Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Big Red and Baby Bass

It's time to update again, as today the hubby became the proud owner of 'baby bass'!
It took some convienceing, but hubby finally did it. He bought himself a boat. It took us several days to finaly get all the paperwork finished, insurance taken care of and the time to pick it up, but the hubby became the proud papa of a brand new G3Yamaha Bass boat. He brought her home today. Wanna see??





Ain't she a beaut!?








There he is, the proud papa and what a grin that is!





He's in seventh heaven. Having not had a boat in his possesion for many many moons, he's chomping at the bit to get back out to the water and take her out and toss a line.
She's sleek, sexy and ohh so comfy! Her gun metal gray hull with blue and red graphic stripes make her look pretty good riding behind Big Red. Hubby says it's "Little Red" cuz it's a Toyota, but she's not all that little. She can haul the Baby Bass just fine!
She's parked in the back of the yard now, in the shade and covered of course, till we take her out this weekend for her virgin run. We won't be 'wettin a line', as the honey says, but just seeing how she runs, rides and cruises.

It's a weekend of adventure coming up, and I can't wait. It'll be a full weekend too, as we are going to the Rodeo on Saturday evening, or possibly Friday, heck...maybe both!!

What a weekend we've got coming up! Time for a tan.

That's not all, I upgraded a few things in the house today too. Take a look at this!
My new quilt with matching pillow shams. I picked up two extra off white shams, that have Battenburg lace on them. It looks sooo inviting! I'm ready for a nap!




Ohh yeah, one more thing. Remember way back when, when I posted "Look what We did today"...and the Daughter in law and myself painted my dinning room? Well, I've been waiting a long time to find just the right curtains and I do believe today I did just that, so here's a peek at those!


I love how they look and they do help with the electric cost, as the sun sure does come in these windows in the heat of the day and really heat the house up. Now, the house will stay cooler and the dinning room is looking pretty snazy!
Well, it's time to go grill some steaks and peppers on the grill, the weather is great and it's time to celebrate! ENJOY and see ya next time................
down on the farm!


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

FOR BECKY!

Ok Becky..I'm going on memory here, but here are the dimensions of the chicken coop as I remember..and plenty of pictures. Copy and keep the pictures if you'd like to have them for reference.
Ok..details first. The wood comes in 4x8 sheets..so many of the measurements are just that to keep us from having to 'cut' too much and produce too much waste. So the flooring ..the base of the coop is 4x8 (plenty for 10 chickens).
The back of the house, is about 4 1/2-5 ft tall. We placed one sheet of wood sideways to cover the entire distance and leave a gap at the top for 'screening' and venting all the way across.

Which you can see in this pic. The front height measures about 5 1/2 ft at the top. I don't remember exact measurements on those, But I know I can stand up in the coop near the front..and I'm 5'1"..:)
...If I remember correctly the door is 3ft wide, with a vent left at the top for screening. The two sides are cut to fit the '8ft' remainder.. divided between the two (2 1/2ft Each). You can get a good look at what I'm talking about on this picture below. Remember, the section above the door was not covered, left open for vent space. The door opening itself is somewhere between 3 and 4 ft tall..I do not remember exact but it only needs to be big enough for someone to step through anyway.
The Section along the side (on the right) was framed in for an outer egg hatch. This way you don't have to enter the run to collect eggs.
The nests on the inside are 12x12..and sit 12 inches above the floor. You can make them set up to 18 inches above the floor if you need to.


















After that it was really a point of measuring and adding the sides. We added full sides, even on the right, where the hatch was going, we put the wood up (temporarily) to get a good fit, marked where the nest boxes were, then removed the wood to cut out for the hatch. We replaced the side at the top and the bottom. The door was made for the hatch. (and of course framed to keep it sturdy) and reattached using hinges.

....we gave it a paint job..fenced in a small run for the chickens and around the outside of the house. Left under the house available to the chickens for dirt baths and getting out of the sun. Ohh ..the house sits about 1 1/2 ft off the ground..I think we used 3ft posts, put them in the ground 1 1/2 ft..not postive about that measurement..but' it's pretty close. Anway..the paint that's on it is just primer at this point. We've not gotten around to a final coat and painting the trim yet, which we will soon enough. We did put trim up as it looks better, makes it more sturdy too. The door on the front has two openings. One small slider opening for the chickens, then the whole door opens to gain access to cleaning. We've used lots of little hook latches so that we can open the hatch or the doors and keep them open for ventilation when we clean. Or even daily now that the chickens come out of the run every day. ( we let them out about 3pm and they roam the yard till about 8..free range..means free food!) We did totaly fence top and bottom the run due to hawks and nightime predators that will climb in. We also made sure the fencing is under the ground at the bottom (about a foot) due to diggers and even the chickens will dig a bit. We didn't want to loose the flock to any one other then ourselves! (stingy aint we? LOL)
Here's the last pic. I sure do hope this has helped you in designing the smaller coop. Hubby and I designed this one trying to save on wood, and create something that wasnt' massive in size and still looked good in the yard. I think we did just that! We'll finish getting it painted soon!

GOOD LUCK!

Let's discuss a week

Since I've skimmed some of my days, and what I do on those days, I figure it's time to go ahead and just post my 'work week'. I'm not sure what other Hedgewives keep as a weekly schedule, but here's mine.

Monday: B&B Days (bedroom and bathrooms) those two rooms get extra attention on Mondays, of a 1/2 hour to an hour. This is also ONE of my laundry days. I mean..gee, since I have to change the sheets, and clean the bathroom of all towels and such, makes sense that this is a laundry day. I've collected all the dirty clothes, might as well get them started and washed!

Tuesday: DOLL day. The DOLL day is a big day usually..the D is for the Dinning room, the O is for oil, and finally, the L is for my living room. I use the second L just to remind me to 'DOLL it up!" It's just an easy way for me to remember. It's DOLL day! It usually takes about an hour and 1/2 to do these areas since they meld into one another. The O for the oil, is my reminder to 'polish' the wood furniture, which most of it is in the living room and the dinning room. So, on Tuesdays I "Doll' the house up!

Wednesday: K&L Day, Kitchen and Laundry room day! Today, I spend an extra loving hour in my kitchen, and 'some time' in my laundry, cleaning things in a rotation and giving things extra cleaning and care. If I do this once a week, nothing gets piled up or out of control for me. Of course, you have to remember, this is beyond the 'regular daily' cleaning. This is also a day that I MAY sneak in a load or two of laundry IF I have any. I'll do that again on Friday.
I try to do a good portion of my garden work on this day as well. Remember, that dirt manicure! I really do consider every day a garden day though.

Thursday: It's Secretary Day. Thursday is that 'office' day that I go through the newspapers, sale papers, and mail that needs to be tended. I cull the magazine basket, clean off the desk, the computer and the accessories that go with it. I make appointments or any other important calls that need to be made. I pay bills that are due, file what needs to be filed (oh boy, we'll have to discuss that some day!) and just do general 'secretarial' skills for the house, as well as cleaning the area. Since this doesnt take all day of course, I'll also do the Guest end of the house this day. I have a room that is set up as a little den, it's really my guest bedroom with a pull-out sofa. I usually keep the door closed so no one is ever in there, and it doesnt get dirty. I do try to go in once a week and give it a 'sweep and a check with a dust magnet'. This takes me all of 5 minutes. So, I barely count it as part of my work week. But..Thursdays are the days I do this.

Friday: I know you've heard of an "All Purpose Cleaner"..well that's me on Fridays. I usually use Fridays as an all purpose day. I'll check each room and do anything in each room that may need to be done before the weekend. Run the vacuum again in the general traffic area, grab and wash any stray laundry, sweep the porches and walkways, wash the storm/screen doors, ya know...just a general all purpose kinda day, with laundry attatched! I make sure all the laundry is done on this day in preps for the weekend.

Saturday & Sunday?? Well, I leave the days pretty open. We could be outside working the yard, we could be on the lake, we could shopping at the flea market, we could be sleeping in! Either way, I leave the weekend open to the universe to decide what happens. Anyone up for an adventure?? Ya never know!

EVERYDAY: Yep, there is one of those too! An everyday routine. Besides all of the above, every day I get up and spend 10 minutes in each area of the house, totals up to an hour actually, doing basic upkeep. Trash, making the bed, spiffing the living room, running the vacuum, whatever may need done or can get done in that 10 minutes in each room to make it look presentable, that's what I do. Call it a ritual if you want..set your timer for 10 minutes and GO! It's easy, and you will not believe how much time you actually have on your hands once this schedule gets 'down pat'..:) Works for me..may not work for you.

So tell me Hedgewives..what is your work week!???

Monday, April 28, 2008

It's a Keb' Mo' kinda night!

Ever heard of Keb' Mo'?? Well, if not take a listen. Good stuff...bluesy..jazzy..all good. But..with all our rain, and simple workings of the house, it's a Keb Mo kinda night!

Didn't get a chance to make those signs yet, I guess I'll be working on those tomorrow. But for now, enjoy some Keb' Mo' and sleep well.
Tomorrow will be a busy day I'm sure. Garden things to tend to, house things to tend to and well..just a normal work week to get through.

See ya next time,
down on the farm!

It's laundry day

Monday's are always laundry days for me. Today, as normal..the B&B day (Bed and Bath) out of the way, laundry was started and I took a good hard look around my laundry room. WHEW..I think I need to spend a few hours in here! For some reason, my laundry room was just starting to look the pits to me. It was fairly clean yea, but lacked..personality!

Today..I gave my laundry room some personality!

First off..I bought a new little cupboard at a yard sale this past weekend, and it's adorable, and now clean and residing in my kitchen. The shelf I HAD in the kitchen which I replaced with the new 'used' cupboard had to go somewhere right?? WOW..the laundry room was just the place.

So I emptied the laundry room (well, not the washer and dryer mind you!) and cleaned it from top to bottom. Walls washed, floors swept and mopped. Now..the new shelf in place, a new 'clothes' hanger on the wall, some baskets placed here and there..and a few new ideas running in my head. The laundry room is starting to have some personality!

My laundry room is very small, not to mention it's the backdoor entrance as well.
Ya gotta know, I'm a back door girl. The way my life goes is, if I get a knock on the FRONT door, I know.. I don't know you, you're not a usual visitor to my house. All my friends and family come to my back door, straight into my laundry room first, then into the kitchen.

So yeah...it was time to personalize my laundry!
Now that it's clean from top to bottom, rearranged, new hanging things here and there, it's time for some 'flare'!
Here are my ideas, and one or two of which I will begin working on tonight.
I'm gonna make a few signs for my laundry room.

One will say

LAUNDRY
.50 cents
another will say:

Drop your pants here!
and finally one to say:
HELP WANTED!
What do you think of those?? Got any other ideas? Let me know. I love humor!
But, it seemed the day just kinda dragged working in the laundry room, but the satisfaction I have gained from seeing it in the 'new' fashion that it's in, is enough to give me a good nice sleep. Make me want to do more laundry even! (what?? Ohh yeah..I'm sick!)
It rained here all day on and off, was cloudy and very overcast, so what better thing to do then rework the laundry room huh?

Well, I'll try to get some of those signs made up and post some pictures tomorrow!
I hope you Hedgewives have had a great day and got accomplished what you wanted to get done. Maybe even a surprise or two as you worked your day! I'll be seeing you later this week.
We haven't discussed Wednesdays have we?? Maybe then, we'll see what we do on Wednesdays. Or is it Tuesdays?? LOL..either way, I'll see ya next time!

The weekend Treasure hunt!

Wooohooo, we went on a treasure hunt this past weekend, without really knowing we were!

This past Saturday, we decided to run down to Ladson and visit the Flea Market, do some shopping. We happened to pass a yard sale on the way so hubby turned big red around (big red: our truck) and we whipped it in to browse around. They had a little cupboard that I really liked but figured they'd want 20bucks or better for it..but I had to ask "How much for the cabinet?" the ladies reply had me diggin my pockets quick! "Two dollars" she said. SOLD!! They had a real good sized shop cabinet..gray metal, specifically designed for a shop, you could tell. The lady saw me look at it and said "That one is ONE dollar"...SOLD! (hehehehe). As I wandered around the rest of the little yard sale, I happened upon a small foot stool, wooden legs, wooden body, covered top. The covering was a ''needlepoint' type of material, very worn and stretched. So I picked it up, then realized the top opened. Again, I asked how much and was told two dollars. Sold! I'm almost dancing a little jig at this point. New little sewing box for beside my chair!
We found some great treasures at the yard sale and were very very pleased when we drove away.
Our adventure was not over.
We arrived at the Flea Market to do some vegetable shopping. They have many vendors that sell great vegetables, very fresh and much cheaper then the stores. The first row we strolled down didnt' have too many veggie vendors, but at the end of the isle, there was a lady selling various odds and ends, and I just happened to peek in and spied a basket. Anyone that knows me knows, baskets are my weakness, especially if they are 'different' and sturdy. Well, this one..was BOTH. I've never seen a basket like this one. It was HUGE, and not made of 'wicker' but made of ..wood instead. Ohh I can't describe this one, so I'll just have to post a picture for you. (soon as I take one!)
I have since, cleaned the cupboard, put it in the kitchen with all my canisters on display (i've opened the doors of the cupboard and put some of my handmade towels over the doors) I've recovered the little stool, with some beautiful material I had, but didn't have enough to do much with. It was just enough to fit the stool. It's adorable.

So here we are..eating fresh veggies, enjoying the wonderful treasures we've found. All is good on this rainy day.....
down on the farm!

See ya next time!

Rain rain go away

It has rained on and off all weekend, but we worked between the showers. Even with the rain, we accomplished alot in the gardens and on the grounds. It's raining today and not much can be done outside. Not even pictures.
That second garden we have, well it's planted. We 'hoe'd and planted 17 rows of corn (the rows are about 30' long!)..and no..we don't have machinery! Did that hoe'ing and planting by hand! Whew..were my shoulders sore! (and my feet, and my hands, and my...well you get the idea)
We planted more beans, some melons, decorative gourds and finally the sweet potatoes.
I'll post pictures tomorrow if I can, but boy oh boy you should see those Yellow squash! WOWSA!! In one weeks time, they have doubled upon themselves and instead of one or two litte blooms and beginning squashes, there are 6 or 7 of them on there now. I'm sure I'll be picking squash by next week! It's amazing!

I planted lots and lots of flower seeds this weekend. I've not done too many flowers by seed before, but being part a seed swap this year, along with an 'earth day' celebration at my hubbies workplace, we had flower seeds of all sorts and lots of them. So figured it was time to try my hand at seed planting flowers.
We'll see how it goes and I'll keep ya updated with pictures. I'm hoping they'll be out and blooming by July as we plan on having a yard party for the weekend of the 4th.
But, for now..take a garden break, sweep off your hat and get ready for tomorrow when you can...
Meet me at the Garden Gate!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Here's the Guard of the house


He was enjoying the morning sun yesterday. He's been around a long time. I call him my 'Garden Druid"..or "House Druid". He watches over the stoop, and those who enter. He made it through the house fire that burned the original farm house that was here, about 8 years ago, so I figure, he's pretty good luck!
I think I'll keep him around. :)

Oh..he's not one of those easy to pick up fellows either..he's made of concrete! If he moves, he only does it on his own, at night when everyone is sleeping...cuz I'm not luggin him anywhere! WHEW!

What's bloomin round here!

Here are some random pictures I snapped round my various gardens yesterday of things that are blooming. Thought I'd share them with you!


These are all pictures of the front flower garden we put in this year. The first rose bloom
Amarylises and Snapdragons. All assorted colors.

And of course, my two constant companions, Maya and Cami.
Hope you enjoy!!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Look what's happening at my house



HEY THERE!! boy are things abuzz around here. We got roses blooming, chickens growing and the weather is heating up here in the south!




Yesterday was a garden day around here, so I spent a good bit of time there. I need to spend more, trust me, the weeds are trying to take over.



See the rows of blueberry bushes! Five of them, and trust me, they produce tons of blueberries!













I'll be cleaning out the chicken coop today, it's in dire need of it.
WHEW!! (PHEWW!!! s more like it!)
I try to clean that out once a month or so,
replace the hay, open the windows and the doors.
Air out the little coop.
Can't have dirty smelly chickens now can we??



There is Maya, the mighty 'chicken guard' above. HA!! She guards them alright! She wants to PLAY and pounces with her front paws on either side of the chicken, her butt in the air and that " I BET you'd be fun to play with" look on her face. On the chickens face, is pure terror! I hear a squawk..see wings a flappin' and the next thing you know, it's like someone yelled "The sky is falling!" cuz every chicken in the yard is scrambling for......nowhere..everywhere..anywhere..they don't even KNOW where, they are just running. Maya looks up in total confusion...as if to ask "Do I stink?"



Now that little runt of a russell over on the left, she tries to help me corral the chickens at night. Ohhh yeah, she corrals them alright. She's just WAITING to get one in her little choppers! I think she'd let go quick enough when the chicken started flapping about in panic, but she just wants to try it...just once! She is the one you gotta watch!
I went out today and snapped some pics of the blooms around the house and hopefully I can get them posted soon.
But, I must run, the coop is calling..(or I should say..smelling) so off I go to scrape some hay!!
Have a good one and see you next time....down on the farm!

Make ahead meals!

Make ahead meals..on 'work late days' are great!

Yesterday was a 'work late' day. Now, work late days are when I KNOW in advance that the hubby is working late, and when I mean late, even HE doesn't know what time he'll get in. So on those days, I cook something easy, or pull something from the freezer that I've already made and frozen. Yesterday was one of those 'freezer' days.
I happened to have some 5-bean soup in the freezer which I had made weeks before, with plenty of leftovers! So with the hard part already done, I planned the meal ahead, add some rice and corn muffins and ya got it made!



Ohh and here is a pic of the Sourdough Wheat bread

I made the other day. It was soo good!
I'll have to post the recipe soon.


How many of you keep sourdough starter in your fridge??

I've been busy with the normal house stuff..yesterday being Wednesday, and Kitchen day, I made a point to mop the floor, bleach the sinks, wipe down the outside of the chest freezer, clean the toaster and wipe the cabinet fronts around the stove area. Unfortunatly, I didn't seem to get much else accomplished. Of course, I really try to make mid-week a garden day....so the Garden got a little tending to.
I've got weeds on top of weeds in a few of the beds, so I'm gonna have to spend some extra time in there this weekend. Let's hope we don't have rain!

So..what is one old fashioned thing from the kitchen that you like to make? Bread, Jam, Noodles?
Share with the rest of us Hedgewives what you like to make from your kitchen. We'll get that cookbook started yet!
See you next time..and Happy Hedgwifing!

Let the chickens do the work!

Hello again! Glad to see you here at the Garden Gate, c'mon, let's take a look at what we've done this past weekend and early week.

If you remember from previous posts, I've started the paper and plastic routine in the garden. Each pathway was covered with newspaper, then a layer of clear plastic. I will eventually cover the pathways with mulch...it'll look better. I've got bricks holding down the plastic so the wind doesnt' blow everything away. You can see this in the picture below.


We've added the climbers for the beans. I mean, they are pole beans, so we had to give them poles right?? (lol)
We've got the fence sections between the tomato plants, and the cucumber plants. The tomatoes can be tied to the fence section, and the cucumbers will naturally climb it, helping to keep the 'fruit' off the ground.

NOW...it's time to let the chickens do some work!

The chickens have got it made! They have a maid that comes in and cleans out their house once a month or whenever it needs it. She puts in fresh 'linen' (hay) for them, she feeds them everyday, changes their water..wow..chickens have it made huh?

Well, yes, I keep the chicken coop filled with hay. Once a month, or better I go into the coop and clean it out, scrape it out and replace the hay with fresh hay. What am I gonna do with all this hay that is filled with..well 'crap'!??

Here's how the chickens help keep my garden 'fertilized and weed free'. I take the bottom of an old large dog carrier. (the type you'd buy were your dogs needing to fly). I place this in front of the coop door before I begin cleaning out the coop. All the hay and 'fertilizer' gets scraped into this dog carrier.
Now, if you know anything about chicken fertilizer, you can't use it fresh. The only fertilizer that I KNOW that you can use fresh is rabbit. Chicken fertilizer will 'burn' your crops if you use it too early. Wait at least two weeks before you use it.
So here we have a dog carrier full of 'fertilized hay'. I sit it aside and let the sun, and the rain and nature do their thing and I wait. One week...two weeks....three weeks.....aha!


Yesterday was the day. I pulled the carrier over to the garden and began. I started with the tomato boxes since they are up good and strong and I began covering and layering under the plants. I had just enough hay to do both of the tomato boxes, thickly, and a little extra leftover that I place in an unplanted box for future use.

This whole process will keep the moisture in the boxes, discourage weed growth and fertilize the plants as the rain and watering wash down the chicken 'leftovers' :)
TRICKY HUH?


Ohh and while we are in the garden, take a look at what I spied the other day, went ahead and took a pic to share.... yellow squash..on the way!
Well, that's it for now, until next time when I......

See you at the Garden Gate!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Looking to be a gray day today

Having been a wee bit sick for the past week with a very viscious sinus infection, I've not been had as much time to blog, but I'm bloggin today!
It's Wednesday..a day for the kitchen.
Monday's are B&B Days, Wednesdays are K&L days. Kitchen and Laundry Room days. Since my laundry room is right off from my kitchen, I always include this in the chores of Wednesday.

It's KITCHEN day. I take an hour out of my regular cleaning and spend it on the kitchen. I usually end up mopping/bleaching the floor, cleaning out the fridge and pick ONE item in which to really get down and dirty with. Whether it's the freezer, the pantry, the oven, the cabinets, matters not, as long as there is a rotation done, it always gets done. I always stick with the same routine..from door back to door, but since the kitchen gets cleaned many times a day anyway the door to door routine is a lot quicker. It's a good thing though, as it leaves more time to get down and dirty with other things on cleaning day.
I try to remember what 'big' clean I did the previous week so I'm not repeating the process. If last week it was the oven, stove top and range fan, then this week, it'll be the sinks, coffe pot, toaster and the toaster oven. When I first started doing things this way, I'd keep a list of the items in the kitchen, and I'd mark them on the week I did them so I didn't repeat. Now, it's almost second nature, as I use the 'door to door' idea. The Fridge is first...then around the kitchen back to the fridge again. I've hit all the major and minor appliances, the sinks, counters, windows and everything in between.
Remember, if your just starting this..only work for one hour, get as far as you get in that hour, and next week, start where you left off! It's easy and gets easier as the weeks go by.

The kitchen is the heart of any home. To me, if this room is clean, the rest of the house usually magically gets clean too. Don't ask me why, but it does. I'll say it again, the kitchen is the heart of the home.
When I was growing up, all the family gathered round the table when they visited. We had a livingroom yeah, but, the only thing it was used for was 'watching football' on Sunday, and many of the men would gather there. They wouldn't always stay there though. They'd mill about from living room to kitchen, cuz the kitchen was where are the real action was. Sure, football was exciting, but the kitchen was always abuzz with activity. People coming and going, chatting with one another, joking about. The kitchen was the heart of my childhood home. We never left it, and the table was always the center of it all. The tales that table could tell.

Make your kitchen the heart of your home too. Spend some time it, and imagine your walls talking. :)

Till Next time!
Sage

Monday, April 21, 2008

The season is turning

For sure the season of summer is coming upon us here in the South. It was 80 degrees yesterday! Here in South Carolina, that means, we'll start getting very hot days, with showers in the afternoons. It'll be our rainy season, as late spring usually is. Let's hope we don't have another 'drought' this year. The gardens suffered for it last year for sure!

The chickens enjoyed a whole day out of their run. Since we were home, we figured they'd enjoy a 'vacation' from the run too! They are getting very spoiled.
We finished up some yard work yesterday, garden too, but there is still more to do, with time.
I picked our second crop of mustard greens, and the first crop of some collards. Mixed them together and cooked them for dinner, along with some homemade sourdough bread and steaks on the grill! YUM!!

The gig that I had on Saturday went very well. Cept for the gnats! I think I lost a quart of blood! The sand gnats were viscious! This is part of the very reason that I do not want to live anywhere near the water. Pretty though it may be..and the envy of those who do not know, but the gnats are enough to drive any sane person further inland! I'll stay right here on the farm, out in the middle of no where and travel to the beach when I want to see the water or go swimming. I would not live with those critters..no no no!

As normal, it's another day on the Farm, laundry to be hung, weeds to tend to (err..I mean pull), garden to groom and the chickens to feed! So, till next time, I'll see ya down on the Farm!

Ahh..a new week!

A new day, Monday..so it's B&B day, bed and bath. Sheets and towels and I"ve got sheets waiting to be hung out on the line. I love the smell of the sheets when they are hung out. So fresh and clean smelling.

Do you hang out clothes?? I"m pretty good about the sheets and towels.

Yesterday I made some homemade Sourdough Wheat bread. The hubby couldnt' get enough of it. I've got a picture that I'll post later for you to see.
Ohh the bread was good, but what was even better, was the lovely smell of baked bread that lasted in the house throughout the day.
Ever notice how smells make you feel? Clean, off the line sheets, baked bread, strawberries. Do smells bring back memories for you? Some certianly do for me.

Even flowers and perfume. They could bring back memories of your mother, your grandfather, or a favorite place you visted. Take time to smell the day. Bring back some memories.

Till next time!

It's a new week in the garden

And we finished up a good many things yesterday. I'll post some pictures later, but we put up the 'poles' for the pole beans to climb, got the fence in place for the tomatos' and cucumbers to trail and be tied against. The okra was planted, along with some winter squash. We've still got the bell peppers to do, but since my seeds didn't take, we are going to go purchase some seedlings and transplant those. Hoping to get that done this week. :) I thinned out in a few areas, the radishes, the mustards and the turnips. I'll have to do it again one more time this week.
I weeded here and there yesterday of course. Weeding is a never ending project!
It was a busy yard day.
There were many trees we pruned back a good bit yesterday too. Just some yard grooming.

We are hoping to put up our deck this year, so I'm already eyeing the yard for some new projects such as flower beds and walk through gardens.
It wont be long before we'll have the yard the little 'garden haven' I'm looking for! I'll keep ya posted of course!
For now..I'm off to the garden...so
Meet me at the Garden Gate!

Friday, April 18, 2008

The weekend rush!

Well, welcome to the Garden Gate again!

The week has gone by and the garden has made it through the cold snap and frost we had (thanks be due to the blankets of tarps we coated the garden in).
I meandered through the garden yesterday doing some odds and ends, fluffing up some dirt in a few unplanted boxes, weeding here and there and generally doing a plant check.

I did plant some lettuce yesterday, three different varieties, Romain, Iceberg (head), Black Sampson (leaf). I do hope I'm not too late for it as lettuce does NOT do well in hot weather, which is part of the reason I've placed all my 'salad' and 'cool' weather crops under the edge of the tree. They get the late morning sun, then are shaded for the heat of the day. Figured it would help to keep those 'salad' type crops from bolting to so quick. I'll let ya know how it turns out.

This weekend looks to be a busy one for sure. Our big gardening day this weekend will be on Sunday due to some prior commitments for Saturday. But hey..Sunday is a great day to be in the garden..it's a full moon!! We'll be planting the rest of our above ground crop this weekend. Melons, corn, okra, gourds, etc. The whole 'nine yards' as they say.

So till Sunday...when I'll
See you at the Garden Gate

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Good MORNIN!!

Your hump day is over, there is one more day left to the week, how ya feelin??

Well, I've had some celtic music up here for a few days now for you to listen to, that's 1/2 my heritage, so figured I'd let you hear the other half of my heritage for a few days! ENJOY

Well, the tarp blankets on the garden worked, it made it through the 'chilly' nights we had. The chickens are getting spoiled now. I've let them out of their pen each night for an hour or so to free range, and now every morning I go out, they wait at the gate, thinking I'm going to let them out ALL Day. Spoiled they are, I tell you!

I've got a job to do this weekend, a Sweet 16 party to play some music for, so I've been busy with that for the last few days. Should be a fun thing. Hubby is even going with me too. I get him to lug the equipment for free!! (I'm bad huh! LOL)

We are hoping to put a deck onto the back of the house this year, keep your fingers crossed that we do, and believe it or not..guess what I convinced my hubby of yesterday.
That I really needed a green house! LOL..woohoo! He agreed and said he'd been thinking about it to. So be on the lookout for a greenhouse for the farm coming soon! It'll be a small one for sure, but I wouldnt' want anything too big.

That's about all the updates for now, I must go and prepare more music for the party this weekend.
See you next time, down on the farm!

The Relationship between the garden and dishes

Sounds funny I know, but there is a relationship between the garden and the dishes.
Let me explain how to get a dirt manicure.

Many of us have dishwashers, and we use them, many of us don't. The Hedgwife, she does both.

There are days which she enjoys hot water and soap on her hands. Days she loves looking out of the 'sink window' and watching nature at play as she washes the dishes. And there are days where she will put the dishes right in that dishwasher and let the machine do the work. When she is busy with other things, or when she simply does not feel like standing at the sink for half an hour. The Hedgwife accepts the help of mechanics when it suits her needs.

There is one time that I do enjoy doing dishes by hand, that's garden days.

Around here, in the mornings, there are dishes to be done from breakfast. Not every morning, but most mornings. Most mornings I will empty the dishwasher from the night before and begin loading it immediately for the days dish load ahead, but on Garden days, I'll let the dishes set. It's time for a dirt manicure.
I go about my morning chores, leaving the dishes behind, rinsed and stacked. The garden is where I head. I've got planting or pruning or dusting up in the garden and so I begin.

I do wear garden gloves, honest I do, but there is something about the feel of dirt in your hands, that I cannot resist. Try as I might to keep my garden gloves on and my hands clean, the dirt calls and I cannot. I'll plunge my hands in before my garden time is over and when I come out of the Garden Gate, the dirt under my nails is evidence of what I've been doing.

The cool dirt feels good, it's natures womb and I'm planting seeds for her to birth. Sound odd? Well, it is, but that's exactly what you're doing when you plant a seed.

I usually head to the garden early, before the suns heat makes it too hot. Today, I planted lettuce, weeded a few areas and just fluffed up the dirt in a few boxes that are unplanted as of yet. I couldn't resist of course, and took off my garden gloves and dug my hands in several times. It's easier to 'feel' weeds and clods that need to be broken without the gloves. When I was done, I gathered my garden basket and back inside I came. Time for a manicure.

I washed the loose dirt from my hands and loaded the sink with hot soapy water preparing for my dirt manicure. And boy was there dirt under my nails!
I plunged my hands into that hot soapy water and began. I washed each dish by hand, rinsed and set it aside in my drying area and I watched. With each dish and plunge of my hands into the water, the dirt dissapeared a little at a time.
There's nothing like the feel of clean hands and nails is there? Especially after they've been loaded with good dirt!
I watched out the window as I washed, looking at the garden I had just left, watching the womb take on the seeds I had just planted. In a weeks when I do this again, those seeds will have sprouted. A few weeks later, they will have grown to the point that I will be able to see them clearly from the kitchen window over the sink, and my dirt manicures will have even more meaning.
The dishes were all done, clean and shinning sitting in their drying area. As I dried my hands I took one last look out the window, then down to my nails. Clean as a whistle.
What a manicure!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Garden Tips for the day`

We can't forget about the flowers this year ya know. So here's some tips for the flower garden!


FLOWER GARDEN TIPS
_____________________________


To increase the fragrance of your rosebushes, plant parsley all around them.

Poppy's don't like to be transplanted, so scatter the seeds in the flower garden and let them go!
Nick your Morning Glory seeds and soak them in warm water overnight before planting.
I'll check back in later, after I've come in from the Garden.
Sooo, Meet me at the Garden Gate!!

Well here it is....a wee bit later in the day for me...and lo and behold, I've uncovered the garden and all is well!! WHEW!
We've got one more night of chilly weather and the weather man is calling for rain here for us today, but..it's not raining yet, and it's past noon! Not sure when this rain is supposed to start, but the wind sure is giving us a fit today! My chimes have not stopped singing all day. This is usually a good sign for me that rain is on the way.

I am pleased that all the garden plants made it through, as well as the decorative plants and flowers. My yard has looked like a 'tarp' garden for a few days now!

I'm off to enjoy some afternoon sunshine and warm myself in it. Till next time!

Meet me at the Garden Gate!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Ahh it's Monday

The start of a brand new week!

Monday's are my "B&B" days. B&B stands for Bed and Bath. That's the two rooms I clean on Mondays. (besides it's laundry day too)
Many moons ago I sat aside an hour for each room. Took my timer, and all my cleaning things (homemade cleaner, brushes, trash bags, brooms, rags and the like) and headed for each room. I'd set the timer and get to work. I'd spend ONE hour in each room cleaning it from top to bottom.
I'd start at the door, on the right and work my way around the room till I was back to where I started. Including windows! If I wasn't finished in an hour, that was ok. I knew next week, it would take even less time. As the weeks went by, everything got easier and easier to clean. (the 'spiffing up' everyday sure does help) I didn't need to spend an hour. Now, I set the timer for 1/2 hour for each room, doing the same things...starting at the door, working my way around till I'm back at the door, it's easy.
If you remember my morning routine of flinging back the covers on the bed and then cleaning the bathroom each morning before I made the bed, this is the one morning where that changes. I always change the sheets and wash them on Mondays since it's my 'laundry' day.
So on Monday, when I wake up, I strip the bed and start the laundry. Then I go about my cleaning schedule.
The bedroom cleaning works the same way, I start at the door and work my way around the room. Putting the fresh sheets on the bed is usually the last thing I do.
After doing this long enough, you gather a speed and a pattern. It doesnt take an hour in each room anymore, half an hour is plenty.

If you decide to start doing this, a couple of things to remember.
ONE hour only. Never more. If you didn't get it this week, you'll get it next week. The time that you did spend in each room will be well worth the feeling of accomplishment.
Always 'clear the decks' before starting. Meaning, trash is first. Collect all trash and dirty clothes first, remove them. You'd be surprised just how much that alone makes a difference.
If you're starting out in a very cluttered room, spend just 10 minutes on each section of clutter, then move to the next, remember your hour rule.
Repeat this every week. It wont take long before it's all cleared and cleaned and you'll be surprised.

So...Mondays are B&B days..I'm off to hang my laundry out! Have a great Monday!

Gotta uncover today

This morning, I'll have to go out and take the 'blankets' off the garden!
The weather man was not nice to us and called for a frost last night and an even deeper one..possibly a full freeze for tonight. So yesterday the other half and I got in there with many tarps and 'blanketed' the whole garden. (Well any areas that had plants coming up).
It looks quit funny to see it.
I am hoping we can make it through this 'freeze', it's odd for this time of year, but that's the same thing that wiped up us out last year!

So I'm off to 'uncover' the garden, and keeping my fingers crossed that everything made it through the night! Wish me luck!

See you next time..At the Garden Gate

It's over!


I'm in an Irish mood, so enjoy some soothing Irish tunes while you read!

Jammin time is over, for now. It's almost a sad thing, but boy do I love looking at the end result. I 'put up' 20 1/2 pints and several bags of slightly sweetened, sliced berries for the freezer. We may go back this weekend and do it again! (only I wont get as much this time, just enough for the freezer and Yule gifts)

We opened a jar of course, and used it yesterday for our brunch. This is the first time the new hubby has tasted my preserves. I made homemade biscuits just for the occasion. His comments? He took one bite and said "That's some GOOD stuff!!" (I smiled real big)..I knew this already, but it sure was nice to hear.

We had to 'blanket' our garden last night and will have to do it again tonight due to the frost we are getting. I've got to go uncover it in a few minutes, but it's downright chilly outside. They've called for a frost last night, and a deeper frost/freeze for tonight. I hope the garden makes it through. It looks very funny to see the garden all covered in blue, brown and green tarps!

The chickens are not very fond of the new food I got for them. It's in pellet form, instead of a crumbled form. I guess I'll be going back to the feed store this week to get some 'crumbled' stuff. I'll mix it in and hope for the best!

Till next time..see ya Down on the Farm!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

It's Sunday

A day to rest??? Yeah..not on a farm, big or small!!

We've got to prepare today for the possible upcoming 'frost' that the night threatens to bring. The Garden would suffer greatly and all the work we've done would be wasted. I'm not into wasting much of anything!

We start Sundays a bit slower, with a Brunch. I like taking my time on Sundays, it at least gives me a break from the 'normal' week.

Sundays are days I remember best in my memory as a child.
I come from a big family, all told 12 kids! It's a long story, and not for the day, but there were only 9 of us in the general area. I was the youngest of these local 9, so as a young child and teen, all the brothers and sisters had families of their own, but it was 'tradition' that they came to 'mama's every Sunday.

So every Sunday at our house was like a holiday. My mother would get up and start breakfast, early. She'd cook bacon and sausage...lots of it. She'd make a huge pan of 'cat head' biscuits from scratch (with special flour that she'd travel 500 miles to get!), gravy to top the wonderful biscuits and of course eggs. Sometimes there would be fried potatoes as well. For a while, one of my sisters, Wanda, still lived at home, and of course, we were all in the kitchen helping prepare the 'Sunday Breakfast'.

As everyone would started arriving the house would get very full! Brothers, Sisters, wives, husbands and kids! We'd have breakfast in shifts because there were so many of us. My mothers kitchen was small, (as was the rest of the house) but when it was full to bursting was the most fun. Everyone ate as they came in, they'd get a plate and find an empty spot to sit. The youg'uns were assigned the stairs. I laugh when I remember this, as I used to be in that place in the family as well. The house was a two story, with the stairs in the kitchen. The children would get their plates and go to sit on the 'steps'..butt on one riser, plate on the other. The steps could be full all the way to the top, and there were thirteen of them! (stairs that is!)

With breakfast over, we immediatly began the preps for dinner . The 'girls' which meant the sisters & wives, would begin the breakfast cleanup. Funny now, but it seemed not everyone would participate. Usually me and my sister Wanda were stuck with the KP duty. More gave a hand to helping with dinner though. On nice Sundays we'd cook out, burgers or chicken with all the fixins that go with it. Potato Salad, corn or beans (Home grown that were 'put up' the previous year) and anything else my mother could get from her 'larder'! She had a housefull to feed. When a pot of beans was cooked, it was no 'little' pot.
All my mothers pots were big. Finding a small one was near impossible.
Again, when the dinner was over there was the "KP" duty and again, it usually fell to the same people. It was work, but we had many laughs.

When you put that many people in a small space you have two choices, you either laugh or you fight. We've done both, and I remember both, but the laughter was always louder and lasted the longest, even in the memories.

Have fun with your Sunday, make a memory to share or one to keep. Just keep the laughter louder and longer.

Till next time...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

We "BE JAMMIN"

Oh yeah...! Those strawberries beckoned to me all day. I stood fast though, till I was done with my outside work.

The rains were coming, the yard work now done, I had about 20 minutes before the downpour. I grabbed a few bowls, a knife and some strawberries and sat on the porch 'decap'-itating' strawberries till I had 8 Cups. Rinsed, quartered and put into the pot, I cooked and stirred till the preserves were the result. 7 -1/2 pint jars sit beautifuly on the table cooling as I type.
I'd start the next set, if only I had more sugar! I had JUST enough to do these jars ONLY!
Since it's still 'storming' out, I certianly don't want to go out this moment, so we'll sit here at the Farm, admire the dark reddness in the little jars below and wait.

Till tomorrow probably.
Besides all that, the kitchen is cleaned up from the 'putting aside' and the preps for dinner are calling me. Speaking of dinner...the first crop of the season waits to be dinner salad!
MUSTARD GREENS! (great raw as a salad!)


Seems the days on the Farm start early with tons of things to be done, big, small and in between, and even when you think you can rest for a bit, you find something else to add to the list to begin later or the next day. WHEN will I run out of paper??

The chickens will surely enjoy the tops I cut off the strawberries though. Maybe it'll stop raining soon and I can let them out for a little while.
I hear the sweet sound of "POP"..coming from the jars behind me..they are snapping sealed now about every 5 mins or so....woohooo!!
Till next time, I'll see ya...down on the Farm!

Garden Lab and experiments!

GARDEN LORE
__________________
This isn't quit 'garden lore, it's more like 'moon lore'...but if used correctly, can really help in the garden or any yard work.
And it goes something like this:


Dig a hole on the full moon, you'll have too much dirt

Dig a hole on the new moon, and you'll not have enough.


SO?..ever heard this one?? Well, give it a try. Digging on the rise of the moon..(from new to full) will give you more dirt then the hole will handle if you fill it back in, and just the opposite if you dig on the 'falling' of the moon (from full to new). Moreso on the exact days of each...full and new.
(I can see you all now, out there diggin up your yards on the full of the moon night..hehehe)

I started a few experiements this morning. I've never grown this from seed, always had cuttings. Today however, I broke that tradition. I purchased some seeds several weeks back and figured today was just as good a day as any to get them in some dirt.

Here's some pics of some of the other experiements I'm trying out. Follow me along as we see if any of these will work. :)


The 4 little pots in the front hold the tiny Coleus seeds.


The three pots in the back, are 'salvages' from a friends garden that stayed out all winter. The first pot is a transplant. The second two, are our experiment. As I was dumping the 'dead' plants to reuse the dirt, I found a few 'roots' that seemed 'alive', so I've planted them in fresh dirt and am giving them a fighting chance to 'come back'. I'll keep updated posts here from the little experiment. I wish them luck!

Early this morning, I plucked the first garden crop, some mustard greens that were big enough to use as a salad..and that's exactly what I'm having with our chicken dinner tonight!

YUMMM!!! See you next time..at The Garden Gate!!!

OH yeah..I forgot

Before I get started 'jammin'...LOL...I promised I'd post a pic of the 'ladies' of the yard, all grown now...and just about ready to start laying. ENJOY!!


Maya is supposed to be guarding. Don't know how much 'guarding' she's doing. More like eating LEFTOVERS! BREAD CRUMBS!

Can you believe...

It's Saturday, and they are calling for a possible frost here, Monday night! ACK!!

This happened to us last year. The garden was up, big bold plants of all the crops, and we woke one morning to find, EVERYTHING..down, everything wilted over, dead. It was a sad sad day. It was Mothers Day weekend. A freak unexpected frost came in..and zapped the entire garden. Not to mention the fruit trees as well. The blueberry blooms were gone, the figs hardly produced, everything suffered last year.

We want to be as prepared as possible for that this year. So yesterday, we began preparing for the 'upcoming frost' just in case. We covered the boxes in plastic earlier this year, but that was before the plants were up as big as they are. Now we've got to give 'headspace' for all the plants. We placed stakes in each box yesterday so that we can 'teepee' the plastic over them. We'll prep it on Sunday afternoon and come late monday afternoon, I'll cover each box so that the sun can warm them before going down.

In the meantime.. Seems I'm having some 'ant' problems in the garden, so we had to put some ant deterrent in there yesterday. We did a widespread coverage because fire ants usually just want to 'move over' not 'move out'. We want them to 'move out!'. Fire ants are NO FUN! They WILL kill a crop! (as well as stinging you! can make you sick if enough of them get you and you are allergic!)

Well, if you've been to the Farm page, you know what I'm going to be doing today. I'll be outside early in the day of course doing any last minute preps for the rain we are expecting today, but a rainy day is just the right kind of day to make 'Strawberry Jam'..so check out the Farm page and take a gander at the booty we collected yesterday! I'm off to 'jam' ...
Till next time, when you
MEET ME AT THE GARDEN GATE!

Guess what I'll be doing today??

As mentioned before, that we may get to go strawberry picking this weekend, yesterday provided the perfect opportunity, so off to the strawberry farm we went!



Maple Ridge Farm.

It's early in the strawberry season, but well within the season for sure. Strawberries run April and May. We may go back in a few weeks to get another load like this one, but for now, I'll be busy enough with this load..and up to my elbows in red red strawberry juice!!



The strawberries cannot escape! See the hunter above..there is no ESCAPE!




And..the booty....this is THIRTEEN POUNDS of strawberries! The strawberries were all monster sized this year. Seems like everyone around here had 'big big' berries. Must be the year of the "BIG BERRY!" As you can see, I've got new jars bought and ready to wash and sterilize for these babies and the rest of our 'bounty' of the year!

Well, I'm off to begin the strawberry ritual here at Sagewood!
See ya next time! Down on the Farm!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Pictures that I promised

Ok, here we are..the first rows of plastic and paper put down. The first box is the Bluelake Pole beans. Remember, planted in 'steps' One half was planted weeks ago, the other 1/2 of the box, planted this week.

These boxes are appx. 2-2 1/2 ft wide and 8 ft long. I do plant two different things in them sometimes..each, with their own 4ft bed.
They are 2- 2 1/2 ft wide, because I'm short and want to be able to reach all the way across without having to change 'sides' of the box!


Long view of the four rows finished.

It's pure ease of weeding that I go through this process! Really! Who wants to weed all summer?? NOT I!




Below are the Tomatoes. This is probably one
of the ONLY veggies that I DON'T "Step Plant",
cuz when it comes to putting up Tomatoes..you
want a lot to make it worth your time!




Below are the Cucumbers..all planted in the box at the same time, but the seedlings started at different times, so I didn't have a 'run' on cucumbers all at once! LOL




And right here in this box, are Bananana Peppers. The are still very small yet. Pepper plants seem to take a long time to 'get up there' but then, never seem to stop producing!

Whew...! Now, if you scan back through the archived posts, you'll see some of these things planted 'long time ago' it seems..they were babies then!

We'll need to water tonight...so the day's gardening is not quit done yet. And there are more boxes planted and with good food coming up in them, but we'll show those another day.
HAPPY GARDENING!
Meet me at the Gate!

Look at this beauty!


This was sooo close to blooming the Saturday we had the baby shower for my daughter, but it didn't come through. Finally..just a mere 4 or 5 days after the shower, what happened?? It bloomed..and bloomed out with 4 great big flowers on it. ((Sigh))
It's all good, at least I got pictures to share! ENJOY!!

A breeze started coming in this afternoon, it's cooled everything down from the little mini heat wave we had today.
It's due to rain here Saturday (scattered showers), and that figures since we wanted to get more garden/yard work done, but maybe we can accomplish it in between the showers.
Maya has her yearly vet appointment, so first thing tomorrow we'll be off to the doggy doc!
For now..I'm off to water the farm!

Have a great night and see ya next time, down' on the farm!

Give a weed an inch, and it will take a yard!

Today..well, I'm heading to do some flowers in the garden, but I do believe I'll begin putting my newspapers down in my pathways to start the control of the dreaded weed. If I get the newspapers down today, maybe I can get it mulched this weekend, and my garden pathways will be weed free! (for this year at least!) It's early still yet, not even 8am yet, so I should be able to get much done before noon!

Gardening tip of the day..:
_________________________________
A thin coating of newly mown grass cuttings spread around cabbages, broccoli and similar plants
will keep them caterpillar-free.


So keep in mind your 'cabbage' family plants..and the caterpillars that do love them, remember the grass!
I'm off to weed and plant and weed and plant..See you next time, at the Garden Gate!











3 hours Later.................................(whew!) Ya know, the weather man said it was going to be 80 deg or better today..and by george..he's right! It's gettin 'hot out there!

Well, the flowers didn't get done. I went straight to the veggie garden and found lots of things to do. First..I weeded a few more boxes. Mounded some dirt up on all the tomatoes to help them grow sturdy stems. Fixed a few of the beds that looked a bit 'low' on dirt, raked some areas more level and then finally, started putting the newspapers and the plastic down in the pathways around the boxes. I leveled any high areas first, then put down layers of paper, newspaper.

Yes, even the inked ones. No plants are going in this area, I just don't want a garden of weeds in my pathways.

Once at least 3-5 layers of newspapers were down, I put the plastic over top that I had cut to size earlier. I got 4 of the pathways done before I ran out of newspapers! SOoooo Now, I have to go somewhere and find more. ((sigh)) ..
I don't have my mulch yet, so I had to place bricks on each end to hold the plastic down in the breeze until I can get my mulch..this will have to do, but PART of the job is done.

A little done each day, keeps me from having to do tons all in one week!
I transplanted a few 'doubled up' brocolli's today. I hope they make it.

I'll post pictures of all this later!

HAPPY GARDENING!

The sun is out again!

The weatherman is telling me 80's today! Again, I just might believe him!
I've got a few plantings in the garden to do this morning, some flowers, then a run to the corner post office. Market day..Thursday...:)

Hedgewives! Do you remember the old 'lists' of days of the week to do things? Originally it was
Wash on Monday
Iron on Tuesday
Mend on Wednesday
Churn on Thursday
Clean on Friday
Bake on Saturday
Rest on Sunday
Later as the years went by and butter was 'bought' more then made at home, Thursday's churning, changed to 'Market' day.
With a few changes to 'fit the times', this was the beginning of my weekly chore list.

Today being Thursday..would be 'market' day. I'm not sure if your area still does it, but here, in this small southern town, all sale papers for the local grocery come out on Wednesday. All sales start on Thursday.
You reckon it has to do with this old fashioned standard of 'market' on Thursday, or is it just because the weekend is on the way?
In days past I would sit and scan all the sale papers comparing prices of items store to store and make my list with the stores name at the top, and the item they had on sale underneath. (if it was an item I was in need of mind you) I'd figure out my route..cuz I would make one 'round' trip in and out of town, and bright and early on Thursday morning, I'd do my shopping. I usually ended up hitting three stores, four at the most and I guess I did ok money wise, I fed a family of 6-8 every night, on large country meals for about 200$ a month. (sometimes more..sometimes less depending on what I had to have 'extra' wise..ya know, laundry soap, bleach, flour, sugar, etc)

Of course, when I found good sales on meats or the like, I bought a bunch, and canned or froze them for future use. Same thing with the veggies or fruits.
They used to have 'truckload' sales here every ohhh 4 months or so. I'd stock up on many items then. And I made sure I'd buy enough to last me till the next truckload sale. I'd preserve it, store it in whatever way I could. It worked.

I very rarely use this as a 'market' day anymore. More often then not, I'm using Thursday as a catch up day, cleaning day, general office day. I know the sales are going to last for a few days, so there is no rush. No kids at home and I'm only cooking for 2, ya don't need as much. Funny thing is, Ten years ago, I was cooking for 6 or more every night..now I cook for 2 and the cost is still the same! GO FIGURE!!! Expenses are going up, I think it's time I start scrouring the papers again!

Enjoy the sale papers and the Market days Hedgewives! They can still be fun, take a good bargain when you can and always check the 'reduced' racks!

Till next time!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Garden work is finished

For the day at least!
I've weeded a few more boxes, and planted those very same boxes. Today the Zuchinni, more pole beans, more mustard, and finally the cabbage (I'm so late with that!) were planted this morning.

I try to plant things in stages, or 'steps' as I like to call it.
Mustard or beans for instance. Many people down here grow mustard only in late summer, as it's a cool weather crop and the summer heat will make it bolt or 'go to seed'. I do both. The first planting of mustard went in many weeks ago and is almost ready for it's first picking. The second planting went in today. I do this so Im not bombarded with a ton of mustard that I have to tend to all at once.

Since I clean, blanch and freeze it, I'd much rather do it in stages. Of course, we always eat some when it's ready, but we always have enough to put several containers worth in the feezer with each picking. With Step planting, it's much easier to deal with. Especially if you experience a bumper crop for the year!
Can you imagine having to pick, clean, prepare, and preserve ALL of your crop in one day! OHH no...!.
Besides all that, this year, I want to try my hand at some 'real' homemade mustard. Mustard greens produce of course, mustard seed. It takes warm weather to make your mustard bolt and seed. I will probably plant mustard again, in a few weeks. That plot will be for extra mustard seed. :)
I found a good website that shows how to prepare your seed for mustard making. So if your interested, have a look. And even if you don't want to grow your own, you can buy mustard seed in bulk at many places and still make your own. Here's the site with lots of info and recipes for different mustards as well. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1082/is_n5_v39/ai_17618779

As far as preserving mustard greens, it couldn't be easier. I prefer the square plastic containers, made specifically for the freezer. I like them because they take up less room in the freezer. Since they are square, they don't waste any space.

When it comes to mustard greens, you can either cut the plant entirely or pick off leaves that are ready, leaving the center cluster of leaves for a second or third crop from the same plant. That is what I do. Pick the largest leaves, (along the outside) but never let them get huge, they will get 'bitter'. It takes a lot to make a 'mess' so plan on picking bunches!

To prepare them for freezing, clip any big stems at the bottom and place them in a sink of cold water. Rinse to remove dirt, repeat (changing water) till clean.
Get a large stock pot with ohh several quarts of water in the bottom and bring it to a boil. I do this the old fashioned way, and grab two handfulls of greens, (using both hands) and stick them in that pot of boiling water. Start timing. You only need to blanch/steam them 3-5 minutes.
If you've got them completely submerged in water..3 minutes tops. If you're doing more steaming, 5 mintues tops.
Once the time is up, take pinchers and transfer them to the plastic container filling almost to the top. Leave some 'headspace'. Then use the water you boiled or steamed them with and ladle some into the container till the greens are mostly covered, remember to leave that head space. Let them set to release air bubbles and cool a bit. After they have cooled some, tighten the plastic lids down and place them in the freezer. DONE!

That's it for today! Now, get out there and grow some mustard greens! :)

The Sun is finally out!

With a week of rain and many gloomy days that followed we are finally seeing some of the suns rays this morning!!
I've washed and hung the quilts on the line this morning so they can be 'fresh' for their summertime storage. I think I'll even throw up the windows again today! The weatherman says out temps are going to be in the 70's, and today, I just might believe him.
I plan on doing some more garden work today as well. Got some boxes to weed and some seeds to plant! So make sure you meet me at the Garden Gate!

Had to go shopping last night, and for some reason, I am just not a shopper. Not that I can't do it or find the best bargain for my dollar, I just don't care to shop. It's very 'unwomenly' from what I hear. People tell me 'shopping' is in a womens genes,...(heh!) Well, I must have missed out in that department. I really have to be in the mood to shop. Last night was not one of them. ((Sigh))

I dreamed of babies last night! Of course, we all know I've got two grandbaby's on the way, so this is probably not an odd thing, but the dream itself was odd. Of course, most of my dreams are! Babies were everywhere! That's a lot of quilts! LOL

Well, I'm off to finish up my daily rounds. Have some more laundry to hang on the line, some to fold and put away and the garden and chickens to tend to today! See you next time, here on the Farm!

It's looking to be a wonderful day here!

How 'bout where you are?? The sun is poking out this morning, which is nice since we had 5 days of rain, then 3 days of gray!
I've finished up my morning routine and am enjoying my coffee and a little bit of quiet. Of course, it's always quiet here. Do you have a morning routine??
I surely do. I do it most days without fail, but of course, there are a few mornings that I'm just not up to it and I give my morning routine a 'lick and a promise' and go on about my day.
But usually, I go about my day in the same way. Here's just part of my morning routine.

When I finally open my eyes (usually about 6am) I fling the covers back from the bed and let them hang over the end. I crawl out and scuffle to the bathroom. Now, in the bathroom I keep a plastic icecream bucket that holds a spray bottle of homemade all purpose cleaner, a scrubbing powder, a toilet brush and a toothbrush. Under the sink, I have a small stack of cleaning rags. (Cut up towels or washcloths that I no longer use)
Once in the bathroom, I take 30 seconds to clear anything off the counter/sink area, then I grab the all purpose spray cleaner and give that area a good spray and let it soak while I use the bathroom. Then, I spritz the toilet and add the scrubbing powder, let it sit. Go back to the counters and the sinks, grab a rag and give everything it's wipe down, then move to the toilet. Scrub it out with the brush, wipe it down, flush, rinse the brush and back in the plastic container everything goes. I hang up any towels or replace them with fresh ones where needed, collect all the dirty clothes (tossing the cleaning rag in with them) and head back to the bedroom. I dump all the dirties in the dirty basket in the bedroom and then make the bed. I collect ALL the dirty clothes and I'm out the door. I don't have to go back in this set of rooms to clean anything the rest of the day. I'm done. (unless I'm running the vacuum, then I go in to vacuum)
This is part of a normal morning routine for me. Grant you, there is more when I emerge from the bedroom and we'll discuss that another day.
Do you ladies do anything like this? This little routine takes me all of 10 minutes or less. I've been doing it for years of course, so have it down to a personal science.
Anyone can do this, just start slow, give yourself 10 minutes only, in each room if you must, but you'd be surprised what 10 minutes will do.
The amount of satisfaction I feel when this is complete is GREAT! I KNOW, this area of my house is done, in 10 minutes or less. It's an amazing feeling. Each and every time I walk back in that set of rooms to put something away, or use the bathroom, there is a twinge of glee as I look about and go 'WOW..only 10 minutes!"
Hope this can help some of our struggling Hedgewives to start working a routine into their lives. Trust me, a Hedgewife has one. She'd be lost without it.

Here's to a great day for all the Hedgewives out there! May it be filled with personal enjoyment of life!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Hello to all my fellow Hedgewives!

Since today was Tuesday and according to the old standard, Iron on Tuesday, that's what I did.
I had washed some dinning linens yesterday so today, I grabbed up the ironing board and ironed the dinner napkins. Not because they had to be, but because I wanted to.

Nope, I don't use paper napkins, or paper towels. I guess my line of thinking is ..'why would I buy something to simply throw it in the trash?", that's how I feel when it comes to paper towels and napkins. It doesn't take much extra for me to toss cloth dinner napkins in with the towels or the kitchen laundry.

Seriously, let's think about this. Most people use paper towels to do one of two things. Either wipe up a spill or dry their hands. So, picture it. You wash your hands or get your hands wet at the kitchen sink, grab at the paper towel roll, snatch one off, wipe your hands a few times and 'toss'.. into the trash it goes. WHY? Wouldn't it be just as easy to grab a regular kitchen towel that you probably have hanging on the front of your stove very near the sink and dry your hands on that, and rehang the towel? Or when you have a spill, grab the kitchen dishcloth and wipe up the spill? Ok, it may take a few times to get it all, but then you have the dishcloth handy to rewet and rewipe the area to get any 'sticky residue' left over. I just don't see the use of paper towels. But I can tell you this, the manufacturers LOVE the idea that people think they can't live without them.
My grandmother never used a paper towel, nor did the many women who came before her. We still got here, she still survived a day in the kitchen without one. I guess I can to!

So let me hear it from all the Hedgewives out there, paper or no?

It's weed day

GARDEN LORE: They say if you weed on the new moon phase (which means from the day or two after the moon goes full till it goes 'black') you'll have less weeds!

Today is a weed day.
On my garden days I go out and randomly pick one or two boxes to 'weed out'. That way nothing gets too bad, rotation naturally occurs and I get to enjoy a good dirt manicure!
Today was the "Pepper" box day. Banana Peppers.

I prefer to weed after a good day or two of rain (we've had a week of it, so I guess I'm safe). The ground is softer then, and the weeds will pull out much easier. I take my garden fork, and that's what I call it, it's the small mini rake. I loosen all the dirt around the seedlings as close as I can get, disturbing the weeds as I go. Then, I sift the dirt so to speak catching the weeds in my fingers and tossing them out. I spread the dirt back out nice and level and any weeds that I missed, I yank em right on outta there!
How do you weed??
While I was in the garden, and since well I had the time, I went ahead and weeded the squash. And as I passed by even plucked a few out of the tomatoes..:)


I'll be doing some more planting in a few days. It'll soon be time to add more beans, the bell peppers, some more mustard and the okra.
Till next time, Happy Gardening and See you at the Garden Gate!

G'mornin! It's Tuesday

I think it's Tuesday! Went to the vet yesterday as planned. Cami has somehow really messed up her knee. She's got medicine to take for the next few days and a week to make it all better on her own, if not, it's xray and possible surgery time. ((sigh)) Let's hope she can heal it on her own. She was fine with it till I had to give her the medicine last night. She bout had a fit..what do I mean..'bout had a fit'..she DID have a fit ..and I do believe, hurt it further in the process. She's not walking again today and when she does, she holds it up and hops along three legged.

Since today is Tuesday, it's gardening day for me, so I'm off to play in the garden, meet me at the Garden Gate!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Glad you're here!

Welcome to the Hedgewife page!
Hedgewife is a word that I came up with in the middle of the night, trying to figure out what *I* was. I was stuck, between the modern world and my love of the Pioneer or Amish women and their lifestyle. Feeling a bit like a Hedge that seperated two fields, one in the 21st Century, and one from long ago. That hedge didn't move, it was 1/2 in and 1/2 out of each world, but was solid in it's stand. So, was born the 'Hedgewife'. Take time to read about the idea of a Hedgewife, and if it's you, let me know. I love hearing from all of you!
I am hoping to soon open up a forum for all the 'lost' Hedgewifes out there. So look for a link soon! Then we can chat about our 'dual' lifestyles! :) Happy Hedging!

A Welcome letter

WELCOME!
I've searched the net to find others who think like I do and I just hope there are some out there who understand. It could be you. I'll let my mind ramble upon the page and you see if you can make head or tails of it.

I admire the Amish. Primarily the Amish women. Their way of living, the day to day needs they contend with, the basics of life and the way in which they work together is inspiring to me.

The Wife of old, the Pioneer women and early settlers of this land or any land have my admiration. They started with nothing, but with earnest work and intelligence provided daily needs for their family.
Consider for a moment one basic need. Clothes. A simple shirt. The process of a shirt went from shearing the sheep to washing and carding the wool, to spinning the thread and finally weaving on a loom to make the material. That's a lot of work and a lot of hours in the making for one shirt! Now, clothe an entire family. Your mate, your children and yourself. WOW!!

Do I want my life like that? No, but I appreciate the women who did it and the work involved. I've grown up in a world of mechanisms, electronics and the microchip. To go back to a time like that and try to do what those women did, I'd probably never make it. Neither would many of us.

If you can manage to go off grid and do it all as the Pioneer did, I congratulate you. I can't nor do I want to.
I am a Hedgewife, a wife of old in concept.

The certain simple things of the Pioneer, the Amish or the Farm wife attract me. The idea of a job done by hand. A way of life that is simple and easy, but hard work. It's a different kind of hard work though, it's a satisfying one.
I am a Hedgewife, a wife that enjoyes to work with her hands. Making things from bread to quilts.
I do much the same things a Pioneer or an Amish women does. I rise in the morning and have a daily routine that I go by. I like making my own bread as needed. I garden to put food on the table, I 'put up' or 'put aside' the harvest. I sew clothes and quilts for my household. I cook everyday.....well almost.
I am a Hedgewife, I enjoy those days when I live in the 21'st Century. Just like every other 'wife' or women out there, I have my days where I love the conviences of today. Going out to dinner or ordering out. Just like every other person on this planet, there are days when I'm not 'at my best' or just being absolutely lazy and choose to do nothing. Just like everyone else I watch tv, love the movies and dance to the music.
I am a Hedgewife, a women living between the old and the new, like a hedge between the fields.

Sage
The Hedgewife

G'mornin!

Today I have an appointment. Well *I* don't, it's Cami our little Jack Russell. Somehow, over the past 5 days or so she has hurt her leg to the point where she wasn't even walking across the room to me by last Friday night. So I called the Vet on Saturday, they were swamped, no appointments available, and wait time to get worked in was 3+ hours! ACK! So I made an appointment for her for today, kept her as pain free as I could, and that little snot..by Sunday night she was up and walking, running, playing, jumping..well just being a normal Russell again. ((Sigh)) We are going to keep the appointment though, she's due for shots and her yearly check up anyway..so we are off to the Vet this morning.
I got out of bed this morning even before the Sun!...Early rising allows me to get much done though, so tis a good thing. The beds have been striped, two loads of laundry washed, the dishwasher emptied..it's all good! I'd love to hang the sheets out today if the weather will cooperate, but I'm not sure what's in store for the day yet. I guess I'll have to go and find out.
So enjoy your day, I'm off to check the weather (although I doubt I'll trust the weatherman!), to see what the day ahead holds for me. Till next time!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Some pictures

Here is the garden a few weeks ago. Some boxes were made, placed, filled with dirt and ready to be planted. It was still a wee bit too cold at night to trust planting the seedlings though, so we waited.
The areas that don't have boxes have been 'mounded up and sectioned off' and a good many of those are being planted as well.




While we were waiting, the second garden was tilled.

In the second garden, which has no fence or boxes, we will be planting gourds, corn and things from the 'melon' families. You can see the 'second' garden if you look past the boxes and on the other side of the fence.






Here are the seedlings waiting for their new home









And finally, the seedlings are at home now, in their summer beds.






See you next time with an update!

HAPPY GARDENING!!

Sage