Monday, March 31, 2014

2014 Garden is Started

On Sunday it was in the 60s so I planted over 300 onion bulbs (red, yellow and white), 3 apple trees, 2 peach trees, about 10 gooseberry bushes. This week I will get in some lettuce and radishes and the following week I will put in beets, peas, carrots and potatoes.  I started my tomato seeds last Friday so I am pretty much on time with this years garden.  The big problem is the weather.  Spring needs to come and stay and not just visit 1 or 2 days a week.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Canning Season I'm Ready for You

Someone brought in 34 dozen regular mouth canning jars seals, still in their boxes, all unopened and gave them to Ron.  I am almost ready for gardening, have all my seeds, onion bulbs and seed potatoes and will purchase a few plants.  In the next week I will get in some lettuce for me and the chickens and get the onions in the ground.  After that comes the Yukon Gold potatoes, beets and peas then the warm weather crops will have to wait a while yet.  Then the best part comes, the canning and I am ready for it.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Recycled Kitchen Drawer into a Drink Station Organizer

A couple weeks ago I picked up several free old wood kitchen drawers and cabinet fronts.  Four of the drawers were used to make nesting boxes for the chickens.  I then had 1 regular size drawer and 1 deep drawer.  While looking for ways to re-purpose them I saw how they can be hung on the wall for shelves.  I drew up a plan and my husband made it for me.  I sanded it and applied antique finishing oil to it to bring out the natural wood tone.  The vintage shelf liner was still in the drawer and in excellent condition so I left it in.  The shelves were made from recycled dresser drawer sides and bottoms.  The only thing purchased was the quarter round that the shelves sit on and it was less than $2.
I now have a nice organized drink station for less than $2 and saves on counter space.  The drawer I have left is a deep drawer and need to come up with a plan for it.  Also the cabinet fronts are waiting for a project.  All the stuff is vintage and is all solid wood.

My drink station.

Re-cycled kitchen drawer into a drink organizer.

The re-cycled drawer.

I'm going to add a towel to the drawer handle.

The Calendar and Mother Nature

The calendar says it is Spring but Mother Nature says it is still winter.  The temps for the last couple of days and the next couple of days say winter is still here.  The light snowfall last night says the same. 
It is time to get my onions in the ground and also some lettuce but it is going to have to wait until about a week when the ground is ready for me to get out and work in it.  I am ready but Mother nature is not.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Grafting Fruit Trees

Today was a fun day and a day full of learning.  A former co worker came over to my house with all the supplies needed to graft apple trees and peach trees.  We grafted 40 to 50 trees with the majority being apple trees.  I've never done anything like this before and was fairly easy to learn.
First we took the rootstock and Shaun used a grafting tool and cut the notch on the end, then came the cutting from a desired fruit and Shaun would prepare the end of it with the same tool.  I then would connect these 2 items and wrap them with grafting bands to hold them together.  This was not as easy as it sounds.  Some times it took me 4 times of wrapping the bands to get it correct.  After the band was wrapped you then apply tree pruning/grafting sealer.  It looks like and smells like tar and I still have some on my hands.   At this point it is done.  We took some sticky labels and labeled each tree with the name of the tree.
I kept 3 apple trees and 2 peach trees and will get them planted next week.  I am going to ask a gentleman in town that has white peaches if I can get some cuttings and then Shaun and I will graft some of them.   I've had some of the peaches from those trees and you can't get anything better than those.  Ron thinks one of the guys he works with has plums and I would love to get some cuttings off of them.  We need  to get these done in the next week so we can send for the rootstock so they can get in the ground real soon.  I will have my own little fruit orchard and that would be wonderful.  Shaun has created a monster.  :)

Shaun and I grafting apple and peach trees.  I cleared a spot in my storeroom in the garage because it was too cold out to do it outside.

Shaun and his son Chris leaving with all the work.  Shaun is acting goofy and Chris is eating lickerish. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Coops Cleaned

Yesterday I did the dreaded cleaning of the chicken and turkey coops.  In the winter I use the deep litter method so there was a lot of crap in them.  I hauled the waste to the garden bed and will till it in when the ground thaws more.  Found a couple mouse families in both, the chickens ate a couple of the mice (ick).  Not much I can do to keep them out, I don't have food in the coops that is in the runs.  I guess living next to a field and woods doesn't help.  Now until winter it gets cleaned monthly or sooner.
Today my back and knees are hurting and my legs keep me from getting a good nights sleep.  I am pretty much unfortunately used to getting little sleep.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Mr Sandman Where Are Thou

Mr Sandman where are thou, I need you to come back to my house tonight.  I went to bed last night at 9 PM and was awake at 12:30 AM.  So I got up at 1:00 AM and have been working on my store marking down all the items.   I need to make room for things I plan on purchasing in April on our trip to Pennsylvania.  We will be gone for a week and I can hardly wait to go.  We have only been to Amish country in Pennsylvania one time about 20 years ago.
Our almost 18 year old granddaughter will come over and help our grandson who is 23 that lives with us take care of all the chickens and turkeys.  While we are gone hopefully there will be some turkeys hatching.  Every Sunday I put the turkey eggs in the incubator from the week.  Out of the the 4 turkey hens only one is old enough to lay and I have been getting 5 eggs a week from her for the last 2 weeks.  The other 3 hens should start laying in about a month.  I will continue to try to hatch all of the eggs myself and then when it gets warmer I will let them hatch some if they go broody. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Smoking Meat

At an auction last month we purchased a new Brinkmann Charcoal Smoker for about $30.   Ron has wanted one for a while now and this is a nice size one and got it for a pretty reasonable price.  Ron and I smoked one of the turkeys we butchered this winter, a chicken I butchered last week, a corn beef tip brisket roast that I picked up yesterday and some fish filets.  When you smoke something you might as well fill up the smoker. There will still be plenty of space but for the first time smoking something I think we will stick with these 4 items.  We had the turkey today along with some pasta salad, quinoa salad and spiral cut baked garlic butter potatoes.
We will have the other meat during the week for supper.  All I will have to do is add a side dish with the meat and have a really nice meal.
This was a first for us, we have never smoked anything before and I can see we really missed something all these years.
Of course I taste tested everything and there will be a lot more fish done, the brisket is soooooo good and all the meat was nice and juicy.

The smoker.

The turkey, 7 lbs.

Fish filets.

Chicken and boneless corn beef tip brisket.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

I Gave In

Last week the granddaughter Hannah called me when she was at the farm store telling me they had chickens.  Of course I told her I had a dozen that were just a week old and 2 incubators full of eggs.  She informed me that they had Jersey Giants.  I don't think she knew I want Jersey Giants but I have been wanting to try them.  I held out for several days then on Tuesday I went and got the last 5 they had on hand.  They are White Jersey Giants and they were about a week old so they fit in very well with the other chicks.   About 6 months from now I need to look for a Jersey Giant rooster so I can breed some and won't need to buy anymore.
On a positive note, the day I choose to get the chicks was Senior Citizens 10% off day and I was able to get the discount on the chicks.  So it was meant to be or that is what I tell myself.  

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Two Incubators Full of Eggs

On Thursday I filled my first incubator with 41 chicken eggs and then today I filled the second one with 40 chicken eggs and 1 turkey egg.  I will have to take the turkey egg out and put in my 3rd incubator when I stop turning the chicken eggs.  Hopefully the turkey who is laying will continue and the other 3 will start laying real soon.   All turkey eggs I get I will incubate unless when it gets warmer one of the turkeys go broody I will let her sit on them.  But for now while we are still experiencing snow, ice and below zero temps I will collect the eggs and add them to the 3rd incubator.