Thursday, August 27, 2015

Bush Hog

Guv'nor has been working hard to improve the pastures. Recently, he mowed the pastures before the weeds started to seed. He also wanted to cut down any mesquite saplings and to encourage the good grasses to grow.

We bought a second hand bush hog attachment for the tractor last year. A bush hog is basically a huge lawn mower. He spent about a week mowing.

Guv'nor took all the photos.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Lightning Fire

We were excited the other day when we thought it was going to rain. It hadn't rained here since the end of June, so we were needing the rain. The wind kicked up, the skies got dark, and there were a few bolts of lightning, but sadly no rain.

Later we noticed what looked like smoke, rather than dust blowing down the road. Guv'nor got in the truck to check on it. There was a small brush fire a couple miles up the road caused by lightning. Several patrolmen were watching it closely.

Guv'nor took the photos for me.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Fermented Garlic

I found another idea for preserving garlic. And since I have so much garlic sitting around, I thought I would try it.

It is actually a recipe for "lacto-fermentation", but it didn't seem too unusual so I thought I'd give it a try. The process of fermentation produces beneficial probiotics.

Here's the full article, if you're interesting in reading more about it.

First choose a jar size. I chose a jam jar. Peel as much garlic as will fill the jar. I had lots of loose garlic that didn't braid. Peeling the garlic was a little tedious and clearly the hardest part of the recipe. Mix up the brine: 1 cup of filtered water to 1/2 Tablespoon of sea salt. Cover the garlic with the brine. There are several ways to make sure the top layer of garlic gets submerged, but I chose to put a small zip bag of water on top to weigh it down. Seal with a lid and leave the jar, covered, on the counter for about a week. Then store in the fridge for use in any recipe that calls for garlic.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Crop Dusting

We were startled one morning recently when an airplane flew very low over our house. We thought it was the end of the world as we know it. Thankfully, it was only a crop duster dipping down to spray the field of sunflowers up the road.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Lots of Hay

We were finally able to cut and bale hay last month. Due to our extremely wet spring, we had to wait for the fields to dry out before anything could be cut. By the time it was dry, we had to wait a further couple of weeks before our friends with the equipment were available.

We were hoping for an increase over last year, but didn't expect as much as we got. We only cut hay from the 6 acre pasture in front of the house because the cows are taking care of the other pastures. We were able to get 420 bales this year. That's well over double what we had last August when we were very pleased with the 175 that we got. In the photos, it's hard to see how thick and deep the cut grass was before it was baled.

It is quite pretty looking out the front door and seeing all those little bales lined up. Guv'nor had a different thought, though, as he was worried about where to put them. Square bales need to be covered from the rain.

So after a couple days of shuffling things around, he managed to make room for them in three places: the cow barn, the ramshackled shed, and under the workshop awning. Then he spent a week working mornings and evenings to put them away, since midday is just too hot. He also had to wear long trousers and long sleeves because the hay is prickly. He hooked the trailer to one of the four wheelers, so he could move about 25 bales at a time. Daughter helped a few days driving the four wheeler and even shifting the bales on the trailer. I'm too much of a weakling to be much help lifting those 60 pound bales, so I concentrated on washing clothes and cooking. This was another time we could have used a couple of young farm hands with strong backs.

Thanks to Guv'nor and Daughter for providing most of the photos.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


The chickens are loving the grubs the BioPod is producing. Some mornings there are more grubs than other mornings. Some afternoons there is even more. 

The main issue is remembering to feed the BioPod every day. I fed the BioPod a lot to get it started, then didn't put any scraps for a couple of weeks. So it produced about 300 grubs one day and then nothing for over a week.

It will decompose almost anything, even a dead bird. It just takes longer to deal with things like cantaloupe skins or banana peels.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Pesky Rabbits

We have several rabbits that like to live around the house. They could be the ones that survived from the carport. I think they sneak around the chicken coop and chicken run and eat up any food that has been scattered. But they also like to hop up into the raised bed and nibble on the plants. Somehow they know when cantaloupes are ripe.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Similar Leaves

The one cantaloupe plant has taken over my raised bed and is squeezing out all the cucumber plants. The two plants are so similar - almost identical - that it is hard to tell them apart. So I studied the leaves and can now tell them apart.

The cantaloupe has a more rounded leaf, while the cucumber has a point at the top.



Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Mixing Chickens

The five younger chickens (pullets) that have been living in the chicken tractor were getting old enough to be put in with the older chickens in the big coop. They had turned 18 weeks old and had passed the stage when they needed separate feed with more protein. The two young roosters had just started crowing a little in the mornings and were beginning to display their dominant tendencies. So it was time they moved.

I expected a little trouble when I put them together so I watched them closely the first day. The little roosters who had previously been at the top of the pecking order, soon learned they would have to submit, at least for a few more weeks, to the older and larger hens. They fought at first, then were hen pecked a few days, then completely ignored. It was quite funny seeing the little boys walking around with their tails between their legs, literally.