Our Mission

To live a self-sufficient and organic lifestyle for the next half century. With the Grace of God and the power of prayer, we will succeed. Nothing is impossible with His help. It wouldn't be us without laughter and joy at the Cockeyed Homestead.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

More on Seeding the Orchard Area and More

Since Paul, our brother in Christ, was nice enough to give us his time, tiller, gas, and fellowship. We returned the blessing to him and his wife. He didn't leave empty handed. Nobody does that comes into our lives. I filled his stomach with my best lamb stew. I also sent him home with a jar of my pickled eggplant, orange marmalade, dill pickles, a dozen and a half fresh eggs, and apple butter. I vastly overestimated my needs for these. I was blessed in abundance of the raw materials to make these food stuffs so I was returning the blessing and praying it forward.

I bought enough orchard grass seed to cover the area. Mel hand sowed the seed too heavy handed, which meant she over sowed the area in orchard grass exclusively. Thirty pounds of orchard seed was seeded on one tier instead of five. I have a choice to make. Either to buy more orchard grass seed, find the bags of mixed seeds (deer plot seed) that I bought last year in the barn (it's a wreck), or plant the non GMO wheat, oats, barley, and flax seed I bought to seed the remaining tiers. It would all be great ground cover to help break up the soil and slow erosion. Decisions, decisions. I may might as well use the seed I have on hand. Deer have made their way to help themselves to the hay and the free range chickens have gorged themselves on exposed seed, but still with the recent rainy spell green is starting to show.

The wheat, barley, and oats seeds could help feed us, the rabbits, and the chickens on a very small scale, not that I'm expecting a huge crop on such virgin soil.The plants themselves will be dried into straw for the animal areas. The flax seed that will be produced is a healthy addition to any diet boosting Omega 3 and fiber in a diet. It is also a plant based protein. The plants themselves will be processed into linen thread by spinning it, and woven into fabric. It would still be a double/triple use of space. Although not as much hay and clover for the rabbits nor food for me in diakon radishes.

This week, the raspberry and blueberry bushes go into the ground. We have been digging up wild blackberry brambles from other areas of the property and transplanting them in the orchard. It will be much easier to harvest this way with them trellised. I don't expect a huge harvest this year, but next year watch out, we'll be rolling in a multitude of berries. The same goes for grapes. I settled on the dual purpose Catawba and Muscadines grapes for our orchard. If you haven't heard of Catawba grapes before...according to Wikipedia...
Catawba is a red American grape variety used for wine as well as juice, jams and jellies. The grape can have a pronounced musky or "foxy" flavor.[1] Grown predominantly on the East Coast of the United States, this purplish-red grape is a likely cross of the Native American Vitis labrusca and Vitis vinifera.[2] Its exact origins and parentage are unclear but it seems to have originated somewhere on the East coast from the Carolinas to Maryland.
So both grapes are dual purpose and should do well here.

Mel bought scythe at an auction a few years back. It still needs the blade sharpened. She's got a few months to do this though. I asked her why she wouldn't use the electric weed wacker? It would be simpler. She still may after she swings that blade around a few times. I can see her chopping more than grasses in a single swipe especially around the berry plants.

Mel has started something new over the past couple months. We'll be talking about something like planting potatoes. I'll say it's time to plant the seed potatoes. She'll respond back with, "No, it isn't. It's too soon." And after she checks,  "Darn! I hate that!" Of course, she's talking about me being right and her being wrong.

Now, I'm not always right. But it's happening more and more. <grinning> I want to respond to her with something along the lines like, "Listen, you young whipper snapper, I told you so." But I don't, I just giggle. There's only two years difference in our ages. But my wisdom comes from experience and hers from reading or watching the internet. Tators, onions, garlic, English peas, and carrots just don't like the hot temperatures of summer in Georgia. They don't mind a few hours of near freezing temperatures though. In fact, they'll produce better.

Speaking of temperatures, our peach trees blossoming early are setting fruit. I was tickled to see the tiny green buds in the trees. We may actually get some peaches this year if the squirrels don't get them first.

My neighbor's grandson, Eli, and his cousins have been hunting them down along the creek with their air rifles. Whatever they kill, they bring to me to butcher. Squirrel meat make excellent dog food and with a little bit of labor (skinning and gutting) it's free meat. The same goes for the wild cottontails around here. So far they haven't killed any. I have gotten a few with my .25 caliber. It all goes into the freezer until I have a canner load of meat and veges. This is a supplement and a treat for them right now because we don't shoot enough to replace their chow.

You may be wondering what I was doing while Paul was tilling the orchard and Mel was over seeding it. Well, I was doing what I do best. The night before, I put the leg bone from our Easter leg of lamb into a stock pot. It simmered away until I had lamb bone broth. I've never seen the sense in making just stock. I always do bone broth for the extra calcium and minerals. I will put in some onions and carrots for flavoring. Sometimes, I'll add salt and peppercorns to it too. So it's an enriched bone broth. For this bone broth I added nothing except the little bit of garlic, salt, pepper, and rosemary that was on the bone. It came out an ivory colored broth because I didn't roast the bone first. I ended up with nine pints of broth. The leftover lamb stew filled three pint jars was also canned for our enjoyment later on. I also went "shopping" for the week in our storeroom and freezer. So I wasn't exactly doing nothing.

I've also been canning ham, bacon, and ham and bean soup.

We are finally shooting videos for YouTube again. It's been a long 7 months without for our subscribers. Now, for the most part, I forget to grab a camera until I'm well into a cooking project. I'm so out of practice and so is Mel. Mel basically tore the house apart looking for any of the four cameras and sound equipment. After an hour of frantic searching, I found the two we usually use hidden away in one of her nightstand. She had taken to hiding things to keep our dearly departed Flynn away from playing with it. I hollered out, "I found one!" Quickly followed by, "I found two!" Mel's response, "But I looked there twice!"

Well, that's it for this week.

Y'all have a blessed day!

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