Tuesday, April 30, 2013

To market. to market...

Tomorrow will be my first day at the Main St. Farmer's Market in Chattanooga! I have been working fast and furious the past few days, finishing up things here. I made 19 (would have been 20, but one spilled) jars of dandelion jelly. Just picked dandelion greens this afternoon, washed them and bagged them and they're all in the fridge in the garage, ready to go. If there are dandelion flowers in the morning, I will pick those and take them for tea. I love dandelion tea, warm with honey. It's a great spring tonic.

I will also have my home made soaps, which would make great gifts for all those special mothers out there. I'd like to do gift baskets. I'll take all my things just in case. While at the feed store today, I saw an old painted side table that would look great as a display for my soaps. So I bought it. It's so pretty. I'll take pictures tomorrow.

I think I am ready. I have all my things from last season. I had to buy weights for my canopy, since they are required now. $30 at Academy.

I also bought 10 3 week old Cornish Cross chicks at the feed store today. They are already outside in a little round fence. I put a sheep over them. I hope they'll be ok. They're pretty big already. My 50 CC chicks will be here either Thur. or Fri. Then the 25 Freedom Rangers will be here May 15th. SO I'll soon have 85 meat birds soon.

I'll be going to the Brainerd Market Sat. from 10-12. I watered all the greens and cabbages tonight with fish emulsion. I have got to get these plants growing. They seem to be just sitting there. My potatoes are all popping up all over. So I hope to have veggies soon to sell.

My first time all suited up and out with the bees.

I stopped by a friend's place who has lots of hives. His mentor was there too. I lucked out on that trip. They showed me all the hives near his garden. It looked like 2 of the hives were getting ready to swarm. They weren't too thrilled about that. But I learned a lot just in the few minutes I was there. We have a bee association that meets every 2nd Tuesday at the AG center. I will be going.

I also learned that pollen can be different colors. Had no idea. It can be red, green, blue, orange. Just like us, they like a variety of foods, so everything has different pollen colors. I always just thought it was yellow.

I told him I had just gotten a hive of probably 6.000 bees. He said that's about as much as a package of bees would be. I said I was going to put that extra frame box on the top in a few days. He said with that few bees, that I needed to check the frames already there first and see what's going on. And that I should not add the 3rd box yet.

So, when I got home, I suited up and got ready to check my hive. I felt like an astronaut in this thing. And it's HOT in there! I got Heather, my daughter, to take pictures. And Kansas to hand me things over the fence.
I am taking the staples off here.

It was SO smokey, I could hardly see! And the bees were so good. They got a little upset when I'd smoke the hive. But nothing major happened at all. I'm taking the top off here, then the piece under the top.

Taking out a frame to check it. It was just black. There were bees up there. But the frame was black. What does that mean, all you beekeepers?

So I got Kansas to hand me the queen excluder and put that on in between the 2 frame boxes.

Then put the other box back on. And that was it. All done. Now I sure hope the queen wasn't in that top box.

This was really fun. And my very first time doing that. I have seen people do all this. But to do it myself was so cool. And I was calm and the bees were so good. I don't know if I'll get any honey at all this year. The way it looked, probably not. I need to know what the black frames mean now. And I did just look at one of them. I didn't take the 2nd box off to look at it. I should have. Maybe in a few days, I'll go back out and check that one. But for now, I am done.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Beautiful day. And dandelion jelly.

It's sunny and blue skies today!!! And SO green out there. But can't get in the garden to work. Too muddy. Can't plant the bushes I bought the other day. Too muddy. Can't mow the front yard. Too wet.

SO, I am on my way to get liquid pectin, which I should have bought the other day when I saw it, to make some dandelion jelly to sell at market. I picked all the flowers in the front yard Saturday and my middle grand, Coryn, helped cut off the flowers. I have the juice in the fridge waiting. I have enough for 2 batches. And enough jars right now. I'll have to buy more little half pints before I can make more. And there are more dandelion flowers popping up now.

My problem now is my stove. It's really old. And I am down to just 2 eyes on the left side. How is a person to do any canning with just 2 eyes? I need to get this stove fixed soon. But the guy that came to look at it said he wouldn't put $300 into fixing it. He'd just buy a new one for not much more. But I hate the new stoves. I love my old stove. My husband said if I love that stove so much, just get it fixed. So I think I will. And soon.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Enjoying the day

I had a nice day Saturday. I had to go do some running around and look for a birthday present for one of my grand daughters. I had all day.

I went to the farmer's market first to pick up some bushes a friend was holding for me. An oak leaf hydrangea, 2 old fashioned lilacs and a flowering quince. He also had a pot of peppermint. I am trying to get bushes and flowers and herbs all over the yard and gardens for the honey bees. I also bought a pot of thyme and some home made apple cider vinegar from another vendor. And 2 red hollyhocks from another. Then I spotted a booth with egg cartons. The sign said $3.50 a dozen. I ran over there and got one. Can't beat that price. While I was there, I got to meet and talk to several of the farmers. This is the market I'll be going back to in a few weeks. There are also some of them that will be joining me at the Main St. market as new vendors.

Then went to a thrift store right up from the market and found a bunch of baskets for my soaps. I thought I'd try to make gift baskets for Mother's day gifts at the MSM when I start going. And they were all 20% off!

I decided to go to Toys-R-Us and look around to see if I could find something there for Kansas. I used to work there when my first grand daughter was a baby. I worked there for her basically. I really hated working there though. I was always SO noisy and crowded. Screaming kids all day. So I was not really looking forward to going. But I went. And I walked the whole store. Slowly. And found a few things for her. It was really not so bad.

I then went to Whole Foods for some things there. And walked all over the whole store and really looked at everything. Every time I go there, I am always in a hurry so I rush through and just get what I went for. This time, I walked slowly and sampled every single cheese that was out. They were all so good. I got some too. And even sampled some gelato. I got the cucumber melon. It was wonderful.

Went back to Ace Hardware to take a can of spray paint back to exchange. And wandered around the flower garden section. Got some good ideas for my deck. Look at this display. I love it. It's pallets.  I have got to get some and use them as rails all around and at the back like this.  It is just too cool. This is my friend Beth who works there part time. I always get my flowers there because there are people who just work in the flowers. Helping people, watering all the time. The plants looks so good because of these ladies.

I really had a good time out and about. It seems like I am always in a hurry any more. I can't do this or that because I have to be here or there. Like right now. I am always driving way too fast. So it was nice to just slow down and enjoy my day.

Around the farm. Sunday morning.

 This is the garden this morning, after a monsoon. And it's still raining. This is the 3 beds I planted Wed. Now under water. I hope all the seeds didn't get washed down to the end.

                                                        This is the front sheep pasture.

Here is my pond, Sandra. It's not near as big as yours, and it drains in a few days. I need to get a few dump truck loads of top soil some day. Look at that fog at the foot of Pigeon Mt.

               And here is the pond in the other pasture. And a creek. And the horses across the road.

Standing in a bog puddle of water in the garden. I so need to trench so all this water will go down the rows and not over them.

 We're having a birthday party for my grand daughter, Kansas. She'll be 10 Tuesday. We got her and the other 2 grands, Chloe and Coryn, a Wii for all their birthdays. And Christmas. For a few years. They are having so much fun with it already.

Ihope y'all have a great Sunday!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Full moon and sunrise

Last night, the moon was HUGE! And it was still up this morning. So pretty. And Sandy still has not had her kids yet. I'm glad though, because it's been cold at night lately. But she usually has hers during the day anyway. We are supposed to be rainy all weekend, with possible storms. She'll have them then.

                                                    Can you see the scary sheep eyes?

I am loving this wisteria vine on the little piece of old fence with this pole for it to climb up. And with the sunrise behind it, even prettier.

The 3 bluebird houses in the sheep yard. Although there has never been any bluebirds nesting in them because they always get run off by sparrows. I have a lot of bluebirds around here, so they are nesting somewhere. One of the old maple trees I call the birds condo. There are holes in the big limbs where lots of different birds make nests.

I sure need a good camera to capture the beauty of these sunrises here. It really was amazing this morning.

Yesterday, while out running errands, I stopped at my Ace Hardware store. They always have the most beautiful plants and flowers and veggies. They have several people who only work in that area  so they are watering and tending  and helping people all day. I always get my flowers there. And last time, I saw this  and thought about getting it but didn't. So this time I did. There was also a butterfly one but I like the dragonflies. And it really spins too.  I love it. I also got a flat of the most beautiful flowers for the bees. Also went and got some old tires from a friend. I saw the coolest picture of a flower garden made with old tires they had painted all different colors and stacked up real cute and put dirt in them and planted flowers. SO COOL! So I have 5 tires now and I'd like to get some more to make it really stacked up. I'll get spray paint today for them. Then I'll post pictures of it. I can hardly wait to get started now.

I hope you all have a great weekend! And thank you all so much for coming to my blog. It makes me happy to know that someone is interested in my farm and what I do here.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Family Jewels

 I castrated these guys last night. They are a little over 2 months old. A few people had told me to give them a shot of Banamine before. So I did that. It took awhile to get those jewels to come down into the sack, but they all finally did. I felt horrible for having to do that. I sprayed them real good all around and made sure I didn't have their little nippley things under the band so I knew it wasn't up too high. They all did really good. After I did each one, they would just go lay down for a few minutes. But didn't act like they were going to die, like they do sometimes. So I hope the shot helped. This morning, they all look fine. A bit slower, but ok. Thank God, they are ok. I was so worried they'd all be dead this morning.

Here's Buck and Bo with their momma Darla.  And below is Tater Tot. They are all so sweet. Now they can all stay with their mothers and the rest of the flock without being pests. And, I will be in need of a hair ram soon. I'd like to have a red one like Tater Tot. I love red sheep.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Working in the garden

It's been dry the past week or so. So Monday, I went out and tilled these 3 beds. It takes a lot of tilling, let me tell you. The middle of this garden is HARD. So I am adding some really good composted humusy from out in the goat yard. Probably about 40 or so years ago, there used to be a pine forest back there. They all had to be cut down because of pine borers. And of course, they cut them down and apparently just left them where they fell. Well, most of them anyway. So there are a lot of old white limbs and branches. AND, the most amazing soil from all those decomposed trees. I went back with my wagon 4 times with buckets and totes and got loads of it to put on the garden. I also use it to plant blueberry bushes and to put around azaleas and crepe myrtles and whatever else needs it.

So, along with all this rich beautiful soil, I go out to the sheep and chicken shelters to get all their old hay they've been doing their thing in all winter. I'll put that on the beds too and till it all in good. Then it's all loose and good to plant seeds in.

I planted to the left Provider bush beans. 3 rows. I like to do 3 rows in these long beds so they'll crowd out the weeds. The middle row is 3 kinds of zucchini and some yellow squash. In the middle, I put a piece of fence and planted pickling cucumbers to grow up the fence and the squash and zucchini will keep the cucumbers cool. To the right in the first half of this bed is Swiss Chard and the bottom half is my favorite, Blue Lake bush beans. 3 rows of them too. Oh, forgot, at the end of the squash row I had some room to plant 3 rows of Cow Peas. They're a black eyed pea.

I also started 2 flats of jalapeno and red bell peppers and 2 kinds of eggplants today. I hope they make it. I love eggplant. And 4 different kinds of carrots a few days ago in my raised bed planter. I am trying Purple Haze from Johnny's Seeds this year. I ordered most of my seeds from Johnny's.

I told the people who came Sunday for a farm visit from Main St. market, that it's not a huge garden, but I can get a lot of veggies out of it. And I will stagger the planting too, so I get continuous harvests. This is not even half of this garden. I'll plant corn and okra and field peas in the other garden across the drive way later.

Right now it's lightly raining and watering all I planted. It's so nice. A little cool, but nice.

And here is my little strawberry bed. I just got about 10 more plants from a friend and got the bed weeded and mulched for them. I can barely see them in the mulch.

Busy days ahead for everyone. It's spring time finally!


What is your interpretation of this sculpture? It's in my friend's yard. She's had it for years and years. I see one thing, but it's something else entirely. You'll have to click on it to enlarge it to see more. Tell me what you think.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Beautiful photos of Outback Farm by a professional photographer


This is from the girl who came out to take pictures of my farm last week. She is amazing and the animals all loved her. I couldn't believe how they all came up top her and let her pet them. Even the sheep didn't run from her. She did an amazing job photographing and capturing the beauty here at Outback Farm. Thank you so much, Jaimie! You are always welcome here any time.

I don't know why I can't get the link to show up where you can just click on it. Sorry. But please look at all her beautiful photos. She made everything look so pretty.

Please watch and help if you can.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Sheep after shearing.

This is Abraham after he got all his red wool sheared off. he's black again, like when he was little. He acts different now though. Like a nekked boy.

This is Abraham, after shearing. He's all black again, like when he was born. He looks totally different.

This is Leelah. She looks so much better now. Now the viking ewe anymore!

Here is Annabelle. Totally different ewe now. She acts grown up. And I', pretty sure she is pregnant. When she was on her rump having her belly sheared, her udders were quite big. And it was so cute because each side had a little brown circle right around the teats. Never seen that before.

Here is Darla on the left and Adele on the right. Not too sure about Adele being pregnant. She could be though. I hope so. She really looks good. Darla, who had been sick a few weeks ago, is way better now. But quite bony. She needs some weight on her. But she feels so good after having all that heavy wool sheared off.

It was a really nice day today. Cool and sunny. I did a lot today in the garden. Got 3 beds ready to plant for tomorrow. I have a doctor appointment in the morning, but when I get home, it's back to the garden. It's supposed to rain Wed.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Still life

I sat outside for a little bit today, by the bees. Listening to them and seeing them so busy, flying here and there, is so cool. I am SO glad I got these bees. And I love this book, The Backyard Beekeeper. I had some nettle tea and the books and it was a beautiful day. And got 2 eggs to boot! I love this picture. Just had to share it. I hope y'all had a nice Sunday. I did.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

LONG day

Look at this pile of sheep. waiting to be sheared this morning. It was a beautiful day. Kind of cool, but beautiful. My friend came with her DIL about 10:30 and we grabbed Abraham, the ram. Well, her blades were not sharp. So they had to all the way to TS about 25 miles from here to get new ones. Thank goodness, they had some. So got started again about 1:00. She got Abraham sheared. He looks like a different ram now. All black, like he looked when he was little.

Then we got Darla. She just laid there and fell asleep while she was sheared. She was a happy lady! So glad to have all that heavy thick wool off her at last.

Then Leelah. She has looked like a viking for the past 2 years now and I wanted that nasty doat off her. She's Katahdin-Dorper, so she's a little more wooly that hair. And the wool had felted. So it was tough to get off. But she looks great now.

Then her son came and he sheared Adele, the wild one. She's Leelah's ewe lamb from last year. And she's the biggest one of the bunch. I think she might be pregnant, but not really sure. Not much of an udder yet if she is.

Then she sheared Annabelle. She's mostly Finn. Lucinda's daughter from last year. Lucinda died last year from Barber Pole parasites. Annabelle had some really nice wool.

So I'll only be able to use Abraham and Annabelle's wool for spinning. Maybe Adele's.

It was about 5 by then, so she'll come back next week to get Adalaide and Amarillo. I am so tired and all I did was hold them mostly. But sheep are strong buggars.

Here's Abraham. He was so good. And I think he is feeling better now, without all that heavy hot wool.

                                   This is Leelah, the viking ewe. She really looks good now.

                               This is Julie's son, shearing Adele. He did a great job. No nicks at all.

We also trimmed hooves. They were pretty bad on some, but not so on others. We've had such a wet winter. So muddy here. I'll take after pictures tomorrow. My camera was acting up and all the pictures were fuzzy.

So tomorrow, a few board members from the Main St. Market are coming for a farm visit. I still have a lot of mulching to do. So I hope they come later in the day. Didn't get too much done this morning. I so hope I get in at this market.

And I was a bit worried about my bees. Yesterday was rainy and cool and dark. I didn't see a single bee in the morning before I left. I was gone all day. Checked on them when I got home and didn't see but one bee. This morning, I saw bees all over the place! I was so happy to see them. I have a lot to learn about bees. They don't like it cold.

I hope y'all are having a great weekend so far.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Can you see them?

I am so happy! I went out just awhile ago and heard that all too familiar sound. I walked over to the tree and there they were. A pair of Ruby Throated hummingbirds! I had just put the feeder out yesterday too. Just in time. They are so beautiful. And it's going to be in the 30's the next few nights. I hope they have a nest built already. They are SO fun to watch.

               This is pretty with the horses across the road and the sunset and of course the sheep.

                                                                   I love this shot.

                                                            See her in the upper window?

She's over in the left right at the mountain line. It's a male and female pair. I only saw those 2 so far. But there will be more.

Do y'all have hummers yet? Are you ready for them? I found this little hanger at the dollar store and it's just perfect for their feeder. And they can perch on it too.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Can you see the little tiny bee drinking water at their pretty little water bowl? I've already had to fill it up so I know they're drinking from it a lot. I think it's so pretty. I put some sticks in it so they could land on them to drink, but they just land on the side like this one so far.

The bees have really been busy with all the trees blooming and flowers all over. I planted some sunflower seeds last week and they are all coming up! And I got 3 more blueberry bushes and just planted them to day. I have 10 now! All full of blooms full of bumble bees.


This morning in my devotional book, I was reading in Proverbs and got to chapter 17 v 22. A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones. Yes, it does.

Living on a farm can be hard, a lot of work, sweat and tears. But there is also so much to laugh about. Sometimes, if I didn't just sit down and laugh at some of the things that happen around here, I would go crazy.

So I was trying to think of some things that make me laugh around here. I have pigs now. They are not often fun. They are a lot of work. And worry. And trouble when they want to be. And believe me, I have been through some troublesome porkers here. I was always SO relieved when they were loaded in a trailer headed for the butcher. Like I could breath again! But, they can be so funny. Like the last few weeks. It's been really warm. So when I go to fill up their water, I'll turn the hose on them. The first time, it freaked them out. It was so funny. Now they love it. Especially Bob, the black pig. He will stand still under the water and I can see him smiling. Then he'll take off running around the yard. Then Joe will join in. He likes it ok, but not as much as Bob does. I can see the joy in Bob as he's getting splashed with the water. Such happiness. That makes me laugh.

The lambs. Yes, they have been getting out of the fences. Yes, they get stuck in strange places. But, when they just leap up in the air and run with their friends all over the pasture in pure joy, that makes me laugh. They are so funny, these lambs. And sometimes, for no apparent reason, one of the ewes will do that. Just leap up in the air and run around.

And the chickens. When they were free ranging, during the winter, they would find something good to eat. And when another chicken saw that one, she'd take off after it. That's funny too.

Then the goats. Good grief, sometimes I could just ring their aggravating little necks. But the next minute, they do something that just makes me burst out laughing! They really are hilarious!

Never a dull moment on a farm, for sure. And I don't want to become a broken spirit with dry bones.

So what makes you laugh? Do you see funny little things and just start laughing out loud and people think you're crazy? We ALL need to laugh more. Especially now, when so many horrible things are happening all around us or to us. Lets all just LAUGH! Out loud!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Pollen art

I had to go to town today and I could see the pollen in the air. Every time I got back in the car, I'd have to turn the wipers on to get the pollen off so I could see through the window. It was SO thick.

But look at this. It so pretty. All swirly and  curly. And there's a star in there too. How cool is that? Are ya'll seeing pretty pollen water puddles?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Farm tour, farmer's cheese and lamb quiche

The farm tour is over. It was hot! There were about 20 people who came here. And it was fun. I'm glad it's over and I won't have to do that again for a long time. But I did have fun. I made farmer's cheese. And a lamb-goat cheese quiche for the dinner later.

To make the cheese, just get a gallon of milk (I use raw goat milk) to a slow boil, about 160-170 degrees. Take off heat and add half a cup of apple cider vinegar slowly while stirring. It clabbers really fast. Have a cheese cloth lined colander ready and pour cheese into colander to drain. Hang it up til all drained, about half an hour. Then refrigerate. Add whatever you like to it.

These pictures got mixed up. This is showing the ingredients I like to use. I roasted 2 heads of garlic, chopped up, and some fresh chopped rosemary, parsley flakes and salt. Mix it all up and there ya go. This is the easiest cheese ever.

So the quiche is my lamb burger, eggs, milk, cheese and peppers. Plus onions, mushrooms and some cheese from another farm in Tn. It was SO good. Now I have to wait til fall for more lamb.

All the food that was brought was really good. All fresh and home made from their own farms. Can't wait til the next tour now!

Twisty ties

Oh how I hate them. Honestly, every time I take one off of something, I cannot find that twisty tie to save my life. It just disappears. Not to be seen again. Until I go to clean out the sink. Or get the pig bucket ready to feed the pigs. Or sweep up under things. Then there it is. Oh my goodness, they make me mad!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Look what I have

Aren't these the cutest little things? I got them this afternoon from Sand Mt. They're New Zealand White does. 5 weeks old. I had been thinking about getting some for the garden. And I have this little chicken tractor that's just perfect for them to move around the garden and fertilize to their heart's content. They're already eating the grass. I found my old rabbit stuff, so I didn't have to buy anything but rabbit feed.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Springtime in Georgia!

 Some purple wisteria and iris and some Redbud trees blooming.

 This picture on top is my favorite. It's my screen saver right now.

 I love this picture of the wisteria against the barn siding.
This is my friends yard. She has about 3 acres of azaleas and all kinds of flowers and bushes and trees. Right now, everything is about to explode in blooms.
 Beautiful azaleas all over her yard. There are so many. She has paths and there are azaleas at every turn.
This is a shot of one of my apple tree blossoms last night. So pretty.