Every time you feel in God's creatures something pleasing and attractive, do not let your attention be arrested by them alone, but, passing them by, transfer your thought to God and say: "O my God, if Thy creations are so full of beauty, delight and joy, how infinitely more full of beauty, delight and joy art Thou Thyself, Creator of all!
- Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain

You can’t get to joy by making everything perfect. You can only get there by seeing in every imperfection all that’s joy.
-Ann Voscamp

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Garden Status, and Other Stuff

I pulled all the beets yesterday. This is how much I got. It looked like a fairly large amount to me...

Low and behold, it made a whoppin' 3 pints of pickled beets! I also canned salsa, 3 pints again. I guess it was a 3 pint batch day. It struck me sometime during the process of canning these 2 batches of food that this wasn't really worth it, at leas in some ways. I could have put these things in the fridge, and we would have used them up long before they'd gone bad.
On the other hand, I'm gaining experience. Now I know that a pile of pulled beets this big makes 3 pints of beet pickles, and that's not enough to mess with. I need to plant more if I want to can beets. I also know now that a mountain of tomatoes, onions, peppers, garlic, nectarines and herbs will make 3 pints of salsa, also not enough to mess with again. Lessons learned.
I also gained some knowledge of how l-o-n-g the process will be next time I go through it! So, 6 pints of food, and lots of experience gained.

This was the shell pea harvest today. I decided it was time we enjoyed some of them fresh, so I let the family at these (about half a gallon of peas in the pod) during lunch. They're gone now. The pea vines are beginning to turn brown, and the sugar snap peas don't taste very good any more. I guess I'll soon be pulling them out too.

Here are the hazel nuts we collected this past weekend. The spiny outer hulls are beginning to dry up, but they were green when we picked them. You need gloves to collect these, because they're a bit cactus like. You also need some type of protection to get the outer hulls off. I used some surgical gloves.
Here they all are. I'm glad to be finished with that. The little "spiny things" (I'm so intelligent!) get all over the place. The worst place for them to be is in the ...umm...elbow pit? I don't actually know what that part of the body is called. :) So any way, here's the bowl of hazel nuts that still have to be cracked open to get the nut meat out. It's quite a process just to get a few nuts, but I guess I'm "nuts" enough to do it! Things like this are why I have 15 loads of laundry waiting for me in the basement!

Molly found this nest of 5 gold finch nestlings living in our french lilac bush. They have very busy parents! I can't believe they're nesting and hatching chicks already! They're at least a month early, I think. They're supposed to hatch chicks when the thistles go to seed. I guess this year that's happening early as well.

In other "farm" news, the rabbits seem to be reaching maturity. We have two girls still in the same cage, and one of them was a bit "frisky" this morning. By September they'll probably be ready to breed.
I'm feeling a bit frustrated with the chickens at this point. We've got egg eaters and vent pickers. I'm not sure what in the world is going on, but one thing is for sure. As I've said before, no more mixing flocks for us! We've had so many headaches over the chickens since we did that. These things haven't ever been a problem for us before. We're actually considering trimming their beaks to stop them from the egg eating and vent picking. We're also considering forcing them to molt early. This all seems a little harsh, so we're not sure yet. If we don't try the beak trimming and forced molt, we'll probably do away with these old hens this fall and start over with new chicks in the spring. That would mean about 18 months "eggless". If we keep them over winter and then start over, maybe we can still get enough eggs through the winter to only go about 8 months without our own eggs. I don't know...What do you all think?


  1. Patty, I know exactly what you mean about the canning, and I learned it same way, through experience! I got my canning supplies, was so excited, then found out after 3 hours of trying to boil water on my ceramic top range that it won't work, so then I had to go outside and use the propane burner. Took forever and with all the washing and boiling lids I think I got 4 half pints of sauce LOL! Now I don't even touch the canner until August and September, when the masses of tomatoes and peppers come in. Until then, I make small batches of sauce and salsa and freeze it Ball jars. Like last night... a whopping 2 pints of sauce LOL.

    Sorry about those bully chickens, until I can have chickens I am soaking up all the info I can about these problems.

    I think I saw your dog in a photo a while back when I was cruising older posts of yours. We are a die hard Border Collie & Australian Shepherd family so I always take note of B & W dogs:)

    LOVE the new header photo, I so wish we could vacation this summer, sadly with hubby gone it would be a waste of much needed money this year since I would be saddled with 2 kids and a dog myself (not much of a vacation LOL) and would feel guilty about hubby not being in his kayak with his fishing gear!

  2. Patty, what kind of housing do you have the chickens in? How many chickens? Do they free range during the day or are they in a fenced enclosure? We've always mixed all ages of birds and never had any of the problems you're dealing with. Such a frustrating bummer of a situation. Give us some of the particulars and maybe some of us can help.

  3. Hey Mama Pea-
    We have eleven chickens left now. 10 hens and a rooster. Our coop is about 12 x 14 feet, but that's a rough guess. I'd have to measure to tell you for sure. We have roosts that they perch on at night. There are about 5 nest boxes for egg laying that are about a foot off the floor. There is a nice window, about 2.5 x 3 feet. There's a "door" that opens into an outside run they stay in. I couldn't tell you the dimensions of that without measuring, but I can tell you that it has a perimiter of about 130 feet in an L shape. They've eaten everything from inside the run, so it's basically just dirt now. The floor of the coop is cement with hay on it. We water them inside the coop, giving them fresh water every morning. We feen them outside, scattering a large scoop of scratch grains and laying mash on the ground. They also have oyster shell and grit free choice. We also feed them grass and vegetable trimmings, dry bread, left over cereal and milk...things like that...pretty much daily. Oh, and the coop has a screen door on it that opens up into the building itself, which is very large. It's a LONG building that has 4 separate rooms in it. The chickens are on one end, the next room contains feed and stuff, but no animals, the one after that has the rabitry in it, and the other end will house goats soon.
    OK, that was probably too much info. but there ya go! I'd be thrilled if you could point out anything we're doing wrong!

  4. You're certainly not talking with an expert here but here are a couple of things . . . I can't remember what breed of chickens you have. IF some are leghorns, they will be high-strung and are just plain trouble makers. They don't go out and graze or try to pick up bugs as this has been bred out of them.

    If your run (which sounds like it should be big enough for 11 birds) is nothing but dirt now, the chickens could just be bored as most breeds naturally want to scratch around in grass, weeds, etc. Is there any way you can reroute the fencing so they could have access to green stuff to eat and scratch around in? Some way you could rotate their outside run(s) so they always have greens to forage on?

    We have always thrown our chickens scratch twice a day along with frequent kitchen scraps, too. But we also have feeders of laying mash available for them at all times. Could they possibly be hungry? If you only throw some laying mash on the ground with their scratch perhaps they're not getting enough to eat?? Particularly because they don't have green stuff to graze on in their outside run?

    Hope this might help a little. Let me know what you think.

  5. Mama Pea, I think you could be right, especially about their being bored. I have Rhode Island Red's, Red and Black Stars and a Bantam hen and rooster.
    I don't think we could re-rout the fence (we made that baby strong and permanent), but we may be able to free range them some when we're home now. We're home enough to keep an eye on them now.
    I will definitely consider keeping laying mash out for them all the time, though their waste really irks me. I'll mess around with different feeder types and see if I can't eliminate some of the waste they create when the mash is available to them all the time. Thanks so much for your advice, which I do consider fairly expert and very valuable!