Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I Have A Mental Problem!!

I am nuts!
I seriously need HELP!
Won't someone help me....?

I can't freaking STOP
picking muscadines !
This morning by 9am
I had about 40 lbs. of those
beautiful little purple balls in my big bucket.
Ya'll.. this is the third time!
I went thinking that the scuppernongs were ripe,
but nooooooo.....
there was a whole nother harvest of muscadines ready.
I should have walked away.
It is heavy enough that I don't
dare to put in on my old countertops.
It sits in the kitchen floor..staring at me...
And the figs too...
Those apples are slated for an apple pie.
I don't know what they are, but I made a pie
last week that was the best apple pie I have ever eaten.
Sweet, tart..perfect.
But, today I will try to do the right thing.
I will try to wash them and bag them up and
give those muscadines away.. or at least some of them.
I said, 'try...'
And I will make more fig preserves.
The last bit I picked I set out to dry.
Every morning I carried them out ot the sun
and every evening I brought them loving back inside.
When they were almost dry, and I could put them all in one
pan, I started keeping on my dashboard in my car.
Sweet Husband borrowed my car and brought the figs,
the precious figs that I had sliced paper thin..
not an easy thing to do..they are squishy..
and put them in the oven.
Did he tell me this? Did he? NO.
I set the oven to preheat and went out to
pick basil in the garden. I sniffed.
I pondered that sweet, wonderful smell
that was filling the yard.. like burnt sugar..
Damn. It took hours to get all of the smoke out of the house.
It is getting ready to be rainy and damp here
so I have to 'preserve' them instead.
No dried figs for me this year.

And I need help with the egg and incubator thing too...
yep.. I am incubating MORE eggs.
But these are spoken for... or so I believe.
I don't have to feed these 80! eggs.
But Sweet Husband is setting aside more eggs everyday....

Isn't this a pretty picture?
I love it.
Everything is sparkling in the morning sun...

Of course, this isn't shabby either.
I think I am going to slap some on a oatmeal roll
leftover from dinner last night...
Of course, the butter is still on the stove
buttering down.
It needs to hurry because I have 40 lbs
of muscadines to put in that pot!
Good Grief.

And I have crushing news...

Mr. White is gone.

He was my first ever rabbit.

I know you aren't supposed to love your food,

but I loved Mr. White.

Such spunk.

Such personality.

Such an independent thinker.

He escaped the colony last year and I caught him up

and put him back in another mini-colony

with his favorite doe thinking he would stay there with her.

He broke her out. He is..was.. a fence climber.

He and Mrs. White have lived free in my yard

and barn and in the neighbor's yard way

across the field since then.

I loved seeing him in the barn.

He would bring the wife for a snack

of chicken feed from time to time.

He would run and scatter the hens

away from the food.. it was an awesome sight.

Little white bunny chasing big old hens.

Then he would come over and stand on

my foot for scritches.

We were planning on a whole new area just for him

where he would be safe and could raise

new litters of kits for us once again.

I cannot tell you how heartbroken I am

Old Blue Sue killed him. Damn dog.

He must have gone cruising around dawn

yesterday in the front of the barn. He knew better.

She didn't bite or tear him, just played with him until

he quit playing back. Sweet Husband found her

chewing on his ear. Damn dog.

It is quite the shame. He was incredibly heavy.

It was uncomfortable trying to hold him one handed.

He would have made great kits.

I still have many of his offspring to carry on the good traits.

However, if I can catch up Mrs. White

she will have to be sent to freezer camp.

I don't think she would ever accept another buck

and I don't want to sacrifice one to find out.

RIP Mr. White.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Old and New

Big doings down on the farm
this week..
Lookee what I got!!
A Foley mill!
Now, this might not rock everyone's boat,
but it's rocking mine.

Look how shiny!!
Stainless steel! Oooooooh!
With a thingy that goes round and round
and everything!
This little gadget makes my
preserving chores into a fun
and easy event.
Ok.. maybe not all that great,
but look what I used to use
to remove those pesky pits
and peels...

Now you understand my joy.
The old way was a pain..literally.
My wrist and fingers would ache after
I gripped the collander and held it over the bowl
while mashing down against it with all my might.
My new Foley has clips that fit right over the edge of
my bowl or pot for easy processing.
And it is ever so much more efficient
than the spoon and collander.
I am feeding much less of the good stuff
to the birds.
I am picking scuppernongs
tomorrow morning and will be
cranking away on that handle
by afternoon.
I also picked up some
canning tools...real ones!
I no longer have to reach into the boiling
water with my hands to grab out
boiling hot jars full of stuff.
I have a jar gripper!!
And a new wide mouth funnel for
neater, cleaner jars.
I am so pleased!
You know, it is the little things
that make life worth living.
And for me to go out and get these
things is a big deal. I could have made do.
And I have made do for years without them,
but I am so much happier with them.

And this is our old woodstove..
A Boxwood by Vogelzang.
Now, when I was a kid the Boxwood
was a perfectly good stove, but then they started
making them in China.
This thing leaks air something fierce
and the first year all of the caulking
fell out and you can see fire in all
of the seams.
And if you look at the front
you can see a slide tray.

The slide tray is for allowing more
airflow into the stove. And you will notice
a coiled handle up by the stovepipe.
This is for the flue adjustment..also
for airflow.
Now, the one thing you just don't want in
a woodstove is airflow.
I cannot tell you how much wood we have stuffed into
this beast. And it will ot hold a fire overnight.
Nothing sucks worse than waking up in a Vogelzang
house, let me tell you. Cold, cold, cold!!!
Luckily, Sweet Husband is up long before me
and has had the fire going and the house toasty
before I crawl out from under my feathers.

And the new...

Oh yeah!
A Baby Bear.
Holds a fire all night long!!
So, the house will be warm and toasty before
anyone gets up! Woo HOOOOO!
You will notice there is no slide
in the front and no coiled flue handle on the top.
These are the signs of snuggly winters and warm mornings
and fewer loads of wood to carry into the house.
I get so sick of hauling wood by the time February
gets here. We heat almost completely with wood and
I am quite sure that this winter we will be able
to heat every room but one with fire.
Now, the Fisher needs to be sanded and
given a fresh coat of heat resistant paint
but I am not complaining....
$100 off craigslist!

Are you sick of turkey pics yet?

It is just that they are all over me everytime they see the camera..
And these are my Jerusalem artichokes.
It is getting to be the end of the season.
They are starting to fall over.
If they are upright, they are taller than me.
I will harvest after the first frost when they get a bit sweet.

And on a sad note..
my smallest lamb died.
I do not know why.
He never really grew, just stayed small
and delicately formed. He also had testicular troubles.
They didn't descend until just a week or so before he died.
We are guessing that there was something
not quite right with him from the get go.
The other lamb is lonely,
but growing and I look forward to lamb stew
this winter..cooked on my ... new woodstove!!
And we are enjoying the sheep so much
that we are thinking of
getting three ewe lambs in the spring
and just making our own from now on.