Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Farm Update with Lots of Photos, Including My Family Doing Chores in Their Pajamas

It's all about the farm this week.

Sunday I made Phoenix help me get the last of the apples off of our trees.  I can't tell you how helpful it is to have a teen who is over six feet tall.

"Wow, Mom.  Are you going to make sure you get my ankles in the photo and show off my too-short pajama pants, too?"
I also can't tell you how unhelpful it is to have two little boys who both want to transfer the apples from the picker to the bucket.

Notice the two hands in the picker basket.  Pretty sure Turken was whining "I get threeeeee!" at this point.

My favorite, "Yes, we want to help.  Don't we look contrite and able to get along?" faces.  

We found WAY more apples than I anticipated.

We stopped picking when this bucket was overflowing.

At one point, I stupidly asked one of the boys to hold my phone while I helped Phoenix.

Not bad, but...(pun wasn't intended, but I'm keeping it.)

As payback for Phoenix...

That would be me and my behind.

That afternoon, with Buttercup's and Bryan's help, 14 more quarts of apples were canned.

I then bugged my friend, Kristi.  Pretty sure she's regretting the decision to give me her cell phone number.  I made her tell me how to make and can applesauce, since we had so many oddly-shaped and overripe apples, too.  She graciously answered my questions, and Monday I spent too many hours making applesauce.

When the kids got home, 4 of the 6 commented, "Hey, it looks like real applesauce!"  It seems they didn't have much confidence in the ol' Mom making homemade applesauce thing.  They thought it would be chunky and brown and inedible.

And with this we come to the end of canning season.  All told I have...

21 quarts of sliced apples
6 quarts of applesauce
6 quarts of green beans
12 pints of sauerkraut
14 quarts of tomatoes
7 quarts of potatoes
12 cups of frozen shredded zucchini
I don't know how much frozen mashed potatoes
6 loaves of frozen zucchini bread
giant bag of frozen tomatoes
giant bag of frozen peppers
12 fruit and veggie frozen "pies" for the chickens

I'm happy, considering this was the summer of knee trauma and neglected gardens.

I thought the garden was completely done, but this morning I went out and found these:

There are still a few more that will be picked in a couple of days, and there were some tomatoes about ready, too.  Not enough to can, but since a few of the boys like to have omelets with green peppers every morning, we'll go through them with no trouble.

Joining the homemade and grown goodies in the freezer, yesterday I added about 350 pounds of pork.

The hogs made it back from the butcher, all neatly packed in 8 heavy boxes.

I spent Tuesday morning picking it up from the butcher and organizing the freezer.  It is glorious.

To celebrate, and because the weather was like this:

we had ham and bean soup with cornbread for dinner.

Lastly, you haven't heard about the chickens in a long time.

We ordered a rainbow mix when we purchased the chicks.  That means we didn't specify the breeds of hen we want, but we get a mix, so we have a mix of egg colors.  This time we received 5 of a breed we've never had before.  These things are growing like they are meat chickens.  The size difference is astounding.  One of them even got so big, so fast, that we thought she wouldn't survive.  She could barely hold herself up to walk.  When she tried, she stumbled around like she was drunk, simply trying to keep herself erect.  As time has gone on, she has gotten better.  Her legs have caught up and she isn't eating as voraciously.

She sits down a lot.  Notice the difference between her and the black one behind her.

This little one is spunky.  I could never get a good shot, as she never stops moving.  Right before this photo, she had pecked me in the rear end.  Right after this photo, she flew up like she was going to attack me.  Which makes me think... one of these days we might have to stop calling her a her.  We may have found a rooster in the bunch.  

They always like to greet me by pecking my boots.  Probably more to get the grass and such off my boots, but we'll say it's their way of saying hi.

Next on the farm chore list is getting the chicken pen fixed so we can let these girls get outside before cold weather settles in.  We also have some more work on the inside of the coop to take care of.

A fake farmer's work is never done.

Have a lovely day!


  1. This reminds me of growing up in Oregon. We lived on a farm and raised our own meat. Steer, hogs and chickens. Mom had a big garden and she canned and canned and canned so we'd have good things to eat during the winter months. Just like you do.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

    1. I'm guessing your mom had plenty more on the shelves, though. Maybe next year I'll be able to have a great garden AND the time to can everything.

  2. I'm not sure you can really call yourself a fake farmer. I love reading about your life. Don't you feel wealthy with all that food stored up? That photo with the wheat field and the clouds is too gorgeous!

    1. While I have learned plenty, I'm pretty sure I'm not quite up to real farmer yet. I'm still flying by my pants half the time.
      It is a huge satisfaction to have all of that food ready to go. It makes me happy that the food we were given won't go to waste. I am glad to know that my kids will know how to do these things in the future, when almost no one they know does. (They were just telling me tonight that their classmates refer to them as the farmers, which totally makes me laugh.) We're prepared as much as we can be for whatever comes.

      I have to be completely honest and say Star took the photo. I handed him the camera, because it was on his side of the car, and told him what to do. He took a couple, and I told him what to do to make it better before he took another. It was just the most amazing sight, I knew it would be a great shot!

  3. oh - kids helping out, sounds like you are set for the winter - all that pork sounds yummy- your chickens are adorable - applesauce yummy and all of it is healthy you know where it comes from. I love reading about life of a fake farmer. :)

    1. We're set with meat for the winter and spring and summer. :) As for the rest, it will get us through several weeks at least.

      That's my favorite part, that everything was grown right here. We know everything about it.

      Glad you like it. ;)

  4. Sounds pretty real farmer to me. That is quite an impressive of food stored for the winter - go you!

    1. I'm getting there. :)

      The shelves full of food makes me happy, for sure.

  5. You're kidding, right? I'm not calling you a liar, but you didn't bug me at all! You hardly had any questions--you are so sweet to say I helped you.

    The photo of your weather is absolutely stunning with its contrasting colors!

    I agree with Lisa. You might just have to promote yourself to real farmer. (Actually, I think you probably crossed that line when you started raising animals for slaughter.)

    1. Oh, you helped. I'm not a fan of getting all my info from the internet. I like to hear from a real person before I do anything, especially canning. I appreciate your help.

      It was unbelievable in real life. (See above to Sarah's reply for the story of the photo.)

      The feeder pigs definitely put us on the right track to real farming. We're still learning too much to be considered real ones, though.

  6. So, how DOES one can applesauce properly? I can never find instructions that will tell me straight out how much lemon juice to add.

    1. From what I can tell, you don't have to put any lemon juice in it. I did shake in some citric acid (a small bottle is cheap. Mine actually says it for canning tomatoes, but it works for apples, too.) It's a matter of preference. If you don't mind applesauce that has a brown color, no acid needed. My kids would not put brown applesauce in their mouths, so I put some in.

      Dyanne, are you trying to get Kristi to be only your friend??

  7. Pigs in boxes. Your favorite way to own pigs!

    1. No one is escaping now! Or needing a shot! Or drowning itself!

  8. Youse are doing AMAZINGLY :D WAY TO GO FAKE FARMER!

    Awesome photos and I'm VERY pleased the pigs made it back home :)

  9. Can't imagine what you would get with 2 good knees?!? I'm tired reading this...I think I'd better go lie down. ;)

    1. Imagine, next year with one good knee and one recovered knee and lots more time to take care of a garden (as I won't have any preschool or half-day kindergarten pickups and dropoffs) I should get GOBS more done.

      Don't think I haven't taken a lie down myself. :)

  10. Thanks!

    I'm quite happy with the pig situation, too. :)

    1. That was supposed to be placed right there under Lizzi's comment. :/

    2. Mhmmm sure you're not just ignoring me to see if I come back to check?

  11. It's sweet that your family do all these farm chores together in your pajamas. Haha! Well, just look at what you accomplished after combining all your efforts. Congratulations on canning 21 quarts of apples, as well as finishing all the other farm tasks that day. I hope they gave you a good sales. Good day!

    Kevin Kelley @ Ravensworth Cattle Property


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