Thursday, April 29, 2010

"Stop It I Said!"

My Body says "stop" and my mind says "go" and "go" and "keep on going"
........... til I fall dead in my tracks. Cause honey the mind don't listen to the feedback from the body. It truly thinks that I am 20 years old again. That I can mow, weed, transplant, plant, rake, mulch, clean, do laundry and any thing else that this crazy "Young" mind of mine tells this "Old" body to do.
After the big tiller and lots of wear and tear on my body.
Not hardly a weed insight!!
Ready for a pile of mulch now.
Can any of you young folks out there come help me put out that mulch?
I don't think I have it in me.

I have to take a lot of pictures of my garden as inspiration.
Sometimes I just sit and look at my pictures over and when there is about 30" of snow on the ground.......and I get new ideas of what I want to add or change, what's working and what's not.

I see a few weeds here, I better get out there and get them!!

My Bleeding Heart!

Frankie is my supervisor!

I did all this work today against my bodies will..........I have yet another cold.
I have zero energy! Zero energy all day long.
You wonder how I did it?
I was working so hard because of the beautiful weather.
It was a perfect Spring day.
I had only planned to get the yard trim work........after mowing it with the riding mower it looked so good that I had to trim up with the push mower. Then I just had to spray some weed killer in my areas where I do not want anything growing. I do this very sporadic throughout the season cause I DON'T DO WEEDEATING!!!! Unless I really really have to.
Then before you knew it I was doing all those other things that I listed above.
OMG!!! The energy was soon in the negative zone.
I called my wonderful understanding husband.....who I knew would be so proud of me as soon as he rounded the curve near the house.........and I asked him what he wanted to bring home for supper...hehehe......he had already been thinking about Aly's Italian...woowoooooo........Calzones for supper!!!!!!!
Since the body was slap wore out I decided to hurry and get the rest of my plants in the ground and place some hay mulch around them, get the laundry in and fold it and put it away and then NO MORE!!!! I SAID YET AGAIN!!!!
Showered ate supper and had all intentions of sitting on my glider on my front porch and watch the hummingbirds ............................but I better just wash a load of my shampoo capes....cause you know someone might be able to talk me out of a haircut sometime soon.......I went to grab the capes out of the salon and I noticed that one of my Nubians may be "in season" hehehe
So back in to get out of my flip flops, don my barn boots and go take her to her boyfriend.......then I ended up in the hay barn gathering up all the loose baler twine off of the floor and straightening up in there........then into the hottub room to straighten up in there and treat the hottub................then suddenly I find myself spray painting some wrought iron hanging flower baskets. WHAT???????
What is wrong with me? Do I seriously have a mental/medical condition?
Yep it's called Spring Fever!!!!!
I had to make myself crawl back in the house while there was still about a great hour of daylight with beautiful perfect weather out there and I could have done sooooo much mind said!!
Now get this........when Danny came in .................
me: "Can you tell anything I did around here today?"
Danny: "Yeah, you mowed the yard."
I didn't even bother...........................

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dandelion Jelly Recipe

4 Cups yellow dandelion blossoms
3 Cups boiling water
5 Cups sugar
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon
Few drops yellow food coloring (optional) I used it
1 Package Sure-Jel or other powdered pectin
Pull the yellow parts of the blossom away from the green parts. Discard all the green parts because they are bitter. I opened the blossom by holding the green part with both hands and popping the green part open with both thumbs and then peeled the yellow part out.
Pour boiling water over the blossoms and let sit over night. The next morning strain the blossoms from the steeped water. I used a muslin cloth to strain them and squeeze out all the liquid. Add enough water to make 4 cups liquid. I had to add 1 cup of water and I added it to the blossoms and microwaved for 6 minutes strained them again, then added this to the other liquid.
Place the liquid in a large pot add food coloring if desired, bring to boil and boil for 2 minutes add sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest. Boil and stir til sugar is dissolved. Add pectin boil for 1 minute stirring constantly. Skim foam if needed.
Place in jars and seal using boiling water method. Yields 7 half pint jelly jars.

Dandelion Jelly

So much to talk about today!
I just finished a batch of this sweet heavenly yumminess!
I have never tried it before but I was encouraged to do so by one of my blogger friends and I sure am happy that I did!!
I think this will be a dose of"Sunshine" on my warm butter biscuit!!
I made 7 half pint jars and I am getting another batch ready!!
This is a "Good Thing" as Martha would say!

I want to show this off.....

but I can't seem to capture the beauty in my pictures.
It may help if the background was better ;-)))
Danny is working on that wood pile as hard as he can tho!!
There was a big beautiful Bluejay perched up on a limb in the tree but I can't find him in the picture now. He sure was lovely against the blue sky and the lavender Wisteria blooms!

Frugal ideas......

I just love it when I can come up with something that I need for cheap.
I would like to be able to say that I came up with the idea for this frugal hummingbird feeder on my own but I can't. I found this on youtube.
It is a 20 oz Dr Pepper bottle and a small Rubbermaid container.
I drilled 4 holes in the lid.
The one on youtube had a yellow flower painted around the holes.
I may have to do that too.
I have it hung by 2 other feeders that are starting to get a lot of action but I just hung this one yesterday afternoon.
Those hummingbirds are so darned cute and so darned fast that I can not get a picture of them yet. I did get a pic of one sitting on a tree branch but he is so small that you can barely see him!!
They are not afraid of me at all. I am sure as soon as the day warms that I should be able to sit on the glider on my front porch and get a picture of them. They sure like to fly right by my head!!!
I also made another bird feeder out of a gallon plastic milk jug. I saw that idea in Birds-n-Blooms magazine. I cut a whole in the side of it and bent the plastic flap up as to make a rain shield to keep the seeds dry. The one shown did not have the protection from the rain. The rain shield has been put to the test for the past several days now and the seeds are dry!! woowooo
Now if I can just get the birds in it! I have it in a new place but I will move it near the other feeders today. I sure hope they like it. This is a great way to free cycle!!
The third great idea that I have had this week is to make a nice watering jug out of a 2 quart Simply Orange Juice plastic bottle. It has a great handle that is easy to use and a very sturdy plastic lid on it. I drilled holes in the top and one small hole in the handle near the top of the jug for an air hole to allow the water to release from the jug. It sends out a very soft steady stream of water which is great for small and tender plants. Also it does not leak around the spout like my big watering can. I have needed to replace it for a couple years now but I just didn't. This free one works even better!!!!
I have my 40 Buckeye chicken eggs in the incubator and they are ticking right along now!!
I was able to do some tweaking around in my chicken coop yesterday while it was raining most all day. I have some new plans for another frugal idea. A rain barrel that will collect the rain water from the chicken coop/barn and store it in a 55 gallon barrel. I then will be able to use a hose connected to the barrel to put water in the chickens waterer and the one in that goat field. I am sick of carrying water to these animals and losing all that water!!
I will see how this one goes and if it does good I will then make one for all the different little goat lots too. We are very fortunate to have our big fish pond that we have an irrigation system hooked up for our garden. That is a luxury that I am being very spoiled by!! Of course it runs off electricity to pump the water uphill but my rain barrels will use gravity. I would get that project started today but all our tools are at the other place...................heard that story before????
Better get off the butt and get to list just keeps getting longer and longer and longer....laundry made it's way to the top today, right beside finish transplanting flowers, putting out mulch, mowing the yard and and and and and and...........
Have a lovely day my friends!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

R.I.P. my little Homelite

Sad and funny story here. My dad gave me this wonderful little tiller 9 years ago when we first bought our home. He had bought it new and only used it a couple times and he said it wasn't stout enough to till his Franklin Co Red Clay! It was however perfect for my Floyd Co brown dirt!! It proved to be my favorite farm/garden tool ever!!!!
It always cranked right up and I could run it for hours. It was small enough to maneuver around all my plants without harming them. It was a powerful little devil!
Then last year it failed to crank.......and then and then and then........................
Danny worked on it for many hours yesterday and it is dead.
I did not want to hear it either.
Of course he said that I could get a job and go buy me a new one.......
remember he said I was going to have to get one when I bought my new goat too.
I told him I would just use a hoe! He laughed! Men!!!!
So anyway after the bad news I pouted and I pouted.......I am a very very good pouter too!
We have one of those great big huge rear tine know the Troy-Bilt that whipped my butt last week. I went and got it out yesterday and hit the worst section of my flower beds that were being taken over by weeds and grass and I tried to make it maneuver around my plants without it sucking the last bit of life out of me. Didn't work. It got the best of me and it put me into a foul mood to put it nicely! Dearest husband was on the sofa watching a movie the whole time. I was pouting pretty hard by now....... he decided to walk out to my garden and ask what I was trying to do. OMG!!!!! I said "I don't even want to talk about it. I am just going to give up gardening and never do anything pertaining to gardening again! No vegetables or flowers!"
So..............he said tell me where to til and I will till this for you. I dug up a lot of my plants that needed to be moved and replanted and pointed out which ones to avoid and he went to town on those weeds!!
He also went to town on my phone wire and of course that was my internet wire too. Chewed it right into!!!!!! No he still hasn't agreed for me to get another small tiller without mentioning a job.....yet! But he does know that I am looking for one. I went to Home Depot today and they have one just like mine on sale!!
However........I am not sure if I had told you guys or not that I had a tire blowout on the interstate when we went to visit Robin in Atlanta 2 weeks ago. So I finally took my car in this morning to have that new tire put on my car and the ugly ole black wheeled spare taken off and tucked safely back in my trunk to have for future use......not that I ever want that to happen again but I do want to be ready..............When I got there I saw my ugly black spare wheel on the opposite side of my car!! What???? After they put my car on the lift they found out the complete inside of my other front tire was nothing but wires showing. You couldn't see this until it was on the lift. OMG!!!!! Another new tire and front end allignment this week. There goes my money that could have went on my new garden tiller!!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Heritage Chickens, New Butter Dish and A New Dairy Goat!!!


I am sooooooo excited!!

When I bought my Nubian Buck, Thunder last fall, I saw that the nice lady that I got him from raises Buckeye chickens. I fell in love with them and inquired about purchasing some fertile eggs for hatching some of them for myself. I picked up those 40 eggs today! I have the incubator warming up and hope to get those started tomorrow!!!


This super duper nice lady also has many beautiful Registered Nubians.

She has in the past milked as many as 25 goats a year but family obligations have caused her to scale down immensely. She bred 6 does this year all due in about 2 weeks. One of the does dropped her baby this morning, early. I was telling her how Saphira lost her baby at around 2 months gestation and is apparently bred again, getting a belly and making a bag. The belly is not a good indicator for her because she had triplets one year and didn't hardly look pregnant. I am not 100% sure that she is even pregnant now but she is making a bag so I would say yep!!

Anyway, as I was telling her my story she asked if I was excited about the milk and that she could help me out if I was that passionate about having the fresh milk!!

She offered to sell me one of her yearling does that are due to freshen in 2 weeks!!

I jus about peed my pants girls!!

Do you guys know how hard it is to find a newly freshened registered Nubian doe yearling in these here parts? Well let me tell you it is just about impossible! We hang on to those babies and do not share them!!!

She made me an offer that Danny couldn't even refuse....well he was muttering some words that I could barely make out about "yada yada yada you will have to find a job if you don't stop spending my money........"

hahaha he wouldn't do that to me when chances are he would have to do at least one milking a day if I worked. I have the possibility of as many as 4 does in milk at a time too.

I don't think he will want me to not be here!!

So girls there is some serious action getting ready to take place down on the farm!!

Between turning eggs, getting the barn and kidding pen ready, dusting off the old milking stand, trying to repair the cream separator, weeding the garden, planting the rest of the garden, mowing the yard/yards....etc etc etc etc........

I don't think there is enough time in the week for me to go back to nursing!
Instead I plan to stay at home and milk my goats, separate the cream and make lots of butter to fill up my new butter dish that Robin and Morgan gave me from Anthropology for an early Mother's Day gift. (remember I dropped a lot of hints for this one) They did bring on the milk!!!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Permaculture? Self-sufficient? I don't know what you call it........

I just call it Sunny Morning Farm!
We have been here for 9 years on May 1st. I have always had in mind what I wanted the place to look like when the "Garden" was established. You know how much work goes into establishing a garden? Lots!! To say that my garden has evolved over the 9 years is an understatement. It has been changed up changed around and changed back mostly due to the renovation of the house. For the most part of the past 4 or 5 years my garden has been neglected tho!
This is the first year that I have really gotten serious about trying to make the most of my plants that I already have. Meaning separating the very overgrown perennials and spreading them around for the most impact. Moving some perennials that are now being shaded or overtaken by a larger plant in the hard scape. And weeding and mulching and weeding and mulching.......

This is one end of the garden that took a couple days to weed, divide and mulch.
A day for my body to recooperate....NOT.....we went the next day to The Fairy's Rest for more planting and mulching!
I can't wait for this Snowball to be in full bloom!!

I have enjoyed all my birds soooooooooooooo much this year!
Nary a feather caught sticking out of a cats mouth either!
I spotted my first hummingbird yesterday.....he wanted to hit me right between the eyes too!!

I spent another couple days on the veggies and herbs.
I picked out a spot in the vegetable garden near the chicken coop and made it an herb garden.
I had chives and oregano in my flower beds and moved it. Now planted are Sage, Dill, Parsley, Basil, Chives, Oregano, Garlic, Red Onions, Yellow and White onions, Leeks, Beets, Peas, Roma Beans, Kandy Korn, Carrots, Red Cabbage, Green Cabbage, Radishes, Potatoes, Summer Yellow Squash and Zucchini.

My Strawberries are looking good!
I flash froze my berries whole last year and then vacuum packed them with the Foodsaver. I just got a pack out a few days ago and they were just like fresh berries!! Can't wait!
The strawberry patch however, needs a big overhaul too!!!! Ouch my aching back!

OK!! We purchased 12 black raspberry and 12 blackberry bushes from Stark Bros about 5 years ago. Only 2 measly little raspberries survived. Danny has moved those 2 shoots around to a few different areas hoping they would take off and do good and he also kept saying that we would buy more to go with them.....time and lack of energy got in our way over and over and we never purchased any more. Well Katie Barr The Door!! Those 2 little bushes decided last year that they might as well grow and grow they did. Enough that Danny decided to lay the long shoots over and cover them with dirt so they may take root ..............root they did too.
Those 2 bushes have now turned into about 20!!!!!!

I spent the entire day yesterday tilling the ground near all these shoots and digging them up and moving them to a permanent place. When Danny came in we put up the fence panel for them to run up either side of for easy picking. The panel is 16' long and we will need one more to handle all the plants!!!!!! Woowooooo good things do come to those who wait!!!!

This meant another day of major wear and tear on my body, I hope it will be worth it!
That big ole piece of machinery that Troy built (Troy-Bilt) called a tiller just whipped my you know what to pieces! I couldn't let him get the best of me tho, I had to man handle him again this morning. I may have me some muscles by the end of the season!!! I already have a really nice farmers tan, best one for years!!

Can't wait for the garden to grow!!

Do you have nice rich dirt like this? Robin and Eric are here this week and she is very jealous of my soil vs her Ga clay!! I told her to work on it for 9 years and it may look as good as mine!

Concord Grapes! Yummy!

Blueberry Bushes in full bloom!

Red Bellied Woodpecker working it's magic on my Redbud tree.
I also have a Pileated Woodpecker that I was very up close and personal with the other day.....almost between the eyes too! I better be careful what I welcome into my yard right?

Lots of little crabapples on the way for the Eastern Bluebirds.

Aaaawwwwwhhhhhhh it was worth the seven year wait for this kinda show! The pictures do not give it justice. It is lovely in the white dogwood tree. Looks even better when there are a pair of Cardinals or a big Bluejay or the many chickadees perched in the tree! A great show of spring.

Can you smell the Wisteria?

These lazy little sapsuckers just love to watch me hard at it in the garden!
Both the pregnant mommies are flat out sleeping, you can barely see Saphira's head behind the 2 Nubians toward the left lying flat and Opal to the right....LOL!!!!!
I plan on having them watch me for many many hours in the coming months if my garden will turn out to look as I have dreamed of it looking for all these years. I have spent my "Free time" hahaha watching youtube videos about permaculture and self sufficiency and I am getting there one year at a time. If my tired old body will hold up to my very vivid imagination that is! We are already almost 100% organic. That didn't come by choice but by habit. Good habits ;-)))))
Now it is by choice, we know how to be good stewards to the land.
Never mind what you saw in the background of some of these pictures......the big Poplar tree on the ground below the garden and the many loads of firewood behind the Wisteria!!!
We have many many new trees to start planting in their place....Apple, Cherry, Pear, Peach, Plum, Pecan...etc etc etc............. Oh my sore knees and back and arms..................

Monday, April 19, 2010

How many kids do you count?

Danny's grandfather used to always say that when you were expecting to get any work out of kids that you had to only have one at a time with you that day. He said that when you had one kid you had a whole kid, 2 kids you had 1/2 a kid and 3 kids you didn't have a kid at all!! So true so true most of the time! However these 2 proved him wrong this weekend. Instead of 2 kids I had 2 workhorse men!! You would never believe how hard they worked at The Fairy's Rest. All they asked for was that if they worked really hard and helped me really good that I would drive them over to the lake so they could skip some stones! And of course a lot to eat!!

They picked up roots. Raked brush. Spread mulch. Cut down trees. Trimmed up all the underbrush from under the trees. Hauled many many many wheelbarrow loads of debris off and never once complained or even asked to sit down!!!! Unbelievable!!! Not from Colton cause that's just his way but the other one....?????? LOL!! Teenager!!

This is why 15 year olds do not have a drivers license!!!
Basket gone but she didn't hurt the Black Eyed Susans!

Danny and I put in the side walk.

He hauled a gazillion dollars worth of gravel!
The grass is coming up too! Woowoo!! More mowing!! Yes!!!

The kids worked so hard and were able to understand exactly what I had envisioned for this area. I just love the outcome too. Maybe even better than what I thought it would be!

I had to feed my feathered friends. Or maybe they are furry friends cause something was having a party with my suet feeder this weekend. It would get the feeder out of the tree and carry it to the top of the woodpile and destruct it there.....???????? Raccoon??? Bear???
I don't think it was a Cardinal!!

Morgan was working like a man!!

Oooops this is a man! An old friend/neighbor boy that we lived beside for 7 years is now married and lives a few miles from The Fairy's Rest and he drove by and spotted us and came in for a visit and somehow Morgan was able to talk him into helping with the spreading of the mulch! I just hope his wife doesn't find out that he knows how to do that!!!

They worked so hard that they got to go to the lake!! Emma was able to join them and she didn't even have to pick up a rake or a root! No Fair????

Morgan took these pictures at the lake and this one just cracked me up!!!!!!!!!! I decided that someone must have yelled that supper was ready and they were scurrying to get home! Papa Danny just pushed Colton out of the way!!!!!!!!!! LOLOLOLOL!!!!!
We had a very good weekend getting a ton of things finished. I transplanted a slew of flowers that I separated from my home garden. I planted Rudebekia Black eyed Susan's around the perimeter of the yard and I am going to plant sunflowers of various sizes behind them so the birds and squirrel will have a fall feast. We planted 3 Pecan Trees in the backyard. A Golden Rain tree in the front yard. These 4 were grown from seed by our neighbor down there. He has quite the green thumb! I planted my Purple Flowering Plum in the backyard as a shade tree.
2 Gardenias and a Snowball Bush(new), Hostas and Jacob's Ladder
and more Rudebekia
from my garden, were planted around the front and in the shade garden under the trees. I have many more plants to separate and get moved down this week. I have another 1/2 a dump truck load of mulch in my driveway to take down tomorrow evening and the other half goes to the green thumb, sweet potato pie making neighbor, Jesse!!!! He takes care of us!!
We are almost thru with all the grunt work!!!!! WOOWOOWOOOOO!!!
Some more painting inside and finish making curtains. Then by the time the grass all comes up we will be ready to advertise for renters!! This has been a long time coming!!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

"God Don't Make No Mistakes"

That's what a super sweet lady told Leslie and I in a restaurant in Atlanta yesterday when she saw Leslie crying and thought she needed a hug. We explained why we were crying and she said "God don't make no mistakes!". That is so true but it's really hard to understand why things happen when they do.

It is so hard to watch one of your children hurting. My daughter Robin delivered her stillborn baby boy on Friday night at 32 weeks gestation. She and Eric are devastated. Leslie, Morgan and I were able go down to Atlanta and hold Baby Eric for a while yesterday. No one may ever know why this happened but God knows. Please pray for Robin and Eric because the days to come will be so hard.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I might shoot back next time...

Folks, I was on my back deck this morning when a shot was fired from a high powered rifle
right beside my house! I just about jumped over the house! I am a big fraidy cat as I have told you before. I did run thru my house to the front and spotted a strange car heading out of sight down my little back road. I just thought it was someone shooting from the road at a turkey in the neighbors cow pasture. I did not see a turkey there this morning but they have been spotted there in the past.

I thought I should call the neighbor and let him know just incase they had hit his cattle, then he would at least know what kinda car they were driving. I called the neighbors office and his secretary said he was not in but she would relay the message to him. This lady is also the secretary for the company that my husband works for and I know her well.

I never went out and checked on anything around my house and garage cause I just thought it was an illegal hunter. Then this afternoon the secretary called me back to let me know that she heard of a similar shooting that was on the local news a couple days ago where there were 3 houses and several cars shot. The shots came from the road too. This happened about 15 miles from my house. Whaaaaattttt?????

I reported to the authorities what I knew and the investigator came out to question me and have a look around. Of course by the time he got here it was raining buckets full and he didn't go check on anything of mine. Dearest hubby came home and laughed at me!!!!! He said he wasn't getting wet to go look out there either........I think he is a fraidy cat too!!!!! He will find out if they shot his truck when he leaves for work tomorrow morning. He drove his dump truck today so he could bring me a load of mulch home, so his pickup was right beside the house during this shooting. Boy oh boy my mind can wander in times like these!! I can get into so much trouble all by myself minding my own business!!

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