Friday, September 21, 2012
Saturday, July 28, 2012
Monday, July 23, 2012
It's one of the Buff Orpingtons and this is partially the reasons we picked this breed of chicken. Not only are they pretty fair at winter laying but they are well known for going broody. Many egg production businesses will shy away from the Buffs, but we like them for this reason. I actually purchased 4 Buff chicks last spring, but through attrition (IE. hawks, owls, neighbor dogs....) we only have 2 left. But two is enough!
She has 12 eggs under her and though 12 is a pretty big task, she seems up for the job. She has been diligent in her mission so far. Our hatch out rate over the years has been about half so hopefully she will produce 6 sweet little puff balls to augment our flock. Last year all of the chicks that hatched were roos, no hens.....kind of weird. I gave all of them away to other small flock owners who are trying to hatch out babies, too. All but one. He is still with us as a back up roo. Our wonderful red, grand- rooster is getting on in age. He's a great protector but I'm not sure how viable he is as a sire. So we keep a back up guy to ensure all the hens are "covered" for fertility. He's not as pretty as the big red roo, but he gets the job done.
Friday, July 20, 2012
Flash flood watch
• National Weather Service
• Friday, July 20, 2012 12:00 PM Local Time
FLOOD WATCH NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MISSOULA MT 504 AM MDT FRI JUL 20 2012 MTC029-053-061-089-202100- /O.CON.KMSO.FF.A.0004.120720T1800Z-120721T0600Z/ FLATHEAD-LINCOLN-MINERAL-SANDERS- 504 AM MDT FRI JUL 20 2012 ...FLASH FLOOD WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM NOON MDT TODAY THROUGH THIS EVENING... THE FLASH FLOOD WATCH CONTINUES FOR * PORTIONS OF NORTHWEST MONTANA AND WEST CENTRAL MONTANA... INCLUDING THE FOLLOWING COUNTIES...IN NORTHWEST MONTANA... FLATHEAD...LINCOLN AND SANDERS. IN WEST CENTRAL MONTANA... MINERAL. * FROM NOON MDT TODAY THROUGH THIS EVENING * THUNDERSTORMS WILL BE CAPABLE OF PRODUCING RAINFALL RATES OF 2 INCHES PER HOUR. * ROADS MAY BECOME INUNDATED WITH SUDDEN RAINFALL...WHILE ROCK AND MUDSLIDES ARE POSSIBLE ACROSS HIGHWAY EMBANKMENTS. OF PARTICULAR CONCERN...GOING TO THE SUN ROAD IN GLACIER PARK MAY BECOME HAZARDOUS ONCE AGAIN FOLLOWING ADDITIONAL RAINFALL. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... A FLASH FLOOD WATCH MEANS THAT CONDITIONS MAY DEVELOP THAT LEAD TO FLASH FLOODING. FLASH FLOODING IS A VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION. YOU SHOULD MONITOR LATER FORECASTS AND BE PREPARED TO TAKE ACTION SHOULD FLASH FLOOD WARNINGS BE ISSUED.
Hmmm. Guess I'd better turn off the sprinkler. It looks like we are in for a big one. And with the drought that seems to be plaguing most of the rest of the country....I'm not complaining one bit.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Here's a pic of Painted Mountain, the "Montana" corn develped by a very dedicated man here in the mountains. As you can see, it doesn't have quite the kick of Cascade, but at a little over 12 inches after 6 weeks, it's still making a show. My animals love this corn so even if I can't produce anything humaly edible from these kernals, at least I know my chickens will be sustained. Plus, I saved this seed from last year. So I KNOW I can reproduce this food. Yeay!
This Supai Red parching corn is making a weaker showing at just 12 inches tall after 6 weeks. This corn hasn't shown the spark of the other two, so if the hype of this parching corn isn't reproducable then it might not have a furture place in our garden. Good gardening space is just too precious to waste on an iffy product. The harvest will tell the story.
Lastly, this Mandan is struggling at barely 10 inches after 6 weeks. The germination was weak and continues to be frail in it's growing pattern. If the Cascade continues to perform well, it will provide the flour we will need in future gardens and this flour type corn might have to be relegated to more temperate areas of the country.
The sweet corn from Burpee that was supposed to be a short season corn didn't even spout (darn the luck!) So I won't be buying that type of seed again.
Well, that's it for the corn update. More to come as time rolls on! (Sorry for the poor picture quailty. It was about 10:30 at night when I took these and the light was failing.)
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Anywhooo, here I sit trying to cool off. The night air is fresh and I can glean a few puffs through the open window every so often. It smells nice, too. I started the water sprinkler on the garden before coming inside. So it smells like rain. I know we are a long way off from rain and what I'm smelling is just moist soil, but it's oh, so nice. The garden is coming along with the warmer temps. The weeds are too. I don't mind weeding. It's a reminder of my investment in our food production. I just don't have a lot of time. It seems that I spend a good deal of effort driving kids to baseball and volleyball and cello lessons and trumpet lessons and piano lessons these summer days.... I don't mind TOO much. It's just frustrating sometimes when I find myself finally getting to the garden at 9:00 at night.
Oh, well. My sweet mother reminds me that someday soon I'll miss the comings and goings of the kids and wish that I had another baseball game to watch instead of only having the garden to tend. I guess she's right. I just wish that I could find a little more balance.
But this minute, for now, I'm happy to listen to the sprinkler feeding the thirsty vegetables through the south facing window and to wait for a cooling puff of breeze that will remind me of rainy nights. And dream of big, fat, juicy Glacier tomatoes, and corn (bleck), and Contender green beans, and Sweet Meat Oregon Homestead squash, and warm, yellow Butterball potatoes......mmmmm, summer veggies. I can hardly wait....
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
These little guys are just 4 days old. Their eyes aren't open yet and they are almost hairless but, they quickly wriggle back into the warmth and familiarity of the nest when I pulled the fur away to look at them. They will be jumping out and pestering on each other and their mom in just two weeks. They won’t even look like this in as short as 7 days.
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Saturday, June 9, 2012
Friday, June 8, 2012
So here we are again, June 8, with the garden completely planted.....almost.
Yesterday it was 33 degrees on my front porch! 33! Brrrrr. But we got out there and finished up the planting after the soil warmed up a bit. We just have a couple more rows of potatoes to put in and several miscellaneous things like Brussels sprouts, a few more cabbage and some cauliflower plants. The bulk of these staples have already found their place in the garden. I just have a few left over plants to find space for. The garden always starts off looking nice and neat with smart, clean rows. But ends up looking like a smorgasbord because I'm forever tucking extra plantlings here and there. (Example: not enough celery to make a row? that's OK.....just plop a pepper plant in there....)
Anywhoo- the bulk of the garden is done. It just has to stop raining so that the sun and warmth can work it's magic.
Friday, June 1, 2012
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Monday, May 28, 2012
Friday, May 25, 2012
We also have a keenness for onions. I usually purchase a 50# bag of storage onions in the fall before the local fruit stand closes for the season and it is often empty by March. So this year we planted our own in the bed with the garlic. We have Walla Wallas, an un-named red variety and two flats of yellow storage onions. (Onion seeds are a little hard to find unless they are ordered. Of course, I didn't remember to order onion seeds when I placed my order this last fall so I had to buy most of these as starts. But I did find a packet of "bunching" onion seeds. They came up pretty vigorously under lights in the basement so I'm not sure what to expect. I just planted them along side the other onionlings. I guess we'll see how they turn out.)
No self respecting vole would come close to this bed of loved globes. They don't look like much now.....actually, the onions and garlic look pretty pathetic, but give them a little sunshine and a little rain and watch them grow! Mmmmm. I can smell (my breath) them now! Yum!
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Beneath this warm mass of fur is a pile of 5 small, spotted, hairless bunnies. They are all entwined together, snuggled under fur that the female has pulled from her body to keep them warm and safe. They will stay snuggled under there for 10 days or so until their eyes begin to open and their little bodies begin to hair out. The mother rabbit will jump into the nesting box once or twice a day to allow the kits to nurse. Her milk is concentrated with the perfect combination of nutrients on which her litter will thrive with only a couple of nursings a day.
Only one out of the three females gave birth. The other two did not produce a litter. A loud noise or a large fright can sometimes interrupt a pregnancy and the females will not deliver. I'm not sure why but sometimes this happens. All the does are three so it's not related to age. We'll give them a week or two to rest, then re-breed. In the mean time, these five guys will grow and mature seemingly over night. Before you know it, they will be jumping around the cage pestering their patient mother and each other like siblings are apt to do.
Sunday, May 20, 2012
We painted it like the farmers used to do with a big white "X" on the outside so you can see if the door is closed across the pasture. Of course the coop is just across the yard from the house so it's not a stretch of the eyes to see if the door is closed. But so what! I like the look of the big white "X". It makes me feel like a real farmer. And that's what it's about!
Friday, May 18, 2012
Three of our four Rex does are "with kit" and will soon deliver. Rabbits have only a 28-32 day gestational period and while they can re-breed within a day of delivery, it's really hard on the does to be carrying a litter while nursing a litter at the same time. Sometimes the number of kits can be 6-10 in a single batch! So we don't keep our bucks in the same cage as the females for that reason.
It has been such a mild spring that we might be able to get two- three litters this year instead of one. I don't breed our girls in the winter or early spring as it's usually very windy and cold in the winter and chilly and damp in the spring. I just don't want to stress the rabbits that much. Plus I really don't want to feed all those babies with store bought food. I'd rather feed them greens from our abundant pastures. But the pastures don't green out with much spark until the end of April or May. So we wait. This year has been exceptionally mild. We might just get a couple of litters before the snow flies again!
At 3-4 pounds a bunny after 12 weeks~ that's a lot of quick meat!
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Well, it's snowing. I don't know why I'm surprised. It was 62 degrees yesterday and beautiful....perfect cloudless day and no adequate words to describe the blue, blue mountain sky. We put our backs into a few chores that would take more than just a couple of hours and have the sore bodies to prove it. My beloved husband began re-staining the front porch. It has needed it for a while and he jumped into the project with both feet. Of course it will take several nice weather days to complete and of course since it is SNOWING today, the rest of the project will be delayed. That's OK. It'll look great when it's done.
Sunday, April 8, 2012
So after you slice up about 1/4 of the head you put the cabbage into a very clean Mason jar (or any other type of canning jar....I just call them all Mason jars. I'm kind of weird).
Then you sprinkle salt over the slices and pound the poor cabbage into smithereens. There's no exact measurement for the salt. I just sprinkle several teaspoons over the top of the cabbage.
(I don't have a picture of the cabbage being pounded to smithereens because I didn't have a way of pounding and snapping the picture at the same time. But you can see the instrument of doom in some of the early snaps. It's that wooden thing that looks kind of like a short rolling pin with a handle. Actually, it's the tool that you use when pushing meat into the Kitchen Aid grinder. For some reason I have about 3 of these little gadgets. They come in real handy!) You don't have to pound hard. The pounding really just helps the salt release the natural juices of the cabbage. As you pound, find you can add more and more cabbage to the jar. Just continue to layer the cabbage, sprinkle salt, pound, repeat. Eventually you will have the jar filled with salted and pounded cabbage. The secret is to make sure that you have all the cabbage covered by salty juices when the jar is full.
(This is a hard-to-see picture of juicy, post-pounded cabbage.)
The next step is my favorite. You just store the almost-sauerkraut in an out of the way, semi-warm place. The warmer the storage place, the quicker the fermentation process. I cover mine with the Mason jar lid that has NOT been screwed on.... at all. This way as the cabbage ferments, it can release gases and sometimes a little juice in a safe manner. (If you place the lid on the jar in any way other than just balancing the lid over the mouth of the jar without screwing into place, it will not be "in a safe manner". Over time, the jar will build pressure under that lid and it could actually explode in a "not safe manner", spewing interesting smelling cabbage juice ALL OVER THE PLACE. Don't ask me how I know this. Just take my word for it!)
Anywhoo, after a couple of weeks, you have amazing, great sauerkraut, ready for imbibement. (No, wait. Imbibement is drinking. Is imbibement even a word? OK...forget that. After a couple of weeks, you will have amazing, great sauerkraut to eat.) You can either eat it immediately or place in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat it. By placing the sauerkraut in the 'fridge, it stops the fermentation process so the kraut doesn't make anymore gases and you can safely put the lid on without fear. Plus, the fridge halts the resulting "sourness" to just the exact tartness to our taste.
So there you have it. A cheap, nutritious way to use up waining heads of fall cabbage that is easy on the money bags. My mother would be so proud!
(Sorry. I don't have a picture of the finished product. I have to go clean up a juicy, smelly cabbage mess.)