Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Steamy and hot in September

It's time for pumpkins and mums. It's autumn in upstate NY. It's 89° and humid. What's wrong with this picture?

I shouldn't complain about warm sunny days up here, but what's going on? It has been a crazy weather year—even the animals are confused. Lazy dogs and cats sleeping in the sun. Chickens and goats hiding in the shade. More dragonflies than ever this summer. Wasps and bees all going crazy. An early frost killed off some of the tomato plants but the remaining ones are full of fruit. Too many apples...

And then there's my beautiful Barred Rock rooster. Having nothing to do with the weather, he is going to be the next Greek chicken dinner. This morning he attacked me for the second time. I had to chase him off with a stick. And he went after Brian when they were visiting.

4 roosters is too many roosters. As long as they all behave they get to stay. As soon as they don't—chicken dinner for our Greek friend. It's a cold cruel world. Or an unseasonably hot cruel world, I guess.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Pigs, chickens, and a toad

Three little piggies—Round 7

Had to do some research to remember all the pig names since 2011 when we first started as pig farmers. These might not be in order, but Rick Perry and Michele Bachman were definitely the first in 2011: Rick and Michele (politics); Steve and Eydie and Frank Sinatra (obviously musical); Fiona and Richie (Thistle and Shamrock hostess with the mostess); Alice, Nora, and Irving (an author year); Peter, Paul and Mary (more music); John and Mary (lazy namers); and, finally, a Chuck Berry theme this time: Little Queeny (front) Carol (little black one) Johnny B Goode (big red dude). Johnny and Queeny are about 2 weeks older than little Carol. Queeny got fattened up here about 2 weeks before Johnny and Carol.

Husband has been bugging me to take pics of them before they get too big (and less cute!). He couldn't wait any longer so took these pics all by himself today.

Then a pic of Husband's butterfly garden that was overrun with goldenrod, as is the rest of our property that isn't mowed. At least some of the cosmos and zinnias were able to survive the weeds, and the chickens who like to take their dirt baths in the shade underneath.

Red chicken in the front is the youngest rooster born here a few months ago. He is unloved by the rest and spends most of his day staying out of their way. Black and white roo behind him is the next youngest, and by far the noisiest rooster of the 4 we have here. He is one of the dozen we bought who were supposed to be all hens... Oh well...

Our cute little house is in the back. Don on the Hill's house is up on the hill behind our cute little house.

Last pic is a little toad who was hanging out on the front porch today. Let me get right in his face to take this pic. I wonder if he thought they were real flowers?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Apples galore!

Step 1: Pick and wash the apples.

Step 2: Slice and cook.
This one batch of apples made 10 jars of apple butter and 2 of applesauce. There are about 100 times that amount of apples left out there, and that's just on our property...

Anybody want to come up and pick?

Those little black spots don't taste bad...they just aren't pretty.

Step 3: Use the magic smusher to remove seeds and peel.

Step 4: Cook again. Add sugar and spice to make it nice.

Step 5: Put in jars and cook again.
That's the leftover juice in the back.
Not sure what I will do with that?

Monday, September 4, 2017

Hammer to the rescue

Frank Hammer, bee guy, to the rescue on Saturday. It took him only a few minutes to load the swarm into a spare hive and ship them back to his place in Richfield.

The first guy we called turned us down because he was too far away...and maybe because it was a beautiful Saturday on Labor Day weekend. Then his wife called back with Frank's phone number.

Not only is Frank just a mile or 3 up the road from us, but he is also best friends with the NJ cousins that I recently discovered on the lake up here. Their lake house is right across the lane from Frank. Frank was best man (I think) at their wedding in NJ.

Thank you Frank! We are very happy to have met you!

And, speaking of those NJ cousins, we stopped by for a visit today and took their canoe out for a spin on the lake. We are thinking of buying it from them. Even though it was quite windy (whitecaps even!) we managed to take a good spin without falling in. Then, to make up for our successful canoe run, I walked right through their screen door coming back out of the house. I think that was even more embarrassing than if we had fallen in the lake. We could have blamed that on the wind, and the fact that we probably haven't been in a canoe for 10 or 15 years.

Oh well. Sorry about the screen door Donna and Steve! I hope the little bit of crabby mac and cheese I gave you will make up for it!

Today I am making plum butter from all those plums Don gave me. Smells REAL good!

And I might even have some good news on the NJ house, but not reporting until it becomes reality... Stay tuned!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Not warm but swarm!

I thought it was only wasps that swarmed in the fall, so when I saw thousands of somethings swarming just outside the back door, I thought that's what they were. And then I saw the nest!

A little investigating on Google produced some photos that look just like this nest in the little redbud tree inside the dog fence. That gave us both a little more courage to go back and take these photos.

Husband had seen a guy on Craig's List who will remove and take them to his apiary in Norwich. He's busy with a customer, but hopefully coming soon to take them to their new home!

The other excitement today, which happened just minutes before the swarming bees, was that the biggest raccoon I have ever seen killed one of our chickens. I heard the excitement but didn't go out to check because the chickens are always squawking about something, and usually it's nothing. But then Husband went out a few minutes later and there she was, poor girl. He went back to the coop to make sure there were no more dead hens, and that's when he found that big fat raccoon.

I locked him in the coop and Farmer Husband shot him. Never fun to kill critters, but if we don't he'll just come back and kill all the chickens one by one.

Too cool for summer! Had the woodstove going last night for a bit. It has been a totally crazy summer as far as the weather is concerned. Even had a light frost overnight earlier in the week. I hope the tomatoes survive...there are PLENTY of them out there!