Archive for Gardening

Summer on the Farm – Wordless Wednesday

We are having an extremely busy summer. So busy that I am taken aback that we are nearly half way through July! Summer has always been my favorite season, though I enjoy the others. My birthday is during the summer and my mom always made birthday time FUN! From sleepovers to camp outs to a day on the lake, I always had a blast. Summer on the farm is fun too or not so fun in some instances, as we’ve had a couple of disasters (our sized disasters that is, as we realize there are much worse disasters happening). We lost 17 of our 29 broilers on the way to processing due to them overheating – expensive. Our new batch of turkeys were shipped over the 4th of July and we lost over half of them. Now I am struggling to find a local source for turkeys to save on the stress of having them shipped.

On the brighter side, our egg business is growing. We have been selling out of eggs for the past 3 weeks. So we started to increase our flock again. We purchased 6 month old Rhode Island crosses, much like our Red Sex Links. Not a heritage breed like our original flock but very good producers. We also purchased 13 Silkies. They have poofy hair and feet. Our youngest daughter asked for the baby chicks, who are not so little, so she’s been taking care of them. The mamas are very broody so we are hoping to hatch out some more eggs! Here’s to hoping for the best.

FFR 6 Month Old Laying Hens_edit

FFR Silkies_edit

Due to the shipping fiasco with our turkeys, we purchased a breeding trio of Bourbon Red turkeys. This is a heritage breed and may be a little bigger than our Midget White turkeys. We now have five “pet” turkeys. Our neighbor hatched two of our Midget White eggs and we would have had an additional two turkeys, but during a mating session the Tom smothered them beneath Brownie, our hen. :( Lots of death around our farm lately. One of my children’s words not mine. But I quite agree.

FFR Bourbon Red Turkeys_edit

Animals are not the only thing that has been keeping us busy. Berry picking has too. We found some mulberry bushes (more like trees to be honest) at the back of our property and we’ve been picking those pretty regularly.

FFR Mulberries_edit

Then we have been visiting area berry farms to pick strawberries and raspberries. Next on the list is blueberries! Next year we are planning on planting more berries here on the farm, as most of our plants did not produce much due to us moving them from the townhouse to the farm in the spring.

We have also been working hard to get all our fall planting done or most of it, as we will be planting more greens in a month’s time. We bought some transplants from friends’ farms to make up for our spring greenhouse disaster, which will hopefully help us have some veggies in late July/early August. The pepper plants are from one friend’s farm in Wisconsin. They were a little stressed since we did not get them planted right away. Our little ones even help in the garden.

FFR Pepper Plants_edit

We enjoy growing our own organic meat and vegetables, but it certainly is not without its challenges and hard work!

How’s your summer going?

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Wood Pallet Herb Garden – Wordless Wednesday

Wood Pallet Herb Garden – Wordless Wednesday

FFR Pallet Herb Garden
If you click on the photo it’s not so blurry. I don’t know why the editing program does that to photos!

This post was inspired by http://www.repeatcrafterme.com/2013/05/wooden-pallet-herb-garden.html?showComment=1372278599739&m=1 but I did not originally hear about it from her. I can’t even remember where I learned of this unique way to recycle pallet and plant a wood pallet herb garden. All I remember is seeing the idea and liking it. Then when we got our bags of soil, still on a wood pallet, I told the family I wanted to keep the wood pallet for an herb garden.

This was very easy to do. I just took a small roll of landscaping fabric and stapled it to the bottom of the wood pallet. Then my husband and I filled it up with about 2.5 bags of organic soil mix (sorry cannot remember the size of the bags right now), added some perlite and then planted our herbs.

We planted from left to right: rosemary, chives, curly leaf parsley, oregano and basil in the last two rows. These plants all came from a friend’s farm. She specializes in transplants, has a greenhouse; and since we never got our herbs planted from seed we got these from her. I’ll have to let you know how well the plants grow in this wood pallet herb garden, as this is the first time we’ve tried growing something this way.

We still have fennel, more parsley and oregano to plant, as well as all our fall planting…amidst everything else – one monthly market, a weekly market and possibly a corporate market for just five weeks this summer. Oy!

So much to do and so little time….We cannot wait to cook with our own herbs and share them with our CSA members (Consumer Supported Agriculture) and customers! Here’s to hoping the plants yield enough for all.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Greenhouse Disaster – Wordless Wednesday

This is what I call our greenhouse disaster. We had storms go through a couple of weeks ago and destroy our cheap greenhouse. I know even the large, well-made greenhouses on larger farms often get completely blown over in bad storms, but still it’s very disappointing to say the least because we also lost many of our transplants. :(
Greenhouse Disaster

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Lowe’s Build & Grow – Free Activity for Kids!

lowes-build-and-grow-logo

 

I’m always on the hunt for free and fun activities for my family.  Lowe’s has a fantastic program called Build and Grow. On my daughter’s first visit she received a Lowe’s apron, a hammer & protective goggles to borrow and her project.  When she/we finished the project we returned the hammer and protective goggle and she was given a certificate and a patch for her apron!  She loves the iron on patches that she earned and loves to show them off on her apron.

035

So, far we’ve built 2 monster trucks and a “Croods” the movie planter.  Our next build is a sweetheart frame on May 11th.

77f64811ddClick here or head over to Lowes.com and search for Build & Grow to sign up at your nearest Lowe’s for the next free activity for kids!

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Canning and Freezing Veggies – The Labor of Love

Well, I did it! I accomplished canning and freezing veggies! My first canning season in the new place with most of my own veggies!  The other veggies that we didn’t grow I bought from a local stand.  The kitchen heats up awful fast in the middle of August, but it will be so nice in those cold months to make my family meals with vegetables from our own garden!  Here’s what I canned:  pickles, crushed tomatoes, 3 pickled beans, pickled grape tomatoes, salsa, BBQ sauce, pickled hot peppers, white peaches, and bruschetta!  In all that makes exactly 50 jars of wonderfulness!

I also blanched and froze bags of corn, cut peppers, whole red peppers, peas, beans, cucumbers, and zucchini!

I looked up most of the recipes on the internet with a few out of an old Ball Canning Book I found. I received and email from Grit Magazine awhile ago with the “Ultimate Guide to Food Preservation”, that would have been VERY handy a few weeks back!  There is a wealth of information on their site, including sweepstakes!  Go and check them out!

~ Brande

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

My First Farmers Almanac

I bought my first Farmers Almanac the other day and I can’t believe I didn’t buy it sooner!

I always thought the Farmers Almanac was all about the weather.  Boy was I surprised when I found tons of fantastic information!

Yes, it does have weather information,  BUT, on page 8 I found out how to get rid of weeds with out pulling or chemicals and it’s easy!  You pour boiling water on them or use a mixture of dish washing liquid (5 tablespoons) and water (4 cups) in a spray bottle!  I also learned how to make a “Homemade Jar Opener”, “No-Mess Baking”, ways to cut energy costs, how to save on gas, even a section on comfort foods (my favorite).

I plan on buying one every year!  They are really a wealth of information!

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Potatoes Are Ready! – Wordless Wednesday

Well, not just the potatoes are ready, we also have butternut squash, pumpkins, heirloom tomatoes, basil and mint ready too. The zucchini and summer squash have slowed down a lot and we still get an occasional cucumber if the children don’t eat it first.


Potatoes.


Pumpkins, butternut squash and zucchini.


Fresh, locally grown heirloom tomatoes.


Fresh, locally grown basil.


Mint.

The children set up a farm stand on Saturday and sold some fresh, local produce, along with organic lemonade (yep, we made it with organic cane sugar and organic lemon oil – from Costco…kind of defeats the purpose of buying local, eh?) While we may not have grown as much produce as we wanted, what we do have is yummy in our tummies! We even made pumpkin pie for Sunday’s potluck!


Lemonade stand.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Pest Control in Our Gardens & on Our Pets

It’s gardening season and warm weather is here, that means the pests are too. Shauna reminded me of some of these pest control solutions for our gardens and our pets, so special thanks to her for reminding me of these solutions!

For plants infested with insects, use one of the following essential oils. Fill a mist spray bottle with 4 oz. of water, add the essential oils and mist the infested plant. Several applications, a few days apart, may be necessary. (Use as little as possible). These same suggestions may be used on our pets as well. I know we have been using a combination of Purification, Citronella, Eucalyptus and Cedarwood on Padfoot, our puppy. We have found a couple of ticks on him, the children are very good about brushing him, and we put a drop of Purification on the spot where the tick was attached to cleanse that area. Cats can be more sensitive to the oils, so use very little on them. Just putting the oils on your hands, rubbing them together and then running your hands over their fur is enough for them. We are assuming the same thing for rabbits so plan to use the oils the same way on our bunnies.

He’s getting big, this was taken a couple weeks ago!

Here’s one of Padfoot just taken as I type up this post:

Our cutie pie! He provides much entertainment!

Pest Control in Our Gardens & on Our Pets

Spearmint: ants, aphids, caterpillars, black flea beetle, gnats, lice, moths, and plant lice.

Peppermint: ants, aphids, bean beetle, cabbage root fly, caterpillars, black flee beetle, flies, lice, moths, and plant lice.

Lemongrass: black flea beetle, fleas, mosquitoes, and ticks.

Tansy: black fly, carrot fly, fleas, flies, greenfly, mosquitoes, and white fly.

Hyssop: aphids, cabbage root fly, moths, and slugs.

Thyme: bean beetle, cabbage root fly, cutworm, and ticks.

Sage: cabbage root fly, cutworm, nematodes, ticks, and white fly.

Rosemary: cabbage root fly and carrot fly.

Patchouli: gnats, snails, weevils, and woolly aphids.

Pine: slugs, snails, and wooly aphids.

Sandalwood: weevils and wooly aphids.

If you ever order Young Living Essential Oils, I would appreciate you using my distributor number #1038605. This is my referral number and I receive credit when you use my number when you place an order at www.youngliving.org/robnt – Thank you!

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Tick Removal

Ugg…  Ticks! I dislike ticks greatly!  I dislike the stuff I have to put on my dog to prevent ticks!  I dislike removing ticks!  Ewe…. Yuck… They are gross insects!  I recently received an email from a friend.  I haven’t tried it yet, hopefully I won’t have to!  But, it’s better than using tweezers.

“A School Nurse has written the information below – Good Enough to share – and it really works.”

“I had a pediatrician tell me what she believes is the best way to remove a tick. This is great because it works in those places where it’s sometimes difficult to get to with tweezers: between toes, in the middle of a head full of dark hair, etc.”

Tick Removal

“Apply a glob of liquid soap to a cotton ball.  Cover the tick with the soap-soaked cotton ball and swab it for a few seconds (15-20); the tick will come out on it own and be stuck to the cotton ball when you lift it away.”

Let me know if it work, unless I need to do it before that!

 

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Catching Up – Motivation Monday

I am still not caught up after being away at Brandcation. Had good intentions and was doing ok until it turned nice on Friday and I had to get transplants planted, then tilling done and baby boy got sick over the weekend. He was burning up for 24+ hours and only wanted to nurse and be with his mama. Thankfully he woke up today with an appetite and his usual peppiness. Now I have to get a talk typed and printed that I am to present tonight at a business meeting – yep, little ole me is speaking to a small group of people, if it isn’t cancelled due to low attendance. Tomorrow we have friends coming over for lunch…and it’s nice again so I have more tilling and planting to get done, not to mention all my Brandcation sponsor posts to write up; in addition to a bit of a back log of other reviews I signed up for which I wish I hadn’t since catching up after Brandcation has been very challenging.

Lesson learned, don’t take on additional reviews the month before Brandcation!

Bear with me as I get my barrings back. I have lots to post, just not enough time to get everything typed up into a post. Here a few highlights to tie you over though:

- Chicks and turkeys are getting their wing feathers in and we now have to have a screen over them or they fly out. One was in the rafters of the garage today!
- Puppy was naughty and nabbed a baby bird, eating its head…ewwwwww! Gotta do something about that since HE is suppose to watch over our poultry!
- Feeling overwhelmed now that it’s frost-free and time to get everything into the ground and get outdoor housing for poultry ready. A little panic has set in…

And now you know why….

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS