Sunday, August 21, 2011

Gone Fishin'

We managed to get out on the water a few times this summer and do some fishing.

We had one very good day on the Montreal River.  #3 caught the biggest fish of the year, so far. #4 hasn't caught a fish yet.  The rest of us did ok.

The boys all went swimming in the river.

And back at home...

Everyone helped prepare the bounty for the freezer.  5 meals of fish safely stored away.

Friday, August 19, 2011

While the Boys Were Away

The mom will play...

Or work.  Definitely work.  When we bought our house we had these lovely chunks cut out of the walls in the older boys' room.  The ceiling was falling- slanting...  The previous owner cut through the wall and installed beams in my room to hold it up.  Then he stuck the cut outs back in and taped them up.

It looked even worse with the cracked and peeling tape ripped off.

Many, many layers of poly filla ere applied.  Four days worth, with sometimes three coats in a day.

Then I started painting.  Home mixed paint, once again.  It may not turn out the perfect shade of "Norlandic Ice Blue", but if your tastes are less specific, and your wallet less thick, you can achieve a nice shade of blue for little to no cost.

A five gallon pail, the mixer attachment for the drill, and 5 one gallon pails of assorted shades of blue latex paint.  Most of these I picked up at the township paint swap last year.  One can was a mistint that cost me less than $10.
Surprised and happy boys returned from camp.

Now I just need to finish the younger boys' room.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Garden Update IV - Beans!

Two buckets of beans from the first picking.  The beans are phenomenal this year.  The year of the bean!
The plants are big and luscious, and producing at an alarming rate.  I'm picking every third day, and it takes about 7 hours to pick, cut, wash, and blanche them.  My back is not loving the beans!  Thankfully the blueberries are easy picking this year, and I don't really need a lot of them, so that provides some relief.

I planted a variety of beans, after the bean failures of the past three years, hoping to find the magical variety that would love my soil, rain, and short growing season.  mother nature decided to play a big trick on me though, and give us a hot humid summer.  Isn't she cruel?  lol.  So my data is a bit skewed, and I plan to plant a variety again next year, in hopes of similar results.

McKenzie stringless green pod-  good germination, slower to start producing, smaller plants, production increased mid season.
McKenzie tendergreen improved-  good germination, good production
McKenzie classic contender-  ok germination, smaller plants, ok production
McKenzie greencrop-  poor germination, small plants, long tender beans, excellent taste
Pike dwarf green stringless-  poor germination, long slender beans
Pike labrador-  poor germination, lower production
Matchless tendergreen improved (Dollarstore!!)-  excellent germination, excellent production, very large plants, sure didn't do that last year...
Saved seed-  excellent germination, excellent production, huge plants!!

I get almost as many beans from the matchless and saved seeds as I do from the other four rows!  Fascinating!

Three buckets of beans on the last picking.  I have 21 bags of beans, about 5 cups each, frozen for winter so far.  We've eaten another 6 meals worth.  Once I get 36 bags frozen, I'll start shortening my rows, allowing the last two plants of each to go to seed.

The broccoli is also doing well this year.  Five small bags frozen so far, plus one meal.  Not enough for a dish of broccoli by themselves, but nice sized servings for chicken rice casserole or stew.
 No heads yet on the cauliflower.

The beets are doing better this year than in the past, onions are doing great, potatoes look good.

Carrots are still buried in the weeds.

Peas are sad, mostly due to escaping turkeys, poor germination, and total neglect on my part.

Lettuce is still small, though we've been picking away at it.  Turnips didn't germinate well, and aren't growing well either.

In the greenhouse, the corn has tassles!

The tomato trees are loaded with big green tomatoes.  Please turn red!  Please!  Please!!

And something weird is happening at the base of the crazy pumpkins.  They almost look like they got hit by frost, yellowed, wilted, missing leaves.  But that's the part that's in the greenhouse.  The part outside is vibrant and healthy.  And the temperatures dropped before this happened, so there's no way it got too hot in the greenhouse and fried them.  At any rate, I can now see in and around them.

Cucumbers are just starting to produce.  Swiss Chard has been eaten again, and again, and is ready for another meal.  Broccoli is starting to develop heads.  Brussel Sprouts have tiny little heads all up the stalks.  Cauliflower is big and leafy, but no heads.  If I could find my herbs, they would probably be ready to start drying.

To be continued...

Saturday, August 13, 2011

We Have a Bull!

A bull calf, that is.  i'm not quite ready to take on a full size bull.  Dorie greeted the young fellow playfully, putting on all of her girlish charms.

Let's bang horns!  He looks just like her, but smaller.  He's about 14 months old.  Same colouring, same shaped horns.  He's supposed to be a charolais cross.  we're calling him Steaks.

He looks so tiny beside her.  He's got three months or so to get the job done.  Then he'll go in the freezer. 

Casper tried to tell me this new bull was not necessary.  He mounted Nelly.  At 5 months, and hopefully castrated, I don't think that's going to work.  Hopefully castrated, because we did the bands, but nobody can catch Casper, let alone flip him over to take a look.

My little herd, relaxing in the sun.

Until I disturbed them.  "How close do you plan to get with that camera?"

Relax, ladies.  You've got a man in there.  I'll be keeping safely back BEHIND the fence.  'Cause I'm a big chicken.  My boys are making fun of me.  "He's just little!"  Yeah, that's right.  Just little, and calm, and gentle.  Until he decides he wants me out of his pasture.  I'm old and fat and short.  There's no doubt in my mind that he can outrun me.  I'll stay on my side of the fence, thank you very much.

Next year's bull?
He doesn't scare me so much.  Yet.