It is still dark but we got our first dusting last night.
FIRST SNOWOctober 29, 2011
TOO MUCH RAINOctober 27, 2011
I hate to say it, but sometimes there is just too much rain. All spring and summer we have been rained on. Now it seems to have moved into fall. If this was snow we would be snowed in.
Too many days of rain makes it difficult to get in winter wood, or clear out the garden. We have cleared most of the garden, but there are a lot of weeds still in there. We wanted to dry some of lima bean and okra pods. They didn’t dry very well. I was able to get very few seeds that were worth saving.
It has been raining for two days now. Tomorrow should be a nice day, unfortunately we have to go town for a doctors appointment. That will be an all day adventure, so very little will be done here.
Saturday has been set aside to smoke the hams. Hopefully everything will go according to plan and we’ll see how this smoke house works.
ROOSTER NAMEOctober 24, 2011
Well I think we have finally decided on a name for our unexpected rooster. I thought you all came up with some really unique ones. I thought Victor/Victoria and Sultan fit his situation well. I rolled Sultan around my head for days, because after all, he does have a harem of hens. Thanks to all who put out ideas for us to ponder.
My sister thought he needed a pirate name and since he has sleek black feathers we thought maybe Black Beard, but that didn’t suit him. I saw him gallantly bow down to one of the hens yesterday and then swaggered off after he got what he wanted. I could just imagine a red bandana around his head and some beads strung in his feathers. Sonny and I decided that this rooster and all future roosters will have the surname Roo. So in honor of Captain Jack Sparrow who he resembles, he will be called Captain Jack Roo. It suits him well.
I am sure Sonny can teach him some bawdy sailor slang and International Talk Like a Pirate Day which is September 19th, will be a holiday on Pot Hole Farm. Oh, wait a minute…it already is. Arrrrgh me mateys! Tis a fine day to be alive. Thanks everyone.
HOLD YOUR NOSE!October 23, 2011
Its a nightly ritual just before bedtime for Ruby to go out for her last potty break of the evening. Last night as we shut off the TV, blew out the candles and did the usual bedtime preps, Ruby pranced at the door.
The moment Sonny opened the door Ruby shot out of it like a bullet, barking in high pitched tones. As she sprinted down to the base of the porch steps Sonny heard a pssssss sound. Ruby immediately made an about face and scrambled back up onto the porch trying to push her way into the house. I heard Sonny screech out, “Its a skunk!” as he simultaneously pushed Ruby away from the front door with his foot.
He quickly slammed the front door shut and then closed the connecting door between the mudroom and main house. All those Navy drills he endured learning how to close off ships compartments to contain flooding came in handy. Only thing is the skunk stench still followed him, although it could have been much worse. It could have been Sonny who got sprayed square in the face.
Even with the doors tightly shut the foul skunk oder still seeped into the house, slithering through the cracks like a rank fog. Sonny jumped into the shower just to be on the safe side. The pant leg of his pajama bottoms where he had touched Ruby was covered in ode de skunk. Needless to say they were promptly shoved into a plastic bag and disposed of. Sonny was lucky and didn’t get any of the smell on his skin.
We sprayed the house with every air freshner we could find. We couldn’t open the windows because it was worse outside. The sprays helped a little, but it sure didn’t get rid of it. This morning when we woke up it was much better. Now it is completely gone and my house smells normal.
I rubbed Natures Miracle on Ruby and the jury is still out on how well it worked. I will have a sniff test later. She may need another dose. I’m afraid to keep her out all night again. I may just have to put her in her dog crate. Who knows, Pepe le pew might think last night was a hoot and will want to make his rounds again. I just hope our front door is not marked with a bulls eye.
FIRST FIRE OF THE SEASONOctober 20, 2011
The day’s weather has been cold, grey and gusty. The perfect kind of day to build a fire in the wood stove for the first time this fall season. Oooooo, toasty.
THE WEEK IN REVIEW CONT.October 18, 2011
We were excited to see my family when they arrived. The usual greetings and long missed hugs and kisses were given out, then the truck had to be unloaded. There were suitcases of clothes for all types of weather, coolers, gifts, and favorite sleeping pillows that couldn’t be left behind.
My father’s 2005 red chevy truck was parked away from the black walnut tree that has been dropping huge round nuts from its naked limbs. Anybody who knows my father can tell you how much he loves and babies his truck. It is in pristine shape and the inside is spotless. When the door is opened you expect the smell of a new vehicle to still linger there. The fire red paint and shiny chrome still sparkle and dazzle the eyes. If it had a personality I would expect it to crinkle its grill in disgust at having to sit beside the Dirt Mobile. If a strong breeze should blow some dirt might accidentally puff over in it’s direction.
The next morning as we all went out to investigate the farm and let the chickens out we noticed that the driver’s side front tire was flat on my father’s truck. They were the original tires and believe it or not were still in good shape. Just not in shape enough to handle the stones and pot holes of our road even though it drove through them very slowly. Not to worry, we can just change it out and put on the spare tire that is cranked up underneath the truck bed. NOT!
My father was flustered and came into the house fuming because he could not find the jack and crank. My sister and I figured out how to pull the back seat up and found the jack. Only the jack. We searched the truck over trying to figure out where the crank to let the spare tire down could be located. Unfortunately my father had taken out the owners manual at home to look something up and forgot to put it back in the truck, so we couldn’t use it as a reference. He was fit to be tied as anyone would be in a situation such as this. Its not like we are just down the street from a Chevy dealer and without the right tools you can’t get to the spare tire. Both Sonny and John were out of town and unavailable to help figure out another option at this point.
Remember this truck is my father’s pride and joy and a flat tire that can’t be fixed immediately is unsatisfactory. Thank goodness it happened here at the house and not the on the road. I called the Chevy dealership in town and to see if they could tell us where the crank was located. We found out that it should have been in a bag and strapped down next to the jack. Uh oh…. The conclusion was that it was never put in the truck when it was new. My dad would never have removed it. Heck, he never had a flat tire before in this vehicle.
Ok, so there was no crank. What to do now. I asked the parts guy if they had any cranks available for this model of truck and how much they would cost. My dad just about fell out of his seat when I told him how much it would cost for the tool. $130.00. The parts man said he could order one if we wanted and have it sent overnight. They didn’t have any available, but the GMC dealer next door should have them. Sounded odd to me, but I was ready to try anything.
So we went to town and went into the parts department of the GMC dealer to see if we could get the parts for the crank. No can do, said the parts man. He would need the vin number of my dad’s truck to get the correct part and the ones he had were not available. They were ordered for another customer, but if we called him with the vin number, he could order the part and it would arrive in five days. Not good. My parents had to be back in Delaware for an appointment before then and my sister had to go back to work.
Plan B: Go over to the Chevy dealer and just see if something could be done. “Yes” says the manager of the parts department. He checked the stock on the computer and found what we needed. Not sure why it didn’t show up before. So with $130.00 lighter in the pocket, we happily leave with the tool.
Got home, tried the crank and found out it didn’t fit. Black clouds gathered around my father’s head. Think quick! What can we do before he blows his top? Too late, nothing could be done until John and Sonny got back.
Well, they never did get the spare tire down. They ended up going to Sam’s and bought a new one. Sonny talked to the manager at the Chevy parts department and they are going to send my parents a check for the returned crank. All ended well.
Monday morning the back of the truck was packed again and after good bye hugs and kisses all around the doors of the shiny red truck were shut. Sad faces peered out and hands waved good bye, but the truck didn’t go anywhere. It wouldn’t start. Harold gave it a jump start from his car and off it went down the pot hole road.
Talked to my parents today. Dad has already taken the truck to get a new battery and check up. I guess it was time for a new one. All the fluids are changed regularly and they were ok. The next stop was Sam’s for a new set of tires. I’m sure it was taken to the car wash too for a good bath. I have no doubt that tonight the moon’s light will reflect off the shiny fire red paint and chrome. It’s safe at home now and I’m sure if we all listened real close, we might hear a long sigh of relief.
THE WEEK IN REVIEWOctober 17, 2011
We have spent a wonderful week here at Pot Hole Farm with my family. My parents and my sister came from Delaware for a visit. Harold and Clarissa arrived on Friday after work. The air mattresses and extra chairs were pulled out of storage as well as the spare coffee percolators. You have to have the rousing aroma of coffee wafting through the house to get this crowd moving in the morning.
Duke was introduced to his great grand parents and great aunt from my side of the family. We’re a loud bunch when we get together and you better be able to take a lot of teasing. If you need some laughter therapy just come on over.
Yesterday Sonny, Harold and Clarissa got a good bit of wood cut and stacked. They worked in the front pasture clearing some of the fallen trees and brush hogged the overgrowth. It looks much better. While they were hard at work Duke kept us old ladies entertained. My Dad swept and put the porch in order (a job I have been meaning to get around to) and supervised the wood collection.
The meat smoker project is finally finished and tested. Saturday Sonny and Harold and John connected up the wood stove and used the left over concrete blocks from the root cellar project to make a wind break. They fired it up and tested it to see if they could get the smoke chamber up to the required temperature for smoking the hams. We’ll smoke the hams in another couple of weeks.
Last night John and Carol joined us around the stone fire pit. It was just cool enough to be able to cozy up to a warm and bright camp fire. We all savored the flavors of Pot Hole Farm coffee, with a slice of homemade pumpkin or chocolate pie. It was memorable evening to end a week of great fun.
Tomorrow I will tell you all about the first day my family arrived and the story of the flat tire that could have frustrated even Ghandi to the point of a few choice words. Life is good!
NAME THAT ROOSTEROctober 10, 2011
It just so happens that we had a rooster in our midst and didn’t even know it. He was one of the young chickens that we purchased from Two Lynne’s Farm back in the early spring. They are starting to mature and we just never noticed the tell tale signs that this guy was a rooster. He hid himself well, and now that Roo Roo is gone he has come out of his shell. His tail has grown in just this past week.
He is still young and trying to figure out how to take care of his new harem of girls. So far he has been a quiet fellow we are still waiting for him let out a hearty crow. Sonny and I are always encouraging him to do so when we let them out in the morning. He has some big rooster feet to fill. The jury is out on whether or not he will be as good of a leader as Roo Roo. He is still a young man trying to learn his way and I have no doubt he will get the crow down in time.
We would really like for all of you to pick the name of Pot Hole Farms new Rooster. So lets get some participation from all of our readers out there. I know you all must have some good ideas. NAME THAT ROOSTER.
CRAZY ABOUT BREADOctober 8, 2011
Thursday evening was the opening for the annual Salem Apple Butter Festival. Although apple butter is the focal point of the festival there are also a plethora of food vendors, local craftsman, and raffles.
After a nice dinner at the Cottage Corner Restaurant in Salem, we met John and Carol down at The Depot. We perused the vendors that lined both sides of the street. Food vendors, games, crafts, and local jams, breads, and honey were all on display. Large cast iron kettles filled with bubbling apple butter were stirred in shifts by people using long wooden paddles. It doesn’t take long for ones arms to become tired. Everyone had their own version of the best apple butter in the county.
We came to the booth of The Valley View Apiary and Breads Inc. owned by Mark and Crystal Goodwin. Large round loaves of bread were stacked on the table flanked by plastic bears filled with golden honey. Mark bakes the bread in a wood fired brick oven that he built himself. Such ingenuity. Of course we all had to buy a loaf and some honey as well to slather on it.
The rest of the evening we were entertained with the talents of the Blue Steel band. Its a fairly new bluegrass and gospel band, but they sound as though they have been together for generations. Great music and talent.
We had a wonderful evening but that is not the gist of this story. The main attraction is that loaf of bread, which I sat on the counter when we came home. Sonny and I thought we might enjoy some for breakfast.
Yesterday morning we went out to feed the chickens and let them out into the pen. My sons dog Dakota is staying for visit again, so she and Ruby were eating their breakfast in the mudroom. Something told me that I should close the baby gate when we went out but I ignored it thinking that we would be back in a short time.
I forgot how long legged Dakota is and how crazy she is about bread. When Sonny and I walked into the kitchen there was our loaf of artisan bread that had been baked in a brick wood fired oven laying on the floor. The plastic wrapper laid there on the floor looking like discarded Christmas present paper. There was only a gnawed on fist sized piece of bread left. I guess artisan bread is more filling than the grocery store bread they have devoured before.
Sonny and I stared dejectedly at the remnants of our bread. It would have tasted soooo goooood with butter and honey spread across its moist surface and accompanied with a steaming cup of coffee.
Since the dogs were so full they couldn’t finish it off, we decided to give the rest to the chickens. They seemed to enjoy our artisan bread that had been baked in a wood fired oven too. Who wouldn’t. It isn’t something you get everyday.
All was not lost though. Lucky for us the Apple Butter Festival is going on all weekend. Yesterday on our way in to Clarksburg, Sonny stopped by Salem and we bought another loaf. This time it was put out of reach on top of the refrigerator. We had some for breakfast this morning. It was well worth waiting for. Nothing like the taste of artisan bread baked in wood fired brick oven. Wish we had one here on the farm. Then again we would be bigger than we are now.
Dakota couldn’t help herself. She has a bread addiction and artisan bread was just way too much temptation. I’m thinking that at some point we may have to have a family intervention. It’s for her own good you know. We may need one ourselves if we had access to bread like that all the time. Evil temptation!
AUTUMN COLORSOctober 4, 2011
I took these pics over a week ago. The trees are just starting to turn color. Hopefully we don’t get a hard rain and wind that destroys them before they come to their peak. Even so they are still pretty even at this point.