Thursday, October 20, 2011

We're Back :)

Now for lots of "boring" mundane news of what we've been up to...

On the garden front: I have one large, green pumpkin sitting out in the garden. I don't think there's any hope of it turning orange before the first frost kills the vine. I hope there are some good recipes for green pumpkin out there :) I always kind of wanted to try making pie with it like in Little House on the Prairie. Remember when Ma makes the pie out of green pumpkin and Pa thinks it's apple pie?

I also have heaps of green Serrano chiles. Nate was going to make salsa and never got around to it. I'll have to get him to slice them for me (I Don't like handling hot peppers) and I'll pickle them for him. Though, he hasn't eaten his jalapeno slices from last year. I think he forgot about them.

We missed the fall crop of raspberries. Such a short window compared to spring. And only made two blackberry pies and one jar of syrup. No jam, or anything else. I made one pot of pear butter and froze it in small containers. I started to make applesauce one day and decided to make pie instead. I have six jars of tomato sauce in the freezer and one jar of dried tomatoes. And that's it on the preservation front. I really planned to do much better this year. Oh well.

We tried our first crop of meat chickens this year. I have to say, the processing is not my favorite thing to do (obviously.) But it's worth it to have meat in the freezer. We have lots more to do and will be doing a few each weekend until it's done.

Our "keeper" flock has grown as well. We now have six roosters and eighteen hens. So many pretty and fun boys we have trouble getting rid of them all. So, we need six more hens for the four-to-one ratio that's supposed to be best for them :) Nate really wants some more mille fleur booted bantams (if you find a picture of "Little Red on here that's the breed and color) so we'll probably try to get some eggs from our friends who have them and fill our quota that way. The boys each picked two laying hens to order when we got the meat chicks. Brannon chose "Easter Eggers" which are mixed breed Auracanas, Joshua chose Barred Rocks. I find it fascinating that they both chose the same breeds as last year (I guess I expected them to change their minds :) Sadly their previous hens met sad ends, presumably in predators stomachs. Brannon named his girls "Owl" and "Agmes". Joshua originally named his "Black Eagle" and "Agnes".  Then he switched to "Agmes" and "Agnes". Now the two girls are unnamed because he can't decide what he wants to call them. Now if we can just keep the girls alive through the deadly months of April and May we'll be doing good. I think these must be the "baby months" and the predator moms and dads are extra bold and desperate because we lose chickens in broad daylight when we're all home. It's just when there's lots of new fresh food around and the chickens are eager to be out and about after a rainy, cold winter of sticking close to home or being stuck inside. We're planning to build a covered run for them so we can let them out during the dangerous months and still keep them safe.

Our Madrones and Walnuts have been attacked by web worms this year. Wretched beings. The boys were even willing to forgive wasps for being wasps when they heard that they eat web worms. We cut lots of web worms out to the Madrones that we could reach, and thankfully they didn't hit our fruit trees badly at all, just a branch here and there. (the chickens really liked the branches full of caterpillars we kept dumping up there for them). Our big walnut tree survived pretty well. I've seen several trees in town with no leaves left and web all the way to the ground!!

Nate's been really busy with school while working most weekends. The boys and I are always looking forward to the weeks between terms when we actually get to See him :) He's enjoying working for the fire station. He had a really fun time doing open houses with kindergartners. He said if all public relations were with five-year-olds we would Love to it :D

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