But boy oh boy have we gotten a lot done! You remember my pitiful orchard, carved out of a hill of old slash piles, boulders and stumps? Well, now it’s cleaned out and mulched with old oat hay. Will fired up the bulldozer two days ago and shoved all the rotten wood, rocks and stumps over the hill and buried it, then this morning before we went to visit Mom, who is recuperating in the hospital, we forked old oat hay around each tree for mulch.
It’s been raining off and on for three days, so while it was raining, we cleaned out the old manure and straw in Ladyhawk’s stall and Will wheelbarrowed it onto the new house garden strawberry bed-to-be in the rain. I’ll till it in and plant a cover crop of peas there so that the grass and weed seeds won’t germinate; strawberries do not compete with them at all. All the extra bed preparation will pay big dividends in the future.
Yesterday Will and I walked the property line and re-flagged the old survey flagging, which had degraded and come off, leaving a faint orange ring on some trees. Now it’s clearly marked. And he drove the bulldozer along the line, clearing it for a future horse pasture fence. It will make fencing a delight with no brush to contend with!
I’ve been planting garden big time, now, and about 2/3 of it is in the ground. We are a bit behind because we re-fenced the garden to include the house yard as well so Bambi won’t eat the flowers in the future. The move also expanded my garden, so I’ll be planting more squash than ever this year. And by grading the backyard to remove the stumps and logs, the whole yard looks so nice! I’ll plant wildflower seeds on the far yard and it’ll be gorgeous! I’ve been having fun….even though “The Man” is working my tail off. (And nobody has ever done that before!) How nice!
Canning summer aquash?
I have a bunch of scallop squash and was wondering if you knew a way to can or freeze this.. it is very watery. i have made squash relish and squash pickles. i get a 5 gallon bucket every 2 days. please help me.
Sorry, Laurie, but summer squash really isn’t great canned or frozen. You can home can it, but I’ve really had much better canned foods. I have had luck canning chunks in mixed stews and soups, so that might be an option for you. –Jackie
Goat milking tips
I can’t tell you how much I enjoy and appreciate your articles, blog, and Ask Jackie Column. And having topics easily accessible by searching the BHM site is awesome!
I was reviewing your reply to my Dec.07 questions about goat keeping and milking. I have finally been able to get into a groove of milking my does and am planning to make my first cheeses. In perusing the catalogs and reading cheesemaking/ goat handling books many offer special udder wipes, udder balm, special filters, etc. I have been straining my milk through a coffee filter into a clean mason jar then pasteurizing in the same jar. I have used a homemade udder wash with mild soap and tea tree oil and have at times used natural baby wipes. I can’t imagine that my great grandparents went through as much fuss as the “experts” do. I want to be clean and sanitary, but I don’t have aspirations of being a Grade A dairy. How do you maintain your goat’s udders? Do you use a special wash or just soap and water? Do you use a lotion after? Also, Is the coffee filter sufficient to clean strain the milk prior to pasteurizing? Any other tips are certainly appreciated!
I just keep my milkers clipped short, wash the udder with warm water with a bit of dish soap in it, then rinse with clear water and dry. Stay away from lotions, soaps or other things with any scent as it may transfer to the milk. You can use coffee filters, but you may like regular milk filters better, as the milk passes through faster. You can use the large filter papers and cut them into quarters to fit your small filter, if that will work for your own filter. If your doe has long “dingle dangle” teats, I would also use a teat dip after milking. This sanitizes the teats and also seals the orfice to prevent bacteria from getting in if she drags the ground while walking, getting up and down, etc. — Jackie
A waterbath canner
We are first time canners and we bought a water bath canner. Because thats what we saw our grandmothers use. Now we want to can green beans. I have searched the web for help and found you.I hope you can help us. I even subscribed to the magazine to get to you.
West Columbia, South Carolina
Sorry Alice, but you can not can green beans or any other vegetable or meat in a waterbath canner. These are low acid foods and have to be canned in a pressure canner in order to process them at a high enough temperature to kill botulism spores. While “grandma’s” method of waterbathing them “usually” was safe because they were processed for 3 hours, there was always a chance that a particular batch had picked up botulism bacteria somewhere so when you opened and heated a jar of beans, you were, in effect, feeding your family poison for dinner.
Your waterbath canner is great for tomatoes and tomato products, pickles, jams, jellies, preserves, fruits of all kinds and juice. If you want to expand in your canning, go ahead and pick up a good pressure canner. I promise you’ll love it! — Jackie
Raising chickens and ducks together
Is it OK to house chickens and ducks together? I have raised ducks successfully in the past and I am waiting for my first chicks to arrive in the mail soon. It occurred to me that it might be fun to have both at the same time if they could be kept in the same coop. My chicks will be Rhode Island Reds and the ducks I would like are Indian Runners and/or Khaki Campbells. What do you think?
You can raise chickens and ducks together, but you CAN’T feed them all chick starter because the antibiotics in it will kill the ducklings. Ducks are messy little critters, too, loving to puddle in their water. This has a bad effect on sanitation for your chicks. Dampness will kill chicks, so that’s something to watch for. My advice would be to raise them seperately until they are old enough to go outside and the chicks are off medicated feeds. Have fun. I have two ducks in my chicken coop, but they are adult. They are a lot of fun to watch. — Jackie
Wheat flour storage
Thank you for sharing your wisdom and guidance. Now I have a concern, as you are saying wheat flour goes rancid. I have put away some wheat flour in vacumm sealed bags and some I have put in 1/2 gallon canning jars and have vacumm sealed them. I also have wheat whole in vacumm sealed 1/2 gallon jars. My question is am I safe or do I need to start over?
Home ground whole wheat flour will get rancid after several months of storage. Store bought “whole wheat” flour will usually last longer without going rancid and would probably last even longer vacuum packed. White or unbleached white flour doesn’t have much of a problem with this as the wheat germ has been removed. Whole wheat “berries” stay great for years in sealed, dry storage. Try your flour and see what happens. If you are concerned, why not seal up some more wheat berries and unbeached white flour for long term storage. — Jackie
Recipe and canning Snapper?
I was wondering if you had a recipe for Snapper Soup and ,or how to can Snapper.
Cedarville, New Jersey
Are you talking about snapping turtle here or snapper, the fish? Let me know and I’ll give you a recipe. — Jackie