Tilly's Tiny Family Farm

September 28, 2014 Pics

I thought I had a lot more pics, so I'll have to take more, but here is what I have so far.

So above we have apple butter, grape jelly, crabapple butter, crabapple jelly, apple jelly, plum jelly, and plum butter.
Below we have Soup in all his glory. He is probably a solid 10 pounds now. Not bad for a chick we thought was dead upon arrival. I will be updating Soups pics under the Chickens tab above as well.

Otherwise, after recovering from being sick I am finding I still have way too much to do. Some of my plums spoiled with all the nice heat we've been having. At least the good news is I am done with plums. He he he. I have one big bowl of Huckleberry Jam to make and then I'll have to snap some photos of my counter completely covered with some of what I have canned. I need to harvest crabapples again so I am hoping to be able to do that today as well as finish the huckleberries. After all that I can pack everything away and start on pressure canning potatoes. We have a lot of outside stuff to get done this year yet too. They are saying that Wednesday should be a lot chillier and its starting to go downhill. So I have until Wednesday to get the house properly banked with dirt....the bricks from the basement can be seen at the moment... need to take care of that. Keep the drafts at bay. Need to til under the gardens, but at least everything is harvested.

Once everything is caught up I can start making homemade soap bars. Its something I have found interesting and I want to make some so bad. If they turn out really great I will start selling those at the Farmer's Markets here and maybe even online. I suppose I should get to work huh?

Well toodles peeps!

September 22, 2014 Ode to a Workoholic

What can one do
when you start feeling blue
When the tummy turns over
and you have the flu

When berry jams need canning
and apple jellies need setting
The plums start to over ripen
and you have run out of netting

What can one do
when one does not rest
When one grades their day
by the amount of the stress

Relax says the husband
there's plenty of time
You'll get sick says the husband
and green as a lime

But what can one do
when you start losing the fight
When you look all bedraggled
and become quite a sight

Up the feet go
as you sit down to rest
Children pounce fast
as you try your best

How does one stop
enough to get better
When children need math
and science and letters

Lessons say the children
rest says the dad
A nap sounds so sweet
or a movie so sad

What can one do
when you haven't the choice
But rest is required
when you have lost your voice

So stop with the dishes
and please stop with the jars
Sit down right now
hand over keys to the car

Mommy they say
you look a bit blue
Green even mommy
you haven't a clue

Rest now they say
but how I ask how
When you're a workoholic
and you have to do it now

See sick is a feeling
we all hate to feel
But a workoholic
hates most of that deal

This isn't done
and that needs attention
Sit down now mommy
you're in detention

Merry feelings on a recovery day.... I have so much I want to get done, but I don't have the energy to do it. Being sick sucks. So I hope you enjoyed my Ode to the Workoholic, toodle peeps... I'm going to try to rest and hopefully not get mauled by three small children.

September 20, 2014 Update

Well, it was a busy week. I'm not feeling the best today and had to miss work. Seems like the only thing I can do is really sit and hydrate. Which means I can type a bit at least eh?

Earlier this week we butchered 13 more chickens, which leaves us a lil over 2 dozen hens and 2 roosters left for the Winter and as egg layers for next year. We are planning on ordering actual meat chickens for next year and some golden laced wyandottes if they are available.

We harvested the last of the potatoes, bugs got into the rutabagas, beets didn't take off at all, and we have seed to harvest yet. Harvested some Huckleberries and made some jam. Turned out pretty good and it has a lovely dark purple color. My favorite color! Only hard part is picking all the tiny blueberry sized berries. Then they also need to be de-stemmed. Otherwise it was the simplest recipe in my canning array right now.

Need to reprocess some plum jelly that didn't quite set. Also have 45 pounds of ripe plums to process with very few jars. Waiting on a paycheck to run to the store and get some more jars. Hopefully they are still in stock when we do. Also have another 45 pounds of plums coming. I want to try plum jam. I have a recipe for it that I have never tried and I think it would make a good jam. I like the tart taste of the plums.

Pears are done for the season so no more pear jelly and butter. Or syrup. I need to get on that task faster next year, tho the pear trees need a good trimming next Spring so we might not see too many pears. The ones we planted this year will take a couple years to get a decent crop on. I hope the deer don't get to all our fruit trees. We want to fence around each tree to protect it for the Winter. We hope to have enough fencing to protect most of the trees. If we lose some then we'll just have to order some more from my mother at bare root cost.

Vendors decided to go one more weekend on Farmer's Markets, so I have one more Friday to go since I work on Saturdays now for the Winter. After that I can store my jams, jellies, and butters downstairs. I plan on putting them in the boxes the jars came in and plastic wrapping the whole thing with air pockets on the side so the dust doesn't settle on my labels. Preserves keep so I'll be able to sell them in the Spring when market starts again. Hopefully I'll get enough painted garden rocks and homemade soap made this Winter as well. It will definitely give our market more of a variety. The more variety the better. I have to say that the sour dough bread at our market is reeeeally good with my crabapple butter and jelly. I don't know why, but it just works. I'm not the one that makes the bread, but I definitely buy enough of it lol.

My oldest isn't feeling well today either...so nice of me to share eh? Well, I'm going to go make sure everyone has eaten their breakfast and then refill my water glass. Toodles peeps!

Oh, and pics to post once I feel better....resizing some of that right now will make my head spin more.

September 13, 2014 Cold

Had a very cold Farmer's Market in Akeley yesterday. 34 degrees when I got there. Three of us showed up to stick it out and it turned out to be a nice day. I made enough to buy more canning jars and still have change for next week. Next Friday will be our last Akeley Farmer's Market of the season. Its just getting too cold too fast.

On that note, we have so much to get done before snow comes. We have to finish butchering the chickens we plan on freezing; dig up the rest of the potatoes, carrots, and rutabagas; dry herbs; dehydrate onions and carrots; clean up around the edge of the house and bank it with dirt (bricks on foundation have become exposed); pull up fencing from the peas and store it; pull up the tomato cages and store them; and when we have enough time we can can the potatoes. My new counter needs to be finished before the wood shop gets too cold so we can pull out the old one. I have a few seeds I need to collect for next year out of our garden too. There's even a longer list, but you get the idea. I hope we get the rest of the month to finish all our outside stuff and a couple inside stuff. If I harvest everything I can spend time canning and processing once its colder.

I am already in the process of working on stuff for next year's farmer's markets. I might see if I can attend the Walker one as well. They get a good crowd, I just need a vehicle that can hold all of my stuff and I don't have to unpack it all the time. That way I can park my vehicle behind the booth and have easier loading and unloading. Plus I can keep my overstock close at hand if things sell fast. I just hope I have enough time this winter to do all the things that need to be done. I need to paint a lot of rocks and start on my soaps. I need to test them out and develop different kinds. I will probably start with a simple bar and once I'm comfortable with the process I will branch out to 3 to 5 scents. I know I want to do a bar with coffee grounds as an exfoliate.

Anyhow, I'm not feeling particularly well today so I will just say Toodles peeps!

September 9, 2014 Jellies, Butters, and Jams Oh My!

Been canning like a mad woman! I get started on jellies and butters and I get this mental "high" and don't want to stop. I spent Sunday afternoon and evening making Crabapple Jelly, Crabapple Butter, Apple Jelly, Apple Butter, Plum Jelly, Plum Butter, and I reprocessed the Grape Jelly that didn't set. My dining table is covered with canned goodies and it takes an excellent photo. I will post it up once my camera is back (hubbie needed it for a computer job).

On the list next is Huckleberry Jam, Pear Jelly, and Pear Butter! First I need to sit down with the kiddos and get lessons done. While I'm waiting for the goodies to cook, I can chop and freeze green peppers. If I get really ambitious I can chop and dehydrate my onions. Going through one item in the garden at a time and putting up a good amount of stuff this year. I wish my tomatoes had done better but we'll hit it strong next year once we get a high tunnel green house put up.

My jellies, butters, and jams will be for sale at the Akeley Farmer's Market on Fridays from 9-1 through September provided the weather holds out. I only ended up with 1 jar of Plum Butter so I think I'm going to keep that one for myself... mwhahahahaha!

er...well... off to get things started for the day since chickens are all fed and their waterers are filled. We had to put all those in the movable tractors in the main coop so all of them could stay warm enough. About 2 weeks and we'll butcher another round of them.

Toodles peeps!

September 4, 2014 Update

Wow its been a busy week. Lets see here... found a couple white truffle mushrooms near my peonies when I was weeding the other day. All my weeds went to the chickens, they ate that right up. Hubbie put the truffles in the house, said they are worth something to a specialty restaurant, but hes not certified to sell them to restaurants and stores yet. He just has to take his mushroom certification field test.

We harvested all of our onions, started chopping and dehydrating them for winter. All the weeds growing with the onions got taken to the chickens too. They are eating really well right now. Even had my cousin's fiancee stop by with a present of 200 pounds of feed for them... he found a local feed store that carries it for a lot cheaper than we were getting it. About 1/4 of the price ....nice huh?

Cold weather has gotten a couple of my small Americauna chickens. I think tomorrow we'll have to move them in the big coop area with the rest of the ladies so they have other chickens for warmth. We can put some of the fatter chickens in the chicken tractor they are in. Or maybe we'll just butcher a few of the real big ones and call it done with that tractor for the year. I'd like to get all the tractors put away or stored for the year so the rest of the chickens can keep each other warm. Especially if these 47 and 45 degree predictions hold out for us at night. I hate to lose my babies to the cold.

Went out and hand cut a lot of millet that has fully seeded and is ready for harvest. Got a whole big paper bag full before the kids got too hyper running around the field garden. I'm hoping to get out and cut the rest of it soon since it can be used in chicken feed too and its free since we already made back the seed we planted. Yay us! I also have some small Amaranth grain plants that have survived the deer. Probably not enough to make back the seed, but some is better than none. Its a vibrant fuchsia colored grain head.

I'm hoping to get some kind of fencing around each apple tree to protect them from the deer this winter too, but we'll see how far we get with that. I'd hate to lose such a big investment. I'd love to be a u-pick orchard someday. I'd settle for taking fresh apples to the Farmer's Market to sell.

I have so many ideas for products at the Farmer's Market, but its just me when it comes to my booth. I can't expect my hubbie to help every weekend I go and wrangle kids while we do it. I have to get an early start and sometimes my hubbie is up late working on other farm projects or helping neighbors and friends. It almost takes me an hour to set up as it is. I'm working on a few designs that might make it go quicker for me next year. Lets hope hubbie gets some spare wood soon so I can get them started, painted, and sealed before it gets too cold to work in the wood shop (which isn't heated unfortunately).

Well, I suppose I should get to bed. Hubbie is on his way home from a long computer job down by Fargo and I have Farmer's Market in Akeley tomorrow. This weekend is my last Nevis one for this year due to my work schedule changing, but I'm hoping to stick it out for the rest of the Fridays for this month. Let's hope I can keep up with lessons with the kids so I can. They do online public school and it works so nicely for them. Even tho I have 2 of them in it right now. Its more work for me, but I see great results.

I also made crabapple jelly, crabapple butter, and grape jelly for the first time ever! The apple stuff set already, but grape doesn't like to set for me for some reason. I was hoping to have some to sell at the market, but at least I got the crabapple stuff.

Well everyone, toodles for the night!

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