Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Happenings on the Ranch

The guineas and pheasants are growing and healthy.  We opened the guinea shack a few weeks ago so they could free range and three guineas and most of the pheasants went native so they haven't been coming back to the guinea shack at night.  We see & hear them in the tall grass around the garden so we are encouraged that most have survived so far.  We have a dozen young guineas and three pheasants that continue to stay close to the barn and the guineas come home to roost every night and the pheasants come in for water. They are fun to watch as they eat bugs and the seed heads of the various grasses which is what they are doing in the picture.

We had been letting the youngsters free range in the morning and then putting them in the guinea shack with a screen door at mid-day at which time we let the Dots out of their pen.  We discovered that the Dots are very aggressive with the small birds and they killed a baby pheasant early on so we didn't let them out at the same time.  Now that the young birds are larger we let all the birds out at the same time and they seem to be coexisting nicely. The guineas seem to be working the lawn and yard for their meals. The Dots are great at getting rid of the grasshoppers & crickets directly around the house. However the Dots scratching is wrecking havoc with my flower beds around the house especially directly next to the foundation but I am forgiving since they are doing their job.  I'll have to rethink my flower beds next year so we can coexist more peacefully. I'm considering putting chicken wire down and cutting holes for the individual plants then covering with mulch. hummmm. Wonder if that would work? The guineas don't scratch like chickens so they don't make a mess. None of the birds are disturbing my vegetable garden just the flowerbeds.

The country life provides opportunities to commune with nature such as finding and watching this black swallowtail butterfly staying cool in the rosebush. She is utterly beautiful, don't you think?
We have so many lovely butterflies here -
they really get you to stop and and
"smell the roses", (so to speak).
luscious peeled peaches ready for jam & pie
I put up Colorado peaches last week -2 lugs which produced 15 jars of jam, three pies and several quarts for this winter. I just bought another lug so I will be putting up more peaches this week. I'm going to try my sister Bonnie's recipes for Peach Ginger  & Peach Raspberry jam and I'll include the recipes in my next blog. I think peach  is our absolute favorite pie...or maybe its tied with raspberry rhubarb...or blueberry - - -maybe we don't actually have a favorite!  Peach jam is definitely our favorite of all I've put up so far including cherry, mulberry, apricot, strawberry, and peach.  Well, maybe mulberry is another favorite...

To keep up with the harvest, I am doing small batch canning/freezing.  It allows me to keep up and not be totally frazzled by trying to do a huge harvest at one time. I'm learning. That said, I'm managing the ongoing tomato crop by doing small batches of marinara sauce and freezing whole tomatoes. I'm also experimenting with ketchup recipes so hopefully I will find one or create one that meets our palate test.
sunny flowers

The morning glory arbor entrance to the garden

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just CAN'T wait to come there. I love the arbor. Remember what a bare structure it was in the spring? It's amazing. The whole place is amazing. And the birds.....they have really grown. Can you show me how to gather eggs? And, I am letting you know ahead of time that I will be BEGGING for a sour dough starter. ;o) Just looking at the peaches makes my mouth water. Sandy