Monday, September 25, 2017

GREAT! Jussst great.....

If I could take the pain, I'd be pulling my hair out... but I can't, so I won't.  Spent another day on the phone with our Internet company trying to get back online.  After getting Thursday's post out, everything went down again.  I thought retirement meant no more stress.  Obviously NOT!!

I guess I'd better be quick, just in case things go badly... again.

You were still in the catch-up phase of the blog, so here we go...


The blueberry beds were still giving me trouble with the amount of weeds (instead of berries) they were producing, so pulled out the Hula Hoe.TM *



Honestly, it was like cutting through soft butter.  That hoe sliced through even the toughest root.  Yeah, they'll be back since the roots are still there, but I'm hoping the cold will handle that soon.



Thought it was going to go well so I didn't wear gloves.  I forgot the back fence was in a position to grab at my hand as I went by.  It bit.  I bled.  Lesson learned. 



Now, the bed is all ready for it's winter sleep.  Most of the bushes have gone past the raspberry-leaf stage, to the dead-leaf stage here. I took the sunflower down too.  The place almost looks naked without it...

We are into the cold now.  Yesterday it was finally time to turn the heater on in the house.  Outside, we've gone to the 20's in the mornings.  Putting a pic of the tomato bed on and how it looked over 6 days...


... 40's...

... 30's...

... 20's...

I was hoping to get a few more weeks out of the tomatoes so the hens had nightly snacks.  Most will be in the compost pile soon.  

It's about time to insulate the coop windows.  I did get around to installing the heated fount for the girls so it should help with their warmth until the batting is in the openings.

Steve has had a shot of adrenaline and is planning on some work around the upper beds and troughs before it's too cold to work.  Hope for some pictures of his handiwork soon...


*“I have not received, nor expect to receive, any compensation for items mentioned in the blog that I like, or may suggest to the viewers.  The items are just something that works/worked for me.  The Irish Lady.”


Thursday, September 21, 2017

We're BAAACK... (cue the angels singing)....

Being from the valley where any rain was good rain, any storm was wonderful enough to go stand in... well, I've had my ideas tweaked a bit. There is such a thing as "too much of a good thing."  I could also say that 10 days without the Internet was a learning experience, but NOT an experience I'd ever want again.

Lightning took out much of our area's Internet lines and we were obviously included in that.  I am grateful that the house was spared... OK, barely, but I'll be even more grateful if we are NEVER struck by lightning again.  

It'd also have been nice if service had been restored quickly, but we're on mountain time... and Florida time... and east coast time.  Seems we were routed all over creation before we were finally put into the repair schedule. The service guys out today were so nice that it... almost... soothed my antsy soul. 

Now that we are back, what to talk about.  Boy, have you missed a lot. Fall comes tomorrow, but it's already been Fall here for days.  We're in the 30's at night now and the garden has pretty-much shut itself down.  

I'll put on a few pictures from the last ten days to get everyone up to speed with the goings-on since we last talked...

... tomatoes came in this year and are... now... gone...

... zucchini came on strong; most shredded and frozen
for cooking... now... gone...

... last of the straggly beets pulled... now... gone... 


Only things really still going strong are the onions.  They were probably the most unusual thing that happened in the garden this year.  They grew on top of the dirt instead of under it.  Never seen this before but I find I liked it a lot. They were easier to gauge for harvest and they stayed cleaner.  Hope I can figure out how to make this happen again.



Butternuts will be harvested tomorrow as rabbits, or squirrels, have found them.  It's going to be a sad harvest as most of them are half squashes.  



The last frozen turkey has been roasted and casseroles made... and frozen. Had to make room as we'll be getting three more of them in November.  At the top of the pic, there is my first pumpkin of the season... sorta proud of it.

I'll add a few more pics, next post, to help you all finish cramming for the blog test I'll be grading you on.  

Also, I found that a lot more stuff got done around the homestead when I couldn't get onto the Internet...  

... Good thing, or bad?...



Monday, September 11, 2017

Wobbly no more... steps, that is...

As I post, Steve is outside, still doing the weed-whacking.  They are almost as high as an elephant's eye... OK, not, but they have taken over our homestead and we really don't want the seed heads on them to reproduce next year.  

Only an extra one-quarter inch of rain since I last posted so maybe things have slowed down.  

... partially there...

... almost there..

The front steps are just about completed.  Steve just has to make the lower step and this project is done.  NOTHING moves when Ziva hits the steps at full rabbit-chasing speed, so they are almost human safe... until they come back down.



Had to put this on.  Steve moved his truck out of the garage so the weed-whacker was more accessible and opened the hood in a no-squirrel-in-engine-hiding maneuver.  Left the door opened and I found Ziva inside.  I'm thinking she thought he was going to leave sometime and it was her attempt on not being left behind.  I'm pretty sure he'll be exhausted... so no trip today.



The girls eating breakfast this morning.  I shot this over the metal flower sculptures and you can see the one that was broken (left).  I'm going to search for something to put in its place, so be on the lookout for it later.



The Brussels sprouts and the red kale were really attacked this year after I removed the tulle from them.  Little bugs just everywhere on them (pic is NOT doing the problem justice).  Not as bad as last year because I used the tulle and seems to have made them show up later.  Just need to keep it over them all season next time.  One other thing, the bees are really into the sprouts bed.  No flowers there so what are those little bugs producing that draws in bees?

Pulled all the red kale and now I'm pulling some of the worst-looking sprouts.  


Heaved a few plants over the fence and the girls made short work of them. Maybe the bugs made them tastier.

Saturday was turkey roasting day.  Cooked the last one from last Thanksgiving, making room for the 3 we'll buy in November.  The house smelled wonderful.  Dinner was wonderful, too.  Added a side of the cheesy roasted asparagus and some Prosecco and we celebrated a pre-Thanksgiving meal.  I see me making many frozen turkey casseroles in the next few days.

Well, I should get back outside and find something to do.  It's only fair, after all the work Steve's been putting in...



Thursday, September 7, 2017

Steve has been holding me back....

It's not Fall, but I'm considering it Fall.  I can really tell that the garden is slowing down and that's exciting in that Halloween and Thanksgiving are coming quickly.  Steve has seen the "fever" and has been trying to slow me down, but it's all I can do NOT to get in the garage and start going through the decor. 

Didn't get anything out YET, but I'm itching to get started on it... 


Yesterday, while sitting under the tree with the chickens, I found myself staring at the zucchini plants.  They are looking so nice and green.  They are almost like the garden's version of the hosta.  

They produce fruit and the hostas don't.  They are prickly and the hostas aren't.  They like full sun and the hostas don't.  They aren't perennials and hostas are... OK, they're probably the farthest thing from hostas.  BUT, that pop of green is so soothing to look at... if in a garden or in shade.  It made me perk up and decide to get something done...



... so, I whacked them back.  They needed a trim because it was getting almost impossible to open either garden hoop and resulted in their side leaves getting torn up. Noticed while doing the job that the squirrels that I'd kept out with netting had gnawed holes in the netting.  Doesn't look like they nibbled on anything, though.  Probably after all that hard work they were like "not more zucchini!" like I'm sure Steve says under his breath.



The red kale was looking pretty bad, too.  All the leaves had some sort of bug on them so I pulled the lot and put them by the compost for the chickens. The blue kale is still looking good so they'll get fresh kale for awhile.



I also decided it was time to pull all the beets.  Something had eaten almost all of their leaves so I don't expect they'd grow much more.  Sad.  Their leaves were lush just a few weeks ago, too.  Not going to be beet greens in the girl's treats until next year.



The squash troughs are almost dead.  I think there's more sprouted straw in them than healthy plants.  Almost all the leaves have kinked as the weight of the leaf became too much for the stems.  

Only 2 acorns came in and they are much too small.  I see 3 good-sized butternuts, but the rest are only half-sized, at best.  

I can see all the pumpkins now and I didn't get as many as I thought I would.   

It's a good thing I have decor in the garage, as there'll be no pumpkin carving going on here this year...


 

Monday, September 4, 2017

Labor Day Holiday 2017....

We're hoping that everyone out there had a great weekend with family and friends.  We battled (and won) the huge amount of traffic we always get on this last major holiday of the summer.  My brother came into Payson for the weekend so we headed down for lunch with him and our mom.  

Lots of campfires going, too, which always gives me the heebie-jeebies. My mind always jumps to the bad definition of fire, instead of the good. Everyone is headed out now, so it'll all be quiet by tonight.  Ahhhhhh.....

In the last few weeks we've had some nicer weather, heat, rain and wind.  It actually got hot for a while and we were sleeping in front of fans again. Then, in came the rain and wind and it was acting like the monsoon again.



Last week Steve came in telling me to get my camera and get outside.  You can see why... there was this huge rainbow streak over the house.  Notice the burned trees...

Sometime while we were in the valley getting our glasses, the winds came through and felled one of those trees burned in the fire a couple years ago. Didn't notice it until we were headed out on the east driveway and found a tree had blocked our way.





This tree was in the middle of the burned grove and it wasn't hollowed out. So, how did the protected tree fall and not ones more susceptible to the winds?  Nature... mostly unanswered questions.

Our holiday here was mostly just the same ol' work around the property.  
All the rain is still resulting in a huge amount of grasses and weeds to take down...



... so Steve is still working on that.  This is the view through the garden fence looking at the blueberry beds.  The grasses are almost high enough to make it impossible to see that area.  I do see that it wasn't high enough to keep you from seeing the "wild" sunflower plant at the gate.  It came out of nowhere but was too pretty to cut down.



Steve did have an interesting find while weed-whacking.  The line got tangled while near one of the smaller Ponderosa pines and he ended up pulling this from the ground.  We're not sure what it is (anybody know?) but this area was covered with barbed-wire range fences, so I'm thinking it was used by a rancher.  Awls for leather?  Keys for turning something?  Anyway, they are heavy metal and all on a ring so we think someone had them on a belt.



And... last, but not least, today's garden take.  A couple heads of broccoli from the "free" plants that come up in strange places.  Most of them aren't looking as good as the heads from the broccoli bed, but I'll take them.  The broccoli bed plants are now giving me their "seconds" which grow long and spindly.  I'm still preparing and freezing broccoli packets for later and what doesn't look good is still chicken treats.  

I'm behaving like a bad gardener because I'm to the point that I'm tired of green beans.  Everytime I see new ones I wish they weren't there.  Frozen quite a lot of packets, too.  I tell myself I should be grateful for all of the beans but I'm slightly enjoying the yellow leaves appearing.  They may soon be at an end. 

Well, off to check on the Crock Pot* which is working on a rack of baby backs. Ribs and another zucchini casserole tonight.  Now THOSE are something I'm still loving in the kitchen...


*“I have not received, nor expect to receive, any compensation for items mentioned in the blog that I like, or may suggest to the viewers.  The items are just something that works/worked for me.  The Irish Lady.”


Thursday, August 31, 2017

'Gus came around for dinner...

We did a valley turnaround Tuesday and Wednesday to pick up our new glasses and, I don't know about Steve, but WOW! did my prescription change.  Felt a little nauseous with them on so walked a little slower and moved my head less. 

Today, I seem to be past that, so the ol' brain has compensated.  Great thing that my brain is still working well.


The homestead was back to normal today as I finally got the garden tended to and chickens got the greens they'd missed.  We all worked hard in the garden; me getting the watering done and they turned the compost pile. Later, I took a break while the chickens did their impersonation of a line in a beauty parlor.

That made me wonder if we're ready for molting this year.  Gotta stock up on 18% feed soon.  They skipped doing it last year so it's a good bet they'll be bare soon.   Yeah, ladies... gonna have nekked butts.  Ha!



Sitting under the shade tree and slightly dozing, when ka bam.  A breaking glass sound and I was up.  The little (but heavy) fairy lady on the limb fell.  

(Above is a pic of her from a week ago.  The branch where she hung was my barometer branch. Usually, it curled way down and the chimes were in the lower bush. With all the rain lately, I noticed it would rise and straighten, as shown in this pic).

Anyway, the rope holding her split and she took a nosedive... right onto my glass and metal flower sculpture and broke it.  I jerked, chickens scattered and I had a mess of glass to clean up before they came back and decided the pretty pink glass was food.  Sad homecoming.  But, now I get to buy something else. Happy homecoming.

Garden done and I decided to get rid of some of our extra eggs as, even after giving some away, we still get more than two can eat.  Made some breakfast burritos just in case we get some visitors... or I get lazy at breakfast time.


... tortillas, sausage, onions, cheese and eggs... CHECK!...

... warm the tortillas and pile on the goodies...
with hot sauce, of course...

... all rolled up and ready for freezing...

Ok, now I'm hungry... but not for breakfast.  I'm making meatloaf and creamed asparagus for dinner.  Not sure why, but meatloaf is one of the BEST dinners out there.  And, now that I've found the asparagus (or green beans) casserole recipe... well, I'm in heaven.




... here, let me tempt you.  Just pulled it out and had to take a picture.  Asparagus, cream, parmesan, monterey jack and lots of garlic...

... wish this computer had smell-a-vision...