We have been using a lot of my duck eggs the past month and very few chicken eggs. It’s baking time and the pullets picked a great time to start producing. Today we got five chicken eggs and two duck eggs. There’s nothing better than fresh eggs. If they keep this up on a regular basis, I’ll have eggs to sell to pay for winter feed when they can’t get out to forage.
First Ice Event Winter 2022-23
It’s still 31* at 12:19 p.m. and sleeting heavy with rain. Everyone be safe out there. I just saw on Weatherbug that our area will get hit with it again next Thursday.
Shingles and the Vaccine, Don’t Wait
This is a repeat with explanations from a post on my old blog but is very much worth repeating and encouraging, I hope!
Shingles rash that I thought was a heat rash!
Back in early 2021, I was planning to get my shingles vaccine and then COVID came into our county with a vengeance, so I decided to wait because I was afraid to go to any public places with good reason. I got shingles while I waited.
We didn’t know what was going on because I was having so much pain in my back but there was no rash. It got so bad after three days that Eddie took me to the emergency room. There I was given so much pain medication I was throwing up for hours after and x-rays were completed, and an MRI was done. NOTHING! More pain meds and sent me home with what they assumed was a herniated disc and advised me to go to my primary care.
My visit there was a thorough check, and a small rash was found on my upper thigh, but she still wanted me to go to the orthopedic specialist to check on my back. Appointment was made and my daughter took me.
The specialist was a recovering cancer patient who was training a young student. We talked about what I had been seen for and without even examining me he was convinced I had shingles, was very concerned for himself and his student (neither had ever had chicken pox) and got me out of there as fast as possible.
We called my PCP, and she ordered a prescription for a shingles med (can’t remember what, at this point) and three weeks later, no pain. I was told I should wait a couple months after it was gone before I got the vaccine. I was determined to never go through that mess ever again and in the meantime to stay out of the public unless absolutely necessary because of Covid.
Due to the pandemic the vaccine was delayed until 2022 and I made the appointment for the first vaccine in April of 2022, first vaccine was $197, and I received the second shot in July of 2022 for $200. Regular Medicare does not pay for shingles vaccine, so therefore, Medicare supplements don’t either!!!
This is an expensive vaccine but worth the cost to keep from going through that pain ever again. My advice, get it while you can and don’t wait until you are 65 or older. Get it while you have other health insurance, don’t wait for Medicare because it’s NOT covered unless you have different coverage that what I had. Why wait??? A prick of a needle is nothing compared to excruciating pain!!
She left me way too soon! We got Daisy several years ago from friends that need to scale down their animals. She came to us with eight to ten other Pekin ducks, but she was special because she was crippled when we brought her home. I’ve no idea what was wrong with her, but we gave her special care. She started laying beautiful large white eggs almost immediately and up until the last year she was here only taking a four to six week break between spring and summer.
On the morning of August 2oth, she came out of the duck house and found her soft tuft of grass she sat in every day and an hour later she had stretched her head back over neck like a regal swan and she was gone!! Sadie had gone and sit with her knowing something was wrong. I really missed her huge white eggs and her soft quacking in the mornings wanting to be released from her shelter. She is gone but will not be forgotten!!!
Christmas Card from Brother
I got this adorable Christmas card from my youngest brother last week and fell in love with him all over again. He lives at an assisted living facility in Covington and we have grown closer over the years. He colored the front and drew the picture on the back. This will be one of my treasures from him forever!! Merry Christmas Dean!!!!
Yesterday I woke up in the mood for blueberry cobbler and boy is it good. BUT I went overboard, made a pecan pie and a chocolate pie! Now, just guess who’s going to eat all of that????
I will add the recipes to my cooking page sometime this week, but I really need to get out of the house or I’m going to be as big as a barn by the end of this winter!!!!
The Old Woman Is Back on Her Feet
A week ago today, I went down and thought I wasn’t going to get up!! I had a condition, that I was not aware of, called Baker’s Cyst. Baker’s cysts are fluid-filled lumps or sacs that form behind your knee. This condition can be caused by a knee injury or a condition like arthritis.
I’ll not go into a long story about this but will tell you it was painful for me. I thought it was just arthritis in my knee joints and it kept me awake about 10 nights before the day it ruptured. When that happened, I was taking a step down from our front porch with a bucket of wood ash in my hand. It felt like an explosion behind my kneecap that flowed around to the front of my leg and down the shin to the top of my foot. It took my breath away and a few words out of my mouth that were not nice. I tried to proceed on down the yard to the garden to dump the ash, but the pain got worse causing faintness and severe pain, so I slowly and very painfully headed back in the house and called the doctor’s office in town. I was home alone!! I called our daughter and she came to my rescue. I spent the next four days using a walker to get around, taking Tylenol and anti-inflammatory meds and lots of icing on a raised leg.
Google the cyst and you’ll find lots of information about it, most of the time they don’t burst but I guess I pushed the “arthritis” just a bit far. I’ve learned the hard way to listen to my body when it speaks and don’t wait for it to speak loudly!!!
I’m back on my feet but not venturing out of the house too far and especially not without someone knowing where I’m at. Glad to be back and hope you pay attention to your body!!
Today I’ve added more recipes to the blog and will probably post another story later today.
Old Woman Down
I’m down and healing from a crazy thing called a “Baker’s Cyst”. As soon as I’m able I’ll be back to blog some more!!
October and Finally Caught Up
October is deer season here on the farm and there seems to be plenty of deer and even a couple bear. This year they have so much food in the way of acorns, chestnuts, apples, and autumn olives. It’s going to be a challenge and take some time to get an opportunity, but my bow is lined up and shooting great and I’m excited. I’m the only one that bow hunts, Eddie is the black powder hunter during deer season and he & Heather are the rifle hunters. I’m sure there will be plenty of meat in the freezers and cellar shelves when all is said and done.
Hurricane Ian came into Florida, went back into the Atlantic and landed here on Friday. The rain is still coming in and hoping it moves out tomorrow so I can get in some hunting.
Eddie has family in the Richmond/Chesapeake are and one of his cousins’ girls and family came to camp on the part of the family farm that joins our land. Kenny & Dana have three gorgeous little girls by the name of Vada, Jolene and Jillian (twins) that entertained us while they were here. Dana’s family inherited part of the family farm that is across the main road from us. The house on the farm is in rough shape but they bought a big tent and warm sleeping bags for camping out. They stayed for two nights and three days and they were all over the Little Mountain that runs in front of our house. They bought their UTV and traveled the farm, the kids played on haybales and inherited some dolls from me while they were here. We can’t wait for their return in the spring!!
Our trip to Grundy was fun and we finally saw elk on the last evening and night, and we were there. It was great getting off to ourselves for a few days and our daughter took care of the animals while we were away. Grundy is a coal mining town, and it was hit with a horrible flood in the eighties which took out most of the town, but it has rebuilt, and houses are now built on the hillsides. I saw my first three-story Wal-Mart. It has two bottom stories of parking, and the top floor is the actual huge store!!! Strangest thing I’ve ever seen!!!
When we returned home, we had one new calf born, and Sadie ignored me for one whole day. The second day home she acted like I had been gone for weeks!!! Guess she wanted to teach me not to leave her again!!
The day after we got home my oldest brother had a second cornea transplant and we learned last week that this one was successful, and his sight is already 75% percent better and he is to be fitted with new reading glasses this week!! I’m so excited for him and his wife! She has been really worried for and about him and now she can rest easy too!!
The main string on my bow broke and we had to take it to Whitetail Outfitters for repair. I love this Wicked Ridge TenPoint crossbow and it is so accurate. It took a week to get the new string and repairs and now I’m ready to hunt again. Thankfully it didn’t break when I was hunting, it happened when we fired after an unsuccessful hunting day.
We had our first propane refill on the 18th at $2.99 a gallon and the following weekend it went over $5.00 a gallon. We’re so glad we got it filled when we did!!! The full tank will last us through the winter unless we have a really cold winter. Even if that happens, we’ll use both the woodstove in the living room and light up the cook stove in the kitchen.
Sadie turned four on the 20th and she has turned into a beautiful dog!
I planted my fall garlic on 23rd and as of this date it has sprouted. I also ran a test planting in a large planter in the greenhouse. I checked on it yesterday (11/29/2022) and it’s four inches tall. We’ll see what happens as the winter goes on.
I had a great checkup at the end of the month, only lost three pounds but bad cholesterol is way but still needs to come down more. I had my first mammogram in four years that didn’t show any masses and man was I thrilled. The last four years have all been benign but just the scare of it all was such a relief this year. I am attributing it to not having any iced tea for the last six months. I really love sweet iced tea!!! Water is my main drink now!
End of October, had us selling the first batch of calves and a second group will go on November 5th. We sold just in time because the prices are dropping drastically. Now the cows will get a good rest and fatten up the babies they are carrying which will arrive in March or April. The calves included weights from 445-730 in three different loads. The smaller ones were late calves but filled out better than we thought.
Our granddaughter turned 25 this month and hubby turned 71. We’re so proud of our granddaughter and how much she cares about her job and students. She is now trying to organize a Parent Teacher Organization since they haven’t had one since Covid arrived. She is also working on some ideas for fund raising for that organization. While doing all of this she is also working on another Master’s program and tutors in her free time!!!
Our daughter treated her dad to a fishing outing to “The Hidden Gem” trout farm on the 21st of November. It was a great father-daughter outing, and they brought home some beautiful trout. I froze over a dozen packages for the two families, and they plan to go back in the spring, weather permitting, and before her tax season begins!!
Deer hunting has been somewhat successful, and I’ve canned three canners of venison, froze 30+ packages of burger and meatballs. I need one more deer for Sadie’s jerky and I wouldn’t hate to can a few more quarts of venison. In the future, I will add our mixtures of burger and canning to my blog.
We had snow flurries on the 13th and have had a good bit of rain since the end of September. The ground needed refreshing and the cows needed the grass though it didn’t grow a lot it was enough to keep from feeding our hay supply on a daily basis. That will happen soon. Our temps here on the farm so far for the month of November is running from 13* to 57* in the mornings around 7:00 a.m. This has been the craziest weather for 2022 that we can remember. Makes you wonder if the weather systems have Covid too!!!
Thanksgiving was quiet but had a fantastic meal. Recipes will be on the blog, as well. The month has been slow compared to the rest of the year, but I think we can stand it!!
The month has also had me trying to figure out the best health insurance plan to get us through another year. We are both healthy and get around really well, but you can never tell when that would change. Both of our parents were diagnosed and died from cancer so that is always in the back of our minds. We continue to stay busy on the farm instead of wasting away in a recliner watching tv!! That I just can’t imagine! I finally decided to try one of the Medicare Advantage plans and at the end of 2023 I hope to give a good review!
I believe this catches me up since I closed the old blog so until next time. . .
September 2022-Blog Catchup
Well, we finally got that bull where he’s supposed to be after he jumped the loading pen and broke two top boards and woven wire off the framing of the pen. I’m glad Eddie didn’t have a gun with us, or we may have had the freezer full faster!!! Then we moved the herd from Barker Hollow to the middle pasture, moved the 16 heifers and their calves to Barker Hollow and everyone is where they are supposed to be.
I canned the nine quarts of grape juice, and it is sooooo good. I’ll take it to the cellar tomorrow. We then went to Pearisburg to Farm Bureau Coop and picked up feed supplies for the chickens which should last until December. We went to Food Lion in Pearisburg today for groceries which I haven’t bought since May, spent $390!!! We had to go replenish chicken feed and corn for cattle and decided to get stocked up in the kitchen.
Fixed us a light supper of salad with chicken on top and washed up the dishes. We’ll rest the rest of the evening and start a new project tomorrow which will be extra framing protection for the greenhouse.
We pulled off corn this morning, shucked, silked and froze six quarts. Our corn season is just about over except for the popcorn, and we’ll pull and shuck it right before it frosts. Eddie pulled another bag of beets this morning, cleaned and put them in the garage refrigerator until I have enough to make one more batch of pickled beets. We don’t care for butter beets but love them pickled and when we eat a jar of them, I save the juice because Eddie loves pickled eggs. He brought in another basket of plum tomatoes and hopefully by next week I’ll have enough good and ripe for a batch of spaghetti sauce. We only have peppers left to process and they’ll all be stripped or diced and froze for the winter meals. We need to cut the rest of the corn stalks that are passed their prime and feed them to the cows. Nothing is wasted!!
Our yards need to be mowed again but at the moment (11:00a.m.) the grass is still very wet due to the heavy dew we have every morning. It was 50* this morning but warming toward 80’s.
I went through all of my saved/leftover seeds last night and entered that in my greenhouse journal. I won’t have to buy much at all next spring in the way of seed. I have plenty of pots and trays and the only big purchase I will have will be the ProMix. I hope to buy it this fall before the price goes up again in the spring. I used seven three-liter bales of it this year at $48 a bale, biggest expense I have with the greenhouse.
Squirrel season opened today and Eddie left for the woods at 7:00. I laid in bed for another ½ hour and then got up, dressed, and fixed Sadie’s breakfast, let the ducks out and the chickens. Fixed breakfast of turkey biscuits and waiting on him to come in for breakfast.
Bear hunters are chasing on the mountain. A little foggy this morning but 56* and I love fall mornings even though it’s not officially fall yet. Four hummingbirds are still hanging on but the other 15+ have left, the leaves are starting to fall, the katydids are screaming and every morning the grass is so wet you would thing we had a heavy rain during the night.
Eddie plans to put the haybine away for the winter today and we’re going to pick fall apples. We only picked four crates and the rain moved in. We’ve stored them in the mansion.
It’s been rainy and cool here the last three days and love the cooler weather. It has also hopped up our winter prep schedule. Today has been rain free and the sun comes and goes but 76* we can live with. We’ve just come back from riding back through the woods all over the farm and seeing what roads need to be cleaned out for safe riding. Eddie and I went were also looking for tanglefoot and chicken-of-the-woods mushrooms. Carol is coming on Tuesday, and she wants to go foraging. I at least have some good places to go look for them.
The garden is just about gone. I have pickled beets to work on tomorrow, fried pies to make from apples we picked yesterday and potatoes to dig when the ground dries enough. Pizza (9 pints) and spaghetti (8 pints) sauces are canned, and I have one bigger batch of San Marzano plum tomatoes to work up and will probably be tomato sauce.
I visited Dean at Merryfield and took him to lunch on the 4th and got back before the rain got started good. I dropped off several boxes of books to a friend, Debbie Bostic Myers before I headed to Covington. I stopped by Aunt Opals on the way home and visited for a few minutes. She gave me a book about life in Paint Bank (where she and I were raised) she helped write, edit and publish for the historical society. I dropped off a quart jar of Shawn’s honey at her house for my cousin Roger and his wife Sharon. I’m supposed to go back to see Aunt Opal in the near future for more information on the Bradley/Rose family.
We labored on Labor Day on minor things. Eddie went to Salem the next day and bought home a big load of bread for the animals and us. I love the new craft breads and we use it for gravy “biscuits”, French toast and when we have pasta meals. We also repaired fences damaged by deer and blown down trees and limbs. On Thursday we put fence around all of the haybale areas and they’re ready for when we put the cattle on the hayfields. We’ve also decided we’re going to do some temporary fencing in the big hayfield across the road, so they won’t waste so much of the grass. We’ll start on that early next week, probably on Wednesday. It has rained the last three days and so far for the month we have three inches.
Queen Elizabeth II died this week and I’m so glad I binge watched her movie a couple months back.
Our grandson, Declan, started first grade on Thursday and the first two days were half days.
During the rainy days I’ve been cleaning out closets and bookshelves but still have a long way to go. I’ve run out of boxes for the books. I’m sending them home with Carol on Tuesday. I have to stop and take the time to come up with a menu for lunch that day.
I’ve also found a brand-new recipe for “Morning Glory Muffins” which are divine. They have raisins, pecans, cocoanut, shredded carrots and shredded apples in them. They are a wonderful addition to my recipe box!!! I’ll put them on the “new” blog when it’s setup.
09/14/2022 thru 09/30/2022
My very special friend and former coworker at VT, Carol Trutt came to visit, and we had such a wonderful time together. We went foraging for Chicken of the Woods but found none. Carol comes to spend the day when she needs to get away from the rat race of Christiansburg and join our little piece of heaven in the country.
Eddie and I took a run to Pearisburg because my computer monitor died and now, I’m catching up on all of our adventures from home. Fall has arrived early, and we have had a couple fires in the woodstove due to temps in the 30’s and 40’s in the mornings. It had been chilly and not sure if it’s going to continue.
We’ve picked 12 crates of apples for the animals and us and we stored them in the mansion where they’ll stay cool and not freeze if the weather gets really cold.
We’ve also been moving different herds of cattle to longer pasture and trying to fatten up the spring calves for fall marketing. Grass is short and since we’re 200 bales short on our hay we don’t want to start feeding until at least mid to late November. We’ve sectioned off some pasture in the big field across the road but it only lasted about two weeks, so we opened up the entire field. Hoping it will last through October. We combined the young cows with the oldest herd to make the pasture last for all of them and the herd is around 35 including the heifer calves and the older cows will start calving the 27th of September. As of this writing, four have calved with one cow having twins and both calves were born dead. Not a good start to fall calving. We have eight more including a heifer from the young herd yet to calve.
Fence building was done in the big hay field for temporary pasture and Heather helped us put it up and it only took about two hours to complete. Eddie and I removed it 10 days later to open up the field. The long field and L field will be opened when this runs out but hoping the calves will go to market before that happens.
A new friend, Linda Fisher-Martin came to spend the night with us. The house she rents in Franklin County has a well that has gone dry and her landlord doesn’t expect to have any water for her until mid-October. We had a good visit while she was here, and she promises to come back.
We got our potatoes dug and harvested 15 five-gallon buckets full. They’re not the best crop we’ve had but considering the weather this past summer we were lucky to get what we did. It’ll be more than enough for our family.
On September 18, we took a train ride with our daughter and son-in-law from Staunton to Goshen VA. We had a wonderful ride and great meal on the train. It was quality time spent with the kids and good to get away from the farm for a day. Train station photo is at beginning of this post.
We’ve been checking on the bass and catfish ponds pretty frequently and happy with the results. We just hope we don’t have any poachers. We’re taking the fish bread and fish food on a weekly basis and now they look for us to bring them food.
Cooking On the Blog
Just to let you know and to remind myself, this new blog has a cooking page and there’s lots of really easy and tasty recipes posting on it right now.
I plan to add new recipes weekly so keep checking back!
I have seven different sections to this blog and will post something on each page frequently; some will be photos.
August Without A Blog
Even though my blog was closed this summer I continued to keep a journal of sorts. I had hoped to pull stories from the paragraphs decided last week to just catchup quick and go on with a daily post for the new blog. This post is long but deals with a whole month and it’s fun to look back to a short time ago. Here we go:
The bathroom and pantry were cleaned good yesterday and we got rain showers off and on that day. Today we had a short grass wetting shower and now the sun is shining bright. Eddie got our stray calf back this morning and Russell Tucker hauled it in to the loading pen. We had breakfast and then went over to do some doctoring on the calf. He’s a big bull calf and blind in both eyes. We gave him what doses we had of Dry Cow in both eyes, 12 cc’s of LA-200 in both shoulders under the skin, gave him 5 cc’s of 8-way vaccine and ear tagged him. He was not a happy camper! We did not castrate him because he’s too big and it’s too hot to cut! I just hope he doesn’t spread it to the rest of the 16 herd. The bull with them has pinkeye in one eye but he’s too big and too far infected to give any treatment that would be beneficial.
With that done, Eddie has started mowing the big barn hayfield (really dead and thin) and my spring/fall cleaning moved to the master bedroom. I’ll be taking the large floor rug to the cleaners next week. The bedroom looks clean, smells clean, windows washed and as good as it’s going to get for this year. I may do some major rearranging in there before winter comes around.
Now I’m headed to the front porch to do a major cleanup. Sadie caught a big coon last night and had it all over the porch trying to show us that she was a great hunter. Blood is all over and the flys are trying to get in the house. I’ll move all the porch furniture to the yard and scrub with my rag mop and heavy dose of Pinesol floor cleaner to get rid of the smell and the flies. Sadie should really have a bath but not sure if I’m up to doing that today!!!
Now I’m going out to the greenhouse to gather up the herbs to replant in a small herb garden in the milkhouse flowerbed.
The herbs are doing great and I’ll add some rosemary, parsley, and thyme next spring.
It’s been a busy month and have gotten over seven inches of rain which we needed. The hay is finally cut, rolled and stacked and we’re about 200 rolls short of a normal season. The rain has brought back the grass on pasture and hayfields which will help to supplement the hay for a couple months. We’re hoping there will be enough to keep the cattle fed until December.
We’ve had over 20 hummingbirds this summer and I’m filling the feeders daily up until this week and we think they are starting to migrate and so have the purple martins. Robins and starlings are taking their place.
My sitting hen hatched six babes and at first I thought there was only one little rooster but know now that there’s at least two maybe four. Time will tell!!! The hens are only giving me one or two eggs a day now and the pullets won’t start laying until November or December. The ducklings are full grown now and the drakes outnumbered the hens so we butchered three drakes yesterday and made jerky for Sadie. Daisy, my white pekin hen, passed away on Monday and I’m hoping the Rouen hens will start laying anytime now. I’m anxious to see how large their eggs are. We’ve rebuilt the duck run but Eddie decided this week that we need to surround the outer side of the run with heavier wire or coons will get them when the weather changes. I’ll get some heavy rabbit gauge wire in a couple weeks to keep them safe. They haven’t been to the pond since we butchered the drakes this week. I may have to walk them back down there. I thought the hens were the ones that led the group wherever they go. The last two days they’ve stayed at the chicken run drinking up their outdoor water.
We took a road trip to Charleston WV on Tuesday and had a great time together. Eddie needed new scopes for two of his guns and ammo. He bought me a new pair of hunting boots, heavy socks, a t-shirt and another package of broadheads. On the way home we stopped in Princeton, WV and had dinner of Matt Dillon ribeye steaks, they were tough but taste was outstanding. Put me in the mood to make some dinner rolls which I haven’t made for awhile. We have another road trip planned for September but he won’t tell me where we are going.
The greenhouse is cleared out except for the fruit and nut tree seeds I’ve planted. All of the empty pots have been cleaned and plant tags cleaned and repackaged. I’ve emptied most of my summer flower pots and planters, summer heat ravaged most everything. My rose garden has been cleaned out and my gardening journal updated as to what has been planted where for next spring plans. The garden has been emptied of the first corn and all the green bean plants. The beets are almost all gone, I canned nine pints of pickle beets. The tomatoes are coming in but most of the Mr. Stripey and German Pinks are rotting on the bottom unless picked green. Squash, cucumbers, zucchini, cabbage, broccoli, and brussel sprouts are gone. I may pull a lot of weeds today and set out the last of the romaine lettuce and the very small broccoli for fall gardening. The San Marazano tomatoes are coming in and I’ll process them a little at a time and can and this winter make my pizza, spaghetti and tomato sauces and can them.
The deer herds are huge and got some big bucks to choose from in October if they hang around. We’ve also got a very generous crop of coons and a couple bear using behind the house. Acorns are starting to drop so my hunting prospects will be better if they’re gone before bow season comes in. The apple orchard and chestnut groves will make for great hunting sites.
I think today will be my book clearing out job since the grass is so wet and the sun is just coming on strong at 11:30. I have some friends lined up to take the books I haven’t read and some that Heather is getting rid of. I’ve not read very much this summer, too much to do. I restacked all of the very seasoned wood in the wood house and have three ranks stacked. We have enough space for five ranks of new firewood for 2023. We’ll get some of that cut this winter. Bill Songer has cut two loads of firewood in our downed wood forest and we’re hoping he’ll continue to take it out.
Heather and Joel are heading back from a Montana vacation today. They’ll overnight somewhere between here and Tennessee and come on in tomorrow. Shawn left for NJ last evening and got there at 10:00 p.m. He and Declan are sleeping in this morning while Jennie works. Shawn is going to watch Declan while she and her brother move her things from one storage facility to another. Eddie and I will be caring for Bucky while he is away.
Daisy, my Pekin duck, passed this week and we butchered three Rouen drakes. I made jerky for Sadie from their breasts. I’ve been using deer and bear roasts since last fall for her jerky which she loves. No seasonings, just dehydrated meat.
Shawn has gone to visit Declan this weekend and Heather and Joel just returned from a 10-day trip to Montana for their 27th anniversary this month. Heather was very glad to be home but enjoyed “most” of their trip.
Declan will start first grade in September and Victoria has been back to school teaching and working on a leadership degree for future work in education. She is teaching 5th grade again this year.
We’re seeing lots of bucks for upcoming bow season and Eddie is making sure I have all the supplies to have another good year of hunting.
I did spring cleaning in the guest room yesterday and it looks fantastic. We took the loveseat in that room to Shawn’s for his library and it gone has really opened up the guest room. We never watch TV in it but my “office” is taking up one corner.
Bill Songer came by to get his third load of firewood on Saturday and helped Eddie repair the back door to the guest room. We still need to jack-up that end of the house because the door is on tilt and won’t close completely. Bill got one load last week and two this week. He keeps wanting to cut a load for us but Eddie told him we would cut it during the winter for 2023.
Bobby Rose, best friend of my Dad, passed away last Sunday, 21st, and was laid to rest yesterday, 27th, in Paint Bank. He was a wonderful man and reminded me so much of my Dad. They grew up together, went in the service together and came home to raise families.
Tomorrow I go to court in Craig to be appointed to represent Dean’s trust from the sale of her house. It was supposed to take a month to complete (March) and here it is the end of August. Junior still hasn’t completed two years of Mom’s estate making it hard to know how much will be left in the trust. Heather is going with me to make sure I understand what needs to be done as the trustee.
I planted three romaine lettuce yesterday and three broccoli plants. Fall is just around the corner and time to be completing gardening 2022. I have San Marazano tomatoes to process tomorrow or Tuesday and the final batch of pickle beets. We still need to dig the potatoes before fall rains come in!!!
We finally completed the “tear down” of the hay wagons and they were pulled to the back fence line out of sight. He may at some time replace the timbers on them and make them serviceable but lumber is too expensive to do it now. The old timber was sawed up for firewood and stacked in the woodhouse and we cleaned up all around the equipment shed. We do have some more work to do inside that shed to underpin it to keep varmints out from under it.
Busy all morning, picking more grapes to add to yesterday’s batch. I washed them and then picked them off their stems one by one. After cleaning them really well, I put them in a large stainless-steel pot with about 8 cups of water, mashed them with a potato masher until soupy and boiled them for 20 minutes. Then I let them set for about two hours until cool enough to squeeze all the juice out and let the remainder set in a strainer until hardly any juice was left in the grape hulls. I fed that to the chickens which they loved. I let the juice set over night
After picking the grapes we tried to separate our last bull from his herd so that we can put him back with the other bulls. We decided to let the cows, calves and the bull graze the barn lot to calm them down and will separate on Thursday.
Heather worked on a form to change the name on Dean’s federal ID account which she spelled incorrectly. She brought it over to me to sign and send to the IRS to correct. This may take some time because that government office is grossly behind in all correspondence and taxes. If we don’t get a corrected form by the end of September, we need to resend it again and we’re keeping copies of the correspondence. I need to contact the Commissioner of Accounts for Craig/Botetourt County next week and let him know the judge has approved me as trustee for the trust and let him know that the first accounting and inventory for the trust will be completed as soon as my brother completes the 2019-20 and 2020-21 estate accounting has been completed and I’ve received a check from him for the sale of Mom’s house for Dean’s trust. This should have been completed in a timelier and correct fashion, but I wasn’t the one completing it or dealing with her estate. I was only in charge of her youngest son and my brother, Eddie Dean Bradley.
I found out something very interesting about my maternal great grandparents this past week. I’ve never known their names or anything about my grandfather Bernard Stewart Dickson, no one ever talked about him or his family as I was growing up. I’m working on collecting the information and will share it as I pull it together. This will be a fun project for the winter months along with the quilting projects I want and need to complete before the end of the year.
Enough for now, more to come.
Chicks Graduated to the Big House
My April babies grew up so fast!!
Remember these little guys that were living on my back porch in April?
Well, they grew up fast and left lots of down all over the porch and started flying out of their little room. They have been moved to the brooder coop and they’re loving it.
The brooder coop is 36 inches deep, 36 inches high and 72 inches long. It’s heated when it needs to be and it’s shaded to keep them cool during really hot weather. The wooden contraption in the front is for them to roost on is they choose but at the rate they’re growing only five of the ten can fit on it at one time. They have good airflow underneath the coop. I keep one end full of chips for warmth and bedding but they tend to scratch it out daily.
When we moved them outdoors, they still had lots of down around their heads and looked just a little strange. Since then, they’re completely feathered out now and not as skittish as they were on the porch.
This little gal is a Brahma hen, and one characteristic of this breed is the feathered feet. They are well adapted to colder climates beautiful full-grown birds. This has some growing to do.
When they’re in the brooder coop, I keep three water bottles in the coop with them with fresh water each morning. They have two-quart feeder and one-half gallon which have to be filled about every other day. I give them fresh pulled clover and seeded grasses a couple times a day. They are well cared for and will graduate to the big hen house in a couple months and start laying in the winter.
Well, they graduated to the big hen house and a couple have started to lay eggs. They’re all beautiful hens but sure wish they would start laying daily because I could use those 10 eggs a day. This is baking season and I WILL NOT buy eggs from the store. This is two of my ten pullets; left is the Golden Brahma and right is the Americauna which lays green eggs. The Brahma lays very large brown eggs. I have two Brahma’s laying and this Americauna was laying large green eggs but stopped laying when the cold weather moved in and that’s not normal for them. I think she may be laying out on the farm somewhere, so I didn’t let them out of the henhouse for two days, made sure they had water, feed and greens but still no green eggs. I’m getting impatient!!!
Love the chickens and the beautiful eggs they give us.
The first week of July, our gas prices in New Castle dropped 18 cents per gallon to $4.64. The winter fuel prices soared to over $5.00 per gallon and we topped off our propane tank just before that price jumped up. I’m so glad we have the forest land to get all the firewood our family will need. It looks like I may go back to cooking on the kitchen woodstove again as soon as we get the flue checked out.
The Mister has gone to Giles County to try to find some fishhooks big enough to catch turtles in our ponds and Heather’s pond. The snapping turtles and Blue Heron cranes are really working on the fish population. We need strong hooks to bring in the monster turtles. We rehome them to our local streams unless they’re about the size of a medium cooking pot and we harvest and freeze them. I’ll post my turtle soup recipe at some point on my “Love to Cook” page.
Sometime this week a swarm of honeybees took over one of our empty beehives and I sure hope they make it this year. We’ve lost them the last three years during the spring.
When the Mister returned from Pearisburg we tried to sit out on the porch and in the yard, but it was so humid and miserable. We decided to go to the garage to tie some turtle trot lines and then After we took care of the small animals and greenhouse for the night and retired to the house for a light dinner and showers and waited for the rain showers that never came.
I had laundry and kitchen cleanup this morning and just went out to put the greenhouse fan on high and it’s sweltering. Eddie just left for the mountain to move hay off the field and doubt he will be there long. The wind is blowing but it’s hot and humid. At this point, we’re not even halfway finished getting the hay baled and off the fields.
We went to Shawn’s (son) yesterday evening to take Declan’s (grandson) birthday card and gift and pick blueberries. We had just about finished picking and a monsoon came down Pott’s Mtn and we headed home after wishing Shawn safe travels to NJ this afternoon. The lightning and thunder were unreal. We had to stop twice because we couldn’t see to drive because it was raining so hard and there were several big limbs in the road and the rain and storm followed us to about three miles before we got home. We live a little over 15 miles from Shawn. We didn’t get a drop of rain!!! They’re calling for same storms today and tomorrow and then a cool down which we’ll take with many thanks!!!
I’m trying desperately to get all the plants left in the greenhouse in the ground, pots, beds, wherever I can find a spot. The fan is keeping things cooler, but it uses electricity which we need to cut back on.
I’ve cooked and frozen three turtles so far. We’ll have soup and stews with them in the winter. I did get enough transparent apples to freeze six quarts this year and we’ll have a bit more later if we can get more rain. It’s sporadic but when it does rain it pours buckets with lots of wind, lightning, hale and thunder!
This morning I fixed breakfast after letting all the birds out for the day and checking their rations.
It was 52* when we got up at 6:45 and the sun is shining. I opened the greenhouse and it was 72* in it. I am slowly emptying it of annuals and veggies but need to start some fall plants, maybe today. It has rained a steady light rain for two and a half days which we needed so badly.
Breakfast is over and I’ve just made an appointment for my second shingles vaccine on Monday the 18th in Salem.
Saturday, we sent our 2021 fall calves to the livestock market. We had eleven calves and one cow. She was culled due to loss of calves two years in a row. Now we wait on the weight tickets and the check.
I’m hoping to get a fresh mess of green beans from the garden sometime this week. Tenderette green beans and yellow crookneck squash are the only things ready in the garden now due to sporadic freezing weather and late planting.
Heather (daughter) told us yesterday evening that Big Spring Mills is closing down in August and we’ve been using their seasoned flour and biscuit flour since I was a child, best in the world. Heather wants to go there tomorrow and stock up on things we use. She’s going to check out their website for store hours and items stocked. She tried to find some at Walmart and Kroger today with no luck!!! The mill is closing due to supply of grain, no help and health issues.
The Mister and Heather are in the hayfield and the sun is bearing down. Mister asked me to slow way down on using water on my flowers because we need rain so bad and he’s worried about the well. He’s also worried about the cattle because the pasture is burning up and he has nowhere to move them. Our garden is growing some and I don’t know how or why!!!
Last Thursday Eddie and I were exposed to Covid by a friend of ours that did not know he had it. So far, we haven’t shown any symptoms and I tested myself on Sunday evening (negative). We are very careful about wearing masks, washing hands and staying at the farm the majority of the time. We’ve been vaccinated and boostered twice. CAREFUL is the name of the game!!
Yesterday my baby chicks started hatching and I’m not expecting but a couple to hatch since it’s so hot. I set the broody mom with ten eggs and so far, this morning I have five and she is still setting on the eggs which usually means they’re still coming. Friday is their due date!! With the ten I raised from store=bought chicks, I’ll have at least 15 new babes for possible pullets. Of course, half of the clutch hatching now will probably be roos. Final total, six hatched, three hens and three roos.
I’ve got some more trees from seeds started in the greenhouse and still have about 30 flowers that should be transplanted in the yard, but the ground is too hot and dry so they’re better off in the greenhouse. I’ve also got about 20 tomatoes and a dozen romaine lettuce, but they’ll be set in much cooler weather. I just hope they can last that long since it’s still July!!!
The trees are apple, peach, nectarine, chestnut, almond, cherry, and hazelnut. The fruit if they sprout and grow will be rootstock for grafting our favorite apples and possibly get different grafts from some of the area trees.
The eleven calves and one cow we sold brought over $11000 and we were shocked. We didn’t expect big prices due to the weather and the market flooding at the moment due to the drought. Our neighbors are having issues with pinkeye but God is watching out for our herd and no issues at the moment.
We’re getting showers today but very light. Eddie tried to move hay after he got back from Pearisburg buying tires for the farm vehicles, but he got rained out and the last time he was soaked clean through.
I moved my broody hen and her chicks to the big coop by the grainery. The little red barn wasn’t quite safe enough from snakes. Mom was not very happy with me when I took her away without her chicks and almost flogged me when I brought the chicks to her as quick as I could. They are six little darlings.
The little red barn/chicken coop will be moved and set up to a more secure area for next year’s chicks. It doesn’t have a floor in it which is what we want but we need to secure the bottom area from predators and rewire with stronger and smaller wire to guard against mice and snakes.
After that I pulled a bunch of flowers from the greenhouse and started planting and pulling spent flowers in the bell flower garden to be replaced with moonflowers and balloon flowers. I also planted a dozen foxglove in the big yard flower bed. That flower bed now has a hydrangea, bellflower, balloon flower, foxglove and Shasta daisy, which is overgrown and will be dug up and moved to a larger area since it grows and reseeds so well.
I have about twenty more tomato plants in the greenhouse to transplant into the garden and eight herbs (basil, dill, rosemary, lemon balm, ruffled basil and thyme) into the hibiscus garden outside the yard. The hibiscus will be moved as well to three different locations since it reseeds so well. The farm will be blooming everywhere and that makes me very happy!!! The moonflowers at the gazebo are magnificent!
The corn in the garden in silking now and I put drops of mineral oil in the silks a couple days ago to keep the worms out of it. We have two rows of Golden Bantam and two rows of silver queen and one row of popcorn (first we’ve ever planted). The squash and cucumbers are starting to come in and we got one pink tomato yesterday, but it has a big rotten spot on one side. The garden needs rain so bad. UPDATE: I will not waste my time with popcorn again!!! Also, silver queen corn is the best!!!
Eddie set two more trot lines for snapping turtles last night and we seem to have a couple rats back in the chicken house again. He shot one last night but knows there’s more. UPDATE: I’m trying a natural remedy for the rat and mouse problem. Another farmer in a ranch out west mixes Jiffy cornmeal mix with equal amounts of baking soda and places in a plastic bowl in the feed rooms. According to him, mice and rats cannot fart, and the baking soda will make them swell up and die!!! Who knew???? At this point I’ll try anything and will let you know how it goes!!
Eddie and I went to Salem yesterday for my second shingles shot, so expensive, $200 for this shot and $197 for first one, two shots in the series, three months apart. Now I’m safe from the dreaded shingles again. While in Salem we went shopping for a replacement tire we need for the tetter, oil filter for the Coleman side by side and we also looked at water pumps for watering the garden from the pond. We came home empty handed.
I checked out the shade cloth I want to get for next year for the greenhouse, front and back. I think the one we bought last year will last one more year if we cover it with a big tarp again this coming winter. I absolutely will not plant anything in it next year except for the plants we have to have for the garden, no extras and only replacement plants for the flower beds. The perennials are starting to take over like I wanted them too and I know more now of what works here and what doesn’t.
I bought me some extra-large silicone muffin tins awhile back and got out my recipe for banana nut muffins. The recipe filled one of the silicone pans (6) and one regular metal tin of six. They turned out soooooooooooo good!!! Now I need to find an excellent apple muffin and blueberry muffin recipe. We like muffins for breakfast and snack!! Recipes will be on my “Love to Cook” page at a later date.
Tonight I’m fixing a fresh vegetable and smoked sausage skillet, one of our favorite meals. It’s been cooler today and a good time to fix something like this.
You won’t believe it!!! We got over half inch of rain during the night and this morning and still showering. I slept through it with all the fans going. I’m so glad I got one whole row of the garden completely weeded last evening while it was cool.
I got four canners of green beans in the cellar and have cooked two large pots for us and Heather. New potatoes in them were awesome.
The last calves have been worked (not today) and we still have a wanderer at the neighbors farm. We almost hate to bring him back home because it’s got pinkeye in both eyes and hasn’t been castrated. UPDATE: We did eventually have several of our cows and six calves with pinkeye this year even though they were vaccinated for it at two months of age. We had to put down one of the biggest heifer calves after getting it in both eyes and nothing we did helped!!!
The greenhouse is slowly emptying, and the yard got mowed after more rain. I have some spraying to do outside and have started my “spring/fall cleaning.
I think this catches me up for July 2022 and now on to August and September!
A New Beginning
How I have missed my blogging time. There is so much to talk about the farm and our life since I shut down my old blog in the early summer. I’ve missed all of my followers and fellow bloggers. So, where to begin??? I think I’ll bring out my daily planner and go from there. Farming life is very busy WITHOUT appointments. I keep a journal and a calendar of events, not necessarily noteworthy, but they remind me of what’s keeping me busy.
My old blog ended in June of 2022 but I’ve kind of kept it going month by month in a journal and that’s where I’ll start this new blog and try to catch up to where we are now by the end of the month. I’m also trying to learn the new functionality of WordPress since I left and it’s being a challenge for this almost 70-year-old woman that is very computer illiterate!!! Grin with me please!!! 🙂 The old WordPress format was much easier to navigate.
I’ll start with June which was a very dry month around here and the greenhouse was a challenge as well as the garden. The weather was 50* one day and 80* the next. Caldwell Farms hay production is down by 200 rolls (4×5) this year due to the weather and cost of fertilizing. With little rain we were baling our pasture and may have to cut down on the herd in order to feed them this winter. Prices for everything is so unreal and there doesn’t seem to be a change in sight. Getting around this challenge meant we were rotating our four herds a lot and had to combine to smaller herds. The spring calving season finally ended in June, and we lost a total of six calves and three cows (old). Most of the calves lost were due to long births, weather conditions, and one deformity which we’ve only had one time in our fifty years. We are currently in the process of selling the calves which grew out well even considering the weather. We merit that to the good mothers they have. Our sixteen heifers produced eleven calves and the remaining five heifers did not get bred. The first one was born on the worst ice/snowstorm we had this past spring with raging wind and it came in the early hours of the morning.
Victoria our granddaughter now has her Master’s in education and working on a Masters in Leadership and our grandson, Declan, is now in first grade and growing like a weed. Unlike his Nana, he is very computer and electronic savvy!!! We’re so very proud of both of them.
Right after we had our farm diesel fuel tank filled, the prices soared on all fuels and those folks, including our son and granddaughter, will feel a real pinch for heating oil. Both have decided they should probably fill up with firewood for their fireplaces and woodstove. Our daughter and son-in-law use wood heat as we do. The uncertainty of what’s to come even has me rethinking our pantry supplies. The cellar is full except for the venison we will can and freeze but dry goods are the supplies, I think, we should stock and consider how to store for long keeping. I’m mostly concerned about the flours and products made from grains. This year our favorite grain mill has closed down due to issues grain availability, and I tried to seal up a few bags of my favorite biscuit flour and seasoned flour with our Foodsaver but since opening one bag I found it “chunky” and I’m sure it’s because of the moisture in the freezer even though it’s sealed good. Does this sound like the times of the “depression”.
Early July found us with snapping turtles taking over our ponds and our daughters. They can devour all the fish in quick order if not caught. We now have several cooked, shredded and in the freezer for soup this winter. We also had a broody hen hatch with six chicks, half roos and half pullets. I also raised ten pullets which are staring to lay eggs now, five are yellow Brahmas and five are Americanus’s. The babes are a mixture of Barred Rock and Black Australorp. I will then have four roosters on the farm and that’s three too many. I will keep the young Barred Rock and the others will be chicken soup or chicken salad.
July brought us sweltering heat, monsoons, 50* mornings and 90* evenings. Our weather patterns are unreal and causing the fruit to rot from the inside out. By the middle of the month we are back to sweltering heat and no rain.
Enough for this writing and I will start again tomorrow.