Friday, December 26, 2008

Good bye to another year

Here we are at the end of another year already. Where does the time go and how does it go so quickly?
The Lord has been very good to us this past year. Our little farm is prospering, we are all healthy and strong. We have wonderful family and good friends. Yes there is so much to thank the Lord for this past year.
Now that Christmas and Thanksgiving and canning season are over, I can settle down into a winter routine. It will be less busy and demanding than the other times of the year.
I plan to take down the Christmas decorations in a day or so and then I will super clean my house. I have windows that need washing, kitchen cabinets that need scrubbing, floors that are begging to be thoroughly scrubbed and then waxed to a nice shine. My tea shelf is so dusty and needs attention. The carpet needs shampooing and then a good coat of Scotchguard put on it. Yes there are many things that need attention in my home.
We are also going to be putting up wainscoting in the kitchen and new wallpaper. We have new vinyl tile to put in the laundry room. Some touch up painting on the walls and woodwork. My sewing room needs some organizing and cleaning......
I have plans to implement a schedule to make things easier on myself. Like taking a day to just bake breads, rolls, pizza crusts and such. To bake desserts ahead and put in the freezer. I have jam to make from last summer's berries and fruits. One day a week to do laundry and ironing.
All of these things will be done in the afternoons, as we will be homeschooling in the mornings. I have two very eager pupils who love learning. We will be doing our schooling for the next nine months and then we will take off canning season and the month of December.
Since I did so much sewing for my girls for Christmas this year, I have a renewed desire to make sewing time a part of my weekly routine. I have so much fabric and so many patterns, I can keep right on sewing things for my family and my home.
I would also like to make some time to print out pictures from my computer and put them into scrapbooks. This would make my husband very happy, as he hates digital cameras. : ) I also need to put them on discs.
I have started getting my seed catalogs in the mail. I get so thrilled with looking at them and looking forward to next years garden. Ed has started to put in another garden plot in addition to the one we have now. It will be to plant potatoes, corn and some vining squash.
We will be getting our new laying chicks, dark Cornish meat chickens and some turkeys in a month or so. We are looking forward to our new endeavors in the self sufficient area. The Lord has blessed us so well on our little farm.
One of our ducks has started laying eggs. She goes up the chicken ramp in through the little chicken door and hops up in a nest box and lays an egg. Then she hops back out and grabs a bite to eat from the feeders and then waddles back down the ramp and out into the pasture. We will have Muscovy ducklings in the spring for sure. We just need to get them their own nest boxes built in the duck portion of the barn. For now we are eating the eggs along with the chicken eggs.
My prayer for the New Year is to be ever more like Jesus in all that I do. To teach my girls to grow up into women of God, who love the Lord with all their hearts.

Friday, November 28, 2008

We had a very quiet Thanksgiving at our house yesterday. For the first time in years I didn't have a big group for dinner. It was just Ed, myself, my parents and our two girls for dinner.

I was blessed to meet the woman who is the head of the rabbit barn at the fair. She stopped by today and looked at our rabbit. She told me Toffee IS a girl! So that is wonderful news.

It has been a very great Fall for us this year. We haven't had the drenching rains that we usually do. That means we haven't had any threat of the river flooding. I am praying that the rains come in spurts and then we have dry weather for awhile. Then we won't have any flooding this year. That will be such a blessing!

Ed has been blessed in his job. This is the provision of the Lord. It doesn't matter what the economy is, God's blessings supersede all. Ed now has extra customers on his route, and the company gave him a big truck with a lift gate on it instead of the little Ford van he was driving before. This amounts to more hours on each paycheck. I am so thankful for a hard working husband and for God blessing his job.

My next few weeks will be busy with sewing gifts for Christmas for our daughters. We are not using credit cards for Christmas this year. We have vowed to get out of debt and stay out! So this year most all will be things made at home. My extended family will get home canned goods and breads for Christmas.

Our farm is doing well. The ducks are big and healthy, the chickens are laying less eggs, but that is normal for winter and they are starting to molt. Bessy is gaining a bit of weight and is such a joy on the place. We are so happy to find out Toffee is a girl! Our pups Duke and Abby are finally starting to calm down a bit. They are so big and so full of energy!

Today might be a good day to put away the Fall/Thanksgiving decorations and think about getting out the Christmas things. The girls always get so excited when we start decorating for Christmas.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Our newest barnyard addition

This is Toffee our only rabbit. She was given to us along with the hutch. I don't know what breed or mixed breed she is. Really don't even know if this is a "she" or not. We do know that she is pretty and healthy!
Other news on the farm is about our cow Bessy. We had her bred the end of October. She should be giving us a calf around July 31st. Hopefully we will get a heifer calf. We had her bred to a purebred Jersey bull. She should have a pretty little calf!
Thankfully canning season is about over. I have apples to can and dry and jams and jellies to make and that will be it for this year.
Ed and I went mushroom picking yesterday. We got a grocery bag full of Chanterelle mushrooms. We hope to get more before the season is over. It will be nice to have them in the freezer and have some dried. Picking fresh wild mushrooms is much better than buying the grocery store versions.
We also bought 20 pounds of fresh cranberries from a local cranberry farm. I will be making juice and cranberry sauce for the pantry and keeping some frozen for muffins and such. They are so good for us. Hopefully we will get another 20-30 pounds on payday.
Ed put up a shelter for Bessy the other day. Now she can get in out of the weather and has a dry place to sleep and eat. She really likes it too. I feel much better knowing my cow can be dry and comfortable now.
PS. Today we had to rename our rabbit. We found out for sure it isn't a "she", but a "he" instead. So Toffee has become Frank. : )

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Answered prayers!

And here she is! Living proof of answered prayer. Meet Bessy, our family milk cow. We just got her day before yesterday. She is a 6 year old Jersey milk cow. She has the sweetest personality. She loves to be petted and scratched under the chin.
She isn't in milk right now, but Lord willing we will have plenty of milk and a calf next year. Did you know it takes 9 months gestation for a cow?
I can hardly wait until we are having fresh milk, making butter and cheese, yogurt, sour cream and of course ice cream! This will really cut down on the grocery bill.
Today I must finish making tomato sauce. Our tomatoes got off to a slow start, but boy are they keeping me busy now! Next will be the zucchini relish, freezing peppers, drying celery leaves and basil and then on to the apples.
When canning season is finished I will take a picture of my pantry shelves to show all the pretty jars of food that we have put up for winter.
Have a great day!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Autumn Blessings!

Summer has slipped away and Fall is here already. Now is the time of harvest and giving thanks.
Our garden was blessed this year and has provided plenty of produce for our family and we have had lots to share with others also.
It has been canning season at our house. I have the blessing of my Mom being here and helping me with all this produce this year. My Dad has also been out in the garden helping to harvest it all. Along with my husband and two daughters, we have been very busy putting up food for the winter months ahead. My pantry is looking very nice.
We have canned green beans, tomatoes, carrots, peaches, pickled veggies and salsa. We have put in the freezer cauliflower, broccoli, leeks, peppers, more peaches, plums, blackberries. I have dried in my dehydrator peppers, leeks, herbs and my mints for tea. Still have apples to can, make into cider and more tomatoes to make into sauce, ketchup, celery to freeze and dry, relish to make, the baby potatoes to can, the bigger ones get stored in the shop to use fresh in the winter. We also have lots of winter squashes put in a cool place for winter keeping. I will be making jams and jellies from all our fruit we have put in the freezer too. Yes, it has been a good year despite the weather! The only thing that didn't do well this year were the cucumbers and the corn. That is okay, next year will be better Lord willing.
Soon our cornish cross chickens will also be in the freezer. A chore that we don't enjoy at all, but is neccessary when you raise your own meat.
I think the biggest news of all is we are getting a cow at last! The Lord has used a friend of ours to get us an affordable cow. She is a 3 year old Jersey. She isn't in milk right now, but we will have her bred and nine months later we will have milk and a calf! I am so excited about our family milk cow! When she gives milk we will probably get 3-5 gallons of milk a day from her. Plenty for drinking, cooking, making cheese and yogurt from, and the cream for making butter, sour cream and of course the occassional batch of ice cream! I can hardly wait!
Ed is going to borrow a cattle trailer today to pick her up either today or tomorrow. The friends that we are borrowing the trailer from are also loaning us their cider press to use! We will have plenty of apple cider to put up for winter too.
We had our first wind storm of the season last night. This morning there are lots of leaves on the ground. Probably knocked more apples off the trees too.
We had our Muscovy ducks fly out of the pen and into the road. So we did the wing clipping to keep them from being able to do that. We certainly don't want them to get run over! They are doing nicely. We ended up with 3 males and 4 females. We should have lots of ducklings next summer.
Mom and Dad are all moved in and settled. It feels good to have them close. It is such a blessing to have family near. Our daughters are so happy that they have their grandparents right here to enjoy everyday. They are the only grandparents they have on earth.
My oldest son turned 30 last month and my youngest daughter turned 6 yesterday. I think I have been raising children all my life! lol! Well most of it anyway.
I have had such a thankful heart for all the Lord has blessed me with. Happy healthy children, grandchildren, a wonderful place to live, a good husband, my home, our bountiful harvest! Yes the Lord is so good to us.
Oh, and we named our little farm! The title of my blog. Bountiful Acres Homestead. Very fitting indeed.
Happy Fall to all!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Summer Update

Summer greetings!

Things sure do happen quickly here on our little homestead. So here is a bit of an update since the last posting.

We have our garden planted and things are growing nicely. Each morning after letting the chickens out and putting the ducklings in their outside pen, I stop and hoe or weed a couple of rows in the garden. That helps to keep up on the weeds. Mostly what we fight here are bind weed aka morning glory, lamb's quarters, buttercup, some sort of thick leafed weed and of course a bit of grass and another weed I don't know the name of.

We have 51 tomato plants this year that I started indoors way back in March. Add to that 35 peppers of numerous varieties. Onions, leeks, celery, basil, parsley all of which were also started indoors early. From seed we planted broccoli, summer and winter squash, cucumbers, corn, four variety of green beans, carrots, beets, swiss chard, spinach and lettuce. I bought cauliflower plants from the local nursery. They are a variety that is yellow, called cheddar. We always give something different and new a try each year.

In June we bought four Kinder goats. One doe was in milk. Well she decided she wasn't having any of the milking, and after fighting with her for over a week, we loaded them all back up and took them back to where we had bought them. Thankfully the woman was very generous with us and gave us our money back. We have decided maybe a cow would be in our family's better interests. : ) Now for the Lord to provide that cow at a free or reasonable cost.........

Our Muscovy ducklings arrived via the US Postal Service on June 21st. They have grown so fast and are now getting their feathers. They are so cute to watch.

Today we brought home two puppies. They are Labs. One is a light golden color and the other is black. The light colored one is a male and we have named him Duke. He has huge feet and will grow up to be a big dog. The black one is female and we named her Abigail, or Abby for short. She was the runt of the litter of 10 pups. They are 7 weeks old and boy are they a handful! Of course our girls are thrilled to have pups.

I hope I have the patience and wisdom to get them past the puppy stage. They are cute little creatures though.

Our orchard seems to have quite a bit of fruit this year. We had to fight with the raccoons and crows for the cherries we got this year. Which wasn't enough to can, so we have some baggies of them frozen in the freezer for a pie or smoothie later on.

This year we have planted more berries. I mistakenly bought Josta berries, thinking they were June/Service berries. So we have three healthy plants of them growing. Then we were given raspberries from Ed's brother and also some from a trade with the gardening group I am on. We have a nice row of raspberries now. Also my Dad got some starts of boysenberry, or marion berries and planted them here. I am not sure which they are, but they will be tasty when they get established.

Ed's grape starts he cut last Fall from the neighbors vines, didn't survive the winter this year. We do have one grape from three years ago that survived and is doing well in my herb garden.

Speaking of herbs, we have lots of Comfrey, Lemon Balm, Peppermint, Sage, Oregano, Rosemary, Chives, and Parsley growing this year also. I was also given some horseradish. It is planted and thriving.

We have added 15 new roses to our landscape also. They were on sale for such a bargain, that I got a bit carried away with them! They will be beautiful when they are matured some and will make lovely bouquets for our home.

Also planted were four varieties of Lavender. I have dahlias and glads to plant out and a new clematis that was a birthday gift from my parents.

My wisteria is doing wonderful now and is climbing the gazebo. I hope to see it bloom next year. It is amazing how well it is doing. When I first planted it, the poor little thing was nothing more than a 12" stick.

On the homemaking front, I have started grinding my own wheat to make flour and then baking all our bread. It is turning out really nicely and is so good. My husband bought me a Bosch Universal mixer. This makes bread making so simple and quick! I am so blessed.

In addition to all these things, we are in the process of building an apartment for my parents on our place. My Dad and Ed are doing the labor. It is coming right along. They will be moving in before the end of Summer.

It will be nice to have them here. Having family around is so important. They are our daughters only living grandparents and we are so glad they will get to spend so much time with them.

I guess this has been a very long update, and hopefully I will be able to keep up to date on things better from now on.

Until next time, may the Lord bless you!