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Thursday, June 30, 2016

We Were In A Pickle

Pickles and more pickles that is what yesterday was all about here at the farm.  Lisa and I harvested a very large bunch of both slicing cucumbers and pickling cucumbers and since we there were so many it was time to make more pickles.  We also decided to go ahead and make some dill pickles using the heat processing  way so we can hopefully have some homegrown, homemade dill pickles in the winter like we will with the bread and butter pickles.  So we got busy right after lunch and started slicing the cucumbers, getting the jars sterilized, making the pickling juices and making the pickles.  It is a process and we spent the next 5 hours making pickles.  We ended up making 7 quarts of Bread & Butter pickles, 1 pint of bread & butter pickles, 21 pints of dill pickles and 2 jars of dill pickle relish.  Needless to say, we were in a pickle.  We were exhausted but we used every pickling cucumber we had.  Now, on to the squash.  Check back tomorrow and see what we did!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

We Have Babies!

I want to take this opportunity to announce that Tim and I are grandparents once again.  Welcome to the world my little grill bird babies! A couple of weeks ago I told the story of the crazy bird that built a nest in our grill.  Well Sunday Tim was going to remove the nest figuring the eggs had been fried since the grill sits in the direct sun and we had temperatures the past few days in the mid 90's we assumed,;you know what that stands for?  We assumed the eggs were fried and we really wanted our grill back.  Lo and behold the eggs hatched and we have babies birds!  The must of just hatched because they are ugly little things but in their own way they are cute too.  We try not to disturb the nest or birds but later today I will get a picture and post it and will continue you to do that on a weekly basis until the birds leave their nest.  We have babies!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Another Bountiful Harvest

We had another bountiful harvest yesterday after some much needed rain.  The garden was getting really dry so the overnight rain on Sunday night and the rain we had yesterday has really helped the garden.  We had another bumper crop of slicing cucumbers and pickling cucumbers which means pickling will be the next project around here for Lisa and I.  We picked more green beans, peas, green peppers and grape tomatoes. We had some more firsts yesterday.  We picked the first blueberries and the first, cough cough, okra.  The amazing thing is that we have finally caught up with the summer squash and have a chance to breath from harvesting it.  Also, and I can't believe I am saying this, but it looks like we are going to have some more Zucchini.  Let the pickling begin!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Garden Condiments

This past week end we grilled both Saturday and Sunday evenings and the garden harvested veggies were part of each night.  Saturday we grilled zucchini and yellow squash on the grill and had fresh cucumbers with humus and our homemade bread & butter pickles.  Sounds like a vegetarian meal but we also grilled chicken and a potato and green bean foil pouch.  On Sunday we grilled burgers, corn on the cob and a potato and green bean foil pack.  We also had fresh peas from the garden.  On our burgers we had our homemade bread & butter pickles and fresh leaf lettuce picked just before dinner. Our week end grilling was a success and what made it even better was eating so many things that grew in the garden.  By the way, the dill pickles were delicious!  It was a fun week end with good food, good friends and good times together.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

We Have Dill Pickles

It is Dill pickle time.  Last year we made dill pickles two different ways, processed and cold pack.  The processed pickles came out mushy, they tasted good but they were mushy.  The cold pack dill pickles were good and crispy.  So this year, until we figure out how to keep the pickles crisp, we are only making the dill pickles the cold pack way.  The only problem with the cold pack pickles is that their shelve life is only a few weeks.  So, if anyone knows how to treat the cucumbers before the heat processing of the pickles please let me know.  Lisa and I would love to make some dill pickles that we can eat 6 months from now.  Until we figure out a way we are looking forward to trying the dill pickles we made yesterday later today.  We made 8 pints of dill pickles and we used about 20 cucumbers.  I picked more than that yesterday so we will be making some more bread and butter pickles soon.  The cucumbers are producing really well!  Check back tomorrow and see how the dill pickles turned out.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Finding Dori

I had a Girl's Day Out at the movies yesterday with Lisa and our neighbor Cheryl.  We went to see the movie "Finding Dori" which is the sequel to "Finding Nemo".  It was a cute movie and for a sequel very well done.  You don't even have to have seen "Finding Nemo" to see this movie.  It a really cute story and the kids that were in the theater really seemed to enjoy it.  Before the movie started there was a special feature shown called "Piper".  It is a very cute Disney short about a baby sandpiper.  So, if you are looking for some cute and fun entertainment and you like Disney Animated movies go see "Finding Dori"  It is a movie everyone can see and enjoy.
By the way, last night Lisa and I tried the Bread and Butter pickles we made and they were delicious!  They were so much better than last year's pickles and we did make one more observation for when we make our next batch.  We made a test jar using thinner sliced cucumbers and they were even better so going forward we will be slicing our pickling cucumbers thinner.  All I can say is YUMMY!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Bread And Butter Pickle Time

It is pickling time again and yesterday Lisa and I made 12 Quarts of Bread and Butter pickles.  We used pickling cucumbers this year. Last year we used regular cucumbers and over time they got a bit mushy.  We are hoping this year's batch will be better.  We will know how they taste around 5:00 today.  Tomorrow we start making some dill pickles.  We used the same Bread and Butter pickling packet as we did last year, which made some delicious pickles, so we are anxious to see how our new pickles will taste.  Today is harvest time again and so check back and see what we get from the garden this time.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Summer Squash Is A Hit

After being mooned by a squash the other day I realized it was an announcement stating that the summer squash was the crop to be dealt with.  It is producing very well and every day that we harvest we pick a large basket of squash.  However, another crop may try and challenge the squash for being the best producer and that is the pickling cucumbers.  We have enough pickling cucumbers that we are going to be making pickles very soon.  We were also lucky enough to get some slicing cucumbers which are delicious.  We did pick our first beet yesterday and hope more will be popping up soon, that is after we plant some more seeds. The first beets that were planted only two took.  We also picked some more grape tomatoes, green peppers and peas.  Every day that we do go down to the orchard we are very happy with our harvest.  Best thing, this is only the beginning! 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Garage Is Just A Handle Away

If you have been following this blog for a while you know that George has been building his garage over the past few months.  It is only a handle away from being finished and it is looking great.  The garage has turned out really nice and the wood storage is amazing especially with the hanging barn doors.  The storage area that is accessible from the deck is great for storing chair cushions, etc from inclement weather.  George and Tim have done a wonderful job in building the garage and it looks great.  Nice job George and Tim!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Second Harvest

Lisa and I picked the second harvest in the orchard yesterday and as we walked over to the zucchini and yellow squash a yellow squashed mooned me at least that is what it looked like.  We were surprised by the amount of yellow squash that was there.  It may be last year's zucchini.  Last year we had so much zucchini we could not give it away and this year it may be the yellow squash.  We will have to wait and see.  We also had the first harvest of the pickling cucumbers so we are ready to start pickling.  We just have to find the time to do.  By the end of the week we will have our first pickles of the season.  Last year the pickles were good but the cucumbers were too big. This year we have a better crop to work with so our pickles should be even better...I hope.  Now we are just waiting for the blueberries to get a little riper.  In a couple more days we should have some, yum!

Monday, June 20, 2016

A Creative Day

It was a quiet but creative Father's Day.  Tim and George spent the morning talking over plans to build a guest house and while they were busy working out all the details I spent the day in the Crafty Cottage creating another door prize for Pam's July SAS.  I was able to create the first door prize while I was in Florida so now I have two of the four door prizes created which means I have two more to create and then make 10 of each when I get them created.  The new catalog for Stampin Up came out this month and I was lucky enough, thanks to Pam, to get some new sets which is what I am trying to create from.  I am hoping to continue being creative today after we go down to the orchard and do some more harvesting.  Check back tomorrow and see what we got out of the garden.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day and Grilling Day

Happy Father's Day to all of the Father's out there! I would like to take this opportunity to wish a very Happy Father's Day to Tim who is a wonderful Father and Grandfather aka Bumpa to our girls Carrie, Jenny and our Rory. We love you very much and could not ask for a better dad and Bumpa.  Also to my son in law Nate who is a great Dad to Rory. Last and not least I would like to send these wishes up to heaven to my two dads, Warren Colley who was a great dad until he passed away when I was seven and to Edward Winship who became my step dad when I was 10 and raised me as his own. Happy Father's Day!
Last night we had our first dinner using the veggies we harvested from the garden.  Lisa sliced up some zucchini and yellow squashes and marinated with a garlic infusion oil then put some cavendars on it.  Her mom bought her a grilling pan and so Tim used it on the grill to cook the mixture.  It was delicious. Lisa also cooked the few peas we picked.  There was just enough for the four of us to have a spoonful and all I can say is that spoonful had the best tasting peas I have ever had.  It put the frozen and canned peas to shame, wow!  We grilled burgers last night and we ate out on the deck at George and Lisa's.  There was a nice breeze that kept us cool and the bugs away.  It was a nice evening with good food and friend and we will be doing it again today in celebration for Father's Day!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Our First Harvest Of The Year

Yesterday Lisa and I went down to the orchard for our first harvest of this year.  George spent a lot of time before planting adding horse manure to the beds and if our first harvest is any indication it was a good move.  We picked Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Peas, Green Peppers and Cherry Tomatoes.  We checked the Blueberries but they are just not ready just yet.  We have pumpkins, acorn squash, beets, potatoes, lettuce, carrots and most importantly corn that is really starting to grow.  If everything continues to grow, we need rain, we are going to be busy harvesting and canning, pickling, etc.  The fruit trees are still looking good and so are the grapes.  It even looks like we could possibly get some almonds this year.  If we do it will be the first time.  As for the veggies we picked yesterday we are going to be enjoying them when we grill tonight and tomorrow.

Friday, June 17, 2016

I Am Back On The Farm

I am back on the farm and it feels good or it will now that the temperatures are going down and it looks like it is going to be a nice warm week end, meaning in the 70s or low 80s.  I will take that after spending the last month in Florida with 90 ++ temps.  It is good to be back and I have already unpacked and it looks like I never left.  I took all of my Stampin Up supplies down to the Crafty Cottage and the two upgrades to the cottage that happened while I was gone are amazing.  The Air Conditioner looks great and I am looking forward to using it when it gets hot again and the shelves that Tim built are going to be a welcomed addition with all of the reorganizing I need to do.  Thanks again Tim!  Lisa and I do have to get down to the orchard to harvest some veggies but after that I will be spending my day in the Crafty Cottage working on door prizes for Pam's SAS in July.  I do miss spending time with Rory and my girls but it IS good to be back home too!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Time For A Celebration

Yes, it is time for a celebration and there is a really good reason and here it is:  The Dump Truck is FIXED!  I reported yesterday that the part was fixed well Tim and George spent most of the day yesterday fixing the truck.  The company that quit fixing it and gave back all the parts did except for one bearing.  So they had to stop work on the truck and drive to that company where the owner vowed all the parts were given back but they could check the truck that dropped off the parts.  Low and behold the bearing was there.  So, they got back to farm and were able to fix the truck by dinner time.  Way to go Tim and George!!! The truck is now back up parked in its spot on the farm and Quail Way is no longer obstructed just in time for Lisa and I to return to the farm.  We are leaving Florida today and heading back to Tennessee.  Now, let's Celebrate!!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

News Flash...The Dump Truck

That is right, another blog about the dump truck.  Well this time it is good news, the dump truck is on the mend.  Tim and George actually found a place that could not only fix the truck but actually fixed the part that has been the trouble maker all in one day. TMT did not stop them yesterday.  Once again, we definitely need to come up with a name for this truck.  So with the broken hub now fixed at a machine shop Tim and George now get to spend the day putting it back on the truck and get it going again.  I am sure the other couple of families that live on Quail Way will be thrilled to see the dump truck gone and have the road back.  I will update tomorrow on the progress.  Go Tim and George!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Crafty Cottage Got Another Upgrade

The Crafty Cottage got another upgrade in my absence.  As you know last month Tim put an air conditioner in the Crafty Cottage so now I can work down there during the hot summer days and be comfortable.  I had mentioned to Tim that I wish I had some more shelves so that I could get some items even more organized and maybe make some space in the loft. Tim built me some great free floating shelves on a section of the wall that was not very useful before the shelves were put in.  Now that the shelves are up I can have a space for everything and I may finally get Christmas stuff put away.  It may take a week to get everything reorganized but that is okay because I will at least be cool doing it. Thanks Tim the shelves look great and I can't wait to see them in person. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Cow's Last Hurrah

As you know the mystery of the jumping cow has been solved but the cow decided to have one more
visit to the orchard.  Yesterday, Tim and George discovered that the "jumping cow" decided to help itself to some Sweet Potato greens.  This cow had its way with the tops of the sweet potatoes but it should be its last time.  Tim and George repaired the fence wire that was loose enough for the cow to get through.  George also contacted the cow's owner to also let him know about his cow.  The farmer will offer to pay for damages but George doesn't want that he just wants the open communication with the farmer.  So, let's hope the repaired fence holds the cow and the crops will continue to grow even without its tops.  An update about returning to the farm for me, I will be here in sunny and very hot Florida for a few more days while Lisa enjoys some time with her Mom and kids.  Thank you Jenny, Nate and Rory for allowing me the extra time with you.  I will never complain about spending time with my family.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Just The Boys

This week end at the farm it is "boys only".  I am still in Florida but I only have a couple of days before I return back to the farm.  It has been over a month since I have been at the farm.  Lisa is also in Florida right now attending a very close friend's "celebration of life".  I have not heard from Tim since Friday so I can only assume that he and George have been busy working on some project on the farm.  I guess I will have to wait and see when I get back on Monday.  Mean time, to Tim and George, enjoy your "boy's week end".

Saturday, June 11, 2016

We Have Squatters

When Tim returned to the farm he made a discovery, we have squatters.  He was out on the deck and I guess he heard something and went to check it out.  He lifted the lid of our grill and inside he discovered a bird's nest with four eggs in it.  That's right, we have an entire family of squatters in our grill.  We had the same problem last Spring and before we left on vacation last year he taped off the rotisserie holes.  This year he didn't think about it and now we have a full nest that he decided to leave alone.  So for now, we are allowing the squatters to stay but we will be keeping a watchful eye on them and hope what ever it is they hatch soon so we can begin to grill again. 

Friday, June 10, 2016

The Japanese Beetles Are Back

Just as we find out about one pest, the jumping cow, another has shown up at the farm.  The Japanese Beetle.  Last year the beetle played havoc on several of the crops and was somewhat controlled by an insecticide, Sevin Dust.  Well the Japanese beetle is back and so George is going to war against them.  He will be facing the first battle this morning armed with several containers of Seven Dust he is planning on dusting them away from the orchard.  The sevin dust does work I just have to careful because I discovered last year that I an allergic to the sevin dust so it will be long sleeves and gloves for me while harvesting down in the orchard.  I am okay with that so George, Dust Away!
Now that Rory is on the mend Tim has returned to the farm.  I will be going back after the week end.  Until then I will continue to rely on Tim and George for reports about the farm. 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Jumping Cow Is A Myth

Today's blog is courtesy of Contributing editor, George Francisco.  George is owner and proprietor of Francisco Farms and I would like to welcome him to the blogging world.  This seems to be a week of solving some mysteries on Quail Way and George has solved the mystery of the jumping cow.  We all could not figure out how this one cow would get into the orchard because the fence was in tact.  The farmer said the cow could jump, I guess that Tennessee farmer got one up on us city slickers.  Anyway, welcome George with your blog:

Another mystery on Quail Way has been solved.  It addition to solving the "Pet Attacker Mystery", one mystery still remained.......The "Magical Jumping Cow."
As you all know, we have had one brown cow who,  every now and then, would magical appear in our Orchard.  Search as we did, we could never find anyway for that cow to enter the orchard except to jump or well........even fly.
But.......the mystery is no mystery any longer.  It seems our magical cow is really a Pusher and a Stepper.
The cow was back in the orchard yesterday when I started to mow.  So,,,with a little "encouragement", the cow slowly walked to his secret entrance point where he used his head to "push" up the top strand of wire and then "stepped" over the other two lower strands.

So the mystery is over....no magical cow....no jumping, leaping, strutting or even flying cow......just a smart cow who's days are numbered entering the Garden of Eden.  (As soon as the fence is fixed)

Another mystery solved......stay tune next week for another epsoide of.......
"The Quail Way Mysteries"

So there you have it.  The jumping cow was a myth.  Thanks George for you contribution to Just Another Day At The Farm.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Coyote Did It

A couple of blogs ago I reported that there was a creature that was attaching our pets on Quail Way.  Well I am happy to report that the suspected bobcat, cougar or mountain lion are not to blame nor is a bear.  It was a coyote all along.  We were under the assumption that one coyote would not go after pets but we have one that has tasted the blood of our pets and they will not be safe until we rid the farm of this coyote.  How do we know? The coyote was caught with Scamp, our neighbor's small dog, that was the first to be attacked and was attacked again yesterday.  Cheryl was with the dogs except Scamp ran ahead and sure enough go she heard the commotion and scared the coyote away.  We are thinking that the coyote must be sick or rabid because they normally do not run around on their own and they usually do not go after other dogs.  So George, along with our friend and neighbor Larry, will be hunting this coyote.  We know we have coyotes on the farm since we hear them every night, we leave them be they leave us alone.  Good luck George and Larry.  Please find the coyote before Shadow gets back.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Happy Birthday Carrie!!!

Happy Birthday Carrie!  Today is my oldest daughter's birthday and it just doesn't seem that she can be .?? Years old.  I am not old enough so how could Carrie be that age?  Carrie was our child that could pretty much adjust  to anything.  Before she turned 7 we had been stationed in four different areas of the county and she adjusted great every time we moved. It is a good thing she can adjust because she still does it all the time.  Carrie we are so proud of you and thankful that we have you as our daughter and we love you very much!  We hope you have a wonderful day and look forward to seeing and being with you on your day!  Happy happy Birthday Carebear!  We love you so very much.

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Zucchini Is Coming, The Zucchini Is Coming!

It is that time of year when the crops are growing and the early bloomers are getting ready for harvesting soon.  Once again this year it is the zucchini and if you have been following this blog for a while then you already know about our feelings on zucchini.  Last year, there were several zucchini plants planted not knowing how well the produce.  We had so much zucchini that we couldn't even give it away.  We made zucchini pie, chips, casserole, cake, lasagna, muffins, etc.  it all tasted delicious but we got tired of zucchini.  This year less plants were planted and it looks like the zucchini will be our first crop harvested again this year!  The yellow squash is also getting ready.  I can see and taste grill packages of Zucchini and Squash very soon!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

No More Ants In The Hummingbird Feeder

There is nothing worse than having something in your food especially ants.  Well that goes for birds too especially the tiny little hummingbirds.  Lisa was having a terrible ant problem in the hummingbird feeders and since the nectar in the feeders is just sugar water of course it would attract ants.  So after some research Lisa found her solution to the ant problem.  It is the Pesky-Pet Plastic Bird Feeder Ant Guard.  It is available at Lowe's and only costs $6.98 a piece.  She purchased a few for her feeders and set them up a couple of days ago and no ants.  So, if you are having an ant problem with your hummingbird feeders then check out Lowe's for the Pesky-Pet Plastic Bird Feeder Ant Guard; it works! Thanks Lisa for sharing this information!  I will have to check my feeder when I get home and see if I need one too!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Bad Business Practice Is Bad Business

The Dump Truck saga continues, see I knew it should have a name.  Anyway, this week as George was trying to get the service shop to come and fix or move the truck so that our neighbor's cement truck that was coming could get up the road decided they no longer wanted to fix the truck and told George that he can have all his old parts back and they were done.  So here sits a 10 ton Dump truck that they halfway repaired on Quail Way with a cement truck coming today to our neighbor's house.  Tim is sure it will make it around the truck but still it would make it easier without the dump truck sitting there.  The service shop has the right to quit the decision to do it half way through a repair job that they actually caused because they didn't fix it correctly the first time is just sad and goes to show that people just don't care anymore.  So, now George has to find someone else who is willing to do the job and fix what was messed up to begin with.  Sorry George and Lisa, it seems this truck really doesn't want to run.  I won't give out the business name but if you are ever in northeastern Tennessee area and need someone to fix your heavy equipment call George first so he can tell you who not to use. One more note, if you have been following this story then you also know that the second repair was started a week ago and it took the shop 6 more days to quit.  TMT strikes again!
Update on Rory, she continues to get better, please continue your prayers for Rory and her Mom and Dad.  Hopefully we will be bringing out little girl home soon!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Just An Update

For the blog today please go to my other blog, Travels With Ruth, to find out why I have no blog today on this one.  travelswithruth-ruth@blogspot.com
and please continue to pray for Rory.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

A Mystery On Quail Way

For the past few months we have been trying to figure out a mystery that is happening around the farm.  Not on the farm but around it.  It started out with our neighbors dog, Scamper, having a couple of puncture wounds on her hind legs.  We know we have coyotes on the property and we know that there are a few.  So we assumed that a coyote got her.  Shadow does not like to go out at night and most nights refuses to go out after dark.  Now we think we know why; there is something besides coyotes out there.  A couple of weeks ago our neighbor's son's dog was attacked and the attack was heard.  To scare off whatever was attacking Reggie's dog he had to shoot a gun in the air and then found his dog pretty bad chewed up with a large hole in it's side and the intestines hanging out.  He rushed the dog to the vet where they operated on it for over three hours.  The dog is good and healing.  Then just last week Dingo, our neighbor's other dog was found with puncture wounds.  They were treated and she will be okay.  The final hint to the mystery is our neighbor's cat was found with it's head ripped off of it.  So, our question is what is wondering around Quail Way and why is it attacking our pets?  Is it a Bobcat, a cougar, a mountain lion or a bear?  Either way, we are watching our pets a little more closely and ourselves too.  Check back and see if we ever do find out what is lurking on Quail Way and how to get rid of it.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Dump Truck Saga Continues

I think it may be time to name the dump truck only to make writing about it a little easier.  It is still sitting where it has been now with a half of a repair completed.  They guys repairing the truck did show up Saturday night and got half way through the repair and they forgot to bring some permatex so they quit but assured George they would be back first thing Tuesday morning to complete the job especially with a cement truck coming today to go to a neighbor's house.  I talked to Lisa last night and they still have not shown up.  I know George is a very patient man who likes to give people the benefit of the doubt but now after all these promises of showing up and then not happening and to have the truck only half fixed?  Well even a patient man has his limitations.  Hey George, it may be time to go all "Hulk" on the guys to get the truck done.  TMT continues to be "thee" factor!