Monday, June 10, 2013

Just another manic Monday

 I love that song. And I love Mondays. Always have. I had a productive day. I made privet jelly. 15 half pint jars. I had picked the flowers and made the juice a week ago. Finally got around to make the jelly today. It smells just like the flowers and tastes really good. I am pleased with it. Now I am wondering if people who have allergies from privet should eat this jelly?

I made 33 of the smallest canning jars of plantain salve yesterday. I made it in the crock pot. It all turned out really nice and solid. I really love this salve. It's great for all kinds of bug and any bites and bee stings and itches. Also great to put on tick bites. Good stuff.

And a few weeks ago I had infused plantain leaves in olive oil to use in a castille soap. Which I finally made today.It's so pretty and white with a hint of green. This will take 8 weeks to cure/ I like castille soap. It's rich and creamy.

Here is the soap I made with the lard from pigs I raised. It's a summer citrus scent with orange, lemon and lime EO's and orange zest. It smells amazing!

I made just 4 bars of Sandalwood for my friend who disbuds my goat kids.

Here's Heather and Kansas, on the lawn, having a nice little relaxing time together under the shade tree.

I always wanted Red bud trees here. This is the biggest tree and there is another little tiny one in my rock garden. I got them from my mom's yard. I need more.

I also mowed most of the yard and front by the road. And washed a load of clothes and hung them out on the lines. My favorite thing to do is wash my sheets and hang them out on a sunny day. Then when I get in bed, it's the most wonderful smell and I sleep like a baby!

The lady who wanted Ella Belle has decided to not get her. I am a little upset, but I'll try to put them all on CL. And my friend who was supposed to get the pigs didn't come this morning. It was raining. So I  hope he comes tomorrow. And I had a call from some strange person about the chickens. I was just going out to check the bees and had the smoker going and my mom was just leaving and hit the fence. And I, like a dummy, answer my stupid phone. And I couldn't understand them so I told them to call back later. They were asking all kinds of stupid questions. They did call back but I didn't answer the phone. Please tell me I am not the only one who has done this? I will not sell any animals to people who don't know anything about them. Like how big does a Cornish Cross meat bird get? Come on.

I had a call Saturday from a lady who said her daughter wanted a lamb. I knew right away I would never sell her A lamb. I told her sheep like to be with other sheep and she'd need more than 1. She said that would be fine. And did she want a hair sheep or a wool sheep? She said it didn't seem that hard to cut the wool off a sheep. No, I will not sell anything to her either. Sorry. It takes all kinds, I suppose.

I was going to make elderberry jelly too. But when I went out to pick the flowers, they weren't all the way opened. So I'll wait til they are all the way opened to make the juice for jelly. That should be really good.

I am reading an old book that I read several years ago, about bees. It's called The Keeper Of the Bees by Stratton Porter. It was written in 1925. I love old books. The smell is so cool. And there are several references to real bee keepers who wrote books, like Pliney and Huber. Love this book. And now that I have bees, I am reading it again.

So just another Monday. What have you all done today?

(By the way, all the jelly, salve and soap are for sale. If you'd like anything, let me know.)

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Sunday ramblings

Saturday was just one of those days. Just ho-hum. I did make 11 of the smallest canning jars of plantain salve to sell at market. I picked a bunch more plantain to make more later when I get more jars.

Also make a batch of feta cheese last night. It has to sit out 24 hours, then in the fridge a few days. Then I'll marinate it in half pint jars in olive oil and fresh picked herbs to sell too.

Went to mom's for a birthday lunch. So many birthdays in May and June so we just celebrate them all together. My brother's is the 11th. He just left this morning to go back to Colorado. He and his daughter and grand son and my sister and her 3 daughters and a grand daughter will all be coming back up in a few weeks for Gary's memorial. Mark cleaned out mom's house. He put up locks and motion lights and they installed an alarm system. Got the house pressure washed and did lots of yard work. Cleaned the garage. Didn't get a garage door opener yet but will soon. Also changed the door locks so she has just one key. So he did a lot in a week. And I helped as much as I could. Mom will have a day or 2 by herself to rest. She was exhausted. But sad to see Mark leave.

We have all 3 grand daughters this weekend. That wears me out! 14, 11 and 10. Of course Kansas, the 10 year old, lives here with Heather. So I am always worn out! But we got her in a summer camp program at the day care. She'll have plenty to do there with all the field trips and swimming. She is a child that has to be busy all the time. And there was NO way I was going to keep her all summer. I love her, but no.

I have sold my pigs, Bob and Joe, to my friends up the road! He's going to come get them either Monday or Tuesday. I can hardly wait. But had a little moment this morning while feeding them, that I almost changed my mind. But just a moment! I'll still go get the old bread from the bread store for them every week. And I'll probably get at least a half of one of them. I just can't seem to be able to handle all these animals right now and need to let some go.

There is a couple that's supposed to be coming to get Ella Belle today. And I hope I can talk them into getting Zarah and Ira Joe too. So that will be at least 1 less goat, hopefully 3 by the end of the day today.

I also put an ad on CL for the Cornish Cross meat birds. I'd like to sell the 40 younger ones and just keep the 9 older ones that will be ready to butcher in a few weeks. I will keep all the Freedom Rangers. I did have a call from a guy the other day. I said I would not go lower than $4 a piece. And that's like just giving them away. I swear, people want you to just give these animals away. I have so much more money in these birds than I could ever get out of them. Really. So I may just end up keeping them all. They'll be ready to butcher in about a month or so. I may be able to hang on that much longer.

So, not much to write about. I'll post pictures later. I really don't like to just have a post with no pictures, but this is it folks! I hope you ALL have a great Sunday. And don't forget to look around and thank God for all you have!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Disbudding, done for the year.

I took the girls to get disbudded this afternoon. They were not happy with me at all. Ella Belle had to go back for a little scur that was making her look all wonky. And we can't have a wonky looking doe, right? So she looks much better. Her brother, Ira Joe, has some scurs too, but he didn't want to go. They all did great. My friend Kendra, has been disbudding for me for years now. She lives in Trion, which is about 35 minutes from here. She's really good and gentle and gets it done pretty quick. One year though, I had so many kids born within a week of each other, that she came here and did them all. And castrated some of the bucks too.   But that's the only time she's come here to do it. Her 2 kids and husband all came out and watched. Her husband had to help hold Ella Belle while she fixed her up because she's quite bigger than the triplets are. And she was not a happy girl about the whole deal. And she let us all know it. So that little job is done for the year. I don't think there will be any more kids this spring.

Mariah wouldn't even look at me to get her picture taken. But she did in the next one. She's so cute. Every time I brought out a kid, Kendra's kids would oohhh and aww at them. They have LaManchas and Kendra said it'd been a long time since she's had to hold ears back.

Do any of you disbud your kids yourselves? It's just one of those things I'd rather get someone else to do. The first time I took kids, I cried. It was awful. Now it's just one more thing to have to get done. And I know it only hurts for just a few minutes. Then they are just fine. I can do a lot of things. That's just not one I want to do. And this time, we bartered for soap. Cool.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

This garden

The garden this year is nothing like I have ever experienced. I actually got it started back in the middle of March with potatoes, collards, kales, radishes, beets and lettuces. We had SO much rain in between. Then heat. Then freezing cold. Then just plain ole cold. All the poor little plants didn't know what to do. Then we had floods. And most everything was washed away. All my good soil too. So this is what it looks like today, June 5th 2013.

These tomatoes are looking really good. I did have to replant most of them. I just tied them to the stakes awhile ago. And weeded. There are some tomatoes on some of them. And I have basil in between them too.

This row really took a beating the last flood we had. I had all kinds of squash and zuc seeds and plants and cucumber seeds too. Most of them were all washed away along with the soil. But the ones left are doing good. I did put Epsom salts on each plant too. I think that's helped them.

These are the cucumbers already trying to climb the fence. There are little tiny cucumbers on them!

Looks like just a bunch of dirt, but there are field peas and beans coming up in these rows.

And some potatoes came up. I am planting squash and zuc seeds in the spaces where nothing came up. Here are some potato flowers. And a bad bug.

There are some eggplants in the mulch here. I just gave them some fish emulsion so I hope that helps them. I also have several coming up from seeds in a flat that I had ordered from Johnney's.

Here is where I just pulled up all the big tall radishes that did nothing. I'll plant something else here now. Just got to figure out what. The cabbages I planted back in March to the left are finally starting to grow. The beets in the middle are too.

This is the collard and kale rows. Just sitting there, doing nothing. I have picked some kale a few weeks ago. They are under a pecan tree and I planted too close together. They need more sun. I did plant more kale over to the right, in the full sun. It's all coming up, doing pretty good. Now we just need a little rain.

Here are some field peas popping up in the very sorry soil I have here. But they don't seem to mind. I can't wait for some good ole field peas and rice! My favorite meal.

So, there is my pitiful looking garden. I was almost ashamed to post pictures. I have never had to replant before. I would have had bean flowers blooming by now and I'd be picking loads of green beans in a few weeks. But not this year. This fall, I will be planting clover as a cover crop. It really needs it.

How does your garden grow? Any luck? Have you harvested anything yet? I would love to see your gardens too. And hear how they are doing so far.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Last night, I felt an itch on my back. I felt a little tiny bump and thought it might be a little seed tick like we found on Kansas the other day. But it wasn't. This morning, this is what I pulled off my back. Yuck!!! It's not one of the regular ticks I see a lot but one of the ticks I see on dogs that get huge. And it was on my back! So disgusting. I had made a plantain salve last year so put some of that on the spot. It helps with itching and healing. I need to make some more because I use it a lot. I also found a recipe for a tick repellent that I will be spraying on me and Kansas when we go outside. I hate ticks!

I do believe this is going to be a bad tick year. I have found ticks on Sandy the goat too. She gets them around her face and on her ears. And I guess the dogs are full of them and they are in the house.

Anyone else seen ticks or had them on them already? What do you do to get them off? We usually put Vasalene (?) on them to suffocate them then pull them out. The little tiny seed tick on Kansas was on her leg where the crease is at the top of the leg. And they get behind an ear or knee. Be careful and check for ticks!

Monday, June 3, 2013

 I am loving my new mower. I can get this whole place mowed in no time now. And it all looks so good. It is really helping on saving a lot of time. I even mowed the back yard where John Henry lives most of the time. I wish I could get it out back in the goat yard now. I am still afraid to mow where it's a bit steep though. I just go up and down.

My brother is here from Colorado staying with our mother. Mom's brother and his wife came up yesterday from S. Ga. but had to go back home for a funeral tomorrow. So a short stay. But so good to see them. We cleaned out Mom's garage this afternoon. It looks so good. My brother's  going to put a garage door opener in for her. She'll be able to get her car inside now. It's amazing how much there is to do after a death. Phone calls. Changes. Cleaning. And tomorrow we will go to the funeral home to get Gary's ashes. The funeral home director is so nice. Very Southern. Calls everyone Honey and Sweetie and hugs us all and says how pretty we all are. He is a very nice person.

Anyway, it's been a very busy time. And now more birthdays. My oldest daughter, Heather, will be 34 tomorrow. I remember the day she was born like it just happened. I had no idea what was going on, being my first labor. I thought it would be horrible excruciating pain and it wasn't at all. I was in labor all night, then my water broke. So I called the doctor. He said I better get to the hospital as fast as I could. The whole way there I wanted to push so bad. Got in and was taken straight back to delivery and had her in just a few minutes after getting there. I was up and walking around within minutes. It was so easy. I never did understand why people said it would be so awful. So she was born the day before my birthday. She was my best birthday present ever. Happy birthday, Heather!! I love you.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Rendering lard

I put this bag of pig fat in the fridge a few days ago. So today had some time and rendered it down. I need to make more soap because I have only 2 bars with lard left.

I had 2 pots going, then went down to the one pot. I love how the house smells while doing this. Like uncured bacon.

I don't like cracklings so the dogs will get what's left. They love it.

And I got 4 1/2 quarts. It looks good. I like to cook with it too.

Has anyone else rendered lard before? What do you use it for?