Cricket Song Farm

Cricket Song Farm

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The best Farm Dog EVER!

 Fifteen years ago we rescued a Golden Retriever and her nine pups.  When the puppies were weaned, we were fortunate to find them all good homes.  The kids chose this beautiful, sweet little pup to keep for ourselves and named her Eppie M. after a character in one of their favorite books.

 "How did you train Eppie dog not to step on the vegetables or flowers?'  my daughter asked me this past summer.  I replied," I didn't"......,she just knew to stay in the narrow foot paths throughout the acres of growing veges.  There were a few times in the spring that she would get a bit confused because the freshly tilled ground all looked the same, but a simple "Eppie get out" was all that was needed and she would scurry off the freshly planted area.  She never chased the hens, sheep or goats, but would spend her morning chasing after the large long-legged Jack Rabbits that plagued the farm.  You could always tell by her bark weather she was after a rabbit or protecting her farm from coyotes or other wandering dogs.  Eppie loved her little farm.  When she was 7 years old, we moved from Beryl to Northern Utah and of course we took her with us, but she was so un-happy.  She would lay on the lawn and refuse to eat, or even greet the kids when they came home from school.  After a couple of weeks and loosing an unhealthy amount of weight, I told my husband that I was going to take her back to the farm," she is just going to lay there and die".   I loaded her up and drove the 400 mile one way trip back to the farm.  I was concerned about leaving her there, we did have caretakers living in the mobile home on the farm that would feed her and keep an eye on her.  As soon as I turned off the paved road and she heard the gravel hitting the underbelly of the car, she sat right up and began to whimper.  Pulling onto the farm road I drove to the vegetable gardens and let her out.  She ran yelping and barking, turning in circles and a big happy grin on her face verified that she wanted to stay at the farm, that this was her home.  Over the next six years Eppie would stand  guard over our little farm, watching over her goats, chickens and sheep until I came in the early spring to do the planting, lambing and kidding. She was my constant companion as I worked the fields and escorted me up and down the lane to the farm several times during the night to check in on the does and ewes during the 2 month kidding season,  She followed me through the maze of garden pathways over the next six summers, and when the fall harvest season was over I loaded up and made the trip back up north without her.  The kids missed her over the long winter, but understood that was where she was happy.  They were however, able to spent many long, happy summer days with her, hunting rabbits, kangaroo rats, and any other varmints plaguing the farm.

This picture was taken just a couple of weeks before she passed on 

The past couple of years she has spent with us up north during the winter.  We tried once again to bring her up with the family and she adjusted o,k,  I guess she knew her time was short.  She would come down to the farm with me and the kids during the summer, carefully walking the garden paths, and chasing the rabbits, but not as fast and as far now.  

The cancer began as a small lump and quickly grew into a large oozing mass on her side.  The vet said because of her age, 15 years old, she was too old to operate.  Just take her home and she will probably die of old age before the cancer gets her.  However she went down hill fast, and when she went off her feed, and was suffering, we knew it was time to let her go.  I made my husband take her to the vet, I couldn't do it, but I said my goodbyes and thanked her for being the best farm dog ever, for helping raise my kids, for being my constant companion at the farm, and for NEVER/EVER walking on the plants and flowers.

Eppie M.  you were loved and cherished.  As we take you home to your little farm and bury you among the flowers and garden paths we are so grateful to have been your humans and once again,


Thursday, November 13, 2014


Harvested the last of the cabbage from the garden. 
 Cabbage can take a light frost, but when the teens are predicted you had better bring it in. 

Cabbage can be harvested in the spring, summer and fall.  The early or short day cabbages are harvested as soon as the heads are full and firm around 60 days after transplanting.  Mid season cabbages are harvested 70 to 90 days after harvesting.  My preferred cabbage to grow is the Late Flat Dutch.  This cabbage takes an entire growing season to mature, however the heads will produce over 20 pounds of cabbage each.  I plant all three varieties (early, mid, and late) and begin harvesting
 in early summer. 

new growth of smaller cabbages on the parent plant after harvesting the main head
this plant produced 6 additional heads.  Each head was about 6 inches in diameter.

The main head of this cabbage (early Dutch) was harvested in the early summer.  Cutting the cabbage head off just under the base and leaving the root and several bottom leaves in tack allows small new heads to develop on the leaf nodes.  This particular cabbage grew and additional 6 heads. 
 The second growth heads are much smaller than the initial head.  This method allows you to harvest cabbage throughout the season until winter frost kills the plant. 
 If you wish to store cabbage for use during the winter, uproot the whole plant (single original head) with as many roots intact as possible and hang it up in a root cellar or cold basement.  The heads will keep this way for several months.  If you have room in your fridge, you can store them in a plastic bag on the bottom shelf, they will keep for several months.  Check often for mold.

This is a picture of  second growth cabbage from a harvested plant.  They are small and tender.
click here for

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

FALL is my favorite time of year

The leaves have fallen off the Ash Trees,
I am slowly collecting them and piling them high in the garden to be tilled in. 
I will also be adding large barrels filled with goat manure I hauled up from the farm,
and sawdust from the firewood we have been cutting up in the back yard. A portion of the garden spot in Roosevelt is in an old gravel driveway.  I have been working
 on building up the soil and adding in loads and loads of humus over the past few years. 

these plants have been moved indoors and placed in a sunny window

I enjoy this time of year.
  The cool crisp mornings, the smell of frost in the air.  I hurriedly squirrel away
the last of the garden produce.  Digging potatoes and hauling boxes and boxes of them downstairs
into the cool basement storage room.  Carrots are next on my list. 
 They will be sliced, steamed and frozen.

TRY THIS:  Select 10 or more carrots and cut the bottom portion of the carrot off one inch from the top. Trim back the green tops to one half inch and then plant together in a pot using garden soil or potting mix. Leave just a small portion of the carrot and the green tops exposed. Place in a sunny south window.   Water frequently. The carrots will re-grow their lacy tops and make a beautiful houseplant.
Carrots purchased from a grocery store will also grow new tops.

The canning is done. I will be harvesting the last of the tomatoes from the vines hanging
 in the wood shed and making more oven dried tomatoes.

The crisp cool air reminds us that winter is on it's way. 
 Trips to the mountains after our winter wood is something else I love about fall.

Driving to the top of the world (well almost) 
 we gather in enough wood to get us through the winter.

Taking along a picnic lunch and plenty of water we spend several hours filling our
8 foot long trailer to the top.  Sure do miss the youngin's help, especially when there
 are 4 or 5 more loads to get. 
 After a long day's work out in the cold weather, nothing can compare with a nice warm fire in the wood stove and a cup of this decadent hot chocolate! 

Home-made hot chocolate mix:

4 cups dry powdered milk
2 cups powdered confectioners sugar
1 and 1/2 cups cocoa powder
1 cups non dairy creamer (try your favorite flavor)
1 12oz. pkg. of white chocolate chips 

Mix  together all ingredients except the white chocolate chips.  Splitting the batch in half, place half in a food processor.  Add half of the chips and pulse until fine.  Repeat a second time with remaining ingredients.  Stir both batches together and store in an airtight container.
  Use about 1/3c. mix in a mug and fill with hot water or milk.
 I carry it one step further and stir it with a plastic spoon I have dipped in melted chocolate.
To make the spoons use regular dipping chocolate and simply dip the spoons in the chocolate and place on a sheet of wax paper.. Make enough to get you through the winter and store in an air tight Freezer Bag.