Tag Archives: Casper the perfect cat

Quiet Sunrise

There is nothing better than a summer morning, just as the sun rises and being in the garden!  The sound of business only come from the birds chirping and the occasional crow from our little rooster.  The air is still cool and calm.  Bliss!

First stop is the goats. Getting their morning ration of hay, grain and giving Ivy a check, which is due to kid any day now.  She is nice and round, but no signs that she will be giving birth today.  The anticipation of new little kids hopping around keeps me going to the barn several times a day with excitement.

Watering chores are done early before the heat to arrives.  My favorite tool is a watering wand, the gentle flow of water is soothing to me and with the many potted plants around the garden, a little joy in a chore never hurts.

Checking the potato crop, I noticed the purple blooms. So a little digging around in the deep mulch layer found a handful of new potatoes for dinner tonight.   These are my favorite type of potatoes.  While the potato crop grows, I continue to mulch with compost around the plant, piling higher and higher until the compost reaches about a foot thick, making a perfect bed for new potatoes and a super easy harvest.  New potatoes are so succulent and tender, they melt in your mouth.  Their little skin just falls right off with the slightest rub.  Cut into fourths, tossed with some fresh herbs and olive oil, grilled or  baked makes a great easy side dish for a summer supper.  Fresh!  Luckily we will harvest new potatoes for the new several weeks until the foliage starts to die back, then it’s time for the main harvest.

Boysenberries are in full swing now and picking daily is a must!  Purple hands are a dead give away where I has hiding out this morning.  Morning is the best time to pick most crops, as they are usually sweeter and juicier.   A rustic berry tart is on the dessert menu tonight!  They get an extra drink of water while they are fruiting.  We are looking forward to the Triple Crown Blackberry harvest coming up shortly.  They are loaded with green berries and white blossoms. I planted a Triple Crown Blackberry on our back patio winding around one of the pillars.  What a fun focal point. And, you can eat it too!  A toss of some acidic rich fertilizer for the last time this year and a layer of compost over the top gives them a boost and promotes healthy new growth for next years berries as well.

My two garden helpers, Casper and Mabes are on the prowl lurking around the bushes

as we go from spot to spot making sure they don’t miss out on anything.  Casper is getting up there in years, but still enjoys the garden. While we adopted Mabes, a six-year-old active cat about two months ago, hoping for a mouser, when in deed, again, another cats whose only interest is in the delectable food easy captured in her bowl, but chasing butterflies seem to be a favorite. As well as Casper, Mabes has keen typing skills (computer terrors) as well. She has been a fun addition to the little farm.

The last of the peas were harvested this morning.  Hot temperatures slowed up the crops enough to warrant a new crop in their place.  Pickling cucumbers will replace their spot after a good amendment of compost goes in.  In six weeks time we will be adding to the  pantry, dilly pickles, bread and butter pickles and some sweet gherkins.

Light pruning, weeding and harvesting every morning keep things under control and while these could be daunting at times if not kept under control, a little work in the morning goes a long way and brings peace to the soul.

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July’s End

What a busy month! We jumped into July with sailing temperatures at 112 degrees. Pretty typical for July in Southern Utah, just always hard to get used to! Our garden stressed, wilted, but somehow it again survived. The heirloom tomatoes have produced like no other year! I would like to think my new planting mix did the trick. But I can’t dismiss the fact that I was very diligent about spraying kelp tea and liquid bone meal, covering with row cover and treating them like a baby.  We have had beautiful heirlooms of every color shape and size. I have my favorites again this year. Golden King of Siberia, a HUGE yellow heirloom. Although it has only produced a slight bit more than a dozen tomatoes, they have all been over 1-1/2 pound fruit. This one is not acidic, but it is very sweet. Bread & Salt is another huge tomato that produced heavy with several weighing in at just over 2 pounds. One of my most productive tomatoes so far this year was the Orange Fleshed Purple Smudge. The purple smudge, is just that, a fun little smudge on the shoulders. Off of one plant we probably picked over 4 dozen tomatoes, and it’s still going strong. Beautiful, although it’s not my favorite, others who tried, enjoyed the flavor. There is a tomato for everyone! Everyone’s favorite this year is the Kiwi. Resembling its color, not so much the flavor. Mild, but still that great old-fashioned tomato flavor with a twist! You might think it is not ripe, but once convinced green is ripe with this guy, you will be hooked!

Just when we thought we couldn’t take the heat any more we were hit with moisture and lots of it! We did get hail the size of a nickel, but luckily this year there was not much damage. Before the July rains, our rainfall for 2012 was only 3″! We have received over 3.5″ of rain within the last few weeks. Oh, the vegetable garden has greened up, grown like crazy with the lightning storms which has helped the plants grab the nitrogen!

Our dairy goat, Ivy is producing over 3/4 a gallon per milking. This is her first year, so she is doing super.  She does get the best hay, organic grain and plenty of healthy bites from the garden. Both her twins are growing like weeds. If you have never had a baby goat, you are missing out in the amusing show of jumping around the barn yard full of energy (energy I wish I could bottle).  We have made kefir, feta, summer cheese and buttermilk. This is when the chores pay off!

We had chaos in the milking barn when our mother rabbit escaped, and when I opened the door to the barn she bolted in and disappeared behind the hay storage. Yup! She’s a rabbit! 5 new babies. We had little fast hoppers running in an out of the hay until my daughter sat patiently with me till we had them all caught. Even though we have homes for all of them, well…..She’s mama is a AGAIN! You know that old saying…They breed like rabbits. It’s true, she certainly has it figured out!!!

Casper (the perfect cat) wasn’t feeling well, so off to the vet we went.  The poor little guy had to have all but a few teeth removed. The few that are left are for decoration purpose only. It’s only been three weeks he is back to normal. Sleeping on the cash register, roof of the barn, and tomato patch and screaming for food. Not up to being a farm cat, but then again, he never was! Maybe this will slow him down on chewing my nursery stock of herbs! Doubt that!

Bottling tomatoes, drying fruit, preserving currants and roasting peppers have been big on the list of chores with peaches, pears, figs and apples on their way to ripen. The constant fallen fruit pick up is a must so we don’t get brown rot in our fruit in years to follow. Good hygiene in the garden is added work right now, but well worth it in the long run. We have fewer disease, pest and problems when old fruit and veggies are removed and tossed into the compost pile. Tomatoes, or anything else for that matter that has dead leaves, should be removed in case of blight or other disease. This stops or at least slows the problem. Don’t use diseased plant matter as a mulch!  Remove it from the garden.

Believe it or not the greenhouse is back in swing! Several flats of brassica are started and getting sized up for fall planting. Keeping the little seedlings wet is so important! Brassica family, especially cauliflower does not produce well later on if they are allowed to dry out at any time of their life!

This is the time of year where the heat ‘peters’ us out, but if we can preserver, fall is just around the corner and this is sometimes the best of all the harvests. Tomatoes aren’t as watery, peppers don’t get sunscald and flavor seems to improve. Keep weeds in check to save yourself time later. Even if all you can do is cut off the seed heads. Deadhead your perennials for lasting blooms. Start to fertilize again when new blooms develop. Remove diseased plants so as not to spread. Side dress with compost. Compost will help keep the soil moist, cool and add tilth. If you have plants that are struggling, give them a hair cut to revive them and boost them with some kelp tea.

Enjoy the rest of the summer. Sit down in the evening with a glass of lemonade in your garden and watch the sunset.

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Filed under Gardening, Goats, Heirlooms, Life on the Farm

Casper, Here Kitty Kitty

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It has been a little while since I have mentioned anything about Casper the Perfect Cat and I guess Casper has quit the following.  People have stopped in to see Casper and see what busy things he has been up to and I have received e-mails asking about him.  After all he is a sweet little guy.  So I thought I would give you the low down on his busy life.  Often times we have gardening classes at our place and Casper likes to get involved in the learning.  Getting ready for winter I covered my garden with protective row cover, of course, Casper came to the rescue and he became a row cover weight as he quickly makes a bed with the soft lettuce below.  Big Day!  Out in the sunshine keeping the crops warm.  Hard life for a cat on the farm!  He has been helping me type out a blogs….As you can see in the picture he quickly fell asleep, but it was the thought that counted. Over worked and never enough treats!    Another occasion, he spent many an hours sewing, or at least on the sewing table adjusting himself only once during the day when I seemed to bother him when I reached for the scissors he was laying on.  And to think, we thought he would be a good mouser.  HA!   One word that often comes from my husbands mouth is, “Worthless”.  He just doesn’t fully understand Casper.  Casper has always liked baskets, high, low, inside, outside, or where ever they are he always seems to find them.  Maybe he is pursuing a career in basket weaving.  He is just taking his time studying the weaves of the baskets.  Anyway Casper is still plugging along, with his many (or not so many) tasks of the day, ever so spoiled and getting his beauty sleep.  This March Casper turns 13.   I can’t really say he has slowed down when he was always taking he time, or should I say “taking a nap”.  Enjoy his pictures and stop in and say hi to the ‘Perfect’ cat, Casper.  He will win your heart over!

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