Wednesday, October 21, 2015

8 Summer Homestead Chores

This post is a bit autumn is fully upon us. However I already had the pictures uploaded and ready to journal about, so here goes!

1. Poultry Chores

We bought a nice little flock of meat chicks this spring to feed and water for about 8 weeks until ready to butcher in early summer.Our son was in charge of this daily chore, plus moving the birds to fresh green pastures every couple of weeks when their pecking area became too trampled.

2. Taming Kitties

Our mama cat had 2 litters of  kitties this summer. The younger girls had so much fun playing with them inside and out, they barely knew they were preventing them from becoming wild cats. We like to keep a few around the sheds to keep our mice and garden-eating rabbit population down, but we also like for them to be kind enough not to scratch when children like to cuddle them.

3. Breeding & Hatching Chicks

Another of our son's projects is pairing off a male and female bantam bird to hatch out more babies. He got about a dozen little chicks to nurture to adulthood. Unfortunately 3 months later some wild animals wiped out his small flock, so we are currently bird-less.

4. Garden Chores

Water, pull weeds, pick vegetables. Repeat.
The garden is mostly my project, but occasionally I'll get some help from the rest of the family. The littles are the most cheerful helpers who like to discover the red cherry tomatoes and sweet orange peppers, munching half of their pickings.Along with babying the plants from strong winds and various bugs, comes the washing and preserving of a garden's harvest. You can see what has grown this year here, here, and here.

5. Wash the Vehicles

Who takes pictures of their kids washing the truck??? It was actually pretty fun. I'm usually too busy with my own stuff to take time to watch a son at work. I can just imagine his daddy doing the same, a few years back...

6. Pick Wild Fruit

We have a few mulberry trees sprinkled about our 20 acres that produce a nice amount of juicy dark purple berries for smoothies and jam. While they're in season, we make time every day to go a-pickin'. Sand plum thickets abound on our acreage as well, so we like to suck on those tart fruits fresh and frozen in winter as a summer remembrance treat. If we get enough, they are especially good seeded and dehydrated...similar to dried cranberries.

7. Laundry

Mostly this is eldest daughter's chore, but occasionally some others help. Our current routine is to get 1 load of laundry completed every day. We usually save the folding and putting away until early evening when Adventures In Odyssey is broadcast on the radio. 

8. Rest

Last, but not least...Sleep.
This isn't really a chore, though sometimes you would think it is the way the littles protest and commence to crying when a N-A-P is mentioned . Really, it is sweet reward for accomplishing all those chores!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

September Garden

The backyard garden is still producing this fall.

We found a long lost Trombetta Squash hanging deep in the indeterminate tomato jungle. It wasn't very tender anymore, but sure made a lot of shredded veggie for the freezer!

The heirloom tomatoes are finally producing some nice sized fruits.

Here is a rather large meaty one in little 3 year old hands and another picture of my hand full of garden-fresh deliciousness.

My peppers seem to produce best in late summer. The jalapenos are blooming like crazy and the bell peppers are growing big and long before they turn shades of red.

The sweet potato vines are making a nice thick carpet despite the grasshopper and beetle munched holes in the leaves. I'm hoping for a large harvest just before the first frost.

The okra also grows furious these last hot summerish days. The grasshoppers have put a severe dent in the beauty of the stalks, but they are still making plenty for us to eat several times a week and even dill some for winter munching. Caramelized-blackened sauteed okra is a family favorite dinner dish.

We have three varieties of pumpkins fattening on the vines: pretty peach colored ones, green fairy-tale mammoths, and small dark winter squash.

The cantaloupe harvest is winding down, but there are several watermelons still sweetening.

A collage of one late September morning's pickings.
Big tomatoes, little tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapenos, sweet bananas, spaghetti squash, scalloped squash, green beans, okra, watermelon, cantaloupe, and a lone cucumber.

After weighing and washing the vegetables, 
I used my new gifted colander to drain them in.

Jars of preserved Hot Pepper Jelly and Zucchini (yellow squash) Relish.

Produce harvested in September : 195 pounds
(including 51 pounds of watermelon, 40 pounds of tomatoes, and 26 pounds of cantaloupe)

Produce harvested in September 2014: 113 pounds

Teenage Days with Annie Rose

The food.

The gifts.

The cake.

Miss Annie turned 13 in September!

She declined inviting friends and their families over, so we had a simple celebration at home with just us. And dirt dessert cake (that melted really fast) plus her chosen menu of Bacon Avocado Quesadillas, Mozzarella Ranch Bread, and Caesar Chicken Potato Salad.

She has been spending her Saturdays getting up in the wee hours baking for farmers market, sitting & selling until noon, and napping the rest of the day away.

The month of September also presented a short volleyball season... 
a first for Annie and a first for the homeschool group. 
She had a few practices and two games... 
lots of fun and new friends.

Then to top off fun days, we were able to spend a sunny crisp fall afternoon riding horses at our neighbors. Something Annie has wanted to do since she was introduced to equine at another friend's ranch on our trip west a couple years ago.

 A happy start to her teen years for our oldest girl!