Monday, May 30, 2016

Around the farm. Memorial Day 2016

 It is SO dry and hot here right now. Just all of a sudden too. The first 3 weeks of May were great. No need for the AC at all. Then BOOM! Hot and dry. No rain since the 21st. The ground is cracked bad. So I am watering everything every day now.

And I bought some bee balm and pineapple sage for the tire garden. My daughter Abby got me that hanging basket for mother's day. I added more soil to the tires too. I hope they make it.

And these poor blueberry bushes. I had totally neglected them. When I looked a few days ago, the berries were almost all shriveled up, like dried berries. So I ran and got the water hose and watered them really good. The next day, the berries were all nice and plump again! So I am watering them every day too.

And the apple trees. Poor things. I put the hose on each one for about 10 minutes each a few days ago. And I'm sprinkling them too.

I just love daisies. They were my bouquet at my weeding. I have a lot that just pop up all over the place. Of course, not where I would like them all to be. So I mow around them and let them be. You can see lots of activity on these. With it being so dry, there's not much else for the butterflies and bees.

I also noticed my elderberry bushes were turning a little yellow. So they all got some water too.

I have lots of bluebirds in the bluebird houses this year! There are usually finches or other small birds in them. But not this year! The bluebirds have taken back their houses! And they are busy little birds too!

These 6 chicks are just about ready to be let out with the big guys. As soon as their bag of grower-starter is done, out they go!

This is my little day lily garden. An elderberry bush popped up here last year. And I put a few peppermint plants in too. I have seen lots of birds in the bath lately!

They finally came to mow and bale the hay a few weeks ago. Now if they'll just come get it. But I think it looks so pretty out in the field. I hope this is not all the hay we have this year. But it doesn't look very good. The weather people are saying it's going to be a dry summer.

I am worried about the bees. Because it's so hot and dry, there is not a good nectar  flow right now.  I was going to try to harvest honey from the big hive this week. I still will, but will have to leave some for the bees. That's why I am planting so many flowers and herbs for them. I did plant a row of buckwheat that they are all over right now. And the daisies too. I also planted the 4 rows of beans and put sunflower seeds down the middle of both. But they haven't come up yet. I am watering them too. I want to get some corn planted as well. But the ground is too hard to till.

So what all have you planted in your gardens? 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Happy birthday Chloe!

 17 years ago today, this beautiful girl was born. I remember it like it was yesterday. She was a beautiful little baby and is turning into a beautiful young lady.

These are older pictures because she hates having her picture taken any more. I love this kid!

Happy birthday Chloe Grace!! We all love you so much! Have a great day!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


I have a new phone. I got it so I could get one of those squares for the markets and not miss any sales. I bought one when I got the phone but it won't work. My brother tried to get it hooked up down at the barn last weekend, but not good reception way down there. So I have one of those white ones coming. And it's free! But not to use it. I can take cards but I have to manually put in all the info. Which is fine with me. So I am finally caught up to all you smart phone people! I love taking pictures with it. But still have a lot to figure out about it.

So I went to the pottery studio this afternoon to glaze all those pieces I took in a few weeks ago. There were so many! I only got about halfway through and had to leave to milk the poor goaties. I'm going to try to go back Saturday to finish the bigger bowls.

It sure is a time consuming job, this glazing. A lot of thought goes into each piece. First, I have to check each piece and sand any sharp edges. Then I have to decide what color each piece will be. That takes awhile to decide. There are way too many colors to choose from! All the little circle and square colored pieces are samples I chose

Then the bottoms all have to either be dipped in wax or paint it on. That's to keep the glaze from sticking to the bottom, then sticking to the shelves in the kiln and eventually breaking the piece and messing up the shelf. Not a good thing.

Then comes the fun part! Glazing all these. First though, each bucket of glaze has to be stirred quite a bit. Then I don't really like the little  tongs because they leave little spots where they were. So I just hold the handle of the mug and dip, then wait til it's dry and do the handle.

And I tried something different with the 6 bowls. I dipped half in a sea green and the other half in a       light blue. I hope they turn out pretty. I'd like to go back with each bowl and brush on each side with the opposite color with a dry brush. So I hope they don't get fired til I can get back to do that.  I'd like to try doing different things, but it really takes so much time. Which I don't have much of lately.

I also bought 50 more pounds of clay! I hope I can find time next week to play with it.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Barn sale and some gardening.

 I sure am glad this weekend is over! It's been a long busy one for sure.

I spent a few weeks getting ready for this barn sale up at Mt. Cove Farm, 5 miles from me. Made extra soap too. I was so nervous I wouldn't have enough things to sell. But when I finally got down there Thursday afternoon and set up, I had so much. I had a great spot right at the front door on the left. Friday was freezing cold and rainy, all day. Still had a lot of people coming in. I did pretty good. Sold a lot of soap! Then Saturday, it was a beautiful day! Lots of people coming in shopping. I kept having to fill my soap boxes up! I even sold that orange knitted hat! And 2 skeins of Adele's hand spun yarn! And some pottery too. It was a fun time, but glad it's over. I am pooed. I went to bed early, I was so tired. It was all day for 2 days.

I didn't leave the yarn up on the table like that.  I was just getting things ready.

Then today, we were supposed to go watch our youngest daughter, Abby, go for her hang gliding birthday present. It had been put off twice due to high winds and rescheduled for this morning at 10:30. There was a bike race out our way this morning, so we had to go all the way back up the mountain, then across the mountain and back down the other side because of the race. And when we finally go there, she had already gone up and they were ready to leave. I was so upset. But then very relieved that she was alive! She's already jumped out of an airplane, so this was a piece of cake. But sad we missed it. Darn bike races.

So on the way home, we stopped at the Lookout Mt. Trading Post up on the mountain on 136. Some new people have bought it and it's beautiful. It's a gift shop and they also have a good lunch menu. They also have a pottery studio there!!! I got to go in and look around. It's amazing! These 2 guys are really good. They do mostly hand built pieces. But anyway, the reason we stopped is I had heard they wanted to start a little farmer market there on Saturdays. SO I wanted to find out more about it. It's free! So I think I'll go. And it's only about 15 miles from me. I bought a whole flat of herbs from them too. I had already gotten a flat plus 5 more herbs from the feed store a few days before. So 2 1/2 flats to plant!

SO when we got home I went out to the garden. I wasn't going to have a whole day to work again til Thursday, so had to do it today. I mowed the whole garden. Then tilled some rows for green beans. Got 4 rows planted. Then mulched all the squash, zucchini and peppers. Then got to weeding the flower garden I made in front of the bee hives. Some of the little beds I planted seeds in didn't come up, or only a few did. I planted 1 peppermint, 3 sage, 5 thyme, 8 chives, about 12 each of lavender and rosemary. I think that was all. I don't know if I'll be able to move tomorrow, all that bending over. Then I watered everything really good. And that's all in the garden today. I am feeling good about gardening this year. I am taking my time and not stressing about it. Just kind of having fun out there.

I am so thankful for this cool weather we've had too. It's funny though, Friday it was so cold when my husband came to get me from the sale, I wanted the heater on in the truck. Then when we got home, I turned the heat on in the house. I wore thermal to bed too. The next morning, I had the ac on in the car. Crazy!

Also thankful because the 2 poor alpacas haven't been sheared yet. They will in June though.

The squash and zucchini all mulched now. There are 2 more beds of these too.

This is the herb-flower beds for the bees. It's really going to be so pretty with all the blues and purples and reds. Lots of zinnias to the left.

The green beans finally planted! I'll plant more in a few weeks to the left when I can get it tilled better.

The tomatoes are down here this year. I have Cherokee Purple and Orange Valencia in the 1st 2 rows, then Rutgers. I need to get some okra seeds to plant in the next 2 rows down here. The rows are ready for them.

Now we need some rain! I think Wednesday we should get some.

I hope you all have a great week!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Milk Apocalypse...

is happening right now at Outback Farm! SO much milk! And so much more to come. What was I thinking when I sold all the kids? I need to go on a milk fast I think.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Hive check today.

 I checked my bee hives today. 1st time for both swarm hives.  Both doing great! Lots of honey and pollen. I couldn't find the queens but I know they are in there.

This is the big hive. The 2nd swarm came from this hive. These frames are FULL of honey! Not 100% capped yet, but will be ready to harvest in a few weeks! It is SO good too.

                                                   Look at that! Just a beautiful sight to see.

This is the 1st swarm hive. I had to scrape off all the burr comb, loaded with honey. I had to run get a bowl first. They weren't all too happy about this at all. But had to be done. I had to put another box on for them. And I had to inner cover put on wrong, so they were building comb too high. All looked good in this hive too. But they were a pissy lot of bees in here!

This is a frame from that hive. They are hard workers, these girls! Lots of pollen and honey and I think I saw brood.

They other swarm hive looked really good too. It's been 2 weeks today that I caught them. They were building lots of comb and generally happy laid back bees in this hive.

I love this picture.  That's the bowl with the honeycomb, a smoker and a hive tool.

So my bee yard is looking good so far. I'll wait awhile to add another box on the other hive. They still had 4 frames not drawn yet.

I LOVE having bees! I never would have thought I'd be a bee keeper. But I really do enjoy having bees here. I love walking by them, telling them good morning as I'm looking for dandelions. I talk to them during the day when I'm out in the garden. They are just fun to have around. Everyone should have a hive of honey bees.

Monday, May 16, 2016

The last kid...

just left Outback Farm this morning.

Little Sorren went to another farm not too far from here a little while ago. Wow. I had 4 little kids, now they are all gone. Now I will be milking 2 does twice a day. Getting 2 gallons of milk a day. What will I do with all this milk?

I need a bottle calf. And a few pigs. Because we cannot possibly drink all this milk. Or eat so much feta and chevre. Or make soap all the time. I only have 1 1/2 gallons a week going out to friends too. I really need to get certified to sell milk now. I am feeling just a bit overwhelmed right now. I put about 4 gallons of milk in the freezer for soap making. But that hardly made a dent. I am going to have a cheese making workshop here in a few weeks too.

                         Here is a fence full of honeysuckles. It smells SO good around here right now!

I am frantically getting ready for a big show down at Mt. Cove Farm at the old barn this weekend. Friday and Saturday, all day, I will be there with my soaps. And I hope to have some of my pottery too. And I will be spinning a lot of this sheep and alpaca wool for those 2 days. So no market for me today. Gotta go to the pottery studio and do some things there this afternoon.

Y'all have a great Monday!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Making something pretty out of ugly.

I made these 2 the other day. They are both really wonky and I should have just smashed them and started over. But I didn't. So I let them dry a few days.

And this is them today. I feel like they are both really cute pieces of pottery now. Something that can be used. I just like them. I etched little flowers on the inside of the bowl, all the way around.

This one, I used a different tool to get the deeper lines. Then etched little flowers along the rim. Very cute now. Sometimes, you just never know how a bowl or mug or plate will turn out.

This is another bowl I thought I should have smashed. But I made little scallops and added flowers too. Turned another wonky ugly bowl into something that's cute and functional.

The pot with the lid I made the other day too. I had made a different lid for it, but couldn't get the handle to stick. So I watched a few videos on how to make lids and did this one. It's from a video of a guy who was making garlic pots. That's what the holes are for. I wish I had his little hole making tool. Maybe I'll have one some day.

I hope I can do something with that really wonky bowl in the left back now. It was a mess.

Sometimes I feel like I should not be at the wheel. Then some days I can make some pretty cool things. I will not give up!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Thursday. At home.

 I have SO much goat milk right now! The whole bottom of the fridge is full of jars of milk. So I decided to make some Chevre and feta today, in between planting tomato plants and making soap.

This is the feta draining here.

And the chevre. This is a really easy cheese to make. Just get the milk to 80 and add buttermilk and diluted rennet. It sits ALL day, then I drain it 6-8 hours. That's about it. Very easy cheese. I have some basil and chives I'll add to it tomorrow. I need to get garlic. I am out.

                                           I made these Tuesday and got them trimmed last night.

I made these today, when I was finished with everything else. I don't think it was a good pottery day for me.

I made 2 batches of soap. A rosemary-mint and cucumber-melon. They both smell so good. I thought I better make some more because the big barn sale is next weekend. I need to get busy getting ready for that. I'm a little upset that all the things I took to be fired last Saturday had not been fired yet yesterday. So no new pottery to take next week. Unless they get it fired by this Saturday. Then maybe I can get it glazed when I go back Saturday. But I doubt it. I really do need my own kiln here. Just a small one.

I've also been planting in the garden. I got those 47 tomato plants in the ground a few days ago. Then went to get a flat of more tomatoes and peppers. So I got 18 Rutgers and some marigolds planted down where I put all those others. Then got 8 Better Boys and 12 Celebrity planted up by the new kale. Also got a rosemary plant. I want more of those. Put it in the flower-herb bee garden.

I thought we were going to get some rain these last few days. Today we got a few sprinkles. Do you think God took me seriously when I said I'd be ok with never seeing rain again after this past winter? I sure hope not. We really really need rain!  I wanted to get more ground tilled if it rained, to loosen up the hard dirt out there, so I could plant beans and okra. But that'll have to wait a few more days.

I do hear thunder toward Lookout Mt.

So I have had a good productive day here at home today. I don't get many days to srtay home all day, so I take advantage of my time here.