Robins are every where and the daffodils are blooming, spring is on it's way!
We have planted lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, snow peas and onions so far and still have lots more to do, but we are so happy that spring is here. The garden has just been plowed (yeah!) and soon we'll be planting green beans, purple hull peas, tomatoes, peppers and lots more veggies when the weather is right.
Here are the promised pictures! Wow, are we busy today! The sap has been running like crazy and so we have 150 gallons of sap to cook down today! There are 3 different fires we have going right now so we can boil down all the sap. Thank the Lord for this wonderful "run", hopefully we'll have enough to keep us in sweets till next year! :) Well, I better quit this rambling and get back to the sap. Y'all enjoy the pictures! Blessings, Cecilia for the West Family
Greetings to y'all! Winter has come to our valley and although we've yet to see snow... it has been very chilly here. Winter weather brings us in doors by the warm cook stove and we pull out our winter projects to work on by lamp light. Projects like washing wool, stitching on quilts, sewing dolls, making felt socks and hats,canning chili beans and baking cinnamon breads and apple pies. We have found a wonderful easy recipe for apple pie that never fails: Classic Apple Pie 6 cups sliced apples 3/4 cup sugar 2 Tbsp. flour 1/4 tsp. salt 1/4 tsp. nutmeg 1 Tbsp. lemon juice 2 Tbsp. butter 1 tsp. sugar Place apple slices in pastry lined pie pan. Sprinkle with next 5 ingredients, dot with butter. Cover with top crust; cut vents. Brush with additional melted butter; sprinkle with sugar. Bake @ 400 degrees for 45 minutes.
This holiday season we have spent singing carols around the fire place, having gingerbread "barn raising's" and inviting folks into our home for delicious meals made from the gardens bountiful harvest. On the homestead, things are moving along in the seasonal orderly fashion. In our new hoop house we have "baby" lettuce, spinach and greens popping up and even though the weather has not been so much to our favor- Hannah and Cecilia still find the courage to brave the cold and ride the horses and before too long it will be time to start tapping maple trees for syrup season! As we enter into yet another year, we pray that our hearts will be turned towards Christ more and more as we diligently do the work He has given us for occupation until His return. Happy New Year and many blessings to you and your homestead! The West Family
Hey Ya’ll! Sorry it has been a while since we have written, but as you can imagine things are really busy on a farm in the spring and summertime. We have been gardening (of course) and getting ready for the next Homestead Blessings video series. A few weeks ago we had help from some dear friends at church who came out and built our new chicken house! It is really awesome and we are very grateful to them. The hens and rooster are very happy now in their new home! Yesterday we got two new things for our homestead. A nice 7 foot deep swimming hole dug out in the creek by the garden (so we can cool down on those hot summer days to come) and a free kitten from a yard sale! We needed another cat because the two we have are getting old and a little lonely for a youngster running around. She is silvery gray and has green eyes. We have called her Fiona Gray. Also, Billy the Kid got a new home yesterday. L I was a little sad to see him go, but we can’t have a Billy goat on the farm. So now Magnolias milk production will go up, I hope. This past week we filmed the Canning video. And the week before that we filmed the Gardening video. We only have one more to film for this series, the Herbal one. Since we filmed the Canning one, it got us a head start on our summer canning. So far we have put up, 14 quarts of green beans, 7 quarts of tomato puree, 6 or 7 quarts of blackberry jam and a little bit of sour kraut and pickled eggs. This is just the beginning though, we usually like to can at least 100 quarts of green beans not counting all the other fruit and vegetables we put up. We have harvested almost all of the early spring garden- broccoli, cauliflower, peas, lettuce, spinach, all this is over with so we replanted the raised beds with peppers, basil and other hot weather plants. We have quite a big day ahead of us today. We are going to try and build a chicken pen for around the new chicken house, pull up the peas and replant lima beans, harvest potatoes, and I need to find some time in between all that to can some dilly beans and the rest of the tomatoes. So I better be going. Magnolia needs milking and the little chicks need feeding. Many blessings to ya’ll! Cecilia
We have been very busy here on Homestead Blessings since spring has sprung and the sun finally decided to shine and chase away all the rain. Yesterday, was a beautiful, beautiful, perfect day. The bluest skies, warm sunshine and a gentle southern breeze blowing, not too hot and no humidity. We even had a fire going in the cook stove in the morning because it was so cool. The garden is so beautiful right now and we spend 90% of our day out in it. We had part of the film crew out here yesterday morning getting some B roll shots for our new up coming DVD on gardening. So most of the morning we were all outside, hoeing the beans and potatoes, making raised beds for holy basil, marigolds, balsam and parsley, digging our first new potatoes, picking our first harvest of peas and squishing bugs that were on the potato plants. We have been using some straw for the pathways in the spring garden, so the contrast of the golden yellow straw and the brilliant green of the broccoli and cabbage is amazing. At dinner we all came in, sat around the table and enjoyed the meal and each others company. With the new potatoes and peas we just harvested, I made creamed potatoes and peas which was amazingly good, not because of my cooking, but because they were organically homegrown and very fresh. We also had, home canned green beans, yellow squash cornbread, fresh lettuce and blueberry buckle for desert. After dinner we did some cultivating with our mare Cascade, staked our tomato plants, and found that our newly hatched Barred Rock laying hens that we ordered in the mail, were gone from their little chicken tractor out by the barn. Only 3 were left out of 15, we figured my blue heeler, Bella, must have gotten to them while we were eating dinner. ‘Tis a very sad fate, but that can happen on a farm. Bella is a very good cattle dog and watch dog. We have her trained to keep the chickens and goats out of the garden and she does very well herding up the horses for us. She just hasn’t been trained to leave the baby chicks alone yet. Needless to say, I’m working on that now. Billy the Kid is getting very big and today he is 2 weeks old. He is very playful and friendly, and he has not discovered how to get out of the pen yet, which we are very grateful for. I milk Magnolia every morning, even with the kid on her all day and night, she still gives about a quart of milk. She is very good about milking. I just take a bucket of feed out there to her, squat down and began to milk. She never kicks, moves or anything. It is wonderful. When Billy is weaned, we’ll take him to sale barn or sale him to someone locally. We are going to get another young nanny soon, and hopefully some lambs in June. So our small herd is growing! Well, I best be moving along, there is laundry to be washed, eggs to check, planting to do and songs to be written. The Lord Bless Y’all! A Rambling Farmgirl, Cecilia