Monday, July 23, 2012

Random Update

  It's been a while, I know! There's been a lot going on around here. Since my last post we've had and gotten rid of pigs, sheep and the horse. Rabbits came and now they must go. Turkeys came and now we're eating them, Yum!  I'm preg with child #6 so I couldn't handle all of the work. Perhaps we will try again at another time. The important thing is I've learned a lot and had a lot of fun. If you have any questions about any of these animals let me know and I'll do a section on them.
  We're scaling back our heard to 3 does and 2 bucks. Well, we will have two bucks to keep as we are getting a new on on Sunday! An of the breeds we've never had before. I'll post new pics of the herd and other critters as i figure out how to do it from my phone.
  The garden is looking great this year. We had to make it much smaller than before and because I haven't been able to be out much because of the heat and the grass if finally trying to take over. I'll try to post pics of the garden as well. It's pretty interesting :) You'll just have to read and see the strange and fun things we are doing with it now, lol. Well home school is calling my name so I better get to it. Have a great day!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

4 legged critters and their barn

This is Slick he came with the property. We don't really know how old he is but he has a sad story.  Slick was born to a loving family where he was broke to ride and enjoyed life. His people later decided to sell him to someone. The next people beat and starved Slick. When he became mean and unmanageable they sent him to auction where he was bought for $35 by the previous owner of this place. She didn't have much time for him and i still don't think he got enough to eat.  As you can tell from the pic he is now getting plenty to eat and is filling out to be a handsome gelding. We cant ride him yet but this past week he decided it was OK to eat from my hand and will now follow me all around as long as no one else is in the fence.  He is still very skiddish  and will bolt or go nuts over a lot of stuff. He is slowly making friends with the goats, Mini Mellow being his favorite. He talks to us whenever we come out and loves to beg watch us as we work in the yard. Hopefully one day we will be able to ride him. In the meantime we plan on continuing to give him lots of love and food.                      
Here is Portia (from Fiasco Farm) and Ram Rod. Portia is a total sweet heart who loves lots of attention. Like the other goats she loves coming in the house! Ram Rod well i bet you can guess how he got his name!  Lace is the black with white baby goat and her mom is Tippy the black goat. Tippy was my first goat and holds the rare pet status here although she is a great milker. She is now giving  1/2-3/4 gal a day with one baby still on her. Shes a smaller goat so that's a pretty good amount.  The one in the Middle is double stuff, Mini Mellows sister. Their Mother was Marshmallow whom I'm afraid we had to put down some time ago. She was suffering and we just couldn't watch it anymore. Double Stuff lost her twin sister in an accident at a friends house. She is very sweet and jealous. The rest of my goats excluding Mini Mellow whose pic i had issues downloading this time are summering at a friends house.                                
  Here's our barn. We made it half open in the front for plenty of ventilation and breezes during the summer. Come winter we will seal it better and add some sort of covering for the open part. We plan to expand at some point but this is the best we could do with scraps.                      
   Here is the far side of the barn where we have 2 industrial nesting boxes. there are 10 on each side for a total of 40 with each box holding 2 chickens or game hens. There are several stalls in the barn with this back part that's open being the horse stall.  As you can see my kids have left a couple of things out here that I need clean up.   The other is a days worth of eggs we found int he brooding house. We left a hole in there so that broody chickens could lay and sit on their eggs away from all the other chickens.                                                   

 Here are some of our ducks. We have 4 that are not shown that will not be white. At the time of this  pic they were not old enough to have them running loose. In the pic to the right one of my ducks is lounging a a frying pan we leave out by the house with a bit of water in case they would like a drink when in that area.

Here is my hubby with a mud turtle. He was safely moved to another property as he is a threat to our ducks. Mud turtles will grab the ducks when they go out to the water, pull them under and drown them. We have lost a few this way. Thank goodness we caught this guy and moved him to a place better suited for him and us!

In the near future I will be adding posts with pics of the chickens and game hens. I will also include pics of the emergency brooders we had to come up with along with the ones we are working on in the brooding house. This is where all the brooders( a place where you keep small chicks so that they stay warm and can grow) are. We also have a few hens that like to go broody (decide they want to hatch their own chicks) in there away from the others. That place is deff still in progress, lol. I will add pics of the orchard, berries, grapes, herb garden and reg garden. All of these are new plants so most of them are rather small. The trees should be producing in the next 3-5 years. More about the plants when i do that post. Anyway I better go there is always a lot to do around here and its calling me.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Update for this year.

                                          Ram Rod
                                           Mini Mellow
                                           Portia (bought from Fiasco Farm)
                                          Bonnie (front) Double Stuff (back)
  These pics are about 6 months old I will be updating with new pics here at the new farm as soon as I can. I will include pics of this years garden, beginning of the vineyard, berry patches and the new much larger orchard with currently has about 35 fruit and nut trees. Please keep in mind most of them are small seeing as how we just planted them.
  I will also be posting pics of all our new animals and the brooders. Some are used off and on. Two are still being old fridge and dishwasher. We are still trying to clean up this place it was pretty trashed when we got it so please excuse any messes you see. It WILL get clean up,lol. I hope to walk around the property and take some general pics so you can kind of see how our land looks. There's a major difference between 1 acre and 5 acres!
  Update on eggs, considering the move and all so far this year we have gathered about 1100 eggs. This is from 30 birds-chickens, ducks and game hens. Please keep in mind some of our birds are male. We have recently gotten another 79 birds. 3 of those are turkeys, all rare breeds. 12 more ducks and the rest are chickens (mostly rare breeds) with a few game and bantams thrown in. We are only milking one goat (Tippy) right now and she has 3 babies on her but we are still getting .5 gal a day. Way to go Tippy! I believe several of our other goats are preg and are looking forward to babies sometime this summer, I'm guessing around June 16th.
  Now that my hubby is home full time with us trying to make this work I hope to actually have the time to keep this blog up. My goal is to post once or twice a week with new pics often. My hubby is hoping to start a goat milk soap business. Right now I am researching so that maybe he can develop and make a soap that would help lupus sufferers with their dry skin. Later future (maybe) a goat cheese business so that he can continue staying at home with us. Fresh fruit will be sold from the orchard after it finally reaches that point. We are hoping to sell fresh eggs and whatever other produce we can after things are well enough along. At some point he will also sell some baby chicks and some of our baby goats as we will no doubt end up with to many. Well the baby is fussy i best go tend him. See you later!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

What is a Three Sisters Garden?

It is an ancient method of gardening using an inter-cropping system which grows corn, beans, and squash crops simultaneously in the same growing area that is typically a rounded mound of soil, often called a hill.

Corn is the oldest sister. She stands tall in the center.

Squash is the next sister. She grows over the mound, protecting her sisters from weeds and shades the soil from the sun with her leaves, keeping it cool and moist.

Beans are the third sister. She climbs through squash and then up corn to bind all together as she reaches for the sun. Beans help keep the soil fertile by converting the sun's energy into nitrogen filled nodules that grow on its roots. As beans grow they use the stored nitrogen as food.

How do I grow a Three Sisters Garden?
In mid-Spring clear a sunny garden area of grasses, weeds, and large stones. The area should be roundish in shape and at least eight feet across. Cover the area with a few inches of compost or well rotted manure. Turn the compost in to loosen the ground and create a moisture retaining growing medium with increased fertility. Water it well. Check the growing area frequently over the next few weeks to remove any sprouted weeds.
In late-Spring sow about seven or eight corn seeds in the center of the growing circle, in a ring pattern, spaced out about six inches from each other. Plant the corn seeds an inch under the soil, firm the soil above by patting it down with the palm of your hand. Water the growing mound well. The corn will sprout and begin to grow in about two weeks.
After the corn has grown to about ten inches high, using a hoe or hand trowel, pull up some soil from the growing mound around the base of the corn stalks. The corn should not be buried entirely, it's upper half should be above the soil that has been mounded around it's stems. The corn will send roots into the mounded soil to hold it steady and upright in the wind.

After mounding soil around the base of the corn stalks sow about a dozen pole bean seeds in a ring pattern six inches outside the corn stalks. Push the bean seeds about an inch under the soil and firm the ground above them by patting it down with your hand. Water the growing mound well. The beans will usually begin to sprout in about 7-14 days.

About a week after the beans sprout, sow six or seven squash seeds in a ring about 12-15" outside the beans. Push the squash seeds about an inch under the soil and firm the ground above them by patting it down with your hand. The squash seeds will sprout in about a week.

As the corn grows the beans will begin to climb, you can help them early on by wrapping the bean vines around the corn stalks. The squash will begin to grow it's vines and the large squash leaves will soon cover the growing mound and shade its soil. On occasion help the squash continue to cover the mound by turning the ends of it's vines towards the center of the mound. Water the mound well during weeks where there has been little or no rain.
When can we harvest our Three Sister's Garden?
Corn may be harvested while in it's green corn stage, but tradtionally it is left to ripen and is harvested in Autumn. The cob is sun dried and stored for winter use. To harvest green corn observe the silky threads coming from the tops of the ears, when the silk is dry and a dark brown color the corn may be harvested. To remove an ear of corn, hold the stalk a few inches below the ear. Pull the tip of the ear toward the ground until it snaps off.

Beans may be eaten fresh or allowed to mature and dry on the vine. Fresh beans can be harvested when the pods are firm and crisp, but before the seeds within the pods have begun to swell. Pick beans in late morning after the night-dew has dried from the plants. This helps to prevent the spread of bacterias which can harm the plants. Pick the beans carefully to avoid bruising or snapping the growing vines. Bean plants will continue to flower and more bean pods will develop if they are harvested before bean seeds can mature.

Squash should be picked only after its skin has hardened thoroughly. Be careful to not damage or break off the stem of the squash...this can wound the squash and it will begin to rot. Cut the stem 3-4" from the fruit with a sharp knife. Allow the squash to sit in the sun for a few days to cure and the stem to dry. Store squash in a single layer and not touching each other, which can foster rot. Squash can last at least two months, depending on the variety.
Enjoy growing your Three Sisters Garden!

Article by Trudi_d

 I don't normally use other people articles but this one is really good and explains everything wonderfully. Besides, lol, the kids were having issues allowing me the time to write it all out myself. A note. Instead of squash you can plant things like melons, gourds or pumpkins. Pretty much any broad leaf vine will work well in place of the squash. Instead of working the ground we will simply place plastic down and dump dirt on top of it in a 5-6 foot mound making weeds even less of a problem.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Updated Garden List and Homestead Happenings

 It's Spring and there's a lot going on around here. We had some issues with the pregnancy but everything is fine now. I'll be 15 weeks along on Thur. We were able to see our little darling in an ultrasound and talk about a mover, lol.
  We had to get 27 new chicks due to a sickness, our previous chicken flock had caught from someone else's infected birds. It took out nearly all of them! Needless to say for now on we will only breed and hatch our own or buy from the two online companies we like. Unfortunately 2 of our new chicks have died. One due to the dog and one due to pecking. This time we choose to go with the barred rocks. I'm glad to say the game hens and ducks are great even though the neighbors dog took out our wood duck, grrrr. They are currently sitting on eggs trying to hatch them for us. To cute!
 The goats are doing well. All the babies are very active and sweet and have of course stolen our hearts. It sure is going to be hard when it comes time for them to be dinner. The mama goats are doing very well. Our Saanen doe is giving us a full gal. just at our morning milking! We haven't started the evening milking yet as the babies are not fully weened. Our mini Nubian is giving us half a gal just in the morning milking and is about ready to start having evening milking as well. She's doing her best to ween the babies but they don't want to. LOL no surprise there. The poor male has had to be separated for a while do to trying to breed the babies already and in the next week or so will be sent to vacation at a friends house where he will be pampered and used as their lawnmower.
  Ok so heres the current list of what we have planted so far.
Black berries
Red raspberries
Grapes- white
Apple trees of different kinds
Fig trees
Kiwi tree
Plum tree
Pear tree
ANGELICA - Dried leaves are used to make an infusion (tea) to improve energy, stimulate circulation and reduce flatulence. Has antibacterial and anti-fungal qualities.
BASIL, SWEET - Steep leaves in water for a few minutes to make a tea to help indigestion. Make a cold-oil infusion to massage sore muscles.
CALENDULA - Flowers make a healing mouthwash for the gums. Mix a cream using calendula petals and plantain leaves for healing of cuts.
CATNIP - Make a tea to to relieve colds and fevers. Also used to treat headaches and upset stomachs. Has mild sedative qualities.
CHAMOMILE - Use in a tea as a mild sleep aid or to aid digestion. Make a cream to treat dry, rough skin.
COMMON YARROW - Infused tea fights colds and fevers. Make a cream with its flower petals to use on cuts and burns.
CORIANDER - Chew leaves or infuse as a tea to relieve upset stomachs. Also used as a mild sedative.
FEVERFEW - Eat three to five leaves daily to reduce migraine headaches. Infuse as a tea to relieve muscle spasms or reduce fever.
HOREHOUND - Make a tonic of chopped horehound leaves and honey to treat sore throats. A cold infusion will help relieve heartburn.
HYSSOP - Make a cream to treat bruises and burns. Infuse as tea to treat colds, flu, bronchitis and sore throats.
PURPLE CONE FLOWER (Echinacea Purpurea) - Drink a hot infusion to stimulate the immune system.
ST JOHN'S WORT - Infuse as tea to treat depression or as a mild sedative. Makes a cream to treat bruises and skin inflammation.
SUMMER SAVORY - Hot infusion is gargled to treat a sore throat. Also drink as a tea to treat diarrhea and indigestion.
THYME - Make a tea sweetened with honey to help relieve sore throats and coughs. Infusion used to relieve hangovers.
VALERIAN - Roots used to relieve nervous tension, anxiety, insomnia and pain. Roots used in a cream to treat acne or skin rashes.

  We still have a few things left to buy and get in the ground like strawberries and I have potatoes waiting, lol. We're dong succession planting so most of these things will be planted several more times. For sure the corn, beans and all other vine plants. We are using the 3 sisters method for those and have not been able to get them all in yet. Thankfully we have been able to put up several raised bed gardens this year and have used some of the 70 tires i got a hold of for things like the berries and herbs. We will also be using them for the potatoes making them much easier to harvest, hooray. Hubby has been kind enough to install drip irrigation to almost every section of my garden today as well as putting in a self watering system for the goats. Since I'm pregnant with our 5th child he doesn't want me hauling the water.How sweet is that?! Well I'm off to sit on the swing and enjoy the work we have done so far have a great day!
 Oh, I almost forgot to mention. Yesterday a friend hit a small deer with is car so last night we went over so i could butcher it. We came home with 45 lbs of deer meat, wahoo! This morning we were able to wake up to some super yummy biscuits and deer sausage gravy. I made about a gal. of it so id have plenty, lol. Wonder if you can can this stuff? I may try to freeze some of it but most likely we'll just have it for breakfast all week.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring is here!

  Ok, so a lot has been going on here to say the least. Tomorrow I'll be 13 weeks pregnant, wahoo! We've had a couple of issues, but nothing we can't handle. Turns out i need surgery on my shoulder can't remember what they called it, on my wrist for carpel tunnel, and maybe on my leg for a Lipoma I've had for 21 years. I'm going for an ultrasound on my leg on Monday. Since i became pregnant it has really been hurting me, though its been doing much better the past two days. It wont effect the pregnancy which is good but they want to make sure it isn't putting pressure on a vein or attaching to my muscle. For those of you that don't know this is our fifth child God has chosen to bless us with! We are also using a midwife (Karen) and will be having a home underwater birth. That's the only way to go as far as I'm concerned.
 We started planting in the garden today after getting a few of the raised bed gardens in. They are each 20*6 feet and should make everything easier for us to tend. Our long term goal is to have about 36 of those.Here's and updated list of the seeds i bought from heirloom seeds. Thank you mom for my Christmas gift certificate that made this purchase possible.

Item:1 - Qty:1, (O010) GIANT RED CELERY - CERTIFIED ORGANIC, Price:$2.00
Item:2 - Qty:1, (257) WHITE DIXIE BABY BUTTERBEANS, Price:$1.99
Item:3 - Qty:1, (O302) CALABRESE BROCCOLI - CERTIFIED ORGANIC, Price:$2.00
Item:4 - Qty:1, (O213) BLACK TURTLE BEAN - CERTIFIED ORGANIC, Price:$2.75
Item:5 - Qty:1, (0261) LIGHT RED KINDEY BEAN - CERTIFIED ORGANIC, Price:$2.75
Item:6 - Qty:1, (215) PINTO BEAN, Price:$1.99
Item:7 - Qty:1, (O4502) ALL SEASONS CABBAGE - CERTIFIED ORGANIC, Price:$2.00
Item:9 - Qty:1, (566) LADY FINGER POPCORN, Price:$1.99
Item:10 - Qty:2, (O561) ASHWORTH CORN - CERTIFIED ORGANIC, Price:$2.75
Item:11 - Qty:1, (O516) MUNCHER CUCUMBER - CERTIFIED ORGANIC, Price:$2.00
Item:12 - Qty:1, (O26) LONG PURPLE EGGPLANT - CERTIFIED ORGANIC, Price:$2.00
Item:13 - Qty:1, (5113) LUFFA GOURD, Price:$1.25
Item:15 - Qty:1, (677) AMISH MELON, Price:$1.25
Item:16 - Qty:1, (2501) GREEN GLOBE ARTICHOKE, Price:$1.25
Item:17 - Qty:1, (2520) MARY WASHINGTON ASPARAGUS, Price:$1.25
Item:18 - Qty:1, (2605) GARDEN HUCKLEBERRY - CERTIFIED ORGANIC, Price:$2.50
Item:19 - Qty:1, (O717) SUGAR ANN SNAP PEA - CERTIFIED ORGANIC, Price:$2.75
Item:21 - Qty:1, (O7049) ORANGE BELL PEPPER - CERTIFIED ORGANIC, Price:$2.50
Item:22 - Qty:1, (O7055) MARCONI RED PEPPER - CERTIFIED ORGANIC, Price:$2.50
Item:23 - Qty:1, (O7043) JIMMY NARDELLO`S PEPPER - CERTIFIED ORGANIC, Price:$2.50
Item:24 - Qty:1, (O7007) LONG RED CAYENNE PEPPER - CERTIFIED ORGANIC, Price:$2.50
Item:25 - Qty:1, (O82) BIG MAX PUMPKIN - CERTIFIED ORGANIC, Price:$2.00
Item:27 - Qty:1, (O4010) WALLA WALLA ONION - CERTIFIED ORGANIC, Price:$2.00
Item:30 - Qty:1, (O9001) BUTTERNUT SQUASH - CERTIFIED ORGANIC, Price:$2.00
Item:32 - Qty:1, (O147) ROMA TOMATO - CERTIFIED ORGANIC, Price:$2.50
Item:33 - Qty:1, (O116) AMISH PASTE TOMATO - CERTIFIED ORGANIC, Price:$2.50
Item:35 - Qty:1, (O6017) BLENDS - GOURMET SALAD BLEND - CERTIFIED ORGANIC, Price:$2.00
Item:36 - Qty:1, (254) BLUE LAKE POLE BEAN, Price:$1.99 

We've started a ton more of fruit trees and will of course be buying more that are much bigger,lol. One we will definitely be adding is the pink banana. How great is that? We will also be buying and planting more berries, grapes and anything else we can of that nature. We also have to finish digging up the blackberries that are way in the back and moving them to the garden area. I still have to locate a soapnut tree....
 Cheese making resumed yesterday and boy have i missed it. We made cheese curds yesterday and ill be making Panir in just a few minutes, then tomorrow or the next day ill make a oh so missed batch of farmers cheese.
 Home school too has had a few adjustments made. Adam will be continuing onto 5th grade while Alexander will be going down to 3rd. No, don't diss its an accelerated curriculum and he will stay on grade for anything that does not involve intense reading such as math and science..... It was a tough choice to make but I had to make it and everyone seems pretty happy with my decision. Mariam is doing well and has chosen to mostly teach herself. I'm good with that as long as we still see progress. Isaac is starting writing but would rather have fun with paint and play dough.  Well off to make cheese! God bless and have a great night.