Eastern Painted Turtle

Coming over the road and up our driveway was a big beautiful lady, she was heading for our pond,  and was pouting as our cats were very interested in her. I expect that she has plans to lay in our pond (we have had baby turtles in our pond on other years)

We picked her up and after a few pictures, we carried her with care to the pond, set her down by the water an watched her head in, I will enjoy seeing this beauty sunbathing on the log we have placed for her. I have hope that I might be able to watch carefully enough to see where she lays her eggs and be able to mark the area and create a safe spot around it and then track when her wee ones are hatched.

She was grumpy when we first picked her up.. lol

Starting to relax now, I love how fast they seem to figure out that you don’t mean them harm, so pretty, love the pattern and colors. Let her have a dip to rinse out the grass by her head and to relax even more.

This one big turtle, a full-grown female, I wonder how old she is.. I also wonder if she could be bright eye’s mother?

So you can see the size difference between a Baby (approx. six month old Eastern Painted turtle vs the mature adult in the photo’s above.

I love that my land is healthy enough to support a native turtle population

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Overload.. LOL

Spring has come in full steam.. and I am finding that I fall behind, it happens every year and its something that I wish I knew how to make not happen.. Is there a single farmer that feels in control in the spring?

If they or you do.. want to share your secret? I have 60% of my must do planting done, I have 20 to 25% of the rest started and ready to be planted out, I have a huge garden area prepped and ready to be planted.

I also have a huge amount of produce that needs to be processed already, this past week, I have been in a push to get the years supply of wild violets with flowers in the mix done and I might have another week before the flowers are done and I will only have greens.

I am pushing hugely on the spring nettles and they are growing upwards of what seems like half a foot to a foot daily at times.. all good things in its own way.

The strawberry beds had their first go round and are not slowly being pushed in the new round of weeds up that I have not gotten to yet, and in the one bed, mint as invaded.. I have decided to let it grow for a bit, then I will cut it to the ground, harvest it and process and repeat, rather then worry about pulling up strawberry plants roots until after the strawberry harvest, which appears to be heading towards a grand one.

Got the asparagus bed done for the spring and am pleased with the results.. next year will be our first full harvest year, they are already up and turning into ferns. Grow my pretties, Grow!

The yard is so high at the moment that I am grazing the goats on it, when the time is right, we will cut it, dry it and roll it for hay, the pasture is slowly growing but this past week between a light re-seeding in some spots, the dragging, warmer temps and now a few good soaking slow steady rains, it should just explode into growth.

We have cut down a area of tree’s, some fire wood, some to burn, some into future fence posts, we removed Norway maples and popular and a few spruce as well, that area will be replanted into two rows of food producing hedge rows and it will also open up the annual smaller garden space between them all.

My side yard towards the brown shed has a huge pile of throw away, its a combo of many things, working and building removal parts, its also got the bagged pulled and sun cooked wild parsnips, and its got extra things that are being removed in regards to the upstairs bedrooms and such for the reno work that will be done up there over the next few months before my mom comes for her visit this fall.

Its driving me crazy, it has to go! I have called and booked a big bin to come so that I can load it all up and have it hauled away. There is a part of me that knows that I should wait till fall when we have all our projects done but I just can’t do it.. I can’t stand the idea of that pile just being in my eye site for another four months. Better to get that area cleaned up and all that out before the heat of the summer. If I need to, I will bring another smaller bin in the fall.

Farmer R came for the big water bin and its fixing today (as we have water this spring) and so that is one more big thing out of my yard.

Hatch #2 is on day 16 or 17 and I have candled and removed the 2 eggs that were dead and hope that the rest will keep on going, Hatch #1 had moved out of the house and into the big coop and are doing very well so far. They are loving their bug hunting in the big outdoor pen, the fresh bits of hay to peak at and I swear they all snack on the goat poo when given a chance.

Must get to the rhubarb! Must get the to… well you get the idea..  I have faithfully written the amounts down in my book at least till a few days ago, I wore the battery out of my digital scale and because life is like that.. I also need a new battery in my big scale as well.

I will pick them up on the weekend, I am heading to the city for a visit with a dear friend and then we are hitting the big supply place and I will be coming home with a year supply of sugar, flour and a few other things..

Have a great day and a grand weekend!

 

Posted in Life moves on daily | 2 Comments

This and That Post

Hello my dear readers, I had planned on posting the most awesome recipe of rabbit liver pate including some outstanding locally produced maple Syrup but we had a opps and the bag with the liver got frozen, so know I need to thaw it out and I will get that recipe made for very soon.

I did some rabbit butchering this week, my biggest female was 8 pounds, and I can see why she did not have kits.. way to fat inside but she has a lovely massive pelt on her that will be put to good use in the near future.

On to some sad news.. I had written about my outstandingly awesome Blue Purrpot last year and that he had gotten stepped on as a kitten by Caleb, it was touch an go on if he would live from being stepped on, It was amazing to all that he pulled though and it became a joke  that my “free farm cat” was most surely not free by the time I paid his medical bills, well he appeared to be fragile but healed and we had him altered at 9 months of age.  Sadly it would appear that the damage done when he was younger has come back as he matured and it was just to much in the end.

You were only with us Blue Cat aka Blueberry for a year.. but you were one of the greats my sweet happy purry loving boy..  Rest in Peace my sweetheart.  Thank you to Farmer Y for trusting us with him, and I am grateful that I will still get to visit with his littermates.

On a more positive note, we did our annual apple Blossom Photo Shoot for our little Dezbot and I have to say that I very much like this years photos.

We also had a surprise in the barn this past week, the one yearling we thought had missed, surprised us with a single small but active and healthy ram lamb.. can you believe it.. another ram lamb..

On the other hand, the weaned lambs are in their own mob now and are doing very well in their own pen and area, I am very pleased so far with how they are doing. The next two days are planned farm processing days for the freezer camp, and the weekend is booked from sun up to sun set and it will be so worth it!

Posted in At the kitchen table | Tagged | 5 Comments

Dragging the pastures- Spreading the paddies and leveling it out.

This is the issue.. you see when you have sheep or goats, they do little droppings, that just spread the manure love and after they dry and have a good rain, they just melt into the pastures..

Horse  an cow Paddies.. that is whole different matter, they land like a bomb and they are thick and piled up but good. My big boys leave big piles.. I know that some folks go out every single day and pick up their pastures and add them to the compost pile and to them I say.. good for you and to be truth, I have many times take the wheel Barrel and gone to the favorite standing places and I will do a pick up, and sometimes I will just wonder around the pasture cleaning it up..

But time gets away from you and other things need to be done and before you know it.. your pasture looks like this! Piles, old piles, and new ones.. and suddenly you are having a major issue, because each of those piles is point in fact, a) missing from the compost pile b) taking away approx. a foot of pasture that is not growing pasture

With spring, planting and so much more on the go, I called in help.. and I will admit it, I might just hire him once a month to come and drag the pasture, not just to spread the piles but to keep working on helping level the pasture out as well.

One of the good things about this was the hubby an I walked the pasture and did a full pasture pick up ahead of him going over it, so the pastures got a nice spring clean up and it got a drag over as well. As luck would have it, we are to have a couple days of rain coming, which will really help feed the soil from those older and newer piles that are spread thinly over the land itself. *

*I did some fecal testing before doing this to see if I needed or wanted to do some worming, as I am always aware of worm loads, the sheep needed worming, the goat and horse’s and cows did not.

I had truly hoped to turn the pasture and do a heavy re-seeding but this spring has not worked with me.. first to wet and now to far along and to hot.. so we will work to keep it dragged, we will work to add finished compost thinly covering it and I will do a late fall -winter seeding and second early snow seeding out and will see where it gets me.

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Burdock Leaf Tea.

Burdock root tea is very good for you, you want to harvest the first year roots in the mid July to end of July when they are around an inch to inch and half in size and about 12 to 16 inches long.  I will do a post on them when the timing is right

Today however we are going to talk about making fresh Burdock Leaf Tea for both pleasure drinking and for tonic use.  My measurements are simple. 1.5 oz of fresh chopped leaf per 2 cups of water, bring to a boil, take off heat and let steep for 10 min, strain, and serve with a touch of honey for sweeter if you want.  If you make a big batch, add to your jar and allow to cool a bit and into the fridge for storage.

As with all new plants, try a little and see if anything happens, wait 24 hours and then try again. ONLY once you are sure you can safely use this plant, can you drink up to three cups a day for ten days as a spring tonic before taking a rest break of a week and repeat if you would like.

There are more reports of things on the net then you can shake a stick at, and I am not going to quote them.. just google and you will find all kinds of things.. what I will say is this..  this is a medical plant and it should be treated as one.

Now comes the important part of this post.. picking leaves for your tea 🙂 On the left in this picture is a nice small from the very middle of the plant second year plant leaf, it’s twice the thickness of the first year leaf on the right..  please! remember to use only first year plant leaves for your teas. I made sure to pick a leaf from a one year plant at the same size an stage.. you can easily see the difference between them.

This was the whole first year plants leaves, I took the whole plant, I trimmed off the stems and then rolled and cut the leaves before measuring them out and adding the water to the pot, I like to make sure I use a steel pot when I am making my tea’s and for me fresh well water.

I find the taste pleasant, others report it to have bitter undertones but I don’t find it much so.. if an issue, mix in some mint or nettle to the pot to create a better flavour profile if you would like 🙂

 

Posted in Food Forest, Garden, Life moves on daily | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Breaking new soil in a new area of the farm

We had a area that we cleared and last year we planted it out into potato’s and added a lot of compost to it and when we dug the potato’s we double dug the whole bed, and I planned to plant all kinds of root veggies.

Well, this spring was I in for a surprise, I have not really looked at it much, at least till today when I headed out to clean it and then plant the seeds.. Wow.. the soil is poor..

I am used to my normal amazing river loam soil in my main garden  see aboveand my nursery garden and by the time the raised beds break down into the soil, its pretty good..

This soil, not so much.. in the whole time I cleaned it, not one worm.. almost no plants..  Boy does it have a good amount of sand and just enough clay in it to form a crust on the soil..

The darker lines are where we watered in the seeds, its so dry.. like a powder in there, now to be fair we have not had any real rain for coming on two weeks but the other area’s are holding their moisture still quite well.. this is clearly going to be very well draining.. I will have to see after I do a few things to it if I can get it to hold its moisture better.

 I cut up 3/4th a laundry basket worth of chopped comfrey as our first gift to the soil and the plants.. I will be doing a number of things over the next weeks and the summer, I will do the updates and we will see where this soil and garden is by fall and by next spring.

Think of it as a cut and drop but as you can see, I took snipers to the comfrey to get it fairly uniform in size and I don’t want them over the seed row, I want them on the sides of where the seeds are, they will quickly wilt out and rot down, both leaching in and I will also loosely turn them in.. Think of its a step one taken today..

This is the front area that is planted into a Double row of carrots and the chopped comfrey went in the middle between the two rows and then winter turnips and two rows of beets, the corn will get a different treatment as will the cabbage area behind the corn.  I have my work cut out for me to get this garden soil living again..

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We love our toads- So we just had to rescue hundreds of tadpoles

The little pig wallow was drying out and fast.. and in the last bits were hundreds of wee tadpoles.

Needless to say.. we had to do something.. This is not the first time we have rescued and set up a area for them grow and become toads on the farm, so we knew what needed to be done..

We got a nice big tote (we will set up a metal water tank tomorrow but for right now, this works just fine and we moved some of the muck (which is why the water is augh, it needs to settle) and we used well water that was not to cold or to warm, if you did this in town, rain water is better, as it would not have chemicals etc.

Hubby put in a big old handful of hay, and I picked fresh green out of the eating yard..  right now they need algee and plant but soon enough I will toss a worm or two into the bin for extra protein for them, I will do my best to see if I can get photos as they grow legs and into wee toads.

Hungry babies, that’s for sure.. they will get feed twice a day and their water will be watched and topped up as required. They will get a log added and then a big stick that will go up the wall and over and down for when they are old enough. Right now they also have a mesh cover over the top to keep birds from snacking, (including our yard ducks)

I will need to get out my toad watering pans and start filling them up..  Never mind that its just the right thing to do.. these guys will be hard at work all season long in my gardens for me! My thriving frog and toad populations speaks to my farms ecosystem but sometimes you just need to give them a big of help.

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Fish Fry – Catfish with chips

Today has been a run day and it will be a run evening, so when we had the chance to stop, catch a breath, take a break from the heat.. it was done with light and joy..

Our local river has gone down a fair amount and the fishing season has opened up for a number of things.. locally you can catch catfish year round.. but this was my first spring Catfish fry and it was awesome.

A egg-milk wash, a cornmeal dipping and into the fryer.. Homemade chips (showing my English roots, aka Fries) with a touch of seasoning salt..

Honestly how can you go wrong with fresh fish and while I know that some don’t like catfish, I have always liked it. There is a recommended limit on how many to eat per month in our local area. Do you like catfish?

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Can you eat Rhubarb Flowers? Stirfry Style Recipe

Can you eat your Rhubarb Flowers? Yes you can, you just need to do your proper prep work like most veggies. You are going to eat only the flower buds, not the stem, leaves or the paper type husk on the flowers.

The most basic way to eat them is a very lightly steamed veggie as a side dish with a meal with a bit of butter an salt.

Because it can be tricky to get them cooked right, they can easily go mushy if overcooked, so I have created a awesome creamed soup with them for those that want to get the goodness and lovely taste of them with their lemon undertones. Carrot Ginger Rhubarb Flowers Soup Recipe

I was surprised yesterday to find my biggest plant of rhubarb already had a lovely flower lifting from its leaves. I snagged it right up to bring in the house to make into part of my lunch.

I processed the flower into the flower buds only and I decided on noodles with fresh green onions from the garden to go with freshly cooked noodles and a basic sweet and sour Sauce.

Cook enough noodles for the amount of servings you are making per the package instructions. Make a recipe of the sweet and sour sauce made of soy sauce, brown sugar, wine vinegar (or your choice) with a touch of salt, pepper, with half a cup of diced fresh green onion.

I steamed the Rhubarb Flowers in the stir fry pan with a touch of oil and then put water on top to both cook and steam them for 60 to 90 seconds, I then added the hot pre-cooked and drained noodles to the pan and covered it all with the sauce and gently turned it in together while it simmered away and after it was fully heated though and the sauce had reduced a touch. It was plated up..

It was very good, I will continue to explore using the flowers in this way, I can see it being very good with a mix of veggies, thin strips of meat with the same type of sauce over rice.

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Spring Green Drying- For fodder vs Human Use

This fine Monday morning is a one of my double duty days, that mean’s that Dh has his writers group tonight in the big city..  So I will be doing both sets of chores today and the rest of the day will be spent working in the gardens in some way or form.

They say that its going to be very warm on Tuesday and Weds, which means that the next two days are perfect days for some mass air drying of spring greens, the big one I am after at the moment is nettles. One whole hanger is nothing but nettles.

Now about my hangers, yes, they are the netted ones they sell for tidying up a room, they collapse to be flat, they have a heavy-duty clasp on the top that goes over my cloths line or a branch, they swing and sway in the breeze and their biggest downfall is getting everything into and out of those little holes on the front. You can stuff them fuller if you want to do but remember that once’s the leaves wilt that you want a full layer but not multi layers, you need air flow.

The other one is different per load, a mix of pot herbs, mints, greens, wild violets and cedar and flowers..

For the people drying, I will start lots of drying in the hangers if the weather is fine, but I will finish them in the big power dryer, this save time and costs, they will have already wilted down, they will have already started the process outside and I will be able to run a full nine trays load while the others get half way there. This method allows me to pick in the morning, run the dryer during the day, finish them.. and then set the dryer up again to start for round two but being down by bed time.

My wild violets are at the perfect stage of flowering and green for many coming projects, because they will be used for the humans (and perhaps a touch for the critters in terms of salve) they will be put into the big dryer on the herb setting. I have picked just a touch to many for the dryer, so did one layer in the outdoor as well.

Much to my surprise I went over to cut some apple mint, I had already collected the spearmint from a different spot in the garden and there in my biggest rhubarb plant was the start of a flower..  nope.. snip it went..  will be used in lunch today.. Clearly I need to go out and pick some rhubarb.

 

 

 

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