Farm living is the life for me
An Outdoorsman’s Journal
Hello friends, In the morning I am leaving for a seven-day fishing trip to Lake Gogebic with the Canada Gang, who, this year anyway, will be the Yooper Gang. I am crazy busy as I am doing the final touches in my three gardens, it’s my birthday and I have to meet the guys at the Coloma exit early in the morning.
As many of you may know, I grow, catch or shoot much of my food and I do just as much canning and freezing as growing and harvesting.
I put in four crops of sweet corn and just planted the last one yesterday. I also do this with green beans, broccoli, zucchini and summer squash. I will have fresh sweet corn from mid-July until the first frost. All my adult life I have frozen corn and pretty much hated the job because I did not like blanching corn and then having to cut it off the cob when it is still warm.
Here is the simplest and best tasting frozen corn recipe I can give you and it comes from Jeff Moll’s ma, Elaine Podell.
Fifteen cups of corn that you simply cut off the ear (no blanching), 1.25 cups of sugar, four cups of ice water and two teaspoons of salt. Mix it together and bag. I try to remember to double bag it in one-quart bags and my goal is always to have 70 days of fresh corn and 50 quart bags of frozen.
I did not buy any calves last year, so I am temporarily out of the cattle business and have put a new garden in what was a small pasture that now has very healthy soil. In that garden, I have 300 hills of Yukon Golds and Red Pontiacs and enough butternut squash to give me 150 to 200 squash and enough acorn squash to give me maybe 50.
On the outside edge of this 90-yard long garden are three rows of planted field corn. I did this because I like the look in the fall and winter, and it will give my chickens something to do by eating the kernels off the corn all winter and then making manure in my garden.
In that same garden I have 36 tomato plants that simply could not look better. They will make 70 quarts of salsa starting about Aug. 1. Until I learned the following trick, I always had problems with my tomato plants falling over. Due to good gardening practices my tomatoes get from 5 to 8 feet tall.
Some farm friends of mine use 54-inch woven wire. They cut it so that when rolled up it is maybe 30 inches across. This is put over the young tomato plant and then it is staked with a steel fencing post that you pound into the ground. As the plant grows, you raise the wire and retie it onto the steel pole.
You absolutely will not believe the results, much taller and wider plants that can handle more and larger tomatoes that get much better sun.
A farm term for this wire would be hog fencing.
I purchased my first chicks when I was 21 years old and have had laying hens much of my life. I currently have about 15 Rhode Island reds that are three years old and will not lay much this winter but give me about nine eggs a day right now. On June 4, I picked up a dozen one-day old chicks from Integrity Feeds in Mauston. The chicks will start laying at about five months of age and will put out plenty of eggs this winter when the old girls take a winter break.
I also make applesauce the years I have apples. On a good year, I make about 40 quarts. This year my 10 trees had plenty of blossoms, but it appears I will only have half the apples that I had last year.
I am, as I said at the start of this column, crazy busy. If there was a drone over my head filming me it would show a skinny, white guy that is always barefoot, gets pretty tan by the end of the summer, and unless it’s campfire or swimming pool time, is always moving.
My easy season starts after deer gun season and I actually find sleeping in a snow bank as a time to rest and not feel like something needs to be planted, watered, hoed or harvested.
Gogebic here we come!