Sunday, September 13, 2015

Never Enough

The literal fruits of our labors and the inevitable trying to keep the literal spoils to a minimum.
It's hard not to love this time of year.  Warm days, cooler nights, produce and the signs of a productive season tripping you in the garden and falling from the sky... yeah it's a good time.

Of course that doesn't mean I have anything like enough time to appreciate it.  Today's accomplishments included (yeah, just Sunday), tweaking and testing a yellow summer squash pizza crust recipe (5 qts shredded squash, who knows how many pounds) which was a great success, a full oven of overloaded cookie sheets covered with roasting peppers (because even after being frozen, they're ROASTED PEPPERS mmmMMmmmm), elderberry kombucha (so good even Mrs. Farmer likes it), another 7 quarts of processed tomato sauce and another pot of chopped tomatoes in the pipeline for the next batch... and no doubt stuff I'm forgetting now.

By the time you're done accounting for all of that, the animal chores, the prep and processing for what we ate today (all fresh of course), and a little of the "ugh tomorrow is Monday" last minute catch up chores... we're done. Good night.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Having a Hutch, it's Not All Intuition

Oh yes, "wascillwy" indeed.
We have had rabbits for 16 months or so now, since April 2014. Within that time there is a story of lessons we didn't know money we tried (and sometimes even succeeded) to save and time.  It doesn't seem like so much when I just say it has been almost a year and a half but it feels like a lot longer. I have managed to mention them previously.

The full story, with all the lessons and trials and problems (and interesting bits) will have to wait for another time.  I'm not sure when I'll have the energy to power through it all in one sitting but even touching so briefly on it now I know for sure I do not want to make the attempt today.  Which means we fast forward, for now and I tease the full story until "someday".

After 16 months and a lot of learning we have 15 rabbits here on the farm.  I am grateful to have so many, and also frustrated because it should be a great deal more. (continued)

Monday, August 17, 2015

Recipe Card: Oven Pickles

Oven Pickles, a Retrospective

2015's storage pickles are starting earlier this year.
Last September we talked about oven pickles but I never did some back to talk about how good they were.

The answer, of course, is they are excellent. Even now, 11 months later they have lasted well in the pantry if they have lost just a touch of their original crispness. The only reason they lasted this long at all is because we buried a few jars otherwise in this house pickles go fast. Very fast.

Which is one reason why we're meeting our early cukes with extra Ball Jars. (continued)

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Decking the Halls

My very favorite seasonal decorations.

Depicted here:  Argentina Peppers, basil, mullein

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A Softie?

Going outside in the morning to check on the animals is NOT a time when I want surprises.  Too many of them have been bad over the years.  Sometimes though I find something interesting, and that is always worth sharing.

Normally an egg like this won't last long in the bustling community nest many chickens share.  My girls are no exception waiting (only occasionally patiently) for their chance to add their egg to the growing pile in the corner of our cook.  Trading places, rolling eggs and otherwise stomping around of all those chicken feet would spell almost instant disaster for a soft shelled egg like this, at which point the girls would literally snap up the evidence so that nothing goes to waste. (continued)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Garden Bed FarmVid

After moving compost and manure for yet another double reach bed I decided that taking a walk to appreciate the work done past and present was a good idea.  Sharing seemed like a good idea too.

With appearances by:
Porkchop & Tenderloin

You will be able to see quite clearly that our beds are not straight.  This is intentional, the shape of the hill is not straight and it makes much more sense to follow the lay of the land than taking out a carpenter's square and trying to impose straight lines and angles on the landscape. (continued)

Saturday, June 20, 2015

A FarmVid Update

A few minute "look" into some of the goings on today.

With appearances by:
Baby birds (5 weeks old), baby bunnies (5 weeks old), a mama bunny (Gold Doe)... and just a peek at baby bunnies (5 minutes old), Lily, Geordi

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Finally time for Manure Therapy

Something in the compost is even more interesting
than fresh grass... I don't wanna know.

So much changes with the beginning of spring.
Soon the animals will move from winter housing to a more spread out (less messy) set up.  Soon the gardens will be planting and I'll be building more beds to make up for all the over estimating we have done with our seeds and starts this year.

But before that though, as soon as the piles can be pitchforked and there's a spot of grass clear it is time... to start the compost! (continued)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Carb Therapy For Cabin Fever

Learning new things was never so tasty.
20° with heavy winds today... better bake more *sigh*

Saturday, February 7, 2015

In which I wish there was no mention of snow.

We're running out of room above the snow line. Soon we'll be living in tunnels, devolving into sad blind creatures surviving on nothing but hatred, darkness and ice. Or I suppose spring will eventually come. I'm saying it now: next year can we spread out the misery some please? 5+ feet of snow fall in only 2 weeks time proves your point, mother nature. Business as usual would be appreciated.  Just saying. (continued)

Friday, January 30, 2015

Deep Snow

Ah, winter, there you are.  It just doesn't feel like the New England winter without a lot of snow.  There's something magical about not being able to see around snow plow piles, or walking 3 feet without getting snow in your boots.  This is the part I usually want to hurry up and get here so we can hurry up and get past it.  All in good time, I suppose.

After dropping 30" in about 36 hours Tuesday and Wednesday we definitely had our work cut out for us.  The snow blower and a few hours outside took care of the worst of it, but as a little more snow persists in falling today I find myself wondering if we are well and truly buried now until spring.

Some years the snow comes and the snow goes.  Big storms with a lot of accumulation spread out between long periods where the snow melts or blows away usually just in time for the next big blow.  Other years the snow falls, and falls, and falls and before you know it you're digging pathways just trying to find your pathways and the hope that it might melt off some before the next snow sounds like crazy talk. (continued)

Friday, January 23, 2015

Thermostat? What's a thermostat?

Feeding the dragon.
We heat with wood.  At least partially.  The house is not optimally designed for this, with a fireplace insert wood stove on one end of the house and a long, chilly walk to the bedrooms on the far side. This long ranch style with poor solar aspect doesn't lend itself to heating with oil really either, so in a choice between the two types of heat we err on the side of wood.

Mostly this works out well. Between the stove, a couple of strategically placed box fans, and embracing the need to actually use blankets at night we do alright.  I, for one, prefer to sleep in a cooler room anyway and if Mrs. Farmer would perhaps be more comfortable sleeping inside the wood stove rather than in the chilly bedroom even she rarely complains once she's under the down comforter and everything has warmed up. (continued)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

What's in a Meme?
This winter has thus far not been the cabin-fever rich, house bound, pile of free time I thought it would be.  I suppose this means not only that can be wrong occasionally but also that there is really no rest for weary me just yet.

One of the many things I have been spending time on is the forums over at (click the farmer to check it out).  There are lots of things going on over there, but the recent "most fun" thing is Paul Wheaton asks me to make memes for him.

I have some issue with the use of the word "meme" here, because these are not "ideas spreading through large numbers of people through our culture" but instead are memes only in as much as they are words over images that we hope will be "ideas spreading through large numbers of people through our culture".  Proto-memes then? Sure.  I am making proto-memes for Paul Wheaton by request. See the thread and participate here or (continue)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Fresh Snow

Doesn't take long for a lot of little feet
to stir up the fresh snow.
With 4-6" of snow on the ground now it feels more like the winter I expected this year.  Shoveling, chores, wood hauling and the like have really churned up the "white perfection" motif over the last couple of days but idyllic picturesque snowscapes never move me much after the first good snow of the season.  Once again we have snow in the forecast so before too long I expect we'll have our fresh coat on the ground and no doubt more shoveling and grumbling from me.

It's not all bad, of course.  The additional snow coverage will protect the soil and many of our plants from the most severe aspects of the wind and cold and even the swales with their optimal south-facing solar gain have a measurable blanket of protection.  This is New England though, so in 2 weeks I might be looking at bare ground again (who knows) but while the snow is here, benefits it will provide. (continued)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Cold Nights, Warm Kitchen

No visitors at the buffet. Bad sign.
Having repeatedly taunted the New England weather over the last several weeks mother nature has decided to kick me hard, and it probably serves me right.  From temperatures pushing 50° F around Christmas we have plummeted severely.  Daytime temps have flirted with freezing for the past week and overnights have been closer to zero. Tomorrow we'll be lucky to get to 20° for a high and -10° (yeah, that's 40 below freezing) overnight.

Makes me shiver just talking about it.  One benefit from last week's weather though is we have a bit of snow on the ground.  This makes chores harder but the scenery better.  So far I have not slipped on the ice yet, but I suspect I'll have my chance before things warm up.  With the snow layer as shallow as it is, a day or two of halfway decent weather will probably melt it all.  Not that I'm complaining mind you... but this time last year I'm pretty sure we had over a foot on the ground and more on the forecast. (continued)

Friday, January 2, 2015


He's only getting started. I bet he'll work his way
up to colors and stripes.
One needs to collect the eggs every day with chickens. It's a really good reminder usually of how good they are to keep around.

The rabbits I would not have considered keeping for eggs. Of course, the experts only write the books but nobody yet has gotten the rabbits to read them so maybe the poor critters just don't know how it's supposed to work.  Here I was, operating under the assumption that my rabbits were mammals, and that this one was in fact male... and he laid an egg.

The chickens left me 11 eggs of the more standard variety today too so maybe we'll let Mr. Rabbit lay a few more and see what happens.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

There's a First Time For Everything

Assorted bits ready for trimming/cleaning.
Turns out pig butchery is pretty easy. I was surprised too. Best part as far as I'm concerned is there are no feathers.  The meat to plucking time ratio is optimal.  The sheer volume can be a bit of an issue, but I have always said having enough of a good thing to be worried about having "too much" is the kind of problem I like to have.  More photos after the break.