Monday, September 28, 2015

Outdoor Cat Update

The kittens have been growing and becoming much more sociable. Tabby, the only female, has become down right friendly. We can pet her and pick her up. She will basically do anything for food.
Can you eat a camera?
The boys, Spike and Stripe, are not any where near as social as Tabby. But they are fun to watch when they wrestle in the evening.
The kittens mom, Stumpy, has been keeping herself scarce. We see her once or twice a day when she comes to eat. And she is a little more tolerant of the kittens.

We have a new visitor we call Oscar.
He looks like a big rangy young male cat, but we really have no idea what he/she really is. The other cats are freaked out by him/her so we'll see how this goes.

Thursday, September 24, 2015


The leeks were amazing this year. I have never grown such large and beautiful leeks. So what to do with all these leeks? I've been scouring the internet for recipes. The first one we tried was a Leek gratin.
This was super easy. Just clean then slice the leek (dark green leaf parts removed) lengthwise leaving the root end attached and not cut. Put in an oven proof pan with 1.5-2 cups of cream (I used heavy cream). Bring to a boil then simmer 5 minutes, then put a lid on the pan and continue simmering for 15 min or until leeks are soft. Then sprinkle with 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and bake in a 375 degree oven for 35 min, or until golden brown.
What could be easier than three ingredients and one pan?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Odds and Ends

We've been on a push to get a lot of landscaping projects finished up. I finally got the last of the grass seed and straw down...
and the grass is starting to come up around the front/side of the garage. A week and a half ago we had four inches of rain in three days and nothing since. But that was enough to get the first grass planting off to a decent start. We had a scant shower this afternoon and maybe more to come later today but nothing in any measurable amount is predicted.

Liming is coming along. I have the largest, and highest elevation, pasture to go. Pushing heavy lime up our hills is not fun.  And since we haven't gotten any rain yet, all the sheep are in small paddocks waiting for the lime to get watered into the grass. They seem to be liking the hay I've been giving them in lieu of grazing though.

Alan was able to get a little framing of the gable end wall over the garage. Next up siding.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


Today was the start of liming the pastures. But first I had to purchase a spreader. It was tough to find a push spreader that would work on our hills and would last. Our local mower/snowblower dealer had a nifty little contractor model that hopefully will fit the bill. And Tractor Supply has pelletized lime on sale.
Six 40 pound bags down, only 19 more to go (of the first 1000 pounds.) I am tired just thinking about it.
I figure I have about two acres of pasture to spread with lime, at a ton and a half per acre that's 6000 pounds. Everything I've read says you should spread out that much lime application over two years. So I just have to spread 3000 pounds this fall, well now it's only 2760 pounds.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Tomato Blight v Grafted Tomatoes

In the spring I planted 2 grafted Cherokee Purple tomato plants in hopes that they would be resistant to late blight as advertised. Well, they did great at first. I had ripe tomatoes earlier than ever, mid July. But I think that was purely due to the fact that they were started earlier and were growing in bigger pots, hence a larger root system.
When late blight hit, it hit the grafted tomatoes the same, and maybe a little worse, than the Amish Paste tomato plants.
The Amish Paste tomatoes have been giving me a huge harvest of tomatoes despite the blight while the grafted tomatoes have given up. This was one experiment that I think was a failure. But I might be tempted to start some tomatoes super early and keep moving them into bigger and bigger pots. I like having tomatoes in July.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Rain, Rain, Don't Go Away, and Come Again Next Week Too!

Finally, we have rain. While it was a good thing it was dry while we were digging up everywhere, it was getting really dry. It got so dry we couldn't work on the landscaping because the soil was pure dust.
With rain in the forecast I got the area next to the garage raked, seeded, and spread straw to hopefully keep the erosion down. But we still have the backyard up to the barn to take care of before we can plant there.
Alan hooked up the down spouts to the drain system which also drains the ground next to the new block wall to keep the water from building up, freezing, and pushing out the wall again. It all comes out here.
I hope we are into a better rain pattern so the grass will grow, but not so wet we can't work the rest of the yard to plant more grass.

Monday, September 7, 2015


Alan has been diligently working away at getting the hydrants in the barn and veggie garden hooked up. Yesterday was the day. We now have water in the barn!
And the garden!
And soon all the electric will be done too.
Then we just have to clean up the huge bomb site that is our yard.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

The Last One

Yesterday I caught the last of the kittens and took him to get neutered. It only took two weeks to catch all the outside cats and get them neutered. No one entered the trap who had already been neutered. I spent a total of  $120. There was a $25 deposit for the two traps (which I gave back as a donation), $20 for each cat and an extra $15 for the mama cat's distemper shot (which was included in the price for the kittens.) We had one female kitten and two male kittens.
No not me!

The mama cat has not wanted anything to do with her kittens since she came back from her surgery. She hisses at them and chases them away. She has also become more vocal and likes to hang out with us when we are outside. All-in-all that was a very well spent $125!