Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Can you teach pigs.....or will they just get it?

So yesterday....I built an "automatic" hog water. I took a 40 gallon barrel and added hog water nipples. I split the hog yard more even, added a big cinder block to set it on and started filling it. OF COURSE this barrel has a crack in it about half way up. For now, that is OK....because I am not sure these darned pigs are smart enough to even know what this is for. They watched me install it....they were even throwing a hissy fit as I filled it....wanting water. I tried calling them over and flipping the nipple so they would know that is where the water is but those stubborn pigs all ran back to their now empty water bowls and pitched a fit. I eventually gave in and filled the water bowls. *sigh* Did I do all that work for nothing? Will they ever "get it"?
The weather was so nice yesterday, I was able to get a few other little jobs taken care of as well. A few weeks ago I replanted a couple of rows of beets. This summer has been hard on the garden and especially beets. I have yet to can one jar of beets. Yesterday as I was watering the seedlings, I realized I may not get to can ANY beets this year. They just are not thriving. We really like pickled beets so this makes me sad. Oh, I could just go buy some and put them in the pantry, but I really do not like mass processed vegetables. We still have 5 pints from last summer, looks like this winter we will just have to consider the beets as a "special treat" unless these little seedlings take off...and soon! I took the lawn tractor over to the sheep paddock and mowed down the taller grasses that had become tough. The sheep will not eat those and I don't want to walk through it and come across a sneaky snake. Besides....it looks better now. The last "big project" I worked on was the goat yard. There is this weed....I found out is called "Himalayan Balsam" I call it..." That darned weed" It grows fast, and will quickly take over an area.
The goats will only nibble on it, the sheep as well...but neither will eat it exclusively. The goats yard was covered in this...and it grows about 3 ft tall! So, I grabbed the weed eater and headed out to destroy it....at least for now. I am sure in a week or so, it will be back with a vengeance. That pretty much consumed the better part of my day. This morning I woke to temps in the LOW 50's. It is beautiful, but chilly out there. Today I will work the garden over a bit, gather green beans and Lima Beans. I need to start thinking ahead...winter is just around the corner and will be here before we know it. I am trying to make sure every animal is ready for the cold harsh winter that the Farmers Almanac is saying we will have. Condense pens...start picking up, washing and storing the many feed and water dishes that are not in use....and trying to get feed stocked in to last at least a few months. I had hay delivered a few weeks ago... 100 bales. That should get us through winter. Next will be a load of straw...and pine shavings. So much to do....so little time...busy busy!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

August temps are like September...Hmmmm, Im NOT complaining...

This really has been a very trying year as far as the weather goes. Extremely wet and HOT for July and now for August the temps are only in the 70's and 80's. Gardening this year has been a real challenge. Our beets haven't had a chance....Tomato's are growing so slow, they are rotting while still green and the green beans are trying to give up already even tho I have only picked about 6 PINTS. I really am scared to dig up the potato's...hoping they did better than everything else...not holding out much hope. Yesterday I was able to clear an area in the big garden and get it mostly ready to replant. Yes, it is late however, I am thinking just maybe the beets will be able to grow enough that I will have some for the pantry. Today I will do my best to get them planted....wish me luck.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Making memories....teaching lessons...

What a great weekend. We had company for the weekend. Our youngest son, his son, and 2 of our son's friends came in from Oklahoma. This is the son that is always on the move, always doing "something" and wearing me down. Haha. They pulled in the drive around noon, and by 1 pm, we were butchering 5 roosters. This was a first time experience for our son Jason, and grandson Iziah. I wasn't sure how Iziah was going to handle it and at first I thought he was going to have a melt down, and we would have to have grandpa take him and keep him busy. Iziah is 8 years old, and all boy, but the first time can be a bit hard, for anyone. As we gathered the first 2 roosters up, he had a few tears...I asked him why he was upset and he replied...I don't want them to die. I pulled him aside,and explained why we process the extra roosters,how I do it humanely and that they don't suffer and how they will feed us, and we will be thankful. By the time I dispatched them, he was getting excited to get busy with plucking. He did great.
It didn't take us too long and we were cleaning up with 5 roosters in the cooler. I was so glad to have the help and we now have 7 meals in the freezer. Once the temps cool down, I will pull the backs out of the freezer and can them and make chicken broth. After standing bent over that table for a few hours, I was spent. I wanted to sit down and just enjoy the short time we had with them here, however, Jason was NOT ready to sit. *sigh* We took Iziah over to the small pond where Jason saw that the pond weeds were thick and we couldn't see the fish. He decided that needed to come out. He grabbed the leaf rake and went in. Iziah and I got the lawn tractor and wagon.
As Jason raked it out to the edge, Iziah would pick through it removing any life he found....crawdads, small perch, tadpoles, frogs, lizards....so much fun for a boy!
Even Jason's friend got in on the "fun" looking for critters.
The guys took the pond weeds over to the geese, chickens and pigs. They said the pigs were the happiest upon getting their treat. I retreated to the house to get cleaned up and get dinner started. I made Izsiah's favorite dinner. Fried chicken, mashed "taters" green beans and gravy. As we all gathered around the table, pausing to give thanks, I couldn't help but smile as I watched these 4 men and young man....dive in with gusto. Passing dishes, making comments like "that smells great" and "you better get what you want now because once I get it there won't be any left" We all laughed and enjoyed a great meal. Iziah was eating, and already asking what was for breakfast. He knew grandma was going to make a big breakfast for him. Bacon, eggs, biscuits and gravy. He talked about breakfast all night. The men all retired around a bon fire. I, after getting a shower, retired to my chair. One worn out grandma! LOL After breakfast, they gathered all of their things up and hit the road, back to Oklahoma. Life keeps us all so busy, visits are short and only a few times a year, so we treasure every minute we get with them. Today, we are back to the regular grind....farm chores, work, and later I will do some canning. Tomato's and green beans will go in the pantry. Our harvest is meek, but we are thankful for any that we get to help keep us fed through the winter.