Monday, July 8, 2013

More fire wood, chickens, blueberries apples and some sunshine

My husband is home for a few days, so we went today and got a truckload of the oak tree wood this morning. This is the bigger heavier pieces. It took both of us to get each piece into the truck. It'll be fall before it can be split. He tried a few of the bigger pieces and the maul just bounced right back off. Plus all the rain we've had made the wood heavier.  But our pile is growing fast!

The old oak tree is going to have to come down. It's 88 years old. Mrs. T was about 8 when her family planted that tree. And she'll be 96 on Thursday this week. I called her tree man who's been working n that tree for 30 years now. he came Friday to look at it and to talk to Mrs. T. She'll listen to him. And he said it needed to come down. It's old and falling and next time it falls, it will fall on her house and her bedroom would be first hit. This tree is huge. It's got to be at least 25 feet around at the base. But I'd rather see it come down than to destroy her house or even kill her.

So we will be getting lots of the wood. About this size. Plus they have a chipper and will bring me all the shredded brush. So it will go to a good use. Keeping us warm this winter. It already is. Loading and unloading wood is a really hot job! I am very thankful for this tree.

My friend up the road called me yesterday and said I needed to come down and pick blueberries at his neighbors house. She has lots of bushes and just couldn't get them all. So I went and we picked til we filled our buckets up. I got a gallon. I put them in qt. size baggies today and got 8. Also put 4 more bags of apples in the freezer.

Then this evening another friend came with their egg eating hen. I was going to be butchering some more of my CC meat birds and he wanted a lesson on butchering. I was glad to show him how. I had caught 7 this morning, but pardoned one because she needed another week. So did 6 more. And his 1.

So another busy Monday for me. I have had my shower and am nice and clean for a little while. It feels good!

Oh, the sun was out a lot today!! And the sky was partly blue too. It rained here and there. And while we were butchering, it came a downpour. But we were under some cedar trees and barely got wet. It was good to see the sun again, if only for a little while.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Rain, rain, go away!

It is STILL raining! This is the 5th straight day of rain. I cannot remember what a blue sky looks like, so I put this picture back up.

It has looked like this since Monday afternoon. Just rain, rain and more rain. Not really heavy rain, but a steady drizzly rain that sometimes goes to a downpour. Everything is soaked. Including my poor chickens. Goats will not come out of the barn at all. The sheep are all huddled under the shed over next door. It's just miserable weather.

I know I should not complain. I know the garden is loving this. I know in a few weeks, I will be praying for rain. And I know we are not the only ones flooding right now. I know God is in control. But it's DEPRESSING to say the least.

I hope someone out there has seen the sun and it's not really missing.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Meat birds

The 7 chickens I butchered Monday all weighed at least 4 pounds each. There were 2 @ 3.25 pounds. the rest were 4-4 1/2 pounds each. Not too bad. I can already tell the others are growing bigger. I am so ready for them all to be gone. I have spent a small fortune on these birds. There's no way I'll make it all back. Does anyone actually make a profit raising and selling meat chickens? Anyone? If so, I would love to know how.

Chickens, sheep, cheese, corn, apples and water kefir

Yesterday, I drove up to Cleveland, Tn. to pick up these girls. 7 Barred Rock pullets. 3 months old. They seem to be adjusting quite well. I have them in the coop. I went out awhile ago to check on them and the door was open. I thought they'd all be gone. But they were all still inside! Good girls. They seem a bit tired, so I put some electrolytes in their water.

I moved the sheep to the back yard this morning, to mow the grass down back there. So far, so good. They're so funny, these sheep.

I also had a cheese order. So got some made this morning. It's draining now.

I had to stop at a friend's house to get a cage for the chickens and she said our friend Tony had called. He grows corn every year and we always get several dozen from him. He was picking yesterday so I got 5 dozen ears. He always puts an extra in. I got it all shucked and cut off the cob and now it's cooling from a short par-boil. I love that when I am doing food for canning or freezing, there is lots for the animals to eat too. The sheep and goats love the shucks and silks. I'll take the cobs to the pigs later. Also the cores from the apples I did too.

This tree is very old. An antique really. I don't know of anyone who has these trees. It's an Early June Transparent. It might have another name, I don't know. But my MIL had some at her farm. And every time we went up there, she'd cook some apples. So we were very happy to see a tree here when we bought this farm. I had a picture of a bucket of apples, but now it's gone. I put up 3 qts in the freezer and will have some for dinner tonight, along with corn on the cob and fried squash and cucumbers! Yum.

I am wondering if anyone has water kefir? I got this from a fermenting class way back in March. The grains are supposed to grow and multiply like crazy. But mine are not. This is about the same amount as I got back then. The drink is good. But the grains just aren't doing what they are supposed to be doing. I use organic sugar and regular sugar. I also went on'line and saw a guy who has some. He uses brown sugar and molasses too. And a bit of egg shell. So tried that. It was very thick. And then it got a film on it. I just don't know.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Just one of those Mondays

It started off with a phone call at 7 this morning. Mary, who stays with Mrs. T on the weekends, called to say a huge tree had fallen sometime during the night and was all over the yard, blocking the garage and driveway. Mary usually parks at the garage, but last Friday, I still had some shopping I needed to finish up for Mrs. T, so was going to drive Mrs. T's car. So had to get Mary to move her car so I could get out of the garage. And she never moved it back. Or it would have been crushed by the huge trunk.

Mrs. T is 95 years old. She'll be 96 next week. She was 8 years old when her parents planted this oak tree. It's gigantic. And over the years, she has had to have some major cutting on it. Lots of money spent on this tree. But she loves it. When I showed her out the window this morning, she was sad to see it. My daughter Abby and SIL Jason, were already out there cutting it up and clearing the brush.

You can see here how massive this was. And it had 2 sections. One went right in front of the garage, to the left. The other, at the top, went toward the barn. It landed on her herb garden, crushing a beautiful wisteria tree and a red bud tree, plus her herbs. But did not hit the barn or the garage.

We got a truck and trailer load of wood so far, with another big truckload still there. And a huge mountain of brush.

                                                    This is the garage, where Mary parks.

There was not a storm last night. Or rain or wind. The tree is just old and it's heavy. It just fell. You can see where it's just broken in pieces. It's not rotten either. And you can just see the left side of her little barn-storage building to the right. Didn't touch it.

And here is a pile of the wood, at my house. Seasoning in the sun til winter. Some will need to be split. This took several hours of work between us 3. And not how I had planned to spend my Monday.

This is what I was supposed to do this morning. I had 7 CC meat birds in a cage since Saturday, waiting for their turn in the cone. But stuff happens and they had to wait til this evening. Me and Kansas got the job done in about an hour. This was her first time pulling a heart out of the chicken. She said it was really warm in there! But she did it. A true farm girl! And every time I put a chicken in the cone, she thanked it, then said "off with your head".

And here they are, cooling in the cooler before they are weighed and bagged for the freezer. I only have about 65 more to go!

Also, one of the lambs, Blossom, had gotten out of the front fence and was whining and running around. Me, Heather and Kansas got her back in with the rest of the flock. Kansas was so good. She got the gate opened, then shut real fast behind her, before all the rest of the sheep got out. It sure is nice to have some help around here.

So that was my Monday. And my eye is still horrible. It didn't help at all, all that heavy wood and brush I had to carry this morning.. But I do love some free wood!

Good Monday morning!