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.