beauty

hay

Preserving

The gardens are flourishing,

garden

and we have been enjoying the bounty.

I haven’t harvested enough to begin any large scale canning,

but the tomatoes are just starting to turn red.  If we get a few more warm days, I’ll be making sauce soon.

pretty

We have harvested enough to fill our plates and put a few cans of fermented goodness away.

fermented salsa

A pepper relish.

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A corn treat.

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Loads of pickles.

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Carrots and Pole Beans.

And we’ve been experimenting with jams and jellies.

We picked 50 pounds of blueberries at

Ingall’s Blueberry Hill

in Cooperstown

and our crab apple trees are loaded.

crabapples

Blueberry with balsamic vinegar and black pepper,

blueberry with cinnamon and amaretto,

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crab apple with brandy and

crab apple with cinnamon and whiskey.

I am growing calendula flowers and recently made calendula oil.

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Dave has been processing apples by the 5 gallon bucket.

We packed away a dozen apple crisps into the freezer,

and he has begun dehydrating the slices now.

New Fence

Making use of these cool sunny days lately,

 hayed field under gorgeous sky

cut field under gorgeous sky

Dave has been building fences.

The pigs have plowed through more pasture than ever,

so we are expanding.

The background shows the pigs' progress through the pasture.

The background shows the pigs’ progress through the pasture.

Dave cleared a strip 40 feet wide through a section of trees

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and rented a post hole pounder to put in 12 posts,

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stringing three wires two thirds of the way across our property.

Every 50 feet he added a supporting post.

For now, the wires measure 6, 12 and 18 inches high,

but we can easily add more as our use of the pastures

expand to fit the needs of our beef herd.

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Of course it is never so straightforward as we hope.

During the process, our truck

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lost its ability to shift into reverse,

making for some creative maneuvering with the help of the backhoe.

The kids aren’t fazed by the inconvenience

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and find plenty to occupy themselves.

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Hope of Harvest

Summer is here in full force,

and we are beginning to anticipate the harvest.

I walk through my gardens in hope,

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enjoying the promise

garden

and anticipating the rush

of putting up.

Take a photo tour of a few of the plants with me.

cornbean

As a result of the kids’ interest in the American Indian custom of the Three Sisters,

we planted corn, beans and squash (or melon in our case) together.

This is the Long Thai Purple Podded Yard bean.

cornsilk

Fisher’s Earliest Sweet Corn

bean

Kabouli Black Garbanzo

amaranth

The taller plants are Titan sunflowers.  In front are Red Calaoo and Love Lies Bleeding amaranth.

cabbage broccoli

Red Cabbage and Broccoli

cucumber potatoes

Cucumber Mexican Sour Gherkin and Potato

radish

Beet

tomflower roma

Beefsteak bloom and Roma babies

grapes apples

I had nothing to do with the wild grapes and apples, but I have plenty of plans for them.

This coming week is supposed to be full of sun and warmth,

so I’m looking forward to seeing everything take off.

beauty

grasshoppermilkweed

Robins

We have some robins who made a nest in the eaves of the pigs’ portable shade hut.

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A baby hatched.

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And the fledgling left the nest.

fledgling

I didn’t have the heart to photograph the mama cat snatching it for her kitten

or the parents trying to persuade the cat to let it go.

To The Butcher

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.

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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.

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Once the pig is through the gate, Dave comes behind with a simple panel to block the pig from retreating.

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The pig walks up the ramp and into the trailer

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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.

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Simple.

Apple Blossoms

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from the old apple trees

The Orchard

Like all the other old homes in the area, our place has an old apple orchard.

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I am surprised our trees produce fruit since they have hollow cores. How many generations of the previous owners enjoyed apples from these trees I can only guess.

treehole

While I like apples, I want to expand our fruit options.

harrytrees

We received some babies in the mail this week.

kidstrees

The kids were enthusiastic at first.

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AJ stuck with it.

doneproperly

We now have

two Cherry trees,

two Peaches,

three Plums,

four Elderberries,

two Blackberries

and three Kiwis.

orchardview

Maybe by my 4oth birthday, we’ll be harvesting fruit!