Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Homestead Orchard (Dealing with Diseased Trees)

We have had several apple trees on our little homestead for about 15  years now. I would say its been a total of 6 all together but not all of them have lived. So we are down to 2 now. The oldest one is about 15 years old. The other about 5 years old.
The oldest one has been producing apples faithfully (not fully though) for the past 10 years. This year it looked to be an amazing crop. That's right, I said that in the past tense. After blooming and making a lot of apples we ended up having to prune it back due to disease. Fire Blight is the name of the disease.
The same pruning had to be done for the younger tree. It didn't have as many apples but it would have been more than the previous year being a younger tree. It was just starting to get full and beautiful. It's sad to look at it now.
Here is the younger tree before it was pruned.
After the pruning. It makes me want to cry. It was so beautiful!
This is what Fire Blight looks like on an apple tree. The leaves start to brown and die. Looking like someone took a fire to it. Hence the name- Fire Blight.
All affected areas had to be cut off to avoid more spreading of the disease. This little tree had it bad.
We could have prevented this by paying more attention to our trees. I noticed it after it bloomed but I thought it was just a bad spot or two. When it started getting on the older tree we knew we had a problem.
We researched the potential problem online. It coincided with what the Ag. man said at the County Extension office. Fire Blight.
We were told to prune off all affected parts of the tree and then burn the limbs. The man also told us to sterilize all tools that touched the affected limbs. Fire Blight is that bad and contagious. He also told us that it could end up affecting all vegetation in our yard. (I sure pray not.)
(The disease just seems to prefer apple trees as well as other fruit trees.)
Here are some of the apples that we had to cut off the bigger tree. Makes me sick.
Hubby pruning the bigger tree.
(A pile of apples from the bigger tree from the diseased limbs.)
Have I learned anything from this? You bet! I will be more vigilant when it comes to my fruit trees as I have been with the garden and flowers.
I also need to get busy and research other possible diseases that can occur with fruit trees so I know what to look out for.
How do your orchards grow this year?
Matthew 6:33

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Homemade Hamburger Buns (YUMMY!)

(This recipe comes from The West Ladies of Homestead Blessings)
You will need:
 3 tablespoons Honey
4-5 cups bread flour
2 tsp. salt
2 tablespoons yeast
1 cup milk
 1/2 cup oil
3/4 cup water
Put 2 cups flour into a bowl with the yeast & salt.
Heat oil, water, milk and honey until warm (not hot)
Pour into the 2 cups flour mixture and stir well. Continue to add the remaining flour until you get a soft dough.
Pour onto a floured surface and knead until a soft ball is formed.
Like this.
Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
Pour onto floured surface again and roll out to about an inch thick.
Use a regular size mason jar lid to cut out the buns.
Like this.
Place onto a greased baking sheet.
Cover and let rise for 45 minutes. Until doubled in size.
Risen and ready to put into an oven that has been preheated to 350* for about 15-20 minutes. Or lightly browned.
Take from oven and place on a cooling rack.
The bun on the left was cut with  a regular mason jar lid. The bun on the right was cut with a large mason jar lid. The larger lid makes a HUGE bun. The smaller lid produces an average size bun.
YUMMY! Hamburgers made with grass fed Farmers Market Beef and home made buns.
It's what's for dinner!
What's on your table tonight?
Matthew 6:33

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Time to Prep (It's Hurricane Season!)

This is the earliest storm of the season that I can remember. Am I prepared? Sort of? All I can say is thank you LORD that it is ONLY a tropical storm and not a hurricane. It has just made me realize that I need to get on the ball with the season starting so early.
So what are the plans today? What do we expect to come at us? Have I done ANYTHING before to prepare for the (now upon us) hurricane season?
I have been buying drinking water for the past 3 weeks.  NOT enough!
CONCERN # 2- WATER!- for the animals. Especially AnnaBelle (the cow.)
Hubby and I were talking about cleaning out the large tanks we have outside that can store about 300 gallons of water. He got them at work when they were going to throw them out. So today we will be cleaning and sterilizing them. Then filling them up with water.
Now the cow goes through 50 gallons of water a day. With the 2 tanks we will have water for her to last about 5-6 days. That would be a start for having water for her if the power goes out and we can't just get the water from the house.
It's still really not enough. If this had been a bigger storm, that would mean more damage and more power outages. That means NO water!  Well, today we will work with what we have and start preparing better in the months ahead.
Hurricane season goes from June 1st- November 1st.
Concern # 3- Food
We have enough to last us a week. We have a propane cooker outside to cook if necessary.
Concern # 4- Batteries- Need some NEED ALOT! Can you tell I am out? (Shameful!)
Concern #4-Clothing-
I am making sure that everything is caught up in the laundry department. I am almost caught up today. But with the outer bands of rain from Ana coming in, I can't dry my clothes outside and guess what? My dryer is broke. UGH!
I need to get a dryer rack for the house for days like today! (note: BUY a dryer rack!)
Concern #5- WATER AGAIN! Making sure we have all the tubs and sinks filled with water to flush toilets with.
Concern # 6 Tying things down in the yard that the wind would throw about.
Concern # 7 We NEED a generator!  Time to start saving!
Again, there are so many other concerns when it comes to hurricane season.
I should have already been preparing. I've gotten too complacent.
ANA- You have got the wheels turning in my head and now its time to get prepared!
Storm or not, I have work to do!
Matthew 6:33

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Support Your Local Farmers Market Wednesday

My daughter @ and I went to a local farmers market today. She has been looking for grass fed beef at a reasonable price for quite some time and finally found it at the farmers market.
We left early this morning to make sure we got there before the beef was sold out. It sold out pretty fast last week. We paid $6.50 for a lb. of grass fed beef.
That was beef that was not finished on grain like most people do with their cows. So you can say that my daughter was one happy lady.
I decided to try some myself. I also got 2 tomatoes.
While walking away, my daughter talked about how she likes the idea of supporting the local farmer. I like the idea too!
So we have decided to go (LORD willin') every Wednesday to our local farmers market to get what we need.
Now, I have a HUGE garden and do not need to go the way she does. But there are things at the market that they have at times (like the beef) that I would like to continue getting.
(Besides- I can't think of a better way to spend time with my married daughter!)
How blessed I am!
Matthew 6:33

Homestead Diary- May the 6th 2015

I can't believe these *girls* are 6 weeks old already! They are turning into beautiful birds.
We got them moved into their new home the other day. They were growing way too fast to be kept in the other pen.
This was the home of our *Luke* the rooster from 2 years ago. We had to put him in another pen because when he is out with the older hens, he hurts them. He killed one about a month ago. I wanted to put him on Craig's list but Hubby gave him a pardon, So now he is in the old pig pen. Plenty of space for the ornery old bird.
They are still trying to *escape* when its time to be fed.
Strawberries are starting to come alive. Doesn't look like we will get a lot.
Hubby mulched the herb garden for me. I also planted some Nasturtiums. They don't seem to coming up. Hubby also planted 6 pepper plants in the herb garden. I am hoping to make some salsa this summer for the first time. Praying the tomatoes and peppers do good.
The tomatoes and corn are growing nicely.
I believe this is the last of the spring flowers. This iris smells so good!
So, how does your garden grow?
Many blessings!
Matthew 6:33

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Homestead Chore #15 Making Homegrown Manure Tea (Fertilizer)

I have been wanting to do this for a long time. I finally got to it today. My herb plants are not looking as good as they should. I usually put the store bought *Miracle Grow* on them to liven them up. NOT this year! Today I am going to use what THE GOOD LORD has given me in HIS creation. It is cheap and VERY plentiful around here. It's AnnaBelle's manure.
I just filled an old pillowcase with dried manure and some not so dry. I then placed it in an old storage container and added water to it. (I tied off the pillow case so it would not fall in.) Now it has to *seep* for a few days in the HOT sun. The result will be an organic fertilizer that I can pour on my herbs or anything else I want to grow.
I can't wait to try it out on my Basil. It does not have that dark green foliage that it should have. It is a dull green. It doesn't seem to be growing all that good either.
I will try it out on Thursday and see what comes of it.
Have any of you tried this before? How did it work for you?
Matthew 6:33
The Self Sufficient HomeAcre