Monday, January 30, 2012

Winter Greenery and Lemon Curd

3:45 AM (nothing good lasts forever) to a cold 34° morning with a slight breeze.  The sun is shining now but it is still cold.

Sue always makes me remember I should look outside now and then during the winter months to see what is happening and I did that a couple of days ago. I was surprised at all the green and sprouting and budding going on.  It worries me a little.....

The mums are coming up behind the dead tops...I always leave the tops on perennials during the winter both for protection and to remind me where they are.

From winter greenery 2012

I like the green stems of the kerria japonica almost as much as the tiny yellow blooms.
I didn't realize it was such a spreader.

This is a salvia whose name escapes me at the moment.  It spreads a great deal from wind blown seeds and I like both the blue flower and the fuzzy big leaves.
The columbines have never gone dormant.
These two are in the cellar bed on the  south end.  They are a tall yellow variety, Chrysantha.

and this is lunaria (money plant) variegata.  It sprouts from seeds tossed by the wind in the fall and stays green all winter.  These are at the base of an old apple tree by the chicken yard and the old chicken house.

OK.  That is enough for now....more later.


Remember the lemon sponge cake I made and then froze.  Well,like all desserts that I freeze, they don't stay frozen long!  I pulled it out for Sunday dinner.  The new thing was I made lemon curd for the topping. I have always loved the sound of 'lemon curd'.  It is so English or Irish sounding.  Well it is the simplest thing to make and is almost like lemon pie filling except you use the whole egg and it is slightly less sweet.  I was wonderful on the sponge  cake.

Lemon Curd from Joy of Cooking

about 1-2/3 cups (I didn't get much over 1 cup)

Whisk together in a medium stainless steel or enamel saucepan  until light in color:

3 large eggs
1/3 cup sugar
Grated zest of l lemon

1/2 cup of strained lemon juice
6 tablespoons of diced butter

Cook, whisking, over medium heat until the butter is melted.  Then whisk constantly until the mixture thickens and simmers gently for a few seconds.  Using a spatula scrape the filling into a medium mesh sieve set over  a bowl and strain.  Stir in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.

Note: I had to press the filling through the fine meshed sieve that I have, but it worked.

Let cool, cover and store in frig to thicken.  Will last about a week.

Can be used over sponge cakes, or with Angel food cake.  Also good swirled through a cheesecake. (doesn't that last sound good!).

There is also a recipe for orange curd....sounds very good.

I almost forgot I took a picture of Sunday dinner....the above was dessert for it.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

5:00 AM, 33° and slightly breezy. 

I enjoyed two small bagels with cream cheese with my coffee this morning.  I finished an e-book and then got ready for the day.....

I have spent two days cleaning off my plant stand and washing the trays so I will be ready for seed planting. I got the lights all  up and running.  The stand holds 12 plant flats and has 3 sets of 4-foot lights each holding 4 bulbs.  Some are regular fluorescent and some are plant lights.
I  covered the tailgate of the truck with more stuff to take to the milk parlor.  It seems I used the plant stand as extra shelving  during the down months....

I found some poppy pods and seeds that  I broadcast in the front ditch...I hope some germinate and fill the weedy ditch with blooms. 

A few days ago I organized my seeds and find I only need to buy sweet corn and cauliflower seeds.  I also found a local source for seeds that I want to check out.

I am cooking pork chops, and fried potato rounds for dinner.  I will probably have creamed peas as a side and applesauce. 

Dessert was the (frozen) lemon sponge cake with lemon curd topping.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Kris Made me Do It! and Rain

We are still in the midst of some unseasonably warm weather.  The final tally on the  rain was two inches!  What a delight.  I believe more is predicted for this evening.  I hope everyone who needs  it is getting some.

I am worried about trees budding, roses have about a half inch of new growth,  bulbs are  coming up here and there.  My garlic in the house is sprouting.  I didn't get any planted last fall so I think I will sink some in the garden along the fence row.  I have nothing to loose.

I plan to check all my seeds today.  It is way too early for me to start plants for outside.  I like to give tomatoes just 5 weeks of growth before they are planted out in mid-May.  I still haven't found a local source for good seeds and I need to get busy.

Kris made a comment yesterday about liking tough, chewy bagels better than muffins........that got me going.  I have been out of bagels for some time so.....

It doesn't take too much to get me baking, especially breads!

I used the recipe from Thibault's Table.  It is pretty simple and seems to be no fail for me.  I have made it many times now.  You will find it listed in her sidebar recipe index.

We got 9 eggs yesterday.  That is a record so far.  I just have 9 young hens...the rest should be retired permanently.

This is milking morning again so I will be heading out in about an hour.  It isn't like a commercial dairy.  I milk  when and if I feel like it.  The rest of the time her two babies do it for me.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Last of Shed Cleanup Series - Joy of Cooking Muffins

We got more rain during the night but not a lot even counting the light rain during the day.  Every drop is welcome.

Yesterday we had the vet out to check our heifer.  Good news! She is the barren one, born a twin.  We began feeding her and in 90 days or so will have meat in the freezer once again.  That is one of the things I love about living on an farm.  I always dreamed of raising all of our food and we are almost there.  Still waiting on the blasted fruit trees to do something...

I will finish up with the shed cleanup by showing  the west side of the compound where the old chicken house is located.  The previous owner used to raise eggs for Estes Hatchery and that is what this building was used for.  It is about 30 wide by 30 feet deep....I am guessing here.

I took this picture on one of my walks west.  The new chicken house is behind the old chicken house. This should give some idea of the building that was cleaned out.

This is some valuable 'stuff' I couldn't part with:
and more on the other side:

This is the 'insulated' roof.  This keeps it pretty cool in the summer time, but I hate thinking about  the black snakes that are no doubt curled up in that straw.

This shows the center of the shed.  I see they did not sweep out the floor.....that will be my job.

Did you notice the boarded up windows.  These folks were paranoid about not wanting anyone to see inside their outbuildings thinking it would encourage theft.  They had even painted all the  windows in the milk parlor with white paint.  It took me forever to scrape off part of them.


I mentioned making muffins the other day.  These were still very good cold and on the second day.  I did freeze 5 or 6.

I usually don't care much for muffins but these were so moist and I loved  them.  So did DH.  We had just them for breakfast the first morning and then with scrambled eggs and bacon the second.


From Page 635 in Joy of Cooking

12 muffins

Preheat oven to 400° Grease or line a muffin tin with paper cups (I do both).

Whisk together in a large bowl:

2 cups flour (I used l ww pastry flour and l regular, next time I will just use the ww)
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoonful salt
¼ grated nutmeg (optional, I used)

Whisk together in another bowl:

2 large eggs
1 cup milk or cream (I used whole milk)
2/3 cup sugar or brown sugar (I used brown)
¼ to ½ cup melted butter (I used ½) can also use vegetable oil
1 teaspoonful vanilla

Add to flour mixture and don't beat; mix until all ingredients are moistened.
Batter will be slightly lumpy.  This is the secret to tender shouldn't look like cake batter.

I filled my muffin tins but there was still some leftover batter that I baked in a small oiled dish.

I also made a crumb topping and added it as an afterthought which is why it didn't spread out over the top. It was brown sugar, cinnamon, butter and chopped pecans.

Bake for about 17 minutes. Test with toothpick. Let rest in pan 2 to 3 minutes.


½ cup chopped nuts, apricots, prunes, dates or figs (I had dates)
½ cup chopped cranberries plus 2 teaspoonful of grated orange peel (I used this with the dates)
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana or chopped apples.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

P.S. Blog No. 2

We are getting some rain at last....can't tell you how rain gauge seems to have a hairline crack...when I told DH, he commented  that we can't seem to keep a rain gauge...the dog ate one.

I am going to try a bead of glue  to this one.

I may have spoken too soon....I was up at 3 AM again.

I have a chicken on to boil for pot pie and am making the yellow sponge cake to use up the yolks from the white cake on Sunday.  I just had 6 yolks and it calls for 12 so I tossed in a couple of whole eggs.  Be interesting to see how this one turns out.

This is just a short  post to answer some  queries about the heifer baby born from our beef heifer....I didn't post it yesterday because Icaught it in a most unattractive mode.  But, what the heck, this is life on the farm.
I am not concerned because  the poop is yellow, not green....I will keep a close eye on  it though.

And this is it with the mama directly in front and that is Willow's other daughter, Ginger, who had a calf this spring. Ginger is the slightly reddish one  with the  ear tag showing.
I have been talking about getting our sheds cleaned out.  I wish I had taken before pictures;  just suffice it to say they were filled with barely space to walk.  I did take some after pics this morning.  These are of the east of the drive sheds.and this is the far east end of the complex.  The whole section is 24 feet deep by 48 feet long, each section is 12 feet wide, except for that last little one and I think it is 6 feet.

These are the sheds I would like to have completely enclosed with one overhead door and one walk-in and a few windows.  It would make a super heated space.  We could use the wood stove we saved from the other building cleanup.  One can always dream.......

I will show the empty old chicken house next. 
I am loving seeing them empty.

I watered the chickens and gathered 7 eggs.

Found some more empty boxes to put out with trash.

It is a sunny, perfect day, around 57°.  No rain yet.

I am making whole wheat bread. Three loaves rising for the first rise.  I should be finished late this evening.

I made some wonderful muffins this morning.....more on them later.  I am not a muffin person, but these won me over!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Another good night's sleep!  The only difference is I quit taking Clariton at night.  Wonder if that is the culprit.

I have turned over a new leaf for 2012.  I am going outside to help with chores each morning instead of just my milking mornings....I don't do much but I like getting out of the slug mode.

This morning I rolled the trash out to the street/road.  I turned the chickens out.

Here is one of the Americana hens showing her very fluffy dark muff.  They are much more flighty than the others so it is hard to catch them still for a photo.

We moved a light into the henhouse a few days ago just for really cold weather.

I heard the cattle mooing and saw DH had most of the herd in the barn lot.  We wanted to see if we had anything we would select for beef..I found another 'barren' heifer!  I am having our vet sleeve her tomorrow morning before we do another 90-day feeding fiasco.
I took a few pictures....all black cows are not the best subjects for group shots.

Remember, Annabelle,  Willow's baby that we bought with her....She is still a very pretty girl and not as distant as her Mother!

Monday, January 23, 2012

It warmed up finally yesterday afternoon quite late and the sun came out.  It was 43° when I got up this morning....4:30 AM.  I finally got a good 7 hour sleep.  I knew  I was tired after the Sunday dinner.  I did stay up to watch Masterpiece Theater though.

The dinner went well.  The hit was the white cake with coconut icing.  It is our personal favorite and I knew my MIL loved coconut.  When I was fixing her a plate dinner to take home I forgot cake!  She was very quick to ask me where her dessert was.  I sent her two pieces.

We actually ate this cake all but two small pieces in one day.....I won't be making dessert for a long  time.

We were sitting in the living room yesterday visiting after dinner and I could see out the large window toward the west pond.  I kept seeing these large black objects on the first I thought it was baby calves so I asked DH to look.  Its turkeys he said.  I grabbed the camera but the pictures were taken at full zoom and aren't great, but at least you can see the great numbers of them.  They were spread from the pond up the hill to the shed and then on to the north gate and field beyond.  I am guessing well over a 100.

When I took my last walk, I saw lots of droppings in the fields so I knew they were around.  Funny how when hunting season hit, nary a bird is seen!

This is milking morning and then maybe who knows.  A fencing expert is supposed to show up for the neighbor (our joint venture) but we will be very surprised to see him!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

I was up very early yesterday morning,2 AM....which is ridiculous but I can't seem to do anything about it.  I survived the day but didn't get  outside at all.

Since this is to be a daily journal, many posts will be so mundane that I suggest you just skip, but I want to keep it for me......

Yesterday was such a day.  We planned to go shopping (food), but MIL called an needed DH to go with her for some banking things. He wanted me to go along and just wait  and then shop, but I felt so crappy from lack of  sleep that I begged off.

I did clean my desk and do some office type things (file personal property tax listing, pay a couple of bills, etc.) and make a couple of files up.

Next I mended a queen- size- older -than- I- am- coverlet  by stitching along one side where the stuffing was coming out.  What I really need is a duvet cover for it.  I stored away some bedding in the guest room, vacuumed and that  was about it for the day.

That doesn't include my daily internet and blog browsing.....I won't tell you how much time I spend doing that.

The cleanup shed crew came late and hauled away one load from the east sheds.  I think we should enclose one of them for a heated workshop....we will see how that comes along. DH is very non-committal about it.

It is now Thursday morning January 19, 2012.  There was a slight warmup and it was 25° when I got up at 3:30 AM (slightly better than yesterday).

This is my computer time or reading time until I fix breakfast.  This morning was biscuits and scrambled eggs and milk and coffee.  I think we are on our second pot now.

I will be milking this morning and then we will do our yesterday's errands.
I want to go to the new Price Cutter store.  They are using the NuVal system where all foods are labeled 0-99 according to nutritional value, 100 being top.  I think that is a super idea especially with boxed there are some really low values on that aisle!

Friday, 1/20/12.  We didn't get our errands done...I ended up get a haircut and just shopping  locally at Murfins which is on the same parking lot and the beautyshop.   DH had to stay home because they were finishing cleaning out the east sheds.  I think we are calling a halt to that project now.

Our neighbor called and the fencing contractor called with a bid on some fence between us that needs repairs, actually torn out and replaced.  We will go half which is traditional.  The bid was $850 which I though was very high, our part will be $425.  It does involve removing two trees in the fenceline.
This made me thing about seems that our income doesn't increase nor anyone else' s that I know but when we hire work done...they charge a very inflated price.  I wonder will it ever catch up with them and people won't hire them because they can't afford it!  Curious...

Saturday, 1/21/12.  Today would have been Mom's birthday.  I think of her every single year.
Nothing much going on.  We are having MIL out for dinner  Sunday and I baked my white cake and today.  I will do a 7-minute frosting with lots of coconut on top tomorrow,  That icing doesn't keep well.

DH called for me to take  a picture of the dog.  This was looking out the kitchen window, please ignore the very dirty window.  I had to remove the inside screen.  I will be washing this before dinner tomorrow.
The yellow cats love Biscuit.

or they are using him like an electric blanket.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


The cold front arrived sometime during the wee hours of the morning.  It was 30° and very windy when I got up. Yesterday it was 70°.  I hate these fluctuations....and so do the plants outside.

Yesterday down --- to ----earth blog had an interesting subject, Organization.  I do organize my days, often not formally with calendars and lists but in my mind each day I think about what I want to get done that day.  I think it is a very good way to get things accomplished.  I often do make actual lists......and check off when I get each thing accomplished.  My Iowa sis makes a lot of fun of me and my bookkeeping tendencies!  I admit it freely; it is just who I am.  (I also research books I read, the authors and if it is a historical based one....I research that and read up on it......she thinks I am nuts doing that too!)

OK, back to organization.....for today.  I always think ahead about what I will fix for dinner so when I am outside I can get what I need from the freezer or the milk house (canned goods, extra milk).  I don't like to make unnecessary trips outside in this weather.

I knew this was milking morning.  When I came back to the house I brought a jar of warm milk to start yogurt; a cold half gallon for the house, and a  jar of apples.  I wanted to make a tart for dinner.

Here are the projects for the day: Jar of apples, frozen pie dough; milk is in the pan to heat, Dannon yogurt for a starter measured and waiting.  While making the yogurt the pie dough will be thawing.

I use the heating pad, 7 hour method and that is currently culturing and should be finished late this evening.

I made the tart for dinner. 

Dinner was a jar of home canned turkey vegetable soup and a slice of the tart. I am loving having these canned, ready-to-heat foods and unfortunately this was my last jar.

Ilene asked me about the cheese peppers so I thought I would show what I did with them.  They are very small, probably smaller than they should be because or our dreadful growing season.  I normally slice and dice peppers for the freezer but these were very small so I just washed and dried them and dropped them in a large freezer bag.  I love using them.  1 or 2 is the perfect size for most dishes.  I just run them under the cold water for a bit and then slice them down from top to bottom and then slice or dice.
I also did a bag of hot peppers this same way.  I will probably still process the larger bell peppers (if I grow some) the normal way so they won't take up so much space in the freezer.

This afternoon I whipped up (rather roughly) two new hot pads.  Mine were getting pretty sorry.

They aren't fancy, but they will work and I won't have to buy two and a kitchen towel (W-M) to get a POTHOLDER!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

It was much warmer this morning, 30°, a sign of our approaching warmup (yet again!).

The exciting news here is the Kindle arrived!!!  I managed to get it up and running and registered.  The technology is fantastic.  All the things I already had on my Kindle PC were automatically on the Kindle.
Of course, I  ordered two more .99 cent books after reading samples.  My sister loaned me another very long book so I am set for several days.  I will have  to practice restraint.....the  Kindle advertises freely e-books  and other  things for sale.......and  you can buy them directly from the Kindle..a very dangerous thing.

I was  worried it would feel awkward holding that little thing and reading but it just melted away and I was lost in the story with no thought about the method I was  using.  A great tool.
My library has a limited selection of e-books so that is disappointing.  I am sure they will increase as more people use the new technology.

The other news is DH is having our 'wood men' clear out the old chicken house and I must get out there this morning to see if there is anything that I just have to save!  possibly canning jars, garden hoses, tools, etc.  When they finish this one, they are headed next out to the blown-down-in-a-tornado pole barn to cut up and remove all tin roofing and split timbers.  I know there are at least 4 good long 6x6 treated timbers I want to reserve for my "future" greenhouse base.
I am such a pack rat it makes me nervous getting rid of all this stuff, but I haven't used any of it since we moved in 1991 so I doubt I really need it.  DH is very insistent about wanting  all these many sheds cleaned out.

It is now 3:30 PM and it has been an exciting day. I went out early and we sorted some lumber and canning jars and a few gardening things to one side to keep.

Then DH went out back to feed. Remember I mentioned we were feeding a  "barren" heifer to butcher next month.  We have been fattening her for almost 90 days now. He came in sat down at the table and said "I think the heifer is trying to calve!".

One thing you never do to pregnant cows is feed them heavily the last few weeks because the extra calories makes for  a large calf and almost always calving difficulties.  I bundled up and went out to check.

Of course, she was at the far end of the bull pen.  It wasn't that cold, but the wind was ferocious!  I walked down and sure enough I saw two feet sticking out about hoof length.  I got the cow up; drove her back into the barn lot....this causes them to retract the feet and have to start all over again.  By now it is 9:45 and I know my vet with be gone by noon.  I decided to watch  her  for about an hour and if no progress had been made to call him.  He is the champion of difficult births!  I went back out an hour later and the heifer is laying there head up, calf feet out the same and no straining at all.  I knew she wasn't going to deliver on her own.  Called the vet and he promised to be out in 30 minutes.  We got the cow out into the working area where we could run her  down the alley.  The good thing was I had no trouble driving her to the lot or into the working area.  All went smooth as silk.  Vet came on time, pulled a live calf, heifer jumped up and began paying attention to it so we left her penned with it  for the time being.  I am not even sure what the calf was, vet said he thought a bull.  It wasn't an overly large calf but the heifer was through trying.  What a relief.  I was afraid we would loose both.

She doesn't look like much now but in a couple of days she should.

Just another day on the farm......thankfully we don't have too many of these kinds of days.

The bad news is no beef to butcher.  I think we will get up another animal and just go grass fat.  Lesson learned here is have a heifer preg checked before deciding she is barren!!!

4:10 PM.  I went out to check the new mama and baby and decided to move the baby  into the center barn lot where the heifer had gone to drink and  eat.  If you have ever moved a new born calf,  you know what a chore that is.  I stand behind pushing its backside with my legs and use my arms to keep it going in the right direction.  Mission  accomplished but I had to drive the new  (stupid) momma over to it. The baby is a heifer and is weak from being so long  in delivery, but it got up and I hope will nurse.  I left them at it because if I get too close  the mama will take off. 

This is just one load from pole  barn.  They are practically finished cleaning up and are now finishing the chicken house.  They are quick and excellent workers.  One is still in high school.

It has been a good day, but a tiring one.....Kindle here  I come!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Several have mentioned my very early  risings......We milked for several years and  had to be up very early to get things ready to start milking at  6 am.  I think I just formed a deep pattern.  Also before that DH  worked where he left the house at 4 am to  drive to Fort Wood and  I always got up to fix his breakfast.

Then I am on Prednisone and it causes some problems with sleeping....will be off that shortly.

Next I do go to bed fairly early sometimes.  I get by on about 6 hours sleep but really need more.I have been known to take an afternoon nap but with the Prednisone, that isn't happening.

I do like being up early but things tend to go downhill rapidly from noon on.......

We didn't get much snow but it was bitterly cold and very windy.  If you look closely, you can see the snow blowing sideways to the east in front of the woods across the road (rh side of photo).
and this is the view from the porch directly across the driveway to the east,

Poor DH had to feed some hay out in this!  I chose to not milk and stay  inside.  I will have to milk this morning.

Day Before Yesterday

Another little annoyance......DH took the old Pontiac (I would rather refer to it as the "classic" Pontiac,1990) in to exercise and on his way home, it sputtered and died!  I was right in the middle of making bread; it was about 20 minutes from baking so I had to improvise.  I should have just put it in the fridge but it would have been very cramped so I set the pans on the tile floor of the back porch and placed the turkey roast pan and lid over it.  That floor stays cold year round!  We had the car towed to the shop; $400 and a new computer later, it is running again.

Bread wasn't affected by this annoyance at all.


I sort of developed a new recipe yesterday.  I love Fettuccine Alfredo but usually use chicken.  I had a package of ground pork thawed for a couple of days and needed to use it.  I made Italian type tiny meatballs by adding salt, pepper, some crushed fennel seed (from my bronze fennel), and some oregano to the meat and then a slice of whole wheat bread crumbled up along with an egg.  Mixed it all up well and browned in olive oil with a little butter.  I cooked them completely while boiling the fettucine.  At the very last I added maybe a half cup of cream, a dash of freshly grated nutmeg,  stirred it well and then tossed the pasta in the skillet until all was coated.

We thought  it was very tasty.

I wanted to try the coconut oil in a pie crust so I made a regular pie crust (not my huge Nathan's Never Fail recipe) and made half up in strawberry tartlets an half in my mincemeat.  It is OK, but not the flakiest crust and the bits I had to re-roll were even tough.  The slight coconut flavor was good though.

The strawberry used in these was a way of using up  leftover thawed strawberries.  I just added some extra sugar and cooked them down on the stove top for 15 minutes to make a loose jam.  I always do this with leftover fruits.  I may even like this method better than  using pectin for jam.  The rule is same amount of fruit to sugar, i.e., 4 cups fruit/4 cups sugar.

My Kindle was supposed to arrive did not.  It left KC on the 9th..I am wondering if bad weather up north caused the delay.  I may make some calls  to UPS today.  My sis is more excited than I am and calls daily....I think she is having a slow  week!  She keeps warning me  to call her the minute I get it.  If you have a Sis like this one, count yourself lucky!!!


Thursday, January 12, 2012

The  cold front arrived.  It was 23° when I got up this morning  around 5 AM.  There was just a light skiff of snow on the ground but some ice under on smooth surfaces where the snow melted when it hit the warm  ground and then refroze as temps dropped.  The wind hasn't hit yet but it is coming.

I am sure glad I am milking inside a nice tight barn, cold but no wind!

Remember when I talked about buying the virgin coconut oil for cooking..........well I have made biscuits with it three times, each time reducing the amount of fat.  I still wasn't happy with the texture.  This morning I made them using lard........guess who the winner is???  Lard! 

I am too easily swayed by some things I read on the internet and in books regarding real foods.  Common sense should prevail in all matters...........for instance, does it  make sense to  have to order something from another country in order to eat real foods.....I think not!  I must remind myself the next time I get revved up about something.

I suspect I now have a very expensive  soap ingredient!  You would think I am old enough to know better.....

The last time I was  at my MIL's she reminded me of the quilts she still  had.  These were pretty old and need some repair but I couldn't resist their charm.  All are hand pieced and quilted.  One is a friendship quilt but I can't read the names...not too many names on it.  No great wonder!  You would have to have known DH's step grandmother to appreciate that remark!

Here they are:

From Quilts

I love the scalloped edge on this one,

From Quilts

From Quilts

If anyone knows what these patterns are, please tell me. 

I don't know what I will do with these now so I am storing them.  I can see them laid out on an iron bedstead (I have one in my tiny guest bedroom) and that may be their permanent home.  I don't think they would hold up well in regular washings.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

25° this morning.  Up at 3:30 AM.  Made the first pot of coffee and started my day at the computer as always.  This is my favorite time of day.

Yesterday was one of those days I actually got done what I planned to do.  Milk, cut wood for kindling and make up the apple jelly.

Milking went well;  she  seemed a bit antsy but gave her normal amount.

Next we cut up a stack of limbs that DH had been accumulating for kindling.  It took about an hour to get our tools together and do the actual work.  Of course, we had a cat watching our every move.

One pile:

and a second pile.  This is all under the overhang of the barn roof so can just stay in place until we need it.

Late in the afternoon, I made the jelly and am happy to report it jelled well.  I made this the regular way using Sure Jell.  It called for 7 cups of juice so I opened a quart of canned juice from last fall and added to my fresh juice.  It may have been the largest batch of jelly I have ever made...used 9 cups of sugar.
I always keep my pantry stocked with lots of sugar just for  this kind of thing.

I also squeezed in finishing my 'loaned' Kindle PC book my sis sent.  If like historical fiction, this one won't disappoint!  It is Just Deceits by Michael Schein and is based on a true event.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Finally, a better night's sleep (I cheated and took a melatonin tablet!).  5 AM and 28°.

I let our nice weather pass and never did get any outside yard work done.....somehow when winter hits and the trees loose their leaves, I am done outside and it is very hard for me to get motivated to garden again.

I will milk this morning. 

Yesterday I made pumpkin bread using my frozen butternut squash from a few years ago.  I put raisins and nuts in two loaves and left one plain.  My family never wants anything added.  This is a recipe I have been using for a very long time and makes three loaves. 

Pumpkin Bread

Preheat Over to 350°

(I originally got this recipe from MIL)
3-1/3 cup flour
2 teas. baking soda
1-1/2 teas. salt
1 teas. cinnamon
1 teas. nutmeg
1 cup oil
4 eggs
2/3 cup water
1 can pumpkin
3 cups sugar
1 cup nuts, optional

Sift dry ingredients together, including sugar into mixing bowl.  Make a well in center and add other ingredients.  Mix well.  Add nuts if desired.

Pour into three medium sized, greased and floured loaf pans or two large ones or 5 very small foil pans (for the holidays as gifts).

Bake for l hour or until done.  Check with straw or bamboo skewers ( I love these).  For the smaller pans I  figure about 45 minutes.

Remove from pans and cool on rack.

Note: I rarely sift anything.  I just fluff it with a wire whisk and then measure.

I just put all this into the mixing bowl and blend the dry ingredients first then add everything else and just mix until blended....don’t overdo it.

We will be butchering in about a month so I am trying to empty  out the meat freezer.  I found two very large bread bags filled with Jonathon apple cores and peelings and brought them down to the house.  I dumped all in my maslin pan (it filled it to the top and I had to press down to get the lid one) added some water and apple juice (I keep in the freezer for adding to various apple things for extra flavor) and cooked it until soft.  I then strained it into a bowl for apple jelly and then ran the rest through my Foley Food Mill and got enough pulp to make 2- 1/2 pints of apple butter.  I have a quart of juice for making jelly which I hope to get done today.

Just a note about the maslin  pan.  If you do a lot of food processing, you will love this pan!  I don't know how I got by without it all these years.  They are expensive but worth it.  I have used it for apples, for cheese making, boiling large amounts of sweet corn, canning tomatoes, cooking down anything.  The bottom is very thick and heavy and if I place the pan on my lowest burner, I can simmer all day without anything scorching.  I did have to stir the apple butter often because of the sugar never scorched though.

I hope the Kindle comes today.....I have been using my Kindle PC app and reading at my desk.  My sis and daughter have 'loaned' me 3 or 4 books and I have purchased two .99 ones from Amazon.  This technology just amazes me! 

Note:  I had a question about tallow making the soap 'greasy'.  No, it does not.  I run all ingredients through Soapcalc9 before making.