Monday, May 28, 2012

Happenings on the hill........

March 28, 2012

Hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day ,a big Thank You goes out to all our fallen veterans across America, who have lost their lives to fight for our freedom. On this Memorial Day I'd also like to thank all of our military who are serving today, your decision to serve this country is a huge sacrifice and a brave one, you are in our thoughts and prayers. We are so proud of our own Cody, for his decision to serve, you are on our minds often and we pray for you daily for your safe return home.  Thank you Cody, we Love you.........

   I don't know about your part of the country, but down here in the south it has been a hot one.  My garden is not doing what i would like it to be doing, but i guess i should be grateful that I'm getting a little out of it. I wanted to show you what i discover this weekend in my garden.

Something is eating on my tomato plants!!!!!!! They have attacked a few of my plants overnight.

Those nasty little worms.........I hate that!!!!!!! I tryed picking them off and was going to resist spraying, but they were everywhere.  I try not to put any chemicals on my garden if at all possible.  I had to spray a few of these plants before i was left without any tomatoes for the season, and that would have made my husband disappointed.  His mouth is watering for a homegrown tomato........

I picked the first ripe tomato this week from the two heirloom tomato plants that i planted in containers.

I have never planted heirloom tomatoes before, i found these at the local feed store and thought i would give them a try.  Maybe i can save the seeds and start my own plants next year.

The blueberries are giving.......I'm thankful for that.

We were fortunate to get rain just as the bushes were setting fruit, and they are plump and sweet this year.

I made a batch of blueberry preserves this week, only had to add just a little sugar to these already sweet berries.

Looking out the back field i spotted this.....................

It's Jolie.......on top of the hay bale inside the hay ring. She just stood there nibbling on some hay.

 I guess she likes being "Queen of the Hill".

A few Happenings on the hill......Hope your holiday weekend was a good one.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Happy critters...and Coriander

May 17, 2012

Hope all of you are having a good week....... from the stories im reading, everyone sounds so busy with springtime chores.  I too, have wore myself out with yard and garden work.  Every muscle in my body is sore this week from flipping dirt and pulling weeds, cutting grass and running the weed eater around everything.  We have been having some nice rain showers this spring, which is a blessing, but......that means more grass to mow here in the south. 

Yesterday it was nice to sit on the back patio and admire all the hard work I've done. If you have followed my blog from it's beginning, you will remember that i had three Barred Rock chickens in the chicken tractor my husband built for me. 

 I lost one over the winter, and only have two of these ladies left.  They are the sweetest things, they enjoy roaming the farm, but when we are out sitting on the patio they love to come up for a visit.  While relaxing on the patio yesterday i had to snap a few photos of them drinking from the dog's water bucket.

The stones were put there because when it rains, the water washes out that spot on the edge of the patio.  It's the perfect little perch for them to reach the bucket....I Love It!!!!
I have enjoyed having them around, and having fresh yard eggs is always a plus.  My plans were to have more of these, but we need to build a bigger coop.  The tractor was perfect size for three to four of these grown ladies, but i would like to raise more now.  Building a larger pen is on the list of things to get done around here.  Right now working on the tractor, making hay, the cows calving, and the sheep are taking up our time and attention right now, but we will get there...........patience is a virtue.

Our animals are happy critters, they all co-mingle together and get along well. Do you remember our cat Minnie?

She actually loves the chickens, she thinks she is one of them on occasions................

Maybe she's sitting on eggs??????????

Cilantro or Coriander????

I grew cilantro over the winter months, and it has finally gone to seed.

Prior to planting this citrus flavored herb, i did not know that Coriander and Cilantro were one in the same.  When i picked up the seed packet at the feed and seed store, it had both names printed on the packet.  I went home and googled it to find out more.  It has history in the Spanish, Asian, African and other European countries.  The Asians call the leaves, Chinese parsley, and Cilantro is the Spanish name, which we are familiar with in Mexican salsas. 

The fruit or the seeds can be dried and crushed and used in many dishes of different nationalities. 

I love the tiny white flowers it produces before going to seed.

Now i have lots of seeds to crush and use in dishes and to replant as well.

Don't overwork yourselves ladies................Take time out to relax and admire your hard work.

                                                              Live Simple...................Sheryl

I"m linking up to My Simple Counrty Living for the country homemakers hop, please join me.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Not fast enough

May 10, 2012

I don't know if I'm just so eager to be eating some fresh homegrown veggies or things are just off to a slow start around here.  I had some problems earlier this spring germinating some banana pepper seeds and my squash were slow to germinate as well.  I gave up on the banana pepper seeds and decided to buy some small pepper plants already growing.

  The squash finally were big enough to stick in the ground and have given me a few pickings, and now they are dying out on me!!!!! the squash or rotting before they are ready. 
I think i will be sticking more seeds in the ground.

My green beans, pictured here are doing fine.  I have pole butter beans, as well as purple hull peas and Mississippi silver skin peas also.  I started to see a few rust spots on the leaves of the peas and sprayed them with Maneb fungicide before that got out of control. 

Pictured above is my raised bed which has a few tomato plants, bell peppers, lettuce that's finishing up and my slow growing cucumbers.  Right smack in the middle of that bed some volunteer zinnias and a huge sunflower popped up which was a nice surprise.  It will add color and food for the birds and the bees. 
Last spring i planted fennel after reading it was a good companion plant.  I read somewhere on the Internet that it could be planted with tomato plants and peppers to deter insects.  Well the bed i had these companion plants planted together, i started having trouble with my peppers and they did not produce much at all, the tomato plants did so so....Not sure if it was the fennel or not. Well that fennel went to seed after the summer came to an end, and it reseeds itself well, it grew all winter here, and now i have fennel everywhere.  Had no clue it would become invasive.....i have little baby fennel plants everywhere.

When it flowers in spring it's so pretty, bright yellow flowers before seeds set in.

Here are some i picked in April, still experimenting with it in my cooking.  It has a strong licorice taste that gets milder when cooked for awhile, in my opinion. 

You cut the tops off and slice the bulb parts to cook.  The feathery tops can be used in salads or with fish and chicken, i haven't tryed that yet.  Have you ever grew fennel before???? If so, let me know how you use it in your recipes.

I grew carrots for the fist time this winter.  Wow!!!!! we never imagined them to taste so good,  compared to the store bought ones that have no taste at all.  These were really sweet.  I bet a good beef roast pared with the quartered fennel bulbs and those sweet carrots would roast well together in a dutch oven. Yummmmmmmmm......................

What about that swiss chard?????? I have planted a few plants in the fall......and they are still going strong through April.  These few plants gave, and gave, and really get alot for your money with these plants.

I was able to put alot of this up in the freezer, by cutting it into small pieces, blanching it and putting it up in my Food Saver bags.

Still discovering ways to use this nutritious vegetable in our meals.  Came across a Swiss Chard Au Gratin recipe and tryed it..... It was really good, well it had lots of cheeses and half and half cream in it.  Cheese makes everything taste good..... I will have to share that recipe with you later.

Well.......that's what's growing here.  Looked out in the garden this morning and noticed a few of my cherry tomato plants look sick.   Ohhhhhh poooooh!!!!!!!!!!!!!   I don't know whats going on this year..........guess i need to play detective and figure out whats going on in my soil........
I remain.....anxiously awaiting the taste of a vine ripe tomato and fresh sliced cucumber.....

Hope your garden is coming along fine...............

Join me and hop on over to Heidi's Country Homemaker Hop #19 lots of interesting stories over at Heidi's place.

                            LIVE SIMPLE............................Sheryl