Monday, July 17, 2017

What's this antique apple?

Can anyone tell me what kind of apple we have? Our house was build in the mid-1930's and this tree is part of a planted line of apple trees that also includes Transparents and McIntosh. It is starting to ripen and comes about a month earlier than anything else on the property. My son and I basically had them for dinner tonight while outside.

 Flavor is a bit tart now but will get more "Red Delicious-like" the more ripe they get. The yellow will get a little lighter but keep the pink/red stripes. Any ideas?

We live in a part of PA that Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman) actually came through back in the day, isn't that neat? Not saying he had anything to do with my mystery apple but it's fun to dream.

Small, but we don't spray or prune.

More red/pink at the blossom end.

Ate part of this but it shows the colors well.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Big end of week post w pictures

It's been a busy last couple of days.  Time to write down some things that I want to remember.

In the garden:  have given up on weeding and got out the push mower this morning.  Looked much better immediately.  Who cares, as long as it gets done, right?  This is about 1/4 of the "summer" side of the garden.  Have eaten some tiny summer squashes - zucchini and patty pan.

Here's the progress on the garden tepee for the little man.  I've planted it with nasturtiums, morning glory, moon flowers and snow peas. 

I've also started seedlings for swiss chard and lettuces.  Stay tuned next week for a long walk-through post of what's growing.

Food Preservation:  Drying calendula, mint and chamomile.  Freezing blackberries and blueberries.  Canned 1 pt blueberries, 3.5 jelly jars of blueberry syrup for pancakes.

On the housewife/mom front:  Made the little man a cooking apron while he was sleeping.  Used a jumper for a rough "size/shape" pattern.  He's really into "choo-choos" right now.  Oh be still my heat.  It is so damn cute.

Jumper for size.  Finished apron below.

Been reading into the Montessori approach to childhood education, plus the fun Pinterest boards. Here we are learning to use a plastic knife to cut hard boiled eggs.  A knife?  He's not even 2? That's what I thought.  But given the chance to be a little grown up, with with real tools he did an excellent job.  We're working on cutting, transferring things to a bowl and using a masher.

We also re-did his room kinda Montessouri-style to make it really "his" - put his little sofa in there with books beside it, added a tiny rocking chair, put everything at his level including a floor bed. Minimized the toys. We call it his "little apartment" and he LOVES it.  Especially the floor bed -  he can, and DOES go crawl into it now when he is tired instead of having to wait for someone to figure it out and help him into his crib.  Doesn't mean he stays in it all night, but still - this is brilliant.

Started crafting a fabric scrap map, which has been tons of fun.  Requiring both a hot iron and sharp scissors, progress has been slow but the idea is to have a fabric map stretched over a frame to hang in the little guy's room. Happily chipping away at it.

Cooked a really excellent meal, leftovers really, and writing it down at the request of my husband. 

Meal #1. The first zucchini was picked along with a bunch of asparagus, these were sauteed with butter and lemon zest and set aside. The quinoa is from Aldi's. When the grains came off I added lemon juice and grated Parmesan.  The tilapia is just coated with flour and pan fried.

Meal #2 - the good one:  There was a grand total of maybe less than two cups of veg, grain and flaked fish left.  I combined that with a small handful of minced shrimp, more diced asparagus, lemon zest, pepper, Parmesan and an egg. A tiny bit of Old Bay. Worked a couple of spoons of flour in until I could form loose patties. Browned in butter they were crispy on the outside and tender when you bit through them, like a crab cake.  The vegetables gave a bit of crunch.  The sauce is just mayo, sriracha and worcestershire. These were damn good. Like, order it again at the restaurant good.

Poultry:  The quail are in the quail tractor.  
The duck that was attacked earlier in the week died two days later.
The fallout from this:
I've made an appointment to get that drake butchered next week. In addition to not protecting his ladies he has also, since then, STOMPED ON A NEST OF EGGS and injured my very last laying-aged female.  I've absolutely had it with him.  He's going along with a couple of roosters.  That leaves me with only two female ducks and a young drake. Having sold the Swedish two earlier in the spring the irony is not lost on me. BUT I am taking this as a sign to move to an all Pekin flock which will suit us more anyway.
I've been setting up the game camera every night trying to figure out what attacked us.  We are dealing with a minimum of two raccoons and one, possibly two foxes.

Yeah, you.  Asshole.

I still have a hard time believing that we weren't hit by loose dogs or coyotes.  I mean, ducks are kind of dumb but to hit FOUR in one night? I don't know.  You would think that whatever had a fun time/great meal would have come back for more and we would have gotten a picture by now.  Unless it was truly a raccoon/fox, who already hit us for one chicken earlier this summer. 

Called today and placed an order from Murry McMurry for the week of August 20th - including 12 Cornish Cross, 2 Speckled Sussex hens and 3 Wellsummers.  Now that I've lost all of my laying ducks I need to plan ahead for enough eggs for the family come spring.  Really wanted to get some heavier birds - Cochins or Brahmas - but they are sold out of damn near everything for the rest of the season.  Oh well.  At least we'll have eggs and more meat in the freezer. We do have the peeps that just hatched but I'm not willing to rely on them not getting killed too. 

Something good did come out of setting up the game camera:

Our three-legged doe is alive and well. I was worried about her when I didn't see her this spring but here she is.  She looks thin but this is her injured side and she's always looked like that. Maybe she had fawns somewhere else and is just coming around now, I don't know.  But it made me happy she's still with us. Here's a picture of her last fall, and some more game camera snaps.

Little guy just woke up so signing off.  Sorry for any typos.  Next week - garden tour, more canning.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Drying a bit

Trying to remeber to bring in a bit to dry now when I see it ready to be picked. The calendula I like to use fresh to decorate things like cakes, not sure what to do with it dried although I guess you can use it in place of saffron?  Chamomile for tea. The mint... I've been throwing whole sprays of this stuff into the bath at night. Very relaxing and makes the whole house smell lovely. Hoping to replicate this in the winter, maybe in sachets?

Monday, July 10, 2017

Self portrait with goose, naming dinner

Never thought I'd post pictures of myself on this little blog. Guess I'm coming out of the coop, so to speak. But some things are too fun to pass up, amiright?

Not eatin' this one, promise. Not at the moment anyway.

This is the female Super African goose of my sexed pair purchased this spring with my  Metzer's order. I haven't named either of them because I'm in charge of both the  butchering and the mercy killin' for this little family and so just don't name our birds. 

Exceptions being Nigel and my beloved Mr. Rooster.  Mr. Rooster was a pet and Nigel will be too if he plays his cards right.

But this isn't a petting zoo. Everyone has a purpose and sometimes that purpose is dinner. Then there are predator attacks like we had this week to contend with.  

The geese aren't pets although they sure are tame through no effort on my part.  Sure, I know that will change with breeding season but here's hoping - both that they have babies and don't try to kill me in the spring.

Anyone name their poultry or animals? Even though they usually don't die of old age?

Friday, July 7, 2017

Missing ducks

This morning I went out to find one of my Pekin ducks covered in blood * and the two runner ducks missing along with another female. I can't find them anywhere.

I washed her off as best I could and put blukote on the wounds.  She's missing a lot of skin on the back of her neck, front of her throat and along one hip. Just torn off skin. I didn't see puncture marks.

 I will admit to being super pissed that I'm down three females, might have to end up culling a fourth all the while the drake saunders in this morning like "hey, what's up? Breakfast time?" Thanks for doing your job and protecting your flock. Useless.

The only thing I've seen on the game camera is a raccoon and it wasn't even a big one. Would a single raccoon have done this?  To four birds? A dog? Do we possibility have a coyote?


* She died two days later.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Food x 3

Part 1)The little man and I spent the morning outside while it was still cool. There are wild black raspberries, currants and blueberries to be eaten. "Let's pick berries" I say, and off we go. If mama doesn't fork over berries fast enough he is now blazing a trail to pick them himself.

Part 2) Making friends with the geese. We gathered up weeds and fed them one stalk at a time through the fence.

Part 3) We are headed to a small party later tonight to celebrate a visit from out of town friends. Being a holiday weekend there was no way I was stepping foot in a grocery today. "To the garden" I said and over the fence we went.

Potato, chard, cabbage leaf, asparagus, favas, broccoli. Also a couple of eggs.

I was really stuck on how to turn that into a side dish to go with burgers and beer but this is what happened. At least it looks pretty. Hope it goes over ok.

I take tons of photos every day and would like to make it a goal to start posting more. The pain is that I will have to do it with my phone and the Blogger ap seems pretty worthless.  Expect some poor formatting and spelling in the meantime. Anyone have experience with the ap?