GRRRRR DOGS!

Well the !@#@#!!! dogs returned! They mashed down the 6 foot tall chicken wire I put up and attacked the chickens again! There is one hen and one chick left. I am just glad they didn’t go after the rabbits this time. I am angry, sad, tired, disgusted and depressed. My world and my life that I am trying to build are falling apart.

Another Skunk!

After shooting the first skunk the other day, there was evidence of a second one digging holes all over the garden and trying to get into the chicken pen. Well I have been trying to catch it out and shoot it and this morning I did. I discovered it was living under the house and shot it as it was going to go down it’s hole. So now the house is a bit smelly, but at least I don’t have to worry about the skunk.

Because it was digging all over the garden I hadn’t bothered planting any more seeds, now that it’s gone I’ll be planting up a storm to make up for lost time,

I also need to work on the greenhouse and finish the fence around the back garden. I also have to get busy and fix things so the rabbit & chickies in the house can go ahead and live outside. I’m hoping to get that done today.

SKUNK!

Well, I put up some chicken wire and made the hens enclosure bigger, including the rabbit cages and space for the little chicks. Well I know it won’t stop a dog but at least it will slow them down a couple of minutes.

Tonight I heard the little chicks squaking out there and there was a !@#@#!! skunk in there, with a chick by the head. I shone my flash light on it and it went out and I brought the chicks in. The hurt one probably won’t live the night. The others seem ok, just excited.

A few minutes later I was in the kitchen and could see that the skunk had returned to the scene of the crime, so I got my gun and shot it. 😉 yeah, one less skunk in the world.

chickie update

Well some good news. the two hurt chickies seem to be doing better. One has been up walking around for a couple of days. The other one that couldn’t stand at all was standiing up this morning.

Some bad news. I didn’t put small enough mesh wire on the rabbit cages and a little bunny fell out and died. Also, the 50 or broccoli and cauliflower seedlings that were ready to go in the garden were sitting on top of one of the rabbit cages that the dogs tore apart, so now I have to start over there too.

SLAUGHTER HOUSE

I came home to a slaughter house. 3 big dogs, somebody’s pets! tore open a rabbit pen and killed one of my bucks and injured another one. They got in to the baby chicks and killed most of them. There are only 5 left out of 14 and 2 of them are injured; I”m not too sure they will make it.

The worst thing is that my gun jammed so I couldn’t get even one shot off at them, or they would be dead dogs right now.

Be sure you keep your dogs at home because if they come to my place they aren’t gonna leave.

New Chickies

Well last weekend I made an all day trip to a breeder’s and picked up 14 Buff Orpington chicks. They were from one to a few days old. I have been looking for someone in state that had Buffs. They are a Heritage breed. I had decided to raise and breed one of the Heritage breeds to keep them alive. While Buffs are not currently endangered, they very much suit my purpose. They are good brown egg layers and also grow fairly quickly for meat. Out of these 14 chicks I will probably keep 4-6 hens and 1 rooster. The rest will go in the freezer. Then next summer when they are laying well I’ll begin to hatch out batches of chicks to supply the table and perhaps sell a few.

gardenoctt09 002Here they are enjoying some fresh air & sunshine. The rest of the time they are staying in a box in the living room. Little chicks have to stay warm until they get all their feathers. If their momma hatches them out she will take care of them, otherwise it’s up to you.

Tally HO! And in the Kitchen

WOWSERS! The tally for July is in and a big surprise!

Eggs, 102, which is down a bit from previous months. That isn’t really a surprise, since it has been so hot, the hens have been in a bit of a moult, which always lowers production.

alfalfa & comfrey, which I grow for the rabbits and chickens: 4.8 pounds

Produce: 101.75 That is the big surprise. The bulk of the poundage has been potatoes, tomatoes and onions, but includes strawberries, several kinds of beans, swiss chard, tomatillos, peppers, cucumbers, Tromboccino squash, eggplant, basil, apples, watermelon, mesquite beans [which will be ground into a flour when really crispy dry,  high in protien with a sweet lemon taste] and baby corn.

And there is more to come. It has been too hot for the lima beans to set pods, but as soon as it cools off a bit I think we’ll have lots, the cukes and yard long beans are just now hitting their stride. The baby corn is just coming in, to the girls delight [they’ve been waiting all summer for baby corn and are eating it raw!] The Kabocha squash will probably tote up a lot of poundage, there’s the yellow Moon & Stars and the Jubilee watermelons, the cantaloupes, a couple of kinds of pole beans, peppers and eggplants, to say nothing of the fact that there are still potatoes in their pots.  While it’s been too hot for the large paste tomatoes to set new fruit, once the daytime temps stay under 90, they should set a lot.

So it is quite possible for Aug and Sept to show even more poundage than July.

Each time I go to the grocery store my list gets shorter and shorter, partly due to the produce coming in from the garden. Part of it is because I am making more and more things from scratch at home. For instance milk was very cheap when I went shopping yesterday so I picked up an extra gallon and it is ‘ripening’ right now to make cottage cheese. I have found a really delicious brand of yogurt and while I am also going to begin making my own, especially when milk is cheap, it was on sale too so I got extra. The extra carton is now draining to make ‘yogurt cheese’. This is a soft and creamy spreadable ‘cheese’ to which I will add fresh herbs and eat on crackers.

Peelings, cores and bruised bits of apples sit in a gallon jar becoming vinegar. The cucumber crop is in various jars becoming fermented dill pickles. Scott eats tons of mayo so that is another one I’ll start making at home. He also loves garlic and I have a garlic mayo recipe to try out on him.

I’ve really been disappointed with BBQ sauce and salad dressings since I started really reading labels. Also with ketchup. They all have tons of corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup in them along with chemicals I can’t pronounce.  This makes most of them way too sweet and of course any non organic corn product is likely to be genetically modified, something I don’t want to eat. So I have been experimenting with making my own sauces. One really good one has been garlic & ginger. When I get it tweaked just right I’ll post it here.

Back to Basics

A lot of folks are getting back to basics these days. Around here that means pickle making, canning tomatoes, drying fruits, vegetables and herbs. It means making our own bisquick type mix for biscuits and pancakes, with 100% whole wheat flour, making 100% whole wheat noodles. It means trying to get rid of all the plastic in our life. This has been really hard to do. I didn’t realize how pervasive plastic is. For now I’ve stopped buying plastic wrap and just have reusable plastic containers. I also recycle anything I get from the store. I don’t usually use aluminum foil either.

Once upon a time I didn’t buy any household cleaners or paper towels and I’m going back to that again. I used baking soda instead of comet and diluted ammonia and vinegar for different things. I also made my own soap. I used paper grocery sacks instead of paper towels to drain bacon on and just used washable rags and dish towels for cleaning up instead of paper towels.

I have some different books that give recipes for different mixes which I’m going to be trying out. I used to make my own soup mix. When ever I had extra bits of celery, onions, carrots, etc. I’d dry them and put them in a jar. Then toss them in a couple of quarts of home canned chicken stock along with some rice or noodles and it was soup.

Way back when I could buy chicken for 25 CENTS ! a pound, I’d buy a dozen whole fryers, go home and cut them up for the freezer. I’d save all the necks, ribs, wings and tail pieces, boil them up with bay leaves, onions and garlic, then strain out the bones. Pick off the meat and put it back in, then can it all up in quart jars. If you have freezer space you can always freeze it.

There are a lot of little money saving things you can do every day. Learn to cook from scratch and skip all the packaged stuff. You will eat better food and save a lot of money.

The internet is a great resource; cruise around and you will find recipes for anything you want, soap, candles, snacks, crackers, breads, the list is endless.

Wow, it’s July Already!

My how time has flown this year. I can’t believe it is already July, so much has been going on around here! With hotter weather and especially warmer nights things have really been putting on some growth.

gardenJuly09 001This squash started out innocently enough, just a little sprout in the compost in the corner of the greenhouse bed…..I now believe it is an alien bent on taking over the garden!

gardenJuly09 002Liberty said we had to grow pickles and so we are, here’s a couple still on the vine 😉

gardenJuly09 009Here’s the greenhouse from the other side. The big bushy plants in the tubs are huckleberries. I haven’t grown them before but they are doing very well, loaded with flowers and green fruit.

gardenJuly09 010I just finished potting on some eggplants and peppers into these 2 1/2 gallon containers. The peppers are Rio Grande. The large leaved plant just behind the peppers is my little fig tree, growing from a cutting I took last fall. Behind everything are some of the potted potatoes.

gardenJuly09 014A Delicata squash grown in a large tub. I love these little winter squash, they are very sweet and tasty. Much better than any acorn I’ve ever tried.

gardenJuly09 015Purple de Milpa, a purple tomatillo from the Seed Saver’s Exchange.

gardenJuly09 016On the patio the Trombocinno is taking off and so are the yard long beans.

gardenJuly09 017A young Trombocinno squash

gardenJuly09 019these “Snow White” tomatoes are certainly misnamed, tho they are sweet and juicy.

gardenJuly09 020The Jicama have finally quit pouting and started growing now that is warmer.

gardenJuly09 022The grey water filter tub is growing a good crop too. Kabocha squash, Elephant ears, canna lilly

gardenJuly09 023A Moon & stars Heirloom watermelon seedling. This time of year nothing is safe from the birds and every little seedling has to be caged to keep them from being ripped up and eaten.

gardenJuly09 025The King of the Garden Lima beans are still going at it. They are now 11 FEET tall!

gardenJuly09 026Bloody Butcher corn is doing well. some of the popping sorghum and broom corn were wiped out in an afternoon when the chickens got loose, but there are still some plants left.

gardenJuly09 028Looking along the driveway from the front steps, the bergamot is blooming, the grape vine thinks that everything is there just for it to climb on, like the apple tree.

gardenJuly09 029This is a Blacktail Mountain watermelon. It’s one of the ones growing on the compost pile out back.

gardenJuly09 030Here’s another little watermelon along with a cantaloupe. We would be much closer to eating cantaloupes except for the darn rodents that ate every single developing fruit! as well as munching on the vines. They are making a comeback now though.

gardenJuly09 032Baby Blue Hubbard squash on their compost pile. They look a bit sad because I forgot to water them one day and when I got to them they were badly wilted. They are doing fine now though, with several small squash coming on.

gardenJuly09 035Here’s one of those Baby Blues, next to the compost thermometer, which still registers 140 degrees. It actually went down to 130 but a good watering and it went up to 150, but has settled back down to 140 again.

gardenJuly09 039We had a nice thunderstorm this evening and I spied this double rainbow when I went outside after the rain.

Growing, Growing, Growing!

wow, lookit that thing Grow!

gardenjune09 008This is Miracle and her amazing sunflower. She is holding a 6 foot tape measure up to it and the plant is taller than that!

gardenjune09 006The trombocino squash in a tub. Unfortunately today I discovered that the vine tip had grown into the crack at the top of the wall and in trying to get it out and bend it over to grow along under the eave I broke it ;-(

gardenjune09 005The Princepe Borhese, an heirloom Italian drying tomatoe is loaded with little green ‘maters. Can you spot  the one that ripe?

gardenjune09 003Here’s a long shot of the raspberry bed, the long green strip center left. You can’t actually see the raspberry plants from here, they are still pretty small. The 3 Heritage plants are just little green twigs. The Baba is doing much better [you’ll see in the next picture]. Most of this bed is covered with the buckwheat and a few wild sunflowers. The sunflowers were the only thing that sprouted from a pack of wild flowers years ago. They have really small seeds but the chickens might like them. Towards the right is the chickens pen in it’s new spot.

gardenjune09 001A Bababerry ready to eat mmmmmmmmmm my first homegrown raspberry mmmmmmmm

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