Well, I haven't had much time to write on the blog this year. So to close out 2013, I thought I'd just post a review of our year in photos. It was a great year, and we are blessed. May this find all my friends healthy and happy going into 2014!
Seems like we waited an awful long time through winter to get to warmer weather this year. Our springtime was very late in coming.. it remained chilly and cold clear through the end of April, with late freezes and even some snow the first week of May! This was just the opposite of last year, when it got unseasonably warm in March and never looked back... moving right into an unbearably hot summer.
I don't know if that means this summer will be more mild and cool, but I hope it at least includes much more rain that last year.
Because of the late spring, we are just getting around to putting the garden in, during mid-May. Steven decided this year to cut back on what type of items we grow, just because many were not being used/eaten by us very often. So plant what actually successfully grows here and that we will use, is the idea.
So we have, so far, peas, onions (lots of onions, we use a lot!), sunflowers, many tomatoes, peanuts, corn, bell peppers, cantaloupe, watermelon, pumpkin; as well as our perennials like asparagus, rhubarb, etc. The tomatoes, bell peppers and most of the cucurbits were all started indoors and set in the garden as plants -- good thing, too, with this late start. The above pic was taken before we put in the melons and pumpkin, so most everything else is planted at the far north end of the garden. I think Steven told me this year, just for trial, he made a garden plan that puts everything out by height -- with the lowest growing stuff on the south, up to the tall stuff on the north. Will be interesting to see how that works out.
He has quite a few fruit trees started in pots as well. Out in the big orchard, we did lose a couple of young fruit trees to the drought next year, so there are already plans to replace those.
We have been blessed with spring rains, and that has made the grass grow quickly.
Since my push mower was not working correctly and my tractor was taken apart awaiting replacement parts, everything got to be waist high around the place. Just this week I finally was able to start tackling that issue -- the tractor is fixed and I got the bush hog going for much of it. But it takes quite a bit of time.
We lost our bee colony over the winter and hope to get a replacement hive soon.
But we have lots of new babies right now -- 10 new baby goats; a dozen baby chicks (and two more hens setting on nests yet to hatch). We have two hen geese also setting -- we are hopeful but not to expectant on the success of that.
I will try to do a better job of keeping with posts this summer to tell you of many big projects we hope to complete this year around the farm.
Well, I haven't been keeping up on my blog, obviously, for most of this year. I will try to get busy before the end of the year and do a complete "This was 2012" summary of our year.
But for today, I just wanted to post a few photos of our Thanksgiving dinner from this week. My other two kids came home for it, and we also hosted my almost-96-year-old Uncle Paul, and his sister, my Aunt Ida. It was a record-breaking warm day for Thanksgiving in Kansas, getting up to 75 sunny degrees. Made for a beautiful day.
The boys had the table all set up the night before, fully expanded, with dishes at the ready.
Steven worked hard to make the Cornucopia centerpiece just right.
Our domestic Tom Turkey peaks in the window to see what is going on as we prepare dinner :)
Getting ready to eat. (Steven and I aren't pictured here)
I wanted to at least get one photo with Steven in it. I'm fine with there being no photos with me in them :)
Hopefully, he and our female, Lilly, will soon be blessing us with a litter of livestock guardian pups. Gestation time is around 63 days, they say. That is a bit earlier in spring than we were hoping, but she went into heat earlier than I had planned.
I'm sure sometime in early March we will have our hands full of fluffy white balls that will be a great mix of the LGD breeds of Akbash, Anatolian and Pyr. They will grow up around geese, chickens, ducks, turkeys and goats, and get accustomed to guarding the place.
Steven has spent considerable effort this year trying to get all our outbuildings restored and into shape to last another 50 or more years. He did a great job on the garage earlier, and all this fall, he concentrated on the Washhouse.
Of course, we no longer use the wash-house for washing (as it was originally designed back before the farm had indoor plumbing -- people did their bathing and clothes washing in the washhouse. It had a hand pump inside, and a wood stove for heating water, etc.) Now these days we use it as a tool shed, and we have an overflowing amount of tools in it. However, some wood lapboards around the base needed replaced, some structural work done, and then a good tightening up of the whole thing. We had the roof replaced a year or so ago.
Steven took one side at a time. Scraped, repair, foamed cracks, caulked. On each old window, he carefully removed the glass from the window panes so it could be cleaned, then he cleaned and sanded the window frames and primed them while the glass was out.
cleaning the window frame to prepare to put the glass panes back in
laying down the bead of glazing for the pane.
my job was to place the glass and put in the points to hold it before he put the top layer of glazing over the points.
West side is done, starting on south side, and the process begins again...
brother David came out to lend a hand with the primer coat (each areas took two coats of paint)
KIDS - don't try this at home! Steven has excellent balance, but it still made me nervous that he was standing on top of the ladder painting around live power lines...
almost done at this point. It was totally finished shortly thereafter. Steven even painted the hardware on the door (black). I guess I didn't get a photo after it was all complete.
[EDIT - I decided to take and post a better photo of the finished shed]
This was all back in November. We also attempted to do some tilling of the garden to ready it for the winter-over. However, it was so terribly dry at this point:
Only got a little of it done before the tiller had a tire problem.
December has been better -- finally some moisture in the way of rain. We could still use more, but feel blessed for what we have received. Some neighbors helped us out on getting enough hay for the goats to make it through the winter. Now it is just "sit tight and wait until spring" mode on the farm.
Okay, so it has been nearly three months since I blogged. I guess I'm not a very avid blogger (spend too much time on Facebook these days). Plus, it has been a hard summer, and there isn't much "good news" to blog about when everything is drying up and withering away. We are hoping for a better 'next year'. I only like to share good news, when I can.
So now we are into autumn and getting ready for oncoming winter.
Last week, there were a couple of nights that were in the 'frost' and 'freeze' categories of nighttime temperatures. We still have tomatoes and peppers in the garden, and they were just beginning to start to produce (after the dry hot winter that kept the blossoms from being fertile most of the growing season). So we want to leave them out in the garden as long as possible, just in hopes to get the fruit to ripen enough for the seeds to be viable for seed-saving to plant next year.
So on the cold nights, we wrap the tomatoes up tight in blankets. (My son said my wrapping job makes them all look like "Bubushkas"). For the peppers, we got creative and put together a tarp that is made entirely of old feed sacks stapled together :) We put this over the green pepper bed, and set a drop light down inside to create enough warmth to get them through.
Now, these green pepper plants will be dug up and put into pots and brought inside, just as he did last year. We got some great large pots off Craig's List, and we will put them in the bay window of the dining room for the winter. They will continue as a perennials if you don't allow them to freeze.
One thing that did well in Steven's garden this year (with lots of added water) and that hasn't yet been affected by the freeze is his peanut crop. It really flourished. Should be quite a crop.
As for the tomatoes -- the variety "OSU Blue" is turning out quite interesting. It is a very dark color (these are small since they didn't get much time to grow and develop) And here are just some other photos from around the place:
Ummm. yummy tomatoes - just didn't get very many this year.
Fine looking cattle -- that the McCurry Brothers keep in our pasture. Someday soon we hope to have our own herd.
Our fishing ponds have lost a lot of water. I think the herons are having a feast on fish in the shallow waters.
My oldest son and I live on our sixth generation central Kansas family farm, trying to maintain the legacy.
You can contact us via ShadowOfEdenFarm (at) gmail (dot) com or visit the developing farm site at http://www.shadowofedenfarm.com