This Week on the Farmstead – July 31



Happy Friday morning to my favorite readers! This week on the farmstead, it’s been HOT and sticky! And the flies have been AMAZING (and NOT in a good way)! I have one landing on me repeatedly as I type. Life on a farm, right?

This Week on the Farmstead, July 31 - Stone Family Farmstead

There’s been some talk about us bloggers showing only the good stuff that happens on our farms. I’m hoping you are not finding this to be the case with me. We do have a lot of great stuff happening here, and I want to use it to encourage you. I love to see photos of beautiful gardens and happy animals, and I know you do too. The reality is that the simple farming life is a GREAT life that surrounds us with the beautiful things of nature, and fantastic friends in the form of God’s loving creatures.

Having said that, there are definitely problems on every farm, and sharing with readers is a great way to figure out what might be going wrong. I did that in my Questions About Squash Mosaic Virus post. I also hope to do that when we have less-than-happy occasions on the farm as well, so as not to tell a one-sided story of hobby farming. I know that I’ll have questions, and it will be good to be surrounded by people and advice that can help us get through hard times when they happen. I hope you’ll stick with us, through them!

Family and Personal News

We had Kieran again last weekend, and of course, it was fun. I put to practice the things I learned about the child safety locks on the cupboards and drawers, and boy was he NOT happy about those! That’s ok, though, he’ll get used to it, I’m sure. To offset all that frustration over the cupboards, I made sure to take Kieran outdoors often. He really loves to spend time playing outside behind the barn in the water buckets, and I love to just sit with my coffee and watch. Tending an almost-two-year-old is much easier when they have plenty of room to roam around, explore, and play!

I did learn that the water in those buckets had better be clean. He tends to try to drink the water, regardless of color and contents. This boy keeps Grandma on her toes, that’s for sure!

Kitchen

I spent some time working on my batch of fig wine that I started with the fresh figs Todd and I harvested a few weeks ago from my friend Kris’s tree. This week, I moved it into the secondary fermenter, and all the stuff in the bottom is actually fruit and yeast sludge. Yucky, huh? I can’t wait for this to be done–it should pretty, clear, and ready to drink in about three months. I’m excited to taste my first attempt at a fruit wine!

Fig Wine - Stone Family Farmstead

I also pulled out the dehydrator so I could use it for my home grown sweet and cayenne peppers, some peppers that one of Todd’s work friends sent home with him, and a few nice tomatoes and limes (pictured above) that I got from a local produce stand. They all came out really nice!

dehydrated peppers and tomatoes - Stone Family Farmstead

Orchard

Todd discovered that we were having some issues with our hybrid plum tree. The Satsuma branch’s leaves had some black spots on it that we couldn’t figure out. We are not in the habit of using pesticides, not even the organic ones, but we do have them for when we get in a pinch and need to save a plant or tree from an issue. He used some neem oil on the tree, and will be watching it for now. The rest of the trees–including the new hybrid citrus tree that Todd planted last Friday–are all doing fine. Bella did try to dig up the soft ground around the new tree, which is why we have bricks around the base. We figured the bricks would be less volatile on the roots than the dog.

hybrid citrus - Stone Family Farmstead

This tree should produce six different oranges for eating fresh and for juicing.

The blackberries are still going strong, growing and producing a few here and there. We love the berries, but the growth rate and health of these plants are what are really stoking us! The fall gold raspberry is also doing outstanding, and for that, we are thankful.

The goji berry is producing some exciting, tiny little flowers. We have never tried goji berries before, so we are eager to see if we like them. We don’t usually purchase fruit trees without knowing what the fruit is like, but goji berries are so good for us that it seemed like a worthy endeavor to try to grow one.

goji berry flowers - Stone Family Farmstead

Garden

I relocated my Bocking 14 comfrey to the new herb garden in hopes to free up the space in the regular garden. I wasn’t sure it would make it through the move. It did suffer a little bit of shock, but I think it will recover, thankfully. The new location should offer it a bit more shade protection, which I think it will find quite nice.

My sweet pepper plants, while loaded with lovely peppers, were just too small to allow the peppers on them to grow very large, so I harvested most of them and dehydrated them. Some of the plants seemed to really grow larger after that, so I guess I did something right. Yeah!

The hot pepper plants are doing pretty well, despite the fact that the chickens are eating the leaves off the plants. By the amount of cayenne peppers I harvesrted this week, I don’t think they are taking the fruit. Like the sweet pepper plant, I wanted to harvest the abundance of green peppers off in order to allow the plant to grow bigger. We’ll see what happens.

cayenne pepper - Stone Family Farmstead

The tomato plants have a few little green tomatoes on them, which makes me very happy. However, it seems like they should have a lot more. Something is stunting their growth and I’m not sure what. The leaves are also curled on those stunted plants, which I’ll need to investigate. I did get to eat my first red tomato off one of the plants, and it was delicious!

tomato plants - Stone Family Farmstead

I learned from my friend Kris to make sure to remove the suckers from the plants, which has helped their growth. She had a really neat one that had only one main stem with lots of “branches” coming off it. I’d never seen that done with a tomato plant before, but hers was loaded, and it seemed like a great space-saving technique for the garden. My tomato plants are always a tangled mess, and I would love to remedy that and get some fantastic tomatoes in the process!

Animals

It seems that Naomi and Willow’s frolics outside of the goat pen are causing a bit of an upset for them in the form of long, clumpy poops. They are out in the yard tasting all sorts of new delights, so it makes sense. I gave them both a shot of milk kefir last night, which I hope will regulate what’s going on in their rumen. I googled around to figure out what else could be wrong, but was able to rule out worms. They are otherwise happy and healthy, and they look well-fed!

goat poop - Stone Family Farmstead

Sometimes this type of poop is indicative of worms, but sometimes it’s just a diet change that can cause it.

The chinchillas and rabbits have made a new home in my living room, on top of my pool table this week. Their evaporative cooling system went out in the barn, and with the high temps and humidity this week, it would have been terribly uncomfortable for them. Both chinchillas and rabbits are sensitive to heat–in my opinion, not as sensitive as people would like for you to think, but they do get stressed.

chinchillas - Stone Family Farmstead

Having them indoors has been fun, and has afforded lots of handling time, which they all love to have. Abi and Todd have chosen their favorite chins–Abi’s is Anne Boleyn, and Todd’s is Jane Seymour–but I just love them all. They are such a joy to care for. Here are a couple of sweet photos I was able to snap this week.

Anne of Cleaves - Stone Family Farmstead

This is Anne of Cleaves, or “Annie” as we call her.

mama and daughter chin - Stone Family Farmstead

Here is Anne Boleyn cuddling with her mama, Catherine of Aragon. So sweet.

Well, it’s time to get my day started–I can hear the goats calling for their breakfast, and the chickens are always ready to get out and stretch their legs in the garden area, no matter the temperature.

I’ve got a the goat pen and chin and rabbit cages to clean before Kieran arrives this afternoon for our sleepover. He’ll be spending Friday nights with us now, which should be great fun! Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Shared at Weekend Blog Hop, From the Farm, Front Porch Friday, Awesome Life Friday, Simple Saturdays, Simply Natural Saturday, Good Morning Mondays, The Art of Homemaking Mondays, Make Your Home Sing Monday, Homemade Mondays, Hey Momma! Link Party, MisAdventures Monday, Maple Hill Hop, Tuesdays with a Twist



 
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Kristi Stone

Kristi Stone

Honestly? I'm the author of this blog...sometimes. My family and I live in Sunny Southern California on a one acre hobby farm where we are working diligently to one day produce our dairy, eggs, and produce. That takes A LOT of work, so if you don't hear from me as soon as you'd like, give me a shout out in the comments and I'll chat back as soon as I can between the garden, goat kids, chickens, husband, human kids, and playing with my grandboy, Kieran. And in the mean time, if you'd like to see more frequently what goes on at our farm, please feel free to join my Facebook group (see the right column) where I am more active. I'd love to get to know you! ๐Ÿ™‚
Kristi Stone

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Comments

  1. kris beckman says:

    I’ve been wondering about your bunnies and chins in this heat and humidity! They became house pets- good for you! Your wine looks beautiful, and those goji flowers are gorgeous. August always takes a toll on SoCal gardens- come on Fall!

    • Hi Kris! Yeah, the poor dears have been indoors, thankfully, but they do great when the cooling system is working. I think it’s about as cool in there as it is in my house, ha ha! I know–summer is crazy on the garden for sure. I am so much of a better gardener in the fall and winter! I’ll bet yours looks fabulous, because your summer garden looked great to me! ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. Sounds like hard work living on a farm! don’t think id be able to keep up! Would love the animals though #heymomma

  3. Oooh, I can’t wait to see what you think of the goji berries! I don’t know anyone who’s growing them. Your tomatoes look great despite the leaf roll affecting them! Looks like you’ve got a lot going on as usual. Thanks for stopping by The Maple Hill Hop!

  4. Your chinchilla names are amazing. I love them!!! I have been missing my dehydrator lately. I might have to buy another one. I forgot about all the wonderful things you can do with it. I tried making a honey wine once. I think it probably turned out fine but ended up spilling before anyone could try it! I hope yours turns out! Thanks for linking up with #heymomma! Hope you stop by again next week! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Aw thanks, Casey! I did actually think I might name them after all of Woody Allen’s love interests, but Abi thought that might be in bad taste (ha ha what do I know anyway?? LOL), so we went with the wives of Henry VII. I like these names better anyway! ๐Ÿ˜€ I love my dehydrator, but honestly, I need to spend more time with it, and learning how to use the food that I process with it. I love that dehydrated food is so much easier to store in quantity. Aw bummer about your honey wine–that’s a lot of work to lose! I hope the fig wine turns out too. I’ll be by for sure, Casey, thanks for stopping by! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Wow have you been a super busy girl! Your gogi berry flowers are looking great! You should get berries next year, yes? My favorite way to eat and store them would be to dry them, coat them in chocolate, and then use a SaveASeal adapter to bottle them (well worth the investment!). Yummy!
    Also, the fig wine sounds fabulous. You’ll have to share with us again in a few months when you try it.
    Blessings,

    • Deborah, your ideas are so creative! The goji berry idea sounds like a winner for sure. We’ve actually never tried them, but are banking on them being fantastic, like everyone says. ๐Ÿ™‚ Is a SaveASeal adapter the same as the Foodsaver adapter to vacuum seal stuff into mason jars? I will definitely be sharing the fig wine recipe and our opinions on it once it’s done! ๐Ÿ™‚

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