Tag Archives: around the compound

Around The Compound (Taters-N-Onions)

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Hi everyone it’s John again, here to bore y’all with some horticulture.  A while back I shared some pictures from Feb. 23, 2014 and talked a bit about adding organic material to the garden soil.  The next day, Feb. 24th, we planted our potatoes for the year. Once again I took lots of pictures and would like to share.

Opening rows using a middle buster.

Opening rows using a middle buster.

I started potato planting by opening rows using a middle buster plow attached to the center of my cultivator implement bar behind our tractor.  As shown above, I started out by plowing one straight row and placing each additional row by simply running the wheels of my tractor  in the track left behind when I made the previous row (above left). This makes the row spacing just right for future cultivation and weeding between the rows.  To cultivate I remove the middle buster from the implement bar and attach smaller plows at the attach points shown in the picture (above right and center).   These smaller plows will contact the soil right behind my tractor tires as I cultivate.  This method of laying out my rows allows me to drive the tractor back through the same tire tracks left behind when I opened the rows to accomplish weeding without damaging my plants.

Cutting seed potatoes.

Cutting seed potatoes.

After opening the rows for planting we cut our seed potatoes.  The part of the potato that grows into a potato plant is the eye.  Each seed potato may have several eyes so this allows us to cut the seed potato, usually into several pieces, for planting.  We planted about sixty pounds of seed potatoes this year.

Placing seed potatoes in the row.

Placing seed potatoes in the row.

We placed the seed potatoes in the open row approximately six inches apart along the length of each row and at the bottom of the furrows. We use chicken manure for fertilizer but commercial fertilizer may be used at this point in the process.  Something like 13-13-13 works well, however, a soil test can tell you exactly what you need to use. Keep in mind that if your soil test says to use lime, never use lime on potatoes.  A calcium supplement can be sprayed on the plants later instead.

Covering the seed potatoes.

Covering the seed potatoes.

Here’s Justin Cole, my step son, covering my seed potatoes.  Pretty nice of him to help me out with all this huh?  He spent a good part of his day out in the cold helping me with this potato project.  Notice he is using his feet to close the dirt in over the seed potatoes.  If we would have had a large field of rows to close, we could have placed hilling disks or closing plows on our cultivator and closed the rows with the tractor.

Hay!

Hay!

Hay to protect our seeds from a hard freeze.

Hay to protect our seeds from a hard freeze.

I hauled a truck load of hay to spread directly over the rows to protect them in case of a hard freeze.  Its a good thing I did too!  Not long after we planted this potato crop we had about three inches of solid ice and freezing weather.  The hay cover provided enough insulation to keep my potatoes safe from the freeze.

Oh Boy!

Oh Boy!

The above picture was taken Saturday, April 12, 2014.  Looks like our potatoes are doing well!  I have already had to spray for potato bugs though.  A small brown bug that looks kind of like a ladybug will eat the potato plants and bring the crop to spoil if not kept in check.  When I see these bugs begin to appear I spray the plants with insecticide or treat them with 5% seven dust.

A pretty potato crop so far.

A pretty potato crop so far.

The next thing we planted was onions.  About two weeks after we planted potatoes and right after the last hard freeze, my brother-in-law John and I planted a couple of rows of onions.  We started out by opening some rows just like I did for the potatoes.

Onion sets.

Onion sets.

There are a couple of ways to start onions.  One way (shown above) is to plant onion bulbs.  Bulbs can be saved over the winter just like many flower bulbs or they can be purchased from a feed store or farm supply in late winter. Onion plants can also be used.  I have also heard of people starting them from seeds but I’ve never tried it, maybe a future project.

Placing onion bulbs.

Placing onion bulbs.

I place the onion bulbs in the row differently than I do potatoes.  I don’t put the onions all the way in the bottom of the furrow.  I put them about half way down the side  and alternate them from side to side as shown above. This makes one row almost like two close rows side by side.

John H. working!

John H. working!

Covering the onion bulbs.

Covering the onion bulbs.

Above is my brother-in-law John covering the onion bulbs.  He just covered them loosely with a couple of inches of soil.

Onions coming up!

Onions coming up!

The onions did come up and are growing well. We also have planted strawberries, lettuce, turnips, radishes, kale, and about a third of an acre of sunflowers.  I will keep you updated on our progress in the vegetable garden in future posts.

Look forward to Pigs-n-chickens in just a few days!

John

Around The Compound – Chicken Manure – Building The Garden

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This is the first blog post ever for me.  I’m Susie’s husband John.  I hope y’all ain’t disappointed since I’m not the skilled blogger that you’ve grown accustomed to.  My wife Susie does a great job!! Susie and I took a few pictures on Feb. 23, 2014 of regular activities that go on around the compound, I believe them to be worthy of sharing…

Windy and cool, plowing the garden.

Windy and cool, plowing the garden.

It’s time to do some gardening any time!  Gardening and garden building goes on twelve months a year around here.  Adding organic material enriches the soil.  Year round tilling keeps me from having to fight weeds and grass in my garden all summer by keeping the weed roots and seeds exposed to the winter frost.

Plowing in the compost pile.

Plowing in the compost pile.

Compost is very important for building soil for gardening.  We save grass clippings, kitchen scraps, leftover corn stalks, anything organic in a compost pile beside the garden.  Above is a picture of me on our tractor spreading and tilling the compost into the soil. I’m also plowing in the remains of our winter turnip crop.  Mount Vernon soil is fairly poor and rocky but we have built our garden soil to be quite rich.

Great Garden Dirt!

Great Garden Dirt!

I find that adding hay to the soil and chopping it in with the tiller whenever I can get my hands on some is great.  It not only adds organic material to the soil, it also helps the soil hold moisture during the dry summer months.

Freshly Plowed Dirt.

Freshly Plowed Dirt.

Oops!  I haven’t mentioned anything about chicken manure yet!

Stop Thief! You're stealing my poop!!!

Stop Thief! You’re stealing my poop!!!

These two old roosters are investigating the theft of what is probably the most valuable additive that goes into my garden soil.  Chicken manure not only has stinky funk, it also has nitrogen which is essential to producing a great vegetable garden.

cleaning out the hen house!

Cleaning out the hen-house!

 

Chickens and hay.

Chickens and hay.

I had to include the photograph above!  It’s just a really good picture of some chickens and hay.

I got away with the poop!

I got away with the poop!

Ok, we’ve now added the poop to the garden.  The chickens didn’t like me taking it from the hen-house but I’m sure they’ll enjoy the fresh produce this summer.  Hope you weren’t too bored by the garden building blog. The very next day we planted our potatoes for the year.  I have lots of good photos of that too.  I’ll try to get them on here soon.

Those Places Thursday – Ice Storm on the Compound

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It’s been a long while since I did a post about the compound and the recent ice storm was really beautiful to look at so I thought I would share some of the pictures we took around here.  Some of these photos were taken by my brother, John Higginbotham, some by me, and Knucklehead, yes Knucklehead took the ones of the chicken coop.

Please enjoy this brief video of our compound and surrounding area.

A big thanks to brother John for putting the video together for me.

Around the Compound – Dragonflies and Chickens

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Weird huh?

Sometimes, the combination of things happening around here, is weird.

Well, yesterday I was up by the barn feeding chickens and the dragon flies descended upon me. So, I sent the kids down to the house to get my camera and I decided to just sit down and snap pictures. I got some fairly decent pictures of the dragonflies, but man, those suckers are fast. So they are kinda blurry, but if you look at the picture good, you can tell what they are.

After I sat there for a bit, the chickens found out I was there and came for a visit. I got some good shots of them, so I thought I would share.

This will be my last Around the Compound post for a few weeks, because I leave for DC tomorrow and I doubt the kids and Hubs will tote a camera around while I am gone.  I will post while on my trip though, because I’m so excited.

These pictures are for you Lisa Higginbotham Guidroz, love you!

This was my absolute favorite picture from yesterday.

DragonflyDragonfly Dragonfly Dragonfly Dragonfly Dragonfly Dragonfly Dragonfly Dragonfly Dragonfly Dragonfly Dragonfly Dragonfly

At this point, the chickens found me and my moment of serenity was over.

Oh, Frizzy Frizz, be still my heart!

Frizzy Frizz

Chicken

Boy, I say, Boy!!  Probably a descendant of Foghorn Leghorn.

Boy, I say, Boy! Chickens Chicken Chickies Rooster Rooster

Oh, Bannie, you are so cute!

Bannie

Don’t forget I got a big give-away coming up, and I’ll see ya in a couple of days, from DC!

Around the Compound – July 2013

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Beware, this post is going to be VERY picture heavy.

Cause that’s how I roll.

I’m a visual person, what can I say?

Anywho, I apologize in advance for the length of this post.

Genealogy work has been on the light side, like slim to none actually, because I have been super busy with all of the things below, either directly or indirectly, and then, I was sick for two weeks.  I mean so sick even my skin hurt. blah!

If I have been slow to answer your emails, or comments, please forgive me.  You will see why in just a few minutes.

So, before I get started with my pictorial history for the month of July, I have to warn you, I have some great things coming up!  My two-year blog anniversary is coming up on August 16th and I have secured some pretty great giveaways so please stay tuned for that.

Also, I’m leaving next Thursday to spend 10 days in the DC area with my niece Leslie, and I am beyond excited!  We will be visiting cousins in New Jersey that I have found via this blog.  Also, the possibility that more cousins found via this blog will make the trip there to meet me, so I am blessed beyond words!  I can’t wait to meet my family!

Of course, what would a trip to DC be without a visit to the National Archives, the DAR Library, and the Library of Congress.  Maybe I can break a brick wall while there!

Then, I will do the usual sight-seeing and visiting with Leslie.  Be ready for lots of updates while I’m on my trip.

Now, for the compound news.

On July 1st, this was Knucklehead in our corn.

Knucklehead in Corn

Then, on July 25th, this is The Hubs in our corn. Thank you chicken poop for all your great fertilizing qualities!

The Hubs in the Corn

I did my first canning job with the help of my brother John. Tomatoes.  I’m so proud!

Tomatoes - My first Canning Job

Speaking of Tomatoes, The Hubs picked these out of our garden, look how green they are:

Picked Tomatoes

Now they have ripened up and I suppose they are the next canning project.

Red Tomatoes

There has been lots of picking of squash and The Hubs has already canned all of those up. They are done! Whew!

Knucklehead with Squash Pickings

On July 13th, my babies, ok not so babyish anymore, chickens laid their first egg. It was a proud moment for Knucklehead as he was the one who found it.

First Egg

Now, this is our daily haul. I’m sure they aren’t all laying yet as I have about 70 chickens. If all 70 are only giving me eight eggs a day, some are going to end up in a pot, with about 10 roosters that I know of!  As Renee Zellweger said in the movie ‘Cold Mountain’ – “I hate a flogging Rooster, let’s put ‘em in a pot!”

Daily Eggs

Then, in a rare moment. I caught this on camera, the suspects unaware. Knucklehead was giving JT a massage. I later found out, that Knucklehead was told if he did this, JT would play a video game with him. For shame on JT, cause he never did. Some big brothers will stoop to anything to get a massage!

Knucklehead and JT

There has been lots of picking purple hull peas. I mean lots. This is my stepson Cameron helping Knucklehead. JT was on another row.  This Rooster, made it to the Pot.  Nine more to go.  We sure had a great meal of fried chicken that day!

Cameron and Knucklehead

Here is a sample of our haul of purple hulls, there ended up being about seven bowls like this.

Purple Hull Peas

The kids and I sat around in the living room picking them out while watching TV, and it made me think of the many times I did this with my grandmother.  It sure made me lonesome for her.  They ended up like this, in my freezer.

Put Up Purple Hull Peas

Then, The Hubs brought in plums. He had to go back to work, so I juiced them for him so he can make plum jelly. He has made one batch, but has several more to go.

Plums

I did this.

Cooking Plums

To get all this.

Plum Juice

Silkie came by to get loved on, and I snapped this shot of her. She hates, and I mean hates the flogging Roosters too!

Silkie Silk

There has been lots of snuggle time with Ringo. Especially when I was sick. He loves me and I love him.

Ringo

Then a very proud moment, and one that will be put in our family history. JT had his first Drill this weekend. He goes to another Drill next weekend, and then he leaves on August 19th for boot-camp. After finding all the Ancestors in my tree that have military histories, this makes me so proud as I’m sure it does them. I hope they all smile down on him and help the good Lord above to keep him safe. All prayers accepted!

I snapped these pictures of him when he came back home. They gave him his uniform and boy oh boy, does he look handsome! So, without further ado, please meet Private Justin Tyler Cole.

Private Cole

JT back from Drill

Did I mention how proud I am? Just wondering!

He sent me these pictures that another Private took while at Drill.

JT at Drill

JT at Drill

JT at Drill

IMG_4505

One thing he found at Drill was that he needs to get his two-mile run down to 15 minutes and 56 seconds. He was up in the 19 minute time range. So, what’s a momma to do? She gets in her car, drives around part of the compound, and figures out three times around is 2 miles. Then she puts the boys to work, while she drives behind them in the car soaking up the AC. Ya know, just in case they pass out or something. I’m a good Mom like that.

Knucklehead and JT Running

Knucklehead made it 1/2 mile before he had to stop. JT stopped at around 1 1/2 miles. I told him that big breakfast wasn’t a good idea!

IMG_4519

So since then, I decided I should be more supportive. As in, take part with them.  I took them to the park here in Mt. Vernon the next day, and I walked with them. Actually, I started this Couch to 5k app that I heard about over on Mama Laughlin’s blog, and downloaded to my iphone. This is what helped her get started on her journey, so I thought, why not! I’ll give it a go.

I have survived the first two work outs, the next one will be this evening. Now, it’s been a couple of months since I have weighed, but after I did the first two workouts I thought, I better get a good weight so I know where I have started. As I stepped on that scale, I was so afraid it would be way more than it was last time. But guess what, I was down 7 lbs!! I guess being sick, and then doing this, I have dropped a few. Thank you GOD!

Then, the peaches came.

Peaches

They turned into so many jars of this.

Peaches

Then, cousin Debbie came by for a visit, and I was so happy.  I have been so lonesome to see my Texarkana family and she just brightened the day up for all of us!  This is Mom and Dad, with cousin Debbie James.

Mom, Dad and Debbie

Now, in preparation for my trip to DC, Addie (my sister-in-law) and myself went to the mall yesterday. We spent the whole day, doing girlie things.   Things my chickens wouldn’t know about, and wouldn’t care about.  This is Addie while we were getting our toes done.

Addie

Thank you Addie, for paying for my toes for my birthday! I wish I had remembered to take the cotton out before I took the picture, but oh, well they were still wet and I didn’t want to mess them up.

My Toes

Then I decided, what the heck, I’ll get my nails done. Thank you Glenn (my mother-in-law) for the birthday money!

My Nails

Then The Hubs told me I could get my hair done. Thank you Hubs! No more gray hair!  Muah!

Me - No Gray!

Wow, I feel like a girl again!

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