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Monday, August 29, 2011

Sad news

So after a wonderful day with family and friends - and chickens (I actually had been picking them up and used to them), yesterday was the exact opposite.

I am sad to report that 5 of the 6 chickens have died.  A hawk got into their pen and stomped on them.  I saw some of it happen....I tried to run out there and scare the hawk away, but I could only get so far and then my fear of birds (not of chickens anymore) kicked in and I panicked.  It did end up leaving but not before 5 of the birds had died.  The 6th survived because it was underneath some of the others and she is doing ok - she still needs some warm thoughts, and attention because she is kind of still in shock.

Jeff is adamant that we're getting more chicks as soon as tonight.  They survive better in groups and our lonely chicken needs some new friends.  I'm not sure if I can handle something like this happening again, but I guess it's nature, it happens, and we move on.

That's all I can report for now - I'm sorry it was all sad news.  I'll keep you posted in the days to come.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Washington County Fair...etc....

Last week, Jeff treated me to the WashPa county fair!!! I've never been, and we had both been told that it was something we HAD to go to!!!  It inspired me.  Next year I'm going to submit some of my vegetables to the produce competition!!!  I saw some green beans, peppers, tomatoes and more...that won awards and mine look way better!!!

We also strolled along the horses, cows, pigs, sheep and chickens...I hope my chickens do not get as big as those suckers!!!!! OMG - I will FREAK out!!! haha.  We also saw some goats...which I'm toying with getting a few. Go ahead...roll your eyes...  I don't know...they kind of act like dogs, are cute, and they cut your grass for you.  And their milk makes one heck of a cheese!!  What do you think?!

I'm so excited - I've already started planning the garden for next year.  Definitely Hops - for my cousin Doug who likes to brew beer (They had it as a favor for their wedding and it was AWESOME!), an only Herb Garden...with more than I have this year, a pepper garden, and everything else I had this year.   Anyone else have any requests...and/or suggestions?!?!

Tonight I'm making Hot Sauce with Tomatoes from the garden...and hopefully a Tomato Sauce.  I'll post recipes and pictures at a later date. 

If you ever want to leave a comment, or send me an email - my email is!! : )

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Produce Update

This weekend I made BBQ sauce from scratch - no, not from ketchup, but from Tomatoes from the garden!!  I just need to can it, but I think it tastes pretty good.

Charred Pepper BBQ Sauce
courtesy of: Put 'em Up

1 lb chili peppers, grilled, with skins peeled and seeded
5 lbs tomatoes, peeled and cored
1 pound yellow onions, chopped
2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 TBS ground allspice
1 TBS salt
1 tsp ground cloves

1.) Roughly chop Tomatoes and Peppers.
2.) Combine the chilies, tomatoes, onions, brown sugar, vinegar, garlic, allspice, salt and cloves in a large reactive saucepan.  Cover and bring to a boil.
3.) Remove the cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 1 - 1 1/2 hours, until sauce is thickened.
4.) Puree with a stick blender.
Refrigerate: - Ladle into bowls or jars.  Cool, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.
Can - leave 1/4 inch of headspace, process for 20 minutes.  Store for up to 1 year.

I have other tomatoes peeled, cored and ready to go for three items - ketchup, homemade tomato sauce, and homemade hot sauce.  I will have a lot more, so I think I'm going to make some sun-dried tomatoes and a Green Tomato Chutney.

I'm also planning on making some dill pickles - then I may be caught up a little bit on produce usage.  I also froze about 2 more pounds of green beans.  I still have tons more growing so I plan on canning some dill green beans.

I still have 3 zucchini to use - I'm thinking zucchini chocolate chip cookies and zucchini bread.  Also, some yellow squash.

See below for some recent harvests, and other items growing!!

oh yeah...and Oscar and a chicken!!

Part of the garden and Jeff's Kayaks

One of the it is double this size!

Harvest from a week ago
Banana Peppers

Bread and Butter Pickles

Part of the Tomato Harvest

The corn section

One of the jack-o-lantern pumpkins

Heirloom Tomato

Every veggie on these platters is courtesy our mini farm!!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Chickens are a month old!!!!

So the chickens turned a month old this past Monday!!!  To celebrate, Jeff took them out of the brooder one by one to join the family for a few minutes in the living room.  There are some funny pictures of the one of the kittens going nose to beak with one of the chicks and Jeff took a few pictures of me holding them!!!

Oscar and one of the chicks

I did ok until Jeff refused to take one back then I started to have a minor panic attack and he had to come rescue me.  Of course, when he did - the one that was freaking me out pooped on my shirt!!!  Believe me, the shirt has been retired to the garbage can! haha

Sedona, of course, still thinks that they are her babies!!! She kept nudging them and wanted to be near them!!  It looked like she had a HUGE smile on her face the whole time - TOO FUNNY!!

Sedona and one of her Babies!! : )
We also started to plan for the chicken coop (no, we still don't have one ready) - but we know where we are going to put it in the yard and are going to build a pen for them to be in, in the meantime.  We (Jeff) moved them outside today so we could clean out the cage and start the process of them being able to be outside.  We still have yet to name them?!  Any suggestions? - we have 3 black and white ones and 3 brown ones...All girls! 

Here are a few pictures!!

Chicks finding their way home!
I think the black and white one in this picture is the "mother hen" - she actually went over to these two other chicks and guided them back into the brooder!!

Back safe and sound!!
Go on and shake your tail feather!

Monday, August 8, 2011


I was a busy bee this weekend...but I was having computer issues and Jeff was JUST able to fix it, so I wasn't able to post till now!!!

Saturday I woke up bright and early and FINALLY canned the pickles I made a while back.  I also pickled some banana peppers too.  Produce is ready for the BBQ Sauce, just have to cook it, puree it and can it!!

The garden is still going strong!!! I now have TONS of cucumbers (and I've given some away!!) Two red bell peppers almost ready to pick.  More banana peppers, more tomatoes, yellow squash and more!  There is a lot of ears of corn growing, as well as at least one butternut squash and one acorn squash...I have one pretty large watermelon (about a foot long!) and two more growing.  Some of the pie pumpkins have started to grow too!!

Canning is pretty easy, but it takes a lot of equipment, space, and time!  Most recipes will have processing times, but the basic steps are:

1.)  Wash the jars, lids, and bands with hot soapy water.
2.)  Sanitize the jars, lids, bands either in the dish washer, or boil for 15 minutes.
3.)  Bring a LARGE pot of water to boil, use a canning basket (I bought a whole canning kit with everything you need in it), or if one is not available, place some lids along the bottom. 
*you don't want the jars to sit in contact with the bottom of the pot)
4.)  Fill jars with recipe of choice.  Remove air bubbles (run a knife along the inside edge of jar), wipe top of jar with a damp paper towel. 
5.)  Place the flat lid on the top of the jar.  Lightly screw on the band - use your fingertips, once the jar starts to "spin" it is plenty tight!
6.)  Place jars in boiling water (make sure there are enough jars - empty or full - so that the processing jars don't tip).  The water may not boil, wait till it comes to a rolling boil and then complete next steps.
7.)  Cover and process for time stated in recipe.  Once time is up, remove pot from heat and let stand in the pot for 5 minutes.
8.)  Remove cans from pot (do not dump the settled water into the pot, as this could disturb the canning process.) 
9.)  Set aside for 24 hours.  Once 24 hours is up if lid does not "bounce back" when pressed on, the canning was successful.
10.)  Store in a dark, cool space.  (most are ok for up to a year!)

So a lot of steps, but still relatively easy.  The longest part is waiting for the pot of water to boil!!!  I'm willing to give lessons if anyone has a lot of produce that they need to use!! 

You could also just follow a recipe and store it in your fridge without canning, but items have a short life span this way.  I hope this helps!! : )

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Still Harvesting...

So I have about 10 lbs of cucumbers in my fridge (without adding in the 5 lbs of pickles that still need canning...), about 5 lbs of hot peppers.  10 Tomatoes, 2 Green Peppers....and tons more on the way!!

The watermelon I found yesterday has doubled in size - it's about 6 inches long and about 3 inches in diameter.  There is a 2nd one growing that I found today...too cute when they're "babies."  The two pumpkins I have are both 6-8 inches long and about 6 inches in diameter - I'm hoping they get MUCH bigger!!!  I found a pie pumpkin growing today too, but it's really little and I hope it makes it!!

Yellow squash is finally growing around the corn, and butternut and acorn squashes too!!  We have 4 ears of corn growing.

The chicks are getting SO big!!! I figured out what scares me about them - whenever they start to flap their wings...I freak out!!! Otherwise, they're pretty keeps "flying" to the top of the feeder!!  We've had the cats and two of the dogs join them in their brooder just so they get used to them.  The one cat turned tail and ran right out, the other cat and the dogs sniffed around a bit.  They're almost ready to move outside...They'll still stay in their current brooder for a bit.  We'll section of a part of the coop until they get big enough to move into the whole coop!!

I'll be sure to post pictures soon!!! (I need to tell my photographer - aka Jeff - what pictures we need done!!!  Either that, or I need a new camera!!)

Monday, August 1, 2011


My tomatoes are FINALLY starting to turn!!

I have about 5 Beefsteak tomatoes, tons of Roma's that are almost there, some Big boys that are close, and some cherries that have yet to start to color!  Tomato sauce, salsa, etc will be here soon!!  My red bell peppers are starting to turn red too!!  I have a few ears of corn growing too : )!!!

I haven't updated recently because I've been feeling a little under the weather, but hope to get back in the swing of things soon!!

More recipes to come!!