Thanking God for the Weeds!

After the 5 beautiful inches of rain we got last night, I decided to play hookey from the market so I could tackle this:

Last week when it rained a bit, I discovered that I still had strawberries in the Trinity garden, but  most of the bigger weeds were just too hard to pull. Several spots on our farm look like this right now because we haven’t had anyone who could run the rototiller and I just haven’t had time to pull them all by hand. I’m not fretting over it though. I’m thanking God for the weeds.

When I was a young bride, Grampa Tom’s work took us out in the boonies. I was pregnant and the closest jobs were about an hour away, so we settled on me being a stay-at-home mom. After the baby was born, I grew bored, so I decided to read the Old Testament. At the same time this townie girl was learning a whole lot about agriculture. One of the things that really fascinated me was the practice of Shemitah. Several great things happened once every seven years. The one thing that peaked my interest was that the Israelites were instructed to let their ground lay fallow during the Shemitah year. They didn’t plant, they didn’t plow and they didn’t weed. In this way, the ground was replenished and fertilized. I thought that was amazing 🙂

With the availability of fertilizers today, we really don’t need to do this, but back then it was vital. I’m considering this something of a Shemitah year for my ground. The bigger gardens will have the weeds plowed under and I am using the weeds from the smaller gardens to fill my huglekulture dog house garden! After last night’s rain, it really needed some more weeds!

So tonight, the Trinity garden looks like this:
and the huglekulture dog house looks like this!
Thank You LORD for the weeds!
Hope Grampa Tom had a good night at the market 🙂
God Bless You All!
~Grama Sue

Spaghetti Squash Anyone?

This spring I put in a bunch of acorn squash. This is what I got:
But, I think God knew what He was doing. I would never have found acorn squash 🙂

Thanking God for the weeds anyway! In the Old Testament, the people were instructed to let their land lay fallow every 7 years. This is how the land was fertilized. There’s a lot of free fertilizer out there this year 🙂

God Bless You All!
~Grama Sue

Freeze Dip

It’s gonna be a crazy day! For the next 2 nights, it’s supposed to get down to 20 degrees. That means I have to get out as soon as the sun comes up and start working! I have to get the rest of the squash, gourds, radishes and turnips picked over at our remote garden. At home, I need to mulch and cover, mulch and cover … Then, I need to go up to Lomax, pack up everything I have in the garage and put it inside. Grampa Tom is in the fields, but I’ll have my 3 y/o grandson who is a big helper and my heart son Karson there to give me a hand at least part of the day 🙂  So glad I got to sleep early last night!

Here comes the sun! Gotta go!
God Bless You All!
 
~Grama Sue

 

Profit

So I’m making up for all those missed posts this winter! I know it’s only been a few days, but there’s so much going on here today!

Grampa wanted me to show you all what he’s been doing all day. He’s been cleaning out the barn:



There’s a Proverb in the Bible that says “An empty barn is easy to clean, but there’s no profit in it.” I think we’ve got a lot of profit going on here! Can’t wait till it shows up in our bank accounts!



And that’s just one stall in our barn. Can you see the difference in the ground level? It is amazing how much can accumulate over the winter! We will use this composted bedding and manure mix to fertilize our gardens and the field we have up at Jesse’s place. That’s my dog Blue in the foreground and the guineas going into the barn.

This is my new herb garden – filled with “profit” 😉


A few pictures of the other raised bed gardens:



We haven’t been able to get into the traditional row garden yet! So glad we have these! I really like our new fencing to keep the chickens out too. If my 4 legged grandchildren behave themselves when they come to visit and don’t dig in the gardens, I might just have a place where they can play without having to worry about them running off!

Grandpa and I have been debating whether or not we have any bees left for a couple of months now. I was pretty sure we did and he didn’t think so. He went to move this hive so he could plant some red rasberry plants we had been given and found out different. I tried so hard to bite my tongue, but it slipped out anyway, “I told you so!” So glad he didn’t get stung!



My rock pile:



It’s an adjustment going from farming 1400 acres with a 12 row planter to gardening. Rocks were always an enemy to Grampa. They tear up that expensive equipment right quick! Grampa always resented my rocks and when he came home to work, one of the first things he wanted to do was get rid of my rock and brick collection. I wouldn’t let him. They just come in too handy when you want to cover gardens and in lots of other ways too!



I think he’s finally getting the hang of this 🙂

The hair sheep are looking rather scruffy this time of year.

They spend a lot of time rubbing against fences to get rid of their winter growth.


Our ram just loves to have us pull the hair off his back!

Shorty is having lots of fun running around with the rest of the sheep all day. We bring her in to the garage at night just to make sure she doesn’t get too cold, but I don’t know how long we’ll be able to do that. Tonight, she ran from me even though I had a bottle for her. Hunger finally wore her down and when she latched on to the bottle, I grabbed her and took her in. Independent little squirt!

It’s midnight. We just got done processing the eggs and eating supper. Better go to bed. Tomorrow will be another big day!


God Bless You All!

 

Hanging Here and New Life

Yesterday I came across a hanging. Over the winter, a couple of birds took up residence in my stove vent. Their nest wasn’t interfering with how the vent worked and since I tend to be a terribly lazy person at times, I had pity on them and decided to share the warmth of my house for the winter. Yesterday, I went to evict them because their nest was starting to drop materials on my stove. To my surprise there was a bird hanging by the neck from the vent by a thread! We had heard a lot of fighting out of them over the winter, but I didn’t think it was that bad! I am a HORRIBLE person. I laughed.


Grampa has some gardens coming up. He’s got beets, radishes, kolorabi, lettuce, spinach,onions and peas coming up. He’s hoping he’ll be able to get some potatoes, broccoli and tomato plants in this week. The farmer’s market in Burlington will be starting May 7th. Hopefully we’ll have some veggies ready to go by then.


Mutant chickens anyone? These are Cornish Crosses. I really don’t like these birds. They are the ones raised in most commercial poultry opperations. They are bred for meat production at the expense of feather and bone. It’s how they get those gigantic chicken breasts you see everywhere, but they never get all their feathers and they tend to have problems with broken legs. To me, they never really look healthy, but Farm & Home was practically giving them away and they were already 2 weeks old. They are ready to butcher between 8 and 12 weeks old so they were pretty big when we got them. They aren’t going to be pastured, but we are giving them lots of hay. They don’t seem to understand what to do with real vegetables like normal chickens do. We figured if we can’t sell them, we will put them in our freezer.


We just got this shipment of baby chicks in this week. We have 100 Golden Comets, 25 Black Asterlops and 25 White Leghorns. These are all breeds that have a high egg production record. The Golden Comets and Black Asterlops have brown eggs and the White Leghorns have white egg. We’re planning to alternate new chick purchases between high production and color.

Well, I’m off this morning to work for the US Census. I love this job! I get to tromp around the country side and see all the beautiful places God has created. I get lots of fresh air and exercize and … I get to punch buttons!

God Bless You All! ~ Love, Grama Sue

Garage Sale

It’s official! I’ve lost 20 pounds since Grampa Tom started seeing the good doctors at the Rexroth Clinic. People ask me what diet I’m on. I tell them I’m on the “Keeping Up With Tom” diet. For the past several years he’s slept so much. Now he gets up at 5 or 6 and goes all day. He’s down 50 pounds. Neither of us are trying, it’s just all the activity!


GRAMA’S TREASURES!

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had a several donations. The garage is overflowing. If you come early tomorrow, expect a mess! I’m trying to get it all organized, but everything won’t fit. Gonna have to put some of it outside. Among the treasures: homeschool books, a complete set of 1949 encyclopedias, a large Child Craft collection, lots of Magic School Bus books, flash cards, games, girl’s and women’s clothing, some very pretty formals, a coffee peculator, an ab exerciser, tons of new toys, a cute little rocking chair, I could go on and on! Come check them out!

THE FARMER’S MARKET

Farmer’s markets have been picking up a little. Nauvoo is the one that is going the best for us right now. I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to sell my noodles for the price I needed, but I can’t keep up. I need more food dryers! If you want to catch us we’ll be at:
Carthage Mondays 2:30-5:30, on the Square
Burlington Thursdays normally 5-8pm at Crapo Park
Nauvoo Fridays 3:30-5:30 at the Winery
Keokuk Saturdays 6:30 am – 11am at the mall (if we have anything left)

THE GARDEN

We are currently harvesting onions, green beans, carrots, basil, oregano, chives, sage, cilantro, lemon balm and lettus. Is there anyone out there who knows a lot about the different types of basil? I planted a variety that I think is either Thai or Holy Basil, but I lost the package and I’m not sure what it was. It’s got a reddish stem with red flowers.

 


We’ll have tomatoes, zucchini, potatoes and cucumbers soon. We got a ripe tomato off a plant in our new beds the other day. I honestly have never tasted a tomato with so much flavor! Can’t wait for more.

ON THE CRAFT TABLE

Getting close to done on the rug. I’ve learned so much!
1. Braid and sew as you go. I cut the strips and sewed them into big fabric balls and then made one long braid which I made into a ball. It was very unruly. Now I’m just adding strips and braiding as I go. It works better.
2. Fold the edges in as you braid. I’ve got a lot of rough edges that will probably fray because I didn’t think of this.
3. Strips look better if you cut the fabric diagonally and sew the diagonal edges together.
4. You can actually lace a rug together instead of sewing. I tried it, but I had already been sewing so I decided to wait until the next rug before I start this.

A couple of weeks ago I was given a bunch of old goose eggs. I plan to demonstrate how to blow them out this weekend if anyone is interested.

GRAMA’S WISDOM
(tips, recipes and ideas for saving money)

Put egg noodles in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before rolling them out. It makes them less sticky and they roll out much easier.

God Bless You All! ~Grama Sue

Sleeping Around

Well folks, I’m late with this again! This time I have a really good excuse. You know the sleeping around job I have? (Clean up your mind! I do elder care.) Well, usually I stay with my client for one or two 24 hour shifts a week. This week, the other two ladies who help her were unavailable and I wound up staying for 5 days! Finally got home last night. I was so tired! Last night I got 6 hours of sleep in a row!After getting up with an old lady 3 or 4 times a night for so long it feels wonderful, but my house looks like my husband and an 8 y/o have been living here. HELP!!!!

At least the gardens look good. Here’s a few pictures.




I’m not gonna show you the house.

Our granddaughter has been a really big help. She has been taking good care of the baby chicks. She feeds and waters them every day in addition to giving them a ride in the wagon! How cute! She’s already bored and wants to go home though. Somehow, I knew her determination to stay the whole summer wouldn’t last long ;(

Gotta get the kid up and try to get things back into shape. Will try to give a “state of the projects” next week or at least get back to the regular format!

God Bless You All!

Buy Local

INTERESTING STATFrom: Animal, Vegetable, and Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. Shereports “If every US citizen would eat just 1 meal a week (any meal) composed of only locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce our country’s oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil per week. Becoming a less energy-dependent nation may just need to start with a good breakfast.”GRAMA’S TREASURES!Wow! We had a great hatch! Hatching 50% of the eggs you put in an incubator is considered good. We have 33 out of 48. That’s almost 70%! I’m happy! Most of the eggs I put in the incubator were blue and green in hopes that I will get more hens that lay blue and green eggs. I plan to do this at least 2 or 3 more times this summer. If you’d like to help me fill the incubator again, I plan to have an official fill the incubator day once a month. The first one will be this Saturday at 10:30 am. If you need chicks, I am willing to sell a few at $2.35 each.THE FARMER’S MARKETGrampa Tom went to both the Keokuk and the Carthage Farmers’ Market by himself this week. I went to the Hamilton Farmers’ Market this afternoon. That was a bust. Nobody there but me. I’d like to go to all of the markets, but I’m really not needed most days and there’s plenty to do here. So far, we’re not making oodles of money, but we come home with more than we spent to go. It’s a start!

One of the things we’ve been selling is egg noodles. I got a noodle maker thinking it would speed up my egg noodle production time. It doesn’t take anywhere near as much strength, but I’m not seeing the time savings I was hoping for. I was hoping to be able to sell my noodles at farmers’ markets for $1.25/bag but it just isn’t going to happen for less than $2 and even then I’m not making minimum wage – it is just something to do with unused eggs. I told Grampa if we can’t sell them, we’ll just have to give them to charity.

E-BAY

Neither of my items on E-Bay sold L! But I got lots of lookers for the bag. Decided not to re-list it because Grampa Tom hasn’t managed to get another one done and he wants to take it to the farmers’ markets. I did re-list the Epson T060120 black ink. It didn’t sell, but it might have helped if I hadn’t made a typo in the id#! So far this week I have 3 watchers on it. If you’d like to bid, you can find my stuff at
http://myworld.ebay.com/gramasues

ON THE CRAFT TABLE

The rug is coming along. I’ve got several feet braided, but I’ve got no idea how big this thing will be! It’s an adventure.

Grampa Tom suggested that I do a golden egg with IOWA painted in black. I think I can do that. Then I thought I could probably even do a Deere egg in green and yellow. Grampa isn’t an Iowa fan, but we sure do like John Deere.

THE GARDEN

We are still finishing the construction and planting like mad. This week we planted musk melon, garlic, basil, winter onions and more yellow onions, cilantro, marjoram, cucumbers and dill. We also transplanted quite a few petunias and marigolds.

We took the first harvest from our spinach and green onions this week. I also harvested and sold some fresh oregano. The broccoli plants that we put in last week is already putting on a head. I can’t wait! We love broccoli!

The potatoes look wonderful, but the poor beans! They’ve suffered from chickens scratching in them and my “other dog/lawn mower” (pet lamb) eating all the leaves off them! Here’s a picture.

If you come, be sure to ask to see our new raised bed gardens. We are following Len Pense’s plans:

http://www.gardeningrevolution.com/index.html

They take a lot of work to build, but once they are done, they are a breeze to care for. We’d love to build one for you or teach you how to do it yourself!

GRAMA’S WISDOM
(tips, recipes and ideas for saving money)

How to Clean a Microwave

This is one I learned from my daughter when I was over 40. Some of you young pups may think that’s disgusting, but bear in mind the fact that there were no such things when I was young. OK, OK, so I used a microwave for 20 years before I learned how to clean one! I’m not the only one! Almost everyone I share this secret with has never heard of it.

Put a bowl of soapy water in microwave and run for 5 minutes. Even the most stuck on stuff will come off! It is amazing.

GRAMA RECOMENDS

Great Chiropractors!

It is so awesome to sleep next to my husband again! For years, Grampa Tom has been severely overweight. This obstructed his breathing so much that he had to sleep sitting up so he slept in his big chair on the other end of the house. He also fell asleep quite often during the day and snored loudly all the time. He finally went to the Rexroth Clinic in West Burlington. They gave him some adjustments and some supplements to help kick start his metabolism again. He’s lost several inches off his tummy, sleeps in our bed and stays awake all day! The only problem now is that I can’t keep up with the guy!

Check them out! http://rexrothchiropractic.com/index.php

God Bless You All!