Saturday, December 17, 2011

Is Winter Here?

The trees seem to think so...
Yes, we live on a hill, this is the front yard though it evens out just below this where the garden is.  

Phil and I spent some more time today filling up the compost bin again since the last leaves had settled.
The thermometer says 60 degrees F.  but it felt a whole lot warmer pushing that wheelbarrow up and down the hill.  I did stop for a while and check out the garden while down there. Each broccoli plant has a tiny head but this one is the largest so far and it is only a couple inches across. It is just too soon I think; too warm here. Last week we were in the 70's for several days.
The spinach is large enough to pick if we wanted to but I will let it go another week or so . 
I think this cabbage might definitely make a head. It is closing up in the center some but it is really hard to tell, for me anyway, with cabbage. I have had them look good before and then never do anything. 
Besides the garden all the animals are doing fine except for one pen of quail which were completely eaten in 2 days. It is possible it was my own cats. One night one of the feeders fell off(or was knocked off) of the lower cage and several quail managed to get through the hole (it is a metal feeder that hangs on the outside). I believe once the cats got a taste for them they realized they could get through the hardware cloth doors if they pulled on them. I think it might have been two cats in particular since they mostly live out in the back shed. The quail they got were in the bottom cage. I have secured the top cage and they have not bothered it and none of the other birds have been bothered either. I also set the traps which caught my the two cats, (sigh--they seldom get caught more than once). I reset the traps with eggs since the cats will not eat them unless they are cracked but raccoons, of course will. So far nothing which is why I think it might have been the cats. I will fix better doors on the lower cage before I put quail in it again. I can't say that I blame the cats at all since it was me who apparently did not have the feeder wired securely enough on the cage. It is only natural for them to chase birds and eat them. I am now giving them a few eggs a day out there to make sure they are getting enough to eat (these two cats are kind of the outcasts; one is a female who is terribly small and the other is a male who ran away for a while and came back real thin and the other males didn't know him anymore so he was attacked at first, so he hides in the back shed where I will protect him whenever possible. He is not thin anymore and is getting large so soon will not need my help anymore. Cat tales-I have a million of them). 
Anyway, this is not a tragedy, just a few quail lost. I just moved 4 more out of the brooder and there are 6 more still left in another brooder. 

On to other things.
Today we went shopping and, as usual, we stopped at the thrift store. I got this lovely blue pitcher. I think it is so nice. Perhaps I will use it for gravy sometime, I don't know, but I liked it and couldn't leave it ($1.49).

I also got this lovely candle holder. I have a couple different ones of these kind of candle holders. It is possible I may never use them but if I need them they will be there ($2.49). 
I also got an old Cooperative Extension Bulletin (1982) on Sausage and Smoked Meat(25 cents). It is a very nice booklet with lots of recipes and drawings of several ways to make a smoker. Phil found it for me- he knows what I like (now if I could just get him excited enough to build one of those smokers...).
In the grocery store there was actually some hamburger that we could afford this week (2.29 lb) which was a nice surprise and there were apples. Phil looked at me funny when I got a big bag of apples (about 20 lbs) but I just opened out last jar of applesauce and our apple tree (if it even lived through the chickens digging it up--and I am doubtful) will be several years before it makes apples. Tomorrow will be an applesauce day and maybe apple pie filling. I'd love to try jelly again but it never seems to work with the pectin we can get these days and I hate to waste my time. We'll see. 

And the last thing I want to leave here is a little tip. I had several Christmas boxes to send through the mail this week and I like to reuse boxes and I didn't have any brown paper to cover them with. I found myself wishing that the stores still used paper bags and then it came to me that I have plenty of brown paper. My feed bags are made of it and they are double layered so if I used the outside layer it wouldn't even have feed dust on it, just have to turn the outside in to avoid the writing on it. It makes perfect and strong packaging paper.


  1. Becky: When that beautiful cabbage heads-up you're going to have a feast...such a beautiful plant. Your compost bins look great, too. I went thrift store shopping on Monday and found 6 really nice glass canisters..don't know what I'll use them for..just knew I had to have them: $.15 cents each! What a deal/steal!

  2. Oh there isn't anything in our thrift store that cheap. It is a Salvation Army store and their prices have rises considerably lately but now and then I still get a decent deal.
    I am hopeful on the cabbages and on the compost, lol.

  3. good thinking on the packaging! love it that you still have a producing garden--wish we could say the same!

  4. Very nice to see your garden growing... Love the thrift store finds!

  5. Oh..Love the little blue jug you bought. What an unusual shape.
    You apple sauce looks nice and how easy not having to peel all the apples. Looks like your going to have some healthy veges on the way soon. Have a great Christmas. Maa

  6. Thanks Maa, it is nice to know someone else can see what I saw in the little blue pitcher. Just something about it.
    I will definitely be making applesauce this way every time I have to make it.
    I am really itching to pick that spinach out there. I love homegrown spinach, it just melts in your mouth. Odd thing to say about spinach but it does, lol.

  7. My cabbage looks just like yours. Maybe there's hope for the poor little things yet. Fingers crossed.

  8. It seems so warm. I wonder what growing zone you're in?

  9. Are you sure that pitcher is not a commode?