Monday, October 9, 2017

October 9, 2017

Moving on in my chores, but still painting.  Since finishing the plumbing shed, I have moved on to the barn and have finished getting the paint on the lower half of the barn and priming the trim.  I need to figure out how to paint the top of the barn.  We are looking at some scaffolding, but I wish we could figure it out without having to spend money. . .As you can see, while I am working on covering the trim, I am also working on making all the buildings up around the house to match the house and each other.

While my husband and I are trying to figure out how to paint the top of the barn, I am spending my time working on the rusty spots on the horse trailer as well as trying to get our logo on it.  It is a work in progress.

Another work in progress is the install of the wood stove to try to get it ready for this winter.  Here is my husband working on it, after cutting the hole in the ceiling to run the stove pipe out of the roof.  We discovered while working on it that we are missing some parts, so had to take time out to order them.  Hopefully, they will be in by next weekend and we can make more progress.

After transferring the cattle to the back pasture, we discovered that they were really enjoying our sweet potatoes.  At first, we thought them eating the plant was going to be a huge advantage since we normally have to cut the vine before we harvest.  Then we discovered that they were kicking up the sweet potatoes and eating them, so we had to take some time out to harvest them.  Many of them were damaged, so we are trying an experiment by cutting off the damaged part, laying them spaced apart so they won't touch each other to dry the cut portion, and crossing our fingers that they won't rot. Wish us luck!  Some of the sweet potatoes were so large that I took a sweet potato casserole to a neighborhood potluck and the whole thing was made with one potato.

We also harvested 5 gallons and one quart of peppers, some basil and some cayenne peppers that are drying in the greenhouse with the sweet potatoes.

Oh, and I want to give a shout out to our new friends at Providence Farm.  They are getting into providing educational programs at their farm, and we got to enjoy a conference on rotational grazing called "Growing and Grazing" from speaker Steven Moize.  It was excellent!  If you get a chance to join the Cobbs on one of their events, you will enjoy it!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

October 4, 2017

Oh my goodness.  Farm maintenance never ends, does it?  So I have been concentrating on farm maintenance since my husband went back to work and I am now job free.  In many cases, it may also include those finishing touches that we never got around to, but are necessary to help our farm buildings last.  For example, last post, I published the new stained calf barn.  In addition to getting the red and white barn we always wanted, the two coats of stain seals the wood (and we all know that moisture ruins wood quickly) to make the calf barn last a lot longer and honor that time and energy we expended to build it in the first place.  The same goes for our plumbing shed.  We had only ever gotten around to putting a coat of primer on the shed which did not seal it very well, so I discovered this time it had to be pressure washed, scraped and sanded before I could re-prime, paint and trim it again to finally be sealed, as well as look the way it always looked in my head only.

Over the summer, my husband had devised a way to get rid of the Japanese beetles that he hated and feed the chickens at the same time, and I don't think we have given you a picture of it before, so here it is.  It simply involves a Japanese beetle trap and a tin pie plate filled with water.

We processed the rest of the Freedom rangers, this time freezing them as cut up chickens after discovering that our grown kids really don't know what to do with a whole chicken (we will have to do some re-teaching).  We decided to keep 8 of them because we need for them to scratch the cow pies in the pasture.  Truth be told, it is also because one of the remaining chickens is one with a leg deformity that we call "Gimpy" and we have grown too fond of him.  So, since we were going to have them at an older age, we decided to add a roosting pole and two nesting boxes to the chicken tractor.  The roosting pole is being modeled by Gimpy who kept me company while I was installing it.  The leftover bamboo pole made a perfect roosting post when secured by two screws so it won't roll or get kicked off. I created a new tab that includes the making of the chicken tractor.

I repainted our farm sign at the mailbox.  The wood had split so it needed to be put back together, which necessitated that it be totally repainted.  I used my favorite appliance epoxy paint as a base with simply acrylic paint for the logo and sprayed a clear coat on top for protection.  I think I must be getting better at painting, as I was much happier than the first time I painted it.  No matter that I am an amateur painter, it works!  As a friend said, I put out the bids for getting it done and I won!

I tried making this comfrey salve from a recipe I got HERE from the Prairie Homestead.  We had comfrey growing, I just gathered some broadleaf plantain that God had graciously provided, (I had dried and shredded the comfrey and broadleaf plantain) and picked some rosemary to just throw in the crockpot with it.  I tried it out on a Monday putting some on my left arm that had been in a lot of pain (I was wondering whether I had cracked a bone as it had been hurting for a couple of weeks).  By Wednesday morning my arm felt significantly better, and I assure you, it wasn't from resting the arm.  I had been drawn to it after reading that it helped sciatica and I was actually wanting to make it for my neighbor, so we got together and made some.  The rest, as they say, is history.

We got smarter and moved our electric fence so we can move our cattle from the front pasture to the back without having to herd them to keep them out of the flower bed.  Those darn steer sure have a mind of their own!  At least we learned that they like to eat daylillies and perennial collards.  They have been out of the front pasture for a few days and it works like a charm.  The grass was tall in the back, so we will give the front pasture some resting time.  We are hoping for rain soon to help the front pasture grow.