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Sunday, May 26, 2013

I know, I know, leave it to me

I know, I have been MIA for a while, again. No I been right here, not gone, just at home tryin to keep my oars in the water. You already know that I don't play by the rules. I am in the process of trying to get my meds adjusted as far as times that I take them so they can work better for me and not make me a zombie during the day. Its OK to be sleepy at night but dang being in a brain fog all day. Makes for some real unproductive days. But I am making progress. So on to the next project.

We got the garden planted and all the stuff is up and looks good. We still need to plant tomatoes and peppers, cabbage and broccoli, melons and squash. We have been having some rather cold nights with temps in the 40's which is not normal for us and I didn't want to plant tender crops in the garden just yet and let them get frost bit. I do think now the danger of frost is past so we will try to get those in the ground in the next few days. We had to make a trip out of town today to the bigger city to pick up some supplies and we got a roll of 6 ft wide landscape fabric which we will put in the garden, bury the edges of it to keep it in place, make crosses in the fabric and set the cantaloupes and watermelons in the holes so they can grow without competing with the weeds later in the summer. Hopefully we can take the fabric up and use it again next year. If this new roll last as long as the stuff we used up here in the yard when we first moved it will probably last us a lifetime. Good sturdy stuff. The plants in the greenhouse look good. Now to get them in the garden.

My new lil greenhouse sure has been handy this year. I finally got enough energy get in the yard and do a few more chores this past week. Our grape vines were in bad need of fruit pruning. As you can tell from this picture.

You can click on the picture to enlarge it and better see the many lil grape clusters on the plants. I did fruit prune them and take about 50% of the lil clusters off to give the ones left a chance to get bigger. Then I got another idea. I know, I know, you should not prune plants in the middle of summer when the sap is up. But prune I did. The grapevines were pretty scraggly with limbs goin ever direction. Makes it really hard to mow when you are getting stabbed and scrapped by grape limbs. So I clipped them back.


 Mission accomplished:

 I got all the wild limbs clipped and you can actually mow under the vines and this should greatly improve air circulation and prevent fungus on the grapes. There are lots of nice young growth on the ground after I finished. So I have a friend who is wanting some grapevines. I know, I know, THEY say you cant take cutting and start plants in summer time. But dang it, you know I had to try. So I took the cutting to the picnic table, trimmed em up, fixed a pot of potting soil, got out the rooting hormone, a pan of water, dipped the cutting in the water and then the hormone and stuck em in the dirt. We shall see IF they makes roots or not. I will let you know on this one.

 So once they were in the pot I put them in the greenhouse so I could take care of them till (hopefully) they make roots.

OK I was all done playing in the dirt so I moved on to the strawberry bed out back. OH my!!!!!

 I did not know there were that many berries ripe out there. So this required a trip back to the summer kitchen to get a container to pick berries.

I know, I know, the bowl will not be big enough but it is what was handy. Ended up I picked about a gallon of berries off this lil 8ft by 8ft bed. Yeah I know, I know, there are berries in the field ripe and the bed beside the driveway has a lot of ripe berries in it too. Yeah I picked the ones here at the house. Still have not got to the field to pick those. Maybe tomorrow.

After I finished picking berries Rodger came out and I suggested we go to the field and drive the post to support the new grapevines we planted the past couple years. So off we went. We got the supports put up and Rodger is way far behind on the mowing with all the rain we have had. Can ya tell?

There are about 30 grapevines in this lil vineyard once they get big enough to make grapes. There is a grapevine at every metal rod that you see. This clover we planted creeps and mats on the ground and gets rather tall It is pretty tough stuff but we had hoped it would be shorter to cut down on mowing and help keeps weeds from growing. The orchard has grass that is almost as tall as some of the young trees we have planted this year. It will look pretty tho if Rodger ever gets it mowed.

A pretty heavy thunderstorm blew in just as we got finished driving stakes and it was getting dark so I did not get to pick the strawberries that are in the field near this vineyard. Just not enough hours in the day.

We went out of town to get a pressure switch for our water pump today and to pick up a few supplies and as I already told you we got landscape fabric to keep weeds out of the melons. We went to Lowe's and I picked up 3 - 8oz containers of Valspar paint for free. I had coupons that I had saved for a free 8oz sample of paint so I took advantage of that lil deal. Got a couple colors and 1 white. I wanted the white to re-paint the base of our dining table. We made a stop at Walmart for a few other things we needed and Rodger had some gift cards that he had gotten from cashing in his reward points from one of our credit cards. Needless to say it is not safe to allow him in Walmart "lil boys" clothing section. He picked out several lil outfits for Liam. Who am I kidding? I picked out a few myself for that lil man. I cant believe how much this lil fellow has grown in just the few weeks since we have been back home. Although his daddy did tell me he is a lil colicky. Bless his lil heart, I hate this so bad. Sure is hard to see those lil ones hurting and not be able to fix em. They tole me today they are gonna change his formula to a soy based one to see if that will help some. I know Rob was on soy formula when he was a baby. I just pray this don't last long for him. I know it is hard for Rob and Amoy being so far from family and not having anyone close to help out so they can rest a lil bit. But this sweet lil boy will be worth all this and I am sure they would tell you the same things. Just precious.

                                           He looks like he is just itchin to get hold of something.
                                               Lookin all gangsta!! and cute.

 And just look at that sweet lil smile. Not long till he will be able to interact with his mommy and daddy more. I know they cant wait for those days. This Grammy sure misses that lil fellow.

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

Hope you have a safe and happy memorial day weekend. Thanks to all our service men and women, past and present for your service to our country. God bless you all and keep you.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Finally got the garden in

The rain has held off for a few days now and we finally got our garden planted this evening after Rodger got home. He had gotten the ground ready a few days ago and it was dry enough and with rain in the forecast tomorrow we had to get er done. We got our sweet corn and green beans planted and the corn for cornmeal also. He filled in the plowed ground with purple hull and long horn peas. Those make excellent cover crops that feed the wild life and replenish the soil too. They add a good deal of nitrogen to the ground that has had corn on it.Our potatoes look good so far, no bugs as of yet. I am sure they are just waiting till it gets too muddy for us to get in there and then they will attack. My peas are blooming. They are really short too. So am not looking to get too many messes of peas off those vines at all. Simple fact we left town at a bad time. But dang it was worth it to see that precious lil grandson. And he gets sweeter every day.

I love getting pictures of this lil fellow every day in email or on my phone. I keep some pictures on my phone so when I need a Liam fix I can just check my phone.

Anyway after supper Rodger took the tractor and corn planter to the field to plant corn. He used the tractor to make rows for the sweet corn and green beans and the planter put down the fertilizer and then he used the hand corn dropper to plant the corn and beans. Didn't really take long but was hard on his back.

 It does take a lil longer to plant corn this way but it works. Imagine having to plant several acres using this method. The old folks did. My dad said he remembered planting 4 acres like this when he was a young man. The only drawback to this method of planting nowadays is that crows are smarter than they use to be or there is more of em. They can see where the planter leaves a lil hole in the ground and they will walk down the row and dig in each hole and pick our the grains of corn and eat it. Unless it rains like it is supposed to and the dirt fills in the lil holes so they cant see em. Hope we are lucky in that respect. He did use the tractor and corn drill to plant the corn for cornmeal and to plant the purple hull peas and long horn peas. I cant imagine his using this dropper to plant all that amount. The tractor does much better and is much faster.

He made a row marker to mount on the front of the tractor to use as a guide to get the rows evenly spaced. It is made with a piece of pipe and a piece of re-bar run thru with bolts to use as pins to hold the marker in place. A neat trick. If you click on the picture you can see the pieces of garden hose extending down on each side of the marker.  So its all planted. After I came back to the house I weeded the strawberry bed beside the drive way and got it taken care of for now. All that is left to weed is the herb bed and that will do the weeding for a few weeks.

My friend Anna made these neat lil cowboy boots for Liam. She is so talented when it comes to crafting stuff. They turned out so dang cute. I am sending those off to Amoy and Rob for the baby this week. I am sure they will fit him soon.

Don't ya just love em? I have no talent to even come close to this lady I tell ya.

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


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Raising meat birds and butchering

As most of you know we raise the Cornish cross chickens for meat every year. Last year I had ordered from a hatchery and the genetics were not as good and the chicks did not grow as well for us. I have always tried to butcher at 6 weeks old and had 5lb or more birds. Last year the largest one didn't weigh that much. I ordered from Cackle hatchery this year and the birds were awesome. They more than met my expectations for meat birds. I feed the highest protein feed I can the first 2 weeks of life, round the clock and fed freely. The second 2 week period of their life drop the protein to about 22%, feed 24/7. The last 2 weeks of life they get finisher or feed that is non medicated and about 20 % protein, fed 24/7. I don't have a problem with sick birds, none are down and crippled, all good strong healthy birds. We got a lil off schedule with the birth of our first grandson but thas OK too. The birds we butchered today were 8 weeks old, none crippled, all good strong birds. They averaged 7 lbs each. They look like small young turkeys. We had to purchase 2 gallon zip top freezer bags to put these birds in, would not fit in the gallon size.

So if anyone wants to raise these birds for meat I highly recommend ordering from Cackle hatchery. They do grow just as well as the ones I always ordered from Marti poultry farms before they closed down. Most of these birds are frozen whole so we can cook them on the rotisserie  Some of the birds we did cut for fryers too and used the bony pieces to make stock to can. I did manage to get the stock cooked down today after butchering but am gonna wait till tomorrow to can it after we get finished butchering the last 8 birds. We did manage with help from Jason and Mary Kay to get 16 done today and we were all killed. And to think I use to do far more than that by myself in my younger days. Sucks to get older. It ain't for sissies I tell ya.

This is mothers day weekend. So I would like to take a second to wish all the mothers out there a very happy mothers day. God bless you all. 

Not much else happening on the farm with all the rain, so till next time , blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Our lil one is here....

Our first grandson, Liam Robert was born on April 27th. Is he beautiful or what?

                                                           Liam at 3 days old.

                                              Liam at 4 days old. And just look at all that hair!!

                                                      Liam checking out papaw Rodger.

                                                           Grammy's sweet lil boy at 1 week old. Liam is a beautiful combinations of his momma and daddy. A perfect lil angel in my eyes.

We got a call from Rob on Friday afternoon to let us know Amoy was having contractions. We packed up our car for the road trip to Nevada and headed out on Saturday morning. We made it to Missouri when I got a picture message of a precious lil boy on my cell phone. Rodger and I both were so happy that Liam was here and he and his momma were both doing fine. They got to come home on Sunday and we made it to Nevada on Monday before noon. We covered the total of 2000 miles in less than 30 hours total on the road. Then we spent the whole week with out lil man and it was really hard to not just hold him all the time but we didn't as it would have made it hard on him and his mom and dad when we left. I know newborns change daily and I had 2 babies but dang I don't remember seeing them change that fast. Maybe it was because back in the day you were kept in the hospital for 2 to 3 days before you were discharged home with the new baby. This lil fellow went from that wobbly newborn stage to trying to hold his head up by time we left this past Monday. The lil wrinkles had started filling out, he was eating good, sleeping good, just a perfect lil baby. Rob and I learned fast that Liam does not like to be touched with cold or even cool hands. He screams and has a lil fit. But he is really easy to sooth tho. Mine and papaws pride and joy. Grand babies are a whole different level of love. Get ready for it because I will post pictures of this lil fellow on here a lot now.

We finally got back here in KY to our house today, Wednesday around 2 in the afternoon. We got to see some new country the trip home too. Instead of traveling I-80 we took I-70 by turning south in Cheyenne Wyoming and driving thru Denver Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and finally ended up in Ky. Gosh after being on a road trip like that we were exhausted and glad to be back home. Miss the kids a bunch tho.

Now that we are home, it is back to the farm stuff. Jason and Mary Kay took care of things for us while we were gone and everything is good here. The plants in the greenhouse are fine and growing. The meat birds are HUGE!! Oh my, we must do some butchering this week and weekend. I am so very pleased with the results of the Cornish cross from Cackle hatchery. They have grown to my expectations. 
Our yard looks like a jungle, my herb bed is all grown up, the strawberry beds both need to be weeded. That will get done a lil at a time. I think it has rained several days here. The ground is really wet and it rained today. We will get started planting corn and the garden stuff as soon as the fields are dry enough to work. Jason got the big corn field worked while we were gone so it wont need much before it gets planted. We sure got lots of work ahead of us to get caught up. IF you ever really get caught up on a farm.

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