Friday, June 29, 2012

Kitchen Goods and Barnyard Gossip

Maddie (our nearly naked Newfie...sporting her second haircut of the summer)
has been hanging out on the campus of Birdbrain Academy lately.
According to her, rumor has it that this class of guinea keets just may be the smartest yet!

When questioned, Headmaster Gus confirmed that "Yes",
the youngsters test scores are well above the national average.

Way to go guineas!!

There's a bit of trouble brewing in the henhouse, however.
It seems we have a slacker in our midst.
Here are yesterday's eggs....

Yes, the numbers are down but that is to be expected.
We don't worry so much about quantity,
but quality... now that's another matter.
And one of the hens is not laying up to standards!

I asked Elton if he knew who might be the culprit.

He sheepishly suggested that we talk to the "Divas".

As he put it...
they spend more time primping and preening their fancy hats than they do working.

Come on girls... no more micro mini eggs, ok?

Can anyone tell me....
what is the attraction that butterflies have to horse urine??
It's one of those barnyard mysteries!

According to Donnie Brascoe, our resident Science Pony...
it is because they like the salts and minerals that are in urine.

You heard it here!

And if you were wondering how our teeny, tiny nest in the blueberry bush is doing...
well, now we have three eggs.
I will be putting a "No Trespassing" sign on that bush for the next few weeks.

And finally as promised....

Blueberry Lime Jam

5 cups of blueberries (crushed)
2 1/2 cups of sugar
juice of two limes 
zest from one lime
1 pack of fruit pectin

Bring the above to a boil in a large kettle.
(I processed about 4 times the above amount at one time)
When you reach a rolling boil, allow to boil one more minute.
Skim foam from top of liquid.
Pour into jelly jars with 1/4 inch headspace.
Place and hand tighten lids.
Process in water bath for 15 minutes.

This is one of our favorite jams.
I add a lot of lime to it to make it tart (how we like it).
If you like a sweeter jam, you can certainly add more sugar.

Blueberry Buckle
and a Giveaway....
Coming on Monday!
Stay tuned.........

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Colors, Colors, Colors!

It's a beautiful morning on the farm.
The sun is rising in the Eastern sky...
its golden rays touching the earth almost horizontally.
Have you ever noticed how much more vivid color is in the morning?

Each day as the sun rises and sets we are treated to its energy...
its energy, like vibration transformed into color...
color so bright and alive...
radiant color!

So, let us, on this beautiful blue skied, vibrant morning
take a ride to the garden and experience color at its brightest and best!
We'll travel like this....

It's a perfect morning for a ride to the garden on a pink bike!

Watering chores need to be done.

And vegetables need to be harvested!

Let's take a look through the fairy window at the flowers in bloom...

Amazing colors...

Hollyhocks remind me of frilly ball gowns...
hoop skirts with layers and layers of frilly petticoats!

Squash blossoms abound...

in this box loaded with all types of squash plants
spilling out into the aisles!

There are teeny tiny baby pumpkinettes appearing on the vines,
and behind them the corn is as tall as my shoulder!
(Isn't it supposed to be knee high by the 4th of July?)

When our watering chores are finished,
we must harvest some vegetables for dinner.
Not bad for one morning's pick, huh?

Come, let's take a look at the rock garden.
You might remember that I built it just this Spring...

Purple gayfeather (Liatrus)...

A showy orange echinacea...

Fiery orange snapdragons that have been blooming for 2 months now...

Purple sage (Salvia)

(why does this make me think of King Arthur?...
oh yes, that was Pendragon!)

Who can resist those African beauties...
Gerbera daisies!
What I would give to see them grow in the wild!

Fuchsia snapdragons, almost look electrified...
See what I mean about morning light?
These photos are all un-edited.

Now we must fill the gator with buckets of water 

and tend to the orchards, grape vines, and berry canes.
This should be a wonderful year for blackberries.
Our canes are loaded as you can see!
And this is just one of several of these in our berry patch.

With our watering chores complete,
and our vegetable harvest in the bike basket,
we must head for home.

A couple of hours in the kitchen, and yesterday's blueberry harvest
has become 25 jars of blueberry lime jam!
(I will post the recipe tomorrow, as today's post is a bit long!)

The last chore for today will be to turn this old pair of work jeans
with worn out knees...

into something new for summer!

Thank you, Maryjane for the idea!

I sure hope you enjoyed our little trip this morning!
Stop by tomorrow and we will talk about yummy jam.
And Blueberry Buckle, too!!
And most likely hear from one of the critters about how hot the weather has become!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Blue Wednesday

Blueberry season has officially begun!

Every spare bit of time we have is filled with picking delicious orbs of blue juiciness.

And every spare minute of today will be filled with making jam...
our favorite blueberry lime jam!

Yesterday while picking our 100 young bushes, I happened to spy
this little nest with a single egg.

It is the nest of a house finch.
I had actually noticed the nest in the process of being built this past weekend while picking.
It appears construction is complete with the inside layer being soft horse hair.

I am assuming more eggs will follow.
I will keep watch over this precious little nest and give you updates.

Meanwhile, class continues at the Birdbrain Academy.
One of the three elder guineas has remained outside the dormitory at all times.
It's a good thing, too, as these adolescent birds need a chaperone,
or who knows what tomfoolery they might engage in!

Now, to fire up the stove and get busy making jam.
I'll share the end result with you tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Boarding School

Remember that early morning in May that I took a trip to the Post Office
to pick up my 30 baby guineas?
Well, those guineas are adolescents now.
And are now attending Boarding School.

(Here is Gus, Headmaster of the BeeHaven Birdbrain Academy.)

Yes, that's right...
On Sunday, they packed their bags and moved out of their coop
into their newly renovated "guinea tractor"
under the shade of the spreading boughs of Job, our 200+ year old pine tree by the barn.
This guinea tractor will serve as classroom and accommodations for the next several weeks.

It is here that the 16 remaining (long story) keets will complete their guinea education,
hopefully learning basic survival skills before being released into the "wild" of the farm.
That education is rudimentary at best due to the minute size of their guinea brains!
It is our hopes that they learn from Guido, Gus and Giuseppe
that the old pine tree is the place to roost at night.

If guineas find a safe night time roost, they have a better chance of survival.
Otherwise, night predators can take a big toll on the flock.
In the past, we have tried to lure the birds back into a coop for the night...
not an easy (basically impossible!) task with guineas.

Gus is several years old.
Guido and Guiseppe are three years old.
So, you see, after raising 2 groups of 30 guineas each,
we only have 3 left.
We are assuming that these three are just "smart" enough to survive.
It is our hopes they can teach the youngsters.
Time will tell!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Guess Who's Two!

You guessed it....Tyler is two.
He and his Mommy came to the farm yesterday for a little birthday celebration.

After farm breakfast, we picked blueberries and
Tyler fed them to Mommy.

We laughed at the pigs kissing!

Ginger is a "lap pig"!

Amidst all the activity, Moonbeam decided to escape.
Luckily he only went as far as the nearest grass!

Look what's happening over there, Mommy!

Those silly goatie goats ran away!

Thank goodness Uncle Andy and Aunt Amanda were able to herd them home!

A kiss for Grammie....

Cooling off in the pool....

Having a blast!

What a great day we had!
It's always great when the kids are home to play!

Care for a swim?


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