Rockgate Farm

  (Conway, Missouri)
A Small Slice of Heaven!
[ Member listing ]

Flappy Feet

Flappy Feet, Flappy Feet, We've got Happy Flappy Feet.....

  OK, so I won't give up my day job.  But, it's catchy, don't you think?  It's Spring on the farm, and hatching is in full swing.  I've got flappy footed ducklings everywhere.  I swear, God made them so adorable to offset the fact that they are so messy :)

  I'm pretty much letting nature take it's course with the ducks....But for those of you who have an interest in The Fancy, I've got blue, black and splash, standard and bantam Orpington eggs in the bator.  I've got a baker's dozen standard Orp chicks on the ground, and I've a sizeable hatch expected in five days.  These are not yard birds, but from the best show quality lines in the US...mine included.

  Sadly, I won't be offering Orp chicks this year, but I will be offering a limited quantity of my version of a California White.  Awesome layers.  That comes from the fact that they are a Leghorn Hybrid.  Contact me at the farm if you have any questions.

  The Farmer's markets are firing up, and I'm getting orders everywhere for stuff that isn't even in the ground yet.  Frost expected tonight, so I'm still holding off planting.  Lost a lot of my fruit bearing bushes and trees this winter, including two of my five grape vines....it will take a while to recover, so be patient.

  Remember, if you have a taste for something specific, and it's not showing up in my store....e-mail me.  I'm somewhat forgetful at times, but I always remember to check the puter.  Besides, I'll cook to order......just about anything....but ducks ! :)

 
 

Preserving the Right to Preserve

MY GRAMMA DIDN'T USE NO STINKING PH METER!!!!!!

Ok, so I may be a little out of touch with the times, and granted...I do live in my own little world....but I like it here!!!  In my little world, we remember and follow family traditions.  We respect and treasure what we learn from our Mothers and Grandmothers.  We value those traits and skills that they took the time to teach us.

After all, they did reach maturity and live to a ripe old age.....even without the FDA, USDA, Health Department, and Home-land Security monitoring their every move.  Most of my relatives have lived into their 70's and 80's quite well drinking raw milk and eating home canned food.

So, what's so different about today?  Well, to start with, you most certainly cannot produce high acid or acidified foods without a certified kitchen, and "process control".  I'm not going to go into a bunch of detail about this, other then to say that you can forget home-made pickles and relishes.  If you get them, they're most certainly NOT home-made.  Federal Statute won't allow it!! 

Can you imagine having to register with Home-land Security...just to sell Salsa?  It's true!!!  And you Dairy people think you've got it bad......At least you have the "pick up at the farm" option.  Picklers can't even do that!!!  If you notice, I've shut down all my listings for pickles, relishes and salsas.  Wouldn't want to end up in "the Pen" for pushing pickles.

Hmmm, imagine.....black market pickles :)  Does give one pause to question  things a bit, doesn't it?  

 

 
 

I mean REALLY, who needs a greenhouse?

  OK, so I get all the info on sustainable farming, grants available, the latest technology available for planting, greenhouse diagrams.....blah, blah, blah.  And with Spring just around the corner, I really should be paying more attention, and trying to keep an open mind.  Yet,  I just can't keep myself from falling back on "Old Tried and True"

  I just can't seem to make myself spend the money on a greenhouse.  So, a couple of weeks ago, I broke out the egg cartons, potting soil, some seeds, and the utility lamp, and went to work.  In a couple of hours, I had transformed my dining room into a greenhouse.  Now, I have a wealth of herbs that need to be transplanted into larger containers.  Isn't Nature a wonderful thing?

  Well, I know that I'm most likely going to out grow the dining room, and overflow into the spare bedroom....but that's alright.  Look at all the money that I'm saving!  Three nights ago, I started the tomatoes and peppers.  Last night, I fired up an incubator full of chicken and duck eggs.  All without having to leave the warmth of my home and risk life and limb in this unnaturally cold weather....trying to get to a greenhouse.

  Re-invent the wheel, I don't think so....Lazy, maybe.....cost effective, DEFINATELY!!

 
 

Goodbye Tomato Man

Tonight, we say goodbye to the Tomato Man.

  Larry Donald Moore, 64 years young, departed this world in peace, November 9, 2009.  Tonight was his visitation with interment tomorrow.  I didn't stay long.  Just long enough to pay my respects to his wife and daughters.  It was the first time that I had ever seen him in uniform.  I was so proud for him, and so sad.  I don't do well in emotional situations...

  Larry sold tomatoes.  He sold other vegetables too, but you could always count on him to have tomatoes.  He didn't grow them himself, but we didn't care.  He brought in the customers far and wide.  He always had a kind word, and a bite of something for the younguns.  He took his troubles and disabilities in stride.  He and his family didn't have much, but they always shared.  Larry could be counted on for just about anything.

  Just ask me.

  At the beginning of 2006, I was unemployed and starving.  I had survived radical surgery for cancer, and was going through chemo treatments.  I couldn't work, and the farm was suffering.  There was no garden, and I was just barely able to tend to the livestock.  The prognosis was dire. I was trying to survive by peddling my wares at the Farmer's Markets....Hard to do when you have no crops....

  Enter Larry and Family.  They pretty much adopted me.  Larry always managed to have "extra" produce that he couldn't sell.  Funny, it was always something that I really needed.  The season that my apple trees didn't bare, Larry suspiciously found a tree that no one was interested in harvesting.  Then there was the truck load of strawberries that he "couldn't sell" ?  Strange, huh?  I wouldn't have made it without them.

  Always, Larry had fresh produce for the Seniors at the Senior's center.  He could always be counted on to support a new market....even when it was a waste of time.  He was always the first to lend a hand, and the last to say a bad word about anyone.  I wonder if anyone ever told him how much we appreciated him....I just hope that he knew.

  The world has suffered a tremendous loss.  Who will fill his shoes?

Goodbye Larry, and God Bless

 
 

The Silence of the Ducks.....

Where did she go? 

   She was just right there.  I know, I almost stepped on her.  Darn ducks, always following me around, making all that noise.....and doing bad things on the car port.  Who says they don't fly....Tell that to the duck on my roof :)   But again, my jabbering little darlings seem to be missing. 

  I realize, that the days are getting shorter, and the drakes are getting more agressive.  I know what that means.  Soon, all my loud mouthed beauties will be looking for a place to raise their new batch of younguns.  The sound of the quacking and hissing in the night as they snap up the bugs, will be gone.  The nagging and badgering that I get, when I'm home late and it's past their feeding time, will pretty much cease.  There will be nothing left to hear, but the feathery voices of the drakes....letting me know that everything is O.K.

  In a few weeks, there will be a tide of fuzzy, multi-colored, flappy footed cuties, running around the back yard.  My girls ain't stupid.  They hatch their babies in the most guarded place on the farm...Right under my deck, with a very confused pearl guinea standing guard beside them, and a fierce, one eyed Westie laying on the porch over top of them. 

  So, here's a toast to fall, and the delights that come with it.  Shorter, cooler days,  quieter nights, and lots of fuzzy little ducklings, with which to play!  Isn't nature a wonderful thing!

 
 

"Braggin Rights"

It's all about the braggin rights!

  So, I live in a small rural community where everyone has known everyone for generations.  I'm kind of a throw back, since I wasn't born and raised here.  I returned to the area voluntarily.....what was I thinkin :) 

  As you might well imagine, there's really not much goin on....so the County Fair is a big deal.  We womenes cook for weeks to get ready for the canning competition....We all know each other, and we've sized each other up, for years.  A lot of rivalry.

  I compete with around 7 very competent cooks from five surrounding towns.  We all have our specialties...mine being the jellies.  But, my ambition, was get my pickles and relishes "on the board".  Well, after about 6 years of fighting the good fight, I finally scored big.  Three first places on my relishes, and second place on my dills.  That's HUGE!!!

  Relishes, OK....gotten ribbons over the years, but the blue has gotten past me repeatedly.  This year....got em!  Admittedly, my dills "suck".  Always mushy, and tooooo bitey.  This year, I finally made a pickle worthy of my label!  Through all of the oooohs and ahhhhhs of amazement, I emerged from battle with the ever elusive red ribbon!!  Just a blushing blue! 

  I know, I know....it's such a small thing.  But, in a small county, where everyone knows everyone, now everyone knows who rules!

  Like I said:                It's all about the Braggin Rights! :)

 
 

Blackberry "Casualty"

Now, that's what it's all about!!

  Got my first, fresh, wild blackberry today.  Tasted sweet!  It'll be an early harvest this year, about two weeks ahead of schedule.  That'll make a lot of people happy.  You hear that...Larry Everett!!

  Larry called me yesterday, from Ohio, wanting old fashioned blackberry preserves....by the quart.  I didn't think anyone ate em that way anymore.  Complete with seeds.  When I was a young girl, my Gramma used to put whole blackberries up in sugar water, uncooked, to be used in Blackberry Dumplings.  You Ole Timers will know what blackberry Dumplings were...but I usually have to describe them to most people.  Makes my mouth water, just thinking about it. 

  Guess I better pick a bunch this year.  Last year was painful......

  I'm going to try to pick this year, without the usual blood letting and poison ivy....My favorite patch is not barricaded by hay rolls, as was the case last year.  I won't have to wade through the muddy out-skirts of the cow pond, or the thick foliage that encased the back-side of the patch.  I know it was full of poison ivy. I WILL wear long pants, shoes, and bug repellent...like a sane person would do.  I will keep my eyes on the prize.  I will NOT be a blackberry "casualty" this year!  :)

 
 

Father's Day on the Farm

Well, I'm not really sure what a blog is, but I feel the urge to give it a try.

  Today is Father's Day.  Not one of the biggest holidays to celebrate, but a humble day set aside for my Father to rest.  He works hard on the farm....being retired, is not always all it's cracked up to be.  Being a single woman ( a return to stock ) of 49, I'm not always a lot of help to him.  And with the summer heat coming on...it's harder to keep up the grounds, feed the livestock, fix the fences, tend the garden..etc.

  So, I would like to let my Dad know how much I appreciate him, by dedicating my very first blog to him. 

  Dad, I'll tend the calves tonight...even the sick ones.  Don't worry about the garden, I'll put the water to it when I go to the barn.  And Dad, your grandson can weed-wack around the out-buildings like he promissed that he would.  You rest!!  I've made some of your favorite relish to go on the hot dogs that your grandson is grilling for you.

  Enjoy your day...Wanna veg and watch a video?  Go for it.  There'll be Blue Bell Icecream when I get back from town.  You deserve it.!!  Have a great day Dad!!!

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