The boys are back in school. With Paul starting Kindergarden this year I have mornings to myself! How fast the few hours seem to go.
Fair is this weekend. I plan to enter some of my crochet, and possibly some canned goods. We're going to try to watch the 4-H shows, namely the beef and poultry, to give Shawn an idea of what he can do next year. I'm so excited that he's finally old enough to join 4-H! I loved my time in 4-H (9 years) and I hope he finds some things that spark his interest.
I've been doing a lot of canning lately. My friend and I spent a whole day making chicken stock and canning it in the pressure canner. We started boiling down chicken carcasses and feet around 9am and finished up around 11pm. Whew what a day! Soups and stews are one of my favorite things about the cooler weather! I've also put up some beet greens, 9 pints of strawberry jam, salsa, diced tomatoes in their own juice, dilly green beans and plain ole green beans. I'm thinking I'll do more tomatoes and jam before prices on them go sky high. I've been buying them in bulk at a local produce supplier. Gotta make more ketchup today before the last of the tomatoes spoil. And I could use the room in the fridge!
My poor garden didn't do much this year. No ripe tomatoes yet and NO strawberries, except maybe 5 that the birds got. Time to freshen up the strawberry patch. The green beans are doing good, but they got a late start too. Note to self-check green beans today! There has been enough to have with dinner a few nights, I hope to get a good bunch to can.
The Swiss Chard did awesome! I found a great Italian recipe for it. The beets did quite well, but I didn't thin much, so not too many big ones. But the greens were tender and useable. The turnips did well too, but again I didn't thin enough when they were little. There was still a fair amount of decent sized ones. I left some smaller ones in the garden, as the greens were already moth eaten, so hopefully they'll plump up a bit. Now the question is, what do I do with them?? Lettuce was good this year too. I forgot I had planted little Romaine lettuce and mistakenly took it for Spinach that we had missed (yumm, the spinach was good too!). When I started rinsing it off and the "big" bunches were falling apart into little bunches I realized what it was! It was a nice surprise.
The little birds (the buffs and Silver laced Wyandottes) are out with the big girls now. They are soo cute to watch. They recognize me when I come outside and come running. We butchered the two roos that had come from my hatching efforts along with the meat birds. They were starting to harass the girls too much, and were related to some of em, so we figured putting them in the freezer was best.
I picked up a Speckled Sussex rooster from a lady in town. Shawn named him Bob (I call him Bob-a-Roo-ni). He's an easy going guy, and not related to any of them. He just started crowing today. I was wondering about him. Hearing the juvenile roos learn to crow is pretty funny. Almost sounds like they are being strangled. He sounds like he's saying "Booooooo-oohhh".
Ribeye and DaisyMae are getting so big! We let them graze the yard, but it has to be under close supervision, as they have discovered that chicken feed tastes good (but not as good as their grain) and that my little trees work ok for rubbing their big fat heads on. But that ticks me off!! I've worked hard to grow the poor little trees, to see them destroyed in a matter of seconds gets my blood boiling! The pasture should be up and growing next spring (we're planting crested wheat this fall), so they should have more grazing then. And the horses. Although the horses have done their fair share of damage to my trees.
Poor old Annie. She got a huge wound on her left hind fetlock the week before we went to Alaska. Thankfully I have some great friends that helped me out, changing her bandage daily and giving her her senior feed. But she is going downhill fast. She has Cushings disease, had a huge twisted gut surgery about 17 years ago, is going deaf (or getting selective hearing, hehe) and her eyes are clouding over. Her night vision is about shot. The vet put her body scale at about 2-3 when he came to fix up her leg, and she's dropped since then. Not for lack of eating. And eating, and eating. It's her metabolic issues (part of the Cushings and the surgery) and age. I said a few years ago that I couldn't look out and see her looking so skeletal (like an old horse down the road), but now that it's at that point.......It's so hard! She's still got such spark! But she won't make it through another High Desert winter. No way, no how. Not even with a huge pile of quilted, super warm horsey blankets. I'm gonna let her enjoy the rest of the nice weather, graze the yard to her heart's content (except when she scarfs down the chicken feed) and then....I'll have to say goodbye.
She was the first horse we bought when we moved to Nevada, has done it all. Pony Club (3' double oxers!), rodeo (she's the horse who wants IN to the barrel arena, not balking away from the gate), parades (side saddle, with an old bridesmaid dress; flags galore), and 4-H horse shows (local and state) out the wazoo. She's taught my boys (and countless other children) about horsey etiquette, brushing, picking of feet, haltering, riding, balance in the saddle, and a million more things. THIS IS SO HARD!!!