Thursday, May 31, 2012

Garden Goodness

When the gardens first start coming in I am in heaven. There aren't so many veggies ready that I have to rush to can or freeze them. I can fix some yummy garden meals or I can just relax with a nice fresh tomato sandwich and a glass of mint tea for lunch. Too soon it will be rush, rush, rush, to get all the veggies picked and processed for winter without a minute to enjoy all the yummy fresh flavors. So for now I am going to go slice a tomato and a cucumber, add a little vinaigrette,pepper and sit on the porch, eat, and watch the birds. What a blessing!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Around The Homestead

Beryl is giving us some much needed rain. She did her worst in Florida but thankfully she ran out of steam and is just dumping rain on us. Everything in the gardens seem to be standing taller and lifting their faces upward as they take their much needed showers.(Kinda puts the picture of plants with shower bonnets on and a back brush in their leaf doesn't it) The ducks and geese are very happy to see lots of mud puddles to play in. They have forgotten their swimming pools for now. The rabbits are being lulled to sleep by the rain hitting their tin roofs. The chickens are sitting on their roosting poles happy to be dry while enjoying the coolness the rain has brought. The turkey don't seem to pay any attention and are scratching about like they don't even feel the rain on their back or the need to get in out of the rain. The goats, well the goats are all crowded into one stall, staring out at the rain with very mean looks on their faces. Doesn't matter that there are stalls, goat houses, goat shelters all around and nice and dry. They choose to crowd together and fight for the perfect spot. They do not like getting wet and if looks could kill when I went out to feed this morning I wouldn't be here posting right now. I put their feed in their feed pans in all the different stalls, houses, and shelters. They stood and gave me the evil stare for not bringing the feed to them in the one stall. Like I would enjoy being pushed, stepped on, and knocked around just to serve them breakfast all together.  A few finally faced the fact if they wanted to eat they had to get wet and walk to their breakfast. I put their hay under the big shelter so they could move there if they wished to stay together and talk about me while they munched. We sold all but 3 of Tinkers puppies last Saturday. Thought she might be sad but all she did was take over nursing Bella's. Bella being a old hand at motherhood had already weaned her puppies. Tinker being a first time mom doesn't know to wean and just lays, stands, sits, while all the puppies pull, bite, and scratch. She makes faces but doesn't move. Bella seems to smile when she sees this and just walks on by. If Bella's puppies try to nurse her she snaps at them and they walk away. Wonder what Tinker will do when Bella's puppies go to new homes Saturday? 2 already have a very nice couple waiting to take them to their farm and the rest are being advertised today. One of the last of Tinkers will be going to its home next week and one William named Buck will be staying here to keep Tramp company. It's been a little crazy feeding 18 puppies but as they go to new homes I feel a tiny bit sad not seeing them run to greet me and get under my feet so I can't walk.  They are going to make excellent guardian dogs as they grow and know their new families will be very happy with them. These photos were taken as they were on their way to get a bath a few days ago.

 This picture is of Tinker's puppies on their way to the Flock Swap before heading to their new homes.

 I have been getting tomatoes and yellow squash out of the garden but tomorrow I will be able to pick green beans and cucumbers! I just love fresh veggies and can't wait to start canning.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Kuma's Resting Place

I was able to spend most of the day (inbetween care of the animals) in the herb garden. I cut some pineapple basil and chives to fill a dehydrator. The dehydrators will be running 24/7 now that herbs are growing so well. I have a batch of chamomile/coconut oil salve in the works, ready to pour tomorrow. All the herbs from last year have came back big and strong except my lavender. It is over 4 years old so have planted a new one. The new herbs I planted this year are starting to take off. Had a nice shower of rain this afternoon that really helped all the gardens. I worked some on Kuma's grave in the corner of the herb garden. I planted a ton of sunflower seeds at the foot and on the outside the fence at the head of the grave I planted a lilac bush. There is a birdhouse, bird bath, and bird feeder in that corner and its a nice sunny spot. Think she would be happy I picked that spot. I took her sign off her doghouse to hang over her marker. It's weather worn but until I make a new one seems to fit perfectly. All I have left to do is cover the grave with white pea gravel. I love going out and sitting in the herb garden every chance I get. It is so peaceful and now Kuma is there to bring me special memories.
Love and miss you Kuma girl.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Fried Chicken???

I have spent every spare minute the past few weeks working on my flower beds, herb garden, and veggie gardens. The past few days after finally getting them looking the way I wanted I mulched them... every single one. Yesterday morning when I went outside the first thing I saw was mulch from the flower beds beside the backporch all over the yard. Checking all the other flower beds, herb and veggie gardens found the same results. The greens we have been eating in yummy salads for weeks was nibbled down to the root. Mr. Roo and his 5 mistresses had gotten up early and went crazy. I even had bird netting on the flower beds thinking the chickens might try to scratch or have a dirt bath in them. They had pulled the netting off and pulled up small plants scratched and ate leaves off others. The herb and veggie gardens have fences around them.. they flew over. Mr Roo and his mistresses always get out of every chicken pen I put them in.. until last night. When they went to roost I picked them off the roost and took them to chicken jail. We have 3 connecting chicken pens in the backyard that have wire covering the tops to keep chickens from escaping. Mr. Roo and his 5 mistresses aren't happy but they are in for life. At least he gets to keep his girls with him. As for me inbetween feeding, watering, cleaning pens, laundry, cleaning house, mowing grass, cooking dinner I repaired and remulched some of my flower beds. Hopefully I will finish the rest tomorrow. Also decided to catch the 2 momma hens and their babies and put them in a pen. Didn't want them to get any bright ideas and undo what I did today. Right now only Mr and Mrs Black (rabbits) and Coach (bantam rooster) are free to roam. They always stay around the animal pens, woods, or pasture and don't bother anything.  So hopefully I won't be cooking a big batch of fried chicken anytime soon. Good thing for Mr Roo I like him or he would be a tasty chicken stew!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

What Next

This has been a week of crazy things going on around the homestead. Dealing with the loss of Kuma has been rough. Tramp, the basset beagle we rescued years ago from the middle of the road is really having a hard time without Kuma. He hasn't eaten in two days though I have got him to drink water. His big sad eyes just bring me to tears. I am hoping he will be okay. Am thinking about putting the puppy William wants to keep of Tinkers with Tramp and see if that helps. Tinkers puppies will be ready to sell the 26th. They have been eating puppy chow since they were 3 weeks old.
There is a dog bowl under those puppies somewhere

Not only do they eat that, nurse Tinker, they go over and help Bella's puppies eat their puppy chow and then push their way in to nurse Bella! Sometimes I have a hard time figuring out which puppies belong to which dog. Bella and Tinker are finally back to being BFF.

For the past week I haven't been getting any eggs out of the black hens pen. At first I thought Ginger was stealing the eggs from the laying boxes to go with the eggs she was sitting on.

But she would have to get out of her laying box and walk around the dividers of the other laying box and then some how get the eggs back to her nest. Then I got to thinking about the snake we had last year that kept stealing eggs. My guess was he was under the laying boxes that are inside a old truck tool box.

 First I did a peek to see if I was right. Yep, there was more than one under there.
 Then I did what most women do and called William. He put the snakes in a trash can and took them several miles away to some woods with a nice pond and no people or houses close.
The next day I had 7 eggs waiting for me in the laying boxes! I am hoping the snakes don't find their way back. Last week we had a big king snake in the Rhode Island Red pen and  William took it down to the swamp behind our house. Way down in the woods. When he came back and we were checking the hens that same snake came crawling back through the fence! Had to carry it off. I usually don't mind non poisonous snakes but when they start eating my eggs and are near my baby chicks they have to go.

We have had rain and thunderstorms for 3 days now. Inbetween the rain I am trying to work on the flower bed next to the house of William's customer. It hasn't been weeded or tended to in years.

I am lucky that William and his helper are digging up the flower bed for me. I set the flowers to the side to replant and they dig and get all the weeds and grass out. Once they get one section done I start putting plants back. We haven't gotten very far as it takes hours to get it ready to plant and then the rains come.
 I got a super deal on knock out rose bushes and will be sharing a couple with customer.
I got William to dig up the little holly bushes so I could move them but the big azalea bush will stay put. If the rains end today then I should be able to finish the first half of the flower bed by Saturday. The other half should be finished by Tuesday. The good thing about all this work is I am getting some plants for my flower beds as I thin out plants before planting them back. So its really worth all the hard work!

The flower bed job is around the corner from my german friend Gerda. I have been able to stop by and visit with her. William weeded her garden and I set out some squash plants for her. Next time I will weed her herb garden and take her a couple plants from my greenhouse.

My youngest daughter Megan is having contractions off and on the past few days. Trying to stay close to my phone in hopes she calls to say my grandson Skyler has arrived. My middle daughter Melody is still fighting for her foster daughter "Sissy". She is so stressed over things that are going on. Please keep Sissy in your prayers. That she may be able to go back to the home she has known and loved since she was 3 weeks old instead of being in a strange home with people she doesn't know.

My oldest daughter Maggie called last night to let me know they will be taking a week of their vacation down this way. They will be visiting friends and family on the coast as well as spending a few days here on the homestead. Looking forward to their visit!

Well that's whats been going on around the homestead. Lots of blessings to be thankful for. Hope you are counting yours!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Goodbye Sweet Kuma

 Updated for those confused... Kuma passed away Monday night. Her family is still in Germany and though they are very sad they are happy she enjoyed life at Hidden Haven.

For the past few years we have been blessed to be foster parents to Kuma while her human family are in  Germany. Kuma wrapped herself around my heart. Always had a smile (except bathtime) and kisses for me. She wasn't a inside dog but whenever she wanted to come inside she knew I never said no.

 She liked snuggling on the sofa with me watching TV or just napping.

 She actually seemed to really enjoy TV. Kuma was nuts over rawhide pigs ear and she loved sharing with Tramp and Lady.

Kuma also loved to party, especially if it was her birthday!

The absolutely favorite thing she enjoyed was riding in the truck. It was next to impossible to get her out after the ride was over. We finally just left the doors open and when she got tired of sitting in the truck would come to the back door wanting in.

Kuma had a heart of gold. Was the most sensitive,caring,patient,sometimes stubborn dog I ever knew. She always knew when you were having a bad day, feeling blue, or just needed a little doggy love and kiss. The only time she made me feel bad was bath time. She never resisted the bath but the big sad puppy dog eyes she gave me everytime I bathed her really got to me.

I feel like I have lost a child. Kuma became a part of our family.

 She made us happy. She made us smile. She made us laugh. She made us feel special. And she made us feel very loved.

Kuma you are a permanent part of my heart. I will never forget your sweet smile. Goodbye sweet Kuma.... gone but never ever forgotten.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Lil Vicki wanting some attention. She is jealous of Buttons triplets
Time just gets away from me too quickly in the spring and summer. Guess that is one of the many reasons I love winter. Seems like I am already way behind before my feet even hit the floor each morning. The puppies can really eat up a lot of my time if I let them. Tinkers are now eating puppy food and its a comedy show watching them. They are also walking all around the goat pens and a few even slipped over to where Bella and her puppies are and had a little milk snack off her. She didn't seem to mind and Tinker actually seemed relieved not to have them biting while nursing her. Bella and Tinker have become BFF's again and there is no fighting over puppies. That was a big relief for me. I have been working in the herb garden as much as I can. We finally got  a really good rain today so tomorrow I will be in the veggie gardens weeding and mulching. We sure are enjoying the radishes and different salad greens. I make salads every night for summer. We will have tomatoes soon. A couple of our plants have some that are yellow on their way to turning red. I am so craving a fresh tomato sandwich. Watermelon is one of the few things I love about summer. I purchased one the other day thinking it wouldn't taste really sweet so early but oh my it was yummy sweet! I could eat watermelon 3 meals a day. Soon it will be time to can and freeze everything from the gardens. We are making a outdoor kitchen so it won't be so hot with the canners going. We sold Precious and her twins along with Gerda and her twins at the Flock Swap last Saturday. It is so much easier feeding the goats now. Precious would always run from feeder to feeder putting her slobber on all the feed so the other goats wouldn't eat it. She would ram other goats in the side if they were in her way or if she thought they might get in her way. She also rammed Tinker and was mean to all the baby goats. Gerda was a sweetheart but was a small goat. I want to get down to 2 or 3 good milk goats so that means I have a few more goats to find homes for. Precious and Gerda along with their kids all went to the same farm. A gentleman bought them all. He has 15 acres fenced in with a pond right outside his backyard where they will be free to graze and nibble all the leaves off of trees they want and he can sit on his back porch and enjoy watching them. I also sold lots of herb plants at the Flock Swap. All in all it was a good day. Looking forward to next month when we will take Tinkers puppies to sell. I will be working on the customers flower bed along the front of his house tomorrow. Lots of flowers and a few shrubs to dig up to ready the bed. Will be putting them back in the flowerbed but in different places along with some of his other plants I saved from other flower beds. With the rain I got a little housecleaning done today but it is so hard to find the time to do deep cleaning. I am outside within minutes of getting up and so many projects and chores keep me outside most of the day. I check emails, blogs, etc when I come in for lunch or a drink. That gives me a few minutes here and there to keep up with everyone but no time to post on my own blog. I have intentions to write at night before going to bed but usually end up falling asleep on the sofa. I have a stack of books waiting to be read and am way behind with my online herbal classes. Have a family reunion coming up the 4th Sunday this month. Megan's baby is due next month and I would like to be there and help her for a few days. My stepson and daughter in law have moved to a island off the coast of NC and want us to visit. Maggie, my oldest daughter wants me to visit and add names to all the pictures she put on disc of my mothers side of the family. Melody, my middle daughter is going through some very emotional,stressful things at the moment and I would really like to be there for her. But here I am 6 hours away from daughters and 3 hours away from stepsons family with so many things keeping me tied here. My plan is to work on getting away for a little bit this summer and have someone look after the animals. We will see how that plan works out. If it is meant to be it will happen. So that's all the boring things going on around Hidden Haven. I have photos I took around the homestead today but can't find my camera. Will save those for a post tomorrow. Hope you are having a wonderful week and don't forget to count those blessings!

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Flower Beds

I am still working on the flower beds for a customer of William's. I forgot to take a before photo of the flower bed beside the driveway. It is a small one that was full of weeds,grass, a few iris and day lilies. Dug all the flowers out and got William to till it up for me. Put some of the day lilies back along with the iris and then added some flowers from other flower beds as well as a couple I purchased. Though its small it took a whole morning from start to finish.

The flower bed in the front yard is big and had tons of grass,a Chinese maple and a few flowers left in it. The man's wife use to love working in her flower beds but now has dementia. He spends his time caring for her so ask me to redo the flower beds hoping she might get some pleasure out of seeing them. William and I dug up what flowers were there except for the iris right next to the tree. I decided to leave and work around them. Got William to till the ground while I went behind him raking and gathering up all the grass and weeds.

This flower bed took all day and a couple hours the next morning. I forgot to take a photo the next morning with the rest of the block around the flower bed. I put some of the day lilies from the other flower bed in this one along with flowers I took from other flower beds around the house. Purchased a few more. Separated some of his money grass and planted it around the inside edge of the flower bed. The next morning I also put up a shepard hook and hung two hanging flower baskets. These photos are from the end of the first day of working on it.

Monday I will start on the flower beds that run along the front of the house. Then on to the sides and backyard flower beds. Though its been a hot, sticky job I am really enjoying the work and hope the wife gets some pleasure out of them.

We have been having record high temps for this time of year. Have no idea if this is spring temps how we will cope with what summer brings. Fred the turkey usually doesn't mind the heat until mid July. Yesterday he just couldn't take the heat any longer.

Though its been hot I refuse to turn on the A/C this early so suppers have been something I can cook quickly or prepare without cooking. Last night was steak, roasted garlic/rosemary potatoes and a nice big salad made from fresh veggies from the garden. Off to get plants and animals ready for Flock Swap tomorrow at Tractor Supply. It may be called a Flock Swap but its more like a Farm Swap where everyone brings animals, poultry, plants, eggs, etc to sell or trade. Last month the whole side of the parking lot was full of  seller/traders. Here is hoping we can sell a few goats, chickens, and lots of herb and garden plants. Have a wonderful weekend and don't forget to count those blessings!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Coo Coo at the Zoo

Remember the old woman who lived in a shoe? The one with so many children she didn't know what to do? Well I feel like the old lady that lives in a zoo. Have so many animals I am going coo coo! For some reason known only to Bella she has decided Tinker's puppies should belong to her. She tries to pick them up and carry them to join her puppies. This of course gets on Tinker's last nerve and a fight breaks out. Well I moved Bella to a pen all to herself and puppies. She is major depressed and now Tinker's puppies are running around everywhere. That means they are going through the fence to where Bella is and Bella carries them to her bed of puppies and Tinker is going crazy trying to get over the fence. Thanks to the baby monitor I know right away whats going on and go out to retrieve puppies and put them back where they belong. I have no idea why Bella would even want 18 puppies and have no idea what to do when all the puppies are running around and exploring everywhere. When I went out to give fresh water at lunchtime Tinker Junior decided to show me his mean, eat you alive side. He stood up and growled at me but I was so busy laughing I forgot to be afraid.

The baby chicks vultures are growing. I can't get a good picture because whenever I go to their pen they run to the gate waiting to attack me and eat the grain before I can put it in the feeders. They are crazy! I can't walk in the pen without checking twice before I put a foot down. Hopefully some of these will be sold at the Flock Swap this weekend. The 2 big white rock chicks are being picked on by all the others. These are the biggest chicks in the pen but the little ones chase and peck at them. Am going to move them tomorrow to their own pen so they can get their feathers back.

I moved the baby ducks to their own pen. They miss their mommy and mommy is crying for them. Makes for a noisy afternoon before it quietened down.

Buttons triplets(2 boys and a girl) finally have names.Harley, Farley, and Marley. They are into everything! They are always running, jumping, or climbing.

Bella's puppies are finally getting their eyes open. That means they soon will be exploring. Wonder if Tinker will want Bella's puppies?

I actually got blackberry bushes set out today along with some work in the herb garden and greenhouse. Did a little housework and lots of paperwork. Got the bills ready for William to give his customers tomorrow. All in all though it is a zoo around here I am making a dent in my forever growing to do list. Am blessed I can still get chores and animal care done each day. Hope you are counting your blessings!

Supper tonight was hotdogs with chili and coleslaw and a nice big salad made with items from our own garden! This 90plus weather takes away the desire to spend time in the kitchen cooking.