Monday, December 31, 2012

December 20 - December 31

I think I set a record for no journal entries.....It has been a busy 11 days!

This our weather right now.  This is taken from the porch looking south,

What has been happening on the farm....
First of all, we had Christmas with our daughter before  Christmas....they left on Christmas Eve. I made lots of jams and breads for them all.

They left on the 24th

Our son brought his three down on the 25th.....on the way to a skiing trip to Colorado.  They spent the night and left by 5 am the next morning.  The middle one, Jen, 12, stayed the rest of the week with us.  She didn't enjoy the long skiing days.

They spoiled Sugar while here.  They got her up in their laps in my kitchen chair....daily.  That is a little habit I will have to break this week.

They packed up everything and left by 5 AM this morning. 

I am now out of bread....almost out of jam  and will be baking either later today or tomorrow.

I took a bad cold yesterday but am some better this morning.  I am taking massive doses of Vitamin C which I think is helping.

Happy New Year to all my Friends in Blog Land!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Thursday, 12/20/12,  4/55AM.

I am listening to the winds whip around the house and watching the temperature begin to drop....from 55 at 2:45 down to 45 now.  It is supposed to drop down to 36.  This isn't going to last long for us here in the lower southwest Missouri Ozarks area. 

I don't want it to be blizzard conditions for farther north, but they sure do need moisture.

This has been a busy week.  I have made 3 batches of peach jam, 2 of apple jelly, one of blackberry, two of strawberry and 4 pints of apple butter.  Most will be for the kids for Christmas.  I am baking bread today for them also.  We decided some time back to fore go lots of adult gifts. 

I am cutting back on the goodies too.  I have just made a batch of peanut brittle (went to my MIL) and finally a successful batch of fudge!  Today I am making spritz butter cookies . They are a favorite of our daughter's family.  They are the only one to be  with us this Christmas.

I hope to squeeze in some divinity so I can share the method with my Ia. Sis.  She says she hasn't had good luck making it.

The tree is finally up....  For some reason the center  section of lights on the prelit tree hasn't worked for a couple of years now.  I have tried every trick in the book to find the problem.  Simple solution....restringing that section independently.  I hope I can dismantle it leaving those lights in place.

I had to thaw another block of puppy treats and bake for Sugar.  We need to be a little  more conservative with her treats....just as a reward for minding us about coming to us outside.  We have been more daring with her; letting her run loose outside while we watch her.  She has so much energy that walking on that little leash wasn't getting the job done!  She runs like a greyhound!

We are back to birdwatching:

Saturday, December 15, 2012

December 15, 2012

 I thought this had been published on the 15th......nada.  I downloaded Yahoo Messenger and have been loaded with lots of extras stuff....busy getting rid of it.  It also caused me to be unable to post pictures to new posts.....still working on that one!  May I never download another thing again...................Amen.

The weather has moderated a bit....48° at 3:30 AM.  We had a very light mist during the night. Poor DH had to take Sugar out 3 times. I think it is due to the wormer and thankfully, that is over.

Not much has happened since I blogged last.  I did remove  the shower doors and framing.  We found a curtain we liked and a few small accessories.  I am going to order reversible dark brown rugs to pick up the brown in the curtain. I will never buy a rubber backed rugs again.....these have deteriorated to the point of leaving traces stuck to the tile flooring that have to be scraped off.

My towels go with the curtain fine but I may order a set of dark brown just for a change.
These are the I have to keep the vanity cleaned better!

I still need to work on the silicone residue and apply the trim to cover the holes where the shower door frame was.  I will  hold off on that until I see  if we are going to love the curtains vs. the doors.


I made a batch of Mom's peanut brittle yesterday.  I made it for my MIL, she  said she would never  make it again and gave me her raw peanuts.  It was my FIL's favorite candy and he asked for it  often.  I was so happy I made him some just before he died.

This is such a simple recipe.  I have never had it fail.  The tricky thing is waiting for the light brown stage.  I start smelling the cooking peanuts just before there is just a slight tan tinge....then get it off the stove and finish it.,

Mom’s Peanut Brittle (originally from Esther Foster, Uncle Jess’s wife)

Start with peanuts at room temperature!
1 cup sugar
1 /4 cup water
½ cup Karo syrup
Pinch salt

1 teaspoon soda
1-1/2 cup raw peanuts

Mix first four ingredients into pan stir while reaching boiling stage.
Boil until a thread spins. Add 1-1/2 cup raw peanuts. Cook to light brown stage, stirring constantly.
Add l teaspoon soda and l teaspoon butter. Stir well.
Pour onto buttered cookie sheet. I stretch a little just as soon as I can handle it. I like it as thin as possible. When cooled break into pieces and store airtight.

Note: I forgot the pinch of salt once; just sprinkled very lightly over top with salt shaker. Worked great.

This is how it looks once you stretch it to the breaking point.

and this is after being broken into bite site pieces.

This filled a quart jar completely (we had sneaked a few pieces first)

Random Pictures

The birds have found the feeders at last.  We have woodpeckers, finches and white crowned sparrows so far.

I still haven't mastered shooting in the sunlight, but here is what I got from my desk chair shooting onto the porch (east) into the morning light.

The woodpeckers waste the most food.  Can you see the corn in the background.  They sort of root around looking for the sunflower seed, knocking out of the way anything they don't want.

The quality of this isn't good but I like that I can see four different species of birds at once.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Our cold front has arrived....22° here with a windchill of 9°.  I know that last number is true because I took Sugar outside at 3 AM and she didn't want to come back in so I had to walk back to the barn to get her attention so I could attach the leash.....I won't make that mistake again!

Things have been very quiet here on the farm.  The only farm related news is we now remember why we have some red calves this year (refer to previous posting).  Our neighbors giant Hereford bull is with us again.  They keep him all alone in a field behind ours (a very stupid thing to do) and he gets lonely.......of course, we do have cows in heat after fall calving.  We aren't even telling them this time; surely they will miss him eventually.  In the meantime we get this influx of very expensive, pure Hereford blood into our mix.

DH will be getting calves up sometime this week for us to check about weaning some of the largest ones.

I am trying to re-organize myself  and get into a schedule....we used to be very on schedule and I miss that.
So, no more lollygagging around all morning in my pj's and drinking coffee and reading or playing on the internet.  So by 5:30 AM this morning I was up showered, hair shampooed, makeup on and dressed....all before breakfast.  We shall see how long this lasts.........I do like it though.

I think today I will clean the refrigerator and bring out the Christmas decorations in the afternoon. (Update: haven't done that yet).

Random Pictures

I usually don't use family pictures, but this one was put on Facebook, so I feel free to put it here.

This our granddaughter who got to 'meet and greet' Cody Simpson.  (Yes, I didn't know who he was either....until I looked him up and listened to him on YouTube) She took her friend to his concert in KC Saturday night.  The meet and greet was arranged by someone at Hallmark where our daughter has worked since MU.  Isabel is on the left.

and a current (this afternoon about 10 minutes ago) of Sugar,

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

November 29-December 3 Random Farm Pictures

We got a very nice rain last night.  Of course, I had put away my gauge and don't see  a bucket anywhere in sight.  The bird bath is full.  I am guessing at least 1/2 inch.  Yesterday was very warm and I worked outside in just a flannel shirt (and jeans!). 

I had planned to weed the struggling strawberry bed, soak it deeply and then till the rest of the garden.
My plans didn't work out exactly.  I did get the strawberries ready for mulch but by the time I pulled the rest of the corn stalks and mowed off the remain weeds, I was too tired to till.  After the rain, I will have to hold off on tilling.  No doubt by then, it will cold own fault for being too lazy to get it done before this.

The weeds in the strawberries were henbit.  Even in damp soil they are hard to pull, most were hoed out.

One thing I noticed was how the self-seeded malva sylvestris had grown vigorously this fall.  They are about bushel basket size or larger.  I may have to eliminate most of them.  Once they get started they are very difficult to remove.  The roots are like hollyhocks, touch and deep.

I also see I have a lot of dried Trail of Tears beans to harvest for seeds.  I will let them dry after the rain.

The puppy is so rambunctious that I can't let her roam free while I am working.....she heads to the front of the house or the road.....she slipped her collar when I tied her out in the garden with me.  My garden is not dog proof. 

Random Farm Pictures

DH wanted to take the camera with him yesterday to take pictures of a new 'tiny' baby calf.  She is out of a first calf heifer and is the smallest one we have had born.  We will keep a close watch on her; her Mama may not be giving enough milk. I can graft her on Willow if need be.  Willow's two could be weaned anytime.  They are 3 months old.

From Cows 2012

Not  sure which field this is, but just some of the cows still grazing.  We are now putting out hay daily just in case.

From Cows 2012

DH tells me we have two or three of these little red calves, a first.  I suspect our neighbor's Red Angus bull has been visiting.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Dog Post

39° here this morning, no quite so cold and yesterday was a pretty sunshiny day.

Yesterday was a "dog day" here.  First the vet appointment was for 8:30 which kept us hopping.  She did really well but was so afraid she trembled. Of course, she liked John (vet).  He is so good with all kinds of animals. She nestled up to his chest and rested her head against his throat.  He just stood very still and said let's just see what  she does.  He was really taken with her.

He verified  she is part Great Pyr because she had the detached extra set of dew claws on her rear legs that only they have.  He also agrees with the previous owner and all of us about the Pit Bull part.  The roof of her mouth is mottled mostly black with pink.  He didn't mention the Boxer part so not sure about that mix. He said having the Pit Bull mix is a very good thing.   He thinks they are wonderful dogs and the easiest breed he works on.  He said Sugar will be the best dog we have ever owned and will be easily trained.  So far, we are agreeing 100%.

We stopped by the little store in Ash Grove where the vet is located so I could pick up a couple of items and see if they had the extra ingredients I needed to make her my Sis's recipe for dog treats....I was amazed that they did.  I know I still have the expensive ones from the pet store,  but once I get an idea for something......So I did the batch of treats.  Good news; she loves them!

Here is the recipe for them.  There are lots of them on the 'net that are much simpler but I chose to do these.  For one thing they make a huge batch.  It is a very stiff dough but I used the KA Pro and it worked well. 

First,of course,I made some changes!  I hate it when I get a recipe and they say that.....I substituted chicken livers because I didn't want to dig and hunt for the beef livers that I hope are still in the freezer from butchering.  I did have to make some adjustments in the liquid because I didn't measure the water that I cooked the livers in.  I used dried garlic flakes; no brewer yeast.   That all being said, it worked out fine.
If you make it by hand, you will find the dough very stiff and hard to get all together.  I would add more liquid but remember it must be very stiff and not soft at all.  The end product is very hard; not cracker like.

Char's Dog Treat Recipe

Cook together:

1 cup (½ lbs liver cooked and minced (Note:  I froze the rest of the ckn liver slurry for another time)
2 or 3 cloves garlic
2-1/2 cups water
Note: The above seems unclear to me; I cooked raw livers in the water with the garlic.  Then slurried it all in the Cuisinart. You could drain off the liquid and add later then chop the liver.  I hate chopping raw liver.  I never asked her what she does.  May way worked fine.

1 t. honey or sugar
1 T or package of dry yeast
½ cup warm water

3-1/2 cups flour
2 cups ww flour
2 cups cornmeal
1-3/4 cups rolled oats
¼ cup wheat germ
1 cup non-fat dry milk
1/3 cup brewers yeast (opt)
3 tsp. Iodized salt
3 eggs beaten

Cook garlic and liver together. Remove from heat and cool. Grind all and set aside

Dissolve yeast with honey

In a very large bowl blend dry ingredients ;add cooled yeast mixture, liver slurry,  eggs. Mix well

Knead 4-5 minutes

Cover let rest 15 minutes

Preheat oven to 300°
Grease 2-3 sheets
Divide dough into thirds
Note: 1/3 dough filled two standard size sheets and I froze the other 2/3)

Roll out 1/8 x ¼ or ½ thick. Cut into desired shape
Note: Sis uses 'bone' cookie cutter...I used my wheel type pizza cutter. Sugar did not refuse them because they weren't bone shaped.

Bake l hour.

Here are some pics of the process that might help.


 Rolled out 1/3.  I probably had mine a little thicker than 1/8 but not 1/4 inch.

Before baking,

I got tired of transferring them with a spatula and finally just slid them off the board onto the sheet. As you can see, I did not separate all of them.  The broke apart easily after cooking.

and the baked treats...maybe a little too brown because of my oven, but not burned.

These are about 3/4 to l inch in size but you can do whatever size you want.  

We are just using them as a reward when she comes inside or comes to us when we call her.

OK, promise. No more proud parent posts......maybe I will slip in a picture now and then. My Sis is getting a kick out of both of us.  We are being a little silly I know.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bread Day

It is a chilly 25° here this morning at 3 AM.  I got up at 2 to let Sugar out and never really went back to sleep.  I am embarrassed to tell you how early I went to bed to 'read' which never lasts very long.  I got enough sleep.

DH has a very bad cold which means in a few day I will have it too.  I think I will start Vitamin C today to see if it will help me ward it off.  He started feeling bad after our  company left Saturday.  I do hope none of them catch it.

We did a couple of errands yesterday afternoon.  I got a harness for Sugar to help me get her into the vet's and also a bag of treats.  I almost fainted at the price of the treats, 6 oz. for $4.99!  I have a recipe from my sis and will be making them asap.  I  also got her a bed.  The back porch is tile over non-insulated concrete and I thought she needed a better barrier between the floor and her rug. I think water could freeze on that floor.


We weren't  out of bread.  I still have a loaf of the Hodgson Mills white bread (3 risings) but I needed hamburger buns and wanted some of Annie's whole wheat.  I had leftover steel-cut oats from breakfast and decided to add a cup to the 4-loaf recipe (think I could have added more) which worked out great.  You can see the little bits of oats in the risen dough,

I think I overcooked this batch  slightly,

and here are the free form hamburger buns.  I just read Ilene's blog  and think I need the pans for the buns!  Mine are never quite the same even though I weigh each one.  I have enough points on Amazon to get them. I love those points.

DH had an egg and bacon sandwich on one for dinner....I had a half slice of toast with a glass of milk.
He reports  the oatmeal  didn't hurt them at all.

We will be rushing this morning to get to the Vet's by 8:30.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Post Thanksgiving -

Up at 3AM, 37° now but a cold front is moving in.

Dinners (yes, I said dinners......nuf said) over, family is gone and we are back to normal you can get with a new puppy in the house.  Sugar is doing really well; lets us know when she needs to go out and seems to like everyone.  Our granddaughter was really taken with her and so was our daughter and SIL.  He took over puppy duty while here which was nice for me.  She goes to the vet Wednesday...that should be interesting.  I am shopping for a harness and a bed for her today.  She is almost to heavy for me to carry very far.  If we have to carry her in, DH will get to do it.

The dinners went well but two turkey dinners back to back are a bit much.  I swear each year I will have the nerve to stop it but maybe next year......


The great doors  project is done!  They came two days before Thanksgiving and finished up.

This is the Milk Parlor door.  My daughter thinks I shouldn't paint the patch work; looks very cottagey...I think she may be right....I am thinking some Grandpa Otts on a trellis in front......

The old chicken house (west side of yard)

and the east  building,

I have booked them to paint the milk barn in the spring; will have to remind  them probably but that is OK.

Still haven't got the bill  yet; that may be a shocker.  I don't stress over repairs and upkeep; they are what keep a property looking good and holding value (I hope).

We had a serendipitous moment after the job was finished.  We had them haul the bulk tank to their place to take at  their  leisure into town  for salvage....meantime someone  they knew came by and wanted to buy it!  Good news.  He is a dairy systems installer  and he came over  to get some peripherals that go with the tank if used and I talked to him about rigging my stall with a unit to milk Willow into the fresh cow bucket.  He said it would be a simple job and promised me Wednesday or Thursday.  I want all options open. It just takes 3  minutes  to milk by bucket.....cleanup is more but if I have a flareup with my
hands, DH can milk!  I just reminded DH, he could milk her  then....he  was not nearly as excited about that as I was.


I am living proof you can teach an old dog new tricks.  I have been making biscuits for over 50 years and just learned a new technique from Thibault's Table (thank you Ann).  We both use the same recipe but I have never used the folding technique with the dough.

Here are the results from this morning:

Note: I forgot the dimple so I did have a couple lean a little sideways.

I like those little layers....also the biscuit breaks open easily instead of just the top as sometimes happens.

Here is why I should have done the dimple:

Check out her blog for explicit directions and the recipe.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


The sun is shining; it is 46°; Willow actually let her milk down this morning; the crew are hanging the outbuilding doors; our son is coming in this evening; our daughter tomorrow.  We are both well. All is right with the world and I am happy and truly thankful.

The puppy is doing well and is in full puppy mode!  E gads!, what have I done?  It has been a while since we had a puppy and we had almost  forgotten.  She has had no more accidents and lets us know when she needs to go out.

The Range Farm crew came out yesterday to finish up the milk parlor and the two outbuildings.  Remember they had been out earlier to measure, spread two loads of  gravel and take the  bulk tank out of the parlor.  They are a local business and do outstanding work.  They also do custom hay and we had them do our hay this year.  We were very pleased with that too.

We have also engaged them to paint the barn in the spring.

This is the owner hard at work on the new entrance door to the Milk Parlor/Exercise Room.

The new door in place,

This is the old chicken house on the west side of the yard.  The men finished hanging the new doors this morning,

They will add new siding to the two narrow strips  on either side of the door.

Those same two men are now hanging the sliding doors on the east shed.

We are both so pleased to get this project  done. 
I asked their permission to post the pictures and tell you about their company.  We  recommend them highly. 

I have two slabs of baby back ribs in the oven now for our dinner with our son this evening.  I will also be testing my new deep fat fryer with french fries.  I am making him his favorite cream pie.
More on how all this turned out later.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and eat until you drop.  We can all start dieting the day after.........or not.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

strugglingwith new layout-bear with me please.


I was awake very early again, but came to my nest in the kitchen and fell asleep while reading and slept another hour.

It seems we spent the week running back and forth to various stores; I kept forgetting things I wanted for Thanksgiving and then there was the bird seed I wanted....I think we are finally in good shape and stocked up.

I hope the bird seed will last all winter. I got 50lbs of black oil sunflower seeds and 40 lbs of wild bird seed. We got out three feeders,  cleaned them and filled them with a mix of seeds. So far, no one has showed up.  I wish I had them out when the first birds came back a few days ago.  Hopefully, they will return. 


I needed sage a week or  so ago to make dressing and was out of ground sage.  I have a very old sage bush in the garden and harvest two branches (note to self:  I need to prune it severely in the spring).  I dried them in the microwave, starting with one minute and had to do it  a little longer.  I was very pleased with the results. It stayed a very bright sage green and stripped off the stem and crumbled in my hand nicely.  I think it was better than just drying the normal way.

I want to have a real herb garden next year.  I have already started by planting my rhubarb and some chives by the back door.  I have several lavenders and the sage and a few others that slip my mind.  I don't think it will be dry enough or large enough where they are now, but think I can use my landscape timbers and extend and raise the level that should make it work.  Something to ponder this winter.

Farm Life

DH has moved  the cows to the  east side of the farm to the 'new 40'.  This would be the top  right of  the t-shape of the farm.  He said there was lots of grass for them for now.  We have discussed renting the water from the new Texas neighbors for next year; not a critical factor since one of the fields has a pond, but makes it nice to use the three fields separately for grazing. He said no problem. When the previous owners of both places lived here,they had put in a water line to the back of that field with an in-ground concrete stock tank and we have always rented it from them. 

We are going to look  at some puppies today.  We miss having a dog. These will be large dogs; both parents are part Boxer and part Great Pyrenees.  The mother is short haired but the puppies could go either way.  We will keep it in the house this winter and then it will probably be an indoor/outdoor dog.We will have to figure that out.  I don't want to loose another one to the front road!  This little project should keep us both busy this winter.  He DH wants a male; I want a female. We will  probably just choose the friendliest puppy.  I think this mix  would make a  very good farm dog.

If I complain down the road about it digging in my garden and flower beds, feel free to remind me that I  did this free choice!

This is a recent picture of my future milk cow, Jewel: (I hope I haven't already shown it)

She is still such a sweetheart of a cow; so different from Willow.  She will  come right up to you for scratches under her chin or to chew on you.  I do hope she stays that way.


Surprise!  The Kumson forsythia is blooming a little bit-----again.

The foliage of this one is very nice,

These are two garden plants that just don't do well for me here,

I have mentioned geraniums (the potted kind)before and the other is  forsythia!  I see forsythia everywhere in the spring that are such a solid mass of yellow blooms and mine have a scant few.  I even cut the huge one in the east yard  down to the ground one year and waited almost three years for it to bloom again.....still very unimpressive.  I have two more including the Kumson and don't get lots of blooms on either.  My soil may be missing something???

Friday, November 16, 2012

Bathing in the Cold - Guest Photographer

2:21AM (this time change is killing me!)  33 ° ,  slept in my chair in the kitchen for a hour or  more.  DH got up and made  our first pot of coffee.

Weather is still quite perfect for  fall,especially in the Ozarks where we sometimes just skip fall go right to winter.

Some trees, especially the oaks are still hanging on to their leaves.  I keep wanting to  take a  tour of  the farm, but we hear guns during the day so I will wait until deer season ends.

The following photos are the gift of my live-in photographer, sometimes know as DH,  my helpmeet, my banker and some others that I will not share publicly lest you think I often swear............he  does like  taking pictures and  took this series while I was reading in the kitchen.  These are all out from the window above the sink.

I thought they were very good.  God bless  that little Canon and  him.

This is just to give some perspective showing the  birdbath and the Nandina bush (red berries) outside the kitchen window.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Chore time (feeding and doctor appointments)

It was 35° at 3:30 Am this morning.  Our little warmup has arrived.

This is the morning for my 'unusual' doctor's visit. I got a call wanting me to just come in to catch up, update things, etc.  I told her  I  was not up for a physical or anything of that nature.  Oh no, just an update (and an office call for the insurance and Medicare).  I am going more out of curiosity than anything else.  I am also fasting just in case they want to do blood work and I  have to go back (another visit!) like they recently did for DH.  I am a crafty soul.......wonder how many tests they suggest I get??? The appointment is for 8:15  and is near my store for King Arthur flour so we will be stocking up.  Also I want to get bird seed at  the nearby farm supply store.  I noticed my little finches are back and checking the hummer feeders.  I don't want them to move on.

I took some pictures of chore time.

This is Jewel,my future milk cow.  We have begun giving her just a small amount of grain daily.
She is still such a pet; I sure hope that carries over when I start milking her.

and this is Willow eating while the babies are  eating,

Dinner for two:

I think the new calf needs to fill out more, but he seems to be getting his share of milk.  We stay with them until they finish to be sure.

and, always, the cats.  I  am not keeping a  spread sheet on how much food they are eating.....

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fall in my own Yard

4 AM, 24°.  We are a little cooler than norm  now but the rest  of the week promises to be very nice.  A possibility of rain exists for the weekend.  We ended up with an inch over the weekend.  The grass is still  looking very good for the cows.

I was afraid my October Glory maple  tree was going to loose  all its leaves before turning color but it didn't.  It has had better years, but no wonder with the summer  we had.

One of the first things we did when we moved here in 1991 was plant  4 new trees on the west side of the house to replace some we have to have taken down due to rot or storms.  I know now I planted them too close to the house but I chose the same locations  the previous trees were in......too late now.

This was taken looking northwest just before the rain came in.

I planted starting from south to north, a Swamp Oak (does not require a swamp to flourish), a White Oak, a Pin Oak and the October Glory red oak.
The Swamp Oak  doesnt show in this only the white (left to right) and the pin oak.
From Fall 2012

This is the Swamp Oak.  The bark is a highlight of this tree.

and this is how I leave my yard; I love the leaves over the grass.,

I saw these way across the field to our west boundary fence.  This is with the 12x zoom: