Tuesday, June 28, 2011

New Happenings

On to news around the homestead/farm/goat/pig/chicken country.

Momma hen is still on her 12 eggs, which should start to hatch starting tomorrow or so.  I am very excited to have baby chicks again, so hopefully all goes well and all will hatch, but usually there are one or two that don't.  The other ladies keep trying to lay more eggs on her pile and we have to check each morning for the ones that don't have x's on them to take away.  They are so persist about laying in the same box, that they will even go in there when Momma is in there and sit on the front or back of her!  There have been a couple of times when I put them in and then only counted 6 when there should be 7 chickens and then find the one in with Momma.  Too funny!

Here is Pig on Monday the 27th, the day of harvesting him.  He is now in the locker at the butchers.  He was a super great pig!  He ended up weighing 230 or 240 pounds total.  Rob did part of the work, which I made myself watch, because I figured if I am going to eat the meat, I should be able to at least participate in this part.  It was hard to watch, but I said thanks to Pig for giving us the meat that we can eat.  He lived a good life with Marty and Gus.  I do miss his lower pitched snorts.  We will be getting Italian breakfast sausage patties, loin pork chops, rib pork chops, one smoked ham, smoked bacon, ham steaks, smoked ham hocks for making split pea soup, and the back fat and leaf fat so I render some lard.

The next time we are going to get two pigs at a time because it was easier to keep them separate from Marty, as Marty is not supposed to have their food.  Pig did a great job of rooting up trees and rocks and blackberry roots in the area he was in!  Now we can extend the garden back more to have more planters. (Oh Rob, did I forget to add that to your list of Honey-Do's?  :)  Sorry.)

Made a double batch of zucchini relish.  Shredded zucchini and onions.

Then shredded red and yellow peppers, thought the the colors were pretty!

Then added green peppers on top, shredded again.

Then put them all in the bowl with the zucchini and onions, added salt and covered with water to let sit overnight in the fridge.

The next day I drained, rinsed and drained again, then added to the pot with apple cider vinegar, celery seeds, mustard seeds, organic sugar, and a little bit of cornstarch.  Then ladled in hot, sterilized jars, capped and water bath for 10 minutes.

And voila!  Our homemade relish!  Yay!  Love this stuff.

Now onto milking with the girls, Phoebe,

Monica, and

Rachel.  They are friends of course!   (hahahahahaha I crack myself up sometimes.)

We are milking morning and night.  The stanchion Rob built works perfectly.  They are giving us very, very yummy milk, about a gallon a day.  I have made paneer cheese, yogurt, and will be purchasing some rennet to make some harder cheeses and Mom is going to try some cottage cheese, which she made before with cows milk and it was yummy!  Rob loves to drink it, as does Liam and Raymond.  Kara will if there is no cows milk and we have used it in a couple of things now and it really does not have any "eau de goat" when it is fresh.  I do milk faster than Rob, but only because my hands are smaller and with their smaller teats, it is easier for me to do it.  However, I am getting forearms like Rob, so watch out!   (BWAHAHAHAHAHA)  They get a little bit of grain while milking and then a flake of alfalfa in the evening.  They have done a fabulous job of keeping the blackberries in check around the yard.  Gus was becoming an escape artist and had broken one of the pear trees off at the base and a couple of limbs off one of the apple trees, and the only thing blooming in the yard are the bright orange poppies.  Rob fixed that by running the electric wire around the top of the fence in his pasture.  Monica escaped and was out with Gus the last couple of times, so if Gus had his way, we will be having more kids in November.  Will have to keep you informed on that.

In other news, on Father's Day, the kids and I cleaned out his truck, vacuumed floors and seats, washed inside windows, wiped down dash and anything with dirt on it and voila!  Clean truck.  Rob had to go through a box of items that we took out of the drink holders in front and cubbies in the doors.

Looks like brand new on the inside now!  We shall see how long that lasts.  I think now I need to my car because it is looking worse than Rob's and we can't have that.  :)

Also, we organized and cleaned out Rob's shop.  I don't have a "before" picture because it was just to embarrassing.  Suffice it to say there was no walkway, you could hardly see the floor, or open the freezer on the right.  But the "after" shot is awesome!

We will need to make room for a new upright freezer, which Mom found on Craigslist last night for $40.  We needed it to store the meat from Pig we should be getting next week.  That will be the meat freezer with the other one we already having holding soup, jams, veggies, and fruits.

We have been getting about 6 to 11strawberries a day from the garden.  They are so yummy!  Though Kara says the really small ones can't really be counted as a whole strawberry.  They are too small.  hahaha

The garden is going gangbusters with lettuce, onions, peas, carrots, parsnips, kale, chard all producing.  The sugar pumpkin plants are taking off as is the green and yellow zucchini plants and the pickling and lemon cukes.  The beans are taking their sweet time growing.  We need to harvest another big batch of rhubarb again.  The spinach bolted, so will need to feed that to Marty (I'm sure he won't mind, hahahaha) and restart some again.  Some of the tomato plants are finally flowering so hopefully we can get some tomatoes off them this year.  The pepper plants are holding their own, but have not really gotten much larger, darn it.  The raspberry canes have lots of fruit, though not ripe yet, and the potato plants all have flowered, so we are mulching them to keep the new potatoes from the sun and turning green.  The mangels are growing fine, though Gus thought the tops needed to be trimmed when he got out last.  There is only one corn plant left, really did not do well this year.  And there are three acorn squash plants growing.

We will be planting more lettuce, spinach, mangels, carrots, parsnips, sunflowers (for the seeds), and see how it goes.

I just ordered some organic hard red wheat seed that I am going to plant this fall to see we can get a crop next spring to use for bread flour or for the chickens.

Okay, now that your eyes are blurry from reading, I will let you get back to your life!  Thanks for reading my ramblings!

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