Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I think I figured out why the tiller wasn't doing such a great job.

Mighta run over some stuff that caused the till not to work so well.....

It could be that all this twine and stuff may have impacted the performance.

I think the wire was probably also a contributing factor.

I am the reason we don't have nice things. For those of you who are following along with The Great Mower War.... I am prohibited from using the mower and someone was just a little too smug about how he mowed the other day without bending the blade.

I think he just wasn't trying hard enough.

Happy Tuesday everyone! Are you making sure your tiller is at peak performance?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Tater planting

I need to get some garden notes in here.... sorry for a boring post. Later this summer someone please remind me that the potatoes I planted yesterday were from the sprouted buckets in the basement.

These were some of our taters from last year.

I also had some from the grocery store that look to be from the Norkotah variety.

I think this will totally work.

I had two half-to-mostly-full, 3-gallon buckets of the sprouted taters. They had already started growing so I had to get them in the ground quick. I put them by the pear tree and the garlic in the newly cleared area.  I will never remember this.

 I think these were $1.99 or so. Fun and easy!

I plant these little onion starts closely together then thin them out as the growing season goes along to be used in salads and such. The remaining ones will then be properly spaced and grow to full size. That's the plan anyway.

I also put in a bunch of white onion sets, and some starts of purple and sweet/candy onions by the broccoli. This is going to be an onion-o-rific year!

Planting potatoes is easier than falling off a log. Seriously. You can read about it here. You can read more about it here. After I made shallow trench for them and then covered the sprouted taters with dirt, we went and got some fresh straw and bedded them down deeply.

Potatoes are great for new garden areas because the straw will improve the soil and help smother out any pesky weeds. I found some poison ivy in this new area so I hope I can be rid of that. *absently scratches arm.....*

Someone asked me if seed potatoes were different than regular potatoes? Nope. But sometimes they will treat eating potatoes to keep them from sprouting. (ew!)  So yes, if you have taters from the store and they sprout you can plant them! Might as well try, right?

Our favorite taters are the Yukon Golds. I think they are pretty and they are a good, all around use tater. So we got a 50lbs bag of them. You'll remember what happened the last time I got a 50lbs bag of seed potatoes, right? The never ending potato harvest. Of doom.  Oh boy. Potatoes for everyone!

Happy Monday everyone! Are you planting potatoes and onions?

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Deviled Eggs

The chickens are firing on all cylinders lately so we have a lot of eggs.... like.... a LOT... many many eggs. So we've been making deviled eggs.

Deviled eggs. Old school. No fancy stuff. There is no way I'm piping in the filling. I use a fork.

For a while there we fell into the trap of only making them on certain holidays but that is crazy - deviled eggs are great any time. And they are a terrific breakfast food.

The thing that revolutionized our deviled egg consumption was learning how to steam hard cooked eggs. Completely life changing. One of the problems with fresh hard boiled eggs is that they are hard to peel... the struggle is real for us chicken owners. Before I learned how to steam hard cooked eggs I'd have to put some eggs aside for several days so they would be easier to peel. Nope. No longer!

Five minutes in ice water. No more. No less. Perfect. At the most these eggs were 2 days old.

I'm not sure what the steaming does - but it works....however the trick is to make sure that you chill the eggs in ice water for 5 minutes. For whatever reason - no more or no less. Five minutes. Then peel them.

We make old school deviled eggs without any of that fancy stuff. Helman's, yellow mustard, a splash of pickle juice, and salt n pepper.... dusted with paprika. Sometimes I'll sprinkle a little curry powder on a few.

The beet eggs are just lovely.

However, now that I've discovered beet deviled eggs... we've veered off course a little. Have you had these? Just beet up some eggs - they only have to soak in the pickled beet juice for a couple hours to turn color - and then make good old fashioned deviled eggs. Some of my beet eggs had been pickled for several days - and this makes the yolks a beautiful pink-orange color. They were spectacular.

Today I'll be steaming up another round of hard cooked eggs....and then we'll have deviled eggs for every meal!

Little Mo photobombing the pix. Thanks Mo-Zee.

Happy Saturday everyone! What are you waiting for? Go and steam some eggs - it will change your life.

Friday, April 17, 2015

More little buddies: Creepy Meat Update #3

Two of my goals for this year were to do a better job with the housework and also to get down to a more reasonable number of chickens. Apparently neither of those things are going to happen. I can't find a matching pair of sox and this happened yesterday....

Next batch of little buddies.

Technically I went back to the feedstore to get dog food and came out with more little buddies. You'll remember that we intended to get another round of meat chickens - which was always the plan - but you know how it goes. I also got 5 Buff Orpingtons and one, lone singleton of ambiguous origins.

When I looked into the bin of Buff's I saw one bigger, weirder looking chick and I thought, "Gosh I hope I don't get THAT one...." But then the gal who handles the chicks at TSC gave me his sad tale....and I ended up with one weird chick. He is probably an Americauna... and may be a rooster. We'll see what happens. But I was glad to give him a home.

We love the Buff Orp's for their beautiful shape and coloring, their easy going nature, and their laying abilities. We haven't had them in a while so I'm super excited to have them back in the barnyard. 

Around here TSC will only have chicks until about the 28th. They will probably have a last ditch blow out sale on or about the 26th so keep your eyes open. Be sure to compare prices also. The first TSC I went into had meat chicks or $2.99... the second had the better price of $1.99. I do not know why they are priced differently.

If you are keeping track I also purchased our third bag of chick food at about $15. Tracking costs will not get kind of dicey because we have the second group - but I'll keep you posted.

The first group are doing great. They still want the heat lamp on which seems weird but we've had fluctuating temperatures. While I'm going to do some moving around today I don't think the first group will be outside yet - especially with that owl that has been hanging around. And we've heard at least 4 hawks as well.

Big and creepy.

The meats have outdistances the "normal" chicks by a mile - and at about 5 weeks they are closer to the recommended butcher age of 7 weeks. But we'll keep them going for a while yet.

If you'd like to follow along, here is the progress of this meat project:

Initial purchase - March 10
Update #1 - March 20
Update #2  April 1

Happy Friday everyone! Do you have a matching pair of socks and a reasonable number of chickens? If not, friend, you are not alone.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Duck in a truck.

So, this happened the other day....

Nothing to see here... just a duck in a truck.....

This is our limpiest, lamest, little duck. Mostly she just hangs around in the garage and peeps a lot. She doesn't like to be with the other ducks because she is a dwarf variety and they pick on her. Plus she is kind of a goose - she was once brutally mauled by a the lawn mower. I should point out that the mowers wasn't even on.... or moving.... she just got her foot tangled up in it. I can't believe she lived but she did.

So we baby her and make sure she is safe.

She is very adorable.

We had a big rain the other day and the back of the truck filled up with water. So I let her have her own bathtub while I was doing chores. After she splashed around a while I called her over to the side of the truck and a put her down on the ground gently. She peeped and waddled back to the garage to preen.

Happy Tuesday everyone! Do you have a duck in your truck?

Monday, April 13, 2015

Bird of Prey?

So I found this in the yard the other day......

 Little pile of bones and fur.

Right under here.

I think this is from a hawk?  Initially there was a lot of the white poop-like stuff you find with bird droppings but then just this little pile of bones remained the next day.

I'll be keeping a close eye on the chickens!

Happy Monday!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

How to get free nursery pots and flats!

I'm a constant source of embarrassment for my husband. I talk to people - all the time. Mostly I ask for stuff.

You can get free nursery pots and trays for free!

It is not at all unlikely that as we are driving along I'll say, "Honey stop the truck! Go back - I wanna talk to that guy. I bet he'd let me have that piece of fence he's about to throw out." My husband just usually drives faster and pretends he doesn't hear me.

So when my husband isn't around I ask for all kinds of stuff. And sometimes I get it. Like yesterday - I got a whole stack of nursery pots for free.

I went on down to the Lowe's to see if they had their veg starts out yet... nope. But I did walk up to one of the guys and ask if they had any recycled nursery pots that I could just have?  I remember reading a post from Mavis about it a while ago. I figured I should give it a try.

"Sure!" He said. Go on back there - to the way back and look in the bin.

"Really?" I asked, "No one is gonna think I'm stealing anything?"

"Nope. Feel free to check anytime and take as much as you'd like."

So I went back and got an armload of those trays that annuals come in. I was agog. And then I walked kinda fast in case they changed their mind. The gal at the check out didn't even look at me weirdly. Yipee!

I tried this at a couple places. The local nursery had absolutely no idea what I was talking about. But then again, they did not recognize a certain well known seed company and they had no idea what rutabagas where. I tried somewhere else.

One of the ladies walked me to the secret back area where all the magic happens. There it stood, a mountain of black nursery pots. She helped me load up a trolley full of them. It was like Christmas. But it was free! All free!  It was amazing.

Soon there will be basil. Oh yes.

I'll be using these nursery pots to get my veggies started. It's still a little cold - and we have a slight risk for frost. But while the weather is warm I'm going to get a head start on the season. My starting the seeds and starts in pots I can move them inside if I need to - and these are warmer than our soggy cold ground. I can't wait for fresh basil and lettuce - which does great in pots.

I absolutely love that all you have to do is ask and you can get stuff.  Most folks are happy to help you and love to give stuff away if they can. You just have to ask. You'd be surprised at what you can get.

If you are nervous about asking for free stuff just slap a big smile on your face, stand confidently, and start with, "Say... I have a crazy question... I was wondering if....."  And then see what happens.

Of course, if you aren't lucky enough to score some free nursery pots at the nearby big box store or local nursery you can always buy them. I checked the racks at Lowe's and promptly walked away when I saw how expensive the new nursery pots were. Of course you can always order them from Amazon. These are kind of lightweight but they are durable and a nice size.

You can order trays also. But you can see from the price that I totally scored a deal with those free ones. I have not found a better price on these except at Meyards where they are about $1.19 each.

If you are worried about recycling or reusing nursery pots or flats you can always bleach them - or just buy new ones and then recycle them. Someone I know will be hanging out around the recycle bin just waiting for you to come by and dump them off.

Happy Saturday everyone! Are you asking for free stuff?

Editors note: I'm linking to my Amazon store today! I get a tiny portion of the sale when you click on one of the links, go to the Amazon page, and purchase something. It can be anything - a book, movies, gardening supplies, or something you need from Amazon anyway.  Do you need anything Amazon? You can support this blog by just clicking one of these links. Or using the black Amazon search box on the right side of this page. It doesn't cost you once cent more but helps me with the "cost" of this blog. If you like this blog, or if I've helped you at all in your farming efforts, just make a purchase from Amazon from one of the links, my store, or the black Amazon search box on the right side of this page. Thanks!
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