And Now The Eggs

EggsLucy, our White Leghorn started laying last week.  This week Issy, our Isa Brown started laying.  Marigold, our Buff Orpington hasn’t started laying yet.  We’ve had a total of eleven eggs so far.  Sooo “egg”cited.  Ha!  I like having brown eggs, but I much prefer a variety…and that is what we are getting.   Pretty, don’t ya think?  They are so small.  Every day they get a little bigger though.  We are working to finish the coop so they can finally have an official home instead of a makeshift pen.

We started off with what we thought would be six hens.  I knew going into this that sexing chicks isn’t 100% exact unless they are sex links.  But when you spend the extra money to buy six pullet chicks instead of straight run, you don’t expect half of them to be roosters.  We bought two Rhode Island Reds, two Buff Orpingtons, a White Leghorn and an Isa Brown.  Both
Rhode Island Reds turned out to be roosters and one of the Buff Orpingtons turned out to be a rooster.  Living in town we can’t have FreezerCampone rooster let alone three.  So we had the hard task of butchering chickens for the first time.  It wasn’t easy.

Hubby and son are working on the chicken coop.  Because we live in town we wanted something nice that the neighbors wouldn’t necessarily see as an eyesore (which is why it
is taking longer.)  Hopefully that will be done soon.  We don’t have a lot of the common predators that chicken owners deal with.  Ours are roaming cats and dogs.  So we thought it best to make a coop with a run, and then once in a while let them out to
roam the yard when we can keep an eye on them.  My BarnQuiltcontribution to the chicken coop is a barn quilt of a chicken.  I finished it yesterday.  We are going to make one in a different pattern for over our garage.

So, that is it for now.  I’m off to get some laundry done.  Hope you have a wonderful and blessed day!  Grace and peace….

 

The Last Harvest

It’s kind of sad pulling the last of the vegetables out of the garden, pulling the plants out and getting the garden ready for winter. I do still have spinach, broccoli and one tomato plant, but everything else is done. The weather folks are calling for a hard frost this weekend, so it was time. The one tomato plant is in a hoop house up by the kitchen door so it should be fine. I normally use that for lettuces in the fall and spring but the tomato was a volunteer and took over. It makes hubby happy. 🙂

 

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The last of the beans. Some seeds for our garden next year, some seeds to trade and give away.

 

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The last of the bell pepper and sweet banana peppers.

 

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After getting chopped and ready to freeze, over 8 pounds of sweet peppers.

 

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A whole basket of hot! Pablano peppers, hot banana peppers, and chili peppers.

 

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Our first harvest of fall spinach.

John 4:35-36 – Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.

Recipe: Pumpkin Bread

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Baking local grown pumpkins to make puree.

I’m not a fan of pumpkin spiced everything.   I do, however, like homemade pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread. My Aunt who recently passed away mid September gave everyone pumpkin and banana breads every Christmas.  I looked forward to that every year.  Quite a few years ago when we were going through some hard times and money was tight, I took that idea and started baking Christmas gifts including pumpkin bread. I even shared my homemade honey wheat bread and Amish white bread with my Aunt at our family Christmas. But pumpkin bread is one of my favorites and is a favorite of several in our family. Here is the recipe I use.  It isn’t my Aunt’s recipe, never as good as hers because of all the love she put into it, but this is my favorite recipe to use and it makes delicious bread.  It makes three loaves and I think it tastes even better when you use fresh pumpkin puree.  It isn’t hard and you don’t have to use pie pumpkins.  You can use any good pumpkin.  Just cut it in half, clean out the pumpkin guts, and bake in a 350 F oven until tender.  A knife will go through it easily.  Scoop out the pumpkin, let it drain for a while in a cheese cloth lined colander, then freeze.  I freeze mine in 1 cup portions.  I’d love to hear what you think if you try this recipe, or if you make your own puree.

Ingredients

3 cups canned pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
4 cups white sugar
6 eggs
4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease and flour three 9″ x 5″ loaf pans.

In a large bowl mix together the pumpkin, oil, sugar, and eggs. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves then stir into the pumpkin mixture until well blended.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake in a preheated oven for 45 minutes to one hour. The top of the loaf should spring back when lightly pressed.

Harvesting and Canning

2015Aug13RelishI am elbow deep in harvesting and preserving.  Doesn’t leave a lot of time for blogging.  Beans are almost finished, cucumbers are at their peak, and tomatoes are just starting.  Busy, busy busy.  I have carrots and green beans canned, and some in the freezer, I have four pounds of onions chopped and frozen…with much more to go.  Today I canned sweet pickle relish.  Tomorrow I’ll be doing pickled beets.  I also have a pork loin that needs to get canned.  But that is in the freezer right now and can wait until the harvest slows a bit.  Lettuce has bolted and I pulled most of it out.  I left a couple to go to seed.  I really should have done some staggered planting so we could always have a harvest of lettuce.  Now that the onions are almost done I’m planning to fill that area with a fall planting of spinach.

It is also homeschool planning season.  I need to decide what we are going to use this year, get it ordered and get the year planned out.  Eleventh grade…I can hardly believe that we are nearing the end.

And lastly, this is my birthday and our wedding anniversary season.  So we want to try and plan something big this year, maybe a short trip somewhere for our anniversary.  Usually for my birthday we go to the local art fair, but it didn’t work out this year.  There are a couple other art fairs coming up that we can check out, so all is not lost there.  But quite honestly, right now everything “fun” just seems like work and I really just want to go somewhere to do nothing and relax.  Maybe just sleep.  I just don’t have the energy for much more.

How are things where you are?  Are you doing any harvesting or preserving?  If you have a garden, do you do any fall planting?  Are you children back to school, or will they be going back to school soon?

I’m off to get some dishes done and get the chicken cut up for dinner.  Hubby is grilling it tonight, and fresh corn and fresh green beans to go along with it.  Yum!  Grace and peace!

The Garden Is Finished

peppers1It has been an interesting year for the garden. Kind of glad this season is over.  We still need to pull everything out and get it all tilled and amended for next year.  I tried to let the peppers go as long as possible, but the cold killed the plants so I had to pick everything that was out there.  Got quite a bit, most were small.  All the bell peppers were colored peppers, but there wasn’t enough warm weather for them to fully ripen.  Funny though, this was the best year we’ve had for pablano peppers (hubby’s favorite).  I’ll be getting them all cut and froze today.  Even though we still have our cold weather bed with the hoops over it with lettuce and such in it, I’m already planning next summer’s garden.

Ecclesiates 3:1-2

1   To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:

2  A time to be born,
    And a time to die;
A time to plant,
    And a time to pluck what is planted;