Saturday, August 29, 2009

Pickles, ducks and cameras

This is Daisy the mama duck. Her babies had just hatched out in this photo. They are now quite big! I will have to take another photo soon. Daisy turned out to be the best mother duck we have. She is so protective, keeps a close watch on her babies and she has adopted all the other babies that have hatched since. She is the one who gets them all back in the barn at night and safely in bed. This is her first batch of babies and she wins mother duck of the year award!
This is all I have of last years tomato sauce. I am praying for a good tomato harvest this year to fill the pantry shelves with more and diced tomatoes too.

This photo shows from the top my 3 measly jars of tuna that are left, the second row is canned green beans, and the next row is cherries from this year.

This is a shot of my pickles on the top shelf. Some are dill, some are bread and butter and some are a recipe I made up myself that I call sweet and spicy. : )

I can now upload pictures again! No, I didn't find my disc, but I did go to HP's website and find the driver for my camera and re installed it to my computer! I am soooo happy about that! : )

We have had rain the past two days. It has been a relief not to feel like I have to be out in the garden doing something, or picking or canning. Of course once things get dried back out I will be right back at it. I am so thankful for the abundance of produce we have. It will feed my family healthy foods all winter. Saves so much on the grocery bill too.

I have gotten 30 some jars of pickles put up this year so far. Twenty 6 quarts of green beans, I forget how many qts of cherries that are canned. Soon I will be adding frozen beet greens, chard and summer squash to the freezer. Plus canned and pickled beets, tomatoes, tomato sauce. We have been picking wild blackberries and have several gallons of them in the freezer now. Potatoes and onions, turnips will be put into the pantry. Cabbages will be hung in the shop and made into kraut. We will have some good winter squash too and a few pumpkins. Then the orchard will start kicking out the produce. Apples, plums and pears to be canned, juiced and made into jams and jellies. Hopefully we will get a few ears of corn for eating. The crows had most of the crop before it could grow! Next year I am putting row cover over them until the plants are big enough that they won't be pulled out of the ground. Lesson learned this year!

And then when the harvest is in, we will be doing home school and I will have the time to sew again! This year I will be teaching my girls some sewing skills.

Have a wonderful weekend, and may the Lord bless you.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Bounty of Bountiful Acres

Our garden is doing a fine job of producing lots of food for us. We have been overrun with green beans this year. So far we have eaten lots fresh, I steamed and froze 20 quarts and we have sold two 5 gallon buckets full, given lots to family and friends too. I will be canning more beans this coming week. There are plenty in the garden!

The other great producer is our cucumbers! Praise the Lord. Last year I didn't get any to grow and had to pickle green beans instead. : ) Today I canned 14 quarts of dill pickles and 8 quarts of bread and butter pickles. The pantry is looking pretty!

We have plenty of wonderful summer squash also. Zucchini, Yellow Crooknecks, and this year I planted patty pans! They are all so tasty. I will make some relish from them to put in the pantry.

The green gage plums are ripe and the trees are loaded. We will pick some and make juice from them for jellies or just to drink.

Our duck, Lilac has hatched out her three little eggs and now has three cute little ducklings. So after selling so many of the first batches, we now have 13 more growing up on the farm.

When I was out moving the water sprinkler in the garden this morning, I noticed several pickle sized cucumbers peeking out from under the leaves! Oh my, more pickles! You can't have too many pickles in the pantry now can you? You just never know if you will have a good cucumber crop next year, so we better put up as many as we can this year. Of course there are always those prolific green beans to make into dilly beans just in case.............. : ) Then there are the huge beets sticking up out of the ground. I love beets. I love to eat them and I love to see them growing in my garden. And I get two crops from one plant. We have the beet root for luscious pickled beets, or just cooked with butter and salt and pepper. And then we have the beet greens! They make a wonderful green side dish, full of vitamins and minerals. I usually blanch and freeze them.

I love the ping ping ping sound of jars sealing! That is such a satisfying sound. Soon the pantry shelves will be so lovely with all the colors of the harvest in the gleaming jars. Jams, jellies, relishes, pickles, veggies of all sorts, and the fruit too. Those cherries look really pretty on that shelf, next will be some apples, applesauce, and canned plums. More berries for making juice and putting in the freezer. Yes, this is a tiring and busy time of year. But come winter I am happy to walk into the pantry and pull homegrown food from the shelves and the freezer.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sad day for Sally's favorite turkey

Yesterday while we were unloading hay, Sally found her favorite turkey dead in the barn. It was the littlest hen. She was the one who had fell down inside the wall when she was small and had to be rescued. Sally had named her Diamond and said she was the cutest, smallest turkey and had the prettiest eyes of all of them. Now does that sound like a little girl who really notices her poultry and pays attention to every detail? Sally does love her birds and was really crushed by finding Diamond dead. Her daddy told her that when the turkeys hatched out more babies in the Spring that she could pick out one for herself and we would put a leg band on it. She finally was comforted by that. And with Audrey telling her that her turkey Diamond was up in heaven with Audrey's chicken Sweetie that had died last year. : ) Isn't that sweet?

We were blessed to get 4 loads of dirt from the county road project going on down from us a bit. Our neighbors gave it to us as it belonged to them. They let the county have part of their field in order to move the road over where the river has washed it out when the floods come. That was very kind of them. Now we are able to build a raised area where my cow can stay out of the flood waters when they come. Poor thing last year was standing on the bump where we park the cars. Half of the time she was wading in the flood water in the orchard. This year she will have shelter and be up out of the water.

Our little pigs are growing. They are so funny the way they run around and play.

I am going to have to look harder for my camera disc so that I can put up more pictures.

Today I am going to be freezing blackberries that we picked. Gallons of them that is! I am also going to juice some carrots, make some gingered carrots that is a fermented (like sauerkraut) dish. So good for you! I have some laundry to get finished up and then I believe I will get the school stuff out and get it organized for another year.

Hope everyone has a wonderful productive day!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Update on the farm

We have had lots of happenings since I last blogged. One thing that has happened is my computer lost (or ate up or sucked it up into cyberspace somewhere) my camera program. So now I can't upload photos to my blog. That is so irritating! I have to try and find the disc that came with my camera to re-install the program.

Three weeks ago today I traded some Muscovy hatching eggs for some Blue Andalusian chicken eggs. I put those under a broody Buff Orpington chicken. Right on schedule she hatched out 12 new baby chicks today! They are so cute! Thanks so much Bonnie for trading. I would have never picked that breed without seeing yours first. I hope that your ducklings have as good a hatch rate.

Speaking of hatching ducks..............Daisy the duck has hatched out 6 little ducklings about a week ago. Today White Rose the duck has hatched out 4 more! Lilac is sitting on three eggs which we expect to hatch in the next few days. Ducklings everywhere on Bountiful Acres!

An interesting story to tell about our Dark Cornish. Bonnie purchased two hens and a rooster of this breed from us. We chased those silly chickens all over the pen getting them in her pet carrier. We thought we had the two hens and a rooster in there. After she drove almost an hour home, she found out she only had one hen in the carrier! That sneaky chicken tricked us both! How and when she got out of that carrier is beyond me! So she is having herself a good old time out in the hen house. Next time we are going that way or Bonnie is coming here, we owe her a hen!

More Dark Cornish chicken news is we got our first egg from them yesterday. One of the hens laid a small egg on the floor of the barn. She put up a big noise cackling to tell the whole place she had laid an egg. (That is how I knew to go and look!)

We have the four Red roosters and four Dark Cornish roosters taking up residence in the freezer now. Next will be ducks to go in the freezer.

The tom turkeys are starting to strut their stuff and puff out their feathers and do their turkey dance. The girls said today they look just like Thanksgiving turkeys when they do that! : )

Let's see, what else is new? Oh yeah, we are harvesting from the garden. We have been eating spinach, Swiss chard, zucchini, crookneck squash, green beans galore and peas. We picked 2 five gallon buckets of green beans yesterday off just two rows. We won't have a shortage of beans this year that is for sure.

The girls and I have been picking the wild blackberries that line our property. I have put up about 5 gallons of them in the freezer already. Those will become pies, juice, jelly, jam and syrup.

We also have baby limes, grapefruit, lemons and oranges on our citrus trees. That is so exciting.

I hope to get my camera program back up and running soon, so that I can share photos of all the new babies.