Wednesday, July 29
It was a long day at the B&B but it was a good day. The washing, drying and ironing of sheets went quickly. I started at 9 a.m. and finished at noon and that included sitting down to a nice breakfast. We’ve all been enjoying the chance to actually sit down and eat and it’s been nice to talk about the upcoming day and what all needs to get done and catch up on what’s been happening in each other’s lives outside of work. It’s nice and relaxing then we’re off and running. Well, not me. I don’t run. If you see me run you’d better run too, ha! But the younger girls are quick and pert near moving at the speed of light accomplishing a lot of tasks in a short amount of time. They’re great multi-taskers, too. But back to the rest of the day… I made a few more changes to the document I worked on yesterday – changing background colors and changing fonts and font sizes so that it was easier to read on a variety of computer monitors. As I was getting ready to go a camera crew showed up to interview the boss. They had been out there before and wanted to talk about our new operating procedures that have been put in place to keep everyone safe and healthy. I was asked if I could stick around in case the guests that were checking in that afternoon arrived. And, they did. Part of the interview was at the guests cabin so I entertained them on the front porch until it was over then the innkeeper whisked them away to show them to their cabin and I left. It was a smooth day. I like those kinda days.
It felt kinda weird (and nice) coming home and not having to wash the cabin sheets and towels. I won’t have to wash them until Friday – yay!
I’ve meandered around the farm a couple times since being home and I tell ya – it’s unbearable out there. I come back in so hot and sticky. I checked the weather for the next ten days and it just might be in the 80’s those days. We can only hope and pray. Oh, and we’re supposed to get rain tomorrow. I’m thinking the pond will get filled and we may even see if the culvert works as it should.
Believe it or not, I have zero projects in mind at the moment. I do need to finish straightening up my craft room upstairs. Maybe some day when it isn’t so hot I can tackle it and get it done. Heat rises and our upstairs can get pretty hot making it uncomfortable to work up there.
Farm news: 30 eggs
Thursday, July 30
Goodness. What a day! This morning started off as every other work day morning but from the moment I pulled into the parking lot at work it was another non-stop day. I managed to eat lunch around 2 o’clock at my desk and finished my morning coffee shortly after that. Yea, that kind of day. It was good though. I kinda enjoy days like that because the work day goes by quickly. We also got the billing done this afternoon so I will not have to go in tomorrow. Yay!!! Good thing too, because we have a check-out and a check-in so I will be able to help get the cabin ready.
Speaking of cabin, we received an email from Airbnb today…
The subject was advising people to book 2 months in advance for Airbnb properties in our town. Guess who’s place was the first one shown in the very top category ‘Try one of these top rated homes’? WHAT?!?!?! Talk about great advertising! Now let’s just see how quickly the months fill up. Yay!
CountryBoy picked most of the beets today. He washed, trimmed, cooked and peeled them in preparation for pickling and canning them. Beets are a lot of work. Probably the most work of all the vegetables.
Speaking of canning, I’m hearing that there is a shortage of lids. Someone that came by and bought eggs recently said that they couldn’t find any and today my boss asked if I had any lids. She said her sister was wanting to can some green beans but couldn’t find any lids anywhere. I told her I had some and I would bring them in on Monday. I’m glad I stocked up on them a couple years ago. CountryBoy and I drove to a nearby Amish community and bought a sleeve of regular mouth lids. I split them with a coworker at the newspaper. Earlier in the year we took inventory of the spices we would need for pickling and other items such as vinegar and salt and stocked up well before people were even thinking about harvesting and canning home grown goodies. I’m glad we did. We learned from five years experience that when you live thirty minutes from anywhere you try to keep a well-stocked pantry and you try to plan ahead. Way ahead. We are not preppers (those that prep for a major catastrophe) by any means but by planning ahead and keeping a pantry stocked with basic items we have not felt the impact of the lack of items on the grocery store shelves. Well, there was one exception – corn meal. People ’round here LOVE their corn bread! We were getting low so it was time to stock up again and there wasn’t any. gasp! We survived though as we had enough to get by until we found some. What I’m hoping by the lack of lids is that more people have taken an interest in canning. Rumor has it that it’s from a shortage of aluminum and maybe it’s due to lack of manufacturing them but one can hope that tons of people have taken up canning to stock their pantries.
Just as I was finishing up this entry my computer just shut off. I lost over half of my entry as it did not auto-save. sigh. I did not feel like typing it up again so I’m now finishing this entry on Friday evening. That being said, I don’t remember how many eggs we gathered yesterday.
Friday, July 31
Can you believe it’s the last day of July already? I really don’t know where the time nor the year is going. I know it’s been a crazy year but, to me, it’s just flying by. Most people would say good, and good riddance! But me? I’m over here just trying to keep up with what day is what, which job do I go to and what needs to be done while I’m home.
Today was a major kitchen day. Right after coffee today CountryBoy started in on the beets. I wound up helping him and we knocked out six quart and two pint jars of pickled beets. We even finished the two batches before the guest checked out. In fact, we were starting in on another batch of our home grown/homemade scuppernong (which is in the muscadine family) wine. We’ve made two batches already and they were pretty good. The first batch was better than the second. The second was sweeter than the first. We tried to think of what we did different and there were two things – 1. we used distilled water in the first batch and tap water (ick) in the second, and 2. we didn’t have any of the juice in the airlock on the first batch and CountryBoy put some in it on the second. So, for this batch we are using distilled water again and we will not put any juice in the airlock and we’ll see if we can get the same results. However, I changed it up this time by adding blackberries. I wanted the beautiful berry color for the wine and I thought it would balance the tart of the scuppernongs. We’ll see if it’s a winning combination in about seven weeks. It’s one of those things that you have to forget about or you won’t let it sit long enough to ferment. Of course, there is no forgetting about it the first week as it must be stirred every day. After that, fa’ gedda ’bout it!
While we were mashing the fruit the guest came down and was getting ready to leave. I left CountryBoy to mashing and I went out to say goodbye. By the time I came back in he had everything done and cleaned up. yea, we gabbed for a bit, ha! Oh, but before that… sigh… we had put a gallon jug (an old pickle jar) in the canner we had just finished using to sterilize it and CountryBoy fished it out and set it on the counter. It sat there for a few minutes but not long enough apparently because as soon as I poured the first quart of distilled water into it we heard this LOUD crack. Yep, the whole bottom of the jar cracked and broke off completely. There was no way to salvage the water so the countertop got a good scrubbing with hot water. sigh. That’s when the guest came down – thank goodness – I’m out!
I scurried up to the cabin and stripped the bed, grabbed the trash and the towels, the power bank and the dust buster and flew back down. I plugged the power bank in, started washing the sheets and towels, plugged the dust buster in and then had to sit on the couch for a bit. I woke up this morning with a slight headache but I had ignored it most of the morning. It was not going away and getting slightly worse so I took an ibuprofen. I don’t like taking them but I don’t like having a headache either when there is so much to do. I read a few pages out of an old Country Living magazine and in about 15 minutes I was feeling better. After the sheets were out of the dryer I went back up to make the bed, dust, clean and sweep for today’s guest.
Then it was back to the kitchen. We were given a massive (and I do mean massive with a circumference of about four inches) zucchini a week or so ago and I knew I needed to do something with it. I had found a couple of interesting recipes on Pinterest that used zucchini in baked goods. Now I’ve had zucchini bread before and it’s pretty good but these were totally different. The first one that REALLY caught my eye was a Chocolate Lovers Zucchini Cake with chocolate frosting. yes please! The only problem with the recipe is it used a bundt pan and I don’t have a bundt pan and I wasn’t sure if the bake time would be the same for a sheet pan so I decided to try the second one that caught my eye – Zucchini Crumb Cake. It was pretty easy to make and turned out really good. It was a little on the dry side but definitely edible. I think it was dry because the zucchini was on the dry side being as it was so large and a few weeks old. A normal size, fresh zucchini and it would be nice and moist. I definitely want to try the chocolate zucchini cake so I’ll be on the lookout for a bundt pan, ha!
Our guest arrived while the crumb cake was in the oven. Perfect timing!
Since the crumb cake only needed a cup of shredded zucchini I needed to find something else to make. I decided on Cheesy Zucchini Rice – another Pinterest recipe. It turned out really good although I think some mushroom stems and pieces would be a nice addition. next time. That was my supper while CountryBoy had some of that plus a leftover pork chop and baked potato. Of course, our appetizer was a piece of crumb cake, ha! The rice recipe used two cups of zucchini and I still have half of the zucchini left. I wrapped the cut end in plastic wrap and stuck it in the fridge for another day.
While CountryBoy’s leftovers warmed in the oven I took the pan with stuck-on bits of rice and some zucchini bits out to the chickens to clean up. They were all over it. I fed Mabel while I was out there and even she helped clean it up. I think she gobbled up the tip of the zucchini while she was at it! I learned that trick while on a mission trip in Honduras. We were cooking in a cookie tin (long story) over a propane cooktop and the rice burned on the bottom. Chickens wandered all over the place in the little village we were in so we set the tin down and they pecked it clean. And I mean clean! We still washed the tin, ha, but we had an awesome clean-up crew now!
My computer abruptly shut off again only this time I made sure to save it every few minutes. whew! While it was coming back up I grabbed the camera and headed out in the rain. Just before supper we got a nice downpour and then it turned to sprinkling. I wanted to see if the rain was starting to fill the pond up some more…
Yep, it’s filling up nicely. And even though it may not rain much the rest of the evening by the time the water runs off the mountains the pond should be noticeably fuller.
On my way out to the pond the fog was across the middle of the mountain. By the time I walked back from the pond I could barely see the top of it…
Can you see it?
Farm news: 41 eggs! We found another secret nest. We kept seeing a chicken wandering around the middle of barn and then directly she would fly up to the top of Mabel’s door and slip between the gap to join the rest of the girls. CountryBoy had a feeling where she might be laying since we disturbed her previous nest last week and sure enough, she was laying in one of the old nest boxes that is still in one of the stalls back when the girls had the run of the barn. There’s always one!
Saturday, August 1
wow, it’s the first of August already. I just can’t get over how quickly this year is going by. From last month’s temperatures one would think we were heading into September. So far, the first half of the month is supposed to be in the eighties but with a high humidity. I don’t really know what’s up with the humidity but I’m hearing it’s more humid than usual everywhere.
This morning, though, was quite lovely. We lingered over coffee until 9:30 enjoying the cooler temps, the cloud coverage and the breeze. After filling the bird feeders and refreshing one of the hummingbird feeders we sat on the front porch and watched the feeding frenzy. Lots of young cardinals, both male and female, and the buzz and chirps of the hummingbirds zipping around their feeders. It was then that I could no longer stand the state of the porch. Wads of cat hair, the sheets that cover the cushions were in terrible need of a hot washing and overall, I just was not happy with the arrangement. So, when we finally started our day I stripped the sheets off the cushions and threw them in the wash. Then I swept and rearranged the furniture a bit. Nothing much different, just scooted it all back under the ceiling fan and opened it up a bit by moving the cat’s winter house to the opposite side of the porch. It’s much more inviting now. We’ll see how long it stays that way.
Today was that same’o, same’o with the cabin. So far, after our guests leave tomorrow we don’t have anyone until Tuesday.
We’ve had several rain showers today. In fact, as I was folding the laundry I noticed that a storm was brewing so I headed up to the cabin to do a bit of mowing. I wanted to mow the ‘flat’ section of the hill in front of the cabin so that people with dogs would feel free to play catch or let them roam around. I managed to get a good portion of it mowed before the skies opened up. We’re hoping with all these showers that the grass seed CountryBoy slung around the pond the other day will take root.
These lovely pink flowers have sprung up in several spots under the Rose of Sharon’s in front of the house. Do y’all know what they are?
They come straight out of the ground on a long stem with no leaves…
I want to say they are Alstroemeria but I’m not sure. This is the first year that they have really put on a noticeable show. (Disregard the blatant poison ivy at the base. sigh.)
As I was outside taking the above photos this just blew by us…
Thankfully the guests have arrived and were able to get settled and hopefully throw something on the grill before the next one hits.
Other than laundry, cleaning the cabin and front porch, and a bit of mowing I’ve read through some magazines and have basically just taken it easy today. It’s been a good day.
Farm news: 25 eggs
Sunday, August 2
So after I had finished yesterday’s post there was a little mishap. I had gone out a little earlier than usual to lock the chickens up because it was dark and the skies were getting ready to open up and they were already in the coop vying for the perfect spot on the roosts. CountryBoy came out and decided to trim Mabel’s hooves while she was lying down. However, she stood up when we came into her pen and no matter how much we coaxed her to lay down I think she knew what we wanted to do. After copious amounts of belly rubbings she finally went down but kept her feet under her. That stinker. She finally rolled over slightly and CountryBoy managed to clip one of her back feet. This whole time, mind you, she was quite grumpy. He tried to clip one of her front feet and she lunged her head towards him which startled him. He jerked back really quick and when he did the extremely sharp and pointed clippers gouged the underside of his forearm. Blood spurted out making us think he had hit an artery. He immediately applied pressure and headed to the house. I picked up the clippers that had been thrown down and took them with me out of Mabel’s pen. We assessed the damage and decided to forego stitches even though it was quite deep and about an inch and a half long. We cleaned it really well and upon further assessment he did not hit an artery, thank goodness. We applied some gauze and a bandage and he downed some colloidal silver and an ibuprofen so he could sleep through the pain. He had trouble clenching his fist so we thought maybe he may have damaged part of the muscle. Today, however, he’s able to clench and grip with no problem. Thank goodness!
This morning dawned cool, crisp and cloudy. It was absolutely wonderful! And the fact that it is AUGUST is even more wonderful and greatly appreciated.
Today was a normal Sunday, for the most part with the exception of CountryBoy going to church and I stayed home to say goodby to the guests when they got ready to leave. Since they left around 11:30 and I was already dressed for work I decided to head up and strip the cabin. I ended up making the beds and taking inventory of what needed to be done and then it was time to go to work.
Work was good. Although the day was cooler than it has been in over a month the basement was quite humid and I could be seen wiping sweat on my shirt sleeves several times throughout my shift. As far as the laundry went – I managed to get every sheet (and there were a LOT of them) washed, dried, ironed, folded into sheet sets and put back on the shelf.
Our next door neighbor was over when I got home and he and CountryBoy were chatting on the still clean front porch. He came to tell us he was moving. Glory be! I won’t have to worry about our animals getting caught in his intentionally set traps. He also offered to sell us the tractor blade we use all the time (long story, but the neighbor purchased it after a crazy snowfall the first year we were here. He didn’t have a tractor so the plan was that we would keep the blade here and use it as needed but that we would plow his drive if it snowed that bad again. Thankfully it never did because the tractor doesn’t start in cold weather.) At any rate, we bought it for half the price of what he paid. Both parties are happy. Other good news regarding his move? Apparently it’s another neighbor’s folks that bought it and they are good people. yay!
I’m having problems with WordPress so I’m going to sign off. We’ve been hanging out on the front porch and soaking in all this gorgeous weather.
Farm news: 28 eggs
Monday, August 3
We have gotten a wonderful break in the weather so far this month. It seems we can not get enough of enjoying our coffee in the coolness of the greenhouse or sitting on the front porch enjoying a nice, cool breeze. I’m typically not a big fan of August but so far this one is proving to be delightful thus far. By no means am I getting my hopes up that it will continue for the whole month but I will relish and appreciate these cooler days by getting outside as much as I can.
Work was work. It was steady all day which y’all know is the way I like it. By mid-afternoon I had done all that I could do in preparation for laying out the pages on Tuesday so I went on home. That is one nice thing about that job – I am free to go if there’s nothing to do or nothing going on. It saves the boss some money, ha!
I came home and we spent much of the rest of the day sitting on the front porch and visiting a bit with a neighbor that had stopped by for some eggs. We learned the real story about the property next door that has sold. It is her family that is buying it and their intention is to flip it. However, she’s hoping that they will decide to stay there as she would love to have family closer than forty minutes away. They’re also wanting to keep a small piece of the property for a cabin for themselves but the property really isn’t conducive for that as there’s not a lot of usable land. I’m selfishly hoping that they don’t. The more land that gets split up ’round here the more houses, traffic, etc. It will be like living in a subdivision in the country. But, we’ll see what happens. For mine AND my neighbor’s sake I do hope they will end up loving it here and will decide to sell their other house.
Farm news: 30 eggs
Tuesday, August 4
Another beautiful morning! The weather still is a wonderful eighty-some degrees with much lower humidity making it quite pleasant to be outdoors. It has been in the low sixties on my drive in to work and I’m loving it!
We finished the pages lickity-split today and had the approval from the printer by 11:30 a.m. I got a jump start on my usual Thursday tasks and left at noon. I stopped at our local thrift store and scored the bundt pan I was looking for (for that Chocolate Lovers Zucchini Cake) and a pair of almost brand new shorts for CountryBoy for a grand total of $5.30. Score! After that I went to Save-a-Lot to get some cheese and milk and since I hadn’t eaten my lunch came out with not only the cheese and milk but some bologna, lettuce, beef ribs, sliced olives, a ton of bananas – one bunch is almost ready to eat and the three others were nice and speckled brown and on the verge of being overripe. The bunches are wrapped in red tape and are marked down to 0.19 cents a bunch. We let them ripen even more and then we mash them and freeze them in one cup portions for our signature banana bread for the cabin guests. I love a good deal and to see food not being thrown out and instead offered at a discount. I also came out with a case of Ale 8 (a local ginger soda) and some ice cream. Yea, I probably should’ve eaten first!
I was home in time to greet and welcome the guests who arrived as I was (finally) eating my lunch on the front porch. We spent the rest of the afternoon out there watching the hummingbirds battle each other around the feeders.
CountryBoy asked how I could relax with that noise and racket but I hear so much more than that. I was relishing the fresh cool air while listening to the leaves rustle in the breeze, the birds singing and the doves cooing, and I was rather enjoying watching the hummingbirds take advantage of the freshly made sugar water I had just put in their feeders.
Each day it seems one or two more hummingbirds show up. They are late this year. It’s been a really weird year the whole way around, that’s for sure.
Lately I’ve been browsing through some really old garden magazines that had been given to me while in Florida but had never had the chance to read them. Feeling inspired by the magazines and the nice weather I decided to tackle the weeds that have overtaken my flower garden.
What a mess! The thought occurred to me the other day that I should bring a stack of newspapers home one day and lay them around my plants and put mulch over them. So, I grabbed my new hoe and went to work one section at a time. I weeded around the hydrangea and zinnia in the center of the garden, laid some newspaper down and some mulch on top and then watered the mulch and papers.
I only worked on a small area and still ended up not having as much mulch as I thought. Hopefully the weeds won’t grow back until I can pick up some mulch. I’m pleased with what I got done and happy that I just went ahead and tackled it. Once I get some mulch I’ll just keep doing small areas at a time and hopefully the paper will subdue some of the weeds for a while or until I can fill the garden in with more plants.
CountryBoy stayed busy today building an adirondack chair…
Isn’t it cool?! He used whatever wood we had left over from other projects and managed to complete one chair. We will pick up some material for a second chair and these will go up to the cabin for around the fire pit.
Our local McDonalds closed yesterday. They are doing a massive renovation and what a mess! There are no billboards of an artists’ rendering of the finished renovations as of yet so we’ll have to wait and see. All I know is that half our town will probably starve to death in the meantime. I’m tellin’ ya – there was never a time of day when there was not a long line at the drive-thru and that was even before the lobby closed due to the coronavirus. You can imagine what the line was like after the lobby closed! I’m sure it will look good and business will be better than ever. That area around the McDonalds is the first impression most folks get of our town and, in my opinion, it’s not a good one. Tacky, unappealing (in my opinion) strip malls line the way into town. Don’t misunderstand me – I have nothing against strip malls. They have their place and are handy but I do like them to be appealing and inviting. That being said I have never stepped foot in any of those strip malls that line the road into downtown and never will because the exterior just doesn’t make me want to see what’s inside. At any rate, now if the strip malls and some of the other businesses would take their cue and do the same it would be a definite boost to the curb appeal of our little town.
Farm news: 33 eggs
Wednesday, August 5
Since I need to get this very long blog posted today’s entry will be short. It was a good and busy and productive day at the B&B. I did a little bit of everything… some office work, some computer work, some Social Media work, some kitchen work, and last but not least some laundry and ironing. All that after a hearty breakfast on the front porch of the B&B.
This afternoon I threw the cabin sheets and towels in the wash and sat down to proofread this very long post. While folding the sheets the guests arrived. After sending them up to the cabin I sat down again to finish proofreading and type up something for today. As of now, I haven’t decided what I will do the rest of the evening. I’m sure it will involve sitting on the porch as it’s another lovely day today.
Farm news: 33 eggs again