Thursday, October 31, 2013

Another Week on the Farm

Fall has arrived here.

After the hard freeze and the following 2 inch rain, the leaves are coming down.........we  love looking out the window at  the 'raining' leaves....they will remain on the ground.............unless I get a chance to mow.  I do not rake leaves!!!!

The top of the white oak is just beginning; that is the rejuvenated Pin Oak behind it.  It has the best color I can remember.

This is the Pin Oak, west yard.

I was just coming from the Milk Parlor and loved the changing colors, the shrub to the right  is spirea prunifolia; you can see the top of the Pin Oak in the west yard.  This view is looking southwest.

Back to the front yard.  This is the Limelight hydrangea,

and the Oakleaf hydrangea,

I think this may be millet dropped  from the bird feeder.  I don't know why I am not seeing birds feeding on it....maybe they will come later,
From fall 2013

We had weekend company again.  Very enjoyable and easy to have.  I just did my standard crock-pot roast with mashed potatoes and gravy.  I had a very late picking of haricort vert (which I will discuss later).  Dessert was chocolate cake which turned out nicely.  Bread was the French bread I had made earlier in the week.  I also made our son's favorite Scotch Shortbread Cookies.....and sent them home  with him (also all the left over cake).

Speaking of bread; I am getting more adventurous with bread making.  I am not following recipes closely some days.  This time made Oatmeal bread but substituted some white whole wheat flour for regular, no bread flour (I was out), potato water (left from Sunday dinner's mashed potato cooking) instead of milk....results were great.  DH loved it.  I want to broaden his tastes a little from plain white bread.  He just said this morning that it toasted really well.

I made rustic loaves just for fun,

I also made us a pineapple upside down cake.  I hadn't made one in years.  I like the size for the two of us.
I need to try some variations.

I didn't like the texture of the cake...sort of grainy.  Next time I will use another cake recipe.


I finally found a recent picture of my Jersey heifer, Jewel who I hope will be calving soon.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Weird Squash - Test Pie

We got a scattered heavy frost this morning and are supposed to get down to 28° soon.

After milking yesterday morning, DH and I loaded up the sweet potatoes and took them to the MIlk Parlor.  I sill have to clean and sort them and then will bring them to the house unless I can get the hallway in the barn up to desired temperature.  We use an oil filled heater out there.

We also brought the squash in and temporarily stored them in the west chicken house.  It is insulated with bales of straw in the ceiling but will still be too cold so I will move them to the barn also.

I was so curious about what kind of flesh I would get from the strange shaped ones.....they were supposed to be Butternut seeds and not saved seeds.  Some were quite normal but large and others almost round.

Here is the one I tested.

I used a ruler to give some idea of the size,

I wanted to try the Victorio strainer with it.  I have never used it on pumpkin.  If I am satisfied with the results, it saves two steps:  Scraping the flesh from the skins after cooking and pureeing the remains .

I cut the squash into smaller pieces, added some water, covered and baked at 400 until tender.  It didn't take very long,  under an hour.

Then I ran it through the strainer using the pumpkin cone.  It went very quickly.  The only negative and it may not be too bad is some very tiny pieces of skin also came through.  I am curious about that.

I removed the shield that drains the pulp into the bowl before I took the picture.

The real test is now in the oven.....I made a pie this morning using the recipe from Joy of  Cooking.  The pie made too much for my 9 inch dish.  I will bake the leftover in a custard cup.  Next time I would simply reduce the amount of cream by 1/2 cup or use another recipe......or try to find my 10-inch pie plate!

Lorraine, I also spread some mincemeat over a part to test.  I hope I marked the edge of the crust enough that I can tell because I want to test it first.

I got three one-pound packages with one cup left over from this squash......this means I have enough squash to make approximately 50 pies!  I need to give some away but I am probably the only person I know who would use this method to make a pie (or 50 pies).

Will report back  later.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Still enjoying perfect fall weather.  We have very little color in the trees yet and I just heard on the news that it will be late  this year because of the  weather.

We have more light showers totaling 1/2 inch.


We have been getting so cool at nights,still no heavy frost, that I decided I better dig the sweet potatoes and harvest peppers.

They are the variety Beauregard and they are the best crop I have raised in a long time.  I always grow this variety but they were in a new spot and maybe the early rains were good for  them.  They are still laying in the garden but today I will load them; hose them off and when dry will cure them inside.  The need 80° with high humidity for 6-8 weeks.  I have never been fussy about it before but since we are cooler than usual, I will use the guest bathroom that I can get up to 80° easily.  Humidity with be pretty good too.

Each  clump represents one hill.  I may try to weigh the crop.

This is my harvest of Butternut Squash but some look very strange.  I haven't cut into one yet so don't know what I really have.

I am showing this shot so you can see the lush clump of dock....waiting for a dollop of glyphosphate. You can't dig it out because it has a monster taproot like poke weed and a tiny bit left in the ground will grow another lovely plant!

I also harvested the rest of the peppers but didn't get a picture.


For my information:  Willow was in a rip roaring heat yesterday....won't breed until her next one.

Everyday Life

We are having my MIL out for Sunday dinner again.  I am having a very simple meal of hamburger soup, corn muffins,and  lemon sponge cake. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Fall Flowers and other Mundane things

October10 -17, 2013

We are enjoying  beautiful fall so far.  We have been getting little  rains, 1/2, 1/4 and l inch  which gives everything a lush green look.  We still aren't at peak fall color but some things are beginning to get their fall look.


This has turned out to be my favorite little  grouping.  The center  would be the Grus an Aachen rose and the salvia farinacea which is perennial for me.  The others were planted because there was space.....that is almost the extent of my design technique.  Of course, I knew the Laura Bush petunias would look good with blue and pink.  The broad leaves are self seedling of nicotiana sylvestris.

This is the rose up close,


I hope the petunias self seed. 

Limelight hydrangea is turning,

I never plant anything that has to be dug up and replanted every spring.  If I plant it once, it stays planted.  I bought these at a Lowes or Wal Mart one year and have left them in the ground for maybe three or four years now.  This was their best year yet.  They have really blossomed (pun intended) in this cool weather.

Since this photo doesn't do them justice  I took some closeups.

and the back is as pretty as the front,
and the side,

Endless Summer is still not  my favorite hydrangea.....much over praised but at least it does now bloom a long time.

I still haven't dug my sweet potatoes but will very soon.


I finally bottled up the mincemeat,  I ended  up with about half what I guessed but it should be plenty since it is just for me and my Sis.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The House is Smelling Good! - Cooking

I haven't milked the last few mornings because Willow now has two babies to  nurse.  Once in a while I have to strip out a quarter but didn't this morning.

The calf is about a month younger and is a Jersey/Angus cross bull calf.

The good smell is coming from the mincemeat slowly cooking down.  It has cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg in it and aroma is wonderful.  I used my exact same recipe from 2009 and 2010.  I did use more apples because they were so small.  I made my own candied orange and lemon peel.  I will add just a touch of brandy just before it is finished cooking down.

DIY Mincemeat

Glenda first made in December 2009
Second in November 2010
Third Time October 2012

2 lbs apples (8-10)

l lb dark raisins

½ lb golden raisins

¾ to l cup candied cherries

1 cup grated candied orange peel (I used food processor to grate)

2 cups peaches (used some darkened ones from frig been left too long)

2 oranges peeled – just pulp (no whites or seeds)

l cup sugar

¾ cup raw sugar (because I had it)

1 cup reduced cider (boiled down)

½ to 1 cup apple cider (hard or whatever)

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon cloves

1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg

I ran all through the grinder attachment. Cooked down.

Let ripen at room temp for several days ; then stored in fridge.

2010-I froze; like it better just in fridge. The freezing caused it to
get slimy. Next year will just keep in jars in cool place.

Note: I made my own candied orange peel because I couldn't find any in the stores
Hard cider could be replaced with some brandy but I had let some cider get bad.
Reduced cider could be substituted with frozen undiluted apple juice.

See what I mean, I just taste along until I get what I want.

It lasts forever in the fridge without canning. Mine is the 2010 version from the fridge.

I think I have about a gallon; this should keep me and my Sis stocked for two years....maybe.  We love the little mincemeat pies/turnovers.  Our husbands aren't so crazy about them.

The pot is now resting in the kitchen ripening before I jar it up.  I can't resist eating a bite now and then.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Around 6 AM I put on a pot of pinto beans to  cook.  They were done by the time
I went out to oversee the  nursing process. Willow gets impatient once in  a while and butts the new baby so we don't leave  them unattended yet.  They emptied her nicely so I just turned her out to pasture and came  back to the house.

I had an extra dozen eggs that my Sis brought down to me when she visited.  I wanted to use them up since our girls are now giving us 3-5 daily.  I made an angel food cake,  then used the 12 yolks to bake a Lemony Sponge Cake.  The oven is still hot, so I used  my last frozen pie crust (thawed) to make several of the little turnovers.  I am trying to use up the old mincemeat.  By now it is near lunch time and I took advantage of the hot oven to make a skillet of cornbread.  Whew done baking for some time ............until it is bread time  again.

Sorry about the premature publishing, Kris.  I guess the house smelled good two days.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Tuesday. October l, 2013


Stayed out and sprayed more weeds in barn lot. Emptied the sprayer finally. Parked that trailer and exchanged it for the empty one. I pruned vinca and honeysuckle from the dining room porch entrance and the patch of swamp hibiscus (hibiscus moscheutos) that was leaning into the walkway. We loaded all on the empty trailer and dumped it in a depression in the New Bed....sort of another compost pile.
Now all I need to do is sweep up the porch. I also mowed around the porch area.

Inside  I removed storage from the floor of the guest bedroom closet and mopped the floor then sprayed the perimeter of the all with spider spray. We moved the plastic cartons to the milk parlor.
I need to buy two more containers for the rest of the accumulation and also another l or 2 of those stackable shelves to line the wall in the milk parlor. That will just leave me a center path! I am trying to eliminate anything under the beds or on the floor of closets which are hidey holes of brown recluse spiders.

The rest of the time up to Wednesday, October 9, 2013

I got very busy and didn't make a daily journal entry.

I did get the containers and shelf for the Milk Parlor and removed everything from under beds and closet floors. Of course, the Milk Parlor is getting smaller by the minute!

We took the cat to the vet for his booster shots. Our granddaughters came down for the weekend to pick him up. Somehow I was conned (actually just asked and agreed) into making a fried chicken dinner for them and three additional friends (19 + boys) who were friends of our granddaughter, one being a 'special' friend of hers.

We actually saw very little of her over the weekend..................

The house was so empty and quiet after they left Sunday evening that I almost cried. I don't know why it bothered me so much this time. Usually I am a little relieved.

Monday, I told DH that I wanted to get out of the very quiet house. So we took a trip down to West Plains. It was a glorious day, perfect fall weather. We ate at a very good restaurant call Skillet that served so much food we brought half back with us. We took the scenic route highway 14 back to Ava through the Mark Twain National Forest. It is all beautiful country. We may drive down into Arkansas next.

Heading into the MTNF,

We wanted to see an old town that still has a square and courthouse....didn't find it at West Plains but did see one at Ava and will revisit it before bad weather. Ave is the headquarters of the Missouri Fox Trotting Association.

We mowed yesterday afternoon. We had received another 1.5 inches of rain over the weekend. I hope that will be our last mowing but I doubt it.

I think I got a patchy frost one night. I noticed some of the lettuce that was in the shade of the clematis vine was laying flat and felt crunchy. I think it was frost.

Turnip patch is looking good,