Homestead News, Volume 25

Sit back, pour up a cup of coffee, and enjoy the update. Thanks for stopping by. Please share your news in the comments. The more we learn from each other the better.

Did you know when olive oil gets cold, it partially solidifies? Just move it to a warmer location and let is set for about 12-24 hours. You will read everywhere that oil will go rancid after about six months. We have stored and eaten olive oil that was five years old with no degradation in quality or taste. Not that I would recommend that to everyone, it’s just something we have done.

As the seasons turn, my thoughts are always on our food supply. I have been planning the garden for a couple of months now. We have a few salad greens growing in the greenhouse for winter eating, but mostly there are flowers, some that grew on the porches last summer and some I planted in there in the fall…..just because. During the polar vortex we ran a couple of space heaters and covered the plants with frost cloth. We had some damage, but most of the plants did very well.

Once the sun came out, it warmed up in the greenhouse quickly. It always amazes me to see the difference between inside and outside temperatures. The greenhouse is not sealed, the air freely flows out around the top and the sides. The inside temperature here is 33*, the round thermometer is hard to read, it is 72*.

I have three bus tubs planted with brussel sprouts, kohlrabi and carrots that I will transplant to the garden when the time comes. I have started moving them outside to maintain the adjustment to cooler weather. The greenhouse is starting to heat up quite a bit on sunny days.

We discovered during the cold snap that this entryway into the garage had heaved upward and made the storm door drag on the concrete when we opened it. This small slab has been sitting here for 40 years or more. In the last 12 years we had never had anything like that happen. Fortunately, it settled back down to it’s normal position after the temperatures warmed up again.

I started growing sweet potato slips right before the recent cold snap. We had some starting to sprout that we grew last summer and I intended to grow all of our slips from the heaviest producing variety. Now we have plants growing in a kitchen window since it is too cold in the greenhouse for these tender plants.

Yesterday was a busy day. We partially repaired a chicken house door that needs replacing before it falls off. Then Frank brush hogged a small area by the barn before we replaced the brush hog with the tiller on the tractor. We have an extended rainy season coming and wanted to get the garden area tilled and fertilized. A few months ago, right before we were going to clean out the barn and haul it to the garden, we had bought hay that had been sprayed with Grazon, an herbicide. We were told the hay had been sprayed before we bought it, we just didn’t know enough to ask what with. Grazon can kill your garden, even after it has been ingested and passed through livestock. A friend had their garden spot decimated for a couple of years until the Grazon had time to deteriorate in their soil. As fate would have it, we were unable to clean the barn before the baby goats were born and in the meantime found out about our hay. We replaced what hay we had left with another supply and took the remaining few bales out into a pasture to be burned at a later date. The barnyard will be dumped out there too instead of being brought down to the garden.

It’s hard to imagine the garden looked like this just a few days ago. What a difference a week makes.
Commercial 13-13-13 fertilizer we applied to the garden this year.

Winter weather and aching bones have also prevented us from cleaning out the chicken house and getting that manure into the garden early enough to be useful and not be too hot to burn any seedlings we want to plant, so this year for the first time ever, we are using commercial 13-13-13 fertilizer. I am grateful we have the option of purchasing fertilizer, even though it is not our first choice. If it was unavailable, our garden would probably still produce well since it is a spot that has been worked and fertilized for 10+ years. I still plan to make some manure tea with chicken litter over the summer to water some of the crops.

Just as we finished spraying down the tiller to get some of the caked on dirt off, Frank discovered we had a flat tire on the tractor. Not just a low tire, but it looked like the tire was almost off of the wheel. We didn’t think we could get it to seal and hold air at all. So out in the mud and water puddles we had just created while cleaning off the tiller, we got out the air compressor and extension cords. We were very happy to find we could get it to hold some air, at least temporarily. It was enough to get the tractor back to the barn, but by then it was almost completely flat again. Frank aired it up again with the compressor there, but it very quickly went flat. The good news is we got the garden tilled before the rain came. We have rain forecast for about a week and were working against the clock on getting the garden fertilized and tilled.

While Frank was tilling, I was working on getting the last two flats of carrots planted in the greenhouse. These are seeds we saved from our carrots in 2018. I planted a bus tub of them in the fall to see if they were still viable. Since they were going on three years old, I planted them thickly. I have thinned them twice and they are still too crowded. That’s good to know. Saving viable seeds is always a gamble. Sometimes they are viable, and sometimes they are not. I use the Pot Maker for these seedlings. Direct planting carrots in the garden doesn’t work for me. The weeds and grass take over and they never have a chance since they are so slow to germinate. Using the Pot Maker [link goes to a previous article about them] also allows me to easily thin them before planting and space them in the row just by planting them next to each other.

Our new companion is named Charlie, but she’s a girl. Frank named her. Many of you know we are ham radio operators. When using phonetics for call signs, the alphabet starts with Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, etc…. Well, when we were thinking of names, Frank said he is always alpha when it comes to our dogs, and that is true. Then he came up with he is Alpha, I am Bravo, and she is Charlie. Our Great Pyrenees, Pearl, left us about a year or so ago. We miss her a lot. She was great with the goats and had the best personality. Charlie came to live with us this last summer at eight weeks of age. So far we have survived the puppy stage, but some days just barely. She no longer tears up 40 lb. bags of potting soil, eats the front and back porch, but she still tore up some of the black plastic we have around one of the sheds in the garden yesterday. I made a big mistake not long after Charlie came to live with us. When she got here the garden was in full swing and she would follow me around when I was picking vegetables and weeding. I would pull a weed and hand it to her. She liked the roots and would take it, run off, and attack it. As she grew, she got to the point of pulling her own weeds, except they weren’t all weeds. At the end of the season she even decided pulling up full grown okra stalks was a good idea. She also loves apples and would race me for any windfalls. Charlie decided it was fun to pick tomatoes even if she didn’t eat them, and peppers as well. She has good taste, but these crops are for the people, not the dog. Thus with the addition of Charlie to the yard around the house which includes the garden, this year we will fence it off to prevent certain destruction of seedlings. This will have to take place before we start planting, but we have it tilled and are ready for the next step.

As you can tell, a lot of our efforts are focused on food. At this day and age, I feel that everyone should be focused on their food supply. Prices continue to go up, stability of the world food supply continues to be questionable. Cooperation between countries that traditionally trade or sell their excess food has been changing over the last year. How that may affect our food supply, prices or possible rationing or confiscation is yet to be seen. I think all of these events are possible, but not necessarily eventualities. Only time will tell.

Over the past few years my goal was to plant a smaller garden. Aches and pains affect my ability to keep up with the garden, the weeds, the processing and preserving of the harvest. But, you know what? This year’s garden will be larger, not smaller. Being able to produce as much of our food as possible has always been a goal, now more than ever. We are not increasing varieties or experimenting with new crops, just increasing the volume of our known, proven varieties.

Folks, do what you can. Buy and store what you eat, not a bunch of strange foods that are supposedly ‘prepper’ foods. Buy what you normally eat and store it as best you can. If you can grow and preserve more, in a garden, on a porch, in a pot, do it. Learn more about how to provide for yourself. Even if the world, our country, your state, county or neighborhood doesn’t have challenges in the coming months or years, it never hurts to depend on yourself, your knowledge and abilities instead of someone else.

Because if things continue the slide into tyranny, into subjugation, into the enslavement of the masses……

NO ONE IS COMING TO SAVE YOU.

Until next time – Fern

Our Normal Abnormal Life

In many ways, our life hasn’t changed much. We milk goats, make cheese, plant the garden, eat at home and don’t socialize. This is pretty normal for us. Now that I cannot visit my Mom in the nursing home except through the closed, glass door, which we did for the first time today, we seldom go anywhere. While we were in town today we went to the store. Frank stayed in the vehicle while I went in to get apples. I wore gloves and cleaned my hands with an alcohol soaked wash cloth when I was finished. I took note of some of the store shelves while I was in there. The produce section was fully stocked. There was very little pasta, no spaghetti sauce in jars or cans, and only a few cans of spaghetti-o kinds of foods. There were no dried beans or flour of any kind. Many of the canned vegetables were sparse. I didn’t go down any other isles, so that is my report for the grocery store today. It is a smaller, local grocery, not the Wal-Mart type.

A few weeks ago we stocked up on animal feed, filling every container we have to the brim. That will last us well into summer if not beyond. We stocked up on fresh apples and cabbage, too, but that’s about the only store bought items we wanted/needed. The new air lock version of making sauerkraut has taken a backseat to the fermenting crock again for now. Even though it will take us months to eat the full crock that is percolating away at the moment, that’s okay. It’s nice to know we have months of nutritious, probiotic kraut awaiting our dietary needs.

Most of our routines haven’t changed, so here is a pictorial of some of the things we’re doing during this normal/abnormal life. We’re still making cheese and sourdough bread, although we have started making tortillas out of most of the bread dough, just because we like them. We eat them fresh everyday with a little butter and salt. The dough freezes and stores well in the frig, so I can take out what I need for each day, let it come to room temperature on the cabinet, then cook them when we are ready to eat. If we do happen to experience a collapse, making small, daily batches of dough for fresh tortillas will be easier than trying to bake bread or rolls. Just a thought I have had when we transitioned to making daily tortillas.

Bread dough in the bowl, cheddar cheese in the stock pots

Some of the seedlings are now in the garden. If we get a frost, we’ll need to cover the tomatoes and squash. 

Seedlings hardening off from the greenhouse
Tomato seedlings

The large tomato that grew in the greenhouse over the winter.

Whey from cheese making to water in the tomato seedlings.

Tomato seedlings

Carrots
Yellow squash

It’s been very wet and muddy for about a month now.

This week we had record high temperatures in the 90’s. This weekend we will probably have a frost. It reminds me of the challenges farmers are having with the food supply and the issues with the solar minimum and how it affects weather extremes. The Ice Age Farmer is listed on our blog roll. He has some interesting things about the solar cycle and food supply. The pepper and beet seedlings will have to wait for the frost to pass to be planted.
 

Peppers
Beets on my planting wagon.


We thought a few more hoses were in order.


Frank used a garden hose to fill our storage tank from the water well by the greenhouse. We can use it for the garden or drinking water if necessary.

The world? Our country? Outside of the virus, the economy is on the verge of imploding. The effects of the virus don’t appear to be near as devastating as the hysteria and overreach of the government indicates it was ‘supposed’ to be. There is some underlying sinister plot in play that hasn’t raised it’s ugly head into the light of day yet. When it does, I don’t know if it will have the ugly head of a fire breathing dragon or the boot of the man upon our throats. It is difficult to find any clues or facts (how to know what is true or not is impossible anymore) that lead to any logical conclusions at all.

And then there are the ‘essential workers’ that have received their “papers” for safe travel to and from work. When I hear the term “Papers, please.” it makes me think of a World War with major restrictions and controls upon the activities of societies across the globe. We know a man that received his “papers” a few weeks ago indicating he works in an essential industry, then received a comment recently with the same scenario. Is there a time coming when all travel will be restricted without official “papers”?

Phone apps are being developed to track people that have been infected, are suspected of being infected, have been vaccinated (once it becomes available) or haven’t, and probably who is using all of that ‘dirty’ germ laden money. With many, many people staying home or drastically restricting their travel voluntarily due to fear, those that are out and about will be easier to track. Why is this really desirable? I don’t really think it has anything to do with a disease.

So, we will continue to stay home, order a few things online to be delivered and continue our normal/abnormal life. There are times when the vision of what we see coming down the road is almost paralyzing. Other times, we continue our daily routine, just like any other spring, only with the feeling we need to keep an eye out over our shoulder for that sinister overshadowing that creeps ever closer. We used to say the storm is coming, get prepared. Now? The storm is here and it’s too late.

We would really like to hear what you think and what is happening in your area. When it rains, it rains on all of us. We are all in this together. Speak up now while you still can. You never know when something you say may help another.

Until next time – Fern
 

Homestead News, Volume 24

Life goes on here on the homestead, in the local area, in the country and in the world. Precarious though it may seem at times, the store shelves (here at least) are still filled with an abundance of frankenfood, the lights are still on and water still comes out of the tap when I turn it. 

We continue to adjust our lives for our current and future physical abilities while continuing to prepare our minds for what may be coming down the road one day. We have recently had two and a half acres of our ten acre pasture fenced off for our much smaller herd of goats. This still allows us to have four small pastures for animal rotation, but makes it much easier to manage. We are debating about trying to hire someone to brush hog the remaining acreage once a year, or listing it for sale. Our decision changes from day to day, so for now we are just going to let things settle. We are in no hurry.

Our four does – two adults, two kids

Buck and young wether

The eleven year old matriarch of our goat herd is no longer with us. One Stripe was part of the first herd we acquired when we moved here in 2008. She never met anyone she didn’t like and loved to be petted. She gave us many babies, lots of milk and much affection. All of the does we have now are from her line. 

One Stripe


We also no longer have our wonderful Pearl. She was a one of a kind dog and we miss her. She was great with the goats and devoted to the two of us. We’ll be dog-less for a while. We don’t look forward to training another puppy, but one will come along again when the time is right.

Pearl


We’re also preparing the acre surrounding the house for eventual use as pasture. When the day comes to really downsize the land, if we haven’t already, we will sell the ten acres with the current barn. Then we will use this area around the chicken house for any pasture we may still want to use. It will maintain a couple of goats, although we would have to feed more hay year round.

In preparation for that we have had some overgrown brushy areas cleared out along with tons of pine needles.

This older storage shed has seen better days. We’ve been fighting a leaking roof for years. Now we’re working on emptying it out so it can be moved out by a neighbor that wants it. In the process we are donating many things to a local church that works with individuals and families that are in recovery from alcohol and drugs. It’s good to be able to pass on some things to people in need, but it’s also difficult to start downsizing instead of building up. It’s probably something most people go through as they age, and now it’s our turn.

I have been making some simple cheeses since we are enjoying fresh goat milk again. I tried an herb cheese with onion and garlic, but it came out really strong. Frank doesn’t even like to smell it. I tried a small wheel with fresh basil from the greenhouse a couple of days ago. We haven’t tried it yet, but it smells much milder so I hope this wheel is edible.

 

As time goes on we find we eat less, quite a bit less. Our sauerkraut crock is wonderful, but is now too big. We recently got some air lock lids to make kraut by the jar. This is our first experiment. We had them in the pantry for a dark place, but I didn’t remember to check on them, so I moved them into one of the kitchen cabinets. Two of the jars turned out fine, but the one that wasn’t full didn’t. I don’t know if it was the amount of cabbage or if it was because we didn’t include the rubber gasket in the lid when we put it all together. Another learning experience. It’s always good to learn. I am going to try peppers this way this summer. I think that would be good. And maybe okra? I’m not sure if they will ferment/pickle very well. I will have to read more about that before I try it.

I have been working on a door hanging for my mother who is in the nursing home with dementia. She has been there for two and a half years now. I agree with all of the people that told me over a year ago that this is a very cruel disease. We pray for her peace and comfort every day, and I pray for her release from this world. I can usually still get her to smile and laugh. She even sang Happy Birthday to Frank (I got it on video on my phone) recently and she hadn’t sang with me for months. It was very touching.

The greenhouse continues to feed us some nice green things a few times a week, and is now housing some seedlings, or the dirt that holds seeds that will soon be seedlings.

Two ages of cabbage seedlings

Will be carrots, tomatoes and peppers.

Carrots are just beginning to peek out.

Onions

I am going to cut the tops of these tomato plants, root them and start them in pots. I hope to get some big seedlings ready this way. We still have that one tomato that has been growing slowly all winter. I don’t know if it’s going to ripen or not. Frank thinks it will be really tough if it ever does.

 

We are saving eggs to start the incubator tomorrow. These eggs will be hatching the same time the day old chicks we ordered will be arriving. We’ll raise them all together, keep a replacement laying flock and butcher the rest. It’s a good seasonal activity. Eggs to meat to the table. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

For now, the garden lays fallow, but it won’t be long before we will plant it once more. Hope is eternal when there is spring on the way.

Our country? The world? Viruses, plagues, pandemics, politics, food shortages, lies, corruption, greed? It just goes on and on and on. Every so often I get a small, tiny spark of hope that the world will keep on turning, people will come to their senses and we can continue to live in some semblance of peace, but then the next ‘thing’ appears and extinguishes that spark pretty quickly. So, life goes on. Until it doesn’t. We do what we can and try to be realistic about what we can and can’t do. We try not to play head games with ourselves and pretend we are going to go running through the woods chasing bad guys if the collapse occurs. Not going to happen. Reality. Sometimes difficult to deal with. Choosing not to? Not an option on our homestead. How are things going on yours?

Until next time – Fern
 

Homestead News, Volume 19

 It seems a number of things around here are aging, animals, people and such. Pearl, our Great Pyrenees, is now 10 years old and is showing some wear and tear. She is slower to get around and takes an arthritis medication regularly. Recently she started making this huffing sound, not really coughing, just a quick breath out, everyday. We took her to the vet, did x-rays and found out she has an enlarged heart, which isn’t unusual for a dog her age and size. She weighs about 120 pounds. Now she takes Lasix.  

One Stripe

One Stripe, our old lady goat, no longer gets to have kids. Two years ago she had her last, Two Tone. We had to take One Stripe to the vet to have the kid pulled because of a bony protrusion that had grown down into the birth canal. Without that assistance, they both would have died, I just couldn’t get the kid out. We really thought the kid was dead, but she wasn’t. The challenge then was to keep them both alive since neither could walk for about a week. One Stripe because of the trauma of birth, and because when we were loading her in the trailer to go to the vet, I pulled her leg out sideways trying to lift her hind quarters. Two Tone had front leg trauma from the long birth process where first I, then the vet, tried to pull her. We splinted her front legs for about two weeks before the ligaments were strong enough to hold her upright. It was a long haul to recovery, but they both finally made it.

Two Tone

This year Two Tone had her first kids. I have only been milking her for about three weeks, but it appears she will be a good milker.

There are a bunch of turnips still in the garden. Last fall we picked and canned a batch, then picked, cooked and froze about eight quarts. Now we plan to till them in and plant some more. We are going to try a perpetual turnip bed. We don’t eat the turnips, by the way, only the greens. I have found a type of turnip seed that doesn’t make a turnip bulb, just mostly greens, that I will try this year. The vast majority of my seeds come from R.H. Shumway’s. The turnips I grew in the greenhouse last winter did well enough for us to pick and cook a batch every week or so. Then, when I planted them out in the garden in the spring instead of taking off and giving us a head start on greens, they surprised me, and went to seed. I saved the seed, but let them cook in the greenhouse too long while they were drying, killing off most of the viability. Now, our experiment will be to establish a turnip patch, let them go to seed the following spring since they are biennials, and see if they will reseed themselves. That is the theory anyway, we’ll see how it works out in practice. 

We’ve been working on getting the barnyard to the garden when we can get into the corral through the mud. This past late summer and fall were exceptionally wet, and the trend has not changed. We are tired of the mud and would like a little more sunshine.

After Frank’s bypass he was anemic for about nine months. We tried iron pills, which he could not tolerate, we ate lots of liver and spinach. During my research at that time I found out turnip greens are much more nutritious than spinach and are higher in iron. We were surprised, and since turnips grow much more prolifically here than spinach, which just doesn’t tolerate our hot summer weather, we are now even more determined to have turnip greens on the shelf and in the ground. 

 

I’ve started the Pot Maker routine and have planted some carrots in the greenhouse. Next will be beets. I’ll wait until later in the month to start tomato, pepper and squash seedlings. The new garden map is planned and awaiting warmer weather to put into action. 

 
We have started the cheese making season with mozzarella, which we had run out of in the freezer. We still have chevre and cheddar from last year, so mozzarella was first on the list.

From mozzarella comes pizza, of course. The difference now is using sourdough for the crust instead of the previous white flour recipe we used before.

Right now I’m milking five does and we have way too many babies running around. I’ll do a goat tail story before long and get you up to speed on all of them.

So, how do you like our new Frank & Fern logo? It was Frank’s idea.

Life on the farm is good. Very good. We wouldn’t live any other way. We need your comments positive and negative, we need your ideas. We are all in this together. We need to share. How are things in your neck of the woods?

Until next time – Fern

What Seeds Have Taught Me

Seeds. I love seeds and the potential nourishment they represent. If the truth were to be told, I have too many seeds, so some of them age past their prime and lose viability before they have the opportunity to grow. A waste? Yes, could be, but like our preparations, I would rather have too many, than wish I had something grow because we were hungry. Frank has heard me say many times that seeds are worth more than gold. The food that seeds provide can keep us alive. If there are no seeds to be had, all the gold in the world is worthless.

I am grateful that we have had the last seven years here to learn the climate, soil conditions, pests and temperature variations. No two years have had the same weather conditions, which has offered even more to learn. Our first two gardens were grown under extreme drought conditions. This past year we lost some of our hard earned topsoil to flooding, and it was so wet that seeds rotted in the ground.

During the first few years we tried growing the same varieties of vegetables we had grown else where, some did well and some did not. We experimented one year with about six or eight types of peppers, tomatoes and winter squashes. That gave us a very good idea of which ones would produce well here. Some of our favorites made the cut and some did not, fortunately we found better producing varieties that have now become our new favorites.

It took me three years to figure out how to grow lima beans only to discover we really didn’t like them. Until two years ago, I didn’t like fresh tomatoes. We started growing two old heirloom varieties, and surprisingly, I liked them. Frank has always liked tomatoes and he describes them as more acidic than many of the newer varieties. I have also discovered that my back cannot pick a row of bush beans. I just can’t do it. This has led to experiments with several types of pole beans until we found one that we really enjoy, that produces well into the fall.

I wish I could figure out how to grow a head of cabbage. I even wrote an article about it. And onions. Those are things I will continue to work on because we eat a lot of both. I also need to be more diligent at saving our seeds. It has always been easier for me to order seeds instead of planning ahead for seed saving. There will come a time when the only seeds we have will be the ones we save, so this is not a skill for me to continue avoiding or neglecting. 

The greenhouse has given us a whole new learning experience in growing food. As would be expected, the cool weather crops are happier than those that like the heat of summer. We have picked one yellow squash and the tomatoes are blooming, but with 38* lows at night, I don’t expect much from them. I will soon be planting seedlings in the greenhouse. The window I’ve used for the past few years has now been replaced by the greenhouse entrance and I find that to be very comforting. I’m excited about the greatly expanded room to grow many more seedlings that won’t be leggy and leaning over sideways in an attempt to reach the sunlight. I’ll be learning much more about the timing for growing, hardening off and planting these seedlings.

There are many beautiful seed catalogs arriving in the mail now days. They all have something to offer that is new, different or interesting, but I have found a company that has a very wide variety of quality products for a fraction of the cost. With few exceptions, we order our seeds from R.H. Shumway’s, which I have no affiliation with, except as a very satisfied customer. Their catalog is not shiny and showy, but it is packed full of seeds and information.  I would highly recommend them.


So, what have the seeds taught me? Patience, diligence, responsibility, the power of observation and learning, conditions for success, hard work usually pays off, and that hope springs eternal in the miracle of germination and growth. In a recent article I said, Our future will be one of incredibly hard work, grubbing in the dirt for our survival.” That’s what seeds mean to me. Life. Survival. I am continually fascinated that one tiny little seed can produce so much food. In the coming days if you have a few seeds and a shovel to spare, a man could help feed his family. Do you have enough seeds for this year, and the next, and the next?

If you are new to your area, or plan to go somewhere else when the SHTF, do you know someone that can help you with invaluable information about local growing conditions and varieties that produce? When is the average first and last frost date? What insect pests cause the most destruction? Do you know how to deal with them without running down to the local garden center for a fix? Has the soil been turned and worked? Is it fertile enough to support the production you need? There are so many things to learn and know before those seeds will turn into food. I have read many places that people feel prepared to replenish their food supply because they have a can of survival seeds. Unless these people have figured out, and made accommodations for many of the things I have mentioned, they will starve. Not that these cans of seeds are a bad idea or contain inferior products, but the conditions necessary for adequate food production are dependent upon so many factors that the odds are stacked against them. 
 

Grace’s garden


We have a friend, Grace, that gardens just a few miles down the road. She can grow things we cannot. We have pests she doesn’t, and she has some we don’t. Conditions can change quickly, from location to location, as well as year to year..

What have you learned from your seeds? Please share with us because we are all in this together. Any knowledge we can glean now, before it is a vital means of survival will be of great benefit. As soon as I get back the use of these two hands I will be rolling up a new batch of pot makers and planting them in the greenhouse. I can’t wait.

Until next time – Fern
 

Pictorial & Ponderings

While we were visiting a 91 year old relative the other day, he made a comment that stuck with me. He is having some health issues that may end up being significant before long, but his take on the state of our country and our world was interesting to me, to say the least. 

I don’t remember what we were talking about at the time but he said he just didn’t know if he wanted to stick around in this world too much longer. Considering the state of his health, that comment is not too unusual, but it was the reasons he gave that caught my attention. He talked about the rioting, our open borders and the unconstitutional state of our government. He said, “There is just no telling how all of this is going to turn out and I don’t know if I want to be here to see it.” It does make you stop and think.

Carrots and green beans

The mustard I planted last fall is blooming. I hope it spreads.

With all of the rain we have been having there are many wild things on the move. We’ve seen many more snakes on the roads and have heard of people finding them on their porches. The bugs are trying to move indoors and find a dry place to be. The mice are trying to follow them in as well. Since the cats can’t find a dry place out in mother nature to use as a litter box, they’ve decided my dishpans full of seedlings is a great place. Somehow, I don’t agree. I planted our pepper seedlings out in the mud today because the cats had stirred them up like spaghetti. There are still a few tubs out there that we are going to cover with frost cloth in the evenings to see if we can discourage that practice.

You know, they are kind of cute, aren’t they?

Easter and Bo, almost ready to wean

Next Saturday is hatch day

Cushaw squash

Cushaw has beautiful leaves

Flower pot on the porch

German chamomile in the herb bed

Wild yarrow by the barn, I hope to harvest these seeds

We think Pearl likes her haircut.

There are more and more people talking about things falling apart this fall. It makes me more anxious for this incessant rain to depart and give us some sunshine for the garden. I’m also finding the unusual amount of cloudy, rainy days difficult. If there is even just a little sunshine it makes a difference. The dewberries are turning, but there is little flavor, they need some sunshine to sweeten up. I hope we get some before they are past their prime.

Muddy footprints

Coming in from the garden

Wild dewberries

Beets

Luffa squash in a pot on the porch

Too wet to work on our new garden area in the pasture, it’s growing over

Stinging nettle in the herb bed

Stevia

Frank is giving lots of thought to the radio class that will be coming up at the end of June. There are so many possibilities that can come out of it. We are excited and very hopeful. He has already heard of about 10 people that are interested. We pray for blessings and success with this class.

The grass in the pasture is as tall as the goats.

I think some of the parasitic wasps have already hatched.

Grapes

They have really grown in just one week.

Elderberries in bloom

We have rain forecast for the next seven days. Yippee! I can hardly wait. Sarcasm is in full bloom also, along with a little crankiness. It appears that congress has once again sold us down the river without a paddle with the new ‘secret’ trade deal and Patriot Act Part II. Keep your eyes open and watch your back. Hope all is well with you and yours.

Until next time – Fern
 

I Don’t Have a Clue What to Write

I really don’t. It’s late. I’m tired and I can’t think of anything interesting to share with you. Frank and I have been very busy. We made the unplanned trip to look at the goats. Very informative, and the ride gave us time to reflect on our decision to come home with an empty trailer. We’re still glad we did. We’ve contacted a few other folks about a new buck. We’ll just have to see how that works out.

Frank has spent a couple of day working on a new CB installation in the vehicles that we will share with you sometime in another post.

Cabbage seedlings the rabbits are chewing on.

The seedlings are doing well now that we got a few days of sunshine. The part of the garden that is planted is growing. The turnip seeds I sprinkled in the front of the herb bed are coming up very well. I look forward to picking the greens for man and beast alike. With all of the cloudy cool weather we had this month, our seedlings grew very, very slowly. The small cabbage and broccoli we planted are finally starting to take off and grow. We did buy some spinach, lettuce and a few cabbage plants to provide some food a little earlier than our small seedlings will.

I also ordered more plants for the herb bed this year. They are getting acclimated, and will be planted in the next few days. I will do an article on how the herb bed is coming along in the next few weeks. I’m excited about the number of plants that are established and have been coming back year after year.

We are getting ready for more baby goats this week. Tomorrow we will be working on the barn making sure everything is in order. Cricket and Lady Bug will hit 150 days of gestation on Thursday, and Penny will do the same on Saturday. Since they are all first fresheners, I may not get much sleep after Tuesday night, with trips to the barn at all times of the day and night checking for babies, then checking on babies. You’ll be hearing all about them as well.

I tried a new low carb fried chicken dinner last night that was really good. After I do a little more research and put it all together, I’ll fill you in on that one. It was one of those experiments that I just didn’t know if it would taste good or yucky. Good thing for us it turned out very good.

We bought some seat cushions for our dinning room chairs. There comes a time in life when a little cushion can make a difference. They came in today so we haven’t had much time to try them out. I also ordered a roll of high density foam to put in the cushions on my chair. This is where I sit with my laptop and write these articles, and the cushion needs a little more umph. And, yes, that’s a heating pad. My back’s been acting up again, so during breaks from planting the garden and such, I fire it up.

 

We all know there is a drought going on out in California, and there is a drought going on in western Oklahoma, but there is not a drought in my neighborhood. It seems like just a few weeks back we had snow on the ground, then we had ice on the ground, then we had snow again.

Every now and then we’d have a pretty day or two, then we’d either have cloudy days with rain or rainy days with clouds. Once we had about three or four days of sunny weather, and Frank got the garden tilled. But, down deep it was just too wet and everything clodded up. So, when we needed to do some planting, we took some hard rakes and broke it down. Then in rained for four or five more days, then we had about three days off from the rain and actually had some pretty weather. So, Frank tilled the garden again, still too wet, but the clods were a little smaller this time. Then, you guessed it. It rained for three or four more days. 

Now, I have to say, the last three days have been beautiful. Sunny skies, light to moderate breeze. So when we got home today from running errands, Frank tilled the garden again. And, yes, it’s still too wet, but it’s getting better. Because you know what’s forecast late tonight and for the next five days? Liquid precipitation. If it could hold off for a little while tomorrow morning, then we can get the barn cleaned out without changing the corral into soup. Our weather men continue to tell us that we are running short on precipitation for the year, and I’m sure they’re right. 

 The folks we talked to at church Sunday mentioned that they haven’t planted a garden yet. It’s just too wet. Two Sundays ago at a potluck, I asked a lady if she had brought her famous turnip green dish. She said no, to do that she would need to build an ark. Somebody else made reference that to get to their garden they would need a canoe. I sure did miss those turnip greens. Well, that’s what the weather’s been doing lately.

See, I told you I didn’t have anything to write about….. I hope all is well in your neck of the woods. Feel free to share what you’ve been up to.

Until next time – Fern