Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Back from my Winter Break

I  stayed away so long, I almost didn't return to the land of blogging.......

There have  been no big events on the farm.  We both are semi-well from our bronchitis but still have occasional coughing bouts .

I have been milking about three times a week.  Getting my usual 3 half gallons and l quart.
 daily morning milking photo milk_zpsf34e1303.jpg

We have had some very unusual weather.  We broke a record high at 74° two days ago.  Then a front moved in and we got a wonderful 1.75 inches of rain during the evening and night.  We didn't get any severe weather like some did.  It is much colder today and with very strong winds.  It is in the mid-30's now.  I was sure glad I was milking inside a barn this morning.

I have just been doing my normal cooking, made Annie's Honey and Wheat 4-loaf recipe one time and yesterday made DH's favorite white bread, 3 loaves.  The only unusual thing I made was Harvard beets.  I didn't know if DH would eat them or not.  I have had them canned a long time, but the color was still very good.   He cleaned his plate!

I  made one of my favorite cookies.

Cinnamon Cookies (like a ginger snap)

Source: Sis

¾ cup shortening (don't use butter)
1 cup sugar
1 egg
¼ cup honey
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt

Sugar and cinnamon mixture to roll cookies in

Cream shortening and sugar well. Beat in egg and honey. Add sifted dry ingredients. Mix well.
Make a one inch ball of dough and roll in cinnamon sugar mixture.

Place 2 or so inches apart because they will spread out. Used ungreased baking sheet. Bake 375° for 12-15 minutes.

Random Pictures

I tried all morning to get a good one of Sugar but it was almost impossible.  This is the best I could manage.
This is her favorite spot, especially if I am sitting in my chair.  Note: the chewed  rug.  I decided it was worth sacrificing it to save my ankles....

We had an invasion of Grackles a few days ago.  It was unbelievable how many.  They would fly up and light and fly down again and moved from one side of the yard to the other.  Thankfully. they didn't stay long. They are right up there with Starlings and house sparrows as my least favorites feathered friends.
 photo gracklesinvasion5.jpg photo gracklesinvasion4_zpsebb3bea9.jpggrackles invasion 3 photo gracklesinvasion3-1_zpsc1ac0c5e.jpg

Note:  I see the gremlins have invaded blogger again.  Please ignore the strange orange highlighted words; they lead to advertising....not of my doing.   They have magically disappeared now!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Loading the Calves

Tuesday, 1/15/13

This was the day to  move the weaned calved from the feeding pen back to the loading pen.  That means you have lots of calves running  around a very large lot and you need to get them through a 12 foot gate to move into the loading area.  Usually you just need to get one to go and the others will follow.  DH thought he could do it alone........I got a phone call for help....with both of us it went  pretty smoothly.  All except one aggravating one who must be from Crazy Jane's genetics.  Crazy was the wildest cow we have ever owned and we shipped her pretty quickly (interpret that as when we could get her loaded......)These are cows that if they get cornered and can't break through the fence in front of them will try to go through you!

We got them all but that one into the curved pen where you can just swing the gate and push them down the alley to load.  It took two of these loads and  then all that was left was the wild  one.  I had moved all the calves before this but asked our hauler who was maybe 1/3 my age if he would do her.  He  did but climbed the fence once before he could get the the squeeze gate behind her.

They took them into the sale barn yesterday afternoon .  The sale will  begin this morning.  I hope ours sell quickly because I want to do some errands  after we pick up  our  check. We try to make our trips to town count.


My main seed order came through very quickly from Swallowtail.  I  am very pleased with that.

I quit ordering from Park Seed a few years ago because of their delay on shipping and some very low germination seeds.  I was  forced to get a few things from them this year.  If they are slow again,  I vow to never order from them again.  I will let you know.

I got a Stark Brothers catalog yesterday.  That has me thinking about a few more fruit trees....and maybe a new variety of blackberries.  

Monday, January 14, 2013

Gifts from Amazon and other things.......

Good morning from the frigid Ozarks.  It was 13°at 3 AM this morning; now warmed up to 14!
We did get more rain two days ago just as the cold front moved in.  We have a thin coating of ice on everything now.



This is a mild ice storm as ice storms here go.  We are very grateful for that.

I have a gift card balance at Amazon and I needed to order the cord for my Kindle.....I love making up the required $25 for free shipping so,

Here is my latest splurge:

My orders are almost always for the kitchen.....wonder why that is?

I wanted a grater that could go through the dishwasher and this one can, top rack.  I hate the plastic on it but what can you do......, the utensil jar is to replace the flower pot I was using before I took an urge to remove everything from the counters and put them into the drawers.  Bad idea!  I could never find what I wanted so I tried to find the flower pot again......looked high and low.  I finally just gave up and ordered this new one.  Then two days ago when dusting the dining room, I lifted this to dust under it,

It took a second to register; here was the flower pot!  Too  late and I like the new one better anyway.

I also got another bread pan; I broke  my glass one and needed 4  for when I double the recipe for our mainstay bread.  The pizza wheel is to replace  the one  that just broke (plastic base).

I think I still  have a balance on the gift cards.  I want DH to pick something just for him but so far, he hasn't.

We will have to make a run out today; DH is out of Robitussin.  I will buy the largest size this time and two bottles.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Shot in the Sky

Up at my usual 3:30 AM.  Still pretty warm out.  I think our cold front is due in later today.  I am sure glad we worked the cows yesterday instead of waiting. DH is still sleeping.  Sugar is sleeping by the little heater in the kitchen....her favorite place.

Temperature is 53°; tonight is predicted to be 22°

When I took the pictures of the cows, I heard what I thought was people talking....then I realized it was geese,lots of geese, coming towards us.  I just angled the camera up to the sky, couldn't see anything at all and snapped.  I love the results.


I am using it on my monitor for now.

We have nothing special planned for the weekend.  I want to do some cooking and try to get DH well.  He is supposed to call the doctor Monday if he isn't improved.  I know banana pudding is on the list; he loves that.  I need to check the freezer for more ideas.

Hope you all have a super weekend.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Through January 11, 2013

We are still a puny crew here. I finally insisted DH see a doctor yesterday.  They did a chest x-ray and determined he has bronchitis.  I could hear him rattling and whistling across the room and was worried he might have pneumonia.   He is just on over-the-counter decongestants and nasal sprays.  The doctor did give him a small size puffer for when he is very short winded.  I think he actually feels worse today.  I believe it is because the decongestants have loosened him up and he is coughing a lot.

I still have some cold remnants but feel good.

I actually made myself milk this morning and it went well.  I got a 3-day supply!  That is good for Willow these days.

DH had left the gate to the lane open so part of the herd had wandered down into the back barn lot.  DH locked them in and we decided to take advantage of the pretty sunshiny day and separate out all the calves from the bulls and mamas.  It took us two hours but went pretty smoothly.  There are always a few who don't cooperate at all......

Now we can just feed them until we are ready to sell.

Notice some of them staring toward the camera?  They don't see me often so I am the scary unknown!

another view,

and one taken in the shade,

That was it for the day for me....and him.

I made a large pot of potato soup for lunch and that is my cooking for the day.

You all take care and I hope none of you get colds or the flu!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

January 6 -8

January 8,2013
I have been doing very little with this cold, but push had come to shove; I had to do some shopping.  I was completely out of AP flour and very low on some other staples like beans.  We  also had to return a past due book.....DH's fault,one of his. I made him stay in the truck since his cold is still so bad.  I picked him out just one more book.

I picked up a bottle of multi-vitamins...and, believe it or not, DH actually agreed to taking them.  I may have to rethink the flu shots.  I don't think he has the flu  though, just a cold.

It was very bright and sunshiny but windy and cold in the 40's.  They are predicating rain overnight but saying it will  hit south of I-44.  We are north of that....still keeping our fingers crossed.

You can see the Cardinals feathers being blown about,

I am getting worried about letting Sugar out to run free for a short time.  Twice now she has headed for the road out  front and she doesn't stop or come to me when I call her.  The great outdoors is so much more fun!
I have discovered that our  old  dog pen which is about 15 x 30 holds her.  So now I can leave her outside in the fresh air as long as she wants.  She was worried  when I walked off but when I went back to get her she ran to the back corner of the pen.....she didn't want out. We left her for about an hour.

DH was planning to get calves up to sell but I told him to wait until he is feeling better; there is no urgency and I know he  doesn't really feel up to  it.

Late in the day I cooked  a large pot of pinto beans....we had a dish for our evening meal and will have  it for the rest of the week.  They were the palest beans I have ever cooked....very strange.

Something else I noticed....normally when we hit Wal Mart after a long absence,the bill  will be around $100; this time is was over $200.  There were no major items on there either.  Shocking.

I made homemade donuts day before yesterday.

I bought a very small deep fat fryer and have used it a  couple of times.  It makes  a big difference in how the end products turns out.  No matter how carefully I monitored the thermometer using a pan of oil on the stove, it would always get too hot and then too cold.

The other thing I got accomplished is I ordered the majority of garden seeds from a company I haven't used before, Swallowtail, but some friends have .  Time will tell how pleased I am.  I forgot to get vinca seeds so I will be looking for them soon.  They are a favorite and very easy from seed. 
This is the year I am purging all the seed inventory and starting fresh.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Hacked Email Accounts

If  any of you that I have emailed get a weird email from me with only a link to something; delete it!  Do not open it, please.  My accounts were hacked....I think through Facebook. I hope it is a one-time thing and thatI have got it stopped.

Sorry for any trouble you may have  been caused.

Friday, January 4, 2013

3 AM, 21°  This is my favorite time of the day.....very quiet, reading a good book, coffee made (DH sets it up for me at night) phones or knocks on the it!

Yesterday was pretty much a do nothing day (again).  I did run the vacuum in most of the house and all decorations  our stored away for next year.

I made a beef stir fry for lunch, couldn't call it pepper steak because I was too lazy to walk to the outside freezer to get my peppers.  Instead I used onions, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and a few slices of squash from a bag of frozen mixed veggies.  I added to bit of tumeric to the rice.  We enjoyed it a lot.

The chickens have really been taking a break.....a couple of days we got nothing and then yesterday only 2.
I have been buying some really nice very dark brown eggs from the local market for $2.  They aren't too bad.

We got two of my least favorite things in the mail yesterday:  Personal Property Tax for 2013 (to be filled out) and the ag census forms  that are many pages long....most don't  pertain to our small farm but you still have  to read each thing.  The eyes of the government are on us........always.

Someone asked about how many cats we last count maybe 14?  I know, I know.........
I keep trying to get a picture of them following DH around when he first goes outside....I call him the Cat Whisperer.  I could call him  the animal whisperer  but he does not like or mess with horses!

I hope to finally get the strawberries mulched this afternoon. (later)  I am happy to report I did get the strawberries mulched:

You can see I did not get the garden tilled....had a tiller issue that is still not resolved.

I also pulled off some Trail of Tears bean pods for seed.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Bread Day

It  was  slightly warmer this morning, around 24° at 3 AM.  I got up and made coffee and slipped back into the living room to read.  I didn't want to wake  Sugar!

This was DH's oatmeal day so I just had a slice of cracked wheat bread toasted.

Speaking of bread, I did force myself out of my chair and made our standby whole wheat bread using Annie's recipe .  I was low on honey so used sugar instead and added l cup of cracked wheat that I soaked in the very warm liquids until they were cool enough to add the yeast and egg.

I thought the cracked wheat would be softer than it is and it is pretty thick, good though.

 I found a short cord that works for my Kindle!  I have to lay it right at the receptacle but it does work and I just downloaded a Jack Reacher novel from the local library.  I am delighted because it will be almost a week before my Amazon order gets here. 

Random Cat Picture

I had to stand on my tiptoes and shoot  down to catch these rascals.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

January 1 and 2, 2012

4:00 AM, 16°.  I am still feeling the effects  of the cold, but have quit the V-C.  I couldn't see much improvement with it.  My experience has been  that only time will take care of it.

I did absolutely the minimum  yesterday and spent most of the day dozing in my chair and reading The Winemaker on Kindle.  I had the Kindle plugged in to the wall charger and when I got up, I tripped over the darned thing and bent the little tab that inserts into the  bottom of the, of course, it doesn't work.  I ordered another one from Amazon but it won't be here until the 7th.

DH has been doing all the chores and I haven't milked in a long while.....Willow is probably thrilled!

I did manage to cook a pot of white beans yesterday and we will be having them today with cornbread, fried potatoes and onions.  I will make cole slaw (if I have cabbage in the crisper) or carrot salad (if not).

I never make New Year's resolutions but I have one sort of tucked away in my mind for this year.  I want to make each day count and not let them just get away from me (I know you know what I mean).  We should treasure each one and appreciate our blessings.  I want to be more organized with the house and the gardens, keep better records (daily) with my blog/journal.  That will mean some very boring things but it will be my personal record of each day. 

Random Photos

These were taken during the holidays but not in 2013.

I am still struggling with shooting into light but am re-reading my instruction book and vow to master this camera this year.

and I caught Marlene and Bette with the zoom outside the window,

and this is zoomed in closer,

DH just told me he finally saw them eating  hay.  They are sort of standoffish animals and only hang with each other; we knew they much eat the hay but just never caught them at it.