Monday, December 5, 2011

The past few weeks have been crazy. The holidays seem to suck up my time and yet I don't get anything done. I write list after list. Forget my list, write a new list, lose the list, and so it goes... I have everything I need to finish my quilt except the knowledge on HOW to do it. That is on my list for tomorrow. I've been decorating for the Christmas season, a little here and there. I'm really not that into decorating. My Hubby thinks I'm a grinch, I just don't like doing it, I don't seem to have the creative urge to dress up the house. I have alot of empty spaces on my walls. I like it uncluttered. Mostly I don't like to clean and the more stuff hanging around means more dusting. Maybe my laziness makes me a minimalist? Now I do like to get crafty, that's making a mess, I like to make a mess, don't like to clean it up! My house right now is quite sparklely, perhaps that's not a word but really there are mica flakes everywhere. While I am not creative on my own I can be inspired by what I do see and copy it. I'm the horrible person at craft shows that thinks, I'm not paying $15 for that when I can make it myself! Probably why I'm such a bad salesperson because I hate selling something to people when I know they can make it or do it themselves. Hubby says I need to adjust my thinking process!
copied ideas!
Our tree is up and decorated. I use ornaments from when I was a child, ornaments Hubby and I picked out or the kids bought and homemade ones and the crafts the kids make at school. I have a second tree in my sitting room that isn't decorated yet. Well, it has beads and pearls wrapped around it, but no ornaments. Of course I don't have a picture of it because I forgot to take one! This year we are trying to simplify our Christmas. Help the children, and remind ourselves, what the true meaning of Christmas is, besides a materialistic mad dash to malls and stores to gather "stuff". This year we are focusing on family.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Staying in on a cold wet day

It's chilly this morning so I built the fire again.
I started my morning doing some cleaning and cooking. I put a chicken on the stove to make some stock. Love the smell of chicken cooking. Maybe it's the herbs I put in with it. It just makes me feel comfy! I ironed the quilt top again. I have to say I'm really excited about it. I added the red border and it really sets it off. I am inspired to make more. I even spent the evening cutting strips of fabric to make a dresdane plate quilt.
I took a few of the pumpkins, dropped off for the goats, and baked them off. I just couldn't see feeding the goats perfectly good pie pumpkins. They will get all the others!
As I was writing out the menu plan for the next two weeks, and the grocery list, I thought I'd make some snacks. I have all this pumpkin now so I made pumpkin bread.
Then I made another pumpkin bar cake that is still in the oven. I have to make the caramel frosting for that when it cools. So the house is warm and toasty. It smells of chicken and pumpkin/cinnamon, and the children will have homemade snacks for after school. Tonight's dinner is not chicken but pasta, because we have to go to a Pack meeting for my little Tiger Scout. Tomorrow we will be eating Chicken BBQ with Ranch potato wedges. I got that recipe from Heavenly Homemakers---love her blog! Now it's off to toss the laundry, and prepare for the whirlwind of children coming home from school!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

pinwheel baby quilt project

I set aside my sampler quilt to make a baby quilt. I didn't use the traditional pinks mostly because I didn't like any of the pinks I had and I really love these reds. I hope the mama likes this. I've never made a baby quilt or any quilt for that matter. I'm not sure if I should make a border or not. I have enough of the dark red fabric to do a border but not the light.
Notice the red ironing board cover? I made that too. I even have a draw string through it to keep it tight around the board.(Very proud of that)
This went together rather quickly. I used the sandwich method to make the half square triangle blocks. My Hubby laughed last night because I was a bit frustrated that I could whip out a baby blanket but it seems like my sampler is just taking way too long. I can see me making alot of baby blankets because it's instant gratification! So this week I have to go to the Quilt shop and get batting and a backing fabric. I'm thinking a flannel? I want it to be soft. And I'm going to attempt to hand quilt it because I have plenty of time and it isn't that big. I just need to find out how to hand quilt! lol .... So if anyone has any ideas about a border or hand quilting please let me know!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Lessons from the farm

Stay on your own side of the fence...or you'll get all caught up.
Poor Potter. He doesn't belong in the chicken pen, but he sneaked in when one of the kiddos wasn't paying attention. Trying to get out the small chicken door didn't work well for him. I don't know how he got his head in there but it wasn't going back through. So I had to humiliate him by taking his picture before rescuing him. See how annoyed he is. Robert grabbed the screw gun out of the barn and I took the top board off and pushed his head back through the door. He was quite happy to get to his own side of the fence! I guess I saw in farm world what we sometimes do in the real world. Get a little too curious, maybe covet what someone else has and we cross a line, get past a gate, climb a fence. Once there we realize it's not we we want, where we need to be, or very good for us. And then we discover we are stuck, trapped, alone. And to get out of the situation we have to deal with some uncomfortable attention.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Freezer is Full

Not one freezer... all of them. In fact I don't think I can buy ice cream or anything else because I have no room! Two upright freezers and two refridgerator freezers filled with chicken, beef, turkey, flour, oat meal, and whatever fruits and veggies I managed to freeze this summer. It feels good to have that food stored away. Like a weight lifted. Hubby is sleeping now, he's working night shift this week. I am going to go out and move the goats out to the field so they can eat up the grass while it is still green. Then off to do errands. I'm stocking up on tissues and dishwashing detergent. I'm going to make more laundry soap. I was reading Rhonda's post on Down to Earth, about using homeade liquid laundry soap for a household cleaner. I'm going to try that out. I really think I'm addicted to Lestoil. I thought it was the pine oil that I enjoy smelling, but I think it's the petroleum products in it! Well, the goats are calling me!!!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Quilt blocks

I worked on another block yesterday. It's amazing what you can get accomplished in one day when you want to reward yourself with "me" time! This is Turkey Tracks or Wandering Feet... I made this yesterday. I don't have alot of the measuring tools you're supposed to have so I had to use what was available. Not too bad I think. I just didn't get one square right which throws off the look. But I guess making a quilt is a learning experience and a journey of sorts so I don't mind the irregularity too much.
These the are the other blocks I have made. This sampler is from Ellen Burns...Egg Money quilts. I tried to take a class once and actually did do it for 6 weeks, but life got in the way. I've decided I'm going to finish this and just got down to reading the instructions and cutting and sewing. I only had to rip out stitches a few times.
There are four other block patterns to do, only they really do need the measuring tools I don't have. I also need some hands on instruction for them too. They are a bit more complicated. But until then, I can start cutting my lattice peices and corner squares. I think I enjoy sewing, even poorly, as much as I enjoy cooking and baking.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Here I am...

I know. I seemed to fall off the face of the earth. Life is crazy. The chickens are butchered and in my freezer. The steer is hanging out at the butcher's place. Sold four of the dairy goats. I've canned what I could, froze whatever was left. Some how the batteries disappeared from the house and I kept forgetting to get more from Hubby's truck. I needed the batteries for the camera. I could have had more interesting pictures of what's gone on since my last post .
This is the homemade pasta I made last night for dinner. My Aunt bought me a pasta machine for Christmas one year. I love it. Last night, my youngest and I took turns cranking the pasta through the rollers and then the cutters. The kids think it is fun and tastes better.
Pasta is simple to make. This batch I used 4Cups of flour, 4 eggs, 1t. salt, and a 1/2 C warm water. I used my dough hook on my mixer and then ran it through the pasta machine in batches. Hung it to dry a bit before cooking it. It takes a little time and muscle but it is cheaper than buying it. Plus I know what I put in it!
These are peppermint patties. I found the redipe in the Lancaster Farmer Newspaper. Simple and yummy. 1/4C karo syrup, 1/3C butter, 1/2t peppermint extract or to taste, 1lb 10x sugar, Chocolate wafers(coating chocolate)
Mix the first four ingredients together and form into patties. Freeze for 20 minutes while melting the chocolate. Coat the patties with the chocolate and allow to set. Less than an hour and you are a super mom!
Archery season is here and John had Charlie out practicing his form. It's best to take him by himself. All three boys with bows and arrows is not such a good idea. This child is the reason BB guns are banned from my house. two windshields at the cost of $212 each.
This is Charlies leg after he picked at a bug bite in his sleep. He ended up at the urgicenter on a Sunday morning getting antibiotics.
We went to the apple orchard on a Saturday. Dropped apples were $3 dollars a bushel.
They are such good apple pickers. I had to talk to the youngest about shaking the trees to make the apples drop...
Yummy...Best car freshener ever!
This is the view from the orchard. Worth the ride just for this!
This is my latest sewing project. I'm determined to get this quilt done. It's a sampler quilt with 13 blocks. This is block 8, the Dresdane Plate.
Last week John's grandfather passed away. It's sad but it was expected. Pap was a great guy. He loved his family and it is a large one at that, 97 decendents. Father, Grandfather, Great Grandfather and Great Great Grandfather.
Pap was a JunkMan. He went to sales and auctions and bought up stuff and sold it at the flea market. My girlfriends loved going to his place and rooting through the sheds. It was like digging for gold. Whatever you were looking for, he had. You just had to find it. And Haggling the price was just as much fun. Even if he paid a dollar for the box full of junk he would charge 5 for one item you found. If you tried to argue down he would tell you, "Well, I gotta have somethin for haulin it"
We did have an unexpected loss on the homestead. One of the little brown does died yesterday. She had taken sick last week. I'm pretty sure it was pneumonia and I thought we had it taken care of, she was doing much better Monday even playing with the children and escaping her pen. We had her isolated from the other goats. But yesterday morning when they went out to do chores she was lathargic and couldn't get her head up. We tried a energy drink of corn oil,molasses,and karo syrup, but it was too late. It was a hard one for the kiddos. But I guess it's another life lesson from the farm.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Home made Vanilla

I am making vanilla extract. I'm so excited. I ordered vanilla beans from Mountain Rose Herbs. I recieved 8 beans for $9. I think that works out to $1.13 a bean. I got the recipe from MaryJanesFarm Magazine. 2-3 vanilla beans split open seeds intact inside. 1 Cup Vodka ( or Brandy or Bourbon) Place the beans in a jar, cover with the vodka, cap tightly. Agitate once a day for four-six weeks. It will turn brown. Then strain the beans from the liquid and store the liquid in a dark colored bottle.
As we don't drink alcoholic beverages in our home I didn't have any vodka. One of my regular egg buying ladies stopped by today and I told her all about what I was doing. She said I'll be right back. She came back about five minutes later with a bottle of Vodka---how much did I need. So I got out my jar and we filled it up I split the beans and tossed them in the jar. Now my vanilla should be ready just in time for Thanksgiving baking! Perhaps I will be a litle extra cheery this year testing my vanilla!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Family Gathering

I have been busy. One mom said to me... You don't keep up with your blog, when you start getting serious about it let me know. I have four kids, a husband and a bunch of critters to care for, blogging is last on my mind somedays! I wish I had a delete button for real life situations. The insensitive comments from others and maybe the insensitive comments I make. I spent Saturday with family. Grandma is shrinking or the Grandbabies are growing. They are so excited they are taller than my Mama!
The boys/men(who acted like boys) playing mini golf. We, the ladies took much longer.
Everyone stomach still hurts from all the food and we still brought a bunch back home!
We couldn't spend the whole weekend because we have critters to care for. Luckily I have good neighbors who said they would feed and water them all while we were gone. She did a great job and said she enjoyed it too! Hmmm will definitely keep her in mind the next time we need to be gone. It is times like this weekend that I sometimes wish we had the freedom to come and go, but in long term, I'm glad we have the life we do. I ordered essential oils from Mountain Rose Herbs. As soon as I get them I'm making the salve. I still need to get lye for soap making. My Mama bought me an immersion blender so I could make my soap. I LOVE my Mama. I have been crocheting dishcloths everynight. I find crocheting so relaxing I'll post pics of them later. I need to do more work on embroidery...but I have to think doing that! Hubby is working later this week so I may have more time to blog!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Mad Cow!!!!

MooMoo, my Jersey Steer, pulled his stake from the field. With all the water we had it was a wonder he didn't do it sooner. But of course it had to happen when Hubby was not home. So he's attatched to Hubby's trailer and going a bit mad because he saw me come in the house and he wants me back out. He's out there mooing like crazy! He's got water I gave him a pat of hay, plenty of grass to eat, but no... he's flipping out.
The neighbors dog who runs loose is now barking. If she comes close to the steer I'm not sure what will happen. MooMoo has horns and he's not afraid to use them. There just is not a dull moment at my house!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Cleaning up....

We were lucky. I am so thankful that the water didn't destroy our home or barn. Compared to the towns further south, we had puddles. I was surrounded by water. We have a stream that runs down one side of the property and a creek tha runs across the back and a ditch that carries road drainage down the other side of the property. Shwew...
This is PenDot cleaning out the drains. We had lots of fun with them. She gave that poor guy bending over, a wedgie. She didn't want him to fall in. For our part, now all we need to do is clean up the mud and stones washed into the yard. Clean out the barn because the drains in the barn filled up and created puddles. I told the kiddos, this is why it's so important to sweep the barn! Wet hay is heavy! Luckily, we hadn't put all new bedding in the pens for winter yet. That saves us some money. For others, they are still pumping out their basements. Surrounded by all that water and having it flood into the yard, we only had 5 inches of water in our basement. My brother who lives on a hill in the middle of town had 2 feet of water in his basement. Neighboring towns lost homes and businessess. Two bridges were washed out and several roads are wrecked. There were a few helicopter rescues from roof tops, but thankfully, I have not heard of any loss of life. People did have plenty of time to get to high ground and move valuables out of the way. When the water came, it came fast and deep! I am truly thankful this was all we had in damage. I am also thankful that we were prepared for emergencies. Flashlights, batteries, lamp oil, and lighters. Gas in the generator. (That was funny because the kids wanted the generator for TV but we have broiler chicks in the barn that needed heat.) Then my Hubby quickly went out and restocked our supply and grabbed a few extra wicks too. We are more serious about getting a gas stove. We have a propane tank and regulator I just need to get the range. I think it will be my new savings project. After talking to several Gas workers about the need of housing, I'm more interested in getting the rooms above the summer kitchen fixed up. Another project. Well, time to move on and get something accomplished today!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Mini canning marathon

I love mini canning sessions! I really like when I am only canning one thing. It's not quite as time consuming or messy. But this week I was gifted a large bag of beans and my grapes were ready AND the 1/2 bushel of beets I asked for were delivered. So Yesterday morning I juiced my grapes and put the juice aside while I snipped the beans. I washed all my jars and pressure canned my beans. I got a whole canner load, 7qrts of beans. I was excited because I had used a bunch the night before for dinner.
While the canner was cooling I made my grape jam. Usually I water can it, but my jars were hot and it wasn't a full canner load so I just flipped them upside down and let them seal that way. Jam gets used up quickly here so I'm not too worried it will spoil.
My kitchen was a mess, grape juice staining my counter, and the kids came home STARVING... My beets will get done this morning or this afternoon.
I had tossed back and forth about how I wanted to can the beets. Laziness won out and I'm going to pickle them all. I burnt my arm on the pressure canner yesterday and it takes longer to make them that way too. I have to get this all done because the farmer who runs the feed mill says I can have as many green beans as I want come picking time which is pretty soon! What I'm learning about homesteading is networking. I don't have to grow it all myself. Barter and trade or in some cases taking the left overs. Which reminds me to call the apple orchard. If I go pick up dropped apples I get them for $3 a bushel if I pick from the tree it's $6 a bushel. Either way it's cheap! I LOVE Fall! I smell it in the air, I want to cook and bake and can.... I'm getting Giddy with excitement!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Updated pics of my critters

Our new set of broilers they are so cute and fluffy at first.

This is Moo-Moo the Jersey Steer. He will be leaving the farm at the end of October.

This is Soupy our surprise goat kid. It's from being under educated in goat handleing. But she's a gorgeous goat with beautiful form and a baby doll personality. Even my Hubby enjoys her and he doesn't make friends with the critters.

I'm on the hunt for hay. My usual supplier told me he couldn't sell me anymore because he still had 35 steer he had to winter this year. So, I'm down sizing my herd and my laying hens so that I will not have too much of a heavy feed bill. Craigslist has been working well for us. I posted a few of Hubby's tools and sold some and I listed my dairy goat kids and laying hens. I sold 7 hens the day after I posted it! I had a few questions about the goats but no buyers yet.

Today I need to go get layer mash and run some errands for my Hubby. When the kiddos get home I'm going to have them help me trim hooves. Molly's hooves are begining to look like elf shoes!
Hopefully I can get pics of that to post.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

***Giveaway @ Faithfulness Farm!

Faithfulness Farm is having a giveaway. Click on the link and check out her blog! Always great recipes and inspiration.

OK, the link doesn't pop up...I'm a tech idiot. lol... I'll have to ask my 10 yr old how to do this... But Faithfulness Farm is on my side bar head on over. I also really like that she has the recipes in a printable version so you don't have to write it out or print three pages for one recipe!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Fermenting cabbage and making lavender oil

I went to the farm market and they were selling cabbage $1 a head. So I bought five heads and the farmer threw in two more small heads. I brought it home and had my little helpers peel off the outer layers. And then I shredded the cabbage,which would have been much easier if the food processor would have worked. But a good sharp knife and a cutting board and my farm girl muscles did the job. It was actually kind of therapeutic since I'm a little stressed.

I have a food grade pickle barrel that I pack my cabbage into because I cannot afford a real crock. It's on my wish list. And when I was at the Prim shop I saw stompers there and didn't buy one. I should have! I used my Pampered Chef meat tenderizer, it really is a multipurpose tool, works great on crushing nuts and crackers too!
So I layer 5lbs of cabbage with 3 Tablespoons of salt and stomp. I had a pretty good helper with that too...

and then continue to layer the cabbage and salt and stomp. When I was done, I put a layer of the washed off outer leaves on top and filled a garbage bag with water and set it inside the barrel. The weight of the water will keep the cabbage pressed down and the gasses will be able to come out without anything else getting into the cabbage. Now it will sit in my basement for eight weeks and when it is fermented I will can it in jars. Never again will I put kraut in my freezer. It makes everything in the freezer taste like sauerkraut!

And then...

I got this from The Morris Tribe blog...I'm going to figure out how to create links. But I'm making lavender oil. All I did was put dried lavender spears into a canning jar and pour olive oil over it. It is setting on my window sill in a few weeks it will be lavender oil. I also bought beeswax at the Farm market. That was $1 for a 1 ounce block of wax. I'm not sure if that is a good price or not but it's from a local family. I also buy all my honey from them.
I am going to make a lavender salve to rub on all those dry rough areas and give it away as Christmas gifts! Shh don't tell anyone!

Sunday, August 14, 2011


MICHELE at Body and Soul wins the Mrs. Meyers book. Thank you so much for your support!
My goal is to start posting regularly. My dream has always been to be a writer but I've never committed to anything. I read all the time, book after book. Sometimes I read books that I think, "Wow, I could have written that!" But it takes time and effort. I have always said that about my husbands business. When family memebers or "friends" would make comments about wanting what we have, I would remind them of what we went through to "get what we got."
So thank you everyone who reads my blog. And if you read something you like please share it with others!
Thank you,


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Getting ready for Fall

My Hubby has been home for three days. We have have been super busy getting ready for fall. I'm hoping to have pictures by tomorrow because every battery in the house seems to have disappeard!
I was working in the garden pulling weeds and getting ready to plant for a fall crop. Of course I had to work between the rain showers, which seemed to arrive as soon as I hung out a load of laundry. I just figure the clothes got an extra rinse.
Hubby and the boys cleaned out the goat pens, swept out the barn/garage, and moved the turkeys to another pen. We are getting ready for our second batch of 25 broiler chickens, which come on the 24th of this month.
I'll be happy with 50 chickens in the freezer.
We had bought 9 turkeys in late June and then had another 17 delivered at the end of July. The first nine are doing well and growing nicely, by getting them a few weeks earlier they should be about 35-40lbs come butchering time in late Novemeber. The Monday before Thanksgiving. These turkeys are grown larger because we are making burger from them. Three of them are being sold to another friend because he feels "the bigger the better". He enjoyed showing off his drumsticks last year which looked like clubs!
The second batch of turkeys are also doing well but we had some trouble with them escaping their enclosure. These were a bit more fiesty than the first group! We would go out to the barn and find the little fluff balls in with the goats. We ended up losing two because they tried to cuddle with Neera and ended up under her. I also sold four of those young ones to another homesteader who didn't want to order the minimum from the hatchery. I sold her 4 poults for 5.50 each. I didn't make much money from the sale but I used it to buy a 100lbs of feed. So now I have 11 turkeys left of the younger group and these I will sell for Thanksgiving. In fact come October I will take orders. We sell our turkeys for $1.50 a pound. Again we don't make money off the sale, we just recoup most of what we spent and offer our friends and neighbors the opportunity to try a home grown fresh turkey. I already have a few sold! Last year we had 16 turkeys and I ended up with 2. Of course the 2 I kept were almost 40lbs each.
Well, now I need to get going and Milk the goats and drop my daughter off at work.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

***** GIVEAWAY*** Mrs. Meyers

I am trying to grow my readership for this blog so I am doing a GIVEAWAY. I have a book --MRS. MEYERS CLEAN HOME, no nonsense advice that will inspire you to clean like the dickens
I read the book yesterday. I think the terms Wit and Wisdom are appropriate for Mrs. Meyers, the mother of nine children and 20+ grandchildren.

Here's the deal:

You must follow this blog- that's one chance
Leave a comment about your favorite product or gadget- one chance
post this give away on your blog- counts as two chances
post this to facebook or twitter - counts as two chances

Leave a comment for each chance.

The drawing will be held Saturday Aug.13th

If you don't have a blog check back Sunday 14th to see if you have won!

Good luck and I hope to hear from you!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Mopping the floor or a cool new game?

We found the smell... It was not under the floor as I suspected but actually a bag of egg cartons. I thought it was just a store bag with empty cartons never paid much mind to it. People bring us bags and bags of egg cartons. I have two huge boxes of cartons and really nowhere to put them all. I guess I was becoming a hoarder of egg cartons. ANYWAY, (see the distraction) I do believe I caused the bad egg smell. The other week I was getting eggs and noticed someone had turned up the fridge temp which froze several dozen eggs. When eggs freeze they expand and the shell breaks. I started unloading the cartons of frozen eggs, and placed them in store bags for easy removal. Apparently, I left a bag sit behind the door to the summer kitchen. The eggs thawed and spoiled causing the stench. I even pushed that bag aside looking for the smell, ripped my laundry room apart and never found it. This morning Hubby went looking. Now, I love the man dearly but he left the bag sit there and left me a note in the kitchen. He was not moving the stinking mass, I made the mess I guess I was the one cleaning it up. Daughter grabbed the mess and carried the DRIPPING bag out of the summer kitchen through the kitchen and out the door. Now I thank her for reading Dad's note and "helping" but now the rotten death smell was throughout the entire house. We did and emergency mop job. Which turned into a cool game because as Newtons Law goes what ever can go wrong does, and my mop fell apart. So we donned cleaning rags on our feet and mopped the entire kitchen floor sliding and gliding back and forth. So my house is Lestoil fresh and bright and clean. It didn't take near as long because there were three of us mopping. I just had to follow one of them to make up for what they missed. It didn't even feel like work. Bethany thought it was a pretty good exercise!

I picked up a new book today that I'm going to give away. Mrs. Meyers clean home; No nonsense advice that will inspire you to clean like the dickens. More on that tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Really? I love my life.

I got most of my stuff done yesterday. I even had time to read. But when I went back to do laundry, I thought I smelled something. I figured. I have four kids, they stink. I pushed it off as dirty laundry. Well the laundry was all done and the smell didn't go away. The longer I stood in the laundry room the more I could smell it. It smelled like some thing died in there. Some people might be suprised by this but I've smelled death before. Like when Hubby's deep freezer went bad and everything inside thawed and we didn't know it. At the time he had a deer cape and some fish waiting to go to the taxidermist. Not a pretty scent and it takes ALOT of candles to get the smell out! And there was the time the cat killed a mouse and was using it's head as a soccer ball and tossed it under the shelving, again not a nice smell. So today will be spent pulling out the washer and dryer, unloading the shelves and pulling the shelving unit out looking for the dead thing I'm sure is in there somewhere.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Here and there

Well, I didn't get everything done I had planned but I did get other things done. That's the problem when one is easily distracted...
I started out well. Dropped everyone off at work and school, came home and loaded the dishwasher and cleaned the back sink. Then I started to flounder. Charlie was distracting me and talking and talking and talking so I took him to the library. I was excited that I won the "BIG" prize for the adult reading program. I got a tote filled with a plush blanket, 2 boxes of teas. 2 cubes of sticky notes, a pen, a keychain flashlight, three books and a $25 Borders gift card. I have to use the gift card soon because they are going out of business. Yeah Me! So Charlie and I played at the library until it was time to pick up his sister at the farm. She was mad that I was there so early, she didn't have time to chat with her friends. She told me I was to wait until she called me before I came to get her. Um, I will be there waiting everyday now. I get a bit frustrated when they think I am at their beck and call.
I had promised Charlie I would take him to McDonald's for lunch. I really need to think things through before agreeing to them! McD's was crazy, playland was packed and the moms there scared me. I don't really think McDonalds playland was designed so that moms could drop their kids off then go outside to smoke.
We came home and I made up my bed, I forgot to earlier. I got distracted again looking at the books I won. Then it was time to pick up the boys. When I had dropped them off I noticed Isaiah's shoes weren't fitting properly and when I dropped off Robert he asked me if I had duct tape in my car. For What? To tape up his shoe. So after I picked up the boys we all headed out to the shoe store and everyone got their school shoes. We got home shortly after Hubby did and while they got all the chores done, I whipped up dinner. Pancakes and sausage.
After dinner, Hubby wanted to sit and watch a movie together. So we had a family movie moment. Then it was baths and bed for everyone but me. I packed lunches and cleaned up after dinner. Then I went to bed and read for a bit. That was my day.
I hope today to get the summer kitchen cleaned up and laundry taken care of and dishes done. I have 5000 things to do but if I get those few done, I will be happy.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Busy doing NOTHING?

I feeling like I'm constantly busy, running around,working, cooking, cleaning... But when I stop and look back I see nothing. No tangible evidence of what I spent all my time on doing.
My goal this week is to keep a written record of all I do so I can read it and say Ohhhhh that's what I did! Todays goals are to clean up the kitchen and summer kitchen and re stake the steer out in the field, take Charlie to the library and pick up some groceries. I'm going to try and keep things simple and focused.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Farm Girl to Car Girl

Yippee! I now know how to put on front brakes. It takes a whole ten minutes and the hardest part is getting the tire off!!! I am so excited no more $45 fees for me!
Once again my wonderful brother came to the rescue. My Hubby can build a house from the ground up but forget the car. I think it's just a personal choice not to touch the car. Anyway. I called my brother. My brakes are grinding I tell him. He says front brakes are no problem. Hmmm... I want to learn how to do this myself. then I won't have to pay someone or beg brotherdear to help. I bought the brakes which was no easy thing. I had to know if my back brakes were drums or disks and if I had ABS and what size my tires were. Once that was figured out the brakes were $26. Brother came over and talked me through the first wheel.
Loosen the lug nuts
Put the jack under the frame and pump it up
remove lug nuts, put them in a pocket or the brake box
take off the tire
Hunk of metal attached to the rotor(big circle disk)is called a brake caliber
remove upper and lower bolts on the back of the caliber
put them in a safe place too
pull caliber off and slide out brake pads
using one of the pads, you have to push the piston back into place. It looks like nesting cups. place the old brake against the piston and using a c- clamp, press the piston back in. Remove the C- clamp and the old brake.
slide the new brake pads into place, put the caliber back in place, replace the bolts, make sure they are tight.
put the tire back on and tighten the lug nuts, lower the jack and tighten the lug nuts more.
Repeat process on other side of the car.
Make sure you start the car and pump the brakes until you feel resistence. That is pushing the brake fliud back into the piston. Check the brake fliud under the hood to make sure you have enough and didn't loose too much during the process.
I think I have the process down.
So I know how to fix a flat, change my oil and replace front brakes. I don't want to learn how to fix anything else right now because I can't afford to have anything else break!

But I am WOMAN

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Canning and sewing and butchering Oh My!!!!

Phew I'm tired. I've been busy this week with my little projects and of course the bigger projects(children).
I made a, what I call, table runner. It's just a center peice for the table but I made it with my very own hands and I even hand quilted a section. I'm thinking of quilting the entire piece but I don't see me doing it any time soon! lol...

The clothes have been hung on the line saving the electric bill. Which I have to say has been obscene this year.I love the smell of fresh air on the sheets when I go to bed.
I mopped the floors but you can't tell because I have four kids who tramped all over them...sigh... thank goodness for the FlyLady!
My son cleaned out the kitchen closet and I am going to have to do something about this cat we have because she has been peeing all over the place. Apparently the kitchen closet has become a favorite spot. As soon as I can get her spayed she is going to become a barn cat!
I am so proud of myself because on Friday, without help from my big strong Hubby, I hauled out the chicken crates and had the boys help me load the chickens in the crates, put a tarp on the truck bed(Hubby has a rug liner) and load the crates on the truck, actually we put the crates on the truck and then put the chickens in them! Robert and I drove out to the butcher and unloaded the crates.
Since we were out there, I stopped off at the produce stand and got close to a half bushel of beets. And Robert got a whoopie pie, yuck!
Hubby did go out to the butcher that after noon to pick up the birds he brought them home and put them in the kitchen, Beth and I bagged weighed and put them away.
So my freezer is full of chicken. We were quoted a price for the steer. $130 to kill and process the beef and additional $30 if we want them to packages it with their commercial vacuum sealer which I think is a really good idea. No fuss or mess at my house.
Yesterday I cooked and peeled the beets and jarred them up with a pickeling brine then last night I canned them. Now they are all tucked away for later. I like to do several small batches of canned goods then to spend hours and hours canning. With the one exception being that I enjoy when I have help doing hours of canning. Hubby's adopted grandmother will come over and help and what would take me 8-10 hours takes me half the time. I love the fact that I can handle the canners, wipe the jars, put on the lids and while one or two batches are canning I can also work on filling more jars.
Today I am going to hang out more laundry and do something fun with the kiddos. Tonight I am going to work on embroidering tea towels.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Summer Time Blues...

I am unraveling.... I need to have a bit of a pity party for myself. I know it's a complete waste of time and I should be thankful...Blah blah blah... It's a really bad attitude! I am super tired because I can't seem to sleep well without my Hubby next to me. Our schedules are all messed up because his schedule is not consistant. My garden...has 6 tomato plants! nothing else just the tomatos. I am in so much trouble. Someone dropped off a beautiful Rhode Island Red rooster. I guess people think we have chickens we must need a rooster. I don't appreciate the gift, my neighbors don't appreciate the gift. We don't have a rooster because my neighbors don't appreciate the sweet cockadoodle at 5am. Hmmmm.... I'd like to make soup with him but I don't have the heart to kill him and Hubby hasn't had the time to deal with it either.
Then my car broke and I am carless because you need extra money and time to get the car fixed! It's summer time, the kids are eating me out of house and home, everytime I turn around something else is gone and now I can't go to the store.
My cat for some reason has decided to use the entire house as a litter box My son's bed, the kitchen closet... What on Earth????
I think the cat has to go with the rooster...
The good things in life are, Hubby has a job with a good income and benefits. Everyone is healthy. I have laying hens so we at least have eggs and the goats give me milk everyday. Hubby released the rabbits in the field and they are multiplying faster and better than they did in the cage. Small game hunting will be good.
By being at home I am getting some projects done. If I had batteries for the camera I'd take pics and post them. Hmmm...batteries ... I can't find any and they have disappeared from remotes, clocks, razors, trimmers, toys and games. All to power Daughters MP3 player which she insists she has had the same batteries for months and has no idea what we are talking about...
I planted my herbs on the front porch in baskets and when the wind blows I get a whiff of mint or lemon or basil.
My girlfriend brought me rhubarb roots so I can plant it in my yard. It's sitting in buckets next to the chives and rose bushes I need to plant. The best intentions don't mean anything without actions. I need to get my action to meet my intension before it's too late.
I think that might apply to other areas in my life too. I think I could pass that on to Mama for sermon material!
Thanks for listening... Now I can get busy doing what I can do.

Friday, June 24, 2011

I'm a failure at rabbit raising...

I'm so sad. I am failing in the rabbit area. This spring we started out with 21 baby bunnies. I'm down to one. My Breeding Buck died, which is all my fault. I wanted to brood the turkeys in the shed I had the rabbits in over winter. So, I had the Boys pull the rabbit pens out and put them against the shed. I figured it was nice out and they would be fine. Did I think about the fact that they didn't have cover? Nope, never thought that if it rained they would get wet. And it poured. The one set of pens was on the front of the shed and didn't get hit too bad with the rain. But the buck was on the side of the shed, and he got soaked. We came out the next day and he was dead. Then my bunnies started dying, each day another dead bunny. I don't know what happened. We had moved the rabbits into another pen and the goats got into it and ripped the wiring apart. So then I had escaping rabbits. Hubby is working so much he didn't have time or energy to fix them and apparently my attempts were futile. Yesterday morning I went out and found one of my breeding does dead. But she seemed to have a broken back. I don't have a clue how that happened.
I quit. I am finding a happy home or butchering the rabbits I have left and I am not doing this again until I have a proper place and proper housing for them. It's alot of work and money for nothing to show for it. I am going to tag this as experience and move on.
I'm also looking into selling my two dairy goats and two of the kids and using that money to buy one proven milker. I'm feeding two goats to get the same amount of milk one goat should be giving. So if I can sell these goats I can spend the extra money on one with a record of heavy milking. Hubby wants a Saanan or as he says, a white goat with ears.
Farming is challenging. I have a new respect for the "real" farmers who do this on a bigger scale and rely on it to provide for their families. Something always needs to be cleaned or fixed. Feeding has to be measured correctly. Ordering feed has to be done on time, Then there's hoof care and udder care and wings to be clipped Oh My...
I'm tired too tired to sleep and tomorrow will come soon. I'm listing off all the things that need to be done. Barn swept, Milkstand scrubbed, garden weeded, weed eater needs to be run, grass mowed, plus the everyday stuff...
I'm going to try and sleep or I won't have the urge to get stuff done while it's cool in the morning.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Super sticky yummy ribs!

I wish I took pictures but I'm really terrible at it! But our dinner was so good I had to post it! Silly, some may think, but I enjoy cooking and sharing.
What we had, "Country Ribs with Rhubarb BBQ sauce" and Cheesy scallopped potatoes with a mixed lettuce salad w/ tomatoes and sharp cheese.

The country ribs recipe came from Mary at with an adaption of my own.

4lbs country style ribs
1 lemon thinly sliced
1 large onion thinly sliced

1C. chopped rhubarb
2/3C. water
1med onion finely chopped
1t oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1C. ketchup
2/3C packed brown sugar
1/2C dark corn syrup (I used Honey)
2T cider vinegar
2T Worcetershire sauce
1T dijon mustard (I used stone ground dijon)
1-1/2t hot pepper sauce
1/4t salt

1) preheat oven to 450 degreesF
2) Salt ribs placed in a roasting pan. Roast for about 30 minutes. Drain excess fat. Top ribs with lemon and onion slices

3) In a small sauce saucepan, bring rhubarb and water to a boil and then lower heat and simmer until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Place the rhubarb in a blender and process until smooth. In the same sauce pan saute the onion in oil and then add the garlic, saute one minute and then add the additional ingredients. Whisk in the rhubarb puree and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

4) Pour sauce over ribs. Lower the temp to 350. Bake until fork tender, basting every 15 minutes. Total cooking time should be about 2-2 1/2 hours. If sauce get too thick add a little water.

This sauce hits all parts of your tongue. As it roasts with the ribs it gets sticky and candy like. The lemon and onion carmalize and the lemon peels become soft and chewy. YUM! The lemon and rhubarb really cut the sweetness of the brown sugar and honey.

This is my own recipe
Six russett pot. sliced on the mandoline
1/4c flour
1/4c butter
2C. cheddar cheese
2C. milk

Super simple.
preheat oven to 400 degrees F
grease the bottom and sides of a casserole dish (11x7)
layer potatoes, a sprinkling of flour , a handful of cheese. continue layering until you fill the pan or run out of potatoes
dot with butter
pour milk over the top
Cover with foil
bake at 400 for 30 minutes covered.
Uncover and bake until golden brown and tender, about another 10 minutes.

Cheesy and creamy!

I hope you try this out. We enjoyed it and I had the time to roast this.I have a summer kitchen to cook in so it wasn't so bad. If you have air conditioning you'll be fine but if not I'd wait for a cool rainy day to make this!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Making Kefir

My girlfriend, Chelle, gave me some kefir grains and a paper telling me how to make this fermented milk product. Kefir is made by pouring milk over the "grains"(they look kinda like tapioca,just not round)covering the jar or crock with a cloth and letting it sit out on the counter for up to 24 hours. After 24 hours you strain the kefir through a sieve saving the grains to make another batch. The result is a thick buttermilk texture liquid. It's put in the fridge to chill. It smells yeasty and has a tangy taste that I really can't drink alone. I was told it's an "acquired" taste.
Ummm it's just gross plain. I made smoothies sweetened with agave nectar or honey. The kids loved it! We made peanut butter- banana w/honey and strawberry w/agave and then peanut butter with chocolate syrup.
Kefir is so easy to make and you continue to use the same grains. The grains start to multiply and after a few weeks, making kefir everyday, they should grow enough to have a cup full of grains. I use about a 1/4c and that will ferment 1qt of milk. So with more grains you could do more milk at a time or divide it up and share with your friends like Chelle did with me!
Kefir is very high in probiotics and cleans out the toxins in your system. Depending on your home temperature and air quality, it may take less then 24 hours. You just have to make a few batches to see what works for you. In my home, with no air conditioning, it takes about 18 hours to get a thick creamy kefir. I have also noticed that it thickens in the fridge, so if you strained it too early it will thicken up with time.
As I am more of an instant gratification person, I like making kefir. It's simple and neat and tidy. No mess! In fact I am having trouble because I'm using up all my milk! I wish I had these grains a few months ago!
I'm still looking up more recipes to use it up. But smoothies are great right now. I would like to make ice cream and was looking to see if I could use it in baking.

Friday, June 3, 2011

New business Venture

I took a step,um more of a leap. I signed on to become a Lilla Rose consultant. Lilla Rose offers hair accessories as well as eye glass chains and jewelry. As soon as I get my new flexi's I will have my daughter take pics. I have alot of hair. Long, thick, curly hair.I usually wear it in a messy bun because I like it out of my face and cooking. Hubby wishes I wore it down more because he LOVES my hair. BUT all my barettes would break or I'd get a headache because they were so heavy duty they were HEAVY.
I am also trying to be more feminine the flexi's are light weight and heavy duty made with piano wire. There are so many pretty designs some more modern then others some extra beaded. I like pretty but practical. You should have seen me picking out glasses today! Pretty but practical...
So if you are interested here is my website.

I thought this would be fun. I could try out new hairstyles and maybe make a little extra cash on the side.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


MY eyes are watering, my throat tickles, my nose is leaking... Allergies. I can't breathe or see. Typing is fun! The past two weeks have been busy busy busy. Thankfully school is out on Tuesday and baseball is over On June 11th. No more running, no more harping on grades...summer. Now I get to harp on gardening chores and animal care. My kiddos love me.
Had to buy a live animal trap...Bunnies are everywhere. They figured out how to shimmy out the food dish!
Hubby worked 195 hours last two weeks. We need the money but nothing else seems to get done.
I went to Pap's today and came home with 25 tomato cages, four boxes of old canning jars with glass lids, a pitch fork, a handle, an old tool box and a few scrub brushes! Hmmm... I'll have to go take pictures and update my blog post.
Turkeys are on their way next week. That's why I needed the pitch fork. I have to clean out another pen. Yeah me. I hope this nice breezy weather continues so I can get it done.
I am about ready to plant my garden. I just need to rototill a bit more.
Well, I'm off to check chores and water...

One baby bunnie caught in the trap, six more to go!

All the "goodies" I got from Pap!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I wish I had a hay baler! I could have baled my yard instead of mowing it. I paid $40 in gas to mow my yard...CRAZY!!! It was bad and I have neighbors on either side of me who mow on a regular basis. Now, I'm usually not big into keeping up with the Jones's... But I just look bad when their grass is pretty and mine looks like an abandoned farm house!

My brother bought me three mini rose bushes for $1 each. They are healthy but the blooms are dying off. They grow back but people don't by bushes without flowers. Silly people. Sooo, my brother has decided that after um...five years it was time to do some landscaping. I was going to plant them today but then it rained. I will try again tomorrow. My brother loves me!

Hubby has been working 16 hour nights, coming home sleeping and going back out to the well site. I basically see him an hour and ten minutes a day. I feel bad for him and try to make sure everything is quiet so he can sleep. But it has been throwing me off the routines that I do have and I'm having trouble refocusing. As he left today he kissed me goodbye and thanked me for being so supportive. SUPPORTIVE?! I thank him for doing what he does for all of us. I wish I could do more.

I realize how much we rely on him at home, because I am one tired farmgirl! He's the one who usually checks the chores to see if they are all done. He handles most of the outside yard work and fixing stuff and building stuff...
I cook, clean, do the laundry and take care of the kids. I feel bad for single moms! Doing everything is HARD! I'm not complaining...I'm growing and it feels great. Yes, I'm tired. But I am learning how to be independent. I can get things done. I put 10w40 on all the doors and they no longer squeek. I filled the gas tank in the mower and the buggy. I have been ordering all the feed to have it delivered and then I lift the bags and pour it into our feed bins. I have to say Robert helps me with that. I'm good up to 100# I need a little help there or I pee my pants. So sad but true. I pick up the hay and bedding and then shop vac my van. I can get 6bales of hay in my minivan! 10 bales of pine shavings...
Tomorrow I am going to learn how to drive Hubby's truck. It's a full size deisel truck and I am afraid to drive it. But I can get more hay in it and I don't have to shopvac it when I'm done!
Hmmmm...I think I can give my Mama sermon material with this...I'm like a potted plant that was transplanted in the ground. While in my pot, my role of cooking, cleaning and kids, I can only grow so much. But transplanted into the ground, expanding my role, I can florish and grow deeper roots and spread and grow more fruit!

Well, goodnight all, This Farmgirl needs her sleep!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

All is good here on the "farm" The kids are growing even faster than my children, but I think My children eat more than the kids!

Bunnies have two weeks before I seperate them and start selling them off.

We just got our new broilers last week. They are already feathering out and eating like crazy. This bunch we are going to butcher our selves. Boy I'm REALLY excited for that. I wish I had a sarcasm font.

Hubby started working some crazy hours it will be an adjustment. But we were aware that it would happen so prepared for it. The Children are helping out better than I thought. I'm trying to teach them that this is what families should do. Work together...

We have been having alot of rain. The garden was turned over but I haven't been able to plant anything yet. I'm sad because I am soooo ready for garden season.

I don't have much to post on because we have just been so busy with baseball, critter care and end of the school stuff. Hopefully things will slow down some and I can take you around our little farm again.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Baskets, Bunnies and Baby goats!!!!!

I'm so excited. The wire baskets I won on Homestead Revival from Forgotten Way Farms arrived Friday. I found a card in the mailbox when I got home from the Amish store. I thought Oh No! I have to go back to town to get it. Then I saw the notation that the parcel was left in the garage/barn. I skipped to the garage to find a long box propped up on Hubby's saw.
You know I have to say that I have felt more blessed and loved these past two years of financial hardship than I had in the five years of plenty before the economy crashed.

I'm really getting into my critters too. My rabbits had their litters. One rabbit(Gray) had 10 but ate five and one was tossed from the nest leaving four that seem to be doing well. The orange and white rabbit had eight but never made a nest and didn't care for her babies besides cleaning them up. We put them in the nesting box, pulled some of her fur and hoped she would care for them. My California Doe had six and killed three. By the next day the orange rabbit had not cared for her litter so we figured we didn't have much to lose by trying to get the California to foster the babies. Hubby took the white rabbits fur and rubbed it all over the foster bunnies and put them in with the surviving three bunnies, that made 11. Three of those died, one of hers and two of the foster bunnies. So we have 8 with her now and they all seem to be doing well. A total of 12 new bunnies.

Our dairy kids are doing very well. They are so much fun to play with! I plan on keeping one doe and selling the other two and then we have the little buck that we have casterated. The beor/nubian doe in the outside pen is pregnant but I don't know how far because she lives with the buck. He is going to have to have an area all to himself. He has decided that I am part of his harem and he herds me away from my husband. Moo-Moo thinks I belong to him and he and the goat start head butting each other and I have to rush out of the pen... Drama in the barnyard.

Update----The pregnant doe is no longer pregnant. I had started this post on Friday and last night she gave birth to the most adorable little doe!