It’s Football Time in Tennessee!

Wish that I was on ol’ Rocky Top
Down in the Tennessee hills
Ain’t no smoggy smoke on Rocky Top
Ain’t no telephone bills
Once I had a girl on Rocky Top
Half bear, other half cat
Wild as a mink, but sweet as soda pop
I still dream about that

The kids are back in school, the days are getting shorter, the nights are getting cooler (no, not really) and starting this week, college football begins!!!  If you didn’t know it, East Tennessee becomes a beautiful shade of orange this time of year and I don’t just mean the color of the leaves.  We really love our Vols and aren’t afraid to wear orange every Friday and Saturday (and the occasional Thursday).  We have a ginormous stadium, we have the Vol Navy and we have Rocky Top (you should really read all the lyrics for this song…if you haven’t gathered from the opening verse, it’s a hoot!).  Thankfully, the Tennessee Volunteers are part of the SEC and not the ACC. That way, I can pull for the Vols and still be true to my first love, my Carolina Tarheels.  It’s a win win for me!  For those of you who are not Carolina Tarheel or Tennessee Vol fans, well, bless your heart.

Labor Day is almost upon us, the days are getting shorter, the garden is a mess and I am not getting anymore fresh cucumbers, corn, lima beans or zucchini.   We are still waiting for the sweet potatoes which will come out in late September. We have been overrun with grass in the garden this year so the Hubs had to take the weed eater to it.  We pulled out the Swiss Chard (I think 24 bags of Chard in the freezer is enough for now) and the bean bushes and one of the more unruly tomato plants and gave the chickens a treat.  Can you see the fall fodder that is still in the garden?  Yippee! Our own fodder this year!  Fodder fodder fodder!  Maybe next year we will grow pumpkins…

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Do you know that I did not can a single tomato this year?  It’s not that I didn’t have enough to can or that I was too lazy to do it; I just didn’t use any of the ones I canned last year, so I still have a lot of canned tomatoes on the shelf (not to mention green beans in the freezer). Therefore, I decided to put the current tomatoes to different uses.  Apparently when you can things, you are supposed to use them too.  That way, you make room to can some more.  I tell ya, this whole homesteading thing sure has a learning curve! What am I using the tomatoes for if not for canning you ask?  Well, let me tell you. I have made a boatload of Tomato/Cucumber/Onion salad, some tomato/mozzarella/basil salad, some pesto chicken with tomatoes and mozzarella, some salsa AND I made some yummy gazpacho. If you have never had gazpacho or don’t know what the heck it is, you are in for a treat.  Gazpacho is a Spanish-style tomato based soup that is served cold. You can add whatever other veggies you want, but it all is based upon the lovely tomato.   Also, I have added a new thingy to the blog to allow me to post recipes!  So, let’s give this puppy a try!

 

OMG!! How fun is that?? I am so going to be posting more recipes!  I can’t believe it has taken me this long to do this!  It’s really the little things.  I love these new fangled technology things!  I might even start using my hand held computer as a telephone! You know, to call people.

Alas, we lost another Dominique this past week.  I think it might have actually been Runtie this time and that we didn’t lose Runtie in July, we lost a different Dominique.  Really, they are pretty darn hard to tell apart.  My guess is she had an issue with lice that she just couldn’t recover from.  It was sad.  EWWWW….that means the other girls most likely also had an issue with lice. What’s a girl to do?  Take drastic measures, that’s what.  We cleaned out the entire house and put new bedding in along with Diatomaceous Earth and some poultry dust. Then we put the DE and some dust all in the runs and the sand boxes so that when they lay down in the dirt or sandbox they can get it on them and wipe out those nasty things.  It looked like it snowed in August!  THEN we sprayed the girls with Coconut oil.  I know, right?  Hey, I put a chicken in a bucket and fed it tums.  These girls don’t like us to get near them much less touch them to begin with, so we it was quite comical to watch us trying to catch them and spray them.  But, we did it and I am sure they are all the better for it! That should take care of the issue.  Nope, it sure doesn’t! What?  You didn’t know I could read minds?  It’s like you really don’t know me at all.  No, the lice has no effect on the eggs in any way.  The critters just make the girls quite miserable.  Upon more research, I discovered the lice is also probably the reason for the drop in egg production as well as bald butts!  Yes, some of the girls have bald butts and no, I won’t show you their bald butts…that’s just wrong of you to want to see them, not to mention they would be so embarrassed!  So, after all of this I am looking forward to an uptick in the number of eggs.  That is at least until they molt again.  It’s always something, isn’t it?  At least we will soon have the new girls in the runs and hopefully be getting eggs from them!  Look, they are almost all grows up! They are using big girl feeders too!

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The bees are doing great (thank heavens!), thank you for asking.  This is a drastic improvement from this time last year.  We have kept all four colonies alive and they are (knock on wood) continuing to thrive.  We plan to do a final harvest sometime late October/early November after the amazing fall flow that I just know we will have.  It’s called the power of positivity, people. Use it.  No, really we need you to please think positive thoughts and send positive vibes and do your positivity dance so that we can get more honey.  It’s all for you anyway.  I do all of this for you.  Anyhoo, I decided it a good idea to remove the third deep box from the bigger orchard hive because they aren’t making honey right now and they had not drawn it out, so it was really just taking up space and it could make it harder to defend the hive against hive beetles.  I used the same technique as we did to harvest the second time, which was a lid that has felt on the inside and black plastic on the top.  I sprayed some stuff that the bees don’t like on the felt, put it on the box and let it heat up.  Then, all the bees left that box and I removed it.  The second picture below shows just one frame of honey that is in the second deep that will be for the bees over winter.  They have done a beautiful job.  We will harvest the honey out of the small medium box you see to the left of the hive this fall.

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Hey kids, don’t forget, you can get a little bit of the White Collar Homestead at your house!  We have our koozies for sale and lip balm for sale! I think I am going to try to make some hats too!  You can go to our store right over there on the right and make your purchases!→→→→

May your days be sunny, your nights be cool and your football team be victorious!  Oh and I guess, may the odds be ever in your favor…or may the force be with you…or whatever, you get the gist!

Rocky Top, you’ll always be
Home sweet home to me
Good ol’ Rocky Top-Whoo!
Rocky Top, Tennessee
Rocky Top, Tennessee
Rocky Top, Tennesseeeeeeeeeee

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