Friday, August 27, 2010

Thibault's Table Give-Away Maple Cutting Board

I have been a follower on AnnT's blog for some time now and hope many of you will check it out. She is a fabulous cook and her recipes are wonderful. I have added two to my regulars now, no three: Bagels, Cream Cheese Danish, and Sweet Rolls.

She is now hosting a give-away of a beautiful maple cutting board. I hope you will check it out.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Caterpillar on 4 O'Clocks - Hybrid Perpetuals-

I have taken a little hiatus from my online journal. We had company over the weekend and the pre-visit cleaning and then the visit takes care of my computer time.

We are very dry here but are having a lovely little cool-down in temperatures.

I made a slow tour around the house and kitchen garden, a first for about 5 days now. I set the sprinkler to water the beds and shrubs in front of the house.
I thought the 4 O'Clocks looked a bit ragged and saw that there were 4 large caterpillars chomping away. I have no idea what they are and have left them in place .... for now.
From August 2010
They weren't in my butterfly book.

I picked a small basket of grape tomatoes out of the kitchen garden. I hope to make some tomato preserves/jam later today. The sweetest by far are the Sungolds. I love those tiny gems.

DH tried to talk me out of it, but I brought in the San Marzanos that we picked last week to make a couple of batches of ketchup. He doesn't think I should stand on my feet that long (been having hip troubles on top of the hand thing). I told him most of the time involved is just stirring now and then. I think this is the day to try out the crockpot method.

I haven't been back to the new garden....will ride the mower back there if I need to check it today.

I have been really pleased with my two hybrid perpetual heirloom roses this year. I have been feeding them an acid supplement but haven't watered them much at all and they have bloomed pretty much all summer, not many blooms but enough to please me. They have also been pretty free of disease. I did use a systemic very early in the season. I was almost ready to dig them up until a rose man from the Gardenweb Rose Forum told me what they needed....high acid conditions. I think the foliage is the right color now.
The first is Reines des Violette.
From August
and the next is Baronne Prevost.
From August 2010

Endless Summer hydrangea has put out a few new blooms in all this heat; I am amazed by that.
From August 2010
They are much smaller, but nice anyway.

I almost forgot my Aloha rose. I think these are the only Japanese Beetle free blooms this summer. I found some beetles again this morning; I don't think they are ever going to die!
From August 2010

Good news! DH just got back with the correct part for the toilet....and the onions for the ketchup.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Errand day - Canning Tomatoes - Pizza

Today is going to be warmer up around 90° but still better than what we have been having.

My riding mower was acting up last time we used it so we decided another trip to the shop was in order. It is located in a small town about 30 miles away so makes a pretty good little jaunt and ate up the best part of the morning.

We stopped at our favorite orchard on the way home. He didn't have anything in bushel or peck size so I just tried a 4 lb. bag of Rubyjons. I love Jonathon apples and think they can't be beat for pies or frying. This hybrid is very good. I wouldn't hesitate to buy them again. The Jonathons and Golden Delicious won't be ready for a few weeks. He had serious trouble with the Japanese Beetles too and every time he sprayed, it came a shower and washed it off. He would have to go back and repeat spray which I failed many times to do.

We also picked up a quart of Missouri honey.

We picked a couple of bushels of tomatoes yesterday and spread them out in the harvest shed. I knew I needed to do some of them after we got home so
I made up a batch of pizza dough and just left it in the food processor to raise while working on the tomatoes. I canned 5 quarts and will do another batch tomorrow. I have enough plum tomatoes to do ketchup again and plan to try cooking it down in the crock pot. Have any of you ever done that? I am wondering, with lid on or off.

Finished up the pizza around 1 PM and quit for the day.

Sat in my chair and read all afternoon. I am reading 'Housekeeping' by Marilynne Robinson......the jury is still out on this one. I enjoyed her 'Gilead' very much.

Happy ending to my doctor appointment story. I was right, the specialist was supposed to call me to schedule after I had been referred. The gal in charge of that little step didn't do it properly. After a 3-way phone call where I kept very quiet, I heard the new doctors' office person tell her 'here is how it is done, you refer, we call the patient. End of story, they faxed her the data and I will see him next Thursday, 8/26. It just takes one person not doing something correctly and then refusing to check into it but just saying I did it, I did it to snafu the system.

Only a couple of pictures today.

The first is a picture on the way to town with the mower. I was shooting into the early morning sun. This shows some of our Ozarks hills and farmland and is right behind us a few miles.
Road to Bolivar BB

and I couldn't resist taking a picture of the beautiful apples we got. I fried some tonight with sugar and butter and had some on a slice of homemade 7-grain toast for supper.

Rubyjons - local orchard

Friday, August 13, 2010

Willow and her babies

Weather the same.

Overdid it yesterday so will be taking it easy and reading in my nest in the kitchen today.

I put a chicken in to roast using the very hot oven method. Hopefully it will cook quickly and we can cool off the kitchen. I had planned on doing it early this morning........forgot!

Propane truck is here filling our l000 gallon tank to the tune of 1.499 a gallon; probably will take 700 gallons or more. They want us to book it for the winter at l.649, price goes down, we are the looser. Dh made the decision to just buy it when we needed it and not prebook.This should last us about 6 months.

I took some pictures yesterday of Willow, my cow, with her three babies. Not a lot of cows will accept calves. We think she is just the best! I am not going to try to milk her until I know for sure about my hands and wrists.

From Cattle and other animals
Here they are a little closer so you can see there are actually three. Right after this, I moved her baby (the smaller redder one) to the other side.
From Cattle and other animals

When they start getting full, they stop and watch me more than they nurse. I have now moved the larger one outside to be sure the two smaller ones get their fair share.

From Cattle and other animals

I added some almost rotted peaches to the bar yesterday evening and was delighted to draw some new ones.

From August 2010
From August 2010

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Errand Day - Butterflies - One Hyacinth Bean Vine

Another very hot and dry day. The part of the yard in full sun is now a gray brown color.

This was errand day, not my favorite way to spend a morning. I wanted to can tomatoes first and then go; DH wanted to go first. He won. So I ended up finishing the rest of the tomatoes at 3PM this afternoon while he rested and read.....

I think we made 4 different stops. I was trying to get together the ingredients for a DIY ear medicine for the dog. Turns out I could have bought all of them at the pharmacy at Wal Mart! I had to go there anyway for canning jars.

I stopped by our largest greenhouse and nursery hoping I could find cilantro and Italian basil plants but ended up buying seeds instead. I will plant them in pots under the back porch lights tomorrow.

Then our lovely little local grocery for on sale butter for $l.00 a lb. I now have 8 pounds in the freezer.


I decided to try a very overripe banana on a tree stump and see what it would draw. I sliced in in half and put it in the hummingbird bed where I can see out the kitchen window. Yesterday, there was not much activity, but today three differents ones were positively glued to it accompanied by flies and wasps!

From August 2010
From August 2010
I am now calling the stump "The Banana Bar".

I had one single purple hyacinth bean seed this year and it has grown into a 15-foot long beauty. I do hope it has viable seeds this year. It got frosted on too soon last year.
From August 2010
From August 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Canning Tomatoes - Response to Ilene's Rant on Healthcare-

Hot and Dry.

I am still waiting for the rheumatologist's office to call to schedule an appointment. Still have the same pain and swelling; some days worse; some days better but always there.

This brings me to a response to Ilene's Blog. She talks about something very dear to my heart, today's medical system. I don't go to doctors unless I am sick or something is wrong. I don't even have a 'Primary Care' doctor..........I do now! You need one if you plan to see a specialist. Now I know something is wrong with my joints but I can't go directly to the specialist. My insurance company must pay two doctors, and for two sets of tests and x-rays instead of the necessary one.

The other thing that caught my attention was her being prescribed Lipitor because her cholesterol was high. My understanding is just as many people have heart attacks that have low cholesterol as those with high. Also tying foods to high Ch. doesn't really have good tests behind it. For instance, I am a devotee of eating real foods which includes, whole cow's milk, butter, cream, lard, eggs, etc.
I just knew when they did the blood work my cholesterol would be extremely high. I was all set to fight the doctor about not taking a statin drug. Guess what.
My test came back marked "excellent". So much for foods causing elevation.

Now, no doctor has said you have RA, but I know that is what they think. The PC doctor even told me the Rheumatologist would start me on methotrexate. The research on this drug scared me to death! It is a chemo drug for cancer that has proven effective in treating RA. It can also cause cancer. I know of two people who took it for 20 years or more; one died of leukemia and the other was just diagnosed with leukemia and was told the RA drug caused it. I am wanting someone to just tell me they know for certain what my problem is.....then we can discuss alternative medicines.

I am constantly amazed at people who think doctors are Gods and just blindly follow all orders and take whatever they give them without question. Not this old girl......
I may get that "non-compliant" tag on my file too.

On to better things:

I canned 9 pints of San Marzano tomatoes this morning (this has been a good day wrist-wise). I still have a dishpan or more of regular tomatoes to do but will save my strength and do them in the morning.
From Harvest 2010

I found one lonely white cleome this morning. I hope it self seeds for next year.
From August 2010

I am still watering the shrubs out front and the foundation plants....they might be all I do next year.

We usually have our morning coffee on the porch on the east side of the house, but this morning it was hot and sunny by 7:30 AM. I suggested we move to the west yard where there is full shade most of the day. My help meet groused mightily; it was not handy (just a walk around the house and we can also go their from the living room which is just down a few steps to the west yard). I told him once we moved our chairs it would be no problem. He didn't like it but he followed me. There was a nice breeze and we sat there for almost an hour. I don't have any flower beds at all there, but somehow the green seems almost more serene to me.
From August 2010

Monday, August 9, 2010

New Bull, Odds and Ends

Another hot day ahead with possible 110° heat index.

They called last night to say they were delivering the new bull this morning early.An incentive like that gets me going; I got the house cleaned and tidy and trimmed about half the front ditch and mowed around the house all before 7:30 AM.
I need to have company coming daily. There is no telling how much I could get accomplished!

Then I decided to try a new recipe from Lovella at Mennonite Girls Can Cook
From Food
blog. It is for a soft buttermilk cookie that you ice. I plan to freeze them singly and than stack in a container so we can just get one out now and then to have with coffee. They actually are like having a very small piece of cake. I made some modifications to the recipe.

Soft Buttermilk Cookie

3/4 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
pinch salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 teaspoon soda
3 -1/2 cup flour
1 -1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1- 1/2 cup icing sugar
a few teaspoons milk
dash lemon extract (I just used lemon zest)
1.Cream the softened butter and the sugars and salt. Add eggs and beat.
2.Stir together the buttermilk and soda.
3.Combine the flour and baking powder.
4.Stir the flour and baking powder and buttermilk and soda into the creamed egg mixture.
5.Add the vanilla. (zest and lemon extract opt.)
6.Drop by teaspoons onto the cookie sheet
7.Bake at 375 F for 7 - 10 minutes.
8.Allow to cool on baking rack
9.Stir together the icing sugar, milk to make a thin spreadable icing and a little lemon extract.(I just used zest)
10.Spread over cookies and if you want to dress them up seasonally. . .give them a few sprinkles before the icing sets.
from the kitchen of Lovella ♥

Note: These spread a lot so give them plenty of room.
Note: I used cream for the icing and added some lemon zest

I said I wasn't going to water anything but the gardens....couldn't stand seeing the wilted things around the foundation watering. I watched several Cardinals land on the large Robustissima anemone leaves and take showers. Other were lined up on a limb waitng their turn.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Home-made Ketchup - Butterflies at last

Still very hot and very dry.

Saturday I let three calves milk Willow for me. I think she is giving more milk this lactation than before and she is more eager for her grain. The three calves is working well for me. Now I can just milk if I want to or we need it for the house.

I did set 1-1/2 gallons to clabber for cottage cheese and buttermilk. It is in the fridge now. I will cook the clabber for the cheese in the morning.

I had about 16 lbs. of tomatoes dead ripe, both regular and pear. I decided late yesterday afternoon to make a batch and a half of ketchup which we dearly love. It was a long process. I wonder if I could cook it overnight with the lid off on the crock pot to cook it down? May have to try that.

I ended up with almost 5 pints of the good stuff. I made this a little less sweet than I usually do. I think I like it better this way.
From Food

I was able to mow a little around the milk parlor while it was still cool and breezy. That was enough. The rest of the yard will be done in small spurts unless DH gets ambitious and does it all at once.

We are seeing more butterflies, black swallowtails, spicebush swallowtails, one Monarch and a Giant Swallowtail a few minutes ago. I was so excited but it was just here and gone. I also saw another Buckeye.

I braved the 100 + sun and checked out the row of zinnias I planted in the kitchen garden. All are in full, bright sun so not of the best quality.

From August 2010

I think I have identified them from my book correctly.

First a large bee, maybe a Carpenter?
From August 2010

A Spicebush Swallowtail:
From August 2010

This one wouldn't hold its wings open long enough to get a good picture. I think it is a Great Spangled Fritillary.
From August 2010
Here you can see the inside of the wing for better i.d.
From August 2010

I was shooting blind most times because in the bright sunlight my screen was of little use. I think I caught it taking a sip of nectar.
From August 2010
and here I got both the Fritillary and the Common Sulphur. We have had thousands of the Sulphurs all season.
From August 2010
and the sulphur all alone on the zinnia

From August 2010

Friday, August 6, 2010

Milking Again - New Apron - New Sandwich - Plans for the Day

I woke up this morning with less pain and swelling in my hands and wrists! That is after stopping the Aleve! I just took a double strength aspirin and l pain pill before going to bed. I am a little encouraged.

Quick health update: I did the fasting blood tests yesterday and the reports were all marked 'excellent results'. Heart and lungs looked great. BP a little high, probably due to pain and visiting the doctor! I will still see a rheumatologist but am hoping this may be something other than rheumatoid arthritis.

End of senior health issues.....

I am an apron wearer! Daily. All my aprons were worn to threads and stained horribly from canning. My MIL had given me a piece of denim that she has had forever. A few days ago I cut out two of my favorite style. They are a working apron, not a cutesy or vintage style. It think it may be a butcher's apron with a bib and pockets. I have just sewn one; you can make it in a couple of hours. The denim is a little heavy but will be super for gardening. I keep my keys, knife,hand pruners, seed packets, and little bits of trash that I pick up in the pockets when gardening.
From Miscellaneous
and this is their hanging place on the back porch right by the outside door and the door into the kitchen; keys hang on other hook(not in picture) and little box on mirror hold my knife.
From Miscellaneous

I was tired after the trip to town and the lab so I wanted something tasty for lunch but not much work. We love Philly Steak Sandwiches but all I had was hamburger. So, I developed a Philly Ground Steak Sandwich. I mixed a handful of whole wheat bread crumbs, salt and pepper and l egg in with the ground beef. Then I made oblong patties the shape of the homemade 7-Grain bread that I had baked in a round on the baking stone. I tried to make the patty the same size.
Cooked said patties in my favorite very long electric skillet. When enough fat had cooked out (not much in our home raised beef) I sauteed onions and peppers from the garden in one end. When they were done, I removed them to a bowl and added our bread slices to the skillet and browned both sides. Just before they were finished I added slices of white American cheese to the top of the patties and let it melt. We didn't use any dressing at all. Just layered the meat on the bread and topped it with the sauteed onions and peppers. I served my favorite Granny Cantrell tomato slices on the side. Yes, forgive me, I used paper plates. We thought they were just as good as the thin slices of steak.
From Food

Plans for the Day

1. Milk Cow Chore ( may try the third calf on Willow)
2. Work over the kitchen garden; pick corn, okra and peas
3. Process corn, okra and shell peas (freeze hulls for later jelly)
4. Might do some mowing; might not

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Morning Chores- Watering - A pet peeve

I slept in until 5 AM (thank you Tramadol). It was 78°, not much of a cool down.
Predicting 100° again today and dry.

I fixed home-raised scrambled eggs, home-made toast with purple hull jelly and soon will have home-raised milk to drink.

These days I am waiting until 8 AM to go out so my hands will limber up some. Got up Willow and put her into the barn with the two babies. The orphan didn't need much help this morning. Good! I let them nurse until they quit. While watching them, I lobbed off some very giant lambs quarter out of the lot. You almost need a chain saw if you let it get too big.

Flies are horrendous this time of year so I sprayed all the babies and cow with a safe for dairy pyrethrin spray. By the time, I milked out my little 1/2 gallon there were no flies buzzing around me. In about a week, I will just let the babies have one quarter each and then will pull them off so I can get some for us. I will just have to do this about three times a week. Right now they aren't taking it all so I will milk each morning to empty her out. The more you take, the more they try to replace it.

Bottled my little share, washed up utensils in the Milk Parlor and came back to the house.


I turned the sprinkler on last evening and forgot about it, so the southeast corner of the house and yard got a good soaking! This morning I moved it west to soak the other newer shrubs, a viburnum and Little Lamb hydrangea and others. I will just give it a couple of hours.

I am still picking JB off roses........this morning I just sprayed again. Will they never leave?

I will need to pick sweet corn and tomatoes either this evening or in the morning and I have let the okra get too big....I did process the last two quarts of the peaches yesterday morning. Also need to pick the last of the PEPH peas. I am trying to decide if I should buy a few peaches or not this year.

I planted my one vigna caracalla (corkscrew vine) inside early this year hoping for more blooms. Sue mentioned that they like cool weather to bloom. I am betting I won't get a single one this year. It is climbing like crazy though. That's it heading to the roof at the end of the porch.
From August 2010
Can you see my desk lamp in the one? I refer to this corner of the dining room as my office....desk, computer, etc. I love being able to look out over things, especially the birds at the feeders in winter and the cats daily sitting on the porch swing. Don't know where they were this morning. They were all there when we fed them earlier.
From August 2010
It was this corner that got the soaking.

Pet Peeve

I just know Tide is no longer the product it once was. I used to be able to get that green tomato stain off my work clothes but can't anymore! I am betting the environmental government people have stepped in once again and made them quit using something. I will now have to bleach a tee shirt, an apron and a long sleeve shirt. They make them build appliances now that use less water, toilets that use less dishes don't get clean, we have to flush twice....but they don't inspect large farming operations for cleanliness or factories who process our food and people get sick and some even die..........let the blasted cleaning products alone!!!!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Long Distance Critter, self seeders and doctor's visit

That same old refrain "hot and humid....and dry".

The last post should actually be for Thursday, don't know how to type one day and post the next with the correct date.

This one is for Friday, Saturday and Today.

First, I will get this out of the way. It fits right in with my theme of cutting back, simplifying, and streamling things. Three days ago I woke up with very sore, stiff and swollen wrists and hands. Also my left shoulder was hurting again. The wrists and hands was something new for me. I took Aleve for a day but then some sweet internet friends told me to go to a doctor asap. They scared me up a bit so I did. Went to the Urgent Care Clinic since I don't have a Primary Care Doctor (I hate that whole setup). They took three x-rays and three tubes of blood. The RF test (rheumatoid factor) for arthritis came back slightly elevated (normal is 0-14; mine was 15.1). The blood was good as was bone density in wrists and they found no damage to bones due to possible RA. I had no idea it damaged bones. I will be calling a PC doctor Monday first thing to schedule follow up. They said she will probably refer me to a rheumatologist. In the meantime, I am taking Aleve and have prescription pain meds if I need them and usually don't.

My wrists are still swollen and quite stiff when I first get up but after about an hour are much better. The shoulder is bursitis and is taking a long time to heal. I was able to mow yesterday afternoon and used the string trimmer some with no adverse effects.

and life goes on................

Coming home we spotted a groundhog waddling across the field. I had to stop and take a very long zoom. We haven't seen one in years.
From July 2010


I love self seeding plants. What a help they are; no planting in trays; no transplanting and they come up when the time is right; no worrying about when to do it.

This year I have melampodiums, a whole row of them in fact.
From July 2010
and in that same row one single plant of ageratum Leilani. I haven't planted or had it in years, yet here it is this year.
From July 2010
and a rudbeckia by the porch that started life as rudbeckia 'Prairie Sun'. I like this one just as well; it is a huge bloom.
From July 2010
in this same foundation bed around the south side of the house are cleome.
From July 2010
and my very favorite for edging, vinca.
From July 2010
I also have a row of short red maybe 'Lady in Red' salvias on the south side of the hummingbird bed....and they do love it.
From July 2010

Also self seeded are zinnias and nicotianas and cosmos....had the sprinkler on so didn't photgraph them.
Whoops, I did take a picture of the nicotianas out front.
From July 2010

Last is a picture of the tomatoes I picked from the kitchen garden this morning. I need to figure what to do with all the grape tomatoes I will have!
From Harvest 2010

Hope everyone has a super Sunday.