Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Red Wagon

I thought a little red wagon would be a fun thing to have for when the grandchildren visit. So I bought a metal Radio Flyer several months ago, ordered online. Like so many things, it came in a big cardboard box and had to be put together. 

There were too many steps and tightening of screws for me, so I got Son to put it together. He loves that sort of thing. Or at least I think he should love that sort of thing.

I have used it before a few times when we had freezing weather. But since my surgery, the wagon has come in very handy. I have been using it for carrying heavier things around, even things like groceries and packages that come in the mail. I have been mostly using it for carrying the water down to the chickens because we don't have a water faucet down by the coop. Luckily the waterer is a 3 gallon bucket and the chickens usually only drink about 2 gallons a day because I spill about half of it on the way. I can just about lift it to the ledge and then clip it on.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Saving Okra

The okra did really well this summer. The plants did get over six feet high which made picking the okra a little tricky for me. 

I saved as much as I wanted to eat since I'm about the only one in my family that likes it. I sliced it and put it in small tubs with a little cornmeal to coat it. Then put the tub in the freezer. Whenever I want to cook some I'll just get a tub out of the freezer.

I don't really like deep frying things in the kitchen for several reasons: the smell, the fire risk, the mess. So I've been experimenting with shallow frying and oven baking.

Now I'm working on saving some of the seeds by letting a few pods dry on the vine.

The best thing about growing okra is the pretty flowers they have.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Peas and Beans

You may remember that I planted some Christmas lima beans and cream peas in the spring. Both sprouted quickly and grew plentiful vines that filled the raised bed. I decided not to stake them and instead let them spread out and cover the bed. They had slightly different shaped and colored leaves, so I could tell which was which. Both flowered nicely.

While the cream peas were flowering and sprouting pods nicely, the lima beans never grew pods. It was the strangest thing. I would notice lots of flowers and expect to see pods a few days later. But they never came. We have had lots of grasshoppers around so I'm guessing they love flowers. Pesky grasshoppers.

Meanwhile, the cream peas have done just fine, even though something has been eating the peas out of the pods. I'm still getting a good amount of peas. I'm shelling them and letting them dry out before I put them away. Like I did last year.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

13 Bales

We hired a different guy to come cut the field in front of the house. He had a smaller tractor, cutter, raker and baler than the other guy so could easily fit in the front gate.

This field is about 6 acres and we managed to get about 13 bales. Because the equipment was smaller, the bales are smaller.

We also paid the guy to move all the bales to an area where we can access them later in the year. He did a pretty good job getting them in straight lines.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Three Hogs

The title sounds exciting, but I have hesitated to write about this because I didn't have any photos to go with it. So I'm hoping you have a good imagination.

Several weeks ago our dogs were really barking all morning at something near the edge of the woods. I didn't pay much attention because they do this sort of thing all the time. Really, all the time. It was only when I saw one of them racing back and forth along the tree line and barking that I decided to step outside and see what was going on.

This is when I saw shadows running behind the chicken coop. I was expecting a coyote or bobcat. When they crossed a gap between the coop and the tree, I could see better. The shapes could only have been hogs! 

So I grabbed my pink rifle and ran out to the coop. I'm not even really sure what I was thinking I'd do because at that point I could barely lift it. (Remember my recent surgery?)

When I got to the coop, our dog was running circles around them barking. They headed off into the woods and she followed. I could hear the heavy rustling in the bushes and shot a couple of rounds, not expecting to hit the hogs but also trying not to hit our dog by accident. I was just hoping to scare them off.

Then just a few seconds later, the rustling got louder and I could tell they were returning!! I still couldn't see them so I retreated quickly inside the chicken coop. There is a human side to the chicken coop where I keep the feed stored. I figured I could at least get up on top of one of the bins if they got close.

I could hear them just on the other side of the coop so I nervously looked around the corner. It was three hogs. Standing just behind the tree at the edge of the chicken fencing. So I walked toward them and used up the rest of my rounds at close range, holding the rifle waist high and shooting in their general direction. One squealed, so I may have hit him. But they all ran off into the woods which was the objective.

Later I remembered a few things about them. 
  • They are really noisy, not only the rustling in the bushes, but they snort. So they don't sneak up on you. 
  • They're pretty fast on their feet. They appeared and disappeared quickly. Faster than I can shoot, anyway.
  • They were about two feet high and round. That's about the height of our dog, but shorter legs and much heavier. 
  • They were tan and brown. The roadkill ones you usually see are black. 
  • They didn't seem particularly interested in the chickens. Nor scared by the dog. Or my gun.

The last photo is my attempt to sketch very roughly what they looked like. I'm no artist.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Sweet Potatoes

A few weeks ago I planted some sweet potatoes. I had bought a couple of sweet potatoes several months ago, intending to have them for supper, but then never got around to it. So I left them to sprout, as part of my potato experiment.

A couple years ago (actually four years ago) I planted some from "slips" bought at the garden center. I wasn't really sure what they were at the time, but now I can see that they are just sprouts from old potatoes. Once the sprouts were 3-4" long, I snapped them off and put them in a jar with water to let them grow roots.

Then I planted 8 sprouts about 18" apart in the raised bed. After a week or so, I could see that only about half of them were growing. I'm guessing some didn't have sufficient roots. I dug up one of the plants and moved it to the end where the others were growing, so I'd save room for other things later.

We're not crazy about sweet potatoes so I'm sure whatever grows will be enough for us to have a casserole for Thanksgiving.