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Archive for the ‘Weather’ Category

Jackie Clay

Now that most of the snow’s gone, we’re hurrying to finish jobs

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

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The two feet of snow is mostly gone and the ground froze, at least a bit. So Will is hurrying to haul our last hay home from the fields. He’s had a little tractor trouble — nothing serious, just a plugged fuel filter, so far. He’s almost done on one field and the round bale storage yard is about full. He’s got another thirty or so bales over at another field. If all goes well, he should be finished in a couple of days.

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We did get a little new snow but it’s nothing much; only a two-inch buildup and today it’s 32 degrees above! We’re rejoicing about that.

This past weekend we went to grandson Mason’s ninth birthday party. The best part of it for him was when Grandpa Will played Pie Face and got clobbered with a big gob of whipped cream right in his mouth and mustache!

I never showed you how the new stain on the west end of the house turned out. I got it done just before the weather turned too cold. I think it looks great and come spring, I’ll give it a couple more coats as that’s the “tough” end of the house. All our weather comes from the west and it gets plenty of hot sun in the afternoons in the summer. Some folks think once you build a log house you are freed from any maintenance. Not so. You need to keep the stain redone every few years to protect the logs as well as caulk up any large cracks so moisture doesn’t go in and start rotting the logs. But even with that, we sure love our logs!

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— Jackie

Jackie Clay

Believe it or not, most of our two feet of snow is gone

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

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But it is snowing a bit this morning. Mittens went out exploring the big snow pile next to the yard made by the snowplow truck. She LOVES the snow. When fresh snow is deep she buries her head under it and runs forward. All you can see is her upright tail!

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When all the snow melted, I found a crate of carrots on my front porch. Yep, I’d forgotten them and they had gotten buried in snow. I gingerly felt one and was shocked to find all of them totally solid and in fine shape. I promise to get them canned up tomorrow! I hate to waste food.

While deer hunting, David saw the mama wild turkey and two others, going to roost in a big cedar tree on the edge of our woods. What a surprise! We were really happy to hear she was still around.

Prior to the rains, I bedded the goat stall with a bale and half of wood shavings. That was a mistake! In two days’ time, the shavings were totally soaked. So I had to shovel them out and bed them with a nice big bale of reed canary grass. Much better! It’s so fluffy that even when it gets damp it quickly dries out. The goats have a nice dry place to lay down now.

We are now watering the horses and cattle using the new well Will put down below the new barn. I can’t believe how much faster the water fills the tanks and as the water is spring water, it never runs out, no matter how long we use the well. Our house well is 375 deep, through 300 feet of bedrock and is slower to fill the casing. So we can only pump about 400 gallons before letting the well rest and refill. What an improvement our barn well is! And best of all, should something happen where we couldn’t get gas to run our generator which powers our house well, the barn well can be run from our battery bank! — Jackie

Jackie Clay

We all had fun working off our Thanksgiving dinner

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

We had a full house for Thanksgiving. Bill and his family, David and girlfriend Ashley, and our other son, Javid, all came to help us eat turkey and tons of other goodies. What a pleasant day that was. We are truly thankful for all our blessings, especially including a wonderful family.

After dinner, Mason and Ava asked Uncle David to come out and help them make a snow fort because the snow was perfect for packing, and there was plenty of it. So creative David grabbed a plastic tote and headed for the side yard where there was plenty of undisturbed snow. He took the scoop shovel and tossed two shovels full of snow into the tote then Ava bounced up and down on it with her sitter-downer. Then David carried the tote to the fort area-to-be and carefully dumped it. Mason got to work and packed snow between the blocks. It wasn’t long until they had a great fort built, including turrets made by packing snow into a five gallon bucket.

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Then Mason came in and informed me they needed a flag. I quickly taped an old flag onto a plant stake and they had a completed fort. Then the snowballing began. Will stood way out on the drive and bombarded Mason, in the fort, with snow. (Okay, they were more like snow puffs, not hard-packed snowballs. But Mason loved it anyway and they didn’t clobber him so hard.)

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Ava dubbed the wire next to the garden gate as the jail so when someone got snowballed, they had to go to “jail.” What a fun afternoon!

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Now the temperature has warmed up and it’s been raining for two days and staying above freezing all night. Much of our two feet of snow is gone, including, sadly, the snow fort. But the memories remain. — Jackie

Jackie Clay

Winter’s on the way

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

We listened to the weather radio — which we just about live by — and they’re expecting rain and snow tomorrow and on through the week. And we still have a bunch to do. I just finished up the rest of our beautiful apples and now have dozens of quarts of apple slices and apple juice. (I put the peels and cores through the Mehu Liisa and turned out beautiful apple juice. Then the goats got the leftovers.)

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I’ve still got a crate of carrots to do and some chili but that’s on hold right now as Will is sawing up lots of dry popple poles for our small wood. This stuff is great kindling and also works extremely well in our kitchen range. It’s pretty darned good when you can keep the house toasty and also be cooking and baking on the same stove at the same time. What a win-win situation!

My oldest son, Bill, got a nice fat five-point buck which is now in our freezer waiting to be cut up and canned. He’ll be up next weekend to help do that. We always have a great time visiting while we process venison. David saw a big eight-point buck but it ran straight away from him and he didn’t get a decent shot. So he’ll try again this week and see if he can also bring home the “bacon.” We really love making venison summer sausage with my electric meat grinder which has a sausage stuffing horn. It tastes SO good!

Well, I’m finally done processing all the seeds except some Hopi Pale Grey squash. All I have to do is update our website and I have to get at that pronto as we’re already getting seed orders coming in.

Gotta run so I can go help Will. Snow’s on the way… — Jackie

Jackie Clay

The harvest continues

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

We’ve been getting some real cold nights along with rainy days, so we’ve been continuing our harvest. I’ve been shelling the last of our new beans and the star is a dry bean, Monachelle di Trevio. I bought ten bean seeds for this productive pole bean and ended up harvesting two pounds of seed! It isn’t enough to offer this year in our seed catalog, but it is enough that I can plant tons next year. Besides being beautiful red and white, this round bean is easy to shell, and quite early to dry down. We’ll be tasting a few too, but being from Italy, I’m sure it’s very good.

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I picked nearly all of our peppers as the plants in our hoop house got frozen a couple of nights ago. Besides taking the seeds from the mature peppers, I’ve been making big batches of Cowgirl Candy. I’m even thinking of how good it would taste as a topping for cheesecake — sweet with a pop of hot.

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Will got busy and picked the last of our apples, Keepsake, Frostbite and Chestnut crabs, which are two inches in diameter and very good eating apples. Now I’ve got to get busy and can ’em up as none besides Keepsake really will keep long. Boy, have we ever been munching on them with buckets full on the front porch. Nothing beats an icy, juicy, sweet, crisp apple!

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We’ve also been splitting up more firewood. The last pile will fill the wood shed but I’m sure Will is going to go down and get more to pile up on our enclosed back porch. It’s great to have plenty of wood to cook with and keep us toasty warm. Wonderful!

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— Jackie

Jackie Clay

We escaped the frost!

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

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But I’m sure there is more frost to come. We shut up our big hoop house, still full of peppers and pole beans and said prayers. And they worked! When we woke up it was 40 degrees.

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Even though we’ve been having real nice, warm, sunny days, we’re still working like mad harvesting what we can. We picked tons of tomatoes, and I sent a crate to Bill and Kelly as David was going down for a weekend visit. I also picked a crate of peppers for the seed and not wanting to waste them, I made a big batch of cowgirl candy (candied jalapeño flavored sweet peppers which are spicy but not firey hot). I’ll be making another big batch as soon as I harvest more ripe peppers. Boy, do we like our cowboy and cowgirl candy. To make cowboy candy I first double the syrup then put up the cowboy candy. Using the extra syrup, I add cut up sweet peppers, boil 4 minutes, then with a slotted spoon, I take the hot peppers out, pack into jars and ladle boiling syrup over them. They are processed 15 minutes in a boiling water bath canner. Very good!

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I’ve been picking beans every day since we know frost and freezing temperatures are coming. Some of the more rare beans are amazing and I’ll have plenty of seed so I can plant lots next year. Yes, we are starting to plan for our next year’s planting! Hey, we’re always optimistic. By the way, Will’s injuries are all much better.

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Some of you have asked when you can buy some of our new seed varieties. As soon as I get done harvesting, I’ll be updating the Seed Treasures website so you can take a look. You’ll be surprised at how many new offerings we’ll have. — Jackie

Jackie Clay

Our beautiful fall weather will come to an end with frost

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

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We’re supposed to get frost and possibly snow flurries tonight through Saturday evening, and we’ve still got veggies in the gardens. I’ve been picking beans and corn for weeks and now we’ve switched into high gear as our crops won’t take much more freezing or frost. But the fall colors are pretty; our driveway looks like a giant postcard.

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We’ve also still got onions, shallots, leeks, and potatoes to get into the cellar, but they should be able to take a little frost just fine, so we’re concentrating on other crops that can’t. Luckily, we’ve got more rare beans in the protection of our large hoop house as well as our entire pepper crop, so they should be fine.

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Will’s hauling our big round bales home, a load at a time. Our transport is an old bus frame on bus wheels. It hauls about eight round bales at a time. So far he’s got about fifty bales home with a lot more out there in various fields. He’s also been doing rockwork on the interior walls of our new barn. One interior side is now finished. You wouldn’t believe how many rocks he’s used so far!

Well, I’ve got to go pick more tomatoes. See you next week! — Jackie

Jackie Clay

I hope to see some of you at the Lakeland, Florida Self Reliance Expo

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

I’ll be away from home from September 8th to the 13th, giving a couple of talks at the Lakeland, Florida Self Reliance Expo. Any of you who can attend, please stop by and visit the Backwoods Home Magazine booth, where I’ll be helping Ilene Duffy. I truly look forward to meeting my great BHM family on these road trips. Since it’s a first-time trip to Florida for me, and just a few miles north of Sanibel Island, which is on my bucket list, Ilene and I will be taking a short vacation and hopefully pick up some beautiful seashells and see wildlife we’ve never experienced before.

Will is going to man the homestead and (hopefully) keep the garden’s produce from freezing. So as soon as I get back, I’ll once again hit the harvesting and canning in earnest.

Today Will is cutting our last hayfield away from home. Yesterday he cut two other fields. All we have left is one small field of second crop clover here at home and we’ll be done. Hooray! We’re supposed to be having 4½ days without rain. We’ll see. We’ve heard that before…

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I harvested a basket of Bill Bean tomatoes. The biggest one weighed 4 pounds 3 ounces. And that’s not the biggest one out there! I can’t wait to see how much the big guy weighs. It’s bigger than an ice cream bucket! These are such flavorful tomatoes and so meaty they don’t make your bread soggy when you use them on a sandwich. Mmm, I’ve got half a loaf of whole wheat bread, mayo and…

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— Jackie

 
 


 
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