Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Of Tomatoes, Butter and Eggs

Hey Everyone,
Because of work, overtime and rain, Outside work has come to a stand still. This was suppose to be my 3 day week-end ( Sunday, Monday and Tuesday). But I was asked to work overtime Sunday, and yesterday and today RAIN! A lot of rain and because my land does not drain very well, Lots of pond size puddles!
I have been doing a lot of research to see if I can correct that problem without doing a lot of digging and found a device called a SUBSOILER.
Ever hear of this and has anybody used one before? It is a device that hooks up to a tractor on the 3 point hitch and using the hydraulics, It digs a 2 inch trench 14 inches below the surface in areas that water has a hard time getting into hard packed soil (witch is the problem I have on all 3 acres here!). The price is not to bad ($130.00) and my compact tractor has the HP required to operate it (22 - 50 HP). The cutting blade is mounted on a narrow beam that cuts the surface very little, as the blade cuts a 2 inch trench 14 inches down. And that surface cut can be closed by running back over it with the tractor tires. That 2 inch trench stays open to give the water someplace to go.

But title of this post has to do with other things!

We have been able to keep the Deer out of the paste tomatoes (San Mariano) and have been getting quite a few each day. I have been putting them into gallon zip-lock bags and into the freezer until we get enough to do something with.
And that time came yesterday! We took 5 bags out of the freezer and cut them in half. Put them in baking pans with garlic, olive oil, Balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and roasted them in a 400 degree oven for 20 min.

The first 4 pans of tomatoes in the oven!

And the next 4

Two bowls waiting their turn.

And the garlic (That's from the garden too!

Once we got the roasting done we ran all of them Thu a food mill and ended up with a crock pot full of sauce. We set it on low and let it cook down all night with the lid opened at one end to allow to allow the steam out.

That's a full crock pot!

Better picture.

Ended up with 3 jars of sauce. I will freeze them. Not enough to fire up the Caner!

While the tomatoes were roasting,

The Butter:
I have read several posts about making butter from store bought Heavy Cream and decided to give it a try!

A quart of Heavy Cream from Wally- World!

A Stand mixer, covered with a towel. It went faster then I though it would! 10 - 12 min

12 OZ of salt free Butter

And about 8 OZ of Butter milk. We used it to make a salad dressing with plan Yogurt and spices. It was really good!

And here are two Kohlrabi that I got out of the garden. Believe it or not, the big one was sweeter and more tender then the smaller one!

And last the EGGS
The Chickens are 22 weeks old now and I got the first Egg on 16 July and then nothing until Aug 2. And I got just one Egg for the next 5 days. Now I average 3 Eggs a day, One of witch is a Brown one. As you know I have two RIR's and I though that they both were Roo's! But Knuckle Head has decided to be a girl and she is always sitting on the Eggs when I go collect them. So to date, 34 Eggs!!

 Last night we have grilled Pork Chops, Hash Browns and Farm Fresh Eggs for dinner. I fried the Eggs in the Butter we made and they were Wonderful! Mark was surprised at the color of the yoke and the flavor (That's a city Boy for you!).

So I think this is about enough for one post. The next one will be a review of a new DVD I just got. It's called "Back to Eden" and is a gardening film. But you will have to wait until the next post!

Have a great rest of the week everyone!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sunflower Harvest

The birds have been having a hay day on the Sunflowers and if I wanted to get any seeds to save for next year, I needed to get some heads cut! Some of them were already empty and not worth cutting.

A tote full of Heads!  4 types of seed here.

As you can see, they are pretty full! I took them upstairs and layed them out on a table to finish drying. I a few weeks, I will rub the heads over a wire mesh to dislodge the seeds. Flowers for next year!

also harvested more Paste Tomatoes. We have been getting them for a couple weeks now.

And the first of the eggplant I talked about in the last post. Still not sure what to do with them. Look like Eggs don't they?

First of the carrots. Not very sweet tho!

And speaking of Eggs. I got two more this morning and another this afternoon! Can you see it in all the Eggplant?

Some of the Eggplant is bigger then the Egg! The Egg is the one without the green hat!
Tonight, work and off tomorrow. More to harvest I hope !


Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Carolyn over at karazoacres.blofspot.com asked for an update on "Annie". As you may know I rescued  Deer Hound back in late June and borough her home. Her and I have gotten into a retinue where after I get out of bed (day sleeper!), I let her into the house.
She first checks out Daisy's food bowl to see if there is anything left for her and then a drink of water. And then the Race is On to see who can get into my bedroom first! She jumps up on the bed and after a few turns, It's time for a nap!

So, Carolyn, here she is!

Just look at that face! She is really sweet! And happy that she is in her favorite place, MY BED!

I do not think she had much human contact before. She will be all tail wagging and dancing when I first get near her, But as soon as I place my hands on her, the tail go's between her legs and she drops her head. And she never looks me in the eye. But I'm working on that with her. I do not raise my voice around her and I talk to her a lot.

And not to be left out! Here is a very bad picture of Daisy. She knows that she is "THE BIG DOG" of the family and tolerates ANNIE for the most part.

This payday I will be taking ANNIE to the Vet for a check up. I believe she will have to be wormed and maybe put on some meds for what ever she might have picked up from the ticks she was covered with when I first got her. Hopefully the Vet can get her right and she will be a part of the family for years to come!

So another request answered.
As I'm finishing this post, Annie was asleep on the floor next to the AC outlet and all of a sudden she let out with a cry of pain and tried to get under the bed! A nightmare? It sounded like she had gotten her foot  in a trap! I picked her up and placed her on the bed and petted her and told her it was alright. She seems fine now and is going back to sleep. But that cry was one of PAIN and Fright! It scared me!


Monday, August 6, 2012

The promised pictures

OK, so late this afternoon I got Terri's camera and got the pictures I promised in my last post. The Chickens did not want to participate (camera shy?). But I chased them down and got a few. Also I got another Egg today and that makes 5!

This is "PIN HEAD" and he is the bigger of the two RIR"S. His tail feathers are really staring to develop.

And here are two of the girls. I now allow them to Free Range and they are running all over the yard.

"Pin Head" working on an ear of corn.

And this is "Knuckle Head. A bit smaller and the tail feathers not quite there yet!

"Knuckle Head" trying to hide behind one of the Girls

The two Roo's together. "Pin Head" in the front.

Now how about some garden pics? Paste Tomatoes in one of the raised beds. We have been harvesting a few every day for the past week or so. I have a bag of 60 in the freezer right now.

This is a very crowded bed and there is Good and Bad in that! Helps to crowd out the weeds, but makes harvesting difficult!

And  the Kohlrabi is doing very well! The heat has not seemed to bother it much and this Red Skinned variety has developed into large heads that are sweet and tender! Great in salads.

This bed is also crowded and as we pull a plant or two, the weeds move in.

Terri's mother won two Egg Plant starts at church Bingo and gave them to us. As you can see they are not the Purple skinned type, But small and white! Some of theirs are bigger then the Eggs I have been getting!

Here is the bed of Turnips, also crowded. But producing well!

In that same bed is a Rosemary plant that came back from last year. It is huge and we have been harvesting it to have with Roasted Root vegetables , YUM!

And the first time for PEARS. I have two trees and they were hit pretty hard last year with "Fire Blight" And they have it again this year, but not as bad.

And only one of the trees have fruit this year. But they look pretty good and seem to be growing well.

And last but not least, The SUNFLOWERS! When I built the bed for them, I put it at the south end of Terri's house and planted 4 different types. "Russian Giant", Multi Headed Red", "Black Seeded Oil and "Teddy Bear" As you can see, some of the heads are ready for cutting. The birds have been having a Hay Day on them and I need to get the heads off before all the seed is gone!

"Russian Giant" in full bloom

Heads are very heavy and bright!

The "Teddy Bear" plants are very low to the ground. But they produce a lot of seed and I gust like the looks of them.

This is how they look when first opened.

And then as the seeds develop, The plants start to bend over. I bet that some of the heads weight 6 - 7 pounds!

Large to small, I think they are all Beautiful and will enlarger this bed next year and plant saved seed in much larger numbers!

There are major changes going on there. And the Homestead will have a new and different look next year! Mark, Terri and I spent the week-end tearing down an old metal shed and cutting weeds. This area is to the back of Terri's house and will now be graded and a sand/Cut and Run pad put down. When that is finished, Mark will have a Prefab Carport/Workshop built on that site. And I have plans to use the parts from the old shed as roofing for the Chicken Coop when I enlarge it for the next flock next year.

So there you have it! I may not post as often as I would like (Should?). But when I UPDATE, I just go on and on!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Who's Egg is it?

Back on the 16 of July, I got my first Egg from the Chickens. They were 17 weeks old at that time and was I surprised to see this perfectly formed (all tho small!) white Egg laying in the bedding. I was so excited and I took pictures of it along side a store bought large Egg to show how small it really was.
It was pretty clean and I just put it in an Egg carton in the fridge. I had dreams of finding more of them in the coop over the next few days! So I fried up this little guy along side two store bought Large Eggs a few days latter. It may have been small, But the flavor was so much better than the other two!! And it fried up so pretty and was wonderful with the hash browns I had with it!
 But that was just a pipe dream! No more Eggs until yesterday! I got # 2 yesterday and # 3 today! Both small copies of the first one, White, clean and Perfect!
So who's the BIG GIRL? Don't know, But they will be 20 weeks old come Monday and I hope that this is the start of something Good!
I believe that the two RIR's are Roo's and the 4 Brown Leg Horns are Hens. When I get home from work each morning, "PEN Head" and "Knuckle Head" (the two RIR's) Fly over the fence and run across the yard to great me, Knowing  that my arrival means that breakfast is not far off. They all look forward to their bread ration and Chicken feed.
Question for you, Now that I have gotten a few Eggs, Should I switch over to a Laying type feed? After loosing the Rabbits, I still have some of their feed left and I have been adding a little of that to the Chicken Crumbles each morning. They seem to really like it and that is what they eat first. Another thing, They seem to like the feed just dumped on the ground! If I put it into a feeder, They do not pay any attention to it until later when I dump it out for them. Then they act like they are starving and make short work of it!

Tomorrow I will start leaving the gate open for them to free range. As tomorrow is a day off and I will be working in the yard most of the day and can keep and eye on them. Daisy has only chased them once and when I told her "NO", she backed off. She now watches them from a distance and is just as happy!

So, They are "Teenagers" now, and adulthood is not far off. Tomorrow I will get pictures of them. I'm amazed at their colors and how big they are getting! No longer the little "Fluff Balls" they were when I first got them.
The next Chicken project will be to enlarge the coop and add more Chickens next Spring! And maybe get some Ducks or Turkey's (or both!). I like the looks of "Swedish Blacks" or "English Runner's and maybe "Ruben Red's". And what about "Ginny's"??
Woe, Big fella! Remember, one step at a time!

I hope to get Picture's of all of the Birds and the project's we have been working on tomorrow and get another post up soon. So stay tuned!