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Babies are here!!!

It had been a crazy busy week on the farm! We have had 12 goat kids and 7 puppies born with some of the lowest temperatures we’ve experienced here.  Heat lamps are a critical item on the farm this year. Thankfully everyone is healthy and doing well. The puppies just started barking and it is the cutest sound ever.  Please contact me  at to reserve a puppy or goat. We have some very strong looking buck kids this year. They would make excellent herd sires. Every farm needs a Maremma. They are invaluable!

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Making Apple Butter

This year we decided to make apple butter for the first time. It was fun! You definitely need friends to help because there is work involved. First we stayed up late peeling and pureeing the apples. We used Roma and Golden Delicious from a local orchard. Dave said that Eli Whitney had nothing on the inventor of the apple peeler/corer/ slicer. We made 19 gallons of apple mash in a few hours with only 4 people working!

The next morning we woke up early and got the fire started. We used our friend’s copper kettle and stirring paddle. We stirred and stirred and stirred and stirred. We had 5 gallons of apple mash that wouldn’t fit in the pot so we made apple sauce as a side project.  Toward the late afternoon the apple butter was almost ready so we sterilized jars, lids and rings to hold our beautiful apple butter. The stirring crew added sugar, cinnamon, allspice and cloves. We had a crazy assembly line of pouring hot apple butter into jars, capping it and carrying it into the kitchen. We made 75 pints of apple butter in one day! We were all exhausted but very happy with the finished product. We listened for the jar lids sealing all evening. It is absolutely delicious!!!…a day well spent!

Our secret apple butter recipe:

In a 15 gallon copper kettle put as much apple puree as will fit and cook down. We added 14 gallons of apple puree total. Cook the apples for 7 hours while stirring constantly.  Put a couple tablespoons on a paper plate. Run a spoon through the middle of the apple butter if no liquid appears in the gap then it is time to add the sugar and spices. We added about 17 lbs. of sugar, 1/3 cup cinnamon, 1 small container cloves and 1/2 small container of allspice. Let the mixture cook a little longer and then do the paper plate test again. If no liquid appears again then it’s ready. Start canning it! The spice mixture is according to person preference so taste the apple as you add them a little at a time. Did I mention there is a lot of stirring involved.

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The chickens are laying!

I have been impatiently waitnew egging (patience is not one of my strengths) for our new layer hens to actually start laying. Well today we started seeing more eggs and some smaller white ones. Yay! Now we can really start selling eggs. Our new layers are a mix of Pearl White Leghorns, Partridge Rocks, and Rhode Island Reds. We have 2 roosters (We only ordered one).  We will be able to incubate eggs and won’t have to buy chicks anymore generic cialis overnight delivery. More about roosters and chicken breeds in upcoming posts. You can see the size difference in the eggs in the picture.

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The chicken are happy and are all in the proper field! Orion is being an awesome guardian.

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Chicken Thieves of the Night

Tonight we moved our young chickens out to pasture with our older layers. Just as it was getting dark we tiptoed into the chicken coop, captured each chicken one at a time, clipped their wings and transferred them to the pasture chicken house buy cialis overnight shipping. Surprisingly, it went very smoothly. With all four of us helping it went very quickly too. It was too dark for pictures but I will post some tomorrow. Hopefully the chickens will be happy together in the pasture.

We have our guard dog Orion in the pasture protecting the chickens. As we transferred them to the new coop he had to check out each one and lick it on the face.

The added bonus for tonight was shining our lights into the pond and getting to see all the life contained there. We saw young newts with gills, giant dragonfly larva, leeches, a peeper that still had its tail, snails and much more. I love living at Watermark Farm!

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Swimming with Bears

Last week after a hot day of farm work we were swimming at our favorite spot in the river. <img class="alignright wp-image-526 size-medium" src="×300.jpg" alt="island" width="230" height="300" srcset="×300.jpg 230w,×1024.jpg 787w,×96.jpg 73w,×128.jpg 98w, cialis no prescription.jpg 797w” sizes=”(max-width: 230px) 100vw, 230px” />The picture shows our swimming hole with an island on the left. I was in the water at the middle of the island facing Dave downstream at the lower end of the island. All the sudden Dave says “Whoa, look at that!” He didn’t yell but I could tell by his tone of voice that there was something unusual behind me. I turn around quickly and see a black bear crossing the river at the top of the island!!! The bear goes to the other side of the river and sits and watches us for 15 minutes. His head was framed in green vegetation and he just sat and watched. Eventually he went on his way. We kept swimming but took turns keeping watch. West Virginia is definitely wild and wonderful! (Of course we didn’t have our camera with us but I have included a clip of a bear from a different part of the farm.) Black Bear Clip

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Chasing Pigs in the Dark

pink pig

The escapee

Last week we were very excited to bring home 10 piglets. We love having pigs on the farm. Given the ordeal of having to chase pigs to load them onto the trailer, we started construction of a new chute and small pen which would hopefully make loading and unloading a lot easier.  Well the weather didn’t cooperate and we weren’t totally finished with the chute. The last thing to do was move a fence line so that we could back the trailer right up to the chute.

<img class="wp-image-514 " src="http://www Full×168.jpg” alt=”happy pigs” width=”302″ height=”169″ srcset=”×168.jpg 300w,×576.jpg 1024w,×54.jpg 96w,×72.jpg 128w” sizes=”(max-width: 302px) 100vw, 302px” />

Happy pigs in their new pen.

We got close. So the girls held a gate on one side and I held a cattle panel on the other. Dave chased the pigs out of the trailer. A pink pig came out first and squeezed between the cattle panel and trailer and ran …Luckily the other nine didn’t follow and we got them safely into the pen.

The pig ran down the driveway and it was almost dark. The pig could have gone anywhere. A pink piglet in the woods alone at night is not going to make it. We grabbed flashlights and headed on a pig hunt. Our dog Orion ran into the woods below the house and I could hear the pig grunting. We went through the woods and circled back to the house. There was the pig at our back steps. Whew! Dave grabbed it and carried it up to the pen. (No small feat). We still have 10 happy piglets safely in their pen. It’s always an adventure at Watermark Farm!

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Pigs and strawberries

There is never a perfect time to start anything so here is the start of our farm blog.  Today on the farm began with…To market, to market to buy a fat hog (or 4) then home again, home again jiggity jog. Here are our 4 new pigs sleeping in the grass after a long ride in the trailer.Movie A Dog’s Purpose (2017)

I am so happy to have pigs on the farm again. They are neat animals. They eat all of our kitchen and garden scraps and help us improve pastures. I realized tonight how much I enjoy walking up to the pig pen after dinner to feed them leftovers and scraps.

After we got home the strawberry patch was calling to me. So we harvested this and made this:

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There were so many strawberries that we can’t eat them all right now. So a batch of strawberry freezer jam is in order. If you have never canned or preserved anything before, I encourage you to start with this. Here if a summary of the recipe:

It is the same as the one in the Sure-Jell fruit pectin packets. It is soooooo easy and soooooo delicious. It brings back memories of eating my grandma’s homemade jam on buttery toast.  I made 2 batches. The first one didn’t gel but no worries. We ate some over vanilla ice cream and it tasted like homemade strawberry ice cream. YUM! Another great day at Watermark Farm!