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Not-So-Mute Monday: Guardians Of The Barn Door?

May 15, 2017

Two little lizards were resting in the shade above the barn door.

Not expecting them, they kind of caught me by surprise.

Glad it wasn’t a snake.

Busy Week On The Farm

May 12, 2017

It has been a typically busy week here on the farm.

I have finally started bush-hogging the front pasture. The grass is too high to introduce cattle or goats currently, so I’m knocking it down a bit hoping to have grass-eating critters soon.

Of course the grass is so high I can’t see all the obstacles – like this stump that knocked the mower & tractor off & required me to make a call to DH to find out how to reset the silly thing when the tractor wouldn’t restart. Dangerous! Especially when the tractor starts sliding on a hill when I’m trying to cut along the upper fence.

Pups had their 1st visit to a Columbia vet. They caused quite a commotion in the waiting room coming & going. Sweet boys weigh 100 lbs. 9 oz.each. They should continue growing & adding weight for another 8 months or so.

If they are not aggravating hens, they are resting in the shade.

The hens continue turning greens from the garden into eggs. Now if they will just eat all the ticks that are covering the pups, DH & me!

Have a good weekend!

Mute Monday: Farm Store Fuzzy (Angora Rabbit)

May 8, 2017

I’m Back!

May 4, 2017

I haven’t been able to access my WordPress page for weeks & weeks! Finally stumbled onto the Bookmark in my history, so I’M BACK!

Being that it is Spring, I’ve actually been too busy to write – as I am right now, with a basketful of veggies & strawberries sitting on the counter in front of me.

But I’m going to at least let you know what I’ve been working on this week – a new fenced garden.

It was the fenced puppy yard last year when we brought the Pyres home. It was the chicken yard when the puppies learned to climb the fence. Now it will be the tomato garden, et al, for this summer. Hopefully I will get the raised garden beds enclosed in wooden frames by winter to move the strawberry plants to a more permanent location.

Did you know that large bags of raised-bed garden soil mix weigh about 40 pounds? On Tuesday I put 12 in place & planted the tomato plants. This morning I placed 15 bags & planted jalapeño peppers, cilantro, watermelons, green beans & cantaloupes.

I need at least 10 more bags to be able to plant okra, purple hull peas & white field corn, not sweet corn. So not finished yet.

This minute I am tired but the veggies must be washed – turnip greens, beet greens, Swiss chard, spinach & strawberries. Oh good – just caught a Colorado Potato Beetle climbing on the greens! Yikes! Bad, very bad bug!

Aren’t the purple top turnips pretty?

I forgot to take photos while working today…guess it was those extra 3 bags of soil… Oh well.

I gave the giant beet that has been growing since last Autumn & provided delicious leaves for mixed greens all winter to the hens. Nailed to the wall of the run should keep them occupied a while.

So that’s it! No more procrastinating – gonna wash the basketful…after I feed Lucy!

Arrow’s Keep Farm

February 22, 2017

the beach

Obligatory trip to a sunny Florida beach accomplished. DH makes me go. He knows I need to step away from the chores even though I love our farm on the top of our hill. I also need sunlight – clear, warm, health-giving sunlight – as opposed to the often-gray Winter days of middle Tennessee.

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With critters inhabiting this farm, leaving is a challenge. Must have someone on site to let hens in & out & collect eggs, feed & pet pups, feed & pet Moxie, feed & let Lu in & out… Always something to do…
My best friend’s son agreed to house/pet/farm sit for us. So grateful for him. Great kid! Fine young man!
The note that greeted our return:

P.S. – one of your chickens laid the biggest egg I’ve ever seen yesterday. It is in the garage fridge and it deserves a prize.

Of course, we ran to check out the egg & it was whopper! The question was whether it was a double-yolker or triple. It was huge!

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DH cracked the giant for breakfast – definitely a double-yolker, but usually the 2 yolks are small. Not this time! Two very large yolks!

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Our hens change weeds & feed & kitchen scraps into the most delicious, nutritious eggs!

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Egg customers are beginning to line up so I must call Myron for more hens this Spring.

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The weather has been so moderate the winter greens in the garden are trying to go to seed. But that’s OK. I pinched their flower heads & tossed them to the hens. I need to cook collards…or sell them…

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But the garden, everything looks awful right now. Weeds galore in the raised beds. Berry bramble not pruned & putting out leaves.

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Asparagus bed needs expanding.

Asparagus Bed

Asparagus Bed

I have so much work to do…

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…& continue to battle rabbits enjoying the garden greens…with the puppies & Moxie Kitty sitting by watching!

Skunked!

January 25, 2017
Dixon close-up

Dixon close-up

Returning from exercise early yesterday, DH & I were greeted by an all to familiar odor…& it was coming from the Pyre puppies…

Mason close-up

Mason close-up

& we hadn’t opened the car doors yet. Uh oh!

Mason

Mason

Too many things already on my To-Do list for a Monday, a bath had to be delayed. It also gave me some time to research remedies for skunking.

Dixon

Dixon

The best solution came from my friend Jane:
1. rub them down with baking soda
2. drench them in vinegar
3. bathe with Dawn Dishwashing Liquid
4. rinse with cheap vodka

Beautiful Mason

Beautiful Mason

Sounds like a plan!
Tuesday morning, pups are nowhere to be found & as usual, do not come when they are called. OK, who told them they were getting a bath today?

Sweet Dixon

Precious Dixon

After all my chores & a few extra, after I actually sit down to eat lunch, next time I look pups are asleep on the front porch. Here we go!

Napping

Napping

Leash wrapped around post to the deck stair, Mason runs to me to be petted. Well, he was petted & scrubbed & washed & rinsed. (Except for the vodka. I decided to take a chance.) Cockleburs bite me as I work the various substances through his cotton-soft fur. Praise the Lord for the hot water spigot out back! (Thanks Harry & Carole for the example! It was a lifesaver!) Now time for Dixon. Not as easy, Dix tries to walk under the deck so I have to constantly pull him back to the concrete. Manhandling a 90-lb dog in the wet chill – oh my aching back! This one even has cockleburs on his feet! More work to be done, but not right now.

More work to be done.

More work to be done.

Both received their daily raw turkey neck – yes, I am moving them to a raw diet, which has worked quite well for Lucy for over 16 years – then their raw ground beef with supplements added. Now they are ready to play though still a bit wet. The rougher outer coat is drying quickly. I’m glad tonight will be a bit warmer than last night, though they could always get into the doghouse…

raw turkey neck

raw turkey neck

Oh, the stink? I can still smell it a bit but it is significantly better! (Granted I have an amazing sense of smell, which an allergist told me was a gift. Doesn’t always feel like a gift…especially when folks wear perfume/aftershave nearby. DH has considered renting me out to the local Sheriff’s Department to sniff out small children who have walked away from campsites. He thinks I can rival any Bloodhound.) Maybe I should have used the vodka…or maybe I’ll just go pour myself a cocktail & not worry about it!

Time to play!

Time to play!

Savory Sweet Potato Soup

October 5, 2016

I love soup in the cooler seasons of the year. This one is one of my favorites.
Gluten-free. Dairy-free (if you opt out of the sour cream garnish).
Satisfying!

Curing sweet potatoes for long term storage...like 8 months!

Curing sweet potatoes for long term storage…like 8 months!

Savory Sweet Potato Soup

    2 large Onions, diced (3 cups)
    2 large Celery rib, diced (2 cups)
    3 tablespoons+ Bacon Grease &/or coconut oil (bacon drippings, as I prefer to call them, adds a really rich flavor)
    3 pounds (about 6) roasted Sweet Potatoes, peeled (about 3 cups packed)
    1 quart Chicken or Beef Stock+
    2 teaspoons Sea Salt
    1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
    1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
    1 teaspoon Dried Sage
    1/2 teaspoon Dried Thyme
    dash Turmeric

    Garnish with:
    Ground Nutmeg
    Chopped Pears
    Sour Cream, optional

    1. Cook the onion and celery in the oil over a medium-low heat, until the onion is transparent but not brown, about 5 minutes.

    2. Add sweet potatoes, half of stock, onions & celery mixture to a food processor and puree until smooth, scraping down the bowl, if necessary.

    3. Return to the pot, and add remaining stock.

    4. Season with salt and cayenne to taste. (Be careful on the salt if you are using store-bought stock. It may not be needed.)  If needed, add a touch of extra stock to reach the consistency of a thick soup.

    5. Garnish & serve.

    Serve with a Reserve Chardonnay