Homestead News, Volume 2

I don’t know where the time goes, but lately it has gone flying by. So much so, that I really have to think about everything we’ve been doing. I’m sure I’ll forget some things that I wanted to tell you, but here goes. News from the homestead.

Before

It’s easier to remember what happened today first. We started off by taking Pearl to the vet for a haircut. For the past few years, I have been giving her a haircut with scissors, and we were looking into some clippers when we discovered that the vet’s wife gives a ‘country cut’, or that’s what she likes to call it. So this morning Pearl was transformed. And all that hair only weighed two pounds! She will be much cooler with our hot, humid summer weather coming.

After

 

The next exciting thing that happened today is that Penny, her two boys, and Buttons moved to Faith’s house. Faith has long wanted to have goats, so today was a dream come true for her. She asked me when they were leaving if I was crying. She knows I have cried before when some of my adult does have left, but not this time. I was excited and happy for Faith. Besides that, we went over and visited them already this afternoon. Faith and her husband have a great place set up in their barn for the goats, as well as lots and lots of pasture/wooded area for them to graze once they get acclimated. That made this a very neat day.

 

Penny and boys
Buttons

At their new home

The garden is really starting to grow well, and to my eyes gets more beautiful every day. I ran our Mantis tiller around the squash hills and here and there to knock down the weeds before this latest round of rainy weather hit. I also managed to replant the okra and some of the cow peas, cucumbers, carrots, spinach and beets that didn’t make it. The green beans that I replanted last week are doing great. It’s a new variety that we haven’t tried before. I’ll let you know if we like them.

 

The new section of the garden didn’t grow anything. I’m not sure if the seeds were old or got washed out by the heavy rain we had a few weeks ago. So far the only thing I have replanted there was more pinto beans along the trellis. The rest will have to wait for drier days again.

We have started eating turnip greens and salad fixings from the garden regularly. Tomorrow I am going to try my hand at freezing turnip greens like you do spinach. I have the directions in Stocking Up, and thought I would give it a try. We don’t expect the actual turnips to make since hot weather is coming, but are very happy to be able to enjoy the greens for now.

 

We moved the water tanks away from the barn so Frank could brush hog there. Our plan is to put down some heavy plastic, build a base with treated lumber, fill it with sand, allow that to settle in, put guttering on the barn, place the three 1550 gallon tanks on the pads, and run the guttering into the tanks. This will give us water for the animals, as well as the ‘animal feed’ garden we are going to plant in this pasture if it ever dries up enough to really work on the ground.

We’ve continued to make wheels of cheddar about two days a week and are up to 12 wheels aging in the frig, with 4 more drying on the cabinet. We will make two more wheels tomorrow and wax at least two of those that are drying. 

We have been saving eggs for the incubator which Frank will fire up tomorrow. This will give us some meat, but the concentration on this first batch will be replacement hens for our current flock. We have a Buff rooster which we like, and he will add some good qualities like size and demeanor, to our next flock of hens. We will probably hatch two more batches through the summer to resupply our freezer and some jars with meat.

This coming week we have another big event taking place. One week from today, if all goes according to plan, we will be bringing home three piglets, two boars and one gilt. We are beginning a whole new adventure raising American Guinea Hogs. One of the boars will be raised for meat, the other for breeding. We will share our adventures, which we hope will be mostly successful, as we go along. This is something we have never done before. We have fed out a few feeder pigs along the way, but never raised any to breed, so keep your fingers crossed for us. We have chosen this particular breed for very specific reasons, which we will discuss in more detail in another article dedicated specifically to the pigs.

We continue to make and consume sauerkraut almost everyday. The batch we started on April 22nd was removed from the crock yesterday. We used one whole head of cabbage and it made about a quart and a half of kraut. Instead of removing about a third of it and leaving the rest in the crock, this time I removed all of it and started another batch. The new batch consists of about one and two thirds head of cabbage and about two cups of shredded carrots. Since I have started shredding the cabbage there isn’t any issue with having enough natural juices to cover the vegetables in the crock. I continue to add a good amount of juice from the previous batch to boost the fermentation process. We have really begun to enjoy the kraut and are very glad we have been learning this process.

 

Each time we walk out the door, if the wind is not blowing too much, we are greeted with the wonderful aroma of honeysuckle. It is blooming in profusion.

There are also lots of wild privet blooming here and yon around the house and along the fence rows. It is more subtle than the honeysuckle, but smells wonderful all by itself.

The wild blackberries are growing by the bazillion. I really look forward to picking and picking and picking. Last year I did an article about free food for the picking. I wonder if anyone else around is eyeing all of this free food the way I am.

We are picking just enough strawberries to have some each morning with our breakfast. There is just no comparison to frozen and fresh. They are a welcome addition to our daily fare.

Now, it’s time to go feed and milk the goats, gather the eggs, put the chickens to bed, feed the dog and cats, and see if any of the goats laughed at Pearl’s haircut. She does look rather different. Then it’s time to fix supper, finish up this post and wait for the next round of storms to come through. Life is busy and blessed. 

Until next time – Fern

19 thoughts on “Homestead News, Volume 2

  1. I ordered my crock on Amazon, Deborah, and I just got another book. I think that makes four and they all have slightly different perspectives, opinions and suggestions. I like that, because then I can learn from them all and choose which way I want to make my fermented vegetables.Great advice about berry patches. I always wear boots there, even when it's just on our yard fence row. Thank you for sharing.Fern

  2. dog owner once told me do not cut belly air all the way down, it somehow protects them from rashes. don't know if true but his dogs had the haircut every where but the belly.

  3. where did you get the kraut crock? just got a book on making kraut and many other vegetables by fermenting, need supplies to get started, hopefully in the autumn.by the way, copperheads love wild berry parches. nothing like glancing down to see a huge copperhead just disappearing after gliding silently past your feet. wear boots!

  4. Interesting. Pearl's hair is about an inch long now, and I will be very curious to see how it grows back. Of course, I hope it doesn't change any. Thank you again for sharing.Fern

  5. It doesn't ALWAYS happen. But many many double coated dogs, once you start shaving it damages the coat and it doesn't grow back in right, or it'll grow back in but be of a very different texture and extremely hard to brush and manage. Trimming with scissors doesn't seem to do it, and a \”long\” shave, where there's a fair bit of fur left on the dog doesn't seem to do it, but a close shave, like you've done will often do it. There are several factors that seem to be involved, including the age of the dog, intact vs spayed, health, etc. But I've personally known dogs (before they were shaved the first time and after) its happened to, and I know OF many more. And I know folks who shaved the dog, had no problems, and so kept shaving every year, only to have problems a couple years down the road.

  6. My Brothers clips their Pomeranian \”Bob\”, and his hair doesn't grow out on his back anymore either. His wife asked the vet what was wrong with the dog, and the vet said that that can happens to dogs when you clip their hair a lot.I had never heard of it either.Kimberly

  7. The first time I heard anything like that, Ruth, was a conversation the vet's wife and another customer had about a different breed of dog while Pearl was getting her haircut. I have read about the need for protection from sunburn, so I will keep an eye out for that. I don't think she will shed anymore since her undercoat appears to be gone. I have cut her hair down with scissors for the past few summers and it has grown back normally. But it wasn't this short either, so I don't know if that will affect her or not. Thank you very much for sharing. Fern

  8. That's great that you could get out and work in the yard, Sassafras. Our yard is swimming in water today. I almost lost my shoe twice this morning just trying to get around in the garden and pick for the chickens and goats. Sounds like you will have an abundance to harvest this year. Good for you. Thank you for sharing.Fern

  9. That is a lot of rain, Sandy! I'm glad everything is okay there except for a few seeds washed away. We are still getting lots and lots of rain, and I imagine you are too. This morning we had 2 inches and it has been raining most of the day, and will into the night and again tomorrow. Some of my newly replanted seeds have washed away, but there are a lot of things growing out there. We froze 7 servings of turnip greens today.Pearl's haircut is shorter than I would have done, but I think she does feel better. We'll have to keep an eye on her and make sure there aren't any undesirable side effects of having her hair that short.Faith sent pictures of the goats this morning and they have already started looking to her for reassurance that all is well, and that is great. The pigs will probably be a whole adventure of their own, we will see. We usually eat all of our berries fresh or frozen and enjoy every bite!Be safe in the weather. Thank you for sharing.Fern

  10. Thank you, Calidore. Yes, Pearl does look different. Now that I have seen someone use clippers to cut her hair, we will get some like theirs and I will do it next summer. I also won't cut it quite that short. She gets more spots as she gets older. She used to only have the large on on her shoulders. We brought the hair home with us to put around in the garden to deter varmints. I joked with the vet's wife about spinning her hair while we were there, but I no longer have a spinning wheel and I don't think it would work anyway. Enjoy your winter!Fern

  11. Be careful with Pearl shaved like that. She's still going to finish shedding out the rest of the undercoat, and then she could potentially sunburn without the outer coat to protect her skin. You may also find that her coat doesn't grow back in correctly now that you've started shaving it…..

  12. In between the raindrops in this portion of zone 6b Oklahoma today I planted a dwarf burning bush, put out some more shade grass seeds, finished putting in more infastructure (bricks around some planting beds), trimmed up the tree canopy all around the property, planted several different varieties of pole beans, transplanted some volunteer tomatoes to different areas and planted some gladiolus bulbs too. Peaches, plums and pears are coming along nicely. Yesterday we had to fence in another portion of the garden to keep the armadillos out. The rascally Rocky Racoon was on the front porch last night! Nice to see what all you all have been doing! ~Sassafras

  13. Hi Fern,Thank you for stopping by and checking on us. Were doing okay, the weather has kept us on our feet here. Knock on wood, our rental home has made it through these storms without any major damage. Some of my garden was destroyed with all this rain, wind, and hail. I have to say we received over 16 inches of rain in the last 4 days. Granted we needed the rain but not all at once, LOL!!!! Like you, I will be out in the garden replanting seeds when the storms stop. Speaking of gardens, it wasn't too long ago when you posted about planting your garden. And now you're harvesting greens and lettuce.I love the \”country cut\” on Pearl. This will make her comfortable for our summers here in OK. I know it's difficult to let your goats go. The one good thing, their going to someone you know, a dear friend. On a positive note, you can pretty much visit them at any time. I look forward to hearing more about these pigs you're going to start raising. This is my first year growing purple cabbage. I'm looking forward to pickling the cabbage if they reach term in the garden. Wild berries sure makes for some great cobbler!!! Have a wonderful weekend, stay dry, and I hope you don't get all these storms we've been dealing with.

  14. My goodness you have been busy. The garden is looking wonderful. As we slowly slide into winter (today is the coldest day so far) I'm enjoying your photos of all that spring bounty. Pearl looks so different with her hair cut. I would never have imagined that she would have those dark spots on her. What did you do with her hair? Spin it perhaps?

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