Sunday, October 30, 2011

A beautiful Saturday Morning

We had a very cool 33° night and lots of frost, but no wind and the sun is shining this morning.  It is a perfect fall day.

I did a walk  around and took  a picture or two; nothing spectacular for fall color. I think we will be missing that this year.

I couldn't resist a couple of shots of Willow and babies.

One was the rear end so I skipped posting it!

This may be the most color we get this year in the yard.  I usually tear down the Virginia Creeper and I will but I wanted to let it color up first.


The last week has been filled with  doctor appointments, in-laws situation and our son's visit to see his Grandad.

Of course that always calls for a vanilla cream pie.  I apologize for the color; it was taken under the led lights on the cabinet and I forgot to make adjustments.


This is the first time I have used the new vodka vanilla.....I didn't check to see if it had steeped long enough but I did a taste test and it passed.  We all decided it was the best flavored pie I have made.  Of course I used several different milk products for the cream.....so it wasn't a true test.  The vanilla is quite sweet now.  I didn't know the beans were sweet and it has a nice dark color.

Our son who likes to cook was very interested in  the vanilla so he asked for and I gave him a packet of 12 vanilla beans I had vacuum sealed.  He makes pies, bread, scones, biscuits and most everything.

Both kids were marked by fried chicken!  I don't know if I did it a lot or  what when they were growing up but they love it, fried the way Mom always did hers. I  cut up two chickens to fry.  He wanted to do it with me so after his visit with grandpa, we were frying chicken at 7 PM......not my usual time to cook!  It was worth it though.  He is such an appreciative eater!  I just roll the washed an drained pieces in a mix of flour, salt and pepper and this time, paprika.  I also fry it in about an inch of canola oil (or peanut or whatever) and I added 1/2 stick of butter for color and flavor.  I brown it on high heat; turn down to medium low, put lid on and cook for l hour.  Yes, one hour!  I almost gag when I watch the TV chefs cooking chicken for 20 minutes on their shows.  The chicken  will be almost falling off the bone and then I remove lid, turn up heat to crisp it up.  That's how Mom did it and it's good enough for all of us.

The requisite sides of mashed potatoes and gravy and buttered peas and fried apple slices were added.

I sent the balance  of the chicken home with him.

He is coming back today and bringing the two younger grands,and will just be here overnight.  DIL is coming down Sunday with our oldest granddaughter and  then they are all going back at the same time.    I may have to trail in town to see her....and will if necessary! 

Cooking seems impossible to time so I just bought some deli meats and cheeses and chips.  I can always do waffles or eggs if need be.

I will be making chocolate cupcakes later this morning.

I am heading to the kitchen to process the peppers and some of the really ripe tomatoes...




Sunday, October 23, 2011

October 15-23 A Record for no Posts

I just haven't felt bloggy.....some family illnesses and other issues that seemed to sap my energies.

First the weather: we finally got a lovely 1 inch rain and it has been pretty cool.  We have had three frosts so far, one pretty heavy with a low of 29°.

I did make myself go out and harvest some tomatoes and the peppers.  I was surprised at the ripe tomatoes.



Bless the peppers.  They finally came through and the cheese peppers were just loaded with tiny little green ones about an inch or less across.
 

I have had to mow again....hopefully the last time. The trees are loosing leaves rapidly now.

I ran across a real bargain a few days ago.  We had stopped at a local Farm Supply store for something else and I saw the boxes of Muck Boots stacked outside marked $20 (I gave over $80 for my winter ones.) These were all the low tops, just perfect to step into to do yard and garden work in hotter weather.  I can just hose them off.  I was delighted to find my size.


Note the dirty rug.  We are either the dirtiest people on earth or our farm  is!  We track in more dirt...We are now practicing the Japanese tradition of removing shoes by the back door.  Ilene, pay attention now:  You cannot walk into a chicken yard or chicken house without stepping in something!   You may need some of these!


But gathering the eggs make it worth it!



I tried to capture a picture of the heavy frost but it wasn't too successful.



 I made my annual batch of mincemeat and candied some citrus peel.  More about  that in the next post.








Friday, October 14, 2011

Catch Up Time Again

We are still dry here even though the county directly south, Christin Co., got nearly 2 inches.

Mostly just routine farm stuff happening.  the new chickens are still trying to figure where to lay their eggs.  I have had two broken so far.  I had to put a wide board up for them to roost on.  We don't think they even had a roost in their previous home.  The minute I did that they were lined up on it the next morning.  Some are still sitting on top of the next box.....pooping of course! 

We sold calves Wednesday and glad to see prices are still very good.  Of course this means the store prices will be very high too.

We had to go to town one day and dismantle FIL's bed for a hospital bed.  He isn't doing well at all and I see a nursing home in the future.  She is 93 and just can't care for him.  She doesn't take advice at all so she will just have to figure that out on her own.

I had a small cheat on the no dessert routine and made an apple tart.  I thought well , just one crust!  So it is really diet food, right?

From Blog photos


I made this one with Golden Delicious apples and they were so sweet I added very little sugar to the tart.
I mixed maybe two tablespoons of sugar, some cinnamon and 2 tablespoons of flour with the apples before dumping them on the crust.  Then I drizzled a little boiled cider over them with a few pinches of butter added.

After baking I brushed maybe a tablespoons of softened apple jelly for a glaze.


Today's cooking project will be hamburger and hot dog buns.  I vow to master shaping these rascals the size I want!  No more baby buns...

I am playing with design again......bear with me, please.  I do this by experimenting; I have no idea how to  do most of it.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Video?

Well,  it didn't play for me???  I may have to skip that feature.  My wireless is just 512 kbps  but   I can play others videos.  Wonder what I missed doing?  Help?

Wyandottes and Black Sex Links

We finally found some young pullets and just-starting-to-lay pullets fairly near.  We drove up around the Stockton Lake area to get them Sunday.  He was a poultry jackpot!  He had banties, several kinds of young chickens and I saw a pen with ducks.  Of course, I wanted one of each.....but settled on  6 Black  Sex Links and 4 Golden Laced Wyandottes.  The Blacks are already laying.

video

They are the singingest chickens we have ever had.  We both just stood around them listening yesterday.

The blacks are more gentle than the Wyandottes and both are more so than the
Americaunas.

I discovered it is two Buff Orpingtons that are still laying.

I spent about an hour getting the pens fitted out and cleaning up for winter.  We are keeping them separated for a while before tossing them all in together.

I found ut from the poultry man that probably the reason my setting hens didn't work was for the eggs to be fertile, you should have one rooster for every 5 or so birds.....I am at 1 to 15 birds.  He also said I should get rid of my rooster first because the new rooster would fight to the death with him.  He is such a nice bird, DH is very attached to him so we will just continue to buy birds every couple of years or until he ends his days
with us naturally.  Not very practical, I know.

I hope you can hear them on the video (Nell made me do it!). After enjoying her butterfly videos,   I had to try one.  I may have made it too long; it took forever to embed.  I made one calling the chickens....after listening, I decided to do a new one!  I need Nell's lovely southern voice to do voice overs. I sounded like a mule driver!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Kieffer Pears and other kitchen doings - Milking Routine

We are still having nice weather, but a little too warm and too dry. 

I have been keeping up with routine daily farm chores of chickens , Willow and the calves and DH does the beef herd. 

I decided I better do some processing of apples before loosing them. Yesterday was the day.

First was the Kieffer pears.  I planted it knowing it has a bad rep for anything but canning or jam, but it is very resistant to fireblight to I chose it deliberately.  This is the first year to get anything and  that was just 12 pears.  You don't allow them to ripen on the tree, in fact, I am not sure they will ripen on the tree!  I waited until  there was a rosy blush on one side and just a  beginning of yellow .  I stored them in the milk parlor for about a month checking daily for softness. I decided they were ready when they had an even yellow color and a slight softness. I don't think their reputation is deserved.  I ate one and thought it was very good and juicy.  I am happy I planted it.  I had enough to make a very small batch of Pear Honey.  I think I cooked it a little too long but it tastes delicious.



Next, I picked all the Golden Delicious that were the ripest and had some faults (remember, I bought seconds), just cored and diced.  I cooked them with enough apple cider to get them started using the favored Maslin Pan.  When soft I ran them through the Foley Food Mill.  I processed them in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.  They were so sweet, I didn't add any additional sugar.



Milking

Willow refused to let her milk down......again....... So, I enticed baby Jersey up the ramp into the barn.  She was able to stick her head through and begin nursing.  Voila!  down came the milk.  I milked out three quarters very easily.

This solves two problems for me.  One, I get the milk without waiting an hour and I am breaking the future milk cow to the ramp and barn.  When she gets too old to put her head through, I will just run her into the stall in front of Willow and feed her grain ration while I am milking.

We looked for a calf halter at two stores but they didn't have any.  I have two that are a little too large for her now, but I will  just wait until they do fit.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Willow has another grandcalf

Another beautiful day in the Ozarks!  I had a bad night so when I finally did go to sleep, I slept in.  5 AM for me is about 1.5 hours of oversleep.

I was still in my pj's when DH popped his head in the back  door and said "Annabelle calved".  He could see her from the barn lot.  Annabelle is Willows' daughter. We bought her with Willow when she was 7 months old.  This is her second calf and it is another bull.  I grabbed the camera and walked down to see them. I arranged the collage showing  a calf's actions  when disturbed.  First it is laying enjoying the morning sun, mother and baby ignoring me and Biscuit.  Then Biscuit wanders near to check it out, up comes  the head and before you know it, it is up and moving to Mama.  They always nurse when worried or upset.  Annabelle still paid no attention.  She knows both of us well.


I have very few pretty flowers left blooming.  Of course, the roses are an exception since they always look best in the cool of fall.  Finally the pink hyacinth bean vine is making seeds, but they are very small.









Sunday, October 2, 2011

Eyesore Removed! and other routine things

Weather continues perfect for fall.  I would like another rain....I am greedy.



Here is the first thing that caught my eye a couple of mornings ago.  I walked out on the porch very early and looked across the road to the field.  Normally there were piles of brush stacked here and there and several weeds.  It has taken the neighbor three years in short spurts of work but finally he finished the job!  He even burned the brush piles.  It looks so nice now.

If we weren't so close to the road, I wouldn't have paid any attention to it...but we are.


I mowed yesterday probably for the last time.  I was surprised by how much dirt and dust it kicked up.  Of course the yard being overrun with moles doesn't help.  I hope they are gorging on Japanese Beetle grubs!

I milked yesterday, Friday.   I am trying a new routine to encourage her to let down her milk,  DH goes out early and turns her in to the holding pen.  See can look over the new  half door and see the babies.  I leave her there for at least 30 minutes, hoping.  I got more milk than usual so maybe it is working.  It is no more work to do it this way so we will continue. 

I just made a pan of rolled type apple dumplings; hope they turn out super.  I want to take some to my MIL and FIL today.  Apple Dumplings are her favorite dessert, but the old, whole apple type.
I wasn't wholly impressed with the rolls, so I made just three of the regular kind with pie crust I had in the freezer.

A day or so ago I baked a small turkey and made a regular turkey dinner of mashed potatoes, peas, gravy, and turkey.  I made the large recipe of 24-hour refrigerator rolls too.  There was a method to all my madness in cooking this much food.  I took enough for two meals up to the In-Laws.  I still had enough turkey left to make a large pot of turkey tetrazzini today (Sunday 10/2/11).  There will be enough to freeze and DH can take some to them mid-week.  FIL isn't doing so well after his last radiation treatment.  He is very weak and couldn't keep his eyes open while we were there.  We are hoping his strength will improve over the next two weeks. 

The chickens are on a laying break big time!  1 or 2 eggs a day.  They may be starting to moult.  I hate when that happens but it always does each year.

Our neighbor had hung a new gate between us so we dropped by yesterday and paid our half. 

That wraps up another week.

 I can hardly believe it is October!  What happened to September?