Friday, June 25, 2010


Dewberry: As Blackberry, except stems trail or sprawl, tips root.  Rose Family.
Habitat:  Rocky open areas, thickets, prairies, roadsides, railroads.
Uses:  Same as Blackberry.

The Dewberry crop is pretty big this year.  The berries are mammoth in size!
It doesn't take much to fill up a bucket.

We enjoyed picking and eating.

Her royal highness enjoyed force feeding the dog with bottle caps.

She later joined us to help eat berries.

Mmmm!  He must've found a big one!

How did we get so lucky to have such wonderful wild berries show up along our fence lines?!?

Mama Wren

I happened by this bird house today and was curious if it had an occupant or not.  The bird house just a little further north in the orchard from this one is in need of repair and it was vacant.  My curiosity won out and I opened it up to take a peak. 

I was very suprised to find this little clutch of eggs.  Mama Wren must have stepped out for lunch for a few minutes, so I quickly snapped this photo and closed up her crooked little house in case she didn't want company today!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sick Crop

This is what about 80% of our crop looks like.  It is likely a higher loss, but we are trying really hard to be optimistic.

Gala in the Avery Section

Foliage isn't looking great either, however this is pretty minor compared to other areas.

Noticed some cankering in this tree, but wasn't able to find cankers in other trees.

Still the same Gala tree.  Fruit is pretty small in size.  Trees are not heavily loaded and plenty of rain this year so these variables shouldn't be an issue as far as fruit size goes.

Another canker in the same tree.  Again, while inspecting the other trees, this was the only tree that had obvious cankers.

Jonagold in Avery Section.

Foliage in the Jonagold tree.

Braeburn foliage.  Fruit looks awful as well.

Close-up of leaf in the same Braeburn tree.

Gala north of the windbreak.

Granny Smith Foliage.

Fruit size in the Gala section.

I hear there is money in apple wood...

What Happens to Naughty Roosters...

Naughty roosters go to the stew pot at Joe and Fanny's house.

When we got over to Joe's I stepped down off the golf cart, but I guess I should have been watching myself because the rooster bit my little toe as I stepped down!

Now look who's king of the coop!

And he can be king for as long as he wants, as long as he doesn't get all cocky!

Cause when that happens, its a guaranteed ride over to Joe and Fanny's!


Berry Thief

My fabulous neighbors are picking berries on shares.  Here is this morning's share!  I've been straining out a good portion of the seeds and making berry syrup.  It is sooo yummy on pancakes and ice cream!

There is one of many in my home that LOVE berries.  This one in particular will go to any lengths to get some, as you can see!!

Bread 101

A couple of weeks ago, my good friend Debbie comes over for a visit.  During the course the day she mentions that she'd like to know how to make bread.  I look at her with a twinkle in my eye and ask her if she is SURE she wants to know how.  She says she is.  I warned her how terribly addictive homemade bread is.  She seemed OK with that!  So today was the day!  Bread 101.

We planned a repeat menu for lunch and the first thing on our list was to make the french bread for our sub sandwiches.  Since I was out of cornmeal to dust our baking sheet with, we started of by grinding some popcorn in my lean mean flour making machine!


This dough goes together really quickly.  We don't have to knead it much since it is a more rustic bread and we don't have to let it rise before shaping our loaves.
  We simply mix, knead, shape loaves, rise and bake!

You can see that we kneaded it enough to get the glutens to start forming, but it isn't a satin smooth dough.  That is where the 'rustic' comes in.

Debbie is shaping her very first loaf of bread!  You go girl! 

Two rustic loaves of bread waiting to rise so they can go into the oven!  It needs to hurry.  The children are starting to circle like hungry sharks...

No pictures of rustic bread coming out of the oven because we cut them up and made them into sandwiches for a bunch of hungry little monkeys and two hungry mommies!

And then we got all chatty and forgot to take pictures of our next batch of dough that we mixed up in the bosch.  We wound up with 5 loaves of bread and this lovely pan of cinnamon rolls.  Yummmy!
And what a fun and productive afternoon!!  Thanks for coming over Debbie!!  I had a blast!

Now its time for the ultimate test.  Baby Jesse gets a piece of bread...

She's not dumb!  She is gonna see if her Mommy keels over before she takes a bite for herself...

Mmmm!  Mommy must have survived! 

I think she gives it her stamp of approval! 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Check out how fast my legs can run on the treadmill.... NOT!

You might not be able to see them 'wooshing' through the photographs, but they also aren't moving as fast as they once were.

Sometimes, when things are really hard, and you know you should just keep plugging along because the reward in the end is going to be worth it, you still can't seem to muster the motivation to keep yourself moving in that direction.  Well, that is what has happened to me in my quest for speed.  After starting up running at the end of last November, I struggled with running past five minutes and the 4 setting on my treadmill was taking me for one seriously fast ride!!  My endurance has definitely grown as has my speed, but my next challenges came in the form of injuries and pain.  That gets old after a while too, and I suppose that's when I started pushing off my runs.  After Saturday's race, however, I've recommitted.  Since Monday, I've been running for thirty minutes on the treadmill.  I've lost a lot of what I gained already!  A month ago I could run 30 minutes no problem, 40 minutes was my point for running out of steam and 50-60 minutes was doable, but I was really pushing myself to keep a slow and steady pace.  I was running between 5.0 and 5.5.  This week, I hit 20 minutes and am out of steam and I'm running at 5 on the treadmill.  The next 10 minutes is a push, and I can do it, but I have a way of reminding myself during these last 10 minutes how not too long ago the very same 10 minutes used to be sooo easy!! 

So here is a reminder to me.  Don't Stop!!  Just do it!  And be kind to yourself as you continue on your quest!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Seeing Green!

My grape cutting have finally rooted.  Yay!  More grapes = more grape juice!

Did you know that kitty toes grow in the garden?

My squishy squash (AKA zuke and crook neck squash) are growing up near the front door. 

Pumpkins and Marigolds!

Our garden has finally started to lose its sickly yellow color and its greening up nicely!

I did it!!  I did it!  My first artichoke in Missouri!

Our Sunflower and Pumkin 'Island'!

Pretty Glads!

Some of the Rhubarb that I started from seed!  Wow, what a hearty grower!!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Rain! Rain! Go Away!!!

Oooh!  With a bold title like that, I probably just cursed our farm with another several weeks of rain!

The rain has been nearly non-stop this season and it has created several challenges in the orchard!  We've not been able to get out and spray when we need to and as a result we have some pretty serious disease out there.  It looks like we've lost the majority of our Gala, Jonagold and Braeburn crops this year.  The one that hurts the most is the Galas.  They are our biggest producer.  Time will tell, but right now, it isn't very promising.

When the Apple Farmer went out for his last spray, he commented the next morning that he hadn't ever tried to spray in so much water.  He left ruts in places we've never had ruts!

Now, in California, when the earth moves, we all rock and roll!  In Missouri, when the earth moves, it literally picks up and leaves!  Thats exactly what has happened to our drive way, as well as other areas of erosion!  But just down the highway a couple of miles, some neighbors of ours have lost a good percentage of their farm.  This land has gone the way of this little fork of the Grand River!  This picture was taken just a couple of days after they burned the house down.  It'd sure be a problem for our little bridge if the house decided to up and leave too!

You might be able to see in this photo, but the farm was planted in beans and a good portion of those have gone away too!

The Orange pipes are the phone lines since the poles headed south a couple of weeks earlier.  The porch to the house is only a couple of feet from the river's edge now.  Used to be 30-40 feet away.  Used to be lots and lots of tall trees, but you can already guess where they went about a month ago!
We've had quite a bit of dammage along our ditches and seasonal creeks.  Sometime last week this tree went down and as we went to check it out we noticed a half a dozen live trees that had been blown over by the winds when the ground became super saturated!

Problem is, we really need rain since we have no means of irrigating in the orchard, so its hard to be ungrateful after our first three years of sparse rain and dinky little apples in the fall!