4 Lambs

Summer Lambs

I brought home 4 summer feeder lambs last week. They are Border Cheviots (yes even the Badger Face). They aren’t a bit tamed and are extremely nervous.
It will take at least 2 weeks of sitting with them every day with a small amount of sweet feed in a pan, to get them to tolerate me. It’s important that they learn I’m the source of food. Without that, they won’t follow me when it’s time to move them to another pasture.

Rat Terriers

Small Rat Terrier

Lizzie – A Small Rat Terrier

At one time Rat Terriers were ubiquitous on farms throughout America. They were kept for pest control, for hunting, and as companion dogs. Rat Terriers are small active dogs that run between 10 to 20 pounds. Because of their small size they are easily able to get into tight spots. They hunt mostly by sight, and kill their prey with vigorously shaking . A good “Rattie” can easily take on a 5 or 6 pound rat . Which is remarkable feat really, considering how fierce a cornered rat can be.  Like all terriers, Rat Terriers can be hard headed. But unlike Jack Russel Terriers they do have an off button.

Early Vegetable Garden

Vegetable Garden

Small Backyard Vegetable Garden in May

This year I’m starting a new and smaller kitchen garden. The garden area is close to the house and home office. The ground was first turned over with a broadfork, and will will be cultivated with a rototiller as soon as the soil dries out a little. Maybe this weekend


Meat Grinder

Meat Grinder

Porkert Manual Meat Grinder

My trusty manual meat grinder is at work helping me clean out the refrigerator. Looks like ham salad is on the menu today for lunch.
The best way to clean a meat grinder after grinding greasy or fatty food, is by running a few pieces of bread through it before washing. Stale bread works best.

Raised Garden Box

Raised box

Raised Garden Box

A couple of years ago I decided to try planting vegetables in raised garden boxes. I had never used a garden box for planting before, so it was more or less an experiment. I found that the raised 24″ garden box height was kind to my back and was virtually weed free. The fact the it was easier to plant early and late seasons crops was also a bonus. In the spring there was no reason to delay planting due to soggy ground or unfavorable weather conditions. Because my soil tends to be a little rocky, root crops little carrots and beets grew well and grew deep.

But there were a few things that I didn’t like about the raised garden box. First compared to row planting directly into the ground, raised boxes were expensive to construct. I had leftover lumber from another project so the frame for the project was free. But the soil to fill two 4’X8′ garden boxes was well over $150! That’s kind of crazy. I suppose when compared to buying fresh vegetables the cost is saved over the course of several years. But the major downside of the raised garden boxes was so little food could be grown in them due to space constraints. Now I suppose if money, labor and time, were no object, I could have built 30 or 45 of them to provide vegetables and flower for my household. But that doesn’t seem at all practical. If I lived somewhere with poor soil a garden box is better than no garden. But where I live has good ground and that’s not an issue. So these days I only use the garden boxes for beets, carrots, spinach, garlic and the occasional stray herb.



Broody Golden Wyandotte Hen

Broody Golden Wyandotte Hen

She’s Determined To Be A Mother

One of my Golden Wyandotte hens has decided to go broody. She started setting a clutch of eggs about 10 days ago. Normally I discourage broody hens because they tend to disrupt order in the hen house. Broodiness can be contagious and it’s not unusual for other hens to follow suit. Often a broody hen will set for almost 21 days –  and then abruptly abandon her eggs and nest. But this hen seems pretty determined. I’ve only seen her leave her nest once.

Just days before she turned broody, my White Orpington rooster died. So she’s been given a chance to produce another rooster for the flock.When I first allowed her to set, I placed 4 fresh eggs underneath her hoping one of the 4 eggs was from my only White Orpington hen. When I checked her nest the other day I noticed that there are at least 15eggs. Seems when she does get off her nest some of the other hens are laying in her nest. I wonder what will come of the situation? Guess I’ll find out in a couple of more weeks.

New Plowed Fields

Plowed Ground

An Older Pasture Is Plowed For The First Time

This is what a newly plowed field looks like.

It finally stopped raining long enough to plow an old pasture. The pasture is no longer needed for grazing livestock, so it’s being rented to a neighbor. A total win/win for both me and my neighbor. The neighbor gets more acreage for grain. And I don’t have to brush hog the ground or maintain the fence this summer.

Crops grown in newly plowed ground often don’t do as well as they will in subsequent years. Newly plowed ground takes a bit more time and energy to really get going and be productive. This year the field will be planted in corn. I won’t know exactly how many acres of corn will planted until the planting is complete. Modern corn planters measure how many acres are planted during the planting. Even though corn planting has been delayed this year due a cold, wet spring, I expect a good harvest in the fall. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Storing Fresh Lemons

Fresh lemons will keep for a couple of months by being completely submerged in a ceramic crock of cold water. Simply place the lemons in a clean ceramic crock and cover with very cold water.

Lemons Under Water

Lemons Held Under Water By A Plate

Place a small plate or water filled plastic bag on top of the lemons to keep them submerged. Store the crock in a cool location like an unheated basement or root cellar. Change the water every week or so and you’ll have a supply of fresh juicy lemons whenever you want them.