Having grown up in a suburb of Oklahoma City, my mind keeps returning to the events of yesterday, and a blog post seems more insignificant than usual.
I’m thankful that my family and friends made it through and are out giving comfort and aid.
I have been fermenting for a couple of years now, and though I am pleased with the results, I am always tweaking.
I am always looking for good books on the subject, and I am often asked about the process of fermentation.
I have a favorite beginner book now. Real Food Fermentation by Alex Lewin covers the basics simply and clearly. He also has a variety of simple recipes. If you want to try fermenting, this is a great place to start.
An article I came across recently gave me the final nudge to move to an airlock system. I don’t think it is absolutely necessary, but it has proven helpful for us. I’ve not been entirely successful in waiting the full 28 days before consuming these yummy veggies, but I’m working on it.
Garden planning takes place in the dead of winter,
so my ordering may have gone overboard as I longed for spring.
In no time, I filled the 30ft x 40ft plot Dave prepared for me and had quite a few seeds left over.
We also wanted space to grow lots of pumpkins for the pigs, so we had a 650ft x 6ft strip tilled along the top edge of one of our pastures.
Today we planted it.
Dave used the tiller to help in some spots and got out his seeder for the carrots and beans.
The kids picked up a load of rocks,
and stopped to peek in the bird house they made a couple of years ago.
In the strip we planted
corn–pop and sweet
beans–KY Wonder and Blue Lake
cucumbers–pickling and gherkin
flowers–chrysanthemums, zinnias, calendula
Tomorrow we finish up with about 200ft of pumpkins.
Friday night the Rainbows brought Iris and Thomas to the farm for a quick visit.
Thomas is an environmental historian completing his dissertation in history at NYU this year. The name of his dissertation? “Three Little Pigs: Development, Pollution, and the ‘Greening’ of East Germany, 1970-1989”
He and Iris jumped right in to the farm life and were delightful to have.
Iris got to do a bit of shepherding escaped sheep and hog whispering
and Thomas got his hands dirty moving pigs and installing whey lines.
The kids, of course, found plenty to delight them.
Such a fun weekend. Come again!
Up until this year, we have depended on a local auction for laying hens.
We decided to be purposeful about what we wanted and order them as chicks.
AJ was thrilled to receive the call from the post office that our chicks were ready for pickup.
He immediately ran to the coop he and Dave prepared yesterday, removed the door, switched on the heat lights and filled the water jars.
When he returned from the post office, he was beaming.
3 Turkens (Naked Necks)
3 Rhode Island Reds
3 Buff Rocks
12 Black Australorps
AJ is the chicken man.
He has taken on the responsibility of caring for these birds and will receive payment for each one that reaches laying age.
He’s one proud boy today.
In August, we eagerly look for the elderberries to ripen.
If we are quick, we can harvest before the birds.
I made more than a gallon of Elderberry Syrup from last summer’s crop and gave some of it as gifts. When we are running low on this tonic I go to my freezer for another 1/2 lb of berries and cook up a batch.
When my kids came down with fevers recently, I knew it was time to make some more.
Here’s to the end of flu season!
Some of our pigs go off to a USDA inspected facility to be butchered, and this past week we sent four away. Our regular butcher slaughters on farm, so we don’t usually need to bother with transporting pigs. When we do, we like to have the process go as smoothly as possible.
After several (not so) humorous and time-consuming loads, Dave built a loading system that seems too easy now. He brings the trailer into position and lifts the ramp into the side door.
With a bucket of grain, we lure the chosen, and a few others, into a holding pen where we run them through a chute with a sorting gate we can open or close, depending on whether or not the right pig is coming up.
Once the pig is through the gate, Dave comes behind with a simple panel to block the pig from retreating.
The pig walks up the ramp and into the trailer
where he finds a hinged door that opens in front and closes behind and a bit of grain to munch while the rest are loaded.