Tilly's Tiny Family Farm
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2015 Blogs

July to December
July 3, 2015 Update

Fencing is up for the meat chickens and all of our lil babies are now outside. Some of the frypan special we ordered might have a few hens in it. Which is good since I need a lot of eggs next year.

Hubbie finished baling the first field. Its a little thin for the first cut, but much better quality than last year.

Next on the list... pickup the mess we made of our yard, clean the house top to bottom, rip out some carpet, and make a nice Farm sign for us and my Uncle.

Anyhoo, busy weekend coming so toodles peeps!

July 11, 2015 Update

Here's a couple pics of the bales hubbie harvested.

Skunk got into our coop and killed 20 of our chicks that we just put out there. We are going to try to live trap her and her babies. All of our laying hens are stressed out and not laying as much, the poor ladies.

Trying out blueberry recipes for the Blueberry Festival in Lake George. They have it the last full weekend of July.

Anyhoo I have to run off to do more errands, bye my lovelies!

July 21, 2015 Bummer

Checked on my hive the other day to find no queen, 4 queen cups, and a bunch of sugar ants. My bee numbers are severely reduced and I don't think they will make the Winter. I heard there are a few natural ways to address this issue. I put fresh peppermint in the hive and tomorrow I will be armed with fresh cinnamon sticks and brake grease (for the hive legs not inside the hive). Then I will need to rip down any grass that's too tall. Hopefully this will teach me what works. This year has been a learning experience. If this hive does not survive, I will put their few honey combs into a new hive for the bees I will need to get next year, tho maybe I need to freeze it first to eliminate any possible pests. It will crystallize over the Winter, but it will be nice for one of the starter hives next year. More to research.

Busy week this week. Blueberry Festival in Lake George this weekend. I have lots of baking to do.
Toodles peeps!

July 27, 2015 Newspaper

Here's that newspaper clipping I mentioned that made front page.

As soon as I get a few spare moments, I have Blueberry Festival pictures too! Toodles peeps!

August 16, 2015 Major Update

Sorry it has taken a bit to write again, been trying to multi-task like crazy! The last weekend of July we had the Blueberry Festival which was a ton of fun! Here are some pictures of our booth, the parade, and a few other this and thats.

To the bottom right is the Kids' Tractor Pull.

Besides the festival, we have been harvesting what we can (some of it before the hail storm we got thankfully), canning, going to Akeley Farmers' Market, getting kids ready for school at the end of this month, had a family reunion, and are currently trying to Fall clean and declutter the house. We got a great deal on carpet and some wooden chairs I need to make over. We'll start redoing carpet in each room of the house as we clean. Empty the room, paint, recarpet, and only what we want to keep goes back into the room. Big job, but the house will look sooooo much better since the kids have gotten through that I wanna draw on the walls stage.... so lots of primer....

Well, we have to go tag our chickens (simple leg tags) for the ones we are keeping from this year. The older ladies were our first flock here so they won't need them. Next year newbies will be tagged with a different color and so on and so forth. That way the older ones may become soup at a certain point and we can keep some of our genetics straight.

As soon as we get the chicken plucker built we will start butchering our meat birds. Once we have a decent amount done we will post on Craig's list, since we'll be selling quite a few of them. We have over 100 to butcher, but we'll be saving some of them for ourselves too. Hopefully I will have enough freezer space by then :D.

Anyhoo, I need to go take care of chickens so toodles peeps!

September 9, 2015 Delay

Sorry for the delay on posts. Been so busy around here. Canned about 40 quarts of tomato sauce after the hail storm so tomatoes didn't go to waste, chickens got the bad parts and were very happy about it.

Apple Jelly and Apple Butter started and a bunch more on the way. Crabapple too!

Making plans to form Nevis and Akeley Markets into 1 new market on the Dorset Liquor Store corner for next year. Still ironing out the details, but it would be a bigger market with more regular vendors and more traffic which is good for everyone. They already have a produce vendor so I can refocus on providing ourselves with food and canning fruit for market. We are working out details of where we are putting blueberry plants next year and where to get our fencing.

Might get my barn next year too if hubbie keeps getting computer jobs. He makes enough we can pay off the used snowplow we bought last Fall. Didn't snow much last year so it hasn't paid for itself much except as a hay hauler.

If we get the barn done next year, we can start getting goats if we can afford all the fencing.

Kids started school at the end of August, so I'm busy with that most the week. Instead of working only 1 day a week I am working 2, since the place I work restructured a bit so the shifts are earlier in the morning.

Hubbie almost has the chicken plucker built so we will start butchering chickens hopefully this week as well. I estimate about 140 to 150 that need to be butchered.

Canned Blue Hubbard Squash and ended up with 29 pints. Carrots at 9 quarts. Turnips at 7 quarts. Corn was a failure tho we did get seed back for the Bronze Corn. Have some cherry bushes to plant along with a couple raspberry plants and echinacea.

I have been only doing Akeley Farmers' Market lately because I have to work on Saturdays again and it rules out Nevis.

So I hope to start posting once a week again soon. Will update as soon as I can my lovelies.
Toodles peeps!

September 26, 2015 Chickens...mmmm...tasty

Started butchering and the plucker my hubbie made works pretty well. He says he needs to fine tune it next year, but it has made the process faster then how he remembers plucking. 50 chickens in the freezer and 3 that got pan fried. So far they taste a lil tough since we butchered them so late. Not sure we'll have much if any for salable quality. I think next year will go smoother now that we have all the equipment for it. Even got ourselves a Foodsaver. That thing is cool! Works great and has a removable tray to get excess liquid out.

Anyhoo, I have to run off to work, so toodles my lovelies!

October 20, 2015 Major Projects and Little To Dos

All together we butchered 117 of our chickens with about 60 to 80 hens and 4 daddy birds left for our laying flock. I haven't had a chance to count them yet. With the delay we had building the chicken plucker, the meat on the chickens is a little tougher than I'd like for sale birds. So friends, family, and us will be eating a lot of chicken this winter.

We also banked 1/2 the edges of the house with dirt, since the bricks were exposed. Have the other half to do once we do some more yard work. Hubbie has been cleaning up the yard and bagging any garbage that has blown into our property. He got a lot done today.

Addition to chicken coop will be starting soon, counter build in my kitchen is also on the list, and changing fluids in the snowplow to get it ready for winter as well.

Posts in the garden and its fencing has all been taken down and stored or piled together. All that is left to harvest and can is red potatoes. They were real small this year so we're canning them all to make sure nothing goes to waste.

Experimenting with gluten free gingersnap recipes. I have a coconut gingersnap that is zingy. It took a lot of work to get it where its at, but its still not a regular gingersnap.

Anyhoo, gonna go watch a movie and relax. Night peeps, toodles!

November 7, 2015 Hubbard Boutique

This year I get to do something different. In Hubbard (the city, in the county of the same name), they hold a craft fair called the Hubbard Boutique. I guess they don't get many baked goods, so one of my farmers' market friends and I were asked if we'd like to be vendors. I have to say it has a beautiful setup and everyone is super friendly. We even had people showing up a half hour before it officially opened! I didn't know what kind of reception my baked goods would get, but a lot of people were excited to see the variety between Carole's Kitchen and I (Carole is my friend from market). All my stuff is gluten free and everyone seems to know someone who is gluten free or wheat free. Below I'm posting some pics I took from my cellphone of all the pretties! (regular camera ran out of batteries)
Top 2 photos are my baked goods, next two below are Carole's Kitchen goodies.

Below top two is honey and other goodies from Double Bee Honey of Park Rapids, next three is crafties from my other market buddy Anne. The bottom right are rugs made by the Park Rapids DAC.

Cute little snowmen!

Handmade crafties! Inspirational boards and coat racks by Michelle. Bottom right picture has crafts made of shiny rocks from the north shore. Rain gauges, scrubbie holders, magnets, bud vases, and more... so creative!

Look at all these fun wearables! I definately need to bring my money tomorrow :D.
This event was today until 8pm and is also tomorrow from 10 to 3. So feel free to shop on by! Night peeps, toodles!

November 19, 2015 Eggs eggs eggs

Our ladies have finished molting and some of the other ladies new to our flock this year have gone into egg mode. I was trying to let them rest for the Winter while giving them a little heat to take off the edge of the impending cold. Instead I am getting around 2 dozen eggs a day! Considering I have over 60 hens I'm glad the number is lower than my overall hen population, but yikes I can't use them all that fast! So anyone wanting farm fresh eggs, I have 8 dozen currently for sale at $3 a dozen. Probably will have 2 more dozen once all of today's eggs are collected (I collect 2 to 3 times a day). Thankfully some of those we incubated won't start laying until February or March.

Anyhoo, just a quick update toodles my lovelies!

December 8, 2015 Winter is Here

Last week we got at least 4 inches of snow so I can officially say it is Winter. Our lil ladies are happily clucking away and laying a bit more than I would like this time of year. At least we won't run out of eggs eh? Finally replaced the heat bulb with one of those darker, red bulbs so they won't lay quite as much. The feed store actually didn't have any eggs for once so I was able to bring in 13 dozen and get a nice discount on our layer feed. Hubbie thinks with all the bird sickness that went around last Spring maybe a lot of people had to cull more chickens then we thought around here. If thats the case there may be a shortage of eggs. Last year there were so many we rarely got to sell any to the feed store. Also could be we are hitting the store on just the right day now. We'll have to see when I need to go in again for feed. Seems like I'm going in every two weeks.

Been doing lessons with kiddos so its been busy around here. 2 of them are doing online public school and the 3rd one starts next year....still trying to figure out how to manage that one, but I'll worry about it when the time comes. One thing at a time right?

With snow on the ground its time to switch the to do lists from outside to inside. Hubbie has all the wood for my new counters and we got a good deal on carpet...so when hes not working its either counter or carpet. There are 4 rooms to carpet and I'd like to have them all done by Spring Break. Winter Break for the kids is coming up and it would be a great time to check some things off. We also have to redo some plumbing, but we don't have the materials on hand for that yet. The new counter will need a working sink after all! I'll be happy when I have a nice place to store all my pots and pans. Once the new counter is plumbed in we can tear out the old one and once its warmer again we have a nice big picture window we got for a good deal thats going to go in.

I'm hoping we get a lot done before the incubators need to start. Once it does, everything seems to grind to a halt. Any time our little girl is awful quiet you know exactly where she is at that time. She is sitting on a little footstool next to the brooders watching baby chicks bounce around and chirp. Her favorite is any lil yellow chick. She also likes the ones with the puffball on their heads. I like em all....then again I am the crazy chicken lady right? Hubbie said he counted 63 hens and 4 roosters. I hope its enough to provide enough eggs for my Summer customers. We're going to have to set up a bigger fridge next door.

Anyhoo, time to start kiddos on lessons for the morning. Toodles my lovelies!

December 27, 2015 Fast Winter

It seems like a fast Winter here on the farm. It is currently Winter Break for the kiddos, but it doesn't mean we are lollygaggin around either. With all that comes in Spring I am trying to get my cleaning done early. Tore apart our bedroom for the most part and put in new-to-us carpet. Used, but like new carpet was a great deal! We got enough for the 4 carpeted rooms in our home. It seems slow going, but when you factor in all the cleaning, decluttering, and recycling going on it gets to be quite a bit. I have been wanting to declutter our home for a while and its a great opportunity to do so. I already decluttered everyone's clothing and packed away the seasonal stuff. Clothing was donated to a local thrift store along with shoes that no longer fit. Its amazing how quick the kiddos grow! I have a big closet shelf to clean up and a book shelf in the bedroom too, but I want to get as much carpet in over this break as possible so I am working on cleaning up the kids' room. I can't wait until we get an addition on the house so everyone can have their own room.

Toys and stuffed animals are on the next to do. Everything gets cleaned. Everything is gone through. If its a game missing pieces....can we repurpose the pieces or recycle them? Those cardboard game boards can always go to my uncle's for his wood stove if they are beyond saving. If its something they'll miss if I throw or get rid of I can box it up and 6 months later its like a new toy! I have to move the dressers and beds out of the room which will require a couple tools for the beds. Then out goes the old carpet and in goes the newish.

I can't believe there is only 1 week left of Winter Break already. Trying to get a lot done in a little amount of time, but its flying fast. I also have some painted rocks in progress for this Summer and I have to clean around the new counter skeleton so we can get back to that. Once its done I can move our pots and pans out of totes and the one small cupboard I have for them.

February we'll start incubating so I need that counter done before then. Our little girl is already asking about baby chickies all the time. Her favorite are the yellow ones that turn into white puffballs and the ones that look like someone glued a cotton ball to their head.

I suppose I should go get a start on dishes and laundry so I can get to the other cleaning later. Have a great day peeps!

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