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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Uhoh!! Yep I am still alive

Well I have been lost in time for a week or so I think. We are all still alive and kicking. Dang I didn't think it had been that long since I had updated and filled you all in on life here. So here goes.

Just the usual stuff, waiting on the ground to dry out so we can plow and plant our garden. Every time it starts to dry then we get more rain showers. I wont complain tho as there are some folks in other states dealing with much worse. Flooding, snow and storms in different areas. Our plants in the greenhouse are not growing like they should with all this cool weather we have had. Gosh it seems one day we run the AC the next its heat. Maybe summer will be here soon. We have survived red bud winter, I think now we are having a lil dogwood winter. Then in a few weeks will be more rain and cool during black berry winter. Then it will get hot and stay that way till fall. I function much better when the sun shines I know that much. This cool damp stuff wrecks havoc on the joints. I saw my family doc this past week and I hope we have my meds better adjusted now to help manage the pain. I flat azz refuse to go to a pain clinic and have the docs label me another drug seeker or abuser. So I just suffer and keep going. The new state law has made it really hard on people who want to get help and don't take their meds just for the high. Some of us need to petition the lawmakers to get the law changed so our docs can treat us at their discretion. The doctors know who the abusers are, and the ones that fail drug test. I have never failed a drug test or taken more meds than prescribed or sold my meds. I don't think I should have to suffer for the damn abusers and ones that sell their meds because they are paid for by medical card and tax payers to begin with. This whole issue makes me mad enough to spit nails. OK off my soap box now.

I finally got my asparagus dug up and most of it shipped off to a friend in Virginia. She was tickled pink to have it and I sure hope it does well for her. I covered the bed over with black plastic and it is killing the weeds out. If we get a lil more hot weather it wont be long till I can plant in there and maybe not have to weed so much. Still need to get my butt in gear and get some plastic put down in parts of the herb bed to get it in order too. I noticed today I have some parsley that is big enough to cut and dry. So hopefully I can get up early enough to beat the rain tomorrow and get it cut and dried. Maybe I take some to Rob and Amoy when we go visit. And no we don't have that lil baby yet. I think he is making us wait till his due date. But knowing this weekend is a full moon, he just might make an appearance. When I worked EMS that is when we alas had baby runs. Gosh that seems so long ago that I was working. It has been 6 years now that I got hurt at work and it disabled me. Disabled, that is really a hard word for me to accept.

My meat birds are doing great. Although they don't grow as well when it is cool. For some reason they do not eat as much. But they are much much better than the ones I had last year. I have a few that are big enough to kill right now and am thinking I might butcher some of them this weekend if we don't get a call to go to Nevada. That will be that many less to feed. I guess the cooler weather has been good in one sense as I have not lost any to heat stress. I still have the 25 I started with 5 weeks ago. That is a plus. So I guess it is OK if they don't grow quite as fast if they all stay alive. It is much easier to keep them warm than to keep them cool. I do have a fan in the building to run when it gets really warm in there. Fans are great things. I have one in the greenhouse too, it is to move air around and to mimic mother nature as far as wind blowing the plants to make the stems stronger. Also I do let the plants dry out almost to the point of wilting before I water and this also encourages them to make thicker stronger stems. A friend of mine that runs a commercial greenhouse told me that. I will have lots of tomatoes as it looks so far. I think every seed I planted came up. I really wish the rain would hold off for a few more days so we could get the sweet corn and green beans planted in the garden. We have a frost warning for tonight here. But if we plant corn and beans it wont be up till after the first of May and by then we should be frost free. No freezes so far so am hopeful of having some fruit this year. Our little pear tree here in the yard was loaded with bloom. If only half the bloom makes a pear I will for sure still have to fruit prune it. Far too many blooms. We also had our young cherry, peach and hazelnut trees bloom in the orchard this spring. I sure would love to get some fruit from those. I do love fresh peaches. The cherries that we planted are sweet cherries and good for eating fresh. Am really looking forward to those. I have never seen hazelnuts grow so this will be a whole new experience for us. Life is good.

I found a recipe online the other day for caramels. Sounded easy and good. So you know I had to try it. Oh my goodness. IT was good. So I will share the recipe with you as I know it is good. It is the perfect texture, just soft enough to be easy to chew yet it can be cut and wrapped individually in wax paper as well. But I am sure you know I ain't gonna stop there. I intend to get some lightly salted peanuts and Cut the caramel in long pieces and roll each piece in the crushed salted peanuts. I love that combo. OK so here is the recipe.

Soft caramels

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup light Karo syrup(corn syrup)
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teas salt
1/2 teas vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients except the vanilla in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil and boil for 6 minutes. Start counting as soon as it starts boiling up good. Stir constantly to prevent scorching. When it is done quickly stir in the vanilla extract, mix well and pour into a greased 9 inch square pan. Let sit overnight to harden and set good. Cut with a sharp knife and roll in small pieces of wax paper, just eat it or cut in longer pieces and roll in crushed lightly salted peanuts and then roll in wax paper. Store in a cool dry place. I did make a double batch and it filled a 9 by 13 glass cake pan with the caramel being about 1/2 inch thick. IF there is enough left to work with tomorrow I will roll some in the crushed peanuts.

If someone had small children and wanted to make a duplicate of the old fashioned "sugar daddy" you could cook this recipe maybe about 7 minutes and it would be a lil bit firmer caramel. You can purchase the sticks to make suckers with online in various places. Or maybe add a bit of chocolate and make "cow tails". Do we ever get too old to enjoy candies from our younger days? I hope not.

These rainy days of sitting in the house not doing much I got started crocheting a blanket for Liam. I wanted to use up some of the yarn that my auntie had given me. I got it maybe 1/3 done. We had to stop at walmart today while we were in the big city to get a roll of yellow yarn to add to the blanket. It just needed some yellow with all the greens and blues. Maybe a few rows of yellow to divide the colors. It will be nice to keep that lil boy warm. But our my luck he will end up being like his daddy and not sleep in clothes or under covers. His brother was just the opposite. He had to have his footed jammies and lots of covers.

Not too much else happening on the farm. Unless you want to hear about the guys working on the tractors. Our big tractor, the old Ford, that was my dads needed brakes. So Rodger and Jason jacked the tractor up and took off the wheel. The old brakes are NOT coming off at all. Rodger said it has fairly good brakes at this time, so he will wait and take it somewhere after plowing is done to get new brakes put on. Someone that has the tools to get stuck on brake drums off. They were not happy after all the trouble they went to and didn't accomplish anything. But such is life on the homestead. There will be days like that.

Thas all that has happened lately, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Friday, April 19, 2013

More rain than we think we needed

This past week for us has been kinda stormy at best. Some pretty heavy storms blew thru last weekend and earlier this week. Nothing that did any damage but it did cause some flash flooding in some areas and raise the river out of its banks. We had some big puddles in our fields but the garden don't flood it just gets muddy. Then last night we had more rain and earlier today we had more heavy rain. This is part of the lil "winters" we have in spring every year. I guess this is red bud winter as they are in full bloom right now. Then dogwood winter we get another rainy spell. Last is blackberry winter when we get a cool and wet spell. Then we are officially in summer. Our temps tonight are supposed to be in the 30's and high tomorrow only low 50's. I have lil tomato plants started in the greenhouse but I think they will be OK. They wont get frost and it should stay a lil warmer in there than outside. Sorry I don't have pics of the started plants but I have had a rough day. I got up early today with intentions of getting a few things done. When I  stood up I found that I was having a really hard time standing up straight and walking. I drank my coffee and decided to lay down again and hope for a better start later. That did not happen. So I have done not a single thing of any worth today. The only accomplishment was going to the car dealer and picking up an extra key and remote entry thingy for the car and came straight home. I sure was not in any shape to walk around anywhere. I did manage to also feed and water the meat birds and let the hens out for the day. I sure hope this passes quick, I cant take much of this kinda pain. Sure makes for a bad day.

With all the rain and flooding in our state I imagine it is worse in the western part of the country because they have been hit with storms as well. Just hope the water recedes and all the roads are open when we have to travel. Not sure yet when that will be yet. But momma and daddy are getting anxious to meet Liam. I do know he has some grandparents right here that are ready to meet that lil fellow. But all in good time. And in accord with God's will.

Sure not much happening here on the homestead this week. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Nine years today..

It has been nine years today that this wonderful man departed this life and "went home to rest". I still miss him as much today as the day he passed away.

This picture was taken in the old home place where I was raised here on the farm on dads 90th birthday. The house still looks the same only he is missing from us.

Not a day goes by that I don't think of something that I learned from him. I guess I am more like dad than I used to think. His motto was, work hard and make an honest living, let your word be your bond, treat others like you want to be treated. And this is how he lived his life. Dad worked hard on the farm doing what he loved most, growing things. He would drive his tractor around the farm checking on crops and he enjoyed seeing things grow. I guess its in the blood. I enjoy the same things. Guess maybe that explains why I always plant way too much of everything. Just to watch it grow. The sweet memories this man left behind. Now he is resting in a rocking chair on the front porch of heaven.

Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Working and waiting

Its spring garden season and we stay busy this time of year with all things pertaining to the garden and food crops here on the farm. Rodger spent most of the time getting corn shelled to plant our big field of stock corn. It takes a lot of corn to plant 5 acres. It takes 10 lbs of corn seed to plant 1 acre so he shelled about 75 just in case. We are planning on changing the plates in the corn planter to a smaller size so it don't plant the corn so thick. The Reid's yellow dent that we raise(open pollinated) is a smaller grain than most and we used the plates for bigger grains thus planting thicker. Didn't hurt the corn tho, we had a good crop last year. The price of fertilizer is ridiculous at best. Some places are charging upwards of $800 a ton. Not sure why as natural gas prices are the lowest they have been in years. You have a choice, pay the price or don't raise crops. We have found that there are lots of people going back to the open pollinated corn as it is higher in protein than the hybrid GMO corn raised elsewhere. All I know is stock and chickens eat it much better and thrive better on it.

Not sure I have accomplished much this weekend other than house cleaning and getting the laundry caught up. The usual water stuff in the greenhouse and care for the chickens. My meat birds are growing good. Not sure if they will get butchered on schedule or not. That all depends on when our lil grand son chooses to make his appearance. My plants in the greenhouse are coming up and lookin nice and healthy. My Rutger tomato seeds all sprouted and came up really well. Peppers are a lil slower than I would like so not sure if I want to just go ahead and reseed those yet or not. IF I do reseed I intend to put them on a heat pad for a while to get them sprouted an started faster. Peppers must be warm to sprout or they just rot in the soil.

Last week they were giving some bad storms for our area but thankfully we only got a nice thunderstorm. No damage. But it did bring out the lil frogs in herds or droves, hmm what to ya call a "bunch" of frogs? It was raining and I was in the kitchen and could hear the frogs croaking, sounded like they were in the house. I had 6 stuck on the patio door.

There were more at the top of the door. I don't touch frogs but they were kinda cute. I am pretty sure they ate well that night as we leave the light out side the door on and there were lots of night bugs for them to catch. Neat lil creatures with the suction cups on their toes.

I worked some on the beds I have out back today. The bed has 2 sections one of which has strawberries in it and the other had asparagus in it. For what ever reason the asparagus has not made me happy at all. I think it may be in a bad spot and the soil is likely a lil too acidic. That bed get filtered sun during the day too which I am sure don't help at all. So I dug up the asparagus and am shipping it to a friend in  Virginia to plant in her beds. Otherwise I am gonna use black plastic and burn the bed to kill out all the weeds in there and that would have killed the asparagus too. I hope her soil makes the plants happier than mine did. In that area strawberries do great so I will move more plants from the field to the beds  and just have a huge strawberry bed here near the house. SO the asparagus crowns are safely packed in a box to ship to my friend Anna. What does a hillbilly use when they don't have clear packing tape? Camo duct tape of course!!

Just hope that tapes stays put for a few days that the box will travel. I got the plastic in place and hope a big wind dont send it sailing off the never never land. We did get some rain this evening just at dark. I guess that will make the yard grow more. Rodger got the mower ready and mowed our yard this afternoon and it looks so much better. My chickens were out and they had a good time catching what ever bugs Rodger scared up mowing.

Speaking of travel, we will be traveling soon we think. Traveling to Nevada that is. After this Thursday we are pretty sure it wont be long till Amoy goes into labor. She has had to have medication a couple times to stop her contractions but when she sees the doc Thursday they prolly wont stop the contractions again. She thinks she will go soon. So we wait till we get a call that she is for sure in labor and we drive off into the sunset........well sort of. Its almost game time and we are all gettin excited to see that lil fellow we have waited 9 months to meet. I think I am gonna like being a Grammy. I will let ya know how it works out for me.

Not much else happening around here, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

A little progress every day

We seem to make some progress every day here on the farm as far as getting crops in and gardens planted. The plants in the greenhouse are coming up and growing really well. We were supposed to have severe storms this evening but they missed us and I am so thankful. Not sure how much my lil greenhouse can take out there. The rain was nice tho. It was a bit dry for the past week or so. Jason got started on plowing the ground where we will plant corn this year again. He ran the disc thru and next they will turn the ground and get ready to plant. Rodger got the seed corn shelled for planting too. We plant open pollinated stock corn. We have had several people that are more interested in planting open pollinated than hybrid and they prefer to buy open pollinated as well. An older gentleman told us the open pollinated has far more protein content than does round-up ready hybrid. Any time you mess with genetics you will lose another quality in something. Seems to me "big" farmers just grow more worthless corn. But we do intend to plant 5 acres again this year. So says Rodger and Jason.

So far my Cornish cross chicks are growing just like the ones I use to get from Marti poultry farms. This time I had to order from Cackle hatchery as Marti went out of business. I do think I have the right chicks now that will grow well and yield great weight when we butcher at 6 weeks of age like we did with birds we got from Marti. They are 3 weeks old and look at the size of those lil fellows.

They all have lived good and are gaining weight like they should. I guess they will weigh about 2 to 2 1/2 lbs now. All they do is eat, drink, sit and poop. But after all that is what they are supposed to do.

Last weekend I went to west KY to visit my aunt Ann and attend my second cousins wedding. I did have a nice visit with family and Aunt Ann. Please keep her in your prayers as she continues her battle with cancer. It is hard to imagine how sick she is when you talk to her because she is her usual self. I came home on Monday after the wedding. Don't think the family here missed any meals while I was gone. Rodger said he had supper with Jason and Mary Kay on Sunday while I was gone. Jason had made beef stew and he makes the bestest.

Today has been a non stop circus here. First thing this morning I took my car in to the service center with a dummy light that had come on and have to take it back tomorrow so they can put the part on. I sure didn't want to sit there all afternoon with so many lil things on my to-do list. I left there and came back to town and call and got a hair cut then home to feed chickens and Luna and the cats. Off again to the nursing home to see Mom for a bit. Then on to the doc in the next town. Stopped by Mary Kay's work and got a bite of lunch. I got rather angry at the doc. Our state government is so hell bent on stopping drug abuse that they make it near impossible for people like myself who have chronic pain to get help. The doc wrote my script out wrong then tole me to just take the meds like I had been for 2 weeks and come back and see my regular doc. Who is very hard to see these days for some reason. So now if we have to leave in the next week to go to Nevada I will be without my pain meds for almost 2 weeks. The new state law wont allow any docs to write pain meds except pain specialist and those are the ones who contribute most to the abuse problem in this area. When I worked EMS 90% of the over doses we had were pain clinic patients. Hell no I want no part of those things. Not only that when I got hurt at work and went to them they said they could not write my meds unless I allowed them to do steroid injections in my back. Well damn the back is not the only pain I have. The law has made a mess of medical care in the area of chronic pain. And most docs will agree that the steroid injections destroy bone and tissue around the injection site. I got enough problems without "allowing" someone to do more. Pain clinics are nothing more than a money racket. OK I will get off the soap box now. But it makes me mad.

At any rate this has been a long aggravating day for me. I feel like I went in circles all day. I actually kinda did tho. I did end up back at home after 5 this evening. All the critters are fed and in bed and everything was buckled down before the lil storm hit here. We got maybe 10 to 15 minutes of wind, nothing major and some rain. So all is good on the home front.

Not much else happening here, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The garden has officially started

I guess it is safe to say we have officially started to get our garden out. Rodger got peas planted back around Valentines day and they are up and look really good. We think maybe the birds found the first carrot seeds he planted at the same time. So this evening we re-planted the carrots and got our potatoes planted as well as 400 onion sets. I had taken my Hummer to the shop to have a mirror fixed on it and get the computer cleared from the low tired pressure alert that it kept showing. Stopped at the local feed store and picked up the fertilizer to use when we planted the taters. Came on home and checked all the critters and birds. The dumb momma hens somehow drown both the lil chicks in a bowl with about 2 inches of water in it. I am guessing from the looks of it the hens were scratching and kicked the chicks in the water and then scratched till the bowl was filled with dirt and straw an manure till it suffocated the lil ones. I will not let those 2 hens set eggs again. My meat birds are doing great. Eatin good and growing fast. I came to the house and got the seed potatoes cut up and ready to plant. After supper Jason, Mary Kay and Miranda met us in the garden and we got all the taters and onions planted in a very short time. Miranda was so cute planting the onion sets. Jason had the bright idea to make a ridge in the row and I would put the fertilizer in and he would rake the other side up to complete the ridge. Then plant the onion sets on the ridge. Rodger showed her how to set them with the root end down. She did great. She also helped Rodger cover the taters with a garden rake as we planted them.  Once you show her how to do something she does it right. This year Jason dropped the taters about 1 ft apart and I put the fertilizer in between the taters. We can hope for big taters and no bugs.

Not much else happening on the farm today. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Busy on these warm days

In spring on the farm once the sun starts to shine we get busy. You may have one or two days of nice sunny warm weather then rain for a few days and repeat. On the nice days I try to get lots done so I don't fall so far behind. Since I last posted I kinda have over worked myself. It all started with the front porch and back deck. I thought on one of the nice days it might be a good idea to get the porch cleaned off and get new slip covers made for the patio furniture. I dragged the water hose out and with dawn and bleach went to work scrubbing the porch. Got it looking nice. Got the cushions out and got the new slip covers made for those. I used an old comforter that I bought at a yard sale a few years back. They turned out nice. Too bad I don't have a picture to prove it. But you could guess that, right?

We got new satellite Internet installed last week too. Now I can stay online without gettin kicked off or the Internet being slower than dial up. I like it! My computer is old and slows me down some but I can live with it for now.

We are still waiting on that lil grandson to make his appearance. I took my pickup in last week to the nearest Chevy dealer to be serviced before we take it on a long trip. Rodger was there with his company truck gettin it serviced too. We walked around out side just talking and looking at vehicles and we spotted THIS...

Long story short, this is my new ride. Its a 5 speed Hummer, H3. Drives and rides much better than my pickup and I am sure the trip to Nevada will be a lil easier. I take my baby back to the dealer tomorrow to get the computer sensor that tells me I got a low tire fixed. Then I will be set. We are waiting on the call that our sweet daughter in law, Amoy is in labor and we are gonna head out to Nevada to meet our first grandson. I am really looking forward to seeing that lil fellow.Papaw Rodger bought him his first lil camo sleeper last weekend and a lil shirt/shorts sets in camo as well. I think they are just darling.

Wont that lil boy be cute in these? We think so. We have an online baby shower going on for Liam and Amoy. Its kinda neat with all the new technology to be able to be in on the shower and not actually have to travel all the way across the country. They have registered with Babies R Us for gifts so family and friends back here can get gifts and have them shipped straight to them to open at the actual shower. They have his lil bedroom almost done but they are lacking a rocking chair. We have a rocking chair here that Rodger bought for me when Jason was born. So its 31 years old. It have been moved around a lot and different people have used it and it had its fair share of damage. So this past weekend Rodger was off on Friday and we got the chair out on the deck while the weather was nice and sanded and refinished it. It looks like brand new now.

Our dining table was in bad need of refinishing too because a past owner had put an incompatible finish on it and it had bubbles and raised areas where the finish was peeling. So we toted it out on the deck and I started sanding the top. Rodger ended up taking a wood chisel and literally peeling the top layer of finish off and that made my job so much easier. I love the way it turned out. I love oak anyway and this looks nice.

I have the antique linens on there just to add some warmth to the dining area. I also put a fresh coat of polyurethane on the chairs that we have had since we been married. It sure freshened them up. I like the end result of a weekends work.

Sunday Rodger finally got my benches done for the greenhouse. Then I got all my seeds started the same day. I started just as much stuff I think but I still have empty spots on the benches. I hope I haven't had a brain fart and missed getting something started.

I went down to the chicken house across the road this morning to check on my lil Cornish babies and found the heat light had died sometime last night. Oh my goodness!! That is usually a disaster when they get cold. But fortunately they had huddled together and stayed alive. I came back to the house and got another heat bulb and put it in so they had nice heat. They got up and all of them were moving around good and started eating and drinking. So the heat must have been off a good while for them to be too cold to eat and drink. These birds do not tolerate extremes of heat or cold. I don't think the light was off all night or they would have all died as the temps were in the 20's last night. Talk about heart breaking. But it all ended well. That is just one reason I don't like having them so far from the house and I cant see if the light is on during the night. And its too far for a remote thermometer to alert me. So hopefully next time we can have a building up here hear the house.

This evening Rodger got in the garden with the rototiller and got the area plowed up good so we can plant taters and onions tomorrow. I have to get the taters cut and ready by time he gets home tomorrow so we can get them all planted and the onions set in. Our peas are up about 3 or 4 inches tall now and look great. I will be picking up some fertilizer tomorrow while I am out so we can get the peas side dressed and have enough to put in the row when we plant our taters too. I still need to get my raspberries cut down and some compost put on them. Doubt that happens this weekend because I am leaving Thursday to go visit my aunt Ann and attend my cousins wedding. I have to gt my visiting done soon so we can be ready to travel and when we get home from seeing the lil grandson and spending a lil time with him we have to hit the ground running. It will be time to plant the major part of the garden when we get back. I am just not sure my body is gonna tolerate much as far as gardening this year. All the piddly stuff I have done over the last 2 or 3 weeks have my knees hurting so darn bad. I am giving serious thought to maybe goin to the RA doc and having steroid injections. I am gonna try taking oral prednisone for a few days to see if that kicks the problem and if not, then its gonna be off to the doc.

Not much else happening here on the farm right now, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.