Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Salsa and Silage

Making salsa tonight. I never made salsa before.

My parents made most of the picked tomatoes go away, passing them out to the neighbors. We are glad they didn't go to waste.

Today, Zachary and my Dad started harvesting corn silage again. The corn is at the right moisture level now.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Tomatoes Anyone?

Feeling better this morning, I went out to the garden to see what was happening out there.
This is most of the ripe ones. Found one overgrown cucumber. Now to decide what to do with them. Perhaps the cows would like tomatoes in their diet...

Friday, September 26, 2008

Construction Cat and Runny Noses

Our cat, Queequeg, loves it when we tear apart our house. Just more places for her to explore.
She is loving the new beams in the kitchen.

Been a quiet week around the farm the last few days, which is fine with us... both of us have been sick with head colds.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Kitchen Update

This is the current state in our kitchen. I made some side by side images for reference, with pictures taken from about the same angle. This one is showing the 2 new skylights and the open ceiling. The other upper window is the attic window, which the attic was above the kitchen.
This angle is shows the entry to the upstairs and the dining and living rooms. We are opening up the passage ways for better flow. We are realizing bringing "open-concept" design to an old farm house can be difficult.
Here you can see the new skylights in the kitchen roof. I took the day off from work on Friday to help Zachary with the skylight installation. Zachary continues to amaze me with his construction skills. Sometimes he surprises himself. After the skylights went in, we ran the garden hose over them and no leaks! Hopefully it will stay that way.

Corn Silage

The last couple days, Zachary and my Dad have been opening up all the corn fields, harvesting the headlands. Headlands are the perimeter rows of a field. It is good way to judge field conditions in each field. After Saturday afternoon, we determined the corn needs a few more days to dry before continuing the corn silage harvest.
A field with headlands removed.
One of the 200ft silo bags we put up. We intend on filling another when we start again, and then fill our upright silo.

New Arrivals

This week on the farm we had two births.
This one is a bull. He was born on Tuesday. His mother name is Cooper, it was her first calf.
This one was born Saturday night. Her mother name is Piper and this was her second calf. Her father, Ned, is a Red and White Holstein and her mother is a Black and White Holstein. Most of our herd is Black and White, so it was a fun surprise while delivering the baby. As the photos show, calves love chewing on humans.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Wet Weekend

With rain falling mostly all weekend, Zachary and I stayed indoors. We did some more demolition in the kitchen Saturday and made good headway. I'll post some new pictures soon.

The tomatoes keep coming. We had two large containers sitting in the garage waiting for us on Sunday. With this batch, I decided to attempt to can diced tomatoes. It did not go well as planned... I was having a difficult time blanching the tomatoes. It is the process of dipping whole tomatoes in hot boiling water and then dipping them in cold water to loosen the skins for easy peeling. I am not sure what the deal was, but the skins were loose in some areas and very attached in others. The longer they are in hot water, the more mushy the tomatoes got; and the shorter they are in hot water, the skins are more difficult to remove. Perhaps my water wasn't hot enough, cold water not cold enough, uneven ripeness in the tomatoes...? Zachary was on dicing duty and he had an interesting time chopping them up. In the end, we had a lot of unnecessary waste, but what we did end up with, turned out great. We should have ended up with a lot more final product, but oh well. There is always the next picking to try again...
There is nothing better than eating something that you grew yourself.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Farm Update

A couple days ago we had our barn whitewashed on the inside. We have that done once a year in the fall after the peak of the fly season in done. It is like getting the walls and ceiling painted, but the paint is actually a lime and water mixture that is applied by spraying. It's economical and holds up better than a paint would in a barn environment.

Our milking herd is smaller than what we usually milk. It makes for a quick milking time. The ones that are not milking are in their dry period. We give our cows a 2-3 month vacation from being milked before they have their calf. Think of it as a reverse maternity leave, where they can relax during late pregnancy, because after they have their calf, it is back to "work" for them. Generally we like to spread out our pregnancies, so our milking herd size does not fluctuate as drastic (it's about 40% down currently), but they decided to be all fruitful at once. We are expecting a lot of births between October and December.

Zachary and my Dad have been making wood for the winter ahead. We have a wood burning furnace in our house that we use as secondary heat source and my Dad has woods with trails to be cleared.

Next week we are planning on starting our corn harvest, beginning with making corn silage.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Goodbye Kitchen

About a month and a half ago, we started a project... The Kitchen. Our kitchen has been essentially the same since the 1950's when my Grandparents originally bought the farm, besides some appliances, flooring, counter and paint over the years. These are some before pictures. We will be posting pictures of the progress as we go.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Up North

Zachary and I went camping at Copper Falls State Park this weekend. The park is located in Northern Wisconsin near Mellen. We did some hiking, taking in the waterfalls on Saturday. There are a lot of fascinating rock formations in this region, creating some dramatic landscapes.

After exploring the trails and sights, we loaded up our backpacks and made the 2 mile hike to our site for the night. It is a single site off the North Country Trail that is very secluded and located on a stretch of the Bad River. Above the sun was rising over the river valley where our campsite was this morning.
Enjoying the sounds of a rolling river.
On the drive home today, we stopped at the Wisconsin Concrete Park. We were puzzled at first, "Concrete Park?" So I insisted we had investigate. It was the home of the artist Fred Smith, beginning in the 1940's till he passed away, he created concrete statues that were decorated with paint and glass. The grounds had statues all over the place. Much to Zachary's chagrin, here is Zachary posing with one the statues.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Paddling and Fishing

Over the labor day weekend, Zachary and I got to try out our new river boats. It was a change from being in the same boat, but we can get side by side and actually hear each other talk. We spent our time on the Embarass River again, but went at a slower pace to try out the fishing holes.
A bit small for a Pike, but still fun on an ultralight pole.
One of Zachary's favorite fish to catch, Small Mouth Bass.