Celebrating diversity and making lemonade...

Celebrating diversity and making lemonade...

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Joshua and Fall Farm 2020 Update

Joshua and Fall Farm Update 2020

Joshua update

Joshua got COVID.  We got the call last Wednesday from his counselor.  He was put into their quarantine unit for 10 days.  We were told that he was not displaying any symptoms.  I guess a couple of the teachers tested positive over the weekend and so they decided to test all the boys and Joshua was the only one in his unit that tested positive.  We were also told that he could still call us but we have NOT received any phone calls from him.  We were really looking forward to talking to him on Christmas!  We were also told that IF he did develop symptoms, someone would call and let us know and we have not had any calls saying that things were worse.  I guess Joshua was actually happy about going to quarantine because there is no school there and they get to play video games all day.  

On a positive note, he continues to do great with school and his treatment at Benchmark.  He is really maturing and is looking forward to completing high school a semester early.  He wants to graduate in January 2022 and come home at that time.  Yes, that is another year.  He continues to work on his therapy goals.  This is NOT his favorite thing for him to do but he is trying hard to get it completed.  I did get a call from Telligen last Wednesday (Telligen has contracted with the state of Idaho to provide mental health services) asking about his discharge date of May 2021.  Mark and I were busy with egg deliveries so I did not have a chance to answer the phone and this information was left on a voice mail.  SO, I am not sure exactly about what is going to happen with this situation (May 2021 vs January 2022 discharge) but I will keep you posted when we know more...


Once I got all the produce processed, I started cleaning the house.  I hate to admit that cleaning falls to the very bottom of the "To Do" list when I am busy with the garden.  I have completed the upstairs of the house and I am starting on the downstairs now.  I LOVE to cross items off a list and found this nice printable to help make cleaning more bearable.  Really losing motivation but I only have 4 more rooms to do!


I ordered my garden seeds for next year in September.  I just didn't want to take any chances with there being any seed shortages.  We added another raised bed to the garden this fall and filled it with chicken/duck compost!  We usually make one new raised bed each year.  Last year, we made one for the strawberries.  I am REALLY looking forward to some strawberries this year!  Finally!  I have tried raising strawberries for the past 3 years and have not had any luck but I know that they are finally going to make it!  The new raised bed is on the right in this pic...I am going to put broccoli, cauliflower, and potatoes in the new bed!

I am trying to do more seed saving.  I kept some seeds from these sunflowers.  These were all volunteers that grew in the garden!  I have already fed these to the chickens and ducks...after I saved some seeds, of course...
Here is some lettuce that I saved seeds from.  See the light fluffy stuff at the top...those are the seeds,,,
We had a flush of mushrooms this fall!  It was such a nice surprise.  These are King Stropharia mushrooms and I cultivate a bed of them on the side of my garden.  BUT the interesting part of this is that they were NOT growing in their little mushroom bed...they were growing out in the garden with the garden plants!  Yeah!!!

More egg laying ducks and chicks!

The "original" plan was to order 25 ducks each fall for 3 years to eventually have a total of 75 ducks.  Since the duck coop is finished, we went ahead and ordered the next group of 25 ducks.  They arrived on December 2nd and they are now out in the duck coop!  They will stay in there all winter.  Hopefully, the run will get built early this spring and they they will be able to go outside once they get their feathers. 
With the recent raccoon/flying predator attacks, we thought it would be best to get some replacement chicks.  My best guess is that we have 50 some chickens.  We really wanted to have a group of 75 chickens.  Since we lost 9 chickens last year (that we know of - 1 died, raccoon got 7, bird of prey got 1) we ordered 25 replacements.  That's called chicken math.  We actually got 26 chicks and they all have made it so far!  I think we will definitely be back up to our ideal of 75 chickens the end of April when these grow up.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Sunday, December 13, 2020

Processing 2020

In the Kitchen

This is going to be a list of the items I put up this past year.  It is really just for me but I like to put it in the blog so I can refer back to it year after year.  I just finished canning right before Thanksgiving!  I didn't think the garden was going to do well but I was pleasantly surprised by everything that I got put up.  I did have to buy some hot peppers this year because mine were just really lagging.  Also, there was no corn, broccoli or cauliflower to freeze this year.  Other than that, I think we did pretty good.  I bought a shelving unit and put it in a closet in the basement and loaded it up with quart jars of food (the pint jars are in a different storage area).


Several jars of chicken and beef broth...I just make this up as we go through the year
3 quarts grape juice (thank you Wendy!)
33 quarts seasoned tomato sauce - I was actually shocked (and happy) we got this much tomato sauce.  Believe it or not, the Beefstake tomatoes totally outperformed the Amish paste.  I almost didn't plant them but I had the seed so decided to go ahead an put a few in.  So glad I did!  They will be a staple in the garden from now on!
19 pints (red) salsa
11 pints green tomato salsa
20 pint and a half applesauce
13 quarts applesauce
16 pints hot apples
16 pints pears (thank you neighbors!)
23 pints cream of celery soup
23 pints green beans
10 pints Rotel
11 quarts of Green Tomato Enchilada sauce
4 pints pickled red onions


We also dry lots of things.  We dry a lot of fruits and vegetables to make some goodies for the chickens and ducks during the winter.  I am going to put that process into a different blog post.  It will probably come out in January.  Here is a pic of Mark helping me to harvest some apple slices off a dehydrator rack.

Herbs (parsley, oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage)


Although a lot of my basil got taken out by an early freeze on Labor Day, some plants survived and I still had enough to make some pesto and freeze it.


1 gallon of sauerkraut
1 1/2 gallons of salsa (I finished this at Thanksgiving and I am using the canned salsa now)

Root cellar:


Dry storage:



I have to actually put a reminder on my calendar to eat some of the foods!  It is kind of an "out-of-sight-out of mind" thing at times.  Leftover from last year...AKA...need to use up right away:
6 jars apple juice
5 quarts Apple pie filling! What? We need to eat more pie!
3 pint and a half pickled cauliflower
5 pints pickled beets (yum!  one of my favorites)
1 pint beets (storing in root cellar now - way easier than pressure canning)
2 quarter pints Candied jalapenos
10 half pints of beet ketchup (I use this when I make meatloaf, I guess we better eat a lot more meatloaf)

So, that is it!  I think I finally have a good handle on what we like to store and the optimum way to store it (for our use.  I am not going to lie...this was a lot of work and I am glad to be done with it for the year!