We are very blessed to live on a farm. We love old fashioned ways of doing things that seem to be fading away. We realize that this lifestyle is not for everyone but we are very grateful that God allows us to enjoy it.
Thursday, August 31, 2006
Corn Time Again
Michael went out last night to pick corn. The picture above is what he brought into me. That is most of what was left out there. There are still a few ears to ripen here or there. We had a good corn year. Thank you Lord!!!! This corn is the sweetest most tender corn we have ever tasted. Everyone that has tasted it said the same thing. I want to grow some open pollinated corn next year, but we will also grow some more of this stuff.
There are still lots of tomatoes on the vine out there to ripen. Next year, I think one cherry tomato plant will be plenty. I have given those things away like crazy, we eat them like crazy and still they threaten to take over my kitchen. =)
I had to pick my big pumpkins and my 2 little pie pumpkins. Those little gray bugs are invading the vines and are all over the fruit. We have a couple more green pumpkins out there, but I wonder if they are even going to ripen with the damage those bugs are doing.
We have gotten some rain in the last few days. It had been pretty dry for a bit. As I was walking back up from milking this morning, I noticed where we had bushhogged down the weeds that lots of little weed plants are pushing through the soil. I guess even the weeds were very thirsty.
Well, I need to get ready to start my corn day. I still have tomatoes to do as well. Praise the Lord from whom all blessings flow. He is the Lord of the harvest.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Shades of Autumn
Autumn is my very favorite time of year. I love the colors, the sounds and the smells. Autumn is trying to sneak in around here. There is a change in the air, although it is hard to put into words just what that change is. It is like God has put a filter over everything. The temperatures are a bit cooler, although not chilly. The lighting is different. Some flowers are past blooming and others are starting. Goldenrod, Ironweed, Joe Pye Weed and others are blooming like crazy. The Queen Anne's Lace is withdrawing from the fields. The ragweed is still blooming, which is not a good thing for the allery sufferers.
You can sense the change in the garden as well. The corn stalks on the first planting are ready to be taken out of the garden and put into shocks for harvest decorating. The pumpkins are starting to turn orange as you can see above. The sunflowers are all starting to bow their heads and are dying out, leaving seeds for humans and birds to snack on. The bees are working feverishly to gather in enough to get them through the coming colder months. There are lots of bumble bees this year. You can see one on the sunflower above.
The spider you see above is what we call a Garden spider. Some people call them Writing spiders. I don't know their real name. This one has been in a large web, just outside of my goatshed door. He has been there for weeks. This morning, I noticed the little sack you see in the last picture. I am not sure if it is an egg sack or if it was a large moth that got caught in his web and he wrapped it up. Once again, I am amazed by the creation of God. I don't know if you can see them in the picture, but there are all sorts of little webs attached to this sack to keep it suspended where it is. The sack itself is very remarkable. How did he know how to make it or even to make it at all? God.... That is the only answer. Praise the Lord, that He is a God of details. He gave us a book of instructions to read and learn from, but even a simple garden spider is given the knowledge within itself to do the things it needs to. If he looks after that spider, I KNOW He is watching over me. With that knowledge, I don't need to wrestle my way through life, but simply rest.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
God Makes Himself Known Through Nature
Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Romans 1:19,20
I look around me and wonder how anyone could think there was not a Creator. The gorgeous sunsets that are in colors that would look fake if painted. No two of these are exactly alike. The huge full moon that rises over the horizon and shrinks as it gets higher in the sky. I looked at a sunflower I had cut and brought into the house. Each individual little flower and all the seeds in even rows. I think of the little tiny plants we had shipped to us by a friend in Maine. The dirt the roots were in was no bigger than the end of my pinkie. Yet, we are being flooded with lots of huge tomatoes and bowlfuls of little ones. To hear the wind as it makes its way through the leaves on the trees. To hear the crickets, cicadas, birds, frogs in the pond and other animals. He has created such a special place for us. He could have made it all black and white and we would never know. Heaven is far better than we know now. I wonder if there will be colors we never dreamed of. Have you ever sat in the grass and watched all the activity that goes on around you. What a delight it is to be blessed enough to enjoy all of this. I praise His name for all His wonderful creation that He has given us to enjoy!!!!!
Yesterday I canned 16 quarts of tomato puree. I did not add the peppers and onions to this batch. I just used salt and pepper. Today my little buddies from next door came over and they went out and picked for me. The top picture is the bounty they brought in. We hope to pick the rest of the corn tonight.
If you look closely on the sunflower you will see a big fat bumble bee. He was buzzing very loudly as I took the picture.
Many of the birdhouse gourds are getting really large. These are some that are hanging in the midst of my sunflowers.
The last picture is of the blossoms on the luffa gourd vine. There is a bunch of buds all clustered at the end of a long upright stem. Both this vine and the birdhouse gourd vine bloom in the night.
Monday, August 28, 2006
Helping One Another
We are told in the Bible to Love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind and to love our neighbor as ourself. Well, there is a neighbor in need. Please be sure and check out Hidden Haven Homestead She is having an auction to help out a fellow blogger with some major medical expense. It is really a worthy cause.
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Yesterday I pickled my beets and canned that half bushel of green beans that was on the floor. I did not get to the tomatoes, and I did not get to them today either. I guess they are Monday's project now. Our home fellowship is meeting at our house tomorrow, so I need to finish getting everything ready. I had a friend give me a huge bunch of mint that grows like crazy on their farm. I have it hanging from my beam to dry. I also picked some sweet annie today and hung it up to dry. I have onions to slice and put on the dehydrator. I will probably do that first thing Monday morning and put it out in what used to be my store. That odor fills the whole house and makes your eyes water. =) The next planting of corn will be ready this coming week as well. Many of my friends are buying their apples and making their sauce, etc. We like to make our applesauce from 2 parts Golden Delicious and 1 part Jonathan. They are not ready yet, which is good, as my hands are full. It has not been overwhelming, but it keeps coming on steady and I am able to get it put up. I have been taking a new liquid vitamin and it has really kept me going. I am thrilled with it. I have not had much energy before I started taking it, but now I just seem to keep going. It gave my friend real pep. She said it felt like she drank a bunch of Mountain Dew, but did not have the jitters she would get with that. Just lots of vim and vigor. I have not had the big surge of "Let's go run a mile", but I have been able to keep on going without sitting down, etc. I have had much more energy that is just steady.
We have good friends that just had another baby. You can see his picture at yoderfarm.blogspot.com. He is adorable. I love the picture of his brother Miles holding him.
The first picture above is sunset over a friend's farm. The next one is her horse peeking out of the barn. The last picture is of our barn on Friday morning. We had some fog out there.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Supporting the Wild West
There is a Wild West show coming to town in September. The children next door have to earn part of their entrance cost. They are like my Grandkids and I love them. I told their Mom if they wanted to come and pick tomatoes that I would pay them. So, they showed up at my door ready to work. I gave the 3 and 5 year old bowls to pick the cherry and grape tomatoes. They were not happy about sharing one bowl. =) Then I gave the older two baskets and bowls to collect theirs in. They did not get to finish as we had a storm come up. I told them to bring in what they had and run home quick. The second picture is what they brought in. Michael picked the beans last night, but they brought in all the tomatoes. The first picture is of a baby luffa gourd. I am not sure I am going to be able to harvest any before frosts hit. We will have to wait and see.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
We have had a couple of people ask us recently about what kind of dogs that we have. Here is a picture of our two dogs. Southern Star and Southern Belle or Star and Belle for short. Star is on the right. She is the best dog that I have ever been around. She is truly part of the family. Belle is her daughter and she is OK, but she is not the same GREAT dog that Star is. They are my buddies on the farm. If I am in the garden or somewhere outside doing something, they are usually pretty close lying in the shade if available. They are very protective of me for which I am grateful.
When I originally planted my birdhouse gourds, I was SO disappointed that only 2 plants came up. My friend who had grown them before told me that those two plants would fill my tepee that I had planted them by. Well, it more than filled the tepee and the entire garden around them. They are growing all through the leaves and stalks of my sunflowers. This is a picture of one hanging among the sunflower leaves. If all the gourds that are on there ripen and I am able to harvest them, I will have birdhouse gourds to paint and work with through next summer. They are EVERYWHERE!!! =)
The neighbor children (we also fellowship and worship with this family) are like grandchildren to me. They love to share things with me and I love to share things with them. They found a bunch of Monarch butterfly caterpillars and were keeping them in a jar. They have done this many times and watched their butterflies take flight to places unknown. I commented that I had never done that and that it would be neat. Well, here they came with milkweed leaves and caterpillars. I killed the first three and none of us know how or why (that makes me a caterpillar killer). Then they brought me George. George ate and ate and ate. I found a website that tells about the life cycle of this species. It said that one of these caterpillars can consume an entire milkweed leaf in 4 minutes. You can see each day how it has grown. It is incredible. Well, George is now in his chrysalis and that is what you see in the third picture. George's buddy is still eating milkweed leaves.
I wish this picture showed up better. Do you see the REALLY tall sunflower? One night after dark I was out in the goat shed milking. I saw something in the upstairs window and could not figure out what it was. No one was in the house and this room is an extra that is not used. Well, it turns out it was this sunflower and it was too dark for me to figure that out. The windows behind it are the second story windows. The last picture is of the first sunflower that bloomed. It had one bloom at the time. It put out flowers on the same stalk facing in all directions. It is really neat looking.
Well, I need to get going. I have tomatoes to do today. There are actually a lot more to pick already, but I need to deal with what is already in the house. I would also like to get some apples here sometime soon. I will be making applesauce and apple pie in a jar.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Busy, Busy, Busy
This is just a busy time of the year. The harvest is coming in full force, you have to can, dehydrate, and freeze the fruits of your labor. Then when the winter is cold and crisp and the snow lies across the fields so white it dazzles and the fire is keeping you toasty warm, you can bring out that wonderful produce that you put away. It is nice knowing that it is organic and healthy. It is a warm feeling to know that it is the fruit of your work. I keep trying to encourage myself with these thoughts. My goat tried to escape last Tuesday. I grabbed her collar, just as she lunged the other way. I kept a hold of her, but jerked my neck out of place. It is still bothering me. So, as I am out picking or snapping beans, or washing jars, and I feel the ache, I can think ahead to this winter and the enjoyment I will receive from these labors.
The first picture is the sunflowers across the front of my garden. There is one (more toward the left in the picture) that is WAY taller than the others. In this picture, its flower is not quite open. That sunflower has to be at least 11 feet tall. The next picture is of some of my bird house gourds growing. If they all survive, I will have way too many to do anything with. I would like to make birdhouses out of as many as I can. Maybe they can be gifts for others. The last picture is the harvest from Saturday.
Saturday, August 19, 2006
An update to the haying story from yesterday... We ended up getting around 300 bales of hay put up in the barn all dry and snug before any rain hit. PRAISE THE LORD!!!!
The first picture at the top is one of our large pumpkins. We will use these to sit out around the porch, etc. (we don't do jack-o-lanterns). Then before they go bad, we will bust them in the pastures for the animals to eat. We know of someone who uses pumpkins in this manner to worm her animals and actually has a zero worm count. We will save some of the seeds as these are open pollinated. I will plant them next year.
The second picture is of one of the small pie pumpkins. They are also open pollinated. I hope to put up some pumpkin for this winter. I LOVE pumpkin pie, pumpkin pudding, pumpkin bread, pumpkin fudge... I guess you can say that I just love pumpkin anything.
The last picture is another sunflower picture. I had a bunch more pictures I would have liked to put up the last couple of days, but I am having to try all sorts of tricks to even get a picture up here. =)
Friday, August 18, 2006
More Major Blessings
I want to publically PRAISE THE LORD!!!!! We decided to try and put up our own hay this cutting using borrowed equipment. There were friends wanting to help (in fact they are the ones who worked out borrowing the equipment). They came over last night and started to rake it and bale it. It took awhile to figure everything out and get all the tractors hooked up and going. It started to get a bit dark and the dew was falling, so they quit. We got up this morning and there was a short sprinkle, with more rain called for. We prayed and told the Lord it was His hay, and if we weren't supposed to get it in, then He had other plans for us and that was OK. However, if He saw fit, would He help get the hay dry and hold off the rain. Michael took a half day off of work to come home to start on it. It was very overcast and looked like rain. Then the sun came out for a bit and the rain has held off. They are out there working on the hay and have most of it already done!!!!!
When the guys were over here last night working on hay, some of their girls had come inside to sit and talk with me. They saw my beans and corn sitting there in the floor for today. They called today and they were doing some of their corn and beans. They said there kitchen was already going to be messy, so they came and got me, my corn and my beans. I got home around 3PM with my 18 quarts of corn ready for the freezer and my beans are almost all snapped. God sent me someone to not only pick them, but to help me process them. That is a big deal when you are faced doing it all alone. I never once complained or anything. I just knew what I had to do and planned on doing it alone. God is SO GOOD!!!!!
Picture is a couple of my sunflowers out back. I tried to put up more pictures, but blogger has not been letting me put pictures on and I have had to try different ways to get them to show up.
The Lord Has Blessed Our Harvest
We have truly been blessed this year in our garden. I had a friend come over yesterday just to bless us. She arrived with her horse and buggy. She is neither Amish or Mennonite, but just enjoys the simple life. I had things that needed to be done in my house. She insisted on working in the garden by herself. I told her I would feel bad having her work out in the hot sun, while I was inside. She told me she insisted. So, she was out there quite a while. She weeded around my onions and peppers. Then she picked our first planting of 2 rows of corn and then picked more beans. So, guess what I am doing today? I will start with shucking the corn and getting going on it. Then I will snap beans and get them ready to can. We should have some good eating this winter. All of the work will have been worth it.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Here is what I brought in from the garden yesterday. We made some fresh salsa last night. Oh, it was SO good. If I could have a year round garden, I would love it. We have been eating our corn each night, as it is only good fresh for so long. We were supposed to pick our corn last night, so I could process it today, but a neighbor is letting us borrow his haying equipment to make our second cutting of hay and he showed up last night with the big tractor and haybine. We had 2 other families here and it turned into a working fellowship type thing. Our tractor was not working, and the guys were all looking at it and we think it is fixed... PRAISE THE LORD!!! We brought out a big watermelon we had and cut it up for everyone. They were here until pretty late. I had 2 little friends that went with me out to do the milking and other outside chores. 2 other little volunteers fed the calves their bottles and walked over with me to give the pigs their garden goodies and milk. It is nice to have company when you chore. In fact when I picked tomatoes, one of the girls in the fellowship came over and helped me. It was nice having someone to talk to, when I was out there picking.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Well, I tried posting pictures another way. We shall see if that works. This is our table already for serving. Then a picture of the individual place setting. The little piggies at the top of the plates are corn holders. Then a picture of the bread that I baked that day. My Dad loves bread with crunchies (sunflower seeds and whole millet) in it. So, I made 2 crunchy loaves and 2 regular loaves.
Chickens & Hawks
The first picture is my chicken coop. It is back in a shaded area of my property. All the trees you see in the right of the picture cover a large area and provide lots of shade for the chickens. If you keep following the fence down to the right, that end is open toward our pond. So, the chickens really do free range, but it keeps them from coming up in our yard.
I heard a weird noise out back one morning early last week. It sounded sort of like a hawk or something in distress out by the coop. My son and I went out to investigate. As we got closer the sound moved on down toward the back of the property. I wondered if a coon or something had a chicken and was running off with it. I have heard that same noise several times since then. Then on Saturday, a HUGE hawk flew right over our house and landed in the tree line just down a bit from the chicken coop. Then I realized that it was a hawk I was hearing. So far, we have not lost any chickens that we know of, but they are barely laying back there. I wonder if the hawk is hassling them or if it is eating their feed or something.
I thought I would throw in another sunflower picture since it is letting me put pictures up. =)
Monday, August 14, 2006
Hey, what do you know... It allowed another picture to be put up. This is a beautiful butterfly on my echinacea out front. It stuck around a long time. Long enough for me to run in and get my camera.
Well, if finally let me put one more picture up. This is our first canteloupe to ripen. We have never grown one that was any good. This one was/is delicious. My Dad and a friend are coming over for dinner tonight. We are having pork chops on the grill (from our pigs), corn on the cob from the garden, Italian Tomato salad with tomatoes from the garden, a bowl of watermelon and canteloupe balls from our garden, homemade bread from freshly ground wheat and a blackbery pie from our blackberry bushes. Who needs a grocery store??!! =)
For whatever reason, Blogspot is not allowing me to post pictures. I finally got the one above up. I will try again in a separate post.
The picture is of an Amish farm. I took this picture as well as a couple of others to show someone how they put their oats in shocks. It is always so picturesque when they have the corn or the grains out in shocks.
I will try and post some other pictures.
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Well, my triplet ram lambs are really getting big. I can tell you their names and I am sure you can figure out which one is which. =) Vanilla, Chocolate and Cookies-N-Cream. I guess because we handled them so much when they were small, they are not afraid of us. I am trying to get them to learn their names. I think Cookies has his downpat. He knows when I call him that I usually have a little treat for him to nibble. The problem is keeping all the others away once they realize he is eating something.
This sunflower has the biggest flower on it. All the others are much smaller. I don't know if they will grow or not. The last picture is from where I sit and milk and look out. I sit on the stanchion facing out the door. The goat is on my right. I can see all the tall sunflowers peaking over the corn. The tomatoes are the plants closest to me.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Italian Tomato Salad
Well, I have other sunflowers joining in the chorus of praise to our Creator. I love sunflower pictures, so you will probably see lots of them. =)
The glads are all from my yard. I have them start blooming in early July and there are still some out there that have not bloomed yet. I bought and planted some, a friend in California sent me a bunch of bulbs and there were already some planted when we moved here. I have a constant bouquet of them. I usually have another wildflower bouquet as well. I pick them and so do all the children who come to visit. They know I love the wildflowers.
The last picture is of tonight's Italian Tomato Salad. I have enough grape and cherry tomatoes to feed each of you a handful.... plus another 200 people or so. The salad is supposed to be made with tomato slices, but I just cut the wee tomatoes in 2 and put them in a bowl. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic and oregano (I use a mixed Italian seasoning instead of just oregano). Then put a Tbls. or so of olive oil over them. Mix them all up to spread everything evenly. Then refrigerate. YUM!!!!!
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Flowers and Veggies
Another little pink Cosmos is showing its face among the bottom leaves of the giant sunflowers. It is blooming where it is planted. It is not in the ideal spot. It gets most of its sun blocked, but still it shines forth with all its praise to the Creator.
The second tall sunflower has bloomed, but I could not get a clear picture of its face. It is much larger than the first and such a cheery yellow.
This morning when I looked out the back door, I saw the dew sparkling like jewels on the fine leaves of my asparagus. I love this picture with its contrasts of light and dark.
I think that some of our corn is ready to pick. Here is one of the ears that we will try first. We will probably be doing that this evening.
The last picture is our grape tomatoes. They were the first to turn red. There are many tomatoes on each plant. I pop one or two in my mouth, each time I go by. =)
Well, yesterday I canned 14 more quarts of beans. I also did another batch of pickle relish and a batch of blackberry jam. Today, I want to do another batch of bread and butter pickles. Then soon, I will have enough tomatoes to start canning them.
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