Friday, July 22, 2016

Hot and humid is making me lazy....

Whew! It has been so hot...and humid here lately. This weather makes me want to stay indoors. Of course...I can't so I just take it slow, and a little at a time. Yesterday after my first shift at work, I came home and changed into my work clothes. I headed out to make sure all of the animals were fed and had plenty of fresh cool water for the morning. The temps with humidity make for dangerous health warnings from the news. As I was finishing up in the barn, I grabbed an armload of hay for Daisy and Laura and proceeded to head outside with it Daisy was being a little pushy and blocking my way to the door. I nudged her to get her to move which didn't set well with her I guess. She dropped her head and pushed into my thigh. I have not had her horns removed yet and they are about an inch long. She shoved one into my thigh sending pain down my leg. I put down the hay and grabbed my "MOOve stick" ( it is a 1 x 4 I use to intimidate her..and teach her boundaries). With a good slap on her rump, she high tailed it out of the barn. After I set out her hay, I stopped to check my leg. Oh boy...she got me pretty good. I MUST get those horns taken care of...ASAP!
Once I finished with everyone at the barn, I looked out to find Daisy...she wasn't at the hay feeder like I expected. I looked around to see her at one of the water troughs, standing with her front feet IN the trough, with her head down, pouting. ( oh jeesh! ) I walked over and rubbed her neck, and explained to her about personal space and that she needs to be careful when she is demanding attention. I left the pasture, we were on " good terms" again. Once I got to the front porch, I removed my shoes, grabbed my bucket and headed to the Blackberry patch. Tuesday hubby picked just over a gallon from them but it was Thursday and they needed picked again. As I walked across the grass, it was relaxing feeling the cool damp grass on my feet. It has been a while since I have had the time to walk barefoot in the grass so I was really enjoying it. Since the Blackberry bushes are thorn less, I can pick from there in bare feet and short sleeves. As I picked, I snacked on those sweet large berries. I made sure that more of what I picked went in the basket and not my tummy. I was able to pick another full gallon. I am freezing them so that once this heat wave breaks I can start making jellies and jams. I will also be starting a few batches of wine soon. I have 8 gallon bags of strawberries in the freezer that I plan to use 3 for jam and one for wine. The other 4 I will save to use later for cobbler and muffins over the winter time. Another favorite of mine are Elderberries. They are starting to ripen as well. I filled a 3 gallon bucket the other day.
Now comes the task of de-stemming them. That takes a bit of time, but it is worth it. I will use these for wine as well. Of course I will save a bit of the berries in the freezer to make a tincture for cold and flu season. Here is how I make tastes great...and works wonders! Gather your supplies.... Elderberries (make sure the area you pick from has not been sprayed with pesticides.) Fresh Ginger, grated: 1 Tablespoon per cup of berries (or 1 teaspoon if you are using dried ginger) Ground Cinnamon: 1 teaspoon per cup of berries Ground Cloves: 1/4 teaspoon per cup of berries Raw Honey, preferably local: 1/2 cup per cup of berries What to Do: 1. Gather the elderberries, or order dried organic elderberries online and skip to the 3rd step. Look for clusters of black berries on red stems to ensure that they are fully ripe. 2. Use a fork to pull the berries from their stems, collecting them in a pot. Pull out as many small bits of stem as you can, but don’t get obsessive about it. Give them a little rinse. 3. Add water— 1:1 cups water-to berry ratio for fresh, and 2:1 for dried. 4. Add ginger, ground cinnamon and cloves. 5. Bring to a boil on the stove, then reduce heat and let simmer for about 20 minutes, then allow to cool. 6. Strain the liquid from the berries using a sieve, pressing on with a wooden spoon to get all of the juice out. 7. Add raw honey– local, if possible for the best health benefits– to the elderberry liquid. Stir until well mixed, and decant into jars or bottles. Store in the refrigerator. Take a teaspoonful daily during cold and flu season. Make up some for your family...

Sunday, July 10, 2016

How does your garden grow?

Here it is....the 10th of July, and the gardens here are thriving. Well....most of the gardens are thriving. We have had a few issues with the beets and carrots. The first planting didn't yield much other than weeds. We went out to pull weeds and decided there were way more weeds than veggies, so hubby tilled it all under and we started over. Hoping we will get some beets and carrots this year. Yesterday I worked in the barn most of the day...pitched out the old bedding...laid lime..then put in new bedding. The weather was beautiful for working outside...temps in the low 80's with low humidity and a wonderful breeze. This morning it is 65 degrees...just beautiful. They are saying a high of 85 today and tomorrow as well. YAY! I did a quick walk through the garden yesterday to check on things...the green beans should start producing any time now, the tomato's are full of small green tomato's, the onions are about the size of large eggs and the potato's are finished blooming...starting to die back already. I just might get a second planting of potato's this year. That would be nice! As I was looking at the potato's and onions, I noticed that our blackberries were finally starting to ripen.
There were only a few..but wow are they big and sweet! I can't wait until I can get enough to make some jelly. I am hoping they ripen quickly since I am off of work until the 16th. Not sure they will be done in the next week tho. After I finished the barn yesterday..and finished putting up all of the animal feed, I went to work building a small scratching post/ tower for the 2 kittens. Now, I have never claimed to be an architect but they seem to like it. It ended up being a bit heavy really, so I wrapped 2 bricks in burlap and sat them at the base. This will work for now, until they get bigger. Then I will either work on a better one or just go buy one for them.
Yes, I know it leans a bit...but they don't seem to mind. Oh, I also had bought a box of commercial grade black lawn trash bags yesterday. I had read about making haylage in small batches for winter feeding. Since we only have a handful of goats, one growing cow, one ewe, and pigs ( for now) and chickens and rabbits...we don't need tons of haylage. Since we have several bales of hay left from last year, I am going to use that mixed with fresh grass/weed clippings and a few handfuls of corn. Layering and packing that into large heavy grade black trash bags, removing as much as the air as possible, then tieing it up for winter feed. I am hoping that by the end of summer I will have about 30 bags or so. This is a first for me, so I will report later in the year how this works out. Well, the sun is coming up...I better get this day started.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy 4th everyone.

Today we celebrate our Independence. I was watching this sad...a guy on the streets of LA was asking people randomly If they knew what the celebration was all about. Now i know they only show what they want us to see....and I am hopeful that the statistics they showed were biased..but out of about 15 people they interviewed, only 2 or 3 knew what the 4th was all about. Most of them knew we were celebrating our Independence....but not from who. Sad really. A few of them even expressed that they didn't care to know. Just that they wanted to have a party and drink. Is this what our country is coming to?? These were all young 20 something people...that will one day be the ones that run our country. :( Hubby and I are not going out to watch fireworks...mainly because I don't believe there will be any because of the weather. It is rainy, hot, humid...and the fog is rolling in. I spent most of the day reading and snuggling with the between animal chores. Now the evening is here....animals are all secured for the night...and I am going to sit back and keep the TV turned up loud, so the dogs don't hear the neighbors fireworks. Next week we should be back to "normal" Hopefully everyone will be finished with all of the fireworks. Be safe....have fun...and Happy 4th.