Sunday, June 28, 2015

It IS June.......right?

Yesterday, as I slipped my jacket on....I stopped and thought...It IS June...Right? Wearing a jacket in JUNE? Yep, Yesterday we didn't reach 70 degrees. There was a strong breeze most of the day. It reminded me of a fall day, except I worked in the garden pulling weeds. As I worked to fill the dump wagon the second time, I think I finally figured something out. I have wondered, "Why do weeds grow faster than our vegetables?" I think I Have the answer...well, at least an answer that works for me. BECAUSE....we don't want the weeds, they KNOW we are going to pull them, so they have to grow fast and try to get a seed head before we toss them out! HA! So there you have it...." THE ANSWER" This morning as I clutched my coffee close, a shiver crossed these old bones. I looked at the outside thermometer......53 degrees! Dang! Did I MISS SUMMER??? It is supposed to be sunny and 79 today...chance of rain and 78 tomorrow. Actually, there is a chance of rain for the next 8 days. What a soggy summer we are far. I have a feeling that about August, we will be begging for rain. I am trying to find a few more rain barrels to try and catch as much rain water as I can. I have PLENTY little gold fish to put in the barrels to keep the mosquito's from breeding. Time to slip on those jackets and get outside.... Canning season will be upon us before we know it....I hope!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Family, food and memories.

Today was a good, easy day. It started with after the morning chores I came inside for a while. I wanted to be outside pulling weeds in the strawberry patch. Since we have been having so much rain, and the heat....the weeds are really trying to take over. I can barely see some of the strawberry plants in there. However, today our daughter came up from Evansville, we all planned to go to our son's home for a big cook out. She brought me the most beautiful wreath that she had made.
Once she and her husband got here, we had time to sit and visit for a while before heading out. It was great just talking and catching up with them. We headed out to our sons for the cook out. Good food, great memories. I really love spending time with the grand kids. I don't get to see them often enough. After we got home we chatted for a bit more, then I headed out to do evening chores. By this time there was a nice breeze and the sun was low enough that it was cooling off nicely , so I opened the big doors on the barn to cool it off. After I finished the chores, I stopped at the strawberry patch and had just enough time to get one row cleaned out. Ringo, one of the big orange barn cats decided to keep me company. He laid by me and purred....and batted at my hands when I pulled weeds near him. He wanted to play so badly...but I really needed to get one row finished. After I finished, Ringo and I had a few moments together...He agreed that I had done a pretty good job...or at least that's what I got from his incessant purring and meowing. By this time the sun was setting, so I came in to get cleaned up....poured a cup of coffee...and time to relax. Tomorrow the kids are headed back home....and hubby and I are going to Friendship,IN. It is a SUPER HUGH flea market. It is only open one week in the late spring, and one week in the early fall. We really enjoy going just to see what treasures we might find. Tomorrow is going to be an easy day....I am taking one day off this week from hard work around the homestead. I need time to relax, recharge and get ready for a long summer.

Friday, June 19, 2015

"Panick planting" is over. Whew!

It happens every year. Winter finally gives up its icy grip and gives way to Spring. During this time I get a little panicked. Time to get the gardens planted. There is always so much to do before planting can begin mostly because every fall I lack the discipline to get the garden cleaned up and ready for Spring. So, frantically I get the cleanup started, pulling out the old and dried up tomato plants...pulling the lifeless green beans from the lines....making sure to save whatever seed might have been left. Occasionally finding a small hand held garden tool that was dropped in a corner, with a promise that I would remember to put it up for winter. Then I get the plants and seeds out and hurriedly set them in their places. All of this goes on over the course of a few weeks. Once everything, or most of everything, is in the gardens....I can sit back for a minute and sigh. I patiently wait for the seedlings to poke their little heads through the dirt so I can lay the barn gleanings around them helping to keep the weeds down and the moisture in as it also fertilizes with each rain or watering. This is where we are now...the waiting game. Our strawberry patch did pretty well for the first year. We have eaten our fill and I was able to put a few gallons in the freezer. Now I just have to keep up with the weeds and guide the new shoots to where I want them to grow, in the rows not in the walkways. Next year the rows will be a lot fuller and I hope the strawberries will produce enough to take some to the farmers market to sell. That is my ultimate goal. The potato's are now at a point where all I need to do is keep them watered, and wait. I have been successful at keeping up with adding the compost and soil. They are now about 3 ft tall and just starting to set on blooms. My work there is done, until early fall. The green beans and Lima beans are reaching for the sky. Growing so fast it is hard to keep up with them, making sure they are climbing on the lines I have in there for them, and not just twisting on each other into a tight knot of vines. It won't be too much longer, we will be picking beans and the canning will begin. The Cauliflower is doing pretty good I think. The first few heads I had left out too long, and the sun turned them a bit yellow. After much research I found out that I should have tied the leaves up to cover the heads, so now they are tied...hoping that the last few plants out there will give us beautiful white Cauliflower heads. The Brussels sprouts are getting bigger. I have trimmed the lower leaves a few times already, I can see little "bumps" where the little sprouts are starting to form. I can't wait to have fresh Brussels sprouts. Last week we finally finished up the spring garden, and was able to get 3 rows of beets planted. Before I could get them planted I had to relocate a few blackberry vines that had sprouted out of their intended area. The smaller spring garden is completed with planting. I had a few small areas in the larger garden that begged me to plant the other day I grabbed a hand full of carrot seeds and planted them next to the cucumbers. It is not a large area, however it will give us a few pints for stews and such later in the winter. Yesterday as I walked through the garden, pulling a few weeds here and there, I noticed a few small green peppers and tomato's. I had to smile at the thought of fresh tomato's still warm from the sun, the juice dripping down my chin as I snack on one while working in the garden. This is the time of year, I can rest a bit...waiting on the gardens to produce. Then will be "canning season" This makes me happy as I see the shelves of the pantry fill up with our hard work. Yes, there are many "seasons" on a homestead....planting season, growing season, canning season, and WINTER. We are now in my favorite part of the year....the "lazy days" of summer. In between the planting and the canning..we wait.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Wow, June already. Can you believe it? Summer is in full swing. By now everyone should be almost finished planting the gardens...are you? I have one small area left...and I mean very small. I am going to throw some carrots in there. Sunday we finally planted the beets. I wasn't sure I was going to find the time to get them in...but they are done. YAY for beets! The strawberry patch is just about finished producing. I was really surprised how many we picked from the big patch, considering we only planted them last fall. Next year should be a lot better tho....maybe enough to sell some at the farmers market. That is my goal.
We moved a few of the blackberry plants this year...trying to get a new area going for them as well. Hoping that in a few years we will be able to sell a few of those as well. I had some time to sit back, and just reflect on our little homestead....We bought this place 10 years ago. The previous owners had no interest in making this place a homestead, it was a home...with property. There were Elderberries growing wild in a few places, and a few Mulberry trees. That was it for any type of food growing here. Over the last 10 years, we have added several plants and trees...rounding it out pretty well. We have Concord grapes.
They are about 5 years old now I believe. I usually pick about 10 gallons from them.
We have 2 apple trees now. This year our oldest tree is really putting on the apples. I am so excited!
Of course the strawberry patch...and Thorn-less Blackberries. We are still working on getting them settled in and growing. This year I also planted 2 peach trees. I really don't expect to get fruit from them any time soon, however one of the trees I planted does have 3 little peaches on it. Then there are the 2 gardens...that lets me plant what we eat/need to feed us all year long. We have the chickens, of course, and have experimented with several breeds of poultry. Ducks, Turkeys...We tried them for a few years. I just couldn't bring myself to cull them, and feeding them as " farm pets" was not productive. We have geese now and even if we never eat them, they are good to have around as pest control and alarms. They let me know when anything is a bit different out there. We also have the pigs. They are mild tempered, easy keepers, and great for the freezer and to sell a few to help pay for their feed.
We have the sheep for grass control and for wool...
And the goats for milk....
I am very thankful for all we have...and all we are able to do still. is a good sit back and just reflect on how we have been blessed...but only for a few minutes, because there is always something that needs to be done.