Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Mystery Has Been Solved....I Think.

Last night me and Hubby went down in the holler to visit Phelan and her husband. While we were down there Hubby helped her husband put up some gutters on their cabin so that the rain, that was on the way, could go into their cistern. As they were putting it up, the skies opened up and it rained. About a 1/2 inch worth. And as the men were putting up the gutters in the rain, what were me and Phelan doing? What any normal weirdos do....We sat out in the rain. :) We sat there and talked as water was dripping off our noses. It was very refreshing after a hot and humid day. I looked at her and said, "You know, I'm glad I have someone who can sit in the rain with me and not think it's weird." He both had a good laugh at that.

 Anyway, as we were down in the holler enjoying the rain, little did I know that a massacre was happening up at my house. That's right, I said massacre. We came back to the house to feed the animals. We were running a little later than normal so we had to use flashlights. As Hubby was checking for eggs in the hen house he noticed that there was a dead hen laying on the floor. Then we noticed that we only had a few of our chickens on the roost. The killer strikes again......

 As we were looking around the chicken house, we saw paw prints on the feed barrel. VERY LARGE paw prints. If you have ever owned a Saint Bernard, you know these paw prints. These were the markings of a St Bernard. Jack has been the one killing the chickens. I don't think I was EVER as mad as I was at that time. I wasn't just mad at Jack, I was mad at myself for not tying him up before we left. Hubby even asked me if we should tie him up. I told him no since it was so hot, Jack wouldn't leave the shade of the house. Well, just as soon as it cooled off with the rain, the chicken murder made a bee line right for the chicken coop.

 All in all, we had 17 chickens missing that night, including 8 young pullets that I had just bought to replace the ones that he had killed a week before that. I was livid. We found 8 of the bodies (adult hens too) scattered around the yard. All had feathers torn out but no real damage. (well, other than they were dead.) Jack doesn't want to eat them, he just wants to chase and catch them. Right now I'm really mad at him, but I know it's something that is hard for him to control. I'm sure I'll just see to it that he can't get to them ever again and I guess this just puts the "chicken coop getting done" back up on the top of the list of things that need done ASAP. I also know that I won't be able to stay mad at him for long. I mean, who can resist that face.

So until next time,

Small Farm Girl, looking for some more chickens again.

P.s.  As of this morning some of the chickens have come back.  So I don't think he killed all 17 of the chickens that were missing last night.  Some of the pullets are even back.  I'm feeling better now.

P.s.s.  Coffee is still alive and still came down to sit with Jack today.  I think she has a death wish.  Or, they are conspiring together.  Hmmmmmmmm........

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Getting Ready

It's the end of August and we are having some of the hottest weather that we've had all year.  That's okay, I think Mother Nature is trying to put on a last show before she starts to give us my favorite weather...Fall.

I can hardly wait.  The warm days and the cool nights, the colorful trees, I even love the smell of Fall.  It smells like wood smoke.  :o)  That reminds me, we're going to have to start getting our wood for our wood stove.  We don't like to get it in the middle of summer.  You have to battle bee's nests in dead trees.  You also have a better chance of coming up on a rattle snake or copper head.  So we wait until it gets a little cooler.  Hey, who wants to work in this heat anyway? lol

The farmers almanac has predicted that we are going to have a colder and snowier winter than normal this year.  I'll believe it when I see it, but it is fun to think about.  I'm so glad that we live in an area that has distinct 4 seasons.  By the time I'm getting tired of one, it moves on to the next season.

Anyway, we are getting things marked off of our list to do before it gets cold.  Things like fire wood, and getting the rabbits a place to stay that will keep them out of the wind.  We still have hay that needs to be cut and stored. (Although we have enough for our animals, we are going to sell some to other people that needs it.)   I was wanting to get some of the goat, rabbit, and chicken poop on the garden so that it can work down into the soil through the winter.  With the money that we get for selling the few bails that we bail, we are going to get insulation in the top of the house.  Maybe, just maybe, we will be getting up there soon.  I'm starting to get tired of living in our basement.

Another thing that we need to do before it gets cold, is test out our new wood stove for leaks.  We bought a used wood burner stove for this coming winter and if it turns out to be a good one, it will give off more heat than the one we have.  It's made of think steel and not the thin sheet metal that our old stove is made of.  We need to test it to see if the air drafts are air tight.  I don't want to get a big fire going and not be able to turn it down.  That could be a disaster.  The stove we have now doesn't turn down real good.  It has scared me a few times when we get a fire going up the chimney.  We've had a few chimney fires since we've lived here.  It's mainly because of the stove not being air tight.  Hopefully that will change this year.  Wish us luck.

Phelan and her family have been working hard on getting things ready at their house too.  They have come upon some road blocks, but they are working through them.  The floor ended up being rotted in the cabin that they bought.  The good news is that it should be under warranty.  I hope it is.  That would save them a lot of money.  Since they are in a holding pattern right now, Phelan and her husband came over yesterday and they worked on Hubby's motorcycle.  Well, technically it's his dad's motorcycle, but Hubby rides it all the time.  We had a nice visit.  I keep telling her that I'm glad that I have someone that lives close enough that I can go and borrow a cup of sugar from.  :o)  I just know that once she gets electric and water in her house, she is going to love it here.  She says she already does!  But sometimes, small luxuries like water and electric makes things just a little better. lol

So until next time,

Small Farm Girl, sugar borrower.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Farm Mystery

We have a mystery at the farm.  We've had 7 chickens end up dead.  At first we thought that it was Jack.

Doesn't he look ferocious?  Anyway, he's been known to kill chickens when he was younger.  In fact, he's killed 15 in one quick romp.  But, he's been really good with the chickens lately, as in half a year good.  He doesn't even look at them twice now.  I know, I know,  dogs will be dogs.  I wouldn't put it past him.  In fact, I scolded him about the dead chickens and then started tying him up whenever we aren't home.  And this is where it becomes a mystery.

This is Coffee, the Chicken.  We call her Coffee because she coughs all the time.  She's not sick, she still lays eggs, and no other chickens have the coughs. She just does. So we don't think it's because she is sick.   I figure she has something in her throat.   Anyway, she comes and eats and drinks out of Jack's dishes.  He doesn't mind. 

Most of the days, Coffee actually stays with Jack.  Just hanging out. 

So that's why we were wondering if it was actually him that killed the seven chickens.  Will the mystery ever be solved???????

So until next time,

Small Farm Girl, detective.....

P.S.  I'm trying new things on the blog so please excuse the mess right now.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Goings Ons

Things have been going pretty good around here.  No HUGE adventures yet.  Well, unless you call the "strange thing that hollers down in the holler" an adventure.  Phelan and family are learning the differences in living in the open spaces of Kansas and living in the foot hills of Kentucky.  There are a bunch. Different sounds and different sights.   I like that they are looking at things wide eyed like a young child.  It's opened my eyes to looking at my home in a different light also.  Things that I thought were just common place is so fascinating to them.  I forget that they don't have hills in Kansas, so our winding roads are kinda scary to them.  They are just every day to me.  It takes a different type of driving style to maneuver than just driving straight.  Winter is going to be a big difference to them too.  With them being in a holler, they wont have the wind that they had in Kansas.  The snow comes straight down, not sideways.  No huge drifts to navigate through.  And if we do have drifts, it was a BAD storm.  Plus they will realize that when it snows just a little, the roads get really slick!  Especially when you are trying to go down a hill with a curve at the bottom.   Hey, that's scary for me!  And I've been driving these roads for quite a few years now.  It's also been nice having someone around who thinks like I do. (Ok, no sarcastic remarks guys!!!!  :o)  ) We will be trading recipes and animal war stories.  I think it's gonna be nice.

Around our garden, our tomatoes are being eating by rabbits.  That's right, rabbits.  They take a bite off of a tomato and then move on to the next one.  We have been getting some tomatoes, but not enough to can so we have been going down to Hubby's dad's house and snatching some of theirs. To be truthful, they told us we can have them.  They have over 150 quarts of tomatoes canned.  They don't need anymore.  So we are taking their leftovers.  Same thing with the green beans.  They have a lot of them coming on and they already have enough of them canned.  And since our beans were wiped out by the rascally rabbits, we don't have any of those either.  Next year we will be investing in some chicken wire to go around the garden.  That, or we are letting hunting beagles loose in our in there.  :0)

The goats have been let into the big pasture.  I'm going to write a whole other post on them.  Let's just say they are.....well, goats.  LOL!

I'll leave you all now with that little snippet of what has been going on around here.

So until next time,

Small Farm Girl,  eyes wide open.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

She's Here!!!!!

Let the adventures begin.........

A Homesteading Neophyte


Monday, August 19, 2013

Family Reunion 2013 (Picture Heavy of Family)

This post has a lot of pictures of my family and friends.  Just wanted to warn ya, you'll probably not know these people.  So if ya want, you can skip this post.  I'll understand. hehehehe

Our family is large.  I mean VERY large.  My dad's parents had 12 kids.  Well, they all had kids and their kids had kids, and so on.....But when we all get together, we have fun.  We all usually get along, which is rare in a family this big.  To make it even better, they're very musically inclined.  So of course we have to get our music on whenever we get together.

                This is my dad.  He usually plays the bass or banjo.  And of course, they all sing.

                                           My cousin.  Great drummer!!!!

                                        This is my uncle and his boy. They were really getting into it. lol

This is Dale.  He's a close friend of the family.  I consider him one of the best guitar players out there.  He sings really good too.

                                         My cousin and my aunt. She's a good singer too!

                                         And of course, like most families, we have our nuts......

But, we also have our normal looking people too.  (Notice I said "normal looking"?  There is nothing "normal" about my family. lol ) This is my uncle.

                                          My lovely aunt again.

                                          And like every family, we have the babies.

 And the pretty girls....... She didn't want her picture taken.  I told her I wouldn't show it to anyone, so don't look.

 We have our games that we enjoy too.  We have the egg toss and the water balloon toss.  This is our corn hole tournament.  Very competitive.

So that's one of our summer traditions.  We travel 3 hrs to get to the reunion, but it's worth seeing all my family again.

So until next time,

Small Farm Girl,  blessed.

P.S.  As you can tell, I found the charger to my camera.  That means I'll have pictures on here now.  YaY!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Blackberry Crisp

Since we have an abundance of blackberries this year, I made a few of these crisps.  I posted a picture of it on Facebook and had a lot of people wanting the recipe.  So, here it is....

A pint of blackberries. 
1cup of flour divided..(you can also use GF baking mix)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oats( If you like more oats use more.)
1/2 cup melted butter
1 tsp of vanilla
A dash of salt

Wash berries and put them in a baking dish. I used a 8 inch dish.
Toss them with 1/4 cup flour
Then mix everything else together in a separate bowl.
Crumble over top of berries.
Bake in a 400 degree oven for 30 mins. 
Let stand for at least 5 mins, 10 if you can stand it.  That lets the berry juices absorb into the crust.

You can eat this with ice cream or whipped cream.  Or, eat it plain!!!  You also can add nuts but sometimes the nuts will burn a little on top.

So here ya have the finished product.

SFG,  hungry.     ( This post was written on my iPhone.  Not real sure how to do this yet.  Lol!)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Next Year

Next year things are going to be different for our garden.  Every year I have planted pretty much the same things.  Beans, corn, tomatoes, a few squash plants, a few cucumber plants, and if I felt froggy, I would plant some beats or melons.  This year, like all the other years, our garden is over run by weeds.  Mostly because it's hot and I don't want to go and pull weeds.  So I've been trying to come up with a solution on how I can get a better garden and more food.  I just might have come up with a solution.  Raised beds and containers.

Not just raised beds in the garden, NO!  Raised beds RIGHT OUTSIDE MY DOOR!  I have an old metal container that I put a tomato plant in this year.  I LOVE going out and watering it and weeding it.  Then I set in my chair and I admire it.  I keep watch to see if there are any bugs on it.   I make sure to check the color of the tomatoes more than twice a day.  I almost treat it better than my husband.  hehehe

So I got to wondering why don't I just "move " my garden to in front of my door?  Now, I'm not talking right in front of my door.  You won't have to step over beans to get into the house.  I'm talking about being able to see it from my door.  Our garden that we use now is up on the hill with a fence around it. (stupid deer)  The beans were ate by the rabbits(stupid rabbits), and NOW the rabbits are eating my tomatoes!(Double on the stupid rabbits)  But, they aren't eating my tomatoes in front of the house!

As I get older,(not that I'm old) I start to "know" myself better.  And, I realize that "Myself" is lazy. lol!  Well, maybe lazy isn't the word for it.  I know that if I lose interest in something, I wont follow up on it. With the vegetable plants being in my face everyday, I'll check on them.  I'll make sure they are weeded, I'll make sure they have water, and I'll make sure the rabbits won't eat them.  I've heard that gardening in containers can produce more.  I'll guess I'll find out.

Another thing that I'm going to be doing different next year is trying different types of veggies.  I'm already checking out different things to grow.  Different types of beans, different melons, different tomatoes, all kinds of things that I would never have thought about in my big "normal" garden.  I want to plant garlic this fall.  I've NEVER planted garlic before.  I might even try different types of garlic.  I know, I'm a big risk taker. :)  I'm going to plant onions too.  Oh, and research how to keep them all winter.  We use a lot of onions and I would like to provide them from our garden instead of going to the grocery store.

One thing that I promised myself for this coming year though, is to not overwhelm myself on getting it all done at once.  I know myself enough to know that if I get overwhelmed, I will quit in frustration.  So I'm just going to do it slow.  I mean, I still will have the other garden up on the hill.  I want to plant the corn and maybe some watermelon and such up there.  But I want to see how raised beds and container gardening will benefit my lazy way of life. lol

So until next time,

Small Farm Girl,  a new (lazy) direction.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

No Wheat Experiments

Me and Hubby have been experimenting.   As of March 14 we have been trying to not eat wheat and wheat products.  It was VERY hard for me at first.  I'm the type of person that has to have a piece of bread with every meal or it's just not a meal.  I love pasta, I love biscuits, I love...well, wheat!  But, I love feeling good too.  Since we've been off of wheat, we both have been feeling so much better!  Not as many aches and pains.  Hubby's back and knees don't hurt him as bad and my knees and hips don't hurt me as bad.  Coincidence?  Maybe.  So we decided to go back eating wheat and see.

 You see, every once in a while, we would go off of the "no wheat" diet for a weekend.  Mostly because we were busy and we needed something fast so we would go through a drive thru somewhere and grab something to eat.  Usually it was a sandwich, therefore we ate wheat.  We sometimes would be asked over for supper at someones house and we hadn't told them about us not eating wheat.  So instead of telling them, we just went ahead and ate it.  Usually after a weekend's worth of eating wheat, we would start feeling our normal aches and pains again.  It got me to thinking, were we aching because of the wheat, or because of the activities that we did that weekend?  After a few days of not eating wheat, we would go back to feeling good again.  It so happens that those days we also didn't do as much work around the farm  either.  Hmmmmmmm....

So since I LOVE breads, I thought we would try eating wheat for a longer amount of time to see if it's the wheat or the busy weekends that are causing the pains.  So we did. I started to make biscuits again.  I made pasta again.  I even made some blackberry cobblers.  We have been eating wheat for 2 weeks and........WE FEEL HORRIBLE!!!!!  I have gained so much water weight.  My legs have ached every night when I go to bed.  Hubby has had heartburn and an upset stomach at least 5 times both week.  His knees have started to ache again and, we both don't have any energy to do anything.  We haven't changed anything else that we were doing.  No extra activities, no hard work, no nothing!  Just the wheat was the only difference.  And let me tell you,  we can tell a BIG difference.  So I guess it's no wheat for us again.  We can still have a meal every once in a while, but that's it!  No more all weekenders for us.

Now, it has been a challenge to come up with different recipes that doesn't contain wheat. Wheat is in EVERYTHING!  They do have breads and pastas that are made out of things other than wheat, it's just they are soooo expensive!  $6 for a loaf of bread?   No thank you!  I will make my own.  That is, if I can find a good recipe.  Like I said, it's become a challenge to find foods that are good without wheat.  But, we are doing it.  We have to if we want to feel good.

So until next time,

Small Farm Girl,  wheatless.