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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

An early fall

I am convinced we are having an early fall. Or at least seems earlier than usual. Or maybe its just me that has missed summer. I have seen a few trees changing into their beautiful fall colors and some leaves falling too. The garden is done with exception of bell and jalapeno peppers. The field corn is brown but still a ways away from time to pick it. Time to get busy planting fall plants. We plan to get a few grapevines transplanted this weekend as well as get the raspberries and thornless black berries moved to their permanent locations. I have more young roosters that need to be butchered off and out of the feed bucket. I can tell you that 33 chickens of varied sizes can eat a lot of feed. Need to get that chore done before it gets too cool. Our weather is supposed to be high in the 60's this weekend. Perfect weather to work outside. Now if it don't rain maybe we can get that butchering done. My little Cornish chicks are growing like bad weeds. They don't get butchered till late October tho. But they sure are growing fast. I am just glad it is not terribly hot for them. I can keep them warm, its just hard to keep them cool.

This past week I have been making chipotle peppers. It really don't take long to smoke/dry ripe jalapenos. Maybe 4 hours. The biggest thing for me is to remember to keep adding wood chips to the smoker. I do tend to get distracted and forget. After they are dried they are brittle and I run them in the food processor to make chipotle powder. It has a nice smokey pepper smell so the taste will for sure be incredible. Maybe I can get in the garden and pick some more of the ripe peppers tomorrow to smoke. I think I have enough green ones in the freezer for poppers now. Probably far more than I will use as I am the only one who will eat them. Unless Rob is home and he and Amoy will eat jalapenos.

I am hoping tomorrow I can get up with my friend Marcia and see if she wants to go get apples at the you-pick orchard about an hour from us. I am totally out of apples in the freezer and only have about 2 jars of homemade apple pie filling canned right now. I need to check on my big pear tree and see if the pears are ready to pick also. I may can some of those as well. I like to mix canned pears and peaches for a snack or even a late breakfast when I get up late.

I did finally get a start on weeding my herb bed, again. That seems to be a never ending process. It could be done on a weekly basis if I had that much energy to expend. Still in the harvesting mode tho. Have lots more to get cut and dried. Then the whole thing can be mowed down. I have far too many types of mint that is about to take over in there. And I knew better than planting it there. What the hell!! But it serves the bees well when it is in bloom in summer tho. So its not a total loss. I really want to dig some horseradish roots too. I love the flavor of that stuff. And boy will it clean out your sinuses when you cut it up. Still got more grape juice to make into jelly too. Probably should have already had that done but I have been taking a break this week. My poor body needs it. If anyone has Fibro they can relate to the fact your body does not handle stress well at all. And the past month and a half have been very stressful with losing my mom, one of my favorite uncles and this past week and long time family friend past on. But I will survive even tho this fibro flare will set a new normal for me, again. Each time you have a flare up you never fully recover to being as good as you were before the flare so it sets a "new normal" for you. A fibro sufferer has to do their best to not let themselves get sent into a major flare up. But it does happen. But tomorrow will be better.

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


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Back in the saddle again

I am finally home and back at it again. I did get a few days to rest after being away for a couple weeks. Then it was back to the homestead stuff. We had planned to get our older laying flock butchered off over the labor day weekend. Of course it rained and put an end to any thoughts of that. So this morning Rodger got the water kettle fired up and heated the scalding water and we did the deed. Butchered 13 of my older laying hens off. I did the usual of making stock with the bony pieces and canned the legs, thighs and breast halves. I got 19 quarts of canned chicken and 9 quarts of stock canned. That should last us a while for soup, stews, casseroles and of course chicken and dumplings.  I have 2 young pullets and the rooster left. The pullets are laying now so we can have at least 2 eggs per day to maybe hold us over till the younger ones come into production. I actually have 2 younger bunches of chickens and intend to keep the pullets out of both bunches. I should end up with about a dozen laying hens. Which means I will have about 20 standard breed roosters to butcher later as well. I did get my order of Cornish cross babies on Thursday as well. They are all doing great. I moved the rooster and his 2 girls in with the flock of younger birds and gave the Cornish the big chicken house so they will have lots of room to grow.  And grow they do. They will be ready to butcher about October 25th. At the young tasty age of 6 weeks.

After Rodger, Jason, Tasha (our friends daughter) and I finished with the chicken butchering Jason and Tasha went to move a lawn mower to her house and back to Jason's house to mow and weed eat his yard. Rodger went to the garden and dug our taters. Oh my, what a pitiful crop. For all the weeding and work it sure was not worth the effort. So what few we do have I will likely can those. I just hope to hell our sweet potatoes do better. I guess all things considered it was not bad. We had ate from the row of taters for a good while and we only planted 1 row in the garden. Not really many plants to begin with but dang I wanted more than a couple bushel of taters. We certainly hope to have several bushels of sweet taters tho. IF the deer will stop eating the vines off them. I think they have pretty much decimated the purple hull peas and now have a taste for sweet potato plants. But those will be dug soon as well. Rodger also brought a 5 gallon bucket of red bell peppers in for me to freeze as well. We use a lot of sweet bell peppers during the year. And my goodness, are those things expensive to buy in the store. I guess if I had to buy em, we just be doing without em. Next on the garden list is to get the jalapeno peppers picked and frozen. I think I will attempt to make smoked jalapeno peppers. Smoked ripe red jalapenos are called chipotle peppers. A rather easy process as I have read. A matter of picking the ripe red jalapenos, washing them well, They can be split in half if you rather not have the intense heat of the seeds. Then put in the smoker with some good wood chips such as hickory or any desired fruit wood and smoked till dry. My intention is to smoke for several hours then finish off in the dehydrator so they are completely dry. Then they can be stored for later use. Thas my plan thus far. Will post more on how they turn out, or not. Seems to me they should dry well in the smoker as they are thin walled peppers to begin with. We shall see.

I think tomorrow might be a jelly making day here. While I was out of town Rodger had picked and froze a good bit of hog plums for jelly. So maybe I can make the juice and jelly tomorrow. Those are one of those things its either feast or famine, some years you have none and you are best served to make a good supply of jelly in the years when the plums are plentiful. I am also gonna try to find the time to get to the garden again and pick the last of the tomatoes, ripe or green. I do want some green ones in the freezer for fried green tomatoes. Those sure can pick up your spirits in the middle of winter when you have fried green tomatoes and think of summer and the garden fresh tomatoes. I still have lots of herbs to dry also and most of a 50 lb bag of onions that need dehydrated. Lots of things to do to keep me busy till the snow flys I think.

As of right now, not much else happening on the farm. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.