had big plans for some sewing projects and redecorating projects this year. And here it is late January and I have done very little. As most of ya know, I don't do "spring cleaning" like normal people do, I do all the major cleaning in winter time when I have more time. I have done some decluttering and cleaning this year but not enough to suit me. I did manage to clean out the closet in the guest bedroom so when we have overnight guest they can at least hang up their duds if they wish. I did get my own closet organized a lil better. Oh, I gotta tell ya, I love goodwill stores. OK laugh it up, yeah I shop at good will. That is the only place I have bought jeans in many years. How many time can ya go shopping and get 4 pairs of jeans for $12? Perfectly good jeans, no stains or tears, and they fit me. I was a happy camper. I got those early this week when we had to go to the big city for a dentist appointment. The appointment went well. I still got all my original equipment. Anywho, I really wanted to find a few flannel shirts to wear this spring when the weather is still chilly but no luck there. I think when folks have flannel shirts they wear em out. Thas what Rodger does with his. By time he is done with em, they don't even make good cleaning rags. Oh and we made our quarterly trip to Sam's club too so we could restock up on necessities. I got everything on my list and then some and still came in under budget. It was a good day.  The price on some things went up and some things actually came down in price. Butter was one thing that had come down a bit. I usually get 12 or 16 lb of butter when we go to Sam's just because I refuse to pay $4 a lb here in our town when I can get it for less than $2 there. Don't mind supporting small businesses but dang I cant feed their habits at the expense of our dinner table. Oh well that was the extent of my exciting week.

My new chicks are doing good. They just had too many mommies. I had 3 lil hens taking care of 7 babies in a small section of the building. Two of the lil hens were a lil nervous in nature and kept stepping on the lil ones so I took them out and left one hen to raise the chicks. I think this will work better for the chicks. I have no problem butchering chickens, but I just cant stand the thoughts of lil ones getting injured or killed when they are lil and mostly defenseless. It just bothers me badly to think of them suffering. But that is just my nature I guess.

Our trip to the dentist took its tole on my body as it usually does this week. Every time we go out of town the ride makes me hurt really bad for several days. And on top of all that I think I have a lingering sinus infection. The meds I take for the arthritis suppresses my immune system some and if I get an infection of any sort by body don't know and it never gets full blown and shows many symptoms. But I know when things are not right. And my sinuses are not right. Any way I have to go see my family doc on Monday so I will tell him and see if I need to take antibiotics. I think I should but who the hell knows how doctors think these days.

Some of you may remember my post a bit ago when I mentioned starting a lil online shop of some sort. Just to update on that, I am a still a ponderin on it. Am still thinkin on start up funds and such. So maybe soon I can come up with something. I know I need to find something to "do" to keep my mind occupied. I know as I get older I will lose brain cells if I don't use em, and goodness knows I have none to spare. I just need to get out of this rut and do some thing constructive.
So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Another day in the life......

It has been winter outside for too many days now. I am certainly ready for some warmer temps. Not to mention the storms we had late last week gave us plenty of water puddles around. Plus the river is backed up into the county road here for the umpteenth time. It came up really quick with all the heavy rainfall. We don't have flooding here that causes any problems just the annoyance of having to take the long way out if we had to go out.
It was a lil tiny bit warmer today than it has been so we got our bread corn out on the porch and winnowed it to remove some of the husk and dust. We just used a small portable fan outside on the porch and set it on a lil table to direct air flow over the top of a 5 gallon bucket. Then we slowly poured the corn into the bucket slowly in front of the fan and the husk just blew away like dust in the wind. Now we can take it to the fellow who has a grist mill in our town and have it ground.
I went out to check on the lil hens and babies to find 2 of the hens in one nest box baby sitting 8 lil chicks. So far the hens are being nice lil mommas so as long as they behave they can keep the babies. On suggestion of some friends of mine I think it appropriate to hang a calendar in the chicken house so the hens know its still winter and not be setting at this point. I will let ya know how that works out for me too. Not much else happening here on the farm this weekend. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Friday, January 20, 2012

I always make trouble for me

I have this really bad habit of making more trouble and work for myself. And seems the older I get the more I tend to do that. I know, for a fact it is never a good idea to let hens set in winter. I have known this all my life. What the hell was I thinking to let not one hen but 3, count em, 3 hens set. Well in my last post I was so happy that I had one lil hen hatching and the lil babies are so cute. Then I had the next hen in line had 1 lil baby under her. So I thought she was hatching too. Nope she not hatching. The lil chicks are just visiting their mom's friends next door. If they get cold they just duck under the nearest warm spot no matter which hen it is. Now the second hen in line thinks she has kids and keeps getting off her eggs. Oh my!! At this point the lil chicks need to eat so their momma gets up to teach them to eat and all the neighbors come over and kid nap the kids. Next challenge was finding chick starter locally. I lucked out and the lady we had been getting our other feeds from had just one bag of starter left from fall and I took that for now. So the babies have feed and plenty of mommas to look after them. I really don't have a good spot to keep the hens and lil chicks so I had to take a piece of deer netting and kinda fence off a section of the brooder house where the laying hens are so the moms have so peace with the kids.

Well the rain moved back in late this evening again. It has been cold and just not good weather for us goobers that like to get outside. Now more rain. Needless to say I am ready for spring. On second thought, maybe I just need to relax and enjoy the down time. Cause when spring does get here there is not much down time to be had when the gardening starts. And that all starts in March with the green house.
So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I got babies, I got babies

Well not everyone gets so excited about having new lil baby chicks. Especially in January with these cold temps outside. I have 3 of my young pullets that have went to nesting. At supper tonight I was asking Rodger what day it was and said to him, "I have one lil hen that should hatch any day now and I just don't want it to sneak up on me and the big chickens hurt the babies" After supper I went out to check on the chickens and let them out for a bit. And this is what I saw.........

Not sure how many lil babies this momma has but I counted 4 for sure. She is a very sweet momma so far.The white lady sitting next door should hatch in another few days. Then on down the hall is yet another lady that should hatch after that. Little baby chicks are so sweet and cuddly. Now if I can figure out how to house these lil families without too many scuffles taking place.

This little fellow was the only black one that I found under this momma. I am guessing these fellows hatched out sometime today. There is always food and water inside the building for the birds so I was in no hurry to check on them today. Didn't want to let them out with the weather being so dang cold and damp. Tomorrow I must fix a permanent place to the moms and babies so the lil ones will be safe from the other hens. I am sure they are gonna be a headache for me for a couple weeks. But they are so fun to watch.

I am still pondering the possibility of opening an online shop to sell vintage goodies. I have been looking around online at other shops and decorating websites and I think I can provide some really nice things for folks who can love and appreciate old things and enjoy them in their own home. I guess in a way those vintage things are just normal for me. As I look at those websites and look at my own house I see so many things that other folks use for decorative items are things I still use. So I think if I take on this project I will do my best to make sure things that I sell can still be used for their original intended purpose as well as ornate. So thas kinda where my mind has been for the past several days. I think I was born about 100 years too late.
Not much been happening here on the homestead with our crappy weather. I think all I do is cook and eat. You can bet that will be the downfall of me come spring. Although we did get out all our garden seeds over the weekend and went thru them to see if we needed to order anything and ya know for once I think I am good to go. Unless I come across some interesting new edible to try in the garden. I am so ready for spring.

So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I think winter is coming

I think our weather is taking a turn for more winter like weather this week. It has rain most of the day, although light rain. But tonight it is supposed to change over to snow and we are to get a lil accumulation. Not to mention it is going to get very cold. My body don't do cold weather these days. It sure makes the arthritic joints hurt pretty bad. So if it gets cold I reckin I will just stay inside. I am hoping my perennial plants that are starting to sprout and get tender green buds don't get froze out. Last weekend I noticed the daylillies had lil green shoots coming up and the lilacs have tender buds. Such is life. I sure would hate to dig holes and plant over. Oh well.

My lil hens are sitting pretty on nests with eggs. Only problem is they are in the hen house with the other hens that still want to use the nest. I have one lil hen that will get off her eggs to eat and somebody else will go sit down to lay and when she is ready to go back on the eggs she just sits down in what ever nest box is empty. Bless her heart, I think if she is to raise a family she will need to adopt or chic nap her babies. I am sure this event is going to get interesting. I can see me hand raising babies in the house this winter. Oh my!!! Well sure wont be a first.

I like to search recipes online and get ideas to replicate things we enjoy. One of those things happens to be the biscuits from Red Lobster restaurant. Those things are to die for. I can really make a meal of the biscuits and a soda when we eat out. But I do like the coconut shrimp too. Any way I found a copycat recipe online that was pretty close to the one they use. I think I finally got it down by tweaking it a lil bit. So for the ones familiar with those biscuits I thought I would share the recipe I use now.

Cheddar Bay biscuits

2 1/2 cups baking mix(Bisquick)
5 tablespoons soft butter(real butter)
1 cup grated cheddar cheese(needs to be fairly fine)
1/2 teaspoon of parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 cups milk or to make a medium dough(soft but not too soft)

With a pastry blender cut butter into baking mix till has pea size balls of butter. Stir in garlic powder and parsley. Mix cheese in evenly. Now add milk to make dough. (the dough should be a lil softer than regular biscuit dough that you would knead)

Now drop dough by Tablespoons full on a buttered cookie sheet.

Melt about 1/2 cup butter with 1 teas garlic powder, 1/2 teas salt, 1 teas fine parsley flakes. Stir well and brush on biscuits before baking them. now bake at 400 degrees till lightly browned. Remove from oven and brush again with the melted butter mixture. Serve hot. These are so dang good. Try these with a good soup or stew.

Hope you enjoy these with your family as much as we do. Not much else happening here on the farm. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

I'm back in business

Well computer wise that it. I got my old Toshiba back from Jason and he put windows back on it and now I am good to go for now. I like this lil puter. It serves my needs just fine. If I can ever get my programs all installed and working again.
We had company all weekend. Josh came down and spent the weekend with us. He does that on occasion to get a break and just relax a bit from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. We were glad to see have him here. He also came to get some of his pork to take home. I think he was taking his bacon home to smoke and get frozen. Probably next weekend I will get ours trimmed and sliced up and put in the freezer as well.
I was outside plundering in the yard looking at some of my ornamental plants. Some of my bushes have lil soft buds on them and its far too early for that. If we get some really cold winter like weather it may freeze them out. My strawberry plants are still green as can be. I don't even have mulch on them yet cause they never got killed back in the fall. We really have not had any really winter like weather here in east Kentucky. Still have some herbs that are green as well. Got 3 hens setting now. For goodness sake, they should know they don't need babies this time of year. When its nice outside I wanna go play in the dirt but I know its far too early. We had a wet fall and had a time getting it dry enough to pick corn. Then it was wet till now. Rodger never got the corn stalks bush hogged down or the big corn field turned under. We plan to plant corn this year in a field that is sod. So it really should have been plowed last fall. But not to worry, Rodger got it turned this weekend and here it is early January. If the weather stays dry this week I think he is taking some time off work to get the other ground turned as well. The place where we had corn this year will be planted in pink eye purple hull peas, sunflowers and sorghum. All of these will help rebuild the ground. We planted wheat on the garden plot we used last year. In spring half the wheat will get plowed under for a garden and the rest left to mature about July or so and harvested for grain and flour. I have went thru the seed catalogs and really don't need to order many seeds this year. I just need to find some odd food stuff to raise for fun. I try to grow at least one oddity every year but always try to have something we WILL use. Last year was the lil Mexican sour gherkin cukes and they made fun dill pickles. This year I am kinda leaning toward trying amaranth for greens and the seeds for flour.
Not much else happening on the farm, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Well it died!

Well my new to me computer finally kicked the bucket. The video card has died and with it part of the mother board it is not a part that can be replaced. So the puter is shot. Damn it!! And just when I got adjusted to and started liking the puter really well. Such is my luck. I guess its a good thing I still have my old Toshiba laptop. I had gotten a virus on it at one time and instead of installing windows on it we opted to put Linux on as the operating system. It takes some getting used to again. Only problem is Linux wont run some of the odd programs that I use a lot. The most important being my cook book program that I have worked on for the past couple years. Oh well.
Our lil snow we got first of the week is mostly gone now. All be it still very cold and breezy. I took some pics of the snow and now I cant post them using this computer. Another damn it!
Not much happening around here, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Monday, January 2, 2012

Our first snow of the winter

Our weather took a turn for the colder yesterday evening and over night. The high today was less than 30 degrees with snow flurries early. It has snow showered off and on most of the day. We had enough wind yesterday evening to dry the ground a good deal so Rodger got the bright idea he would disc the sod ground where we are gonna plant corn this spring. It is just a 5 acre plot but it does take a while to disc. He stayed out in the cold on the tractor and got about half of it disc up. Thas a good start. But now we probably have about a half inch of snow on the ground here and its still snowing a lil bit. It supposed to clear off later in the week and if it does Rodger is gonna take a couple days off work to do some plowing. We really like to have our ground prepped in late fall but we had such a wet fall that didn't work out for us. So here we are in what seems to be winter season plowing. Oh well!
I don't do well when it gets really cold. My bones and joints hurt too much to stay our long. As matter of fact with the cold and wind today Rodger did some outside chores for me, Feeding the hens, gathering eggs and toting some stuff from the house to the summer kitchen and finally got the chicken stock I had canned last weekend in the cellar for storage. Seems so petty to leave all the toting chores for him to do but he fusses if I start carrying things and making my arms hurt more. So I guess my job for now is to stay inside and do what needs doing in here. So I am in the house doin lots of thinking.. I am debating starting an Etsy shop to market crafts, decorative items and antique or vintage items. I really want to make some things such as sachets with vintage fabric and homemade potpourri. Would also like to tinker with making scented candles and wax fragrance tarts for sale. I will be researching that a lil bit for a while to see what kinda plan I can come up with.
I have been looking at some other blogs and decor sites online for a few days and getting some ideas. In winter is the only time of year my creative mind works well enough to craft and decorate. A good place to start my decorating would probably be in my own living room right here. We shall see and I promise I will post pics when I get things in order.
I was reading some local news online a bit ago and in a neighboring county about 25 mile from here there has been a natural gas line explosion and officials are evacuating people within at least a 5 mile radius. I have to wonder if those folks were prepared to bug out on a moments notice. Do they have a bag packed with emergency clothes, meds, things that are essential to each persons well being? The weather being bad does not help those folks either. I think prayers are in order for those displaced and safety of the rescue workers out there.
Not much else happening here on a cold winter night. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.