Saturday, June 30, 2012

Enchiladas chicken verde

Remember all those tomatillos I've harvested lately? I was saving them up for some homemade salsa verde for this enchilada recipe out of Savoring Mexico.

Saturday night I put a 4 pound package of chicken thighs in the crockpot with a diced whole yellow onion, a teaspoon of salt, and about 6 cloves of smashed garlic. That cooked over night and then Sunday morning fell off the bone.
Sunday morning, before it got too hot (because Grandma's house isn't air conditioned), I made the salsa verde. The recipe called for 3 pounds of tomatillos, but we had closer to 5, so that's what I used. I quartered them and then they simmered for about 20 minutes with about 3 chopped/seeded jalapenos and 4 cloves of garlic.

Then the mixture went in the food processor to get pureed. Then simmered on the stove until it thickened. 

Yeah... sorry that's all that was left to photograph... I made the enchiladas for dinner on Monday night, a 9x13 pan, plus my brother and I had about 10 tacos between the two of us since Sunday morning. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Pink Eye Adventures

Time for a story. The kind of story that will leave you rolling on the floor laughing after you realize that the cows are alright. 

I'd tell you to close your eyes to help you imagine, but then you wouldn't be able to read the story, so maybe you should take a break after every couple sentences. 

A couple weeks ago, Dad noticed that several of our cows have pink eye. This can be caused by several different things, but in our case is probably a combination of the tall grass irritating their eyes and flies that carry the virus. 

Pink eye in cows is treated similar to how it is treated in humans. Eye drops. Except cow eye drops are in a big spray bottle. 

So, imagine our herd of 25 cows plus nearly that same amount of calves plus one bull. In one of the fields in the bottomland. Imagine that about eight of them have pink eye. 
Now, imagine that Dad and I are on the four wheeler chasing after each cow that has pink eye. He's driving. I'm holding on for dear life with one hand and  holding on tight to a spray bottle with the other hand. When we get close to a cow that has pink eye, I spray her eye as best as I can, without laughing too hard because I can't believe what we're doing and I don't want to fall off the four wheeler or accidentally spray one of us with cow pink eye medicine.

Sometimes, the cow is surprised by us and doesn't run at first. But after the first spritz she understands that "Hey, what's coming out of that spray bottle is not very comfortable in my eye" and then she runs in circles. And is chased by us on the four wheeler. Each cow/calf takes about 5 minutes to get treated with pink eye spray. 

(I hope you closed your eyes and imagined that four-wheeler cow chase.)

Then, last week, Dad had a genius idea. We would trick the cows into thinking we were just feeding them. Well, we would actually feed them some grain in several piles in the field. And then when they least expected it (while they cows were thinking "Mr. Farmer, this grain is delicious"), we'd sneak up and spray them.

Except some of the cows realized what we were doing, so we would pursue on foot. Some of the cows would run pretty far away, so Dad would crinkle the feed sack in his hand to make it sound like he had more feed, and would hide the spray bottle behind the feed sack. Then when the cow got close, he'd spray her.

It was hilarious. The pink eye is now clearing up.

I apologize for the lack of photos of the actual pursuit of cows. I was busy running with a bottle of pink eye spray. With my phone in the only logical place where it wouldn't fall out of a pocket into a cow patty - my sports bra.

Here's a photo of Dad and my brother spraying for pink eye in the barn lot on Monday night. Quite an adventure.

This week's harvest

 Tomatillos, cukes, a cabbage, tomatoes and greenbeans. Last night we had cabbage slaw with dinner, and we've been eating refrigerator pickles and tomatoes nearly every night.
 The butternut squash is getting large. This one is as big as my foot!
 We have two pumpkins set on that are about volleyball size, that are turning orange.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Building fence

Saturday and Sunday, Dad and Daniel were building a new fence. Freddy and I investigated. I helped by driving the tractor that held the spool of wire. Dad and Daniel did the hard part: driving the stakes. Freddy walked with us until he got too hot and then he sat under a tree. I didn't leash him to the tree but he stayed there for at least an hour until I came back to get him.
Freddy wore himself out! 
Pulling the wire tight
This is the field we're building against. Dad plowed and planted this field in a mixture of grass for haybales. It really is that color of green. This is the kind of view I like to see when I'm in the field: no hint of civilization, just a peaceful view of trees and grass. 
But this is the view we now have for about 15 degrees. Our new neighbor decided to cut down all the trees on his slope and build a house. He has a beautiful view of trees and fields, but now our view is interrupted by a dirt slope and a house. 

I hope he plants trees.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Our little gingerbread boy

A couple weeks ago, I was looking for a flea and tick medicine that was ok for use on puppies. Most everything I looked at was for puppies over 12 weeks. He was 8 weeks at the time and the vet said to be careful because his skin would be really sensitive still.

So I found this from Sentry, an all natural medicine with ingredients I can pronounce like Clove Oil. Freddy smells so good I want to eat him. In fact, the first time I used this stuff, Grandma was convinced I was baking.

Freddy is getting big. It seems like everyday I look at him his legs and torso are longer. He has a vet check-up this coming Saturday and we'll see if he's put on any weight since two weeks ago when we went to get wormer.
A couple favorites and dislikes for now:

He'll eat these treats if he's hungry, but he's not too crazy about them. 
He likes these peanut butter flavored rawhide treats.

I give him the green bone treats after we've been on the farm exploring all day. They're supposed to be good for his breath and teeth. He likes the round peanut butter ones, too. These are from the bulk bins at Petco.

We switched over to Hill's Science Diet. He was on Avoderm for a couple weeks, but that puppy formula only comes in 5 pound bags and we were going through it in a week and a half. Hill's also comes in a 15 pound bag, so less trips to the pet store. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Today's harvest

Today we got tomatoes, tomatillos, two cobbler potatoes that mom found sticking out of the ground, a zucchini, about ten cukes, some jalapenos, a big pile of green and yellow beans and about a cup of blackberries. A pretty huge harvest!

Dad and Daniel were working on building a new fence today so Freddy and I went in the fields to observe. Freddy got really hot so I took him over to the creek where the cows hang out. He LOVES to jump around in the water! I was a little sad that I didnt have my phone, but I'm sure we'll play in the creek again.
Then I gave Freddy a bath in an old clothes washing tub. He was not too excited about that and promptly rolled in the dirt. Next time I need to remember an old washcloth (so I can scrub his ears) and an old bath towel. Sorry there weren't any wet dog photos. Next time!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Yesterday on the farm

I harvested more tomatillos, beets, THE FIRST TOMATOES, and some jalapenos
The chickens hung out in their yard for a couple hours. Freddy stood guard and barked when they got too close to the fence. (Even though they can't get out of the fence.)
And then Freddy took a nap after dinner because he was worn out.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Open Door Policies

Sunday afternoon, Daniel and the Hubs helped put the chicken wire around the chicken yard. Dad bought 6' tall chicken wire. 
The chickens won't be out all day yet. We have a lot of farm cats and they like to sit outside the chickens' door and watch them. We may be installing more fence across the top of the chicken yard so the chickens can't fly out and the cats can't jump in. For now, they get to run around in the yard for a couple hours every evening.
Freddy weeding; he doesn't like morning glories
Freddy is about to stay outside all day. He doesn't know this yet. He'll be 11 weeks tomorrow and for some reason I think 12 weeks is the magic number. There's a little bit of fence fixing that needs to be done at Grandma's house so that he doesn't crawl out under the chain link.
I don't want him to be chained to a tree all day. Eventually, I'd like to get to the point where he can run free on the farm, without chasing tractors and trucks going by on the road, and without digging up the garden.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


 Yesterday we harvested 6 zucchini, about half a pound of tomatillos, 5 little cucumbers and about a cup of blackberries. We need another cup of blackberries so Grandma can make a pie (she needs at least 4 cups).
 The cat, standing guard, and taking a break from playing with Freddy.

Mom, Daniel and I checked on the bees yesterday. It's been about two weeks since we last checked.

 The bees have filled up about 6 frames with comb.
 We didn't look for the queen yesterday. The bees were pretty hot. There were several dozen at the entrance to the hive, fanning it. Instead of using the smoker to tame the bees, we sprayed them with sugar water. This kept them busy because they were concentrated on eating the sugar water instead of trying to sting intruders.
You can see the different cells; The larger ones that stick up off the frame are drone larva. The ones that are flatter are worker bee cells.

We probably could have waited another couple weeks for this, but we went ahead and put the queen excluder on and a small super for honey. The queen excluder does exactly what it sounds like; it is a plastic piece that has holes in it that are large enough for the worker bees to fit through but not the queen. You put this between the brood box (the larger lower box where there are eggs) and the upper supers so that the queen doesn't lay eggs where you want to store honey. 

From this point forward, we won't be feeding anymore sugar water. Otherwise, the bees will store sugarwater in the super. 
 To make the wax foundation a little more enticing, we sprayed a little sugar water on the foundation.

Then the inner cover went back on, and our make-shift outercover, which is a piece of corrugated metal with a concrete block on top.

Friday, June 15, 2012


Our garden has been pretty dry this last month, due to the lack of rain. In the last week we got almost 1-1/2" of rain. But this last week I've harvested a lot. And a lot will need harvested soon.

Earlier this week: peas, zucchini, tomatillos, peppers

The honeybees - I'll check them this weekend to see about adding a honey super

Blackberries, peas and beets (I convinced Grandma to make refrigerator beets like you'd make refrigerator pickles. We'll see how they turn out!)


Yellow tomatoes



Sweet 100s

One of our ponds is stocked with catfish. It is loaded with catfish. Dad feeds them  sometimes and there are some HUGE fish in there!

acorn squash

Cukes, investigated by Freddy

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