Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Tuesday's Homestead Diary

I finally got around to making my strawberry jam this past weekend. I ended up with 20 jars. I aim to get 40 more before the season is up.
I used the hot water bath method for the first time. I usually do the inversion method when canning the jam but felt that I needed to *get my hands wet* with hot water bath canning. It wasn't as bad as I thought.
Hopefully I will get enough blackberries to make into jam later this summer. From the looks of the bushes, that should be no problem, they are loaded!
Got some sour dough bread made today. I also made some homemade hamburger buns last week for the first time. It was an easy recipe and everyone loved them. 
Okay Ladies! Whose going to get in that nest first? The other 2 boxes were already occupied. When I came back, it was *Snow White* that was setting.
Here she is looking to see if she had laid the egg yet. She hadn't. When I closed the door and opened it up again, she was squatting and laid the egg. I tried to get it on the camera to no avail.
Here it is! Now that is one FRESH egg! See the shine on it? That is the *bloom* that will keep everything out (germs and such) as long as it is not washed. Once washed the egg needs refrigeration.
2 p.m. and we have 7 eggs so far. Been getting about 6 a day.
So Sweet! AnnaBelle the sleepy cow. It is so precious to see a cow tuck their heads in that way ,when they are napping.
Blueberries are looking good!
As are the blackberries.
How goes your homestead today?
Matthew 6:33

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wednesday Work On the Homestead

Ever hear that saying, "A woman's work is NEVER done?" That phrase hits the nail on the head today. I am just now getting to blog after a busy day working inside and outside. It was an absolute beautiful day to be outside though. So no complaints there.
I mentioned earlier about getting new chicks. They are 3 weeks old tomorrow. We have them outside in a wooden crate/box with a heating lamp that is used at night. Well, I went outside this morning to feed/water them and noticed that the wood I have on top of the crate to secure it was knocked half way off. I immediately got nervous.
I proceeded to go over and take the tarp/ wood off and noticed that the crate had been *chewed* off a bit and that the chicken wire that is on top was lifted up a bit. That part was really odd because the chicken wire was stapled to the crate.

(Praise be, all the biddies were accounted for and not hurt.)
I asked myself, "What in the world tried to get into my biddies home last night?" I then fed/ watered them and went in to call Hubby @ work to let him know what had happened. He is pretty sure that it was a opossum. Really?
Well, considering that we have had to trap and relocate 2 already this spring because they were trying to get into the big chicken coop, it really shouldn't have surprised me to see one go after an  easier target (or so it thought.)
So today to deter the opossum we moved the box to another area. One nearer our penned dogs. Hopefully the dogs would sound the alarm if they saw it going after the biddies. Hubby is also going to hang a light on them from the outside. He says the opossum may not get near the biddies with a light shining in the area.
We are also setting another trap. Maybe the trespasser will want the trap food. Praying it all works out.
I also spent the day watering the herb garden and planting more tomatoes. This time I planted some near the Basil. I've read that tomato and Basil are good companions. We'll see.
Well, got to go. It's getting dark and I've a few more chores to do.
I hope you have had a blessed day in Sweet JESUS!
Matthew 6:33

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Little Garden on the Homestead

Happy Tuesday! Well I finally got the herb garden in yesterday.
I wasn't sure that I would have the energy but just getting out there and playing on the dirt revived me.
(These pictures aren't all that good. The sun was really bright this morning when I took them.)
Greek Oregano
I planted the rosemary in the 4 corners to make a border for when everything else comes up again next year (LORD willin')
Everything planted is a perennial except the Basil. Hoping to get seed from the Basil this year to actually grow it myself next year.
Spearmint & Thyme at the back. I need to get more Thyme.
Greek Oregano
I also planted a border around the tomato plants using Marigolds. They are suppose to be a good bug deterrent.
Got to get more marigolds as well.
Silver Queen Corn. 2 weeks today.
Potatoes. Do you see that UGLY little bug? Got to work on getting some natural insecticide spray. Wouldn't you know that the bug would find the first potato plant that came up?
Also in the garden and and growing on the homestead:
Green Beans
Here is a video that I love listening to this time of the year. It gets me in the gardening mood. Such inspiration .
Matthew 6:33

Monday, April 20, 2015

Monday Homestead Happenings

I finally got some new clothes line for the line outside. I haven't hung any clothes out since last year. Can't really say why other than the old line was ,well ,old and hung too low to be used. I'll just say it, I got lazy.
Today is a new day though and hubby was a good man yesterday and hung up the new line for me. I have 3 loads drying on it right now. I forgot how much I  LOVE the smell of fresh clean clothes when they are dried outside.
It's been a usual Monday around here. That means deep cleaning and clothes washing As of right now (2:30 p.m.) I am finally done. I will need to get the clothes off the line later though.
Other chores:
Correct schoolwork
Menu  for rest of week
Feed/water the biddies
Water cow
Clean out 2 buckets
Cook dinner
Clean eggs (54)
Plant part of my herb garden
The herb garden might wait until tomorrow. It depends on my energy level which is diminishing at this posting.
So, how is your Monday going?
Matthew 6:33

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Nothing Says Springtime Quite Like Fresh Picked Strawberries

Grace and I went to a local U-Pick farm and picked these 2 luscious bucketful's of fresh strawberries. We have been picking strawberries from this farm since my now 21 year old daughter was 8 years old. Such a blessin' to still having her go with me to pick them. Actually she was the one who mentioned it before I did.
The price went up this year to $1.75lb. to pick yourself. That's not too bad. I can remember when they were only a $1 to pick and that was when Grace was 8 years old.
We do have strawberry plants ourselves. They are just  starting to get blossoms on them. Can't wait to get into those too.
I am going to have to go back next week and pick a lot more. I want to make some strawberry jam this year. I haven't made any in quite a few years. Praying my energy stays up.
Anything growing on your homesteads? Please share!
Matthew 6:33

Friday, April 17, 2015

A New Day to Blog

It's been awhile since I have blogged here. Things on the homestead are pretty much the same but as it is spring time there are a few new things to report.
The *girls* are starting to lay again. Getting about 6 eggs a day.
These are the only 2 hens we had out of the batch that were hatched out last July by a faithful broody hen. There were 9 in all. The others were roosters. We butchered 3 and gave the others away. On a sad note, the faithful broody hen was killed by one of our roosters 2 weeks ago. Not sure if we will get a *homegrown* batch of biddies this summer or not.
Springtime and all things bloomin'.
We sold *PIG* #4 this past winter. Everyone was burned out on BBQ. Not to mention that this little piggy was a sweetie! Never get attached to your food!
 (This was our 4th pig raising for meat, she was the only one granted a pardon.)
AnnaBelle being AnnaBelle. We dried her up in October. Hubby's hands are getting arthritic and he has carpal tunnel. That makes a bad combination when it comes to milking a cow. I've had several health issues to deal with as well. Will we breed her again? Probably so. Just taking a much needed break after 5 years of milking.( twice a day-EVERY day.)
We decided to get a new batch of chicks from the feed store. They *should* all be hens. 15 of them. The others are starting to hit and miss with egg laying. We do this every 2 years.. We would LOVE to have them all homegrown but like last year, 7 roosters and 2 hens. Not good math when you need eggs.
So cute! Sleeping chick.
Tired chick. So cute!
Sleepy chicks. Can you tell I LOVE chicks when they are this little?
They were inside for the first week in an old storage box. They are now outside and thriving!
3 weeks today.
Rhode Island Reds
New Hampshire
Columbian Rocks
Barred Rocks
This is the area Hubby tilled up for my new herb garden. I've previously done herb on the porch in pots. This year I wanted to expand it. I put up the black mesh fencing this afternoon to (hopefully) deter the rabbits.
Home Deport had some great prices on herbs and tomato plants this week. Only $2 for what is usually $3.60. So I got some more herbs and made a second trip to get some marigolds to go around the tomato plants. They are suppose to be a good bug deterrent.
(Carlos was jealous that I was paying more attention to my plant than him.)
This is a good video showing the West Ladies on growing and using Basil.You can learn a lot from these ladies!
Go  https://youtu.be/JFNSuiN9OCoto see their other video clips on on homesteading.
Many blessings!
Matthew 6:33