Have you even wondered what our typical morning looks like here at Never Done Homestead? I get asked all the time how we move all these animals every day.
Well, you don’t have to wonder any more because my sister, Anna, has made a video showing how we get everybody where they are supposed to be every morning.
The great tomato canning challenge is charging full steam ahead with the addition of this hardworking, industrial stove. Yeah, isn’t it a beauty! It’s set up in Dad’s garage, so we are able to keep all the heat and steam of canning out of the kitchen. I’ve canned with it twice now, and it’s a keeper, for sure.
Yesterday’s canner load brought our total to 154 quarts of tomatoes. And the tomatoes are still ripening….
(The white spots on the tomatoes are from the hydrated lime we dusted the patch with for bug control.)
I don’t have any tomatoes to can today, but I’m going to be busy canning….
What are you preserving? I’d love to hear! Let me know in a comment below!
This gang eats a lot of food. And every time one of the kids graduates to TEENHOOD, we also graduate up to a larger cooking pot. Coincidental?
To keep these larger cooking pots full, we are constantly increasing our yearly canning goals. Last year, we set a goal of 200 quarts of tomatoes. We almost had to admit defeat, though, when our patch nearly failed. But thanks to family, friends, and neighbors sharing their extra tomatoes, we reached our 200 qt. goal with tomatoes to spare. So we set a second goal of 300 quarts and filled all those jars, too! 2015’s final tomato count was 307 quarts of tomatoes!
The Great Tomato Canning Challenge 2016
This year, our first goal is 300 quarts. We are well on our way with 124 quarts so far and lots of green tomatoes still to ripen in the patch! Our tomato growing friends are bringing tomatoes, too, so the jars are filling quickly. If we meet our first goal, our second goal is 500 quarts!
So yesterday I left you with a bit of a cliffhanger. I know, I know, I’m so mean. So here is how the day unfolded…
We rushed through our chores yesterday morning and started loading up our farm truck. A large dog crate with straw in the bottom was secured in back. A cooler with bottles of water thrown in the back seat. And since farm trucks are notorious for breaking down when you least expect it, I also threw in a tarp, jumper cables, a crowbar, a bucket of water and a lot of other junk I thought we might need.
A little after noon, we three girls started off on a road trip, and a little under two hours later we ended up at a barn full of, you guessed it, SHEEP!
Seven weeks ago, I had reserved a ram lamb, sight-unseen, after finding an ad in a farm paper. Goodness sakes, I didn’t even have any pictures of this lamb! I wanted a ram that was a 50/50 Katahdin/Dorper cross, was 100% grass fed, and highly parasite resistant. Everything the farmer told me over the phone matched what I had been searching for, so I went with my gut feeling and reserved myself a ram.
Seven weeks is a long time, though, and I began to doubt my gut feeling more each week. Yeah, I’m a worrier….
At the farm, we followed the farmer over to the stall where he had separated my ram and his mother, a registered Katahdin. And here they are:
And here is his sire, a full blooded Dorper:
He then showed me the rest of his flock. I wish I had gotten a picture. These grass fed, organic sheep were exceptionally nice. I just wanted to take them all home. These sheep were not wormed with conventional deworming chemicals, just free choice kelp. No grain, just grass and hay. As I was standing there trying not to drool, the farmer pulled out another ram lamb from the flock for me to look at. He had told me about this lamb on the phone, but I had decided against him because he wasn’t pure white. But looking at this second handsome lamb, I made another rash, gut-driven decision: “I’ll take both, please.” I think I shocked Anna. LOL
Yes, I bought two rams. One ram lamb would have been awfully lonely all by himself…..
Here are some pictures of my two handsome boys under the crab apple tree.
And for the record, the farm truck got us there and back without a hitch. Also, it’s a good thing the truck has a cap. It took the white lamb three whole seconds to smash the front off the dog crate. Lambs are strong! So the dog crate and all my “junk” ended up on the back seat and the lambs rode loose in the enclosed truck bed.
So that is the latest farm news. I will try very hard not to buy any more sheep this year, but I don’t promise anything!
Anna, Laura, and I spent part of yesterday afternoon grinding feed. It’s one of those farm jobs that I’m not crazy about, which is probably why I tend to put it off till the last minute. Yesterday’s fresh-off-the-grinder menu included turkey feed, layer feed, and pig grower. All three feeds share just about all the same ingredients, but different amounts of these ingredients based on each animal’s needs.
One nice thing about mixing your own feed is the ability to adapt the ration to fit your current needs. Say the weather suddenly gets a bit chilly at night and the turkeys look a a little stressed; we can add a few more pounds of Thorvin Kelp to their feed to give their immune systems a bit of boost.
All the grains are added, so Anna and Gyp head to the barn to add the minerals and supplement.
After the minerals are added, we auger out a few buckets of feed to dump in the mineral box. This makes sure all the minerals are pushed into the the mixer. (Is Laura standing on something, or am I really THAT short?)
Once everything is mixed together, we put the feed in the appropriate barrels. And there you have it, freshly ground, GMO Free feed.
Stay cool today everyone. We gals have a busy day today, and hopefully, if everything goes as planned, I’ll have some exciting news to share with you tomorrow. 🙂