Well, Hello There!

I'm so glad you came to visit my cottage.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Four Toad Summer

We've decided, after seeing 4 toads in the goats watering trough, that it is a 'Four Toad Summer'.  The drought has made raising veggies, tending to animals, and fishing in our pond difficult and on the verge of impossible. But... we've preservered and managed to put away a few veggies and now that the pond has become so low on water that the pump won't supply enough oxygen to the fish, we've begun harvesting the two year old catfish.  Although we will enjoy eating the fish, it's sad to see them grow so large and not reach their full potential. I imagined myself hauling out a 6lb+ catfish one summer and having a photo to go into my scrapbook.

Since all the plants have long since died or in the drought phase of drying up, we are putting our energy (did I actually say energy???!!!) ahhh, excuse me, our spare time into working on the barn to get some things finished.  Reidel only lacks two drawers having all the kitchen cabinets finished. I'm so tickled to finally see an end to all those dishes staring me in the face. After 10 yrs of waiting, this hurdle cleared is a special one.

My son fell and broke his ankle and since he doesn't have insurance it's going to be a long haul I'm afraid. It's a shame I can't loan him my insurance. :>)  Alas, that's not how it works in the real world.  I have no idea how they will make it financially, but I do know a great big God that is full of mercy and miracles.  We will have to trust that He and whomever He moves on to help will work it all out.  I'm just glad today to be able to say I know Him in His glory and know that His miracles are still ever present in this time.  I give God all the honor, praise, and worship for His mighty works. I'm so glad He calls me friend.

Reidel and I are finishing up a birdhouse order, so I will post those photos when it's finished.  Seems this is the year of the big birdhouse. :>)  Of course now I want one for myself. Isn't it funny how we see something someone else has and it makes us want one?!  I sure wish that would happen to me when I see someone's clean house!!! LOL  

Ok, that's all for this time. Remember to get down and get dirty even if it's to color a get well banner with your granddaughters. :>)  It was much fun! 

Prim Blessings from Plumrose Cottage!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

In a Hurry?

Seems the pumpkins are in a hurry to be carved or eaten, not sure which at this point.  They are quickly turning orange and I, the goat herder, egg gatherer, bean picker, and garden decorator, hummm, Jill of all things homesteading, but Matron of none, am not sure how to progress with this little beauties. Got some web searching to do.  I am planning on canning pumpkin pie filling for the obvious PIES, but also for bread, cookies and maybe even brownies. I'm thinking strongly and  probably much too hard and long on a pumpkin brownie recipe. You know probably more than I do about types of brownies, but in my limited knowledge there are fudge, cake, and even the blondies.  So I've decided to name mine "Jackies". :>)  Another future project for this old gal to figure out. 

I've got the most beautiful daylilies blooming. They are a real weakness of mine and have been ever since I was in the Lufkin Hemerocallis Society.  It was great fun and a sinful indulgence for me to visit those vast day lily farms on our excursions, because I would spend funds needed at  home on the next color of daylily. LOL  So I got a stronghold on it and have just in the last two years allowed myself the luxury of buying some more varieties to add to my line-up.  Warning: Lots of photos below!

Yeppers! I snuck in that hydrangea photo.  Made you look!  LOL  I have one hydrangea that has 3 colors of blooms on it.  Very unusual since I've not added anything to the soil around it.  I love drying them and using them in arrangements here and there throughout the house.  They keep their color so well when dried.

Today is hot hot and more hot!  I tried working outside for a bit, but it was just too hot. Good time to add photos to the blog I thought as I turned a fan on high.  :>)  Before it got too hot this morning, I picked another dishpan of Cherokee Trail of Tears beans to make bean pico de gallo or relish. I guess it could be called just about anything. I blanched the beans which turn a gorgeous purple hue and then cooled them off with cold ice water, then let them drain.  While they were draining, I diced up 3 of our homegrown Mammoth Jalapeno peppers, 1/2 a purple onion, a large tomato, and 1/2 a can of black olives.  It's good on just about anything. We are going to top some of our remaining gourmet lettuce from the cold frame beds.  The dogs didn't destroy all the lettuce thank goodness. Since they are so good at laying in the raised beds, I've collected up all my garden trowels and forks and stuck them in every available 'dogie lounge' in the beds. So far it's working.

Sounds are coming from my tummy. It must be lunch time!  Getting dirty makes me hungry. :>)))

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I Kid You Not...

... it's a kid's life here at the farm.  Play and sleep, sleep and play.  There's no time for them to be worrisome or bothered.  We could all take a lesson from these little kids, whether goat kids or my little human grandkids. Abi, Sarah, and Lizzi came for a visit and they played until they were so tired. The tractor was the best feature on the farm this time. I think Sarah 'drove' it the most. Such sounds she was making while she pretended to roam the country side. They all three climbed it like a jungle-gym, but the old Ferguson didn't mind. I think it was fate (or whatever I should call it... maybe devine providence?) that the tractor and I have the same last name. Of course I added another last name in 1973, but I'm a Ferguson all the same. Thankfully, I don't have two big black tires hanging on the side of me, but I have an inner tube on the front. LOL That's close enough.
It's always much more enjoyable to see the farm through a child's eyes. It turns from something that requires a lot of work into something magical. The girls made a play like lemonade stand with real lemonade and planted up several plants. Abi potted up some sweet potato vine in a hanging basket, Sarah potted up some Mexican heather, and Lizzi potted up some purple basil.  They love to plant things. I think maybe they have a little bit of this MiMi in there somewhere.
While the 3 little girls  played up a storm, the 3 little boys played too.  Evidenly it's joyful to be a kid!  It takes a kid to help us remember how to play and to be happy. 
Tira, the 1/2 Corgi, tried to stay hidden the whole time the girls were here.  She came out after they left as if to say "All that giggling and for WHAT?"  Tira was born old I think.  She's not much on playing, just laying.

Speaking of laying, I think it's time for a nap.  This old lady is not a kid!

Instead of getting dirty today, I think I'll just make a list of things to plant. LOL

A Berry Pickin' Day

It was a berry good day today!  I didn't realize that my wild berry patch had produced so well.  Reidel and I picked for quite awhile... well until I had to lay down to pick the last batch. :>)  It's back breaking work, but well worth it to have that delicious pie later for supper. I make the pie crust pie in that I layer a crust, then berries, then crust, then berries... you get the picture. Each layer of crust is browned before adding more berries, then the last pie crust is brushed with real butter and then sprinkled with sugar. Personally, I like the dumpling berry cobblers, but since this is Reidel's favorite that's what I make. After all, I would have mowed down those prickly berry vines years ago, but he saw the benefit of having them so talked me out of it.  Now I'm glad. Sometimes husbands do know best ladies. LOL  Case in point, I wanted this barn/house to have the garage facing the street.  The hubster said he'd rather the garage be at the back so no one could see if we were home or not. So I agreed. I love it!! We can sit out on the driveway and watch the sunset and believe me they are beautiful almost every night.

Picking the berries was fun. I tested out the theory that 'drinking fresh goat's milk that the goats had eaten poison ivy vines thereby offsetting my extreme allergy to poison ivy'... worked!  There was the dreaded vines all in with the berries and not one blister did I have afterwards. I'm a happy camper or I should say berry picker. There's so many benefits to a fresh organic life that I don't understand why everyone doesn't want to live that way. :>)
Ahhh, the pie.  Now that's a work of art.  Brings back so many memories of being at my Granny's house.  Funny how a smell or taste can suddenly hurl one back to long ago. 

If you can't get dirty today... go berry picking! You'll have lovely purple fingers.

In the Garden

Reidel, my husband of 36 yrs now, and I had a great day working in the garden.  The Cherokee Trail of Tears beans needed something to run on, so since this is Tallowberry Creek Farm, we cut some tallowberry tree limbs to serve as braces on the willow branch arbor or tipi. I sure liked how it turned out and the beans are already trying to find a hold for their little tendrils.
This is a pre-bean photo. :>)  I've already picked a cooking of them and they are wonderful. I usually don't like a dark bean, but they have marvelous flavor so they are definite keeper.  I'll save seeds for next year's planting. 

Remember... Get Dirty... grow something!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Just KIDding...

Wow! I forgot how much fun a passle of new goat kids could be. So far there are five and their energy level is only something I could dream of.  Seemingly I can't get anything done for watching their antics on the balance beam, games of follow the leader, and then I do believe they are playing donkey kong.  It's got to be a game about donkeys because they are standing still and all of a sudden they throw their back legs straight out. I fully expect to hear a 'heeehawww' any day now.

Monday was the day for disbudding their horns.  I hate disbudding day!!, but it has to be done to not only protect them but me too.  Gave all of them a booster shot to ward off illness and gave them a big heaping dose of hugs and kisses.  I've decided on keeping the 4th generation Mini Nubians, Shiloh and Tobie. I didn't have to talk to myself much to say Yes.  :>)  I will start everyone on their coccidiosis treatments at 3 wks of age. With our land being so wet all the time, I have to use every precautionary measure to insure they stay healthy.  I wish that only organic and holistic methods worked for me, but sometimes at my best effort I can't justify my wanting to stay stictly organic with my goat friends having worm levels that make them unhealthy.  I worm with the 'nasty' stuff 2x's per year and in between I use Molly's Herbal wormers.  However, I do have one specific fenced in area that they are put in after they have had their medicine so as to keep it off the other areas.  Can I be forgiven now?! :>)

I get to pick Cherokee Trail of Tears beans tomorrow. That's exciting!  The baby pumpkins are really growing. I can almost see them growing while I'm bent down to see how they are doing.  I sure hope the wild bunnies don't like them. So far I think the wild bunnies like to eat the food the tame bunnies throw out because I can't find any signs thru the years of them bothing anything.  They are nice neighbors it seems. I sure love seeing them scamper when we drive in at night from church.  Especially the babies.  I guess I'm a baby lover. Baby anything gives me that warm fuzzy feeling.  Reidel and I have been so busy we having gotten to plant anything else. The corn needs to be planted pronto.  The best field of corn we ever grew was the one planted in June. Three hundred sixty plus ears of corn were harvested.  So it's not too late to plant corn here in this swamp. LOL  The eggplant is looking so beautiful and looks promising. I think maybe I'm watching it too closely.  A watched eggplant doesn't grow or some such foolishness as that is happening.

In picking up a farm journal at the feed store today, I found an article about using wastewater biosolids and turning them into compost. HUH?  The guy said he knew it was natural because there were butterflies, lizards, and bees frequented the veggies.  Holy smokes! Before I even knew anything about organic, we grew everything with commercial fertilizers and we had butterflies, lizards, and bees.  I guess I'm being petty, but that has nothing to do with your method of growing things is natural. Does he ever stop to think of what was in that fecal matter that he is turning into compost???  It has to be tested for pathogens!!!  IF we have to test to see if pathogens are in what we are using doesn't it stand to reason that something smells like the south end of a north bound mule???!!! Sometimes it just escapes my pea brain how people can try to sell things as natural and organic when they don't seem to know their way around a wet paper sack.  Yea, the plants look devine, but think about what their little 'feet' are standing in! Forgive me my ranting.  I just have an aversion to using human waste as fertilizer.  It's done in foreign countries, but nope, not going to happen here on my farm. I've said my piece and I've counted to three.

This is the week before Mother's Day, so I'm working 3 days extra at the flower shop to help out.  I can't wait for you to see the berries we picked on Tuesday, but that post will have to wait for another day.  Until then, get down and get dirty... ya know what comes next... GROW something!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Teach a Child...

It was a good day today with my youngest granddaughter visiting. We went out early to the pond to fish.  We didn't catch anything, but she learned about evasive pond plants, why we don't like turtles in the pond, and if fish actually sleep. When we walked back to the house, it was learn how to hang clothes on the clothesline time. :>)  She loved it.  Ahhh, she does have part of me in that litte energetic body! Elizabeth is 4 and quick to tell you she is nearly 5 and going to Kindergarten this year. It was exciting to look at the baby pumpkins with her.  She says she's going to carve one at Halloween. I sure hope this MiMi holds up  her end of the bargain by actually growing a pumpkin big enough for her to carve.

Is not that the sweetest face?!  I have her wear my garden hat so she doesn't get a sun burn. I can't believe I have such light skinned grandchildren. :>) I love it!  I've always been so dark, as a little girl I dreamed of having fair skin.  This is better than having it myself I think. As it turns out, I must have been dreaming of a little girl with fair skin alright, but God gave me 3 little girls for my dream.  Doesn't He always know best?!!

Lizzi is a MiMi's little helper.  It not only helps me, but she's learning to count by collecting the clothes pins for me. I just know she's going to be a little homesteader yet. :>) While she was over here last Friday hunting Easter eggs, she reminded me of how I had promised her a 'prize' for helping me. I explained to her I had not saved enough money to buy her the table and chairs she wanted and she  promptly tells me "MiMi, I can pick out something with a 1 on it".  She and I love Dollar Stores! 

I had to make haste on pulling basil away from the eggplants and peppers this morning. I wish I had someone to give the little plants to. It seems such a waste to just feed them to the chickens.  I love to give away plants and my friend Bobbie Sue is quick to tell me she doesn't thank me for them because  her mother told her they would die if she did. I wonder sometimes where the old wives tales we pass on to our children come from, but aren't they fun?  We need to write the ones we know down so as not to lose them.  Yes, that's what I'm going to start doing. My Mom knew some doozies!  Some of them may not be polite to mention in mixed company.

Early in the morning, I look out to see this from my kitchen window. I can't think of a more beautiful sight... well I can be this is a close second for sure.  If pumpkins grow on the vines, then that's just icing on the cake so to speak.

I can't do a posting of just one grandchild and not include the others!  These were taken last Friday when the girls came for a visit.  I tell you true, these little girls are the best.  They are!! They love nature, they love their family, but best of all, they love God.  Abigail Reilee is 7yrs old, Sarah Bralin is 6 yrs old, and Elizabeth Geada as I've already told you is 4 yrs old, I mean nearly 5 yrs old. :>) If you've never seen 3 little girls chasing baby goats, then you haven't lived my friend. It was a hoot.  I've never heard so much screaming and that was coming from the baby goats. LOL  But as you can see in the photos, the goats enjoyed it too after they got used to the 'swap goat' process that was going on.

Abigail is holding Shiloh (4th gen. Mini Nubian- doe) and Elizabeth is holding Ezion (1st gen Mini Nubian- buck).  The red faces aren't a camera color error, they had run until their faces were glowing.

Sarah is holding Tobie (4th gen. Mini Nubian- buck). Tobie was either too scared to move or he was enjoying the loving so much he didn't want Sarah to put him down. Either way, I think he's going to turn into a lap baby.

There was a marvelous sunset over the  pond today.  A wonderful end to a great day here on the farm. The older I get the less I want to leave here.  I'm really stingy with my time when it comes to taking away from being on the homestead. I can truly say I am at peace here. Reminds me of the song, "I am blessed, I am blessed, every day that I live I am blessed. When I wake up in the morning, until I lay my head to rest. I am blessed. I am blessed".  Enough said.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Just Before the Storm...

We had an eventful night last night with a sudden storm, high winds, and a scary moment or two when the weatherman said take shelter in a hallway.  This rarely happens here in our neck of the woods, but it was short lived and over w/in 30 minutes and we were back to our rat killin' as my Granny use to say.  I had gone out earlier and picked a 'mess' of collard greens, our first of the growing season.  Everyone says they like them better after a frost falls on them, but my husband and I love them a bit chewy so now is the time for us to get our fill of collards. 

No, you are not seeing double! I was playing around with Paint Shop Pro, got a double text image on there and couldn't get it off. LOL  So, other than that, aren't those collard good looking?!  I love to gather garden faire using my old antique baskets and sometimes when the weather is right for it, I wear the 1800's clothing to gather it in.  Yea, I know, I'm a mixed up puppy. I love anything to do with the 1800's, but please don't take my air conditioning away from me or my electric range.  Maybe I should state that I love to "play" at doing things from the 1800's. That's a truer statement.  On the menu tonight is homegrown collards, cream peas, squash and boughten sausage. (homegrown meat is still in the future except chickens)  Gives me that warm fuzzy feeling to be eating so well tonight from our own land and know that it's organic.

Today I had to go out and tape up one of Nell's (4th generation Mini Nubian) teats because both her babies were nursing off one side.  They'll discover the other teat tonight when they get hungry and then that foolishness will be over hopefully.  Isn't that life tho? Nothing is as easy as it looks on paper. There's always a Plan B to be maneuvered to, a fork in the road less traveled, and then when you think you've got it whipped into shape, the bottom drops out.  Ain't life grand?!  It's definitely not boring around here for sure.  Nell's twins are named Tobie (buck) and Shiloh (doe).

This photo was taken right after they were born. The little buckskin colored one is the doe. Nell was the first doe I ever had that never layed down to kid.  She never even uttered (uddered? lol) a sound with both kids. She's a real trooper.  Her kids are considered 4th generation Mini Nubians.  I'm so proud of them!  I don't know if I will keep the buck or not. Most likely will talk myself into it. :>) Sire is Ronnie Jo4Sho, we call him Joey. 

I'm due to eat supper now (dinner to you city folks) so I'll catch you later.  Remember to get down and get dirty... grow something! Anything!

1800 Blessings~ Wanda

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Just having a quiet day today. We had the granddaughters over for egg hiding on Friday, so nothing big is going on today.  Tomorrow we'll be back to working on the cottage and getting a birdhouse order ready for delivery.  I'll post photos when we finish them.  Using found materials and salvaged architectural items to enhance their decor.

We did get the kitchen bar in (can you say hernia?! LOL) so with baby steps we are making progress.  I'll be milking soon so as usual I'm having to go to plan B to get things up and running.  But... oh that milk is going to be sooo good!  Can't wait to make cheese and goat milk's soap. Three does have kidded with 4 bucks and 1 doe born. It's rather diappointing to have so many bucks again, but at least I can sell them and that will help with the feed bill.  It is just the sweetest thing to have baby goats to cuddle. Can't stay mad or depressed when holding a baby goat. They are the best anti-depressants I know of. :>)

I have hoards of baby pumpkins. The blooms are awesome!  We are already harvesting veggies from the raised beds (cedar tree slices for borders, lasagna style layering, with rabbit and goat berries mixed in for feeding the plants. When the new cinder block beds are in, we should be able to grow a fair amount of our own food.  Progress is slow, but oh so sweet!

Remember to get down and get dirty... grow something!! TTFN

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Wow! I'm finally here in the land of Blog.

I sure hope I get to stay while.  I started my cottage over a year ago and was documenting it's progress, but then my blog disappeared. So starting over with a rewed resolve that this blog thing is not going to whooop me!

I've only got a sample photo of the cottage right now because frankly all the building materials are stacked around it.  It looks quite junky so I'm waiting for the porch to be added on before I take the 'actual' photo to put on here.  Stay tuned as they say in tv land. 

We went to pick up some salvaged kitchen cabinets to go on the inside. I'm quite excited about that.  Won't be a perfect fit, but is doable... isn't that what salvage is all about?!  Since the cottage will be used for a milking (goat) house, canning house, craft cottage, and just all around get away, anything free suits me to a 'T'. 

Color scheme: the plum is called succulent.  Ain't it the truth! I've always loved purple, my favorite flower is the rose, and it's a cottage. Simple huh?  and oh so fun. It's a joy to go out there now. 

I'll post later when I have more time.  See ya soon!