Saturday, September 29, 2012

Autumn Amblings...

Autumn is my favorite time of the year.  The smell of the earth, the rustling of leaves, and the vivid colors.  I spent the day decorating the porch.  Things were moved 100 times before I was  satisfied.  Now I'm sitting with a glass of Rowdy Rhubarb wine, Ella at my feet, and we are enjoying the evening.  My life always seems to be traveling at full tilt, so I truly appreciate a few quiet minutes on the porch, just enjoying nature's artwork.  Ok, except for that dang mosquito.

I wish I could add the smells of fall, the rustling of the aspen leaves, and you could taste the wine.  Hope you are enjoying autumn as much as I am.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Take a gander at the greenhouse...

 It has been quite a while since I  posted a greenhouse update.  I have to show my new addition to the back.  These outside beds will be used for the peas, beans, cucumbers, and my herbs. 
 Despite the heat, I moved the chives, asparagus, and mint soon after getting the beds filled with compost.  The asparagus is happy about the move. 
These photos were taken this weekend, just before I pulled the pumpkins.  I put the pumpkins on the porch to make it pretty.  Then I ripped out all of the vines and replanted spinach and lettuce.  Ella was sure those pumpkins were for her to play catch with.  As you can see, the pumpkin on the roof hung in there.    

I will not be planting indeterminate tomatoes in the greenhouse next year.  They grew until they hit the roof and then flopped over.  This was a photo I took in July.  I had to crawl in to water and pick tomatoes.  I am already making plans for next years planting scheme.   I am defiantly having tomatoes, as I have become addicted to putting them on pizza, in salads, and roasting them.   
This is a photo of the greenhouse at the beginning of August.  As you can see the pumpkins made their annual attack on the strawberry bed.  My chamomile for tea did excellent.  I've harvested it three times and think I will get a fourth next weekend.  The only thing I was disappointed in was my peppers.  I had them in pots on the bench.  I think next year I will put them in the ground.  I also need to improve my succession planting of lettuce and spinach. 
I didn't grow the biggest pumpkins this year, but that is probably a good thing.  They look pretty cute on the turtle.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Thanks Dad...

As I mentioned earlier this week, I went home for the weekend.   My Dad did a great job of fulfilling my every wish.  I don't go home often enough, but I do call.  Dad fills me in on the wildlife.  I always tell him I wish I had pictures of all the things he talks about.  Well, he managed to get me access to every photo I wanted.

First, on my list was the pheasant that hatched with the turkeys.  She thinks she is a turkey.   She has been a part of the flock since she was a chick.  It will be interesting how long she will stay with them. 

Next on my list was the Nighthawks that roost behind the house.  Dad looked and looked until he found them tucked in the trees.  If you didn't know they were there you would never notice them.  I love nighthawks and was extremely excited to get a picture.


We also took a jeep trip across the cattle pasture so I could take photos of the Bald Eagle nest in the cottonwood tree.  Too bad we forgot to tell the eagles.  They were supposed to be in the photo shoot.  One took off as soon as we got close, thus I only have photos of the nest.  That was pretty impressive on its own.

My guide also had me sneak up to the dam in back and get some photos of the resident duck family.  Mom and Dad watched them grow up this summer.  Now you can't tell the hen from her brood.

I am already accumulating a new list.  There are little tiny burrow owls in the prairie dog town.  I was very upset I didn't have the camera.  I have never noticed them before. 
All in all, my guide did a great job of getting me on my subjects.  Everything I said I wanted I got.  Thanks Dad.  I look forward to our future photo shoots.

 Your Sunday Best

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Happy Birthday & Thanks Mom...

We went home this weekend to celebrate my Mom's birthday.  Mom is a pretty special lady.  While I hear so many bloggers talk about learning how homestead, my Mom taught me and taught me well.  I know how to can, grow a garden, make jelly, butcher chickens, raise chickens to butcher, raise laying hens, milk a cow, feed bum calves, graft bum calves on cows, clean house, do laundry, hang laundry on the line, sew, patch, paint rooms, paint barns, cook for a large crowd, and who knows what else.  I will admit I was not always the best student.  If she wasn't watching I would slip out the door to go riding or fishing.  Still, I seem to remember most of what she showed me and it has come in pretty handy over the years.   She even continued my education this weekend.  She showed me the joys of using an apple peeler and apple corer.   I was pretty excited.  
We had a great weekend.  I'll share some prairie photos soon.  I just wanted to take a moment and say Happy Birthday and thanks for everything MOM!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Birds and bucks...

This Scarlet Tanager is enjoying the crab apples immensely.

 Blue Jays are my favorite harbinger of fall.
Caught in the tub.  I just love those colors.

This little beauty showed up for a photo shoot.  Notice he has a double main beam.

It was a very busy evening here.  Filled with visitors.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

To everything there is a season...

I love fall.  It is a time to reap and that is what I have been busy doing.  I picked my parsley and sage and have it drying on the porch.  The peppers and tomatoes will find their way into salsa.
We had to pick some apples early, as our resident matriarch deer, Croppy,  started eating them.  We chased her away 5 times and she just followed us back to the tree.  She was determined, so we picked as high as she could reach.  She was not pleased.
 The problem with picking the apples early was that I already had a peck of peaches to prepare.  (I know I know, it should be a lug.  That wasn't as fun to work with).  This week I canned peaches, made sweet rolls, peeled apples and froze them for pies.  I made raspberry/chocolate jam and buffalo berry jam.  I trimmed my parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, and chamomile for drying. 
 Out of that big pail of apples I got three bags for pie filling.  The sweet rolls were a birthday present for a friend's 40th party.  I haven't baked all summer due to the heat, so I must say it felt good to bake on a cool fall day.  The house smelled of apples and bread.  Is that fall or what? 

Then to top off our day the beekeeper came by.  I was excited to find out if the hives were healthy and how much honey they had produced.  He said the bees were healthy and they must be happy because he figures there was about 150 pounds of honey.  Below is a photo of one of the honeycombs. 
It has been a fruitful fall for this family.  I enjoy seeing what everyone else is doing with their harvest.  Hope it was as productive a weekend for all of you.