Every Day Life

Not every day is a “Houdini” type of day. Many days are just plain ole days. Today, I got up did my outside chores, have been working around on the inside of the house. I have some laundry to fold which I will do when I get off of here. A friend in Kentucky sent me some cuttings from her forsythia, spirea and this beautiful flowering nettle (not stinging) that I planted today. She even sent me a baggy of rooting hormone to use. So, I put them all in pots and they are on the front porch where I can keep them moist. She said she has huge forsythias all over their property that she planted this way. I watered everything on the porch.

I watered my garden a bit this morning while it was still early. There has been lots of rain in the area, but it keeps missing us. I planted 2 bird house gourd seeds at the bottom of each of the four legs of one of my garden teepees. Only 2 sprouted and they are on the same leg. My friend told me that they will still probably take over the whole teepee. My Luffa gourd seeds sprouted really well. I may end up having to thin them a bit. I have little pickles that are 2 to 3 inches long. =) I am still fighting powdery mildew on my zucchini. I have not given up the fight though.

I have about 14 pounds of Vidalia onions that I want to slice and put on my dehydrator. I also need to pick some of my lemon balm, chives and fennel and begin drying them. I may hang them up from a beam in my house, rather than use the dehydrator. I could also use my oven as I have a pilot light. Speaking of oven, I need to make some yogurt tonight. I put it in the oven overnight and it works like a charm.

I have this one bird that keeps singing to me. I wish there was a way to put his song on here so you could help me identify him. I sing his tune back to him and then he sings it to me.

While like Pat says, you wonder who if anyone is actually reading your posts. Very few people leave a comment, so you have to wonder. Then someone will email me and tell me about something they read on this blog. =)

Well, I need to get back to work. This break is over!!! By the way, the first picture above is taken from our hay field. The neighbor’s own an ultralight aircraft. They are landing in this picture. The other picture is jut a picture of our hay field/pasture.

Houdini the Pig

Tina Leigh had posted on her blog Blessings In The South pictures of a cat and a turkey looking in the window at her. I commented on them and then said I would have to blog about the story of Houdini. This is a picture of Houdini. He EARNED that name. This was the first pig that we ever raised. My son raised him for the fair. We found a pig who was around 50 to 60 pounds. We were still making the pen when we brought the pig home on Saturday, so we put him in the front yard in a pen made of four 16′ long stock panels. We went to bed that night and got up early on Sunday morning to do chores. Joshua, our son came in and asked if either of us had moved his pig. We both said no, and followed him outside. Our property was surrounded by some pretty high weeds. We could not see very far when looking for a little black pig. We brought Star, the dog out to help. We heard some snorting and noise and away we went. Well, we chased him all over, but never got really close or saw him. I walked out to the road with my son to come around from another angle. We were just in time to see him cross the road and go down the driveway of our neighbors. They lived way back in a pine woods. We hollered to Michael and started after the pig. He was rooting around in their woods fairly close to their house. Now remember, this is early Sunday morning and no one is up and around or even stirring yet. I told my son that I would distract him with the dog and he was to sneak up behind him. I told him when he got a hold of him to hold on NO MATTER WHAT!! So, the dog and I circled around in front of the pig and were talking to him and keeping him occupied. My son came up from behind, dove and grabbed a hip. From the moment his hand even touched the pig, it screamed. It did not oink, it did not squeal, it SCREAMED!! I am sure that the neighbors had to sit straight up in bed. It would only stop screaming long enough to take a breath to scream again. My son held it tight and firm. He was holding it agains his chest. Even a clean little piggy stinks. So both his nose and his ears were being assaulted. My husband by this time had made his way over. They two guys took turns carrying the stinky, screaming pig back home. We put him in a stall in the barn until we got his pen done. As soon as they let him go, he got quiet. We had read in Joel Salatin’s book that a single strand of electric wire would keep a pig in. This must work for a pig trained from the time it was born or something. We were going to make sure that our pig did not get out, so we were putting up 3 lines of high tensile wire around his pen. We made so many mistakes that we later learned from. One of those mistakes was “where” we put the pig pen. It was up behind our other pasture This would have been fine, except for the fact that there was not space between the garden fence and the pasture fence (and the trees that were there) to back a truck or trailer up to the pen to load the animal for fair day. =) Pig loading was another memory building/character building day. Anyway, the pasture that Houdini’s pen was behind held all of our other animals. We did not have much pasture at that house. So, we had a cow, a heifer, 3 goats and lots of chickens all in the pasture. The hen house was up in the corner of the pasture near where we made Houdini’s pen. They got the last strand of wire up and came to get the pig, who once again screamed the entire time they touched him. As they carried him up, both cows, all 3 goats and most of the chickens were standing at the fence there beside us to watch. It made us think of those scenes in Babe where the animals are watching the farmer through the window. The dog was up there watching and even the cat came to see the event. They put him in the pen and he looked around. He went to the other side, touched the fence and squealed. Backed up went to the fence again and squealed again. Then he backed up, charged and went right through the fence. He was out again. After catching him, we tried one more time thinking maybe he had learned something. I know, we are to optimistic. He escaped again in the same way. We caught him again and put him back in the barn stall. We took down the high tensile wire, bought some pig fence and put it up around his pen. It was good and tight, and we had a nice gate. Once again, they picked up the pig who screamed and carried him up to the pen to put him in. We again had an audience that watched with rapt attention. He did pretty good in that pen, but then the next day realized he could lift the bottom a bit, dig a bit and out he went AGAIN. Michael was not home this time. Joshua and I caught him and put him back in the barn. We went and bought some tent stakes. We staked down the entire perimeter of his fence. This finally kept him in. Once he was a little bigger, my son would take him on walks. To win at the fair, you had to have a mean, lean, slim pig. He would let him out and the pig would take off at a run with the dog at his heels. A couple of times he scared the dog coming out of the shoot and the dog took off with the pig chasing. (Life is NEVER dull around our house). Eventually he would tire down some and my son would follow him with a wooden cane to steer him. Before the fair actually arrived, he would walk him a couple of miles down our road. People would laughingly comment to us that they saw Joshua out walking his pig. He did not win first prize, but I do believe he placed in his divsion.

The Lamb Rebellion

We have a ewe named Faith. She has been getting out of the fence every day, several times a day for the last week and a half. So, yesterday, we caught her and her ram lamb, Rodney and put them in solitary confinement. Today, we moved them to a nicer cell, oh, I mean pen that was a bit airier for this hot weather. We got Faith first and my husband carted her over to her new quarters. Well, her young son did not like being left behind. I was out in the garden and he was bleating like crazy. Next thing you know, he had jumped the gate and was out. Now, when they get out, they go in the garden. They eat the taller grass around the edge, but have been know to take off at a run through the entire garden. Also, my husband found nibble marks on his corn today. We herded Rodney back into the pen, and caught him again and carried him over to be with his Momma. We were inside and heard something… what is that bleating in my ears? Another ram lamb has found a way to get out. I went out and he jumped through a hole in the fence that Faith had created in her escapades. Safe at last. I came back in to get the milking supplies and the calf’s bottle when Michael comes in and tells me that the ram lamb is out again. This escapee is called Cookies-N-Cream because of his coloring. The pictures above are of ram triplets that my ewe, Sunshine had. We named them Chocolate, Vanilla and Cookies-N-Cream. I am sure you can tell which name goes with which lamb. We fixed the holes, and the fence was low in one spot, so we fixed that. Now, I hope and pray that all the sheep and lambs stay in.

More Storms

As you can see from the above pictures, we had another storm last night. It actually never got really bad at our house. We had lots of wind, some rain, and some lightning and thunder. All around us got hit really hard though. Newark which is to the south of us and Mt. Vernon which is North of us both got hit really hard and had lots of trees down. There were 28,000 homes without power. We were told by the power company that ours may be out for 2 to 3 days. It ended up being out for only 5 1/2 hours. God’s power is awesomely displayed in a storm. I love to watch them coming in. The air went from 89 degrees to 68 degrees in a very short time. While I was out taking the pictures, I could feel the cool breeze curl around me. The rain would come slanting from one direction and the come from the opposite direction. I was trying to keep a few windows open for the air, but the rain would not make up it’s mind which side of the house it wanted to hit. =)

Oven Fried Taters

I have always wanted to make good home-made fries. I have had no luck until this evening. You will love these.
I used 5 Idaho taters, left the peels on and used a french fry cutter
5 Tblsp. Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Put your oven rack as close to the heat source as you can. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.
Put the potatoes in a bowl and cover with hot tap water and soak for 10 mins. This is part of what really makes them work, so don’t skip it.
Coat a cookie sheet with 4 of the 5 Tblsp. of olive oil
Use about a tsp. or less of salt sprinkled evenly over the oil and about 1/2 tsp. of pepper done the same way.
Drain the potatoes and pat them dry. Put them back in the bowl after you rinse it and dry it. Put the other Tblsp. of olive oil in and coat the potatoes.
Then spread them in a single layer on the cookie sheet. Cover tightly with foil and put in oven for 5 mins. Take the foil off and then cook them for another 15 mins. Pull them out and flip them over the best you can. Put them back in the oven for another 7-10 minutes. When you pull them out put them on a paper towel lined counter or pan. I used a non-fuzzy towel to put them on. You can add more salt and pepper if you want, but I don’t think it needs them. They were WONDERFUL. Even Joshua, my son said they were the best fries he has eaten.

Velcro Animals

There is a strange phenomena in our area. We live in the far south east corner of our county. We will check the radar and a strong storm will be coming our way. It can even already be in the county and almost ready to hit us. Then it starts to break up and goes around us on both sides. Sometimes this is nice, but other times we either need the rain or want the snow. We have been needing rain for awhile here. There was a really STRONG line of storms in the county and quickly heading our way. There was great areas of red on the radar, we were under a storm warning. My husband and I were out in the garden and it came up quickly. The sky darkened, the wind started whipping the tops of trees about, we headed for the house. Then, nothing happened. Not one drop of rain fell. Not one flash of lightning or clap of thunder. It never ceases to amaze us. Praise the Lord, today the rains have finally come. We have had some lightning and thunder, but we have had a good steady rain. Thank you Lord!!!

To get back to the title of my blog today, when it thunders, our two dogs become what we call “Velcro” dogs. They stick very close like a brother. =) We have had lots of other “Velcro” animals as well. The first picture you see up there is one of my parades to the mailbox. One of our sheep rejected a little ewe lamb named Mary. We had to bottle raise her. She loved being with me or just people in general. She would walk to the mailbox with me or anywhere else I would let her. She would stop and nibble here or there. Then she would look up and see that I was more than 5 feet away from her and she would come running and literally stick to my leg for a bit. I would walk down to the mail box and she would come, both dogs would come and sometimes even a cat. I enjoyed the company. If you have ever bottle fed a calf or kid, you also know about “Velcro” animals. They want to be very close to you because they look to you for their sustenance and their protection and they love you and want to be close.

Isn’t that how we are to be with the Lord? We are to be his “Velcro” children. To stick close to Him for our sustenance, our protection, to love Him with all that we are. Oh, there are so many lessons that the Lord gives us through His creation. Blessed be the Name of the Lord!!!

Puttin’ Up The Hay

We had our hay cut by a local farmer last week. We thought for sure, he would come rake it and bale it on Saturday. Well, Saturday came and went with no sign of him. Early Sunday morning, we saw him drive out there and check it to see if it was dry. We were getting ready to leave to meet with our fellowship when the rake and then the baler headed out to the field. We had an 80% chance of rain last night. So, that meant we had to come home after the meal and put the hay in the barn. He always does our first cutting hay in the huge round bales. We have a smaller tractor and it will not lift a bale high enough to stack them two high. We were going to borrow a friend’s tractor and Michael was going to drive one tractor and I was going to drive the other. When we told the fellowship that we had to leave to go and put our hay away, they almost all came to help. The one family even drove their tractor over. So, everyone (men and young men) took turns on the tractors or in the barn. The other tractor could lift a bit higher than ours. They would put it up there and then men would push and hold it while the tractor pulled away. Then they would heave it into place. The bales are at least 500 lbs. The one family has 10 children and the other one has 4. So, we had babies, and little ones running around (away from the tractors), and the girls climbing up on the big bales still in the field. It ended up taking quite a long time, but we had fun doing it. I went and got some ice and water and some ice cream for treats during the middle of it all. It was very hot out there, but there was a wonderful breeze blowing.

In past years the man who bales, has let us use one of his tractors to stack the hay. His would allow us to stack them 3 high. He sold that tractor though, so we were on our own. We ended up with 79 bales and they barely fit in the barn. Praise the Lord, it all got put up before we got any rain.

The first picture is the empty barn. This is the top part of a bank barn. The bales you see in the barn are yucky hay from last year that we did not use.

The second picture shows some of the men trying to roust pigeons out of the rafters. They can sure ruin some good hay.

The third picture is of some of the girls posing on a hay bale.

The fourth picture is looking out from the barn. Two of the little guys are playing on the bales in the foreground.

In the last one you can see the bales dotting the field.