Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Perfect Fall Saturday - Busy Sunday

and it was; just cool enough I wore my 'dressy' flannel shirt to the  orchard at Marionville.

I was in search of good apple cider, not for drinking, but to boil down for syrup to add to apple pies or top Greek yogurt or my own yogurt.  Of course we couldn't resist the beautiful, large apples.  Their prices were better than my local orchard too.  We bought  another 1/2 bushel of Golden Delicious for sauce and new apple for us, Braeburn, for pies. It reminds me a little of a Jonathon but is supposed to be a very good keeper.

Before I left  I mixed pizza crust and left it in the food processor to  raise so it was nice and ready when we got back.  I made us a quick pepperoni pizza for lunch .

I got DH to  test the new mower; he wasn't impressed and likes the old one better but I did get the yard mowed which was the entire point of the test.

Sunday September 30, 2012

What happened to this month? 

I went outside this morning  early to check on the gravel; we need at  least one other load;  maybe two.
From September 2012 Blog

Caught my farmer unaware:

While outside I noticed one quarter on Willow was too full so I milked out 1/2 gallon and used it to make a batch of yogurt.  It should be done at 5 pm.  I hope it was a success.

I have promised DH a Braeburn apple pie today.  I need to make another stash of pie crusts anyway.  I will be using my favorite (so far) recipe,

These quantities make enough pastry for 3 double-crust pies or 3 1/2 dozen tart shells - muffin size.
5 cups flour
1 teasp salt
2 teasp baking powder
1 lb (454 grams) Tenderflake lard (any lard you can find works)
2 teasp white vinegar
1 egg - slightly beaten. Add water to vinegar and egg to make 1 cup
1) Mix together flour, salt and baking powder. Cut in lard until crumbly (using two knives.)
2) Add liquid and mix gently with hands. (I use a fork to help me here.) Roll into a ball.
3) Roll out amount needed on a floured board. Refrigerate or freeze remainder.
Source: 'I've GOT To Have That Recipe'
Doubleday Canada - Victoria, B.C. 1986

Cosmetically speaking I have done better but we did like the apples,

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Early Morning Rains - Weaning Calves

We  got another 1/2 inch of rain yesterday morning.The ground is now wet enough that brush hogging is impossible.  An old farmer once told me that when you walk on the ground and you leave a l inch depression in the soil, it is too wet for machinery.  I try to keep that in mind.

Farm Life

We are in the process of getting up calves  to wean and sell.  DH had already cut out several but I saw a few  more in the field that I thought were big enough.  We really should buy a scale to weigh them  but probably won't at this stage. There are no horses or atv's involved in this roundup.  We open the back barn lot and let the herd wander in....close the gate and then cut out  the various 'victims'; run them into another lot and then turn the herd back out again.  I think we added 6 more.  I decided they needed to be fly treated so we got them into the working pen and down the alley and I used a permectrin pour-on along the top of their shoulder and poll so it could drip down their faces. Flies are really bad this year.

Every time we work the cattle, we are thankful all over again for the circular pen  with the sweep gate, alley and squeeze chute.  It makes it so much easier for the cows and us (particularly us!)

DH made arrangements for a neighbor to deliver and spread two large dump truck loads of river gravel in a couple of deep spots in the holding area and where he backs up to the alley to load calves.  I don't know if that will be enough or not, but it's a start.  I haven't seen it yet.

I need to do some serious trim mowing back there but....too wet now.  I do see an opportunity ahead. Next week is supposed to be dry and mild,  70's and 50's.

By the time we finished that, I was wringing wet with sweat and my hair looked like I had just left the shower. Humidity is very high.

I milked Willow after the calf nursed and got my 3 half-gallons. I won't milk again for 4 days unless her udder looks too big.


Dinner/lunch was  a Kansas City strip steak that  I split lengthwise.   It was  too thick for my taste and speed in cooking.  Sides were cole slaw and the half runner beans and a baked potato. Dessert was a slice of pumpkin bread I took out of the freezer.  I made it with my canned pumpkin and added English Walnuts this time.

Very late in the day I made bagels.  I have been out a long time and really do prefer the home-made version to store or bakery bought.  It is a three step process but pretty easy.

I had one for breakfast spread with cream cheese.  DH does not do bagels......

I don't think I have mentioned it before but one  of nice things DH does for me is he sets up the coffee in evenings and when I get up in the wee hours of morning all I have  to do is pour the water in and turn it on.  I rarely make the coffee. The first thing he does when he gets up, even before coffee, is unload the dishwasher  for me.  Retirement has made him much more helpful in the house which is a very good thing.

I am still using the recipe from Thibault's Table.  I have at least two more of her recipes  that have become regulars in my kitchen, cream cheese Danish and  sweet rolls.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I was awakened again this morning to the sound of rain and thunder.  It was 3:35 AM.  I got up to unplug the computer and decided to stay up.  We either got another 1/2  inch of rain or an l-1/8 inch.   I can't be sure I emptied the gauge from the last 1/2 inch rain.  After walking around outside this morning, I decided we indeed got the inch plus.  The ground was very spongy and the weather man said areas north of Springfield got more rain.  I did empty the gauge this time.

More rains are predicted for tomorrow morning. I say keep 'em coming.

Yesterday I processed my nearly half bushel of pole beans.  I got 9 quarts for the freezer.  That is the first time in two years I have had beans to freeze.  I should have lots more too.

I also packed up 3 jars of jam and sent to my son....he wanted  some  of his Momma's homemade.  I quit the beans and found three recently made jars of peach and apricot and they are on the way.  I would have piggybacked them to St. Charles!  Aren't we pushovers?  I do hope they get there safely.  I plan to have a case of jams ready for him when he comes down again.  It's what Mothers do.

I took a couple of pictures on my morning rounds.  See the water standing?  These are calves we are weaning to sell next week.

A few are eating grain but the others haven't started yet.  We like to keep them up until they quit bawling and know what grain is before selling.  If not, they will actually loose weight until they settle down.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Do Nothing Day

It was warmer this 3:30 AM and today will be warmer; in fact the entire week will be!  But there is a slight chance of rain most of the days.

I posted a new header picture just to show how nice and green (and requiring mowing) the yard is since the rains.  I think of Ian Tyson's song "Since the Rain".  I love listening to him.

Yesterday was a do nothing day for me.  I needed it.  I had taken an antihistamine the night before and it zapped me.  No more.......

The self-seeded salvia farinaceas have gotten that more intense blue color that they get when the weather turns cool,

The kerria japonica is blooming again, also the salvia Black and Blue next to it.  That is a self-seeded farinacea to the left.

A few clematis are blooming.  I think it is more like spring now with the rains and the cooler temperatures and the plants are confused.


Today is back to normal and it is milking  day, so I am headed  outside.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The New Mower, Green Beans and Life Everlasting

This morning was a chill 51° and there was so much dew on that I wore my Muck boots to do my walk around. 

Yesterday was a very busy one.  We knew the overhead door technician was coming 'mid-day' to fix one of the shop/garage doors so that pushed us to get in and check out mowers and be back by noon.

It was one-stop shopping.  We went to a local farm store, Race Brothers, that does its own repairs and is pretty close to us on the north side of town.  We were tired of driving to Bolivar everytime something went wrong on a mower and, trust me, something will go wrong.

Here she is:

It will take some getting used to.  It is higher off the ground and all the controls seem to be slightly harder to access without bending over.  I think it will encourage me to lose some  weight!

It did a very nice job of cutting and I finished the east and west side while Max was (once again) trucking the Gravely to Bolivar.  We will keep both working....and DH will now become my helper in the yard!  He won't mind mowing at all.

Here is the west side all nicely mowed but not trimmed yet.

As you can see we have lost a lot of grass this summer.  I only have two really nice patches of lawn grass in the yard.

I haven't picked the green beans in a few days and think I will have to get on that very soon.

These are the Cherokee Trail of Tears.

I said I wasn't going to do anymore pickles, but I found these this morning and think I will do some more of Kris's refrigerator bread and butter ones.

I found several strange plants in various places in flower beds this year and something told me to let them  grow.  Once I smelled them I knew what it was!  I am delighted and just hope they re-seed.  I will  also try to collect seeds.   Here is and good website about the plant
I was worried about telling you how I knew it, but after reading  all about it, I feel safe in sharing.
When were kids visiting Grandma's farm, Mom found some dried in the fields and she stripped the leaves, crushed them and rolled them in Grandpa's cigarette papers (he smoked Prince Albert in those red cans) and we smoked it.  I love the sweet scent.  I had smelled it before when brushhogging so I knew we had it somewhere.  I think I even stripped some and froze it but I haven't seen it in a long time.

This plant  is about 18 inches tall but has fallen over.  I see several smaller plants out front under the river birch and in the foundation bed.  I hope they all have a chance to set seed.

BTW, the door technician  did come out and repaired the door, another $200.

Friday, September 21, 2012

"it is things like this that keep life interesting"

3:00 AM awoke to another gentle rain and lots of lightening.  I got up and unplugged the computer and the router and went back to bed.....couldn't fall back to sleep so got up around 3:45.

We have had another 1/2 inch rain.  The Gods are finally smiling on us and we couldn't be more pleased.

The last three days have been filled with cleaning out the milk parlor and some outside puttering.
We did get the barn emptied and I have called the men about moving the tank out.  They are coming to take a look next week so they will be sure to bring the right tools.

About the time I decide to spend some money on the house, something on the farm rears  its ugly head.  It is a true law of living on the farm.  I had a man give me an estimate on redoing the second bathroom and boom!  We had to order feed ($ll00); we decided the 2004 truck should have all new hoses and new plugs ($400+!, that one was a shocker), had a minor plumbing issue and then the double sliding barn doors on the east shed and the west old chicken house became almost impossible to move.  I think  some grease will take care of the west shed but the east was due to the top of the door  frame rotting completely out so that the barn siding on it wouldn't stay nailed down and then the metal siding  would snag on each other and couldn't be opened. There are two doors that bypass each other.  I decided that it would be lovely to have motorized overhead doors installed.  They came out and gave a bid of $2500! another shocker.  We are going to have someone give us a bid on just rebuilding the doors and rehanging them on the existing track before we make a decision on that.

Now the real topper...I got on the mower yesterday and hit some very tall grass and knew at once that something wasn't right.  Usually when I engage the blade you can hear a difference and feel the mower vibrate......  I backed up and chose a better path and it still cut but began smelling hot......I think one of the wheels in the rear that the belts run on is frozen up.  We have been talking about getting a backup mower for over a year.  So, the time has come.  We will be going in today and looking at a 42inch cut, zero turn mower.  Then we can put the other one in the shop and not be concerned about the grass getting completely out of hand.  We know it will be around $3,000.  Needless to say, some other things will have to wait.  Ain't life fun!  I remember my dear old Dad who used to say it is things like this that keep life interesting.  It drove Mom nuts.  I think he had the right idea.

Things have greened up so much this month.  I have a volunteer quash by the bird bath.  I have no idea how the seed got there.  It is lovely lush green and has 6 squash ready to pick.
 It is a straight neck and I haven't planted them  for over two years now.

Here is the reason we are so glad our rooster is such a sweety:


Monday, September 17, 2012

We have had a busy couple of days since I posted last.

First,we got no more rain  and are awaiting another cold front.  Actually the weather is pretty normal for this time of year.  I noticed The Ash trees are just beginning to turn yellow.

I mentioned  Willow calved.  Well we got that all lined out.  We keep the calf in the holding pen and barn and just turn Willow in and out for it to nurse.  We lock the calf in the barn when I need to milk which I did for the first time yesterday.

Before I could even get her up the ramp and into the barn, we had to cut about half the apricot tree down.  The several rains and the last strong winds had broken off  a huge limb on the east side and the top  was blocking the ramp.  At first I thought I would have to take out the entire tree but we decided to just remove the east half.  Willow now has better access to the barn than she has ever had.  I think the tree will go on to produce and maybe even better with the severe 'pruning'.


The milking went well.  Her baby is another heifer.

Her last year's 'baby' decided  she wanted  to nurse we are turning her out with the beef herd.
She is just 14 months old but certainly large enough to be bred.  So be it.

Remember the Jersey baby I bought well she is now quite grown up and just a doll.  She is almost too friendly.  She comes up and pushes on you; loves having her head and chin scratched.  I was able to fly-treat her just standing by her side.  We named her Jewel.  This is about the only way you can get a picture....if she is with you she comes too close.  She didn't pay any attention to Willow or nursing.

Since we don't have a dog anymore,  we have  been letting the chickens have  the run of the garden.  I thought they would stay  back there with all the available dirt and weeds.  Oh no, they have to graze everywhere and have been getting closer and closer to the house.  Yesterday I saw them right out the back door.  I think I will put an end to this.  I don't want them on my back steps or the porch proper.

We do enjoy seeing them in the yard though.

We had DH 's mother out for Sunday dinner.  She let's him come and get her and take her home now.  We think the drive is too long.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Wrapping the week up - Odds and Ends

First  the good news:  It is raining.  The cold front arrived yesterday evening and the light rains began this morning around 4 AM.  Not heavy, but 1/2 in here  so far.  We had feed delivered today from a town north of us, Bolivar,Mo. and he said they had 3 inches; for once a system that was north, and not south of I-44!

It is also 58°.....I may have to use my Sun Twin heater in the morning.

Speaking of feed, this is the first bulk feed we have had delivered since last November.  Then 3 tons of feed was $885 this time it was $ll00. I figured it would be higher than that.  I told you farming  was not a free life...... My milk cow calved so I have to have feed for her and various other animals now and then.  We like to keep feed on hand.  Bulk  is cheaper and certainly easier for DH to handle.  It is loaded in the top of the milk parlor and has a drop down pipe that he can open and fill buckets in the feed room. 

We finally got Willow up yesterday with her new baby and have them confined in the calf lot.  I will begin milking her tomorrow.  This is the first time we haven't had an extra calf  to put on her so I may be looking for a baby calf  to buy shortly.

Yesterday was one of those typical farm (and maybe any where you live and have property) kind of days.
It was nice and sunny (the front came in later that evening) and I decided to mow again.  I did the front yard and had to stop and pick up lots of small limbs from the last heavy winds.  I noticed DH was wandering around the sheds in the east  side of the yard....thought I better see what was happening.  There was no power in part of those buildings.....after locating the fuse and getting it going again, I mentioned that the cow (Willow) was nearby and should I go lock up that field to keep her close to the barn......couldn't do that he said.  The storm had taken off the gate in that field.  He lets these things go on I said lets load up and go rehang it.  It is a two-person job.  We got the gate hung and I noticed the dividing fence was missing lots of wire clips from the barbed wire.  He had supplies on the ATV, so I put on the clips and he tightened them  with the pliers.  I told him if I had my new loppers I would cut the poke out of the fence row.....he went and got it and I did.  It took a couple of hours but now that lot is nice and tight again. 

I didn't get the rest of the yard mowed but priorities, priorities!   There is always so much to do that you must operate on that principal or have a nervous breakdown. 

No pictures of the new calf yet.

One last comment:  I hear they are lowering interest rates again.......what  interest rates?  It is supposed to help the economy and create new jobs when all us poor people quit saving  all that money and  start spending it......just like it has been  doing.  Egads!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Waiting with Fingers Crossed

They have promised a cold front and more chance of we are waiting.  It is overcast but very muggy out.

I finally got the old Stihl trimmer loaded and fired up so trimmed  about an hour this morning.  I still can't get the head off the new Echo trimmer...maybe with dh's help we can get it done this afternoon. I quit too soon but wanted to save some energy to start working on my Jonathon apples.

Our local orchard had some at $19 for no. 2's. They will be fine for pies but will need to be worked up quickly.  Johnathon's are not good keepers whether l's or 2's.  I also bought 3/4 bushel of Golden Delicious at $34 per bu.  They were no. 1's but not the best.  I think the weather hurt the size. They need to ripen a few days so I laid them out in the plant trays on the back porch.  I figure what ever I can get is good.  I may drive to Marionville next week and see what they have.  I also want to buy some cider.  I like to boil it down to a syrup consistency and put in apple pies for extra flavor.

I was sad to hear the nearby orchard is selling out....or dozing down the trees.  He is ready to retire and I can't say I blame him.  His orchard is much smaller than the one at Marionville, Mo.

September 11,2012

Update on the apples:  I finished processing the Jonathon's.  I froze some sliced for pies,  just sliced with peel on and froze for fried  apples, and cooked down just one tray's worth of cores and peels and made 3 quarts of juice and 4 pints of sauce.  The Golden Delicious are not ripening very fast....I think they were picked too green.  I notice the orchard at Marionville shows October as their date for them. 

The cold front arrived.  It brought 80mph winds and l inch  of  rain.  The winds were fierce.  We just had a tree or two down on the farm and a few limbs  in the yard, but nearby lots of trees were down some causing power outages and damage.  We were very lucky on the farm.  The cooler weather is wonderful.

I will need  to mow the yard again and do more trimming.  The promise of more tomatoes failed  miserably.  I guess the blooms just dropped off.  I have had one small mess of beans and need to check the Trail of Tears this morning.

I made a new recipe  for banana bread.  This was in King  Arthur's latest catalog.  I am not a fan of plain banana bread so I thought a double chocolate one might be a tasty improvement.  It was!  It was very moist and flavorful.

Here is a link to their recipe:

Of  course, I had to make DH an apple pie:  I ate my share.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Rains are Gone - Visitors - Usurped Porch Swing

The rains are gone now.  We ended up with 2 full, wonderful inches.  Others got more but we are grateful for what we got.  We were worried we would be too far west.

I do dread the hot temperatures predicted this week though.

DH called me out to the porch Saturday morning to see this:

From September 2012 Blog

For some reason the wild barn cats have started coming down to the house...not all of them.  We have more.  I think we may be able to start catching them for a visit to the vet.

While checking them out I noticed across the road another visitor:


This is where the zoom on the camera comes in very handy.

We had dinner with DH's mom in town yesterday so I think today will be spent very quietly at home.

I do have another  couple of quarts of pickles to can.  That volunteer vine is doing well.  BTW, I finally tried Ball's Pickle Crisp.  I was very impressed by the crunchiness of the jar of leftover pickles I stored in the fridge.  I will be using it again today.