Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Flowering Crab Apple Trees - Beautiful!

Our flowering crab apple trees are just beautiful this year.  They were at their peak yesterday.  As I am typing this and looking out the window, it is raining pink blossoms.  We have severe weather coming in today with wind and thunderstorms.  I'm so happy I took these pictures Sunday.  We planted these trees as bare roots about 15 years ago.  I love them!  The apples from these will add alot of color to my apple jelly this fall.  Blessings from Wisconsin!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

I Can't post a comment on any blog sites.

I'm having a problem with posting a comment on blog sites, even my own.  It won't let me log in so I can't comment.  Does anyone know how to fix it? 

Nemo is doing good - one wing and all!

In my previous post, I talked about this little chick I am calling Nemo.  Scroll down and read it.  Nemo update, the little grey "wing" part fell off and now Nemo has only a stub and one wing.  That doesn't stop Nemo from keeping up with his chick siblings....Some pictures of Nemo today.

Here are few other pictures of other chicks that hatched this week

I love it when the chicks ride on the mama hen's backs.  Blessings from Wisconsin!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I've Named This One - "Nemo"

In my earlier post, I mentioned that I let some broody hens set on their eggs.  They have started to hatch.  When you gather eggs, often times there will be more than one egg in a "nest" or "pile", several hens will lay an egg in this group.  Anyway, when the chicks start hatching, it is fun to see all the different colors of chicks you have with one hen.  They all aren't her "babies", however she is their "mama hen." 

This cage of 2 black hens are quite content together and to share the 2 chicks that have hatched so far.  I noticed that the small yellow chick was hopping around sideways - or lopsided.  When I picked it up, I noticed that one of its wings were deformed or injured (not sure I didn't see it hatch or see if something happend to it)   I thought, oh well, this one won't make it...so I put it under one of the hens and prayed for the best.  Well, over the past 2 days or so,  this chick has been getting along really well, eating and drinking fine.  I decided to name it "Nemo" because of the wing - like Nemo's fin.  Here are a few pictures.

Isn't this cute!  It was cold this morning today.  When I stuck my hand under to grab "Nemo" it was super warm under this hen.

Blesssings from Wisconsin!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Broody Hens are Mamas - They Have Chicks!

A little over 3 weeks ago, my Mom was in the hospital and I was lax in collecting my eggs.  Some of the hens were broody so I let them set.  Well today they have chicks.  I did "try" to catch all the broody ones and put them in a cage with the eggs I thought were theirs...oh, they know where they are...anyway, I have 8 cages full of hens and eggs and now hens and chicks.  They are so cute.  My flock of chickens are mostly mixed banty and fancy breeds. 

I love to let my hens be mamas.  They love it too.  They are pretty good at sharing the chicks.  These two were happy together and both taking care of them.  When they get bigger and I let them out of the cages, they will run around the yard with these 2 mama hens.  Each little family know who they belong to.  It is cute to see how protective they are.  Blessings from Wisconsin.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Easy Slow Cooking in a Nesco Roaster

I love my Nesco roaster.  It's not just for feeding large crowds or the holidays.  I use my Nesco to cook in all the time.   I figure as long as I am going to use my slow cooker, I might as well use the Nesco.  This way, I can plan a few meals based on what I put in the Nesco.  Last week, on Wednesday, we had beef potroast, sweet potatoes and green beans; on Thursday we had beef barley soup and Friday, BBQ beef sandwiches.
For these menues, I filled my roaster with 2 roasts (3-4 lbs each) and a package of soup bones - these were right out of the freezer (frozen).  We raise our own beef so we do have alot of soup bones.  I added 5 cloves of chopped garlic, 2 red onions, 3 diced carrots, 4 ribs of diced celery, handfuly of fresh parsley, salt & pepper - these are really only added to flavor the stock - 1 can of tomato paste, 3 TBS of beef base and enough water to reach top of meat.  Cook on low for the whole day - just leave it.    After lunch I did add a steamer to top of the meat and put in my sweet potato chunks.  About an hour or so later, I added the green beans right on top of the sweet potatoes.  Just leave it do it's thing.    Wednesday done. I preboiled the barley I needed for the soup in  a.m. while I prepared the veggies for the stock. 
After your supper is over, take out the meat and strain the juices.  You will have a rich brown stock.  Put this in the refrigerator.  I then took the meat and bones and added those to my pressure cooker with water and cooked them at 10# for about 15-20 minutes - this cooks the meat off the bones.   When cooled, seperate meat from bones and put meat in a seperate container for rest of meals.  You can save that stock too.

For the beef barley soup, take out reserved stock, take the fat off the top and put that "jelly" mixture into a kettle.  Heat it up.  I did add some water to "thin" the stock.   Cut up 4 - 5 carrots and to boiling stock.  I added left over green beans, pre boiled barley, 4 -5 ribs of diced celery, chunks of  the reserved beef and 2 cans of beans (whatever you like) I did fava and northern, really up to you as to what you like in your soup. 

Then on Friday, I took the rest of cooked, diced beef and added some BBQ sauce.

I had a busy week and having all of this really cooked in one day saved me alot of time.  If you don't have a Nesco they are truly worth the investment!  So easy and a real time saver!  Blessings from Wisconsin!


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Some of our "Farm Friends"

Here are a few pictures of some of our "farm friends"  This is Pumpkin.  She is probably 10 years old.  She is one of our barn cats.  My daughter, Anna, named her that because of her big eyes.

In a previous post, I mentioned that our 4-H friends have Angus beef cows.  They have won at national, regional, state and many local shows.  They even have the title of  "Best of..at World Beef Expo."  Anyway, last year, one of their cows rejected her calf.  It was a bull calf and needed to be bottle fed.  They know I LOVE babies and bottle feeding, so they gave him to me.  I named him Romeo because he is such a little lover.  Now, I might have a problem at butchering time....

We have 2 daughters and they each have a horse.  This black quarter horse belongs to Justine. His name is Jack.

This brown quarter horse is Peppy.  He belongs to Anna.  Peppy actually was Anna's Make a Wish.  She was blessed with having her wish granted by Stark Family (they own car dealerships) and they also provided her with the tack, 1 year of vet cares, 3 months of riding lessons, 1 year of farrier hoof trimming.  She loves him, even though he can be naughty at times.  She really has worked alot with him and they seem to understand and respect each other.  It took a while, but she does good on him.

Blessings from Wisconsin!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Getting the Garden Ready

Here in Ringle, Wisconsin, our claim to fame is bricks.  100 years ago there was a thriving brick yard here.  What do you need to make bricks....clay....and plenty of it. 

In the past 16 years of living here, I have had to move my garden spot 3 times.  I now have it in a spot that is well drained, sunny and protected somewhat from deer.  I have had to amend my soil with compost, manure, leaves, sawdust - anything to "lighten" the clay  up.  After 5 years in this spot, the soil is getting better.  My husband has built me 10 huge raised beds that I plant my tomatoes, peppers and lettuce in.  Four of them are used for my perennials, herbs, blueberries and stawberries (once I clean them out I will post pictures :)...)

It has been a wet Spring so far and the forcast calls for rain all week.  So, yesterday when it was nice out, my husband got out the tractor, drag and disc and helped me get my garden going.  Here are a few pictures of him on one of our tractors

So this week I plan to bring over my aged manure from compost pile and spread it around, let the rain do its thing and hopefully by weeks end I can rototill and get my onions, peas and potatoes in the ground.   I have my tomato and pepper plants started and they are about ready to move into bigger peat pots.  I plan to work on this too.  Thanks for looking at my blog.  Blessings from Wisconsin!

Barn Hop is so much fun!


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all of you who check my blog!  Whether this is your 1st Mother's Day or maybe a bit longer :).... 

When I was in 5th grade or so, we had to do a project on "what do you want to be when you grow up."  A few years back I came across this construction paper booklet with older lined paper glued to the inside, crayon illustrations; I had totally forgotten about it.  Mine said:  "I want to be a Mom and a Farmer when I grow up."  It tickled me to see that I knew better in 5th grade than in 12th my "true calling." 

I am so blessed!  God is so good to me!  One of my favorite verses is:  "Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart." 

My Mom was and is an excellent example of what a Mother should be.  She taught me how to do so many things and inspires me to be a better mother, wife and friend.  Thanks Mom!

Blessings from Wisconsin!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The View from My Kitchen Window

Above my kitchen sink is a window - the view to a bird feeder with my "bulb" garden planted underneath.  Here are a few pictures of the recent activities I saw

Those silly chickens are under scratchin around for left overs. 
Blessings from Wisconsin!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Personal Responsibility - No More Excuses!

Did you ever notice how many excuses there are?  If one is looking for an excuse, they are easy to find.  I was thinking about that the other day, while I was trying to do some work outside.  I've always been strong, you have to be when you do the stuff I do.  However, lately, it has been getting harder to do my chores and everyday stuff.  Part of it is probably because I am getting older - but mostly, because of my weight.   Not including my 2 pregnancies, this is the heaviest I have ever weighed.  Now, I've always been on the "meaty" side, even my doctor said:  "I don't think you're fat...just...'sturdy'"  Not sure if that was a compliment.   I always told myself that when my weight got in the way of doing the things I LOVE, then I would have to lose some. 

Al and I recently "bought out" an estate.  It was a lot of going up and down of stairs.  Thankfully we had Anna to help.  Anyway, I couldn't keep up with them.   Al was working circles around me.  I actually thought I was going to have a stroke or something.  I had to keep going to keep up with him and carry heavy furniture and stuff up the stairs, out the door, down the porch and up into our trailer....it was hard!  It was at the moment I knew, O.K. now I have to do something because I LOVE doing my job. 

Well, thinking it and doing it are two different things.  So, instead of getting started; I made excuses:  "well it is Winter and it is alot harder to get motivated", "my Mom was sick and I eat when I'm stressed,"  "this is the last cookie", "Easter, it's only once a year."  I have more, but I think you get the picture.  Excuses, excuses ...

Well, I've failed at weight loss before, many times.  I am even reluctant to write about it on here. 
The only thing I was thinking is that maybe if I blog about it, it might make me stick to it.  So, every once and awhile I will let you know how I am doing with it.  I will have to exercise - like cardio - not gardening and the stuff I'm use to and like doing.  

No more excuses - I will begin today - well....after breakfast....baby steps...
Blessings from Wisconsin.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Fly Eliminators - They REALLY Work!

Our family first became aware of Fly Eliminators from our friend who owns a cattle operation.  Our girls work for her.  I was skeptical at first about these tiny "bugs", however, I could see a HUGE difference in the amount of flies at her farm than at ours or other farms in our area.  She has very few flies and has over hundred head of cattle, in addition to horses.  We have a variety of animals and had alot of flies.  So, we decided to give it a try 2 years ago.  People would come over and say "where are your flies?"  When I told them about this program, they were excited to hear about an organic, natural way to eliminate flies.  I have attached a portion from the Arbico Organics web page explaining this product:

Fly Eliminators are gnat-sized parasitic wasps that feed upon and breed within developing (pupal) stages of manure breeding flies, eliminating the adult pest fly. The adult female fly lays her eggs wherever there is decomposing organic material. Within a short period of time, the microscopic larvae (maggot stage) burrow into the manure and eventually develop into pupae (cocoon stage).
Fly parasites horse biological fly controlThe female Fly Eliminator seeks out her host and deposits her eggs inside fly pupae. These eggs begin to grow and feed on the developing fly, thus stopping the adult pest fly from hatching. Fly Parasites reproduce in 2 to 3 weeks, constantly reinforcing the beneficial insect population.
Pest flies reproduce at a faster rate than Fly Parasites; therefore, Fly Eliminators must be replenished on a regular basis.
We recommend releasing a shipment of Fly Eliminators every 3 to 4 weeks under a fly control program that lasts throughout the duration of the fly season. Releases ranging from 1-6 weeks, however, are not uncommon. Quantity required and frequency of application can vary according to severity of fly problem, neighbors, manure management, number of animals and start date of program. Choose from one of our zone- specific programs below or ARBICO’s experienced staff can tailor a program to fit your particular needs.
How to apply: Fly Eliminators are shipped as parasitized fly pupae in wood shavings. When received, check for evidence of hatching. Once a few have hatched, simply disperse small handfuls or scoops around your property into “hot spot” breeding areas: Manure piles; under water troughs; below bedding; corners of pens and paddocks, and feeding sites. Cover with dirt or manure to protect pupae.
Click to WatchWatch Our Video – See how Fly Eliminators are used to control flies around your horse property. Fly Eliminator Release Video
Release Instructions and More Info About Using Fly Parasites - Click Here
Fly Control Zone MapZone C Fly Control ProgramsZone B Fly Control ProgramsZone A Fly Control ProgramsFind Your Fly ZoneYou may have to shift up or down a zone depending on your particular elevation and microclimate. Note: Dates shown on the map are our suggested start and end dates. Start anytime during the fly season.
Click on Your Zone link below or scroll to bottom of page.
Southern US Climates
Middle US Climates
Northern US Climates
Start: NOW
Mid November
Start: NOW
Mid October
Start: NOW
Mid September
All Year Fly Control Programs
For climates that have flies all year.
Order your program now and your first shipment will be mailed the week of May 2nd.Your Shipment Schedule: You will receive a complete shipment schedule via email showing the dates of each of your shipments within a week of placing your order.

When we first started, we were later in the season, but it still worked.  The only problem I have is that because I have free range chickens, they sometimes scratch around in our manure pile and eat some of the "eliminators."  I like the bug control my chickens do too, so I guess it evens out.  Here are a few pictures of how they come in the mail.  We have been so COLD and WET here that these are more "hatched" than I usually put out.  They are going out today, no matter what.  Our forcast high today is like...40 or so.

You can use these eliminators even on a homestead with a small flock.
Blessings from Wisconsin!