Wednesday, July 25

*toil and labor, rest and relax

There are seasons where we might find ourselves toiling and laboring but in due time we will find the freedom for rest and relaxation. It is not to say that during a time of work that we don't have any rest. I am so glad we have seasons. I am not sure I would last year round gardening as I do in late spring to early summer. Though I am always sure the labor involved is worth the harvest produced each season. For me, there is nothing quite like having 40 quart bags of creamed corn in the freezer, 10 gallon bags of corn on the cob, jars of pickles, many pounds of potatoes for the coming months, butternut squash for the fall as well as enjoying many veggies in seasons while they produce.

 Henry and I love butternut squash.  These we grew from a couple of bushes and plan to plant more in the fall.  I love that these will keep for months on the counter after you have picked them. 

 We grew these on our apple and orange trees. JUST KIDDING.  Publix provided these for us.  We do have some fruit trees, nut trees, and berry bushes planted; some of which we got fruit from this year.

 PO-TA-TOES! We love potatoes: steamed, boiled, mashed, fried, scalloped, in soup - you name it - we love them!  So.. we planted close to 100lbs and have a beautiful yield to feed our family with through the coming months! 

The strawberry plants are all sending out runners now, which only means hours of work clipping them and planting them to expand our strawberry patch. All of this will be done early fall, which will provide us with a great spring/summer strawberry harvest!  The asparagus plants had started to turn brown so we allowed some of the shoots to grow instead of picking them so the plant could be rejuvenated, they are producing wildly again.  PLANT asparagus - SUPER easy to grow.  We also have one watermelon on the vine, a pumpkin plant that is blooming but not much else grows at this time.  I have to admit it is a very welcoming break! By the time fall rolls around I, myself will be rejuvenated and ready to go again! For now, I shall rest and relax.


Monday, July 23

*signs of summer

Signs of summer are certainly in the air. Hot muggy days, afternoon thunderstorms, and house guest in and out. We have had less traffic in and out this summer than last is seems. We really do always enjoy having family and friends visit us and that has taken on a whole new look for us since we moved to Florida. My hubby has even taken on a liking to sharing our little spot of paradise with those who wish to leave their little spot of paradise for a visit here.

Earlier in the summer my mother and nephew were here for a short stay then my mother in love came for a weeks stay along with my sister-in-law and nephews. It has been a long while since we have driven to visited them as well as having them here. Jonathan is the younger of the nephews and he mostly speaks Spanish but understands a lot of English. One day he referred to me as, "the girl who cooks" to his mother, Chelo. She reminded him that I was Tia Lynne, and from there on he addressed me as Tia Lynne. So cute!


Honestly I have lost track (not that I was tracking it) of who was here last, first, or repeatedly! My youngest son's best friend, and my "adopted son", Summit was here for a couple of weeks and in the midst of that time my niece, Kierstyn came for a weeks stay.

While Summit was here I was also the girl who cooks, but they of course didn't call me that. I really enjoy feeding people when they come for a visit. I enjoy waiting on them and doting on them. I just do.  Summit and Henry had a lot of down time together but a few days while he was here we had to put them to work.  So, just be forewarned, if you come for a visit, you might get put to work for a short while, but we will feed you well, give you a nice place to lay your head and enjoy you while you are here!

Eric trimmed many of our beautiful large oaks, and downed a few as well.   The property is loaded with some of the most gorgeous old oaks, some healthy, some not so much.  The one in this photo above needs to come down due to some damage which has made it unhealthy.  We do not want it to land on top of the workshop when we have windy weather.  We have another one out by the barn that still needs to be downed as well.  Once the one over the workshop is down we will get LESS leaves in the pool and more sun on it throughout the day which are both pluses.  These guys' help was really invaluable to Eric on these two days.  Young men need to be out doing these kinds of things, right? We plan to rent the bucket lift tree cutter thingy again in the fall to finish up the trimming that needs to be done throughout the property.


Sunday, July 22

*gobble gobble

You may remember in early spring we had a curious little package to be delivered to our door via the postal service that held 15 sweet little heritage breed turkeys. To date, we have over 50 feathered friends living in our barn yard (chickens and turkeys combined).

The turkeys have been cared for in a separate area up until just this week. We have a brooding area for raising all of our new flock as they make their way to the farm.  Mixing the turkey poults with the full sized chickens could have been a bloody experience, so it is wise to integrate them when they are large enough to fend for themselves.  When I mixed them this past week, I was still not really sure they were ready.  Oh boy, they have NO problem at all defending an area they call their own.  The chickens we all put in their place rather quickly and that is the end of that.  They are cohabiting nicely in the large open yard which affords them free ranging from dusk til dawn. 

As you might imagine, the pecking order has to take place in the turkey world just like it does in the chicken world.  Heckle, our broad breasted turkey, turned pet, is their example in many things- no doubt.  When he gobbles, they gobble. He is often displaying his feathers and leads them by example in this as well.  This morning when we went out to feed the animals, there were 5 of the little toms displaying their feathers and strutting around like Heckle. 

The majority of our birds are Spanish Blacks, but we fortunately ended up with a tom and a hen from each of these heritage breeds: Spanish Black, Narragansett, and Eastern Wild.  There are of course no guarantees that you will get mates, but as you can imagine we are thrilled that we will have a pair from each of these breeds to raise turkeys in the spring.

We have 15 young turkeys, 4 that are currently spoken for  by way of verbal commitment awaiting deposit and some still up for grabs.  Of course there will be certain ones set aside for breeding but we will be raising many of them for butchering for the 2012 holiday season.  Those that we do not sell will go into the freezer for our families consumption over the coming year. Let me just say that smoked turkey is quite tasty!  Our customers will be walking away with a dressed turkey, giblets, the feet and as many tail feathers as we are able to pull. We take pride in being able to raise a wholesome choice of meat for the dinner table to those who can benefit from it. 

Our rafter of turkeys brings great joy to my dear husband. I would have never imagined in a million years that he would enjoy farm life so much not to mention the raising of turkeys and chickens, but he does!

Wednesday, July 18

*another Pumpking Pie in July

I am not one to wish away time to get to a favorite season, although those closest to me know that by the time Autumn gets around the calendar I am ready for it.. and have been known to, OK rush away a few days to get it here a bit quicker. I am really enjoying this summer this year. It is our second year here at the Erilyn Farm on the beautiful Emerald Coast and even though we have more responsibilities now than we had when we first moved here I feel more free. I don't even know if that crazy sentence made any sense to any of you. I think I just realized one of the reasons I feel the way I do, this year we only have ONE house, not two; with one of them being vacant and on the market (with a mortgage). At any rate, I am really enjoying life here in Florida. I have had more opportunity to do a bit of sight seeing, visit the beach frequently and get some quilting done this year!

With all of that having been said, today I had a feeling of YEARNING for Fall. I live in Florida - there isn't a hint of cool in the air at all. None. What is in the air is humidity. Hence the reason I don't do anything to my hair any longer (remember). I simply let the humidity do my hair each day. It usually looks pretty darn good actually. Today I acted on my little yearning. I pulled out my Bigelow Vanilla Chai, put the water kettle on and had a cup of hot tea. It was delicious. It wasn't much longer that I decided that I should make a pumpkin pie to go with tonight's dinner. So I did. I was so proud of myself, no spilled milk today!!!

I am not sure but I have always had a big fear, lack of excitement, or simple lack of interest in making my own pie crust - no longer. I have made more pie crust in the last year than in my life and unless I am in a pinch, I prefer my own homemade pie crust. They are really simple to make, so why wouldn't I? The recipe I use calls for 1 cup and 1/4 of flour, 1/2 cup of butter, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 cup of ice water. Instead of 1/2 cup butter I split it down the middle using lard (I KNOW) and butter.

No it wont be Fall when I walk out doors to feed the animals tonight, but we will have a delicious dessert to have after dinner tonight. I have a few more beach trips planned in my mind.. so Fall will be good holding off just a bit longer!

Tuesday, July 17

*Gulfarium at Ft. Walton Beach Fl

This past week when my niece were here we took time to visit the Gulfarium in Ft. Walton Beach. 
 Kierstyn has been to Sea World and really loves sharks, dolphins - well she really simply loves animals, so I thought this would be a great place for us to visit while she was here.

Sorry for this image, I did doctor it up a bit so you didn't get sick. Kierstyn and I were walking back from my neighbor's house and she saw this on the road and said, "Oh! He is so cute, AWE!" The part hiding under the image of the tomatoes is NOT cute! I know this picture really is totally unrelated to the aquarium, but it does go to show her limitless love for animals...

Anyway, at the aquarium we saw several "shows", but our favorites were the Sea Lions Show and the Dolphin Shows. Unfortunately the Sea Lion area had plexiglass up around the tank so all of our photos were mere reflections of the spectators sitting in the stands.  It was well attended but the Dolphin Show was standing room only.  The bleachers were packed out, as well as the area around the tank.  We had the pleasure of watching three sweet dolphins that ranged from 30 years old to just a few years old  and two of them being mother and daughter. Their devotion to their trainers was really quite apparent.  When we were standing and waiting on the show to start, Kierstyn commented on how she hoped we would get splashed. We did, but there were other that got more wet than we did.

The aquarium offers quite a few "animal encounters" as well, but the pricing on that is a bit over the top for our pocket book.   Kierstyn wanted to swim with the stingrays - She is fearless, but we settled for watching the shows instead, this way we were able to eat dinner for the rest of the week when we got hungry. 


Thursday, July 12

For posterity

I am messy. Just by my nature I am not very concerned with continual orderliness. I am OK with a mess and cleaned whenever it I get ready.

This week while my niece and I were in the kitchen I was getting all the ingredients for making a pumpkin pie. Yes, we made a pumpkin pie in the middle of the summer, what's wrong with that?  As I was reaching into the cabinet to get the cinnamon out, I happened to carelessly knock over a spice bottle which, in slow motion fell to the counter and knocked the opened can of evaporated milk over.  It not only knocked over and spilled all over the counter and onto the floor but it managed to run into all four drawers under the counter as well.  I was not amused. I said to Kierstyn, I have got to get my phone and take a picture of this because nobody will believe this just happened to me.  So I snapped the picture, set the camera aside and we finished making the pie. The pie was delish!

I did clean this mess up rather quickly since it was everywhere!  However, this morning during breakfast which we had in the front room while looking at TV another mess occurred.

I was sitting on the couch eating my cereal, as was Kierstyn. I thought to myself, I hope she doesn't spill her cereal.  I mean can you imagine the mess that milk would make on the carpet, furniture etc? NO more than a minute later.... I spilled MY cereal. Yeh. That is right, I spilled mine. I was so grateful for the quilt that was laying over the couch, which managed to nicely catch the whole mess.  Kierstyn, not missing a beat, said to me, "So are you going to take a picture?"