On the Farm: Visitors, Animals, and Food!

Summertime Farm Visitors

On our little farm along with the animals, there was food and several visitors. All of the visitors were family. After moving out here, the remodeling started… and the inside of the house was a jumble. Having any guests was completely out of the question, especially if they were staying overnight. Next came COVID and traveling and overnights were also not a good idea. Not the that I need to tell you, that lasted more than a year! Now that travel is less restrictive, some family has finally managed a visit and we thoroughly enjoy each one. It has sure made the summertime go faster than usual.

Visitors to the farm included my Nephew and his daughter, Miss A visited for several days again, on the way home from Missouri. Miss A came with a desire to sew and visit with the animals. We fulfilled both. Her dad thought a Distillery tour would be fun. One of the kids, the son, his spouse, and the grandkids came to visit as well. We did lots of investigating everything we could do here, and a visit to the Slugger Bat Factory (many baseball fans in the family). Lastly, the hub’s sister and spouse came too. We stayed home, but we sure did lots of stuff, along with fishing and target practice! Different types of activities for each group!

Farm Animals and Food

This years pigs are not nearly as cute or friendly as Piggy Ann and Iggy Piggy were. These 2 porcine animals were a little younger and a bit slower off the starting line, but the weather warmed up they settled in. These 2 are really are more like farm pigs and all about the food!!! With the summertime heat, they really like the mud wallow and this year they actually had a pool we had so much rain in one day.

This years pigs
These 2 pigs like everything from the kitchen!

I have mentioned this before, this year we have 3 cows in the farm pasture. Only ‘Sir Loin’ is ours. They are all steers and I call them ‘the Cow Boys’ when they are all in a group. I have discovered that cows like lots of different foods from the garden. The cows now have their own scrap bucket, (yep I save all kinds of scraps), they get the carrot, zucchini, cucumber, lettuce bits, and apple cores. The pigs get everything else, except meat and coffee grounds. The chickens get whatever treat I have the most of. They all came to the fence because they thought I had a treat for them.

The 'Cow Boys'
This year’s cows, which I call the “Cow Boys”

Summertime Garden Food

We of course planted a garden again. The spring started off a little cool and the summer started off with a lot of rain. So the plants grew… but the fruiting was slow. Then one day it was summertime, the sun came out and stayed. The cucumbers took off and who knew there could be so many? The corn came in, but so did the corn worms and silk beetles. We got 4 ears and we let the cows have the rest. And then the tomatoes!!! Look at all these tomatoes. Only 4 days worth! There are more on the window sill. I will turn them in a sauce or soup and freeze. The cherry tomatoes are for grazing, but realistically we can’t eat that many, so I dehydrate several hundred every couple of days. I will grind them into a powder, and by adding a bit of water I get instant tomato sauce or tomato soup.

4 days of tomato harvest
Getting ready to peel, seed, cook or dehydrate some tomatoes.

Those little yellow orbs are not tomatoes. They are ‘lemon cucumbers’ and are food from my childhood in California. I call them a west coast treat because it seems the only people that are familiar with them appear to be from the west. I have introduced many Kentuckians to these sweet crispy little gems. No, they don’t taste like a lemon, they get their name from the shape and color. On the left are butternut squash… hundreds of those too… but that is for an entirely different reason than prolific plants. With the heat of August, the summertime garden is just about done!!!

Cooking with Gas

Somewhere between the rain and the sunshine, we decided that the glass-topped electric stove needed to go. While they say it is possible to can food with a glass-top range, it takes forever. A gas range is a much better option. We had to order the new range and wait for the arrival. In the meantime, I had a new gas line to the kitchen installed. Since the stove was installed I have preserved a few things. Mostly pickles, dill, bread and butter, and a jar of refrigerator pickles. (we had hundreds of cucumbers from 4 plants. Next year I will try my hand at preserving more of the farm products.

Busy Bees

Not only is the kitchen humming this summer, but most of the groups and guilds are back to meetings. It is fun to be back in a room with so many other like-minded folks. One quilt guild sponsors a fall quilt show so I am preparing to have a booth and doing something I avoided. Since moving I had not set up a new photo studio. The natural lighting was not optimal. That issue was solved by adding some softbox lighting. I now have a real photo studio, but as you can see it is not huge!!!

the new photo stuido
The new photo studio. Zero natural light

I have added new stock to the store… Pin Cups, BladeSavers, and Magic Pins are all the rage… They are all game-changers for the sewing room. They make whatever they do so much easier or better than the predecessor!!! There is still more to come… but unfortunately, I need to sleep… but I’m getting it done as fast as I can!!!

More Later and thanks for sticking with me… even if I am not as regular as I need to be.

Beth

Summer Happenings in the Country

Summer time in the country

Summer is on the downward side. Funny how you don’t really notice how late the sun goes down… in general, but as we reach the summer solstice, you notice the days getting shorter and the need for indoor lighting earlier and earlier. A couple of weeks ago, we had some early fall-like weather. The daytime temperatures were in the mid-70-degree range and there was a breeze out of the north. And then Summer came roaring back with ’90s and humidity.

Garden in July
Hits and misses in the garden production

Garden-Doings

Production from the garden has been hit or miss. What we discovered this first summer were the bugs. We had all of them, squash beetles, aphids, striped potato bugs, cucumber beetles, and a few others. The worst one destroys zucchini, and fast! We have more zucchini planted and a spray to keep the vine borer away. It is our third planting. The cucumbers were very slow to start and then came on strong! We planted 2 varieties. Our favorite variety, mostly known on the west coast called a Lemon Cucumber-round and yellow, and the other was a green long straight one. Also delicious. As usual, the green beans did well. Bugs don’t seem to like them that much. Watermelon and cantaloupes a miss and a hit. I think the corn was the most successful. Sweet and tender. I am from Ohio, in the summer we would head to farm stalls for corn. Ostensibly to buy some for dinner. But the real reason was lunch. We would have it right there, right out of the bag. So tender and sweet it didn’t even need cooking, butter, or salt. What we grew this summer reminded me of it so much. The tomatoes are going strong!

Having drip irrigation has been the best thing since sliced bread. It hs really helped to keep the soil moist and the plants fed. The hose that we connect from the hydrant to the garden has not fared so well. The lawnmower… has done a number on it… may need to get a pipe feed for the water.

The Cow Summer Fun

Last Saturday the neighbor with the tractor came by and offered to mow the field March lives in down. He just hasn’t been eating it fast enough. Well, that tractor came in and started to mow, and Mr. March came out of the loafing shed, where he spends nearly all day, to see about the interloper. March challenged that tractor several times and then went back to the shed until it was done. In the middle picture, March looks like a bull in the arena staring down a Matador.

Doings at the Pig Pen

The pigs are almost too big to be cute. At feeding they are pushy and during the day they just lay about in the shade. The mud still offers some comfort and protection from the flies and hot summer sun. They love the garden spoils and greens. I am estimating that Iggy weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of 175 to 200 pounds. He is a big fellow and Piggie a bit less in weight and shorter in both height and length. Getting pictures of them is difficult now. They think every time we enter the barn, it means food!

Big Pigs

Chicken Happenings

In the spring we decided that the old chicken coop (former playhouse for children), was too hard on a human. The porch roof is very low as is the doorway. We also did not like having the chicken yard behind the little house. How much fun is that? So we built a new coop in the spring and finished building the yard in the summer. We will turn the playhouse into the food storage location and house some Guinea fowl next spring. The new location is where the family that built the playhouse had the swing set and sandbox. All beautifully framed with railroad ties and filled with sand and polished pea gravel. Since we have more chicken room, we’ve added 4 more girls. They are the same variety as the older birds, Cream Legbar. They are only about 3 months old, so it will be a bit before they lay eggs… sometime around December. The new chickens will live in the playhouse for a few weeks before we mix the girls.

Warning Slithery Doings- you might want to skip this last bit

In the evenings it is my turn to feed the cow and the pigs. On Tuesday evening I spied a snake in the garden on my way back to the house by way of the compost bin. It was a harmless to humans variety, (a Southern Black Racer), so I took a picture and moved on. What I didn’t realize is that it was caught up in the blueberry netting. So the next morning, I got a text from the DH asking me to come to the garden to help him with the snake. This is very unusual! He intensely dislikes the creatures. So I hurried out there. Between us, we cut it free and watched it run off to hide in the burn pile. Copperhead or water moccasin, I would not have let it live. We are currently in copperhead season, where the babies are hatching. So we are on the lookout. Hoping I never have to deal with one, big or little!

Black Racer Snake

The black racer was not the only snake this summer. This was the first snake DH encountered earlier in the summer. He was working on pulling the reeds out of the pond, he was surprised by a rather large watersnake. Again harmless, but a big surprise.

Water snake

I don’t know where all the time goes… although… the garden and the kitchen seem to eat up plenty of time as does procrastination. Why do we do it?

As always more later- Beth

Tenants, Paint and Construction are keeping me busy

I am so far behind… and as the title suggests there are lots of things that are keeping me busy… Goldie had her 2nd birthday in early September. All she wanted at the new place was a big backyard where she could play. It was done a few days late, her wish became reality. The fence is complete.

Tenants

Also keeping me busy, are the feline tenants, (5 males and 2 females) and the addition of 6 chicken tenants (all hens), my morning is busy. While the chickens grow up to layers we feed them. I let them free-range part of most days too. We are working with the tenants and eliminating the ability to reproduce, but it is a one at a time proposition… I trapped the first and shyest of the cats, “Patience” on a Tuesday a couple of weeks ago. That meant that I was in the car immediately after. Dropped her off for spaying and then back home… a couple of hours later collect her and take care of her in the garage for the rest of the week. While she was recouperating she allowed me to pet her, but she reverted to wary the moment I let her go.

Patience after
Patience after recuperating from being spayed

Catching Patience was so successful that it was time for another. The next shyest cat, (also a female) named “Prudence”, was easy to trap in the ‘haveaheart’ trap. I was also able to grab one of the younger tenants (a male generally called #2), and put him into a crate we used for the puppies. This was on a Friday morning, and off I went to town… to drop them off at the vet and run a few other errands. The convalescing of the cats is going well and also keeping me busy. #2 now has a new name. “Prince” he did his convalescing really from just one comfy position… and as long as I was reaching in and giving him a rub down… every couple of hours he was a happy camper. Prudence is also extra affectionate too. Prudence needs a week to recover, but Prince is free… again.

Prince

The Prince before his surgery

Painting

In case you think I don’t have anything to do, just before the cat trapping, we began priming and painting all the walls upstairs. One coat of primer on every single wall and 2 coats of paint. 2 rooms were purple tones, one was a dark tan and the 4th was a dark tan top and a deep maroon (2 coats of primer) on the bottom. Upstairs all of the painting is complete. Next up is the carpet! Anything is better than Berber!

Paint upstairs-old and new
New paint is on the right

Construction

In addition, we have started the remodel construction on the main level. The main elements are eliminating a couple of walls, moving a door, adding a closet. We will be living in a construction zone for a week or 5! Hanging on to my patience by a thread!!! But we are liking the changes, so far.

After the wall is taken down
The rough new look for the downstairs

So as you can see while things are quiet, there is much happening that is so very unexciting but keeping me busy. Nothing happening in the Creative Space… its all still in boxes, although I have lots of great ideas swirling around in my head.

What has kept you busy or entertained lately? Please share in the comments. I need to know for my sanities sake!!!

More Later! Beth