Category Archives: WWOOFing

November – The Blur

Well, I am almost caught up with blog posts.  I never thought that would happen this year, but it is a moment that is rapidly approaching.  The month of November was filled with work on a 12×24 building on the farm to be used as an office and workshop.  I didn’t take any pictures of the beginning of the project, the bones of the structure were already in place when I made it back to the farm from North Dakota.  I will post a few pictures of the completed building in the near future.

I happened to be in the building painting the trim and listening to a podcast when I noticed I had an observer high above.  The light fixture had a resident pest control specialist, I actually watched this little guy eat a fly that ended up in the fixture.  I also determined I do not like sanding drywall, it is not fun at all.

 

Here is a method I came up with to paint the sides of the dormers.  I am not a fan of heights, so walking around on a roof with this pitch isn’t an option.  The tractor bucket worked as a perfect support for the ladder, holding it at the correct angle and allowing me to be confident the ladder had no way to kick out.

Chas also started a new obsession with crocheting baby and adult booties.  She is making several pairs each week, we are definitely going to have to find an outlet for these before we drown in booties.  I am a good enabler though and have been purchasing bulk lots of yarn on Ebay for her to keep her crochet hooks humming.

Our furry critters always have something going on in a house full of girls that love playing with them.  The bunnies often get makeovers, but I had to share some espresso with Kitty Pig (the newest of our guinea pig babies).  He didn’t really care for it, but seemed to enjoy sniffing the foam on top.

Baby Bunnies and Snake Skins in July

NOTE:  This post contains a few graphic images near the end, viewer beware…

The produce on the farm began overflowing in the fields.  Our table at the farmers markets looked full, and a CSA was started to help with some of the extra.  Ten families in the Charleston area were delivered 10# boxes of produce every 2 weeks.  The boxes were filled with fresh farm goodies, and everyone loved the variety.  The wooden bowls, goblets, and dollhouse plates I turned on my lathe made a great addition to the display, and I managed to sell a few of them too.  Chas made her crocheted doll blankets, bags, hats, jar holders, and gloves which also added some variety and color to our booth.  Baked Delicata Squash with brown sugar, pecans, and yogurt also managed to be photogenic.  Lilah named the 10# squash Timmy, and they loved wrapping it up in Chas’ doll blankets she crocheted and getting market goers to guess the weight.

 

The farm was alive with wild mushrooms popping up all over the place.  We have a few resident wild edible experts at our disposal here, NEVER eat mushrooms that have not been identified by an expert!  The first two images are a Reishi mushroom, these have been used in Chinese medicine for centuries.  The basket has Chanterelle and Bolete mushrooms, the Boletes were sliced and sautéed in butter and were AWESOME.

We had some interesting storms blow through, but the low hanging clouds and rainbow with this one were cool   It was a very hot day, but when the clouds were directly overhead the temp had to drop 20 degrees.  As soon as the clouds blew over, the temp popped back up again.  I also had to smoke a beef brisket using some pecan wood, it was required by my hungry belly.  It turned out to be the best one I have ever made.  Pecan wood is now hands down my favorite wood to smoke with.

The bunnies were happily making new bunnies, and they started to hatch in July.  The girls were very happy to help take care of their tiny little fuzzy friends.

 

The snakes came out in force in July, the few chicken eggs we had available were disappearing before we could collect them.  I found this rat snake and decided to keep the skin and meat for future use.  The skin was nice, and hopefully will make some interesting crafts sometime down the road.  The meat is going to be involved in a snake fry in the future as well.  While I was busy happily skinning my critter, the neighbor drove up and said there was a dead rattlesnake in the road.  I hopped on the RTV and went to pick it up.  I didn’t want to let that skin go to waste either.  I thought about eating it directly off the road since I knew it was killed within the previous 2 hours (It wasn’t there when some of the farm crew went to lunch).  The 90 degree day on the asphalt cooked it perfectly, the meat smelled awesome and was steaming as I was skinning it.  I didn’t take a bite, but we did save the bones to use in craft making in the future.  The corn snake is a copperhead mimmic, the coloring on the skin was amazing.  I wouldn’t have killed that one, but it was run over by the tractor, so that skin went in the freezer too.

 

I began attending one of the many local weekly auctions, and noticed this posted by the office.  It really fits my life perfectly, so I thought I would share it.  I had to use my quick mechanical wit to come up with a way to shut down one of the John Deere tractors.  Diesel engines don’t simply shut down by cutting an electrical connection like a gasoline engine.  The shut-down solenoid fried itself for some reason, so the tractor started but there was no way to shut it down without getting a little creative.  This actually applies to large diesel engines, but I wouldn’t recommend doing this on one of those since you are most likely to be injured in the process.


Farming in May = Snakes in the Hay

May on the farm brought many new sights and smells.  The magnolia trees began to bloom and filled the air with a wonderful aroma, and the edible peppery nasturtium flowers were in full swing.  They brought a lot of flavor to our farm fresh salads.

The girls were more than happy to help when a tarp needed to be cleaned.  I squirted some dish soap on it, gave them the water hose and the hard work began.  The tarp was spotless when they were finished, and they were too.  Hind sight should have involved some conditioner…  Brandy the farms resident pointer, and my hunting buddy, also enjoyed her personal spa.  The horse water tank makes a great spot for a gal to take a dip and get a drink.  Sandy, the horse, benefits by not having flavorless water.

We also managed to make our first appearance at the Lake City Farmers Market with our fresh picked treats.  The Napa Cabbage was a hit, and we had the only Kale and Mustard the entire season.  We also sat with Frankie, the truck, and peddled our goods under the big tree at Coopers Country Store.

 

Once the slithering critters began showing up, we never knew where we would find them.  A pair of snakes loved the knot hole in the live oak tree over the driveway.  Sometimes they would be on top of the limb but they were usually peaking out the hole.  Laini discovered a pair of snakes all tangled up in the duck pen when she went to collect eggs.  They were having their own little roll in the hay if you catch my drift.