Saturday, July 30, 2011

Hay For Our Horses

 Hayfield In July

Around here all the farmers have been busy haying. They get the hay cut and then let it dry on the field and hopefully it doesn't rain on it. Then they bale it with the baler. And pick it up and put it on the hay wagon to take to their barns. There is a farm near us that uses horses for much of their farm work. But this year, I see he is putting up the round bales and he doesn't use horses for them.

Top Of The World Farm Residents

From the top of this hill where this farm is you can see for miles. I love the view up there. It seems so peaceful and quiet. Especially if he is working with the horses. They you just hear the cling of the harness as they work. I call it the "Top Of The World Farm." It is my name for it. I don't know the farmer except to wave to. We drive by it on our way to the little store.

Round Bales Are Heavy!

All summer the farmers are working. Not taking vacations. Not spending the day at the pool or a park. Haying is hard work. The farmers around here say that they have switched to round bales mostly because they cannot get any young people to work for them. The work is too hard. They'd rather work at a fast food place for more money and in air conditioning all summer. I guess I can't blame them.

Square Bales Are Easier To Handle!

For us, we have to buy hay for our horses. Twice a month. Our truck will only hold enough for half the amount we need. So my husband drives to pick it up. Round bales are not something we can handle since we have no equipment to lift it off the truck. The small square bales are what we buy. Then he puts them upstairs in our barn. Not an easy job for him with his physical ailments, but he manages. The horses come running when they see that load of hay on the truck! A feeling of security for them.

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Garter Snakes Around The Homestead

 A garter snake in the yard

We have more than a few garter snakes living on our homestead this year. When I am in the garden they will slither away quickly. I have had to save a couple from our cats. Most people are scared of snakes and will kill them as soon as they see one in their yard. We do not feel that way about our snakes. In fact, they seem to know us.

Garter snakes feed on earthworms, frogs, insects, salamanders and occasionally on small birds or mammals, such as mice and moles. They like to live on damp ground. We don't have any standing water on our property, but we get enough rain usually to keep our ground moist.

 Three snakes in the morning sun!

Snakes are considered to be cold blooded. But they are not exactly cold blooded. They do not control their own body temperature. Mammals control their temperature by their internal metabolism. Snakes' temperature is dependent on their environment. That is why most of them live in warm climates. I am glad that our snakes here in NY are not the poisonous types. And I can understand people in tropical climates not wanting them around. But for me, I like our snakes, and even look for them in the morning.

Mickey (Dran) showing off a dead snake

Since I partly grew up in Crescent City, FL, I am fairly familiar with snakes. The kind that we had in FL were not the kind to mess around with. Behind our house was a swamp with trees in it. Often water moccasins would hang in the trees. It was not a place I ever went to. Though my brother would often go out there in a row boat with his gun. One time after I got off the school bus, he ran at me and pushed me out of the way. I didn't realize it at the time, but I almost stepped on a sand rattler and it was up in position to strike!

 Our biggest garter snake!

One morning some years back, our kitchen ceiling was opened up and a big snake was coiling down from it. Now that did scare me! Mostly because I didn't expect a snake coming out of my ceiling and he was a big one. How he got up in my attic I do not know, and hope we never have any up there again. My husband caught him and carried him down to the creek.

For the most part, snakes are as scared of you as you are of them. If you leave them alone they will usually go away from you. Don't threaten them unless you have no choice and they will leave you alone. Be careful around them and teach your children to also.

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole

Monday, July 25, 2011

Swagbucks For Fun And Profit!

Search & Win
Click Here To Join!

Have you seen me posting on Facebook and Twitter that I won Swagbucks? Did you wonder, "What the heck is she talking about?" I know, I keep posting every time I win a Swagbuck. Why? Because I want to share my good fortune with everyone. 

Each time I use Swagbucks' search engine I have the chance to win some Swagbucks. It could be one, five, ten, fifty or more. Sometimes for a search for something simple in my research of writing my blog. Not every search, but I get rewarded with some swagbucks several times through out the day. For my birthday they gave me fifty! 

If you join through my link above, I will be rewarded for you signing up. Then when you get others to sign up using your link, you will be rewarded also. It is kind of fun and gets to be like a game after awhile. The best part though, is that you can go shopping in the Swag Store with your Swagbucks and buy some awesome items. And you earned them so you don't have to pay money for them!

I have been buying Amazon gift cards with mine. Some of my friends from Homesteading Today, have been buying some awesome items for their preparation supplies using the Swagbucks. I have learned about Swagbucks mostly from Pam, who started a great thread over there, called Swagbucks For Amazon Gift Cards Or Money

Swagbucks also puts out a Swagcode during the day. You have to locate it and enter it on your page. You will win more swagbucks that way. They do a lot of different things to offer you the rewards. It is a lot of fun, and of course, the part I love is the ability to get Amazon products for free. There are a lot of other types of gift cards you can buy, but I find that Amazon is the best deal. 

This is not a paid post or anything like that. They did not ask me to write this. They are not giving me any extra Swagbucks for it, though if they see it....hint, hint, and offer them to me........I will take them in a minute!  

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole

Sunday, July 24, 2011

First Green Bean Harvest Canned

 Four Raised Beds of Green & Wax Beans

As hot and humid, as it has been here in NY, yesterday I canned my first batch of green beans. They were ready and needed to be canned. If not, then our garden would be a waste. So my husband took it upon himself to go out and pick them all by himself. Not only that, but he cut them up for me! That is the hardest part of the whole process. Well, not really hard, but tedious. Picking in the hot sun was no picnic yesterday!

Cut up for the canner!

I canned them using the raw pack method in my Ball Blue Book canning book. I filled the jars with boiling water and put the lids and rims in a pan of hot water. Then I have a pot of hot boiling water that I add to each jar of cut up beans. You may add a teaspoon of salt if you like. As soon as I put the lid and rim on, I put the jar in the pressure canner that is on the stove with simmering water.

After the jars are in the canner,  I tighten the lid and let it exhaust for 10 minutes. I canned it for 25 minutes at 10 lbs. pressure. Shut the burner off when the time is up and let it sit until the pressure has gone done to zero. I take the lid off the canner then and let it sit for about five minutes. Then I remove the jars from the canner with the jar lifter and put them on a thick towel.

Green beans for our food supply!

My finished product of 13 quarts of green beans! These are part of our food supply for the year. My last year's crop gave me enough quarts that we ate about two quarts a week through the year. I still have some left. Now I am replenishing it from this year's harvest! How about you? What have you canned this year so far?

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole


Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Baby Bird Spends The Night!

 A Baby Bird!

Last night around nightfall, my son, Jeffrey, called to me from outside to bring my camera quick. I looked out there and saw him in the driveway looking at something. So I grabbed my camera, and to my surprise here is what I saw. He didn't seem to mind my camera's flash in his face. He chirped a bit to us. I  was afraid something would get him during the night. I was hopeful his parents would find him. I looked around and there were no birds around.

He spent the night right there!

This morning as soon as I got up, I ran outside to see if the baby bird was still there. Indeed, he was. Then he flew to the tall weeds in front of the barn and perched on one. I was worried, as my cats had to come out of the house soon. And I knew he'd never survive if he couldn't fly high when they came out. I reached to touch his soft baby feathers. Oh, he did not like that!

He was quite comfortable with the camera!

He flew low over the fence and the paddock, and landed in some higher trees. So I figured he was on his own now. I haven't seen him around here today. I hope he found his family and survives. It's tough for baby birds. Many do not survive. Everyone wants to kill them, even other birds. I hope this little guy survives.

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hot, Humid Weather Slows Us Down

Sunlight hitting the garden daily!

We are not alone in this sweltering heat. People all over the country are trying to keep cool. Trying keep their gardens and critters watered. Our dog is the one suffering the most. She can hardly take the normal hot weather, this is extreme for her. Even my cats are laying low, sleeping on the bare floors. The horses don't leave the barn much at all. If they do, they go right back in the barn.

 The water supply!

Thankfully, our well is holding up. We know it is a shallow well and have never had it go dry in all the years we have been here. But that doesn't mean it couldn't. 

 The forest surrounds us.

For us, this is a long time without rain. Being surrounded by thick forest is a cause for concern though. A fire could start very easily. Even our lawn this week, has some brown spots on it. Hopefully, we will get one of the long all day rains soon. NY usually has a lot of rain, and if we get it soon, I promise not one word of complaint from me! Hope everyone gets some soon.

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole