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Friday, July 26, 2013

Its not so bad after all

I thought our poor garden was gonna be a total bust this year, but its not so bad after all. Although we still have plenty grass in there that is covering up some things it is still decent. We have made enough pickles to last a year even if we don't have any more. The vines are nice and green, just no cukes or even bloom on them. Not sure about why that happened. But we good either way. Our taters are not visible for the grass but the vines have already died back and its time to dig those. Most likely we will do that this weekend if no more rain till then. Well probably Rodger, Jason and Miranda will get em out. My pepper plants are short but have lots of lil peppers on them and still growing. The tomatoes are nice size plants, green and have lots of little tomatoes. They will just be a lil later than we are use to because we planted everything later this year. I hope to have sweet corn in a week or so. And I think we will have plenty to last us.  Watermelons and cantaloupes are coming along too. Beans are starting to bloom. Not sure why they came up so spotty but we should have enough to last us. The corn we planted for cornmeal is huge and the ears are huge as well.

Rodger is 5'11 and the corn is twice as tall as he is. This is the Reid's yellow dent. An old fashioned open pollinated variety that we save our own seed for. So far we are happy with this variety for stock feed an to make corn meal. The chickens sure do like this stuff shelled. They don't eat much of it in summer but in winter it is a different story. Makes nice dark yellow egg yolks too. Rich and healthy for ya.
I am making progress on the herb bed, finally. I did get my new lavender plants planted in the herb bed and some sage plants that I had started in the greenhouse. They have been in pots for a several weeks to get some growth before transplant. Sure makes a difference in how hearty they are in the ground. I got some mulch put down too around the mature sage plants as well as the new ones.

I plan to try to get the sage cut for drying tomorrow as the weather has been much less humid for a few days. Rodger helped me last evening to get the rest of the weeds pulled so we could lay down black plastic to kill out weeds in the far end of the bed. By time we finished it was too dark to get a good picture, but trust me, it sure looked better.

This section of the herb bed has been established for a few years and has filled in pretty good and it has mulch so not much problem with weeds growing in here. A few strays that are easy to pull out here and there. The section that will have the black plastic on it for a few weeks is gonna be used this fall for  a few cabbage, maybe broccoli and brussel sprouts for a fall crop. After I harvest the sage tomorrow I plan to make a spot to sow some parsley seed to cut this fall. I am guessin if I plant it late I can let it come back in the spring an go to seed for a new crop next year without reseeding. Kinda takes care of itself. I have lost my tarragon plants. They got over run by the oregano and mint. Suppose I will have to obtain some new plants next spring. I still have enough dried to last a few more years. Seems like on the farm, its feast or famine. In those "feast" years I can and dry everything I can get my grubby lil paws on so we don't run short in the "famine" years. It has worked well for me so far. My strawberry plants near the driveway are still producing some. I did get the bed weeded, it just needs mulch put down now to keep the weeds out. Same with the bed in back of the house.
My new lil beans that I planted in the bed out back came up rather spotty but the ones that are up look nice and healthy. I will trellis those for extra beans to can and save seed from. I feel better now that we kinda have a handle on the weeding here. That got pretty depressing for a while with all the rain an heat and not being able to get any thing done about the over growth.
The excess rain has sure made nice berries this year. My 1 thornless black berry plant that my friend Rosie gave me a couple years ago had lots of nice big berries on it. I know this because I stood out there a few days ago an picked and ate about 2 big hands full. So sweet and juicy. I still have more than enough berries canned to last a few more years without having to pick any in the awful heat. So I took the lazy way out this year.
I finally got my car in today to get the right seal put on the moon roof to keep it from leaking. It seals nice and tight now. The mechanic also unclogged the drain hole so it don't get water inside anymore even if the seal should leak. He did say this is a rather common problem with these vehicles. Now to get the duck tape residue off the top of the car. Maybe I can get that done tomorrow too if it don't get too hot or rain on me.
I know this subject is touchy with most people but some of us still smoke. Yeah I do, and yeah I know its bad for ya. Now get off my case. With that said, we turn our attention to the ones of us who still do smoke. My friend Anna sent us a cigarette rolling machine. Bless her heart, so kind of her and her hubby. Hubby and I can both smoke for about half what it was costing for cigarettes. The machine is so dang neat. Much improved over the ones of long ago like I have of my dads that you had to lay the paper in, put the tobacco on the paper and dampen the edge, manually roll the lil handle to roll the cigarette up. Hell I would have to stop smoking if I had to do that. I have "NO" experience rolling. Nuff said about that. But when we go to the big city we plan to get our tobacco to start rolling our own smokes. I like menthol so I guess I will be finding the menthol filters to roll with. So if you still smoke it is well worth lookin into purchasing the rolling machine that basically shoves the bakker into the filter cigarette thingys. But if ya wanna really cut down or quit, by all means do so or roll ya own. Anna also sent me a huge bag of lavender that she had dried. I love love love the smell of lavender. So very relaxing to me. My plan is to make some lil sachets or bags and fill them with the dried lavender and store with bed linens. I will likely make a pretty one to just hang on the head of my bed and hope it helps me sleep a lil better. Hell any thing that will help a lil. Maybe if I do enough things that help a "lil" that all those "lil's" will add up to a good nights sleep. One can alas dream, er hope to dream.
Not much else happening here on the farm, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Monday, July 15, 2013

Wet season, garden is pitiful

It has been abnormally wet this season and our garden sure has suffered for it. Not that I can complain much tho. So far we have not had to haul any water for the well as it is up to the top full right now. The grass got a big head start in the garden and it sure makes it hard to trellis beans when its hard to find them in the grass. But it was dry enough this evening that Rodger did get the beans plowed out and he said if no rain tomorrow evening he will try to stick one patch of beans. I feel so bad that I cant stand the heat and get out and help him but the heat makes me very ill. I get dehydrated really quick and sick if I get hot. So seems I am banished to the house for now till cooler weather. We for sure must plan the garden better next year so as to not get so far behind and have to fight the grass in the mud. Rodger got the grape vines in the vineyard tied up to the trellises last evening and he came back in soaked it was so hot. Cant imagine how hot it will be to try and pick blackberries. They are getting ripe too. Rodger brought in about a pint other day when he was out driving the farm and found some ripe. I would like to have a few gallons canned but not sure about getting out in the heat unless we get a drop in temps for a few days. Which is not suppose to happen till this weekend. We shall see.

I finally got around to making my lil "saddle bags" for my car. Just bags to hang across the gear shift to stash things in like cell phone, inverter and such. I kinda like em>

I like the pink tiger stripe. Guess this will keep the fellers from wanting to drive my car. Naw, they will just take em off and toss em in the back till they get out. I know them. Anyway the evening I was working on the bags I had to go out to the car to measure the length I needed for the handles and got a heck of a surprise. My passenger floor was full of water. I was a little upset to say the least. We drove the car thru monsoon Mary and it didn't leak a drop and sitting in the drive way its full of water. We assumed it was coming from the moon roof and ordered a new seal for the window. Until it comes in I ran the risk of sucking water out of the floor every day after it rained so I coerced Rodger into helping me solve the problem till we can get the seal installed. This is the result and it works like a charm.

 With duct tape, WD-40 and baling twine you can damn near fix any thing on the farm. I told Rodger when I take the car to the shop to have it fixed I will take full responsibility for the duct tape repair. So I am sure the shop will get a good laugh out of this. But by dang my carpet wont be ruined in the meantime. Rob thinks we are true rednecks. But we raised him so am thinkin that makes him one too. His just don't show so much. 

So far this summer we have made 18 quarts of bread and butter pickles and more to come. Tomorrow we should have more cukes ready to pick. I think we will be making some dill slices from those tho. I am still working on getting the 50 lb bag of big onions dried and stored. Then it will be on to the celery and carrots. So I will start more onions in the dehydrator in the morning and they will be done the next day. Its taking a longer time to dry them crisp with all the humidity right now but they need to be dried. 

After I start the onions in the morning I am gonna try to get some weeding done in the herb bed before it gets hot outside an I cant take it no more. Then maybe try to get some carpet cleaned and major house cleaning. At least I can do that if I am gonna have to be stuck in the house. So we shall see what all tomorrow holds when we wake up. 

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


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Life goes forward

Life goes on, forward most days, but only one day at a time. This weather has been yucky, we have had too much rain for the garden. Might be hard to believe but the grass has about taken over. Its still far too wet to get in there to work so the grass will keep growing. We do have a few nice days forecast thru the weekend. We should also get a lil break from the heat as well with temps staying in the mid 80's. I can do 80, its those 90's that do me in. I don't acclimate well at all any more. I am either freezing or burning up. I don't have a happy middle any more. But at least my knees will be happy for a while. I got the last of the series of 3 injections in my right knee yesterday. It is a bit sore but not as bad as they have been after the injections. So there is a plus. Now if only this stuff will kick in and do its job and relieve the pain in the knee joints I will for sure be happy about that. But the doc said it would take a while and depend on a lot of factors. So we wait. I don't do well trying to squat down to weed beds and such. So guess that is out of the question. But I certainly have plenty of it to do. I did manage to finish the beds out back this evening with Rodgers help. Still need to get the strawberry bed by the drive and the remainder of the herb bed weeded. Rodger bought me 20 bags of mulch to put down on the berries and herbs to help cut down on the weeding. Maybe I can get a lot of that stuff done this weekend as it is suppose to be nice and not rain. After I get the mulch down it can rain a bit to settle it in but no downpours please.

Last week after my doc appointment we had to make a trip to Lexington to Sam's club to pick up supplies for the company and get a few things stocked back up for us here at home. As the rain destroyed our onions in the garden we bought a 50 lb bag of onions at Sam's. I have been slicing some of those and getting them dried out in the summer kitchen. I also bought carrots to dry an celery. I am surprised at how many carrots and celery flakes I use in cooking. Lots to say the least. Our carrots did not grow this year either, not sure if it was too wet or too cold when we sowed them. But we planted twice an none made it. I still have enough carrot chunks in the freezer to last another season but needed some dried to make my version of Ms Dash. It has been a challenge at best to dry things in the dehydrator in the summer kitchen for a while. The humidity is high outside and it takes longer even in the dehydrator. But we making progress. Still got a lot of onions, all the celery an carrots to dry. Maybe by time I start canning beans I will be done with all the dehydrating. Rodger did make it to the garden last weekend and picked a bunch of cukes and we made bread and butter pickles with those. Tomorrow evening we will pick again and make more. We do use a lot of pickles. Rodger will eat the pickles as a snack if I don't have a dessert made. We try to make at least 20 quarts of bread and butter pickles and about that many kosher dills every year to last all season. When I have cukes that get too big to make good dill slices or spears I usually chop those and can them as chopped dill pickle for use in deviled eggs and such. Lots easier than chopping as you need them. Just open the jar an take out what ya need for the recipe.

Our yard had gotten beyond over grown before Rodger could get it dry enough to mow. Kinda resembles a hay field right now. Wont take long for it to grow back tho. He even ran the weed eater in the garden between some of the rows of veggies to get the grass out that was really tall. Its hard to believe it is almost mid July already. Where the heck did the summer go. Well I have lost most of mine going to the doc once a week for the past 6 weeks for the injections in my knees and before that we were on vacation. With the injections I am suppose to stay off my feet for 48 hours after so that has knocked out 3 days per week of not being able to get anything done. But we done with all that.

My hens are all trying to set I think, I have 6 sitting on eggs and the layers are still laying with them. That is a waste of good eggs. I have 4 hens that have been setting long enough to hatch 2 batches of chicks and have not hatched one. So if its not unbearably hot out tomorrow I may try to get the eggs out of those nest an trash em. The chicken house needs to be cleaned out again but not sure how spunky I feel with a wheelbarrow. I could use the waste on the beds in back where my Lima beans and tomatoes are. The broccoli I planted late is not doing anything so I think I might get it out of those beds and put a layer of chicken manure and bedding down on the bed and cover it over with black plastic or newspaper, if I have enough here at the house. That should break down nicely and make a good spot of fall cabbage and maybe some greens, or lettuce and onions. But definitely cabbage. Not sure the cabbage in the garden is gonna do any good or not. Rodger said the cukes have taken over the cabbage row where we didn't get those trellised. Not much you can get done when the weather wont cooperate.  It has stayed so wet that we still don't have the greenhouse taken down and stored away yet. I sure wanted it nice and dry before we try to disassemble it and put it back in the box for use next year. It was dry this evening but was too late to get it taken apart after Rodger got in from work. Maybe this weekend. I think our weekend list is growing by leaps and bounds. Our plan for tomorrow evening is the pick cukes and put the net fence around the grape vines here in the yard. The vines are loaded with huge grape clusters. The nicest ones we have had yet and I sure don't want the chickens to see the grapes and start eating them before they get ripe. My luck we will fence the chickens out and then wild birds will find em and eat em all. I see a good amount of grape juice coming from all those nice grapes this fall if we can keep the critters fooled. I don't think I will make any more jelly as we still have a lot that I had made a few years ago when I had a good grape harvest.

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


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Gathering building material

I am seriously thinking of gathering materials for the building of the ark, again. Well that is a lil stretch but if we have many more weeks of rain like this we may sure need an ark to keep afloat. And the weather forecast is for rain all this week into next week. It is mud in our garden. Although the garden stuff is growing, so are the weeds and grass. I am betting I have cukes to pick if and when I can get in the garden without getting stuck in the mud. Our yard looks like a jungle out there. My herb bed is pitiful. I can not seem to get ahead of the weeds in there much less keep them at bay. Geez!! where does it end.

I get my second in a series of 3 shot in my right knee. Both knees still give me fits and hurt like the devil but I am still hopeful the injections will help long term. The doc still says it will take a while to tell a noticeable difference. So wait I will. After all what else can I do?

I used the June apples that aunt Ann brought to me for making some apple sauce to can. I left the sauce a lil bit chunky. Now I really need to find the recipe I used when the boys were lil to make an applesauce cake. The cake had applesauce in it and on top as well. Very moist and for the most part rather healthy. As I remember it did not have too much sugar in it and contained nuts and raisins. A rather healthy snack if there is such a thing. But hey, if ya think about it most cake does contain things that are good for ya. This is what I had for breakfast this morning.

Yeas I had Italian coconut cream cake for breakfast with my coffee. I love this cake. Aunt Ann made one for me to bring home this past weekend. Rodger and I went to visit them and spend some time with them before she starts her chemo treatments in a couple weeks. She and I got to hang out and just have fun, going to an auction(my first live auction), hit some yard sales, picked up some flowers and other plants at the local Lowe's store. Just had a good day talking an visiting. Rodger went with uncle Tripp to fly his plane to another airport after having to land at a smaller one the night before. He also made a stop in Louisiana to get some fresh gulf shrimp. We had those for dinner that night grilled along with steaks and other assorted goodies. Ann made 2 of the coconut cakes, one for eating at the cookout and 1 for me to bring home. That was so sweet of her. And she really should have just been taking it easy but its just not in her nature to sit around. But we had a great weekend and Rodger enjoyed Tripp's company and getting to fly in his MU2 plane.

Two of my favorite people. And my doggie. Luna loves people and she took to Ann and Tripp when they were here. Ann's lil dog Jack was so jealous that they were paying attention to Luna. He is their lil travel companion. And very easy to travel with.

We have not had much going on here on the farm lately with the rain. But we can hope it dries up enough to at least go check on the garden stuff. It looks good from the house.
Not much else happening here, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.