Sunday, September 29, 2013

Our Kudzu and other Tidbits

The cold front arrived yesterday bringing a little rain.  I haven't checked the gauge yet.  It is cooler; 56° this morning.  We do enjoy this fall weather.

I have accomplished very little beyond daily routine these last two days.  I did have to get more "kitty"
 supplies.  He refused to use the litter box!  Then I tried a larger box and Tidy Cat litter and so far he has used I know why I do not have house pets.  I am not geared toward the care and cleaning they require..........only for a granddaughter would I do this!  I just have this week to be sure he is trained to it.  She plans to get him next weekend.

We did go to the local orchard for apples before the kitty errands.  I bought a half bushel of Jonathon and Grimes Golden. I did a taste test and the Grimes was much more flavorful than the Golden.  I will order a tree for spring planting.  The rains did not hurt the flavor of the apples.  I will be making  sauce, jelly and use some for mincemeat. Surprising because of all our summer rains, but the apples were smaller than usual.
apples from local orchard photo apples_zps0316523d.jpg

I wanted to show the vinca major that has taken over several areas here.  This is the holding pen area where I just sprayed.  The vines are so tough they can trip you and never break.

If glyphosphate doesn't work I will resort to something stronger.

This is the path I have to walk to go into the holding pen to get Willow.  She does not walk up the ramp into the barn without a little 'persuasion'.

The cats love this water because it drips out of the hose.

and this is inside the pen.  See what I mean?

The yard is definitely not at its peak, but some spots are still nice.  I told you once I couldn't take a picture without catching either the cats or DH.  Well here he is again and, no, that is not a purse he is carrying, that is a plastic bag with a bottle of milk that he is bringing from the barn for me.


I am trying to save seeds from this salvia, it is a favorite. (the red one).  The blue is a victoria and it returns each year here, not the red.

'Immortality' iris is having a good re bloom;

and this is a gaillardia from Ilene,

Roses always improve with the cooler weather.  This is Paul McCartney rose.  So far it has lasted longer than any rose I have had and  has resisted RRD.

I wish I had pruned the clematis vine behind the rose, but I wanted to show why I let the native aster grow here.  I reminds me of gypsophila (baby's breath) which doesn't last long for me.  I have to cut it back before it sets seeds or will be take over the entire yard.....ask me how I know.

Random Farm Picture

Cow enjoying lunch.

PS.  Plans for today:  Bake bread again using triple raise method.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Up   at 4 AM.  DH beat  me up and had coffee ready....spent the morning reading until daylight at around 7 AM.  Did my small amount of housework.

I milked Willow again; this time 1.75 gallons of milk.  I set one quart to ripen for buttermilk using l cup of cultured store buttermilk.  I try to keep one going as soon as I get down to a cup or  so I start again.
We will drink our first Willow milk at noon today.

I  am high-heat roasting an organic chicken in my Romertopf baker, 475° for about l hour.  We will have DH's favorite mashed potatoes, fresh green beans (from a self seeded vine in the tomato row) and wilted lettuce from my late planted patch.

I spent a little time thinning the turnip row and weeding it and the lettuce bed.  It was too wet to use the trimmer  or anything else  much.

My Sis had brought  me what she thought was a cutting from our Aloha rose and I repotted it this morning in a large container and was delighted to find two smaller ones as well.  I call it our Aloha because our Grandmother gave me a cutting way back when we first moved to the country and I have taken cuttings ever since and gave my Sis her first one.....RRD (a rose disease) got one of mine and the one I have left may have it as well.  I will  plant these far removed from it.

September 26, 2013

I was up early.....we are in the process of house-training Prince (the kitty) for our granddaughter and I knew I had a mess to clean at 3:45 AM that is what I was didn't need to know that but it is what happened........

We had breakfast of scrambled eggs (ours) and toast (my Annie's whole wheat and honey 3 raisings) and Willow's milk.

I milked again and got another 2 half gallon jars after the baby took all he wanted.  Willow has never been a heavy milker but it is enough for us and usually two calves.  I haven't decided if I will buy another calf or not....yet.  She is behaving better for me.  DH thinks it is because I am milking her daily instead of every 3 days...I will have to think about another calf.

We have errands this morning and will do that while the dew is drying.....very wet outside.

Did our errands and was finished for the does that to me.

September 27, 2013

This day was practically the same except I did manage to spray some very lush vinca major that was taking over  the holding pen ala kudzu vine down south.  I would never plant it again. 

I took a picture of Willow feeding breakfast to her baby.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Willow and New Baby

We are still enjoying beautiful fall weather.

This morning was the first morning to milk Willow again.  DH had her up in the holding pen and all I had to do was walk her up the ramp into the barn.  She was very cooperative but I was surprised at how little milk she gave....was she holding out or just is not giving as much in her old age......

I got a gallon which is enough but still was surprised.  We turned her out in the grassy lot west of the house and kept the baby separated from her.  She will probably not eat anything but stand and  talk to her baby through the fence.  She does love her babies. 

While in the barn I did some more cleaning on both sides.  I am still not quite finished and will buy another set of shelves for canning jars.  I keep them stored in the side where I process the milk and where the extra fridge is. 

I took a few pictures yesterday.

This baby is redder than any of her other calves; it is a bull and has to be out of one our Black Angus bulls.  I don't see a white spot anywhere on it.

They are standing in the shade of a giant Elm tree on the west side of the old barn that I had new doors made for.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Catch Up Time ...... Again

I am way behind again.  We have had lots of company and my time was not my own.

We always enjoy having company and the house seems really quiet when they all leave....not complaining you understand.

First things first....we have had some wonderful rain, over 2 inches after a month of nothing.  The temperatures are way down too.  We actually had the furnace on for an hour yesterday afternoon.  The dew was so heavy yesterday morning that it looked like frost which isn't too far off.

More good news:  Willow calved.  I will be milking again very soon.  I haven't even seen the calf yet.  I did spend some time a few days ago cleaning the milking side of the barn so I am ready for her.  I hope she is ready for me!  We have a new load of feed coming today.

I hope we can also corral a few calves to wean.  We like to start them on grain  before selling.  My freezer is getting pretty low on meat too.  I need to pick out a likely speciman.

I will just post some  random thoughts of the past couple of weeks.....


I made  a batch of Hodgson Mills  white bread (dh's favorite).  This bread requires three raisings and is so fine textured and soft.  I thought maybe the secret was the extra raising so when I next made my favorite honey whole wheat recipe, I used the same technique.  I think it improved the texture of this bread too.

I plan to use this method on all my bread from now on.....unless I get in a hurry!

I also made a batch of my favorite (our favorite) cinnamon rolls and love this fine silky dough so much I plan to use it for dinner rolls next time.

I thought I had a previous picture but couldn't find it...I almost waited too late.  I froze most and only have l and a half left....

Here is the recipe.  Note:  I give credit where credit is due. Originally I got it from Thibeault's Blog.

Home Cookin Chapter: Recipes From Thibeault's Table

Cinnamon Rolls (Buns)
From Joy of Baking

4-1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose " flour
1 Package active dry yeast
1 Cup milk
1/3 Cup "" butter
1/3 Cup sugar
1/2 Teaspoon salt
"3 eggs


3/4 Cup packed brown"sugar
1/4 Cup all-purpose " flour
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 Cup butter
1/2 Cup light raisins (optional)
1 Tablespoon half-and-half
1 recipe Powdered Sugar Glaze

Note: I prefer a Cream Cheese icing.

1/4 cup butter
1 cup cream cheese

Cream together and add enough icing/powder sugar to make a creamy icing.

Powdered Sugar Glaze:

In a bowl stir together 1 1/4 cups sifted powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon light corn syrup, 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and enough half-and-half (1 to 2 tablespoons) to make the glaze thin enough to drizzle over cinnamon rolls.

In a large mixing bowl combine 2 1/4 cups of the flour and the yeast.
In a small saucepan heat the milk, the 1/3 cup butter, 1/3 cup sugar,
and salt just till warm (120 degrees to 130 degrees)and butter is
almost melted, stirring constantly. Add to flour mixture. Add eggs.
Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl. Beat on high
speed for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the
remaining 2 1/4 to 2 3/4 cups flour as you can. Turn dough out onto a
lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make
a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (3 to 5 minutes).
Note: If you have a mixer with a dough hook, change to it and knead about 6 minutes on a slow speed.

Shape into a ball. Place in a greased bowl, turning once. Cover; let
rise in a warm place till double (about 1 - 1 1/2 hours).
For filling,
combine brown sugar, the 1/4 cup flour, and cinnamon. Cut in remaining
butter with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Set aside.

Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Cover and let rest for
10 minutes. Roll the dough into a 12 inch square. Sprinkle filling over
dough square; top with raisins (if desired). Roll up jelly-roll style;
pinch edges to seal. Slice roll into eight 1 1/2 inch pieces. Arrange
dough pieces, cut side up, in a greased 12 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan.
Cover dough loosely with clear plastic wrap, leaving room for rolls to
rise. Refrigerate dough for 2 to 24 hours. Uncover and let stand at
room temperature for 30 minutes. (If you are making the cinnamon rolls
immediately, don’t chill dough. Instead, cover loosely, let dough rise
in a warm place till nearly double, about 45 minutes.) Break any
surface bubbles with a greased toothpick. Brush dough with a
half-and-half. Bake in a 375 degree oven to 25 to 30 minutes or till
light brown. If necessary to prevent over-browning., cover rolls
loosely with foil the last 5 to 10 minutes of baking. Remove rolls from
oven. Brush again with half-and-half. Cool 5 minutes. Invert onto a
baking rack and invert again onto a plate. Can drizzle with Powdered
Sugar Glaze. Serve warm. Makes 8 rolls.

Random thought:

I received this new type of card from our daughter.  I thought it was so pretty, I had to share:

Hallmark of course (she has worked for them since college).

It has a tiny little button to turn the light on at the top of the card.

Random Cat Picture

At least we don't have  a mouse problem any more.................

Monday, September 9, 2013

First Week of September

We are having our normal hot and dry July weather now.....days are in the  90's and nights stay in the  upper 70's.  We are almost a month now without rain.  I am watering a little but not the garden proper since it is finished producing.

I did plant some lettuce and a short row of turnips.  I watered it daily and was really surprised to see the seeds come up within a couple of days.  I will keep watering it until (hopefully) fall rains start.  I see there is a promise by the end of this week.

I haven't been very productive for some time.  We have had our granddaughter and her friend twice now and the last time our grandson and one of his friends came too!  It made for quite a houseful in the old farmhouse!  We did enjoy them a lot.  Here is a truism we have learned:  If you provide boys for the girls (in the form of our very nice neighbor boy and his friends), the girls are very happy; if you provide the 15-year old boys with a 4-wheeler and an old running farm truck, they are very happy!  I think they are planning a return trip.

Our 18 year-old granddaughter fell in love with the new kitty....she is adopting him.  I was stunned our son agreed.  She is now living with him.  I promised  to have him neutered when he is older.  The vet says he still has one baby tooth so is approaching 6-months...she recommended waiting another 4 months.  The cat is very small, just 6 lbs.  Our GD may decide to come get him and keep him with her for that 4  months and then bring him back down here to my vet.  I am keeping my fingers crossed all goes well all three: the cat, the granddaughter and our son.................

 The new kitty:
All I am planning this week is tidying the house and yard.  More company is coming.   This time my Sis and BIL from Iowa.  His sister has been  diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer and they are having a small reunion with her and the rest of his family.  It will be a short trip but it has been two years since they were down.  Of course both string trimmers chose this time to BIL is a fanatic ab out keeping their place pretty pristine............oh well.

I hope to check with our local orchard and see if the Jonathon apples are ready.  I also want some Golden Delicious for sauce.   We have almost eaten all the sauce from last year....where I used the wrong funnel on my Squeezo and got some tiny flecks of seeds in the sauce.  I finally located the correct actually fell out of the box when I went to put the things away.  I will be sure to use it this time! 

Random pictures

I shouldn't post this because the quality is so poor, but I loved the shot.  Sugar is in a full run, feet off the ground and loose skin blowing in the wind.

Rosa Buff Beauty (maybe on its last legs due to RRD)

Monday, September 2, 2013