Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Oat Flax Bread

I just remembered the 20lbs of flax seed I bought in my bulk order last year and started adding it to my bread.  I am using the same Oatmeal Bread recipe I posted about here but I just add 1/2 c ground flax seed. I grind the flax 1/4 c at a time in my coffee grinder.  This bread is so good and if you wish, you could exchange some of the white flour for whole wheat.

I find that this bread stays really fresh for at least 3 days, but it doesn't usually last that long.

This post is linked up to Raising Arrows Saving 4 Six Graced Simplicity Dandelion House

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Cutworm Prevention - No Till Farming Update

I have been busy out in the pumpkin patch this last week.  So far our No Till Farming Method is working just fine.  BUT, I did notice when we were filling the holes with the beautiful composted manure dirt that it had cutworms. Cutworms are a serious threat to all gardeners and farmers.  They are awful, grubby worms that stay just under the surface of your dirt, looking for tender new plants to cut down and eat.

Photo source: Wikipedia
At our old house, I had a serious problem with cutworms and learned this technique to prevent them from eating my plants.  It doesn't kill them though, so as I find them, I kill them myself.

If I had remembered this trick when I was planting the pumpkin seeds this year, I would have saved myself a bunch of time and effort by just doing it while I was planting the seeds.

Because cutworms stay just below the surface, any barrier will prevent them from getting at your plants. So, I cut cheap card stock into 1/2" strips and tape them in a circle.

Then I went out to the pumpkin patch and made a circle in the dirt with my finger around each little pumpkin plant. Then I pressed the paper ring into the dirt, encircling the plant and protecting it from the sinister worm.  While I was doing this, I found 3 victims already.

I didn't count, but I'm sure I had to make a few hundred of these rings. Like I mentioned earlier, once I saw the cutworms, I should have planted the seeds right in a paper ring in the dirt.  I did this at our old place, but the chickens were drawn to the paper and scratched up many of my pumpkin hills!  This year, because of the many predators around here, we have the chickens confined in the barnyard:(

I did a check in the patch today and all the plants are doing great and growing so nice.

This post is linked up to My Healthy Green Family

Monday, June 3, 2013

No Till Farming in Our Pumpkin Patch

I have decided to try a No Till method of farming for our pumpkin patch this year.  This idea came about for a few reasons.
1.  We don't have a tiller to till up the soil.
2.  Our land is so rocky, I'm almost afraid to try tilling.

No Till Farming is when a cover crop is planted and then killed (either by cutting it for certain crops, or most likely, using round up). Then the new crop is air seeded right through the old cover crop without tilling up the ground first.

They say the benefits to this are;
- keeping the soil from being eroded.
- the ground cover helps keep moisture in the ground.
- you use less fuel because you're not tilling.
- It could help keep weeds down.

There are many more benefits to no till farming, but there are some downsides too.  Weeds can still come through and if you don't keep up with them, they can take over. 

Here is the process for no till farming on our farm. I have done things a bit different from conventional no till practices, as you will see.

This is the land we chose for our pumpkin patch. It runs along side our driveway.  You can see how it was totally overgrown.  And we only have a little lawn tractor to clean it up.

Larry set to work and cleaned it up.
In the picture below, you can see just a couple of the rocks that we have to deal with. They are everywhere on our property.
This is where I did things a little different.  Instead of seeding right through the dead cover crop, we dug holes where I wanted a pumpkin hill to be. Then filled it with composted manure dirt. Also, I am not going to kill the "cover crop" first. I'm going to let the pumpkins grow until they are just big enoough to fit into an ice cream bucket, then I'm going to cover them with an ice cream bucket and round up the field then.  Hopefully the pumpkins will grow really fast at that point and cover the ground, keeping the weeds down. Until we round it up, I would keep mowing it. I'll probably have to mow 3 times. And I didn't plant a cover crop, I'm just letting whatever it is that was already growing there grow.
We have some great friends who offered us composted manure dirt! I was very grateful. So, we went to their farm and they loaded us up.

While we were there, we just had to look at their baby lambs. Oh, they were sweet!

Sorry, back to the pumpkins.  This is our patch below.  I saw a few pumpkins coming up a couple days ago.

I am excited about this project and will keep updates coming so you can see our progress. Even if it's bad. I really appreciate people who share even when things aren't going as planned. There are some no till pumpkin patch videos on YouTube that I watched before I came up with my plan and I am so grateful that the farmer posted them because I learned so much from him.  Things didn't really work out like he wanted, but he shared it all anyway.

God bless.

This post is linked up to; The Prairie Homestead Fresh Eggs Daily This Mind Be in You New Life On a Homestead

Saturday, June 1, 2013

May Recap

May is gone already!  Here is a summary of what's happened around here this month.

May was exciting for Jacob. He got his cast off, soccer started and he learned how to his bike. Larry was out showing him how and he just took off! I love the video, because you can hear Rebekah playing, "Early One Morning" on her violin in the background.

We had to move our chicken coop to the end of the barn. We have a fox watching our chickens and there still might be a weasel around. So, we thought if the rascals had to go through the barn, past the donkeys to get at the chickens, it might deter them.

This is how it was set up.  The chickens were very vulnerable to critters coming right into their coop and the donkeys wouldn't be able to help.

Larry used the pickup to turn the coop. Then he pushed it right up to the open doors on the barn. Now we have to go through the barn to get the eggs.

Spring finally arrived in May. So, everyone has been outside getting work done.  Our land is VERY rocky and it seems Jacob found a big one!

They were busy working and mowing that day.  It was a very dirty job, just look at their faces!

Rebekah and I were so blessed to go to the Paul Brandt, "Just As I Am", concert a few weeks ago.  It was so great!  Rebekah thought his semi was pretty cool, so we snapped a pic with her by it.
This is Paul Brandt. He is a country singer and has just released a country gospel CD.  He is a strong Christian and has always sung wholesome songs and is not ashamed of his faith.

Rebekah and I got to the city early so we could do some shopping and eat. Rebekah got so many nice new clothes.

I was able to enjoy another amazing concert.  It was Rebekah and Jacob's year end violin concert.  I love to see how far they've come in just 7 months of playing violin.

Well, that's it for now. A few more things did happen in May, but I will cover them in a different post.
God bless.