Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New bread - cleaned the freezer at last!

I told you how sometimes plans don't work out, especially where animals are concerned.

I planned to milk this morning; first I noticed Willow was bellowing....she absoutely would not let her milk down. For the uninitiated, a milk cow can come into the barn with a flat, deflated udder sometimes, but when you wash her udder and massage it and strip out some milk usually her udder will fill up and become very engorged. Well Willow has always tried to hold back her milk, I think for her calves, but generally lets down after a couple of minutes prepping her. This morning, nada! So I turned her in with the calves, udder filled right up and they nurses happily. She also could have been in heat. I am marking the calendar for 21 days ahead to check.

Now I had absolutely no excuse to not tackle that bottom freezer compartment of the trio fridge. How I hate that job. To make it more fun, I decided to make Flower Lady's Oatmeal Bread that she recently blogged about. I reasoned it would be something to look forward to after the awful cleaning job and it was.

She makes hers in a bread machine but I am happy to report I made it the traditional way and it turned out beautifully. I didn't have all the herbs so made some substitutions. I used fennel seed instead of caraway, no marjoram-used rosemary. We liked it very much. I was afraid the herbs and spices would be too strong, but they are not. I am looking forward to trying some as toast or with soup.
She has a link to the recipe on her Blog
I was able to bake it in the counter-top oven which was a plus. I did have to cover the top with foil and I almost waited too late!

I followed Granny's Place method of listing all the things in the drawer and will put it on a spread sheet soon. I couldn't believe how much I had crammed in there. I found lunch which was a plus. We had spaghettil cheese bake and a slice of Oatmeal bread and a small cupcake for dessert. I had frozen three in a ziploc bag; found a container of cream cheese icing. They were banana so that worked out well.

I also put all frozen bread in the bottom of the drawer and moved heavy things to the upright freezer on the back porch. The hardest part of the whole ordeal is taking out the drawer and getting it back on the tracks again. You have to do that in order to wash the bottom of the freezer which always is a mess. Actually defrosting the upright is much easier. I want to do it soon and make a listing of the items.

It was 100° today, a good day to be working inside.

Daily Chores - Flower Beds

I did the morning chores that DH does unless I have to milk.

He wanted to get an early start on brush hogging so I turned out the chickens and did Willow and the calves. She never wants to come in the barn if she sees me; she knows I will steal the milk! I locked the calves in the barn, opened the gate to her field and to the holding pen......and she trotted in to see where the calves were.
While they were nursing I watered the clematis by the ramp.

Next turned the chickens out for the day. Then I started my flower bed clean-up. I finished the Hummingbird Bed by the drive and turned on the sprinkler. then I moved to the DR porch bed and worked it over.

This is the north side of the HB bed that I did yesterday.
and this is the south side, east end after I have cut down the lychnis and shastas,

This is the west end of the south side that had already been tidied up. The poor anemone 'Robustissima' isn't going to do much this year. It is right behind and to the left of the phlox. It is usually 5 feet tall.

On to the DR Porch bed

This is filled with ribbon grass! a serious mistake. I have some nice daylilies and Siberian iris in here that are being choked out. It has to go.

and the corner bed foundation bed,

I am feeling very pleased with myself. These are jobs I usually wait until spring to do,but things just looked so awful because of the weather I couldn't stand it any longer.....and then there was that Florida incentive!

I need all the incentive I can get these days.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bread - Gardening Cleanup

It was 73° here this morning and it bodes to be another very hot day.

Yesterday was milking day. It takes her a very long time to let down her milk for just me, but I persevered!

Flowerlady has inspired me to stay with my yard clean-up project. She has made remarkable inroads in her lush tropical growth in Florida and she has all that humidity to deal with.


I began the Hummingbird Bed outside the kitchen after I milked. I watered part of it while I worked. I cut down and pulled morning glory vines in the side next to the drive, cut off most of the phlox and cut a few seedling trees. I think for now I will leave the Golden Rain tree. It is too near the sassafras seedling tree but I am not ready to make a decision about it.

This morning, I plan to finish the bed. I stay plan because living on the farm, things have a way of changing quickly.

I also spot mowed part of the west yard.

I am still finding the odd Japanese Beetle on the roses.

We made another library run so I am good for another week. I tried to watch some television, but gave up. Nothing on it interest me.


We were very low on bread. I wanted to test the machine again and go for 4 loaves.
I basically doubled KA's white bread recipe from the book that came with the mixer.
I was worried about doubling the yeast from 2 to 4 packages but did anyway. I rose like gangbusters! I think I should have cut back on the yeast considerably and just let it raise longer. It worked up beautifully, pulled off the bowl and dough hook, was smooth and satiny and very springy! I made three loaves of bread and one of hot dog buns. This bread is the closest to being store bread in texture and taste. This is not a goal! but this is what it turned out to be. I don't know why I am so enamored of white bread these days. I will make some good old hearty whole wheat soon.

This is slices from a small test bun. We always have to test it first out of the oven.....that is required!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A baby sitting Weekend

Kittens that is.

My neighbor girl asked me to take care of her three baby kittens this weekend. It was a new experience for me. Bottle feeding baby kittens. They have been no bother; they are still at the sleep-most-of-the-day stage.

Not much else going on except they did deliver the rest of the hay. The hay man wants us to lime and fertilize and let him custom cut our hay next year for $18 a bale. I need to check into fertilizer and lime costs. We have about 80 acres we could cut for hay.....need to really put pencil to paper on this.
We are currently paying $30 a bale but the quality isn't top notch.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Weeding - The Babies

I made a few changes in my daily plans.....I took care of Willow and the calves this morning. While they were nursing, I cut the weeds growing out of the concrete in the holding pen (calves home). When I turned her out, I couldn't resist taking a few pictures of them in the cool morning. They are shaded by the apricot tree. I took so many I decided to do a collage. If you look closely you can see the wet noses and them looking to their left watching Momma walk away.

Instead of coming straight in and starting the freezer drawer, I decided to get the mower and trailer out. I want to spray some fence rows and ditches so I loaded the 25-gallon sprayer and had DH load the battery so I could check it out before mixing the spray. All is running, so in the morning I will be ready to go early.

I always keep my tools ready in the trailer, so I grabbed the loppers and cut some tall weeds out of the Ramp bed. The clematis paniculata (yes, I know they don't call it that anymore, but I do!) is starting to open and it smells heavenly. It has received very little extra watering so it does very well in the heat and dry. I always have to cut it away from the gate. The Kieffer pear has a few but I don't know when to pick them. I know I do it while they are still hard and let them ripen inside, but when?

That is the calf pen in the background.

Cutting those weeds felt so good, I did an early attack on the poor bedraggled Driveway Bed. I haven't watered it once this year and you can certainly tell it.
I pulled most of the weeds here but did do some seedling trees and milk weed with the loppers. I am feeling very good about this. It is something I normally don't do until fall because things are still blooming.....not this year. I still have the west side of the bed to do.

Now I am inside and DH tells me he is out of chicken for the dog....and Tide! I need my Merle Norman makeup, so the freezer may have to wait.

I think I may be deliberately putting it off............

Here is another good drought plant and it comes up in lots of places all over the yard.

Friday, August 26, 2011

4:30 AM, 61 °, high 80's for the day.

In celebration of the cooler temperatures, I made sausage gravy and biscuits for breakfast. I didn't really need an excuse. We just get hungry for a country breakfast now and then.

Just the biscuits, the gravy just doesn't look nearly as good as it tastes.

I haven't been doing much lately.

Wednesday, 8/24/11:

Helped finish up Willow and the calves so DH could check the cows earlier.

Harvested parsley seeds.

Watered the calves and the Kieffer pear and the two nearby clematis.

I was back inside by 8:10 AM.

I did make a new batch of soap. This time I used Willow's milk and left out oatmeal.
I made a 32 oz.(weight of the oils) batch. Making soap is like making bread; no batch turns out exactly as the batch before!

This is one batch of the same soap. The only difference is the larger, darker bars were poured into my wooden mold lined with an old shirt tail. Mom always did this but she used a cardboard box of some kind. The lighter bars were poured into a quart milk box and lined with plastic wrap. Be interesting to see if when aged, they are the same.

This is the two bars up close and personal,

I only use a mix of lavender and rosemary essential oils and so the whole house smells lovely while the bars are curing.


I called the local orchard hoping to find peaches and some apples. I wasn't really surprised when they told me they just had a few apples this year and very few peaches. I won't bother to buy any. It has been a very strange year. My trees didn't bloom much and what did just dropped.

Thursday, 8/25/11

The washing machine was delivered yesterday afternoon. Like all new products, the government has put their busy little hand in.....the lid goes into lock-down when you start the machine. What an annoyance. I lift the lid quite often during the process. I can still do it, but have to push a button and if you hold the button down too long, it cancels the thing and you have to start over! I may just leave the whole thing to my in-house laundry expert and never look at it again.


The tractor was finally delivered on Wednesday. DH called the hay man and he will be bringing our 100 large round bales on Saturday. We have some carry-over from last year so should be good, especially if our normal fall rains come. Fescue will do regrowth with rain and cooler weather and will grow until mid-December.

The plan for today is to clean out the bottom freezer on the refrigerator....I must do this!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Just another day in the life......

It is overcast this morning but no rain so far. It is very iffy for us to get any. At least the clouds help with the temperature.

Helpmeet did the cow and calves this morning which was very nice because I was able to get out in the garden early.

I finally got turnips planted and am watering them as I type.
I harvested the okra again and two tomatoes. I found three more tomato horn worms. What voracious things they are!
My piggy back eggplant must be the hybrid eggplant 'Fairy Tale'. Mine isn't quite as striped as the catalog pictures and I see I picked some a little too short. They recommend two to four inches. Mine fall within that range but it seems four would be a better length. I plan to cook some for lunch and will let you know what we think.

The dwarf plant is hanging full,

God love okra. It thrives in this hot, dry weather. The tomatoes are almost non-existent. I finally found one for lunch and it has a bad spot on one side.

I tackled a few cleaning projects in the kitchen. The glass insets in the cabinet doors were past time of cleaning so I did them. My kitchen sink window is always bad so I did both the inside and the outside. I finally got smart and just hid a step stool behind a bush under the window so I can clean without dragging one from wherever I might have to go to find it.

I had to order a new washing machine yesterday......I have been waiting for the other shoe to drop after having all the farm machinery repairs. I told DH something in the house would quit .... and it did. The machine has been a workhorse for us for over 10 years. DH does laundry daily. He may have a nervous breakdown without a machine until Thursday or Friday! I just ordered sight unseen another stripped down model Whirlpool. I had the serviceman tell me the minimum to have on it. They tried to talk me into a Whirlpool owned brand that they had on the floor....repairman shook his head "NO" when I repeated that aloud. Whirlpool is the brand I try to stick with on washers and dryers and DW until I don't. Then I am always unhappy.

Early the next morning

We ended up with a very light shower and the the sun came out and it got pretty hot again.

Cooked the new eggplant. I thought it had a bitter whang. Of course, with our weather no plant will be its normal self. I don't think I will grow it again. I still can't find where I ordered the seeds....maybe a stray from Pine Tree?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Pound Cake for company

Yesterday was another very hot day.

The new calf routine is going smoother than I had hoped. By the time I got outside yesterday morning, Max had Willow in the barn and she and the babies were nearly finished. All went well. We turned her into the east lot where there is a lot more grass for her. I had to use a sturdy plastic trash can for temporary water. We need to buy a small, portable stock tank next time we are in town.

I decided to do a little trimming around the back yard and by 9 AM gave it up! I was drenched and drained. I also watered a little. Today is supposed to be near 100°.

Before company arrived, I made our favorite pound cake. I reserve this recipe for company because it makes a huge cake and everyone really enjoys it. I also like to send what's left home with them.

I found the original recipe on Allrecipes. It was submitted by Gina and what she says was true for me, once I made it, I didn't use any other recipe for pound cake.
It is a very moist cake and you must follow all the instructions about baking to the letter to get that.

Gina’s Pound Cake (allrecipes)

This is the best and last pound cake recipe you will ever use. etc.


3 cups white sugar
1 cup butter
1 (8 )ounce package cream cheese, softened
6 eggs
3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1/2 teaspoon orange extract


Do not preheat oven. Spray a 10 inch Bundt pan with vegetable oil

Sift together flour, soda and salt and set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Pour the flour mixture into batter and gently fold in with a spatula. Stir in the flavorings. Batter will be very thick.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Place cake in oven and set thermostat to 350°F. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until the top is golden brown and turn the oven off.
Let the cake sit in the oven for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool in pan for 15 minutes. Turn cake over onto a cake plate and allow to cool while still covered with pan.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Piggyback Plant - Random Farm Pictures

Another cool morning. Oh how I love them! It is 70° which is a little warmer but at least it isn't 80°. Still no further rain.

I tilled part of the garden yesterday and it is still fairly moist down 6 inches or so. I should have to water for a few days.

I didn't get any trimming done. I hope to tackle that today. I am not milking.

I think I have talked DH into buying a baby Jersey heifer to put on Willow...if the farm has any. I am calling or e-mailing today. They are the cheese company farm that the state of Missouri visited with guns drawn ordering them to shut down a 30-year raw milk cheese company and they were ordered to sell all inventory! The litigation is ongoing. There had never been a complaint against the company in all those years. I will let you know how the baby calf situation goes. It seems wasteful to me not to let Willow raise a second calf.

I have mentioned before that I can't bear to toss out good plants....even though I should sometimes. Well when I moved a pot of salvia to the stump bed, I noticed a strange plant in with wasn't any weed I was familiar with so I left it and planted the entire pot. It was an eggplant. I am not sure what variety.

Now I remember, the salvia was a piggyback too. The pot was for the Golden Jubilee agastache.

I don't really need anymore eggplant. I don't know what to do with what I have!
I do want to try this one though.

Random Farm Pictures

When the Grands are here I give them my camera and they snap away to their heart's content.....they go places I don't!

This is Willow and this year's baby.

and this is Willow's 2-year old daughter with her new baby, a bull calf. I hadn't seen it until this photo,

The above post is a week old now, but is workable as today's post. I still have not tried the new eggplant.

What's new is the weather has warmed up again and no rain. I am watering a few things.........again.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

New Jersey Heifer for Willow

I had another couple of posts ready but yesterday we took a trip way down to Mt. View, Mo. and bought a new baby for Willow.


She was born August 3. Willow's heifer baby was born July 29 so there isn't much difference in age but she is almost twice the weight and size. Of course she is half Black Angus and has been on full feed (Momma's milk) since birth. We think the new baby is a little lean but very healthy and latched on to
Willow with some guidance. Willow was not too bad with the whole set up. I definitely need to be present during feeding time with a switch and to tie Willow up.
It won't take too long. She has accepted other babies in the same manner.


I am feeling very pleased. Now I can just milk when I want to and Willow can raise two calves for me. I have always wanted a Jersey milk cow and now I can have one...........if two years down the road, I still want to milk and I see no reason to change, health permitting. I have taken several picture this morning so if anyone wants to see more they are welcome.

She will look very different in a few weeks.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Another Catch up Post - Honey Wheat Bread - Random Farm Picture

We have entered another warm few days and I started watering a few things again.

I haven't done anything in the garden since I tilled it, not even to check tomatoes.

It was been a busy few days.

We decided to sell some calves again so that took up one morning. Prices are still very good, thankfully.

Then we dropped the trailer off to have the lights fixed before we get a ticket for not having them.

I can't be in town without stopping at a store or two, bought milk filters, and a few grocery items. Back home and put things away. After shopping, I am through for the day.

Except, I did make bread very late yesterday afternoon. This time I made another family favorite, Honey and Wheat. It makes three loaves; I made one up into burger buns. Our KC family called and are coming down tomorrow to spend a couple of days before school starts. Our daughter really likes this bread she will have bread!

Finally this dough came together like I thought it should.

Here is how it looked in the mixer after kneading for 6 minutes. I still am not happy with the size of the buns, I weigh them and that is correct but I want the bigger around....may have to resort to a cutter. Suggestions will be appreciated.

and right out of the oven,

Honey Oat and Wheat Bread

from Hodgson Mill Bread Book

2 pkgs yeast
1/2 cup warm water (105°)

2-1/2 cups warm water
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups Oat Bran Hot Cereal
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup margarine (I use butter)
6 cups Hodgson Mill 50/50 flour
1 egg
2 cups Hodgson Mill best for bread flour
shortening to coat bowl and 3 bread pans.

My Change:
1 cup hot oat bran cereal
1/2 cup cracked wheat
Soaked in the 2-1/2 cups of hot water
Increase salt to 2 teaspoons

This replaced the 1-1/2 cups Oat Bran Cereal

Add yeast to half cup warm water. Let stand 10 minutes.

Combine lukewarm water, oat bran cereal, honey, melted margarine. Here is where I bring water to a boil to soak my 7-grain and cracked wheat. Let stand until cool.

Add 2 cups 50/50 flour and mix well (you may use mixer). To this mixture add the egg and softened yeast, mix well. Add remaining flours to make a soft dough. Turn onto a lightly floured board and knead 10 minutes or use dough hook on mixer for 4 minutes . Put in greased bowl turning once to coat top. cover with a damp cloth and allow to rise in a warm draft-free lace until doubled about l hour.

Knead down. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Diving into three equal portions and let rest for 10 minutes. Shape into loaves and place in greased loaf pans, let raise for about 1 hour until dough reaches tops of pans.

Preheat over during this time to 375°. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Remove bread from pans immediately and let cool on wire racks.

Random Farm Picture

We have had Willow long enough that she now has a grandcalf, actually two, since Annabelle, had calved earlier. We bought Annabelle along with Willow when she was ready to wean. This is the first one from her first baby born on the farm. The mother is Ginger (out of our Black Angus bull) and her first baby, a bull calf from our new bull.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Another delightfully cool morning here. I milked (skipped yesterday morning). Had great plans to start the yard immediately but DH said the grass was too wet. In a little while after my second go round of coffee, I will till the bare part of the garden again. The weeds have responded to the little rain showers!

Well, our company left about 5:30 yesterday evening. Had a wonderful visit. We are very happy with the way our grands are developing. They have wonderful manners and thank you for everything you do for them. They also are big milk drinkers and very good eaters and, the best part of all, is they love Gram's food! I bask in warm praises all weekend which is very nice.

They did the ziplining thing and really enjoyed it. DIL took lots of pictures and a video of the long run. It sounded and looked very exciting. I wish I could figure some way for you all to see the video. It was after 7 pm when they finished and she gave them the option of eating out or coming back to the farm. They chose Gram who had a hot pizza waiting.

I sent them home loaded down with 6 dozen eggs, okra (the 16-year old loves it)from the garden, several jars of jams and jellies (requested by the above,which is why I make so many of them), the leftover chocolate sheet cake,the cookies, and a loaf of the French Bread. They/we had eaten the other two loaves already.

This is such an exciting time of their lives. Our grandson had finally grown 3 inches since we saw him earlier this summer.....of course, his younger sister had grown 3.5 inches! I have been telling them since birth that you are what you eat...I think it took. I was delighted to see how much milk they drink...and they love the 'cow' milk. They have it with all meals and for snacks in between times.

The one thing we didn't get done was try the beignets filled with whipped cream and raspberries and drizzled with ganache. We did have beignets for breakfast. That's a given when the come here. I made them promise to try New Orleans beignets when they take the next cruise that leaves from there. I want them to try the chicory coffee too (the grown-ups).

We had some dough left and I am going to try that just for us! Bad, I know but so be it.

Here are the two older ones:

Yes, that is cow poop splattered on their legs!

and this is the youngest on the hay,

and this is Gramps after he got the ATV ready for them,

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Hope I settled on the layout!

I have the search feature on the right sidebar. I will try to remember to label the posts with recipes. So you just type in the name of the recipe and it should take you to the post featuring that particular recipe.

Now if I could just figure how to make the header picture the width of the entire blog................

Post Script

Oh lordy. I have messed with the design so much I have lost my recipes! I need to take a class in blogging. I need to try to figure this one out now. Great.............

A Little Rain - Self Seeded Trees - Real Workout with the Queen

It is truly a good morning. It is 68° and we got .33 inches of rain around 2 AM. It was barely more than a shower but we are very happy to get it! The top soil was still moist from the previous rain. Maybe the long, hot, dry spell is truly broken.

Ilene has been talking about planting trees at her new home on her blog, The Rock Whisperer. I wanted her to see the self seeded Golden Rain Trees I have thanks to the black seeds inside the cute little lanterns. It is a good small tree. I used to have a very large one, but either an ice storm or the tornado took it down. What I do have each year are little seedlings still coming up! It is amazing.

These came up in a planter out front where there used to be a huge spruce tree (downed by strong straight line winds). I have let this clump grow together.

They have never been watered or sprayed. The Japanese Beetles do eat them but they are not the top choice for them!

This is the sassafras tree right outside the kitchen window. I have wanted one for years and the birds gifted this to me a couple of years ago. I hope it isn't too close to the house.

This next one was a mystery tree, but I think I have identified it this year by the tiny bell shaped little blooms hanging from the underside of outer branches. I believe it is our native persimmon tree. There are several growing on the farm and a grove of them west of the house where the big pond it. As it grew I thought it was a pretty, healthy tree with interesting bark so I let it be. It is just behind the double pink rose of sharon next to the lawnmower shed. They are small trees so I think it will be fine left here.

Once again, no watering during this drought.

There is an 18" one growing right by the back steps that I think is another persimmon.....I am keeping my eye on it.

Another very hardy tree for drought is our native redbud. I planted three seedlings dug from the yard a few years ago and they have done really well. I also have some growing out of my lily patch....not a good thing. That is the only things about self-seeders. They don't always sprout in good places. I am trying to kill one out of my 20 year old Parson's Pink China rose but am not having much luck.

The St. Louis grands are coming down this weekend so I had a good excuse to put the mixer through the paces. I made my French Bread recipe that calls for almost 11 cups of flour. The mixer was barely warm. The bread seemed awfully soft like my potato bread but I added no extra flour. I am curious about that. It turned out great.
I made up one loaf in my bread pan.

I sliced one loaf and the texture was nice but more holey than usual.

They all love the cookie recipe I got from Flower Lady's Blog. It's called Creaet-a-Cookie. We love it. This time I added 1/2 cup of wheat germ and used the chocolate chips. DH doesn't like them , but the grands do so guess who won out?

It makes a large stiff batter. Once again the mixer did great.

I was worried about all the talk about needing to order a special paddle with plastic extenders on the side because the original paddle doesn't scrape the bowl well. That hasn't been a problem for me. I resent having to buy something extra to make this expensive a mixer work! So I didn't do it.

I think both recipes are listed on my side bar or they were. I will check later.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Raccoon - Freezing Okra - Trial Pickles

We are still in our cooler mode; high yesterday was just in the 80's. Still no more rain for us. Most of it went south to our Arkansas friends and they needed it too.

First things first. We finally caught the blasted raccoon ..... after he or they got my sweet corn.

He just looks evil!

The funny thing is we had baited the trap with peanut butter, canned cat food, corn and marshmallows at various times. No raccoon. So I finally just forgot about the whole thing.

Two days ago when I went to the garden to harvest a few things, I was within a few feet of the trap and didn't even see the rascal! Later I looked through the garden gate and there he was....just looking at me. I was stunned. I know he was there earlier because you normally don't see them active in the daytime. This was with no bait at all except dried up leftovers of a cob. I plan to toss another dried ear of corn in the trap because where there is one, there are more.

Trial Jars of Pickles

I know this isn't really much of a test but, so far, I am not overly impressed with Pickle Crisp. All I did was a small jar of my regular garlic and dill where you mix equal parts of water and vinegar and some canning salt and pour it boiling over your cucumbers packed in jar with whatever you want to use, dill, garlic, red pepper flakes, etc. They seem a little crisper but I would have to open another regular jar to test and haven't done that yet.

The others were a sort of bread and butter using up the leftover relish syrup, I had a quart of that which I brought to a boil, dumped in a quart of sliced cucumbers, brought it back to the boil. Then I packed them into a quart jar. I have left them on the counter top. The b & b seem tough to me, could have been the cucumbers. They aren't as crisp as the ones I soaked overnight in the lime solution. I am putting them all in the refrigerator today and see what that does.

I added 1/8 tsp to the small jar and 1/4 tsp to the quart.

Freezing Okra

This couldn't be easier. I pick the okra small. Wash and dry it. Slice off tips and stem ends. Slice in 1/2 inch or so pieces. I lay out equal pods and slice several at once. Place in bowl with some cornmeal; toss. Then lay them out on a cookie sheet to freeze individually. Next I bag in a gallon size bag. I add to the bag until it is full. I can then just pour out the amount I want to cook. I don't thaw before using.


I finally got a picture of the 4 0'clocks open. I should have put them in another location because they aren't too attractive during the day. Another thing to add to my "to do" list.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cool, but no more rain - A couple of roses - Random thoughts

Let's get the weather out of the way. It is much cooler this week but, so far, no more rain. We are down 5 inches so far.

I milked yesterday and Willow is limping again. Usually one shot of LA 200 takes care of foot problems. I just had Oxy-tet 100 (half the strength) so gave her another shot. I think we need to make a town run and get the stronger solution....or load her and take her to the vet.

We neither have allergies to oxytetracycline so I won't hesitate to use her milk, but I don't think it will clabber with the antibiotic. I will try a quart to interesting.

I checked the garden after milking and picked okra again and a few other things. I am appalled at the tomatoes. Lots of damage from the stink bugs (white scarring under the skins) but I am canning them anyway.

The cherry tomatoes are all volunteers from years past. The little pear shaped ones are from the yellow tub tomatoes I get at the local market. They are very sweet. The black cherries are from a tomato a neighbor gave me and the larger pink ones may be pink ping pong from last year.

The large tomato needs to ripen more. It is Anais Noire/Black Pineapple, a greenish black marbled tomato, very tasty. The cucumbers were still good. I did a couple of jars to put in the fridge just to test the Pickle Crisp. I wonder how long I need to let them set to detect the crispness?


This rose, Belinda's Dream, is a very good one for me. She has survived the onslaught of the killer J. Beetles and is returning to bloom. Actually she has been in bloom all summer. Now I must tell you she is planted at the base of a compost pile (behind the fence). There were still 1 or 2 beetles on the blooms.

and a single bloom up close,

The two tricky heirloom roses are bouncing back too. There was one perfect bloom on Baronne Prevost,

Random Thoughts

Yesterday morning was the first morning in a while that I stayed outside to do some gardening. I did weed the corner bed by the back door, trimmed back the spent hesperis and hoed up the bare ground.....thinking it might be a good spot to plant some fall lettuce.....right by the back door.

I didn't work long but realized that I finished feeling invigorated physically and mentally. That is what gardening does for I am not quitting. I just need to get things to a manageable size. That will be the hard part. I feel so good when I complete a little project like that one. It has to be good for you.

I have several things I want to talk about, but this is way too long. I will list them to remind myself.

The two jars of trial Pickle Crisp Pickles
The Aloha Rose
The raccoon
Freezing okra
my self seeded trees (for Ilene to see)
My piggyback eggplant
Maybe the little backdoor area for lettuce??

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Queen has arrived! Test Bread

We had another fairly decent day yesterday, but I didn't feel like doing anything outside, even milking; so, I didn't! Being a retired old person has its privileges....

She arrived in all her Styrofoam packed glory. I dropped everything and unpacked her and put her in her place of honor in the kitchen, the bake and work center, actually corner.

I love that I am familiar with everything but there is a slight learning curve involved....maybe....and I may just use it exactly like my old one.

I needed to make bread and tried my Sis's favorite recipe that uses mashed potatoes.
It was a very wet dough but I restrained myself from adding too much extra flour. I need to start weighing ingredients instead just measuring. The bread turned out great but wasn't a real test since it just made two loaves. I need to do a 12 cup recipe soon.

I read most of the afternoon.

This morning I will get back to my regular schedule. I definitely need to weed the area beside the back door and milk.

More rain is promised today and another 80° day. Oh joy!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Foggy Morn

After our lovely rain and cool day, here is how our morning looks,

These were taken from the porch on the east side of the house, like yesterday's rainy shots.

Yesterday was a busy morning. I milked as usual. Brought the tomatoes down from the barn that were ripening and canned them, just 3 pints. I also rendered a package of the ground fat from the hogs we ordered. It goes so fast on top of the range that I can't imagine doing it all day in a crock pot.

I got a little over half a coffee can. The partial jar is what was left after I re-rendered the cracklings. I kept it separate because it will have a slightly stronger taste than the first rendering.

While the fat was rendering, I made a pumpkin pie from Long Island Cheese pumpkin that I canned two years ago. I wanted to try a nutrient dense pie so I added an extra egg and 1/2 cup of heavy cream (thank you, Willow). I used the recipe in my favorite new cook book Joy of Cooking. I like the blend of spices and the combination of brown and white sugar. I had the pie crust in the freezer so it was easy to do.

The reason I was looking for more calories is my FIL has been diagnosed with esophageal cancer and begins radiation this Wednesday. After a few treatments, his esophagus may be very tender and the food will have to be mild and probably soft.
I will make them one today or tomorrow and we will take it in to them. The doctor cautioned him to keep eating and not just skip because of discomfort. I am thinking egg custards, puddings, etc. but we will just see how things develop.

The new mixer didn't come yesterday; supposed to be here today. I need to make bread but want to wait and do it with the new mixer. I read somewhere bread is softer made by hand..........drat! I hope they are wrong. People selling the mixers sure don't say that.