Friday, May 21, 2010

Dual Pro X

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Victorinox Swiss Army. All opinions are 100% mine.

As a kid, I remember going on youth back packing and camping trips and always being a little envious of the kids that had Swiss Army knives. Those knives were the cool ones, full of useful gadgets. Last Christmas I gave Kellen and Miles small Swiss Army knives. So, I was thrilled when I was contacted to review the new Dual Pro X made by Victorinox Swiss Army.

This is a great knife that has found many uses around our farm. Here you can see Tim using it to cut off  a piece of hose so he could replace a leaky connection.

I particularly like the one-hand opening lock blades. I often have trouble getting the blades out of pocket knives. This one is easy. Of course, it has lots of useful gadgets. The knife is sharp. It is a good tool. Visit their Facebook fan page for a chance to win a $25,000 adventure.

Every homesteading and outdoor family can use a good pocket knife. The Dual Pro X will get a lot of use around here. The only problem we've had with the knife is that we all want to claim it as our own. Kellen thinks it should be his. It actually was sent to me, but somehow it is made its way to Tim's things. Hmmm I wonder how that happened. 


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Because We Needed Something Else to Do

What a week or two.....

The last couple of weeks have been too busy around here. We've been butchering chickens, going to picnics and concerts, and tending to the farm. On top of all that our donkey, Daisy, disappeared. We spent the better part of the day yesterday searching for her to no avail. Tim finally found her, unharmed, this morning.

And because all of that just must not be enough to keep us busy, (rolls eyes,) last night we bought dairy goats. A friend offered us a deal I just could not pass on. I have continued milking Maggie because that darm lamb just won't nurse much on that side, and now will be adding two goats to the milking schedule. You people were supposed to talk me out of this madness! (wink) Instead I have jumped in up to my neck.

But aren't they cute contently munching away in the pasture. I milked a little this morning. There wasn't much because I didn't separate the kids last night, but the girls were fairly co-operative. Looking forward to the milk, yogurt, and cheese!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Around the Farm

Things are busy here in the 100 Acre Woods. We've been butchering chickens, getting the garden going, baling hay, and working on lots of other projects.

 We butchered a bunch of poultry including our extra roosters and drakes, older hens, and so far 40 Cornish Cross Rocks.

The peas are blooming. Can't wait to have some of those fresh goodies!

The potatoes, in tires and conventionally planted, are looking good.

Tried something new this year. We've never had much luck with growing carrots. Since we have heavy clay, I tried a chunky carrot variety last year. I wasn't thrilled with them. This year I mixed sand with the soil in a raised bed. We'll see how the carrots grow there.

What is this? Not sure, but I'm guessing acorn squash even though no squash has been planted in this garden for several years. We are letting it grow.

Mmmm.... and the best yet, the strawberries are starting to get ripe. Too bad the kids and I are eating them all as fast as they are ready. Maybe we'll have enough to freeze and make jam in a week or so.

We have a duck hen sitting now, and I can't wait to see the little ducklings out there! In a different nest of duck eggs I saw a black snake. Normally I'd just let a black snake go about its business, but not when it is eating eggs. Especially not when I have a hen sitting. I got it out of the nest, and Kellen whacked it. Can you tell what Kellen found when he whacked it? Bye Bye Black snake.

It is a busy time here on the farm. Lots of exciting projects and delicious things growing. Lovin' it.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Frost? Are you kidding me?

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of SaferBrand. All opinions are 100% mine.

Don't you hate when you go against your better judgment and then regret it later?

I started many of my plants from seeds this year, including tomatoes. They grew beautifully, up until a couple of weeks ago. They really needed transplanted, but it didn't get done. There were a lot of reasons including time, and a lack of larger containers to put them in.

I knew it was a little early, but went against my better judgment and planted them anyway last week. The weather had been so warm. We even had some days in the 80s and 90s. Then it frosted last night. Yes, I said frost after we've had days in the 90s. UGH!

I was scared to go look at them this morning. They did survive, but they certainly aren't thriving. I should have just bought the pots and transplanted. I knew better.

Gardening is a challenge. One that I enjoy though. Seems every year there is some twist with the weather,  the plants, or the bugs that has me puzzled and trying to figure out how to make the garden thrive, despite the challenges.

Right now the challenge is a late frost. Soon, the battle will be with the bugs. The potato and squash bugs challenge me every year. In trying to keep the garden organic, much of the bug battle involves picking the little buggers off the plants. I can never keep up with the squash bugs that way though. This year I have a new weapon; EndALL insect spray

EndALL sent me a sample of their insect spray to test out and tell you about. This is an organic insect killer that kills eggs, larvae, and adult insects. I prefer not use insect killers, organic or not, because they kill all the bugs, not just the bad ones that make us crazy. (Yes, there are good bugs that you want in the garden.) But some bugs, like the squash bugs just take over, and an insect killer is necessary. And if I have to use an insect killer I want it to be an organic one. The key ingredients in this spray are Organic Pyrethrin, soap,  and Neem oil. 

I tested it out on a houseplant that had some gnats. The spray is easy to use. In the cool of the day, spray it on the plant where the insects are eating or resting. Then say bye bye to the bugs. When using on vegetables, the product is safe to use up to the day of harvest.

The garden challenges (and joys) have only just begun. Hopefully my tomatoes will survive this late cool weather. Who knows what else this garden season will bring? But I do know when I see those copper colored eggs on the underside of my squash plants this season those eggs will be getting a shot of EndALL.

Visit my sponsor: EndALL: Organic Insect Spray

Friday, May 07, 2010

Sheep Milking - Revisited

Our last lamb was born Tuesday night. It was another boy. That makes all males lambs this year. Surprisingly it was a single from Maggie, a mother who has always given us twins. He is the largest lamb we've ever had though.

Maggie always has a lot of milk. With only one lamb nursing, her udder looks painful. Apparently this lamb also prefers one side, making Maggie a little lopsided. It makes me hurt to look at her udder.

You may remember that earlier this spring we had another sheep with a lopsided udder. We ended up milking her a few times. Her udder had a clog in it, and once we had that cleared and the teat back to a usable size, her lambs were more than happy to use both sides of her udder.

We thought maybe Maggie had the same issue. So, we milked her, but there was no clog. What there was was a lot of milk. Tim milked out almost two quarts from that one side. This morning she was looking miserable again, and Kellen and I tried to milk her. (We don't have a milking station set up, so this is quite the adventure.) Not exactly sure how much milk we got before Maggie kicked the bucket over and we gave up in frustration, but it was a lot again.

And the lamb still isn't interested in nursing that side. Maggie will call him to nurse, and she will nudge him to that side. He sniffs at the nipple and then goes to the other side. Poor Maggie.

Because she has so much milk and because there is only one lamb, I am seriously considering milking her regularly. I really don't have the time to add another project, but if we had a proper place to milk, and she got used to being milked, it really wouldn't be that big of chore would it? The other thing, besides free milk,  that is tempting me to make the commitment is the richness of the milk.

I know that it doesn't show up well in the photo, but I am pointing to the line where the milk and cream have separated. All I can think is butter....cheese....yum....

Someone talk me out of this madness....or convince me that it isn't madness... or come and milk my sheep for me!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Our Horse Girl

Lydia has taken quite an interest in the horses over past couple of months. She loves to feed them, and brush them, and is learning to ride.

Papaw says she is a natural with the horses. She is calm and gentle, but also firm when she needs to be. They trust her, and let her brush them. Even Daisy, the donkey, who has not been trained, lets Lydia sit on her back. Lydia will sit on Diamond while someone else leads her. Lydia has spent a lot of time with them, and she loves every minute of it. Well, at least she did.

Last Friday Lydia also learned that riding and working with horses can be dangerous. She and Mamaw were brushing and feeding the horses. Lydia sat bareback on Diamond. They weren't even moving, but as Lydia was trying to adjust herself, she lost her balance and slid right off Diamond. She landed on her arm....This is what she got from that adventure.

She isn't quite ready to get back up on the horses, but she still loves working with them. For now, she will be feeding and brushing them, but I have a feeling that it won't be long until she is back up on the horses again.