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Little Farm On The Hill   HUMPHRYS renamelogo


So far this summer has turned out to be one of the best I've had in a long time, for a number of reasons. Right now the one I'm thinking of the most is the rain and the milder than normal temperatures. I haven't needed to water but once or twice since the seedlings became established. I've also tried a few new things in the garden, like planting basil at the base of my vining crops, and  intermixing my vining crops with other things, such as gourds for drying, along side of the pumpkins and watermelons, Indian bitter melons and Asian bitter melons.

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I'm growing cucumbers too, but have been lackluster, to say the least. I have tomatoes in just about every bed because I grew so many I couldn't throw any of them away, and boy are they kicking butt!  I will admit to sprinkling 7 dust on my squash and pumpkins early on for about 2 weeks until they were able to sustain themselves. I'm hoping that we have survived beyond the initial hatching of squash bugs. I don't know if it works that way but we're going to go with that. I looked everything over really well today and saw neither hide not hair of a squash bug. What I did see was a multitude of tiny melons, gourds and luffas!


So we've been picking a lot, and I mean a LOT of produce! Asian Yard Long  beans are coming into their own as well as the Yellow Wax and purple pole beans, not to mention tomatoes summer squash, loads of herbs and carrots. Between those and the beets, jalapenos, and onions, we've been eating a lot of fresh foods! 

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I made a quick pickle brine for refrigerator pickles. Jarred up beans with some onion and a sweet banana pepper, as well as 2 cucumber with onions and banana pepper.

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For the brine, I used:

2 cups water
2/3 cups of white vinegar
3 Tbls sugar
1 Tbls salt and a pinch of black pepper
Optional: mulling spices (allspice berries, cloves, cinnamon stick)


Add or subtract according to your preference. Just make it your own!
Mix it all in a bowl, stuff the jars with veggies and poured the brine over.  We tasted some at supper time. The peppers and onions were really good, but I think the beans need more brine time in the fridge. And I also think I need to plant waaaay more onions this fall. We are going through them too fast!

Another fun idea that finally made it to fruition is this handy, dandy grill.

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This barrel was something my brother was using in the barn once upon a time to hold hay or something. All I know is that it was lying about looking very lonely and neglected and begging for a reason to exist, so I gave it one. I put a cement block inside to hold an old galvanized pan, putting the heat perfect distance from the grill top. And speaking of grill top, I was hunting for a piece of expanded metal about 2'x3'. They all come in 8' lengths and I have no way of cutting it. Then one day, I saw this on the side of my Dad's old tractor top!  The rest, as they say, is history. Yes it was has been on that topper for 40 years. But it was superficial rust and burned off easily with a roaring fire beneath it. I then brushed it clean with a wire brush till it shone, and seasoned it with cooking oil, brushing over it 4 times on each side. While it was still hot, I dumped out the pan and started the charcoal. We cooked chicken wings and some ripe plantains directly on it with no sticking! The best part is that the corners hang over the edge and never get hot. I do need to look for a big lid, but the one from my wok worked in a pinch.


I candled the eggs in the incubator July 7th.  Yesterday we woke to 7 little black and yellow babies peeping away! 

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5 more hatched throughout the day and 2 died in the night, but we've have more hatch this morning and there are 3 more working their way out now! I tell them each "happy birthday!" when I bring them to the brood box to meet their siblings. Corny, I know, but it's fun. So far we have 13 happy chicks. And speaking of chicks, black chicken has adopted all 7 of the incubator chicks!

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Meeka the dog has recovered from her spaying and the pups are still growing. Petri the duck led his flock into the porch yesterday. I don't know what they meant to accomplish, but it was loud for a few minutes until they turned around and went on their way.

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I said one of the things that has made this summer the best in a long time was the weather and how wonderful it is making the garden. The other thing is that I got married!

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This is finally a happy home...God is blessing us and our whole farm life in so many way. So stay tuned! There's more to come!   

Jill with chick and sig


Future articles will include information about gardening, meat birds, egg birds, photos and lots of project ideas.

For further information, to ask a questions or to suggest a program topic, contact Jill Humphrys at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..