Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Farm Update

Well, I had meant to post my updates on Monday but time got away from me. Life is pretty crazy right now with the farm, schooling, and your everyday basics.
Anyway. On Saturday James made me a cheese press. Well, I shouldn't say "me" because he really did it for himself I think. He has REALLY taken a liking to cheesemaking. I think because it is very scientific! :) Here is a picture of our cheese press. It's pretty cool. We made our first batch of hard cheese. I found a cool website that has all kinds of cheese recipes. It is somewhat different from my books and because it didn't require certain temps and humidity and waxing I just had to give it a try. It's a basic hard cheese and it is currently aging in the refrigerator. We'll let you know how it turns out.

On Friday I harvested this....
...and that is pretty much what we had for dinner. Along with homemade bread! It was very satisfying. The weather has been rainy and cool. I'm still praying for enough sun over the next couple weeks to bring in some more tomatoes and beans! What I need to do is put a cover over my entire garden and then I'd be able to put up enough food to feed us all year. This cotton-pickin' weather in the PNW is just not condusive to a big flourishing garden! At least it isn't for this used-to-be midwesterner who doesn't know how to grow a garden in damp, cool conditions.

As I've mentioned in a previous post, I have a tomato plant that produces very strange creation. Here is another one....

The animals are doing well. I'm still getting a gallon a day from Butter but she has gotten to be quite an annoying creature at 5AM. After I leave the barn she just doesn't seem to get the idea that she is suppose to relax and wait for sunlight. She stands out there and bellows as if she is lost in the wilderness all alone. I've told goats bellow when they are hungry or lonely. She has just been fed, she has just been given more hay and she has her daughter. And yet, I continue to pray everyday that the neighbor doesn't come over with his shotgun and shut her up.

The chickens need to go in the freezer because most of them aren't earning their keep. But I just can't seem to figure out which ones they are. I butchered 2 chickens over Labor Day weekend and despite my inspection of various body parts to make sure they weren't laying eggs anymore, I still managed to butcher hens that were full of eggs! One had an egg just ready to lay! So now I'm afraid to butcher anymore for fear I'll butcher a good one.
In another month they'll have free reign of the garden and hopefully the added nutrients will give them the boost they need to lay more. Until then I'm trying to figure out how to find room for a whole new flock in another area of the farm.

Have a great week...enjoy Autumn!

I'm off to craigslist to find a free source of fencing material, lumber, firewood and pallets.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Why I Don't Like Slugs

There are many, many more examples like these. Slugs are everywhere and love to eat everything. I remembered as I was uploading these pictures that I could have shown you some beans that were nearly eaten through as well.
Did I tell you about the night I was perusing through the garden at dusk and picked up some slugs and decided to keep track!? Yeah, I know, "sick and wrong" is what my husband called it.
Well, I just couldn't stop. They were everywhere. So I picked up a coffee can and actually started counting! As I approached the garden gate (the end of the garden rounds of slug picking ) I was on 104! But I just couldn't stop! So I kept picking them as I walked back to the house and through the front yard. I finally ended when the can was nearly full ( a 3# coffee can!). My final number was 204!!! I picked 204 slugs out of my garden and yard in one evening! And still...look at the damage they are doing.

Despite the ravenous appetite of the slug I had a great harvest yesterday! Yes, that glob on the right side of the bowl is a tomato!! I froze 2 quarts of beans out of this harvest after eating a huge pot of them for dinner.

And we get the funkiest tomatoes!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Garden has been given a second chance at summer.

Glory to God the garden has had a much needed reprieve from the early fall weather and we've been back into summer for the last couple of weeks. When the fall weather hit in mid-August we went to work to cover the tomatoes that just do not like wet leaves and cool weather. It is the bane of tomatoes in the Pacific Northwest. Here is the big tent we built. It turned out much bigger than I had anticipated so I'm hoping to use it all winter to grow a salad garden throughout the winter!

To the right of the big tent you'll see the other tent we have over other tomatoes. There are 3 other tents that are pretty flimsy and just thrown over cages in order to keep them dry and bring warmth during the day. It all seems to work well. You can really feel the heat pour out of the even the little tents that aren't completely enclosed. The big tent gets downright hot, but the tomatoes love it. The weather is suppose to turn this week and I'm worried that it will stop the growth and there is quite a bit of growing and ripening to do yet.

Here are some tomatoes inside one of the smaller hoop houses. They look great. Below you'll our funky tomato plant. I don't know the variety for sure, I think it is stupice from Territorial Seed Company. We get the funkiest shapes off of this plant.

Corn! We have corn! Last year nothing became of our corn but this year it seems to be doing great! I tried something different that I read in a magazine and I planted a bean seed at the base of each corn stalk. If you look closely you'll see the vine growing up the stalk and there are flowers on it!

Speaking of beans! Our beans are doing great! I'm picking everyday for us to eat and I have one bed that I'm leaving to do a big picking in a day or 2 to freeze some! yeah!

Last but not least......
This one is for you my love!

It really isn't that big of a spider but my camera does well with closeups. Look at the hair on those legs.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


I wait for this day all year long! It is one of my favorite days of the entire year. It is the day I get to taste and savor the fruits of my labor. All the planning, sowing, caring for and then waiting, are finally rewarded. And these are 2 of my favorite rewards!

We are getting some pretty funky shapes on one of our tomato plants.

And this one is my favorite!