Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sort of a Milestone

Look at this beauty! Found him/her on the kitchen curtain this morning. Ah, the joys of having no window screens.

This post is sort of a milestone for me. This is post number 300! I spent the day thinking about this whole blog adventure, all the way back to when my only followers were shywolf, grumpyunk, mayberry and bullseye. I am so blessed that all of you have chosen to be a part of this adventure with me. Thank you everyone, God Bless.

Today was kind of a lazy day. I spent the morning restacking 400 bales of hay. I pulled the entire stack down to the barn isle and changed the way it was. The chickens let me know I didn't have it stacked well enough to please them the first time around and they threw around 15 bales on the floor, right out of the middle. let's see em knock them down now, LOL. I also moved a bunch of the panels I have around here so I could get the horses to eat down the near waist high grass in the barn lot. The ticks and chiggers were getting to be a bit of a pain in the ass from having to wade thru that grass tending critters. It looks like we're not going to get the mower fixed this season. We just don't have anything left after the bills and fuel each week. This sucks.

This evening, I spent a couple of hours cleaning up my kitchen. Every day it's a complete and total disaster without me ever going in it. Long story, not going to get into it here but I can assure you, it's never ending and very depressing. I took a break about half way thru it and picked some produce from the front garden. A nice, fat zucchini, some sweet peppers that went right into the quiche, some yummy beefsteak tomatoes and some kidney beans. Pods were dry but the beans still need a little drying. My cat Squeakers helped me pick the beans, she was stealing the pods out of the bowl and eating them. I guess she likes kidney beans. Hope she doesn't decide to start eating them right off the plant or I'll not have any beans left!

I'm still picking blackberries every other day. I need to learn how to carry more than one container at a time, LOL. Maybe I will whip up some jam tomorrow.......

Saturday, June 26, 2010

This weeks hay baling

I know it's a really small picture but the cell phone doesn't take em any bigger! The regular camera is holding on by a thread so a hay field adventure is definitely not on the agenda. Not too bad baling today, a bit more humid than I'd like but it's hay season, it's going to be icky. I have 500 bales put up now with around 300 bales worth still laying on the ground. Not quite dry enough to bale today and I'm hoping the thunder clouds spouting the lightning go around the hay field tonight.

I now have 3 gallons of blackberries in the freezer. I had to put them in there to be on hold while I finish up the haying. Can't have them getting mushy and molding on me before I can mash them into some jam!

The beefsteak mortgage lifter tomatoes are about ripe and the romas need a little calcium. I'm seeing a little blossom end rot on them. Not really that big of a deal, I just cut the end off but still, a few tums in the water bucket and they should come right out of it.

Not much else is going on around here. I did get the mortgage paid ( Thank you Lord) so we're good for another month. Geez, I hate to think like that but we're doing the best we can with what we have. No extra to fix the broken stuff around here tho. Soon, I hope, keep the prayers coming....

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

It's that Time Again!

Look what I found on the way to the hay field! I just happened to be poking along on the tractor, looked over toward the ditch and they caught my eye. Of course, after I raked, I had to go on the blackberry hunt. This is what I found. The majority of first crop are still red but very close. These were the middle berry of the first end clusters. Only on the east side of the road tho, the west side were all still green. Must be the daylight thing. I'm on my third day and a second round of raking, all the rain we've had is causing the bottoms of the winrows to not dry properly. Can't be baling any wet hay, those are barn burners and i can not afford to burn a barn down,
especially one of mine! No hay for the loft of the old barn, I still can't do anything to shore it up but it's not shifted any more than it originally did. I've already got 400 bales in the bottom and there's only room for around 150 more. What I have on the ground waiting to be baled should fill it.

Not much else going on, I can't seem to get much done with my time being taken up with the haying. too hot in the kitchen to be cooking much and a couple fried eggs late at night is about all we can stand. Morning coffee is getting to be a chore with all the heat in there. Not something we haven't dealt with before, it just seems to be dang hot sooner than normal this year.

Sweet peppers and cucumbers are producing like crazy, a couple tomatoes have finally come red. I ate them last night with the fried eggs. Hopefully the Romas will turn soon and I can start processing my sauce for canning. The zucchinis are doing well and the dill is about ready to be clipped, again. I love my fresh herbs.

I haven't used the haybine since the repair, I might cut more this evening. I hope it fixed the problem, I don't know if I can take any more disappointment. We had to go rescue the daughter off the side of the road early yesterday evening. The fuel line fix her boyfriend did for me did not last. What part of 'double clamp it" didn't he understand? So, 10:30 last night I was laying in the dirt in the driveway, putting the fuel line back on with gas pouring down my arm. I put the fuel line all the way on the fuel pump nipple and got 2 clamps on it easy. Hope it stays put now!

The old broody hen that was setting the rotten eggs hatched out 4 of the 6 eggs i gave her. Boy, was she mad when I stole those chicks! I hated to do it to her but the cats will kill the chicks if I don't. So, she got mad and claimed another nest to set on. That poor hen is gonna set all summer.

Well, time to go check the hay rows......

Monday, June 21, 2010

Thunder Boomers

Okay, blogger cooperated today so here it is, the big tree laying in the yard. Lightning blew that poor thing right in half. It was a really nice tree too, a darn shame. Hubster and the boy spent about 2 hours cutting on it, got all the branches cut off and piled up and part of the main section cut for firewood. It's still a mess and a work in progress. As hot as it's been, it's going to stay that way for a little while.

We've got between 10% and 30% chance of rain this week but I went ahead and cut hay anyway. I got 12 acres cut before a keeper broke loose. I did my best to straighten it and put it back together but the stress on the injured part was too much and I ended up spending $15 on parts this morning. Not a stitch of shade out there so the repair is going to wait until I get done on the internet ;)

The boy and I ate the first of the cucumbers last night as a snack. We make a sour cream, onion and dill mix and dice the cucumbers into it. Now that's a piece of heaven! We never get tired of eating it and I'm looking forward to a whole summer of cucumber salads :) Our first zucchini is in the fridge waiting to be made into a sweet bread. Tomatoes are teasing me, still a light orange red, just not quite ready to go. The ducks and chickens killed my melons so a replant is in order for sometime this week. I will put those row covers on the replant to protect them. Darn critters, LOL.

Last nights bath was one I honestly have to say I did not miss the hot water tank for. The cold water was truly a blessing after a whole day of pouring sweat in the hay field. Tonights bath will be the same way.

I'm thinking of planting the second round of cornmeal corn. I might get around to tilling the spot up in between the 2 bean spots tonight or tomorrow night. It will be a late September harvest, just perfect. Hopefully i can fit everything I want to get done in......

Friday, June 18, 2010


Yep, that's it, ugh. hot and steamy today, thanks to another round of rain. Check out the funky sky. This was what the clouds looked like on the tail end of todays little thunder boomer. I got ran out of the corn rows by the rain but hit it again after it quit. No sense in whining, I Was covered in mud before the rain, might as well finish it out covered in mud. Too wet to run the tiller down the rows so the good old fashioned hand pulling is the order of the day. You could actually see the humidity coming out of the ground. It was awful but it had to be done. I also weeded the peas, the hot peppers and most of the beans. I still have the onions in front of the house and the pintos still to weed but they will have to wait a day or 2 unless I get drowned out of the hay field. Come rain or shine, I gotta get that darn field cut off. It's gone to seed and the grass is dying so it has to be cut. I've got 6 bags of cans, hope it covers the fuel. Not sure what I'm going to do about string yet, I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

Oh, I am now eating fresh cucumbers and zucchinis! The tomatoes are just a hair away from being ready to go and the blackberries are almost ripe! They are right now a bright purple-red, not quite turned black purple yet. another few days and the blackberry cobbler, pies, cakes and jam will be the order of the day. I so love my blackberries, can ya tell? LOL

Other than that, not much is going on around here. Just watching it rain and watching the weeds grow taller than the plants. I'm just hanging in here.....

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tuesday Downtown

Well, here I am, sitting on a bench outside the local health food joint, connected to the internet! Thanks to a pal, I now have a wi-fi close to home that i can use when ever I need to! how cool is that! They're closed today because of the town working on the water lines so I am outside, on a bench, playing on the computer. Passersby think I'm nuts. Oh well! LOL

First things first, no, I have not made a batch of soap. I need to tho, I am down to 2 bars here so in the next day or 2 I will whip up a batch of soap. I will be about a week or so before it will be ready to go Kati, hang in there! Good stuff isn't it? Also, I will get the blog search box installed right after this post for you.

So, here's some pictures like I promised. Things are really growing like mad around here and the nasty storm that rolled thru last night around 7pm dumped 3" of rain on us in an hour! Yay rah, more weeds and skeeters. At least it's cooled off by a few degrees. yesterday was about unbearable but today it's not too bad. Nice breeze to blow the humidity away. I also took a picture of the container tomatoes but they have grown so much and look so wild and spread out, you can't really tell what's what in the picture so I passed on adding it. The dang things have gone completely ignorant, over growing the support cage by almost double already and over flowing onto the porch and the other containers i have close to it. I guess next year i will know to use that compost soil a little more sparingly!

Oh, I almost forgot, sorry Unk! The hot pepper spray that repels the bugs- a spray bottle with some powdered chili pepper(a heaping tablespoon), a drop of any kind of dish soap( I use ajax) and fill it up with water. Dont shake it up or it's all bubbles. It works on all kinds of bugs, even aphids and the horn worms hate it too.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Farm Update

Here we are, another week has gone by and what have we been doing? Well, sweating our hind ends of mostly! It is pretty darn hot down here in southern Illinois. The humidity is thick enough to cut with a knife. The rains have been hit and miss the last few days but enough to keep me out of the hay fields. The scorching heat is keeping me watering the tire garden even with the rains. I am pleased to report that everything is growing well here, even the weeds! I spent 2 hours weeding the sweet corn, beans, peas and hot peppers. I'll bet the darn biting flies sucked a pint of blood out of me! Those things are vicious. The humidity brings them in full force. I can really empathise with our ancestors as they struggled to live in the wilderness of our country. No air conditioning, no hot water unless they sweated to boil some, no running to the store when they thought they needed something. Everything that had to be done was done by them or it did NOT get done. It's hard work living a simple life. Now, doesnt that seem kind of silly? Here I am, living a simple, basic life and it's so much work? It is tho, especially when it would just be so much easier to buy my food from the grocery, pay the neighbor kid to mow the lawn while I sat in an air conditioned house watching TV and eating popcorn. No critters to tend, no garden to weed... wow, what a boring life that sounds like! Well, at least if I lived like that, I'd not have a couple dozen horsefly bites all swelled up on me and itching. Ah, I think I'll just keep going with what I'm doing now. The food tastes so much better and the sense of freedom providing for yourself gives you simply can not be duplicated.

I'm about a week from starting to can up tomatoes! I am very pleased with how the tomato plants are coming along. Not a single horn worm yet but the japanese beetles are already out in full force and since i don't have any peach trees now, they are crawling all over everything else. Time to mix up some hot pepper spray for them.

I just found out that the library is a Wi-Fi and I can bring my own computer here and use the internet! How cool is that? Thank you to the folks that donated a couple dollars to the home internet fund, much appreciated. I still a bit short but hopefully it won't be long before I can get it all lined out. So, another update on Wednesday with some pictures.....

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Last Day for alltel

Of course, the connection today is pitiful. Just can't go easy for me, ever. LOL One must laugh to keep from crying sometimes. Oh well, I'll still be able to use the library computer internet every couple of days so things won't change much with the blog. I'll just have to take my pictures and put them on a removable drive so i can put them on the blog instead of having them right at my fingertips. Besides, i could really use that money elsewhere to fix all the tore up stuff and keep the mortgage on schedule until we catch up enough to have a little cushion.

Dandy storms rolling thru here yesterday, last night and today. I drove the college kid to school (long story on that one) in the pouring rain this morning. We had a bolt of lightning hit a tree right behind the old barn and throw branches all over the corn patch. Only a couple casualties of war there, not enough to seriously impact the harvest. Scared the crap out of us tho, we were all getting ready for the day when it hit. I about swallowed the toothbrush! Afterward, we all got a good giggle over it.

Not much else going on around here, just watching the garden grow and boiling water...

Monday, June 7, 2010

It's production time

We've finally made it to eating fresh for the year. The garden is finally producing for us. I'm pretty darn pleased with the tire garden plants. What an easy way to go. So much less back breaking work, the weeding is easier and that water stays where it should be instead of soaking into the ground where plant roots aren't. We've even got our first pumpkin growing! Should be a bumper crop for us, plenty of pumpkin to can up for pie filling. I love pumpkin pie, I would bake and eat a pumpkin pie every week if I could. I'm also pretty excited about the zucchinis. last year we only got one round of fruits and the plants died one by one. The plants in the tires are huge and healthy.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Hot and Quiet

Yep, it's hot down here. It is really starting to get miserable in the house during the day now. The kind of hot that just saps the will to do anything right out of you. Check this kidney bean plant out, it's making beans even tho it's just in a 2 litre bottle planter. Silly plant it is. It's outside counterparts are also making beans, good thing they are covered in pods instead of just a few. I weeded around them a bit yesterday and fed the skeeters while i was at it. I bet I was bitten at least 40 times even with cutter spray on. The skeeters are vicious this year.

It's hot enough in the house now that cheese making is about done for the summer. The cheese isn't drying a rind like it should anymore with all the humidity in here. So, I made some Mozzarella cheese instead. The batch turned out really well, hit the proper acidity level right away and cooled out really nicely. I'm going to make pizza in the smoker/grill this weekend.

Absolutely no progress toward getting anything around here fixed, the paycheck is barely going to cover fuel for work and college, no bills get paid this week. I've got a resume in at a couple coal mines close to me, hope I can get in somewhere. The farm and my sons schooling will suffer greatly but I don't see much other choice. I don't even have a clue how I will get to work if I do get hired on but I have to do something. No use in being self sustained on a farm I can no longer pay for. Guess I'll cross that bridge when I get to it......

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Radish Harvest and another bad day

Today I pulled a couple of radish from my ammo box planter on the porch. This is my second harvest out of the box and I will probably plant at least one more round. Soon I will be able to add cucumbers, green peppers and tomatoes to the radish.

Well, on the way home from work this morning, hubby got hit by a rock that came off the tires of a passing coal truck. Now we have a broken windshield. If it pours when it rains, we're having a hurricane here!