Category Archives: farming

COLLARDS

DSC_0076.JPG      I think collards are probably a green vegetable that is usually eaten in the south United States and even then some have never developed a taste for them.  If you’ve eaten kale, well that is a cousin to collards and has a similar taste. Yes it is a strong flavor and I suppose it gets some getting used to.  Frankly I love them and so does my oldest son.  The rest of my family will “kindly pass thank you very much.”  My seven-year old grandson surprises me how healthy he eats but he also does not like my collards.  Anyway, they are a must plant in my fall garden along with mustard greens.  Now my husband can absolutely eat a lot of mustard greens.

     I’m telling you all that to tell you this.  Last fall I planted collards as usual and we ate them at various times and gave some away to friends and neighbors throughout the fall and spring.  But what really surprises me is the fact that they are still growing strong.  Week before last I gave some away and put some in the freezer. This past week I was able to gather (that’s how you say harvesting greens.  You don’t harvest or pick “you gather in the south) another mess (also a southern word for enough vegetables for a meal.  Stick with me and you will learn Southern).  The mustard greens, tomatoes and other spring vegetables are all gone but these collards keep hanging on and producing.

     I planted sweet potatoes and since this is my first time for trying to grow them I’m excited to see how they do.  Trust me I will keep you posted.  The whole family loves sweet potatoes.

DSC_0464     As you know gardening is one of my many hobbies and I truly enjoy it.  It is a wonderful feeling to plant a seed or small plant then watch it grow and produce.  If you are stressed gardening will help you relax and forget all the problems.  Try it.

Thank you for stopping by.  Until then, keep praying, smiling and seeing “how does your garden grow.” (quote from Mary, Mary Quite Contrary a Mother Goose rhyme.)

God bless.

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FOG

     Yesterday morning the fog was so thick in our area that you could almost slice it with a knife.  Okay… okay I’m exaggerating, maybe… a little, but the fog was thick.  It was pretty to me.  Of course I didn’t have to drive in it.  I like almost all kinds of weather except bad storms and there is even beauty in that.  God has a purpose and reason for everything and He controls the weather.  Like anything else in our lives we can look for the good or expect the evil; I prefer the good.  No I would not like fog every day nor would I want rain every day.  I’m just thankful that I don’t control it one way or another.

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  I’m trying to decide what I want to plant in my spring garden.  It isn’t an easy choice since I have limited space.  I just always pray that God supplies me with enough to share.  And He does.  I guess I’m greedy because I want to try everything.  Some of the things I plant make it and some don’t.  In my opinion that is just part of being a gardener or farmer; taking chances.  This past fall was the first time I tried to grow cauliflower and it is coming along fine.  I’m sort of proud of it but I believe I will have to wait until next fall to plant it again since we have some very hot summer days which start early in Florida.

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     Wouldn’t it be nice to have five or ten acres to grow whatever you wanted?  Ahhhh… but it is only a dream.  At my age I probably would not be able to keep up with that much land.  I will just be thankful for what I have and that I am able to work it.  We are sort of planning to add two more 8×4 foot raised beds which will double my space so that’s good.  I’m thinking maybe I’ll give okra a try.

     Thank you for stopping by and until next time I will be pouring over seed catalogs and dreaming of a bountiful harvest.  God bless.

HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW

I’ve been so proud of my garden this fall.  Our collards, mustard, Brussel sprouts and broccoli are all doing or did fine. We got more tomatoes than usual; they’re small but delicious.  So I really shouldn’t complain but my eggplants are a different story.

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     The plants themselves look good and they bloom but absolutely no fruit!  I tried pollinating them with a q-tip and small brush but that didn’t do one ounce of good.  What could I be doing wrong?  My sister said maybe I had two male plants but what do I know.  How would one tell?

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     Anyway… I told them if they didn’t do something soon I am going to pull them up, feed them to the chickens and try again in the spring.

     I’m really looking forward to a spring garden and I’ve been busy trying to decide what to plant.  I know I need to rotate and not plant the same thing in the same place.  I love looking through the seed catalogs.  Billy made me two raised beds last spring and I think we will add a couple more this year.  I need to start getting them ready so I can plant in February.

     Thank you for stopping by and until next time “Happy Gardening.”  God bless.

TWO EGG BLUE EGG

      It finally happened!  My young hens started to lay and I was excited to see the blue egg from the Americana.  Of course they are small right now but the ladies are still growing.  But I have a problem with them putting their prize in the nest.  They lay them all over the common area.

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     I think I told you that the Golden Girls (the older hens) took over the few chicken house, which is all right with me because the teenagers would not use it.  I have caught them several times going in the little red house but I can’t get them to roost in there or lay their eggs in the old nest.  So today Billy and I bought a bale of hay and I put some in the nest and filled one nest and put it in the common area.  I also put an egg in it so maybe they will get the idea.  We shall see, those silly girls.

     Thank you for stopping by and please come back soon, you are always welcome.  Until next time stay safe and hope the hens keep clucking.  God bless.

LITTLE RED CHICKEN HOUSE

035This is about as local as it gets; the home of my three golden girls.014

I now have three new pullets and they have their own house and play pen but I haven’t taken any recent photos of them.

Thanks for stopping by, please stop back soon.  God bless.

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THE GARDEN WEEK THREE

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RISK     Yeah I know that I’ve been showing you my vegetable garden but every now and then I need to sneak in a flower or two.  I just plain love gardening whether it is vegetables or flowers.  Like I said before I’m a plant collector.  The photo above is my ginger blooming.  Those little beautiful pearls will soon open to gorgeous flowers.

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     I had to take the risk to show you because I so want you to see them.  Recently I watched a tv show that demonstrated how to get ginger started from a piece you buy at the grocery.  I purchased a small piece for seventy cents then I broke it into three pieces and planted those in pots (it was about a month ago.)  They sprouted and are about three inches high.  I can’t wait to see what their bloom looks like.  I’ll take pictures of them growing but I forgot to today.

     Okay; on to the vegetable garden.  Everything (except the onions) is growing well.  I planted sweet peas where the onions were supposed to be and several of them have sprouted.The squash are blooming.  We actually had fried squash blooms at supper.  They were absolutely delicious.

The pepper plants are loaded with small peppers.  They are too spicy for me so I’ll give them away but it is fun to see them grow. And the tomatoes are looking strong and healthy.

     As you can see I have been very busy outside and loving every minute.  Today we raked and bagged leaves and we’re only half way there.  I save some of them in the compost bin but there is just too many to keep them all because we have several oak trees and an equal amount of Laurel Leaf Cherry.  And on that note I will say good night because I am so tired. Please come back soon and let me know what you are growing and how it is going.  I forgot to show you my pumpkin plants but God willing and Jesus lingers I’ll show you later.  And of course my Dutchman’s Pipe vine; the blooms are so wonderfully beautiful.  One fell of the vine and I opened it and found seed sooo guess who is saving Dutchman’s Pipe seeds.

Good night.

SPRING GARDEN

Not too Fearless to Plant a Garden

I swore up and down that I would not have a vegetable garden this spring.  They are wonderful and I enjoy the work but I promised myself that I would spend more time with my flowers.  Well… as spring approached I got the fever.  I’ve been composting and trying to build up the quality of soil in my yard but it isn’t quite there yet.  Oh in the fall I grew beautiful collards and mustard and we are still enjoying meals from them.  And I did have my small bean patch I made from my grandson’s wading pool that he has out grown.  I get about a mess of beans a week; most we have eaten but we’ve also been able to share. I was going to share a photo of it but can’t seem to find one.  Maybe I never took one…oh well I’ll make sure to include it in a later post.  Anyway, back to the story.  Yep, I got the gardening fever.  So I decided to start something small.   I commandeered the old recycling bins that have been replaced with nice big garbage cans.  I filled them with potting soil and planted carrots.  Then I placed an old screen from a window we replaced recently on top to save my precious seed from the squirrels.3-25-16 013

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You can see a tiny bit of the pool bean patch in the photo.

I was so happy thinking about my soon to eat sweet carrots but when you get the fever two small recycling bins just aren’t enough.  So….  I talked my sweet husband in to building me some raised beds.

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Raised bed with lining.

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And my sweet neighbor who manages a Supply Place for Landscapers brought me some great potting soil and filled my beds.  He is an angel of a person and is always helping us in any way he can.

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And last for this story but certainly not least, yesterday I was able to put out the first plants and seeds.

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I am so excited!  I can hardly wait for everything to start producing so I can share with others.  That is one of the wonderful things about having a garden, being able to give to neighbors and friends and even strangers.  I will definitely keep everyone posted on the progress, of course with pictures, and you might just stop by, have a nice cold glass of iced tea and leave loaded down with fresh vegetables.

Until then thanks for stopping by, and remember to keep enjoying every minute God has given you.  There are so many things to be thankful for.  And if you’ve never tried it give gardening a try even if it is in one small pot.  You will be surprised how rewarding it is.  I believe it adds years to you life; if not I know it adds life to your years.

God bless.

 

 

 

SEASONS

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When I work up day before yesterday the far back of my yard looked like this; fog!  Yes, it is that season of the year here; we get thick fog.  Oh we will probably have a few more what we call cold days but it is nothing compared to what some of you in the northern states are getting.  It is still winter but I’m getting spring fever.  For the last three or four days it weather has been in the 70s; just perfect for working in the yard.

My five year old grandson calls the extreme back piece of my property “the jungle” because I have banana, avocado, papaya, loquat, fig, olive and guava trees back there.  I also have my vegetables garden and several kinds of flowers. I suppose it might look like a jungle to him.

FOGGY MORNING

Yes, we do have seasons in Florida and there is something in every one of them that I love.  I like to sit on my back-porch and watch it rain and when it is foggy and chilly I pull on sweats and sat in my glider with my hands wrapped around a steaming cup of coffee.  The sun breaking through the clouds is a beautiful sight to behold.  Because I put out food  I have so many wild birds that come to visit.  I try to catch photos of them.  I’ll share some in another post.

The first of the week my son was here from Texas and we built a big fire in our large pit.  While we were enjoying it a flock of wild geese flew over; heading back north.  And yesterday my yard was full of red-breast robins.  I do believe those are sure signs that our winter cold is almost gone; or will be in the next couple of weeks.  I’m always excited for the spring season because that is when I get the soil ready and plant my spring and summer gardens.DSC_0079

Like I said there is something special in every season and I thank God that I am able to see and enjoy them.  Living in Florida was one of the goals I set for myself when I was just a child and I’m thankful I fulfilled it.  I love my little piece of Florida.

Thank you for stopping by and I hope to see you again soon.  Until then keep enjoying all the blessings God gives you, trust me they are too many to count.  God Bless

 

R is for Rooster

R is for Roosterfighter

    I don’t know too much about photos or stories involving the alphabet but I can say “R is for rooster, C is for chicken and D is for dinner they are all in my story.

     A few months back, about five to be exact, I bought four baby chicks and was assured that I had all hens.  I figured that once they started laying four would be enough to supply me and my son who lives near with all the eggs we could use and they would be healthy because I’d know exactly what they were fed.  Thus I named them; Michele, Hillary, Jackie O and Roslyn.  Do the names sound familiar?  Anyway, back to my story.  When they were about 3 months old my husband came in one day and told me I should change Hillary’s name.  I asked “why?”  “She’s crowing” he explained.  So I changed the name to Cock-O-Doodle-Do.  I thought that would be appropriate since our neighbor’s hen had left home and had taken up resident in our yard and we called her “Cluck.”

     All went well for another month then the rooster attacked one of our hens and seriously injured her.  I was furious and made him leave the safety of the chicken pen.  The hen healed in about a week.  Cock-A-doodle-Do became great friends with Cluck and they prowled the back yard which is fenced and scratched for bugs and earth worms.  I tolerated the destruction of my flower beds and trust me that is giving a lot since I am a plant nut.  If it grows I’ll take it and find a place somewhere in my yard for it to live.  I wish I could say and we all lived happily every after.

     At dusk dark Cluck flies up high to a limb of the huge oak tree where she spends the night safe from any prowling wild animals.  The rooster has not learned that he can fly so I feel sorry for him and worry that something might attack him at night while he sleeps.  So after the girls (my hens) retire inside the hen house I cover the entrance to the breezeway with a board and put Cock-A-Doodle-Do back in the pen.  He would crow early in the morning and I’d go out, rain or shine, and let him out of the pen then remove the board so the girls had a place to wander around and scratch.  Of course I put food and water outside the pen for Cluck and him.

     Last week he started following me around the yard like a little puppy when I was outside working.  My husband and friends warned me that I should be careful because roosters can sometimes turn mean but I was not afraid.  Then Monday while I was working something hit me hard in the back, almost knocking me down.  I turned and it was the rooster!  He came at me again and again!  I picked up a piece of two by four and scared him off.  When my husband got home I told him what had happened.  He said the next day he would kill the rooster before he really harmed me or our grandson.

     He was up early and we chased that old rooster all around the yard before we finally caught him.  You can figure out the end of the story…chicken and rice for dinner that night.

     I hope this story did not offend anyone; that is not my intention but if you do have chickens be very careful around any roosters.

     Thank you for stopping by and please come back soon.

     God Bless.

MISSING RED

Missing RedOld Red

Now you might think I’m crazy but I missed Old Red screeching out a crow saying it was time to get up when it was still dark outside.  I missed him escaping through a hole in the wire of the chicken pen and scratching in the leaves looking for bugs; and Momma chasing him out of her flower beds and garden.  I didn’t miss Pearl as much because mostly she just clucked and stayed in the pen.  It seemed we were slowly erasing everything from the farm except our memories.  Now our life was the Creek just like all the neighbors.  We all struggled to get by but shared what we had and were happy to help anyone in need. Everyone had memories they liked to talk about.  When the weather got warmer they would stop by and sit on the edge of the porch dangling their feet and legs over the side and recall better times.  Sometimes if Momma was caught up with the laundry she did for the fancy ladies in town we would walk to where people were gathered at someone else’s front porch and listen to the stories.  While the grown ups talked the kids played chase or baseball in the street. It had not rained in weeks so the red Georgia clay had been ground by vehicles and feet to a soft, orange powder.  Our bases were smashed cans and nobody had gloves. We used a short weathered-gray board for the bat.  When someone would slide for a base the dust would swirl and settle over all of us.

As the days grew longer and warmer Momma dug a five gallon bucket of chicken poop from the pen.  Then with Daddy’s old push plow she tilted the compost into the soil and made a garden.  She planted rows of peas, beans, squash, potatoes and tomatoes.  If everything came up and did well we would can them and have vegetables for this coming winter.

Now we slept with our windows open and listened to the crickets and the low hooting of an owl hunting in the woods behind our house.  I would look out the window and watch the fireflies darting about in the darkness.  A soft breeze slipped in and cooled the room.  I was getting to know the survival techniques of the Creek and had come to love the life I now lived.  I thanked God for not punishing me for my mean thoughts and selfish actions and promised to try and do better.  Then with a heavy sigh I rolled over onto my side and fell asleep.

Thank you for stopping by.  I hope you come back soon for more tales.  God bless.