Sunday, October 31, 2010

Journal - In-laws for dinner - cleaned up new bed - giant praying mantises

Journal for Friday, 10/29/10

We definitely got a killing freeze. I haven't toured yet to see what got wiped out. I do know most of the things I was wanting didn't get to the mature seed stage.

The sun is shining and it is a perfectly glorious fall day; just cold.

Have a whole frozen chick in boiling now. I will be making a chicken pot pie for dinner. I do it the easy way with just adding the veggies and topping with biscuits.

I am using the last of my pie crust from the freezer to make an apricot cobbler. I think it may be my favorite. This was the first really nice crop we have ever had from our tree.

I will be making the recipe of crust again to freeze. DH is wanting fried pies and I think this crust would work OK for that. I may just fry a couple and bake the rest like tarts or turnovers.

I am currently heating the oven for the pie and taking advantage of that to re-season my cast iron skillet. I am using grapeseed oil this time as suggested on another forum.

I may have the in-laws out if I can get the chicken done soon will be an impromptu meal and invite.
Chicken pot pie with a side of chunky homemade applesauce
Apricot Cobbler

Well, I did have them out. They had a doctor's appointment, but we just delayed the meal for a short while.

I tested the baked pie tart with Nathan's crust and used my plum jam as a filling. It worked beautifully. I made DH share it with me.

I thought the chicken pie was a little dry; normally I don't thicken my broth and won't the next time either!

Saturday, 10/30/10

Put the halter on the ornery calf...Milked

Then I spent a good two hours sawing down the very tall weeds in the 'new bed' outside the kitchen and patio area. Now all that is left is close raking and cleaning which I probably won't even do. I think I have a before picture from a day or two ago when showing the hoop house. It is the bed in the foreground.

This is one bed I plan on reducing greatly by mowing out the center part next season. I will leave the narrow, rock edged border because it has mums, peonies and iris in it and a couple of roses and a buddleia.

That is a seedling peach tree that I plan to top in December when the tree is fully dormant and see what happens. I dumped my peelings and pits a few years ago and decided to let this one grow on.

I saw two of these giant mantises and had to take a picture. They are the largest ones I have ever seen, 4-5 inches long and in fall camouflage. I saw lots of egg cases on the weeds I cut down, but there are lots of others on other plants so I should be set for hatch next spring.
From insects

Friday, October 29, 2010

A 10-Year old Problem revisited

It is a very cold 24° here this morning.

We are now living on a very 'citified' country road.
From October 2010

I am hoping the bright paints fade somewhat soon. It seems strange to look out and see that in front of the house.

Yesterday was errand day.

I have great plans to paint the master bathroom a sage green. I am very tired of the grayish white color that has been there for years. I will use the same green that is on the bead board paneling on the back porch. I know I like it already.
I also want to put a fresh coat on the guest bathroom floor. This bathroom has really cheap square tiles in a pinkish cast that I stuck down quickly when we moved in just to clean up what was there. I read about painting linoleum floors and did it and it worked great. This has been down for several years now and just has a chip here and there. I finished it with clear poly. I wanted to use the same color that is down, a nice brown, woody color. I found the two cans of remaining paint that showed the custom numbers, brought it down to the house and set it right by the back door to take to the store to get more paint.

We also needed to buy chicken leg quarters for the dog at W-M, buy a calf collar at the farm supply store, get more books at the library and then home.

Just as we started in Lowe's I realized I hadn't brought the paint cans with me; I walked right past them on the porch floor by the door! Blast. So we turned around and went to W-M where we picked up very few things.

At the last minute I stopped in Hobby Lobby for some fabric. I am determined to do some sewing again. Fabric is not cheap! Things have changed since I quit sewing. I did pick up some for an apron, drawstring pants and a tunic top. We will see how that goes..............

Found the one collar for the calf that was in the entire Today we will give that a try. I need to contain Willow's calf while milking her.

Did the library and came home to fix lunch....leftover chili over hot dogs on whole wheat bread, a sort of casual coney.

Phone rang:

An issue from 10 years ago was just waiting for me to pick up that phone.

There is an old family cemetery on the farm. It has never been cared for; cattle and at one time hogs were allowed access. There were a few old stones knocked about. The previous owner of our farm had lived here for 50 years. She said no one from the family had ever shown any interest in the cemetery at all.

Well, lucky us. A local lady, elderly began calling me about how she was doing her family genealogy and wanted to show some relatives the cemetery. We were running the dairy at that time and had Holstein heifers in that field. They were separated from the cemetery end with a hot wire (not wire, but a fiber on an expensive reel that was strung across the field. I agreed and when they pulled up in a huge car and expressed that they would like to drive back to the cemetery (a car load of elderly people) I told her about the heifers and the hot wire.
The end of the story is they drove right through the wire, scared the heifers into another field. We had to round them up. We didn't find that reel of polywire for several years and found it laying in the grass when brush hogging one year.

The lady began calling me regularly wanting to put a stone in the cemetery. I finally put her off by telling her we couldn't do it until we quit milking.

She called me often for two or three years. She even bought the stone after collecting money from other relatives all the while me telling her no.....she had the monument company call me at one point. I told them the story; they quit calling and finally she did too.

The issue at hand is in the state of Missouri once you allow family members to set a stone and/or fence the cemetery, you are required by law to allow access to anyone. If this land were near the road, it would be no problem but it is not! Visitors have to prearrange a visit, the time must be daylight and they have to only come when you tell them it is convenient. Problem most people wouldn't even know where it was without a guided tour......second, we are using that field for cattle, including bulls. I have no idea but I suspect if we approved the visit and left cattle in the field, knowing they were coming we would be legally liable if they were injured. Also what about old people stepping in a hole and falling....I do not intend to have to hire a lawyer to see about all this.

I don't want to me mean and appreciate them wanting to commemorate this burial site (even after 150 years!)but I don't want to complicate our lives either.

The final straw was yesterday's phone call. It was from a member of Greene Co. Historical Society. The elderly (90's) lady had called her numerous times hinting that it was her responsibility to force us to do this....history of the county, etc. She turned out to be a neighbor's 80 year old sister who does volunteer work. I told her the entire story and she said it was entirely up to us. No law forces us to do this since there is no exception on our deed about this cemetery. It is listed in the county cemeteries as a 30 x 40 foot space.
She seemed very sympathetic to the problem but offered no advice. DH want to ignore the entire issue.

I am leaning toward letting them set the stone if I don't have to have any interaction with the woman again. It will be a flat stone. My worry is if a 2000 lb bull steps on could become more history! I am hoping that once it is set, that will be the end of it....I know her two daughters aren't interested; they have never stepped foot on our farm that I know of. They could have been in that car, but I doubt it. I don't think we will be inundated with family lookers. I hate that the monument company has had that blasted thing stored for 10 years! Somehow I feel guilty. I am sure they all hate us over this. We are still considered outsiders having just lived here since 1976. If your relatives aren't buried in the local cemeteries you are "new" people.

I will try to resolve this today and hope that I don't regret my decision.

I told the woman who called that I would not maintain the cemetery nor spend any money for this at all. The society has previously laid a stone on a nearby farm in a grove of trees to mark a Revolutionary War veteran's resting place (a guessed location) and it was not fenced and was just ignored, but was there. I am hoping this will turn out to be the same.

Keep your fingers crossed for me. See, living in the country isn't always a bed of roses!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Multi-Tasking Day

Windy and cool here today, but the real cold is coming tomorrow night....31°.

On tap for today was processing the peppers, making bread, making chili, and setting up the hoop cattle frame over the salad patch.

This required some serious planning.

Step l. I gathered all the canning equipment from the Milk Parlor where I had stored it thinking I was through for the year. Filled canner with water to begin heating for water bath for peppers.

Step 2. Set out 2 lbs of hamburger for the "big" pot of chili using yesterday's leftover beans. I thaw this on a heavy cast aluminum griddle and it thaws very fast.

Step 3. Start bread. I did a new recipe from Allrecipes called Westrup Whole Wheat Bread. While it is on the first rise I washed and prepped the peppers. I used a recipe from Colorado State U. I wish I had used my Sis's recipe that calls for more sugar.I guess I can add that later when I open a jar.

I put the wide mouth pint jars in the dishwasher to wash while prepping the peppers. While that is washing, I got the pot of chili going in the Presto electric pot. I can turn it really low and just forget it.

I wish I had used small mouth jars so the peppers wouldn't float so badly. And I forgot Ilene's advice about not tightening the lids too tight....I think I did and lost some pickling solution out of the jars.

Got them in to process.

Back to the bread: Punched it down formed loaves and set it to rise in bread pans. Preheated oven to bring up temperature in the kitchen for the bread.

Pickles processed (even though they lost juice); bread done, lunch finished.
I made enough chili to freeze some.

The bread was very tasty. I wanted to try it because it has l cup each of wheat bran and wheat germ, lots of fiber and sounded very healthy.
Texture is about what you would expect for whole wheat bread (mine anyway).
From Food
From Food
From Food

After a rest we rigged up the not so lovely hoophouse over the lettuce. I don't know how the plastic will last through strong winds. Nothing ventured; nothing gained.I hesitate to show this. Thankfully, it doesn't show from the drive!
The white blob in the back is the hoophouse. Please ignore the tall weeds still in this side of the flower bed. It requires the chainsaw and company took precedence over yard work last week.
From October 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Willow's a Grandma - Chores before the freeze

Well, the storm sort of played out here. All we got was a very strong gust of wind that caused me to jump up and close the bedroom window. No rain. So far no damage from the windy conditions that I have found. The temperature dropped from 74° to 54° very quickly.

I milked this morning. DH came in and told me Annabelle, my milk cow's daughter of two years ago, had calved so I had to go back and see. She is just like her mother. As soon as I got too close she headed off.
Annabelle and baby
They are predicting a freeze in a day or two so I got out after milking and picked the last of the peppers. They didn't really do well this year, especially, the bells. That pointy looking green one is an Ancho pepper, pretty hot. Ask me how I know! I think all the banana peppers are hot too which is way more hot peppers than I need. I may pickle some to go with beans.

From Harvest 2010

This afternoon, we will both go out and install the cattle panel hoop over the lettuce and spinach plot. The lettuce is up; not the spinach. It may freeze out anyway, but at least I will have a place for early salad fixings for spring. I think/hope I have enough greenhouse plastic left to cover it.

I have a few pots to bury next to the old chicken house under straw for winter: the rhubarb, virginia blue bells and a red violet from my sis, and three daylily seedlings.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Llamas - bulls fighting - In Bloom -

We got a very light shower in the wee hours of morning. Lovely fall day happening here. The ash trees are dropping their leaves rapidly. They are the first to loose their leaves and are bare trees almost overnight. I love how the leaves look on the ground. Later I will begin mowing in one direction and blow all the leaves onto the Cellar Bed.
From October 2010
The paved area in front is the drive that separates the yard, east and west.

Our son and two grands are in this weekend and while the boys were hunting I took Jen on a walk back to see the llamas. We couldn't get much closer than 15 feet before I could see they getting ready to run so we used the zoom to catch them.
From Llama

I caught the young bull we bought and the orphan from last year that Willow raised,who is almost as big, and the older bull having a little contest of wills.
I believe the younger, Ferdinand, is actually the more dominant!
From Willow and other cows


Ilene was curious about why I like the Cherokee Trail of Tears beans so much. Here are some pictures to show why. They are tender in almost all stages from the tiny, slender bean like haricot vert to pods with seeds in them. As they age they get a purple cast and when they are left to mature they turn very dark purple.
From October 2010
From October 2010
From October 2010
From October 2010

They climbed almost to the top of the Reids Yellow Dent corn.
From October 2010

I took several pictures of fall blooming flowers, more than I thought I had, but will post about them later.

Just one pictures of reblooming iris Clarence.
From October 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

First calf from Heifer Group - apple pie - Cleaned Pantry

Another perfect fall day here. This is the first time in a long time we have had such wonderful fall weather. We are enjoying it!

I milked again this morning and when I looked out across the heifer pasture I saw two all by themselves way back to the west property line. We have 13 heifers in this group all due to calve sometime this fall so that was an alert. After I finished bottling yesterday's milk, I headed back there. Sure enough one had calved with a beautiful heifer calf. The other one looks eminent.

From Willow and other cows

I decided to walk into the rest of the group and see how everyone was doing. All look pregnant except for one....and she doesn't look promising. Time will tell.
Here is an example of how time flies. When we bought Willow (milk cow) we also bought her heifer calf, Annabelle. I weaned her shortly after we got them home back in July, 2008. Now here she is, pregnant and ready to calve!

From Willow and other cows

I hope the rest of the heifer calving goes as easy as this one.


I made the new favorite pie crust recipe this morning so I wouldn't have the floury mess tomorrow when my sis is due in. It makes enough for 3 double-crust pies...I love that. Earlier I had cooked up the last of the apples (using my maslin pan, Ilene) and so couldn't resist making us a pie. That didn't leave enough apples to bother with canning so we will have chunky applesauce while they are here.
From Food

I tidied up the pantry and was finished for the day. I just wish it would stay tidy!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Tour of Yard - surprise found -

At last I am caught up. It is Friday and I am posting for Friday.

I did my morning tour of the yard and found a pleasant surprise. There is a new single dark pink daisy-type mum in bloom. I have no idea where it came from. It is growing at the base of a large stump and behind a sedum I would never have planted anything there. Do mums self seed? Another gardening mystery to drive me crazy.

From 2010_10_15
From 2010_10_15

The Hummingbird Bed by the back door is full of white snakeroot that I let bloom. Now it will be harder than ever to get rid of. I didn't plant it. It grows in the roadside ditches everywhere. I looks pretty but will soon take over the world. I will resort to herbicides next spring.
From 2010_10_15
At this point the bed is a hodgepodge, but that is probably the best way to describe my gardening style anyway.

This next is what I call the 'Grace (smoke tree)Bed'. It is practically hidden from view. I call the entire area 'the hidden garden'. It has the smoke tree, some day lilies in cream with a burgundy eye, Rosy Glow Barberry, two white crepe myrtles that haven't bloomed yet, a few odd mums and the star of the show, the dark red mum.
From 2010_10_15
I see the dreaded dead nettle/henbit is back with a vengeance. It forms a complete ground cover where there is any bare ground.

Wish you all could join me. I am working on the second pot of coffee and DH has gone to town to find an upholstery shop to do some work on our old (but stylish)1990 Pontiac.

Bread Test - more butter - Company Coming!

Thursday, October 14

Another gorgeous fall day.

The road crew finished and we feel quite 'citified' now. The last step will be painting the center line, passing zones and the white strip on the edges. I know it is much more pleasant to drive on now.
From October 2010


I have thought for some time that the quality of my bread was dropping. It tasted good but was heavy and didn't rise nearly as tall as previous sinks into my brain slowly but I finally realized this all began when I started using the flour I had bought at a local Amish store. I tasted it and it had a distinctive bitter taste....20 lbs of it! So I quit using it.....still not happy with the bread. So..........slow to arrive at this again, I thought maybe the SAF yeast wasn't good.....bought it in the same place. I have used it for a long time, but always ordered it from KA Flour and my sis brought me some once.
Yesterday, I bought fresh yeast like I used to use. I made the same recipe and only changed the yeast. Voila! It is probably 2 inches or more taller and has a nice soft texture. Even my husband said it was amazing the difference. I don't even remember if I checked the date on the yeast or not now. I am feeling better about my baking techniques now.

Company Coming

My sis and her husband are coming down for a few days so that means housecleaning. Each time we have company, I always say I will keep everything ship shape all the is silly not to when it is just the two of us. I don't Cleaned two bathrooms, cleaned (h&K) bedroom hardwood floor.
Washed dining room curtains and windows, washed living room windows. Cleaned back porch area (it has to be done is a mudroom). All that is left is daily maintenance until they come.

I haven't decided on food yet but bread is made. I am leaning toward an apricot cobbler/pie and shortbread cookies with chopped pecans for snacking.

I made butter again last night. I was right my three milkings keep us in eating butter now. I had just used the last of previous butter. I set the remaining milk for buttermilk.
Note: I failed to publish this so will do it today. Sometimes I ramble on in several threads about the same thing so better keep them in some order.
Tuesday, October 12
Up at 3:30 AM this morning. We had coffee with in-laws late afternoon which was probably not a good idea. It is cool this morning and still overcast. I am happy to report we got about 1/2 inch of rain overnight and there is a possibility of more today.

The road crew has spread 1/2 the road (our side) with black top. There are 8 trucks doing various things. I will be happy when it is finished. We have been suffering from several potholes where the chat layer had washed out.

I milked this morning. Fighting her calf while milking is getting out of hand....need to do something. I pulled her calf off early last milking and she gave half the cream as before! I need a stall right beside her so she thinks her baby is still nursing.

I am finally getting around to hands and knees cleaning of hardwood floors in the two bedrooms. I used vinegar in the water but it left them very dull looking. I will have to use a finishing cleaner to get the shine back. I will just use water on the rest and see how that looks.

I want them to feel slick to my stocking feet and to look fairly shiny.

My sis served her card group one of my old recipes 'Spaghetti Cheese Bake' and it was a big hit. It makes a huge amount and I haven't made it in years. I think I have all the ingredients and I have the french bread in the freezer so I plan to do it for us today. I should have lots of leftovers to freeze.

Spaghetti Cheese Bake

3 onions
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup oil
1 lb hamburger
1 can tomatoes 29 oz
1 can green chilies chopped
1 can sliced mushrooms 3oz undrained
1 can chopped ripe olives 7.5 oz
1 lb cheese shredded
1 lbs spaghetti
bay leaf
grated cheese.

Cook onions and garlic in oil and butter 1 hour, stirring often. Do not let get to brown stage. Add meat and brown lightly. Add tomatoes and chili and simmer covered l hour. Add olives and mushrooms and cook 15 min. Add cheese and in large casserole mix spaghetti cooked with bay leaf. Sprinkle with grated cheese and bake in moderate over 375° about 30 minute.
Note: I cut way back on the oil and butter
I use whatever cheese I have....sis says I always used Mozzarella? don't remember.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Question about DIY laundry detergent - fungi - bread day - miscellaneous

We are cool and cloudy this morning and have a chance of light rains. We hope they are right; we are very dry now.

When we made the mower run to Bolivar, I took the camera. This group of sumac with its burgundy fall coloring appealed to me. I love fall.
From October 2010
The country road crew is spreading gravel on our road in preparation (we hope) for paving. I have shut all doors and windows because it creates horrible white dust in the air.

I am making our old standby by bread, Honey, Oat and Wheat Bread. I miss that nutty flavor...and I feel almost guilty if I eat too much white bread. While it is raising I have done a little housework and now am sitting in my favorite the computer.


I have made a dry form and a liquid form but we didn't think it got the clothes clean. Now I say we in this sense: My husband is my laundry man...and does a much better job than I. He worked in a commercial laundry for years and managed the laundry for the company when they had the contract at Fort Leonard Wood. He can get stains out of anything. I defer to him in all things laundry.

Have you all used it for a long time and are you happy with the results? What recipes do you use? I might try it again. I do hate to give almost $13 for that box of Tide on a regular basis. We do get our clothes dirtier than most. Think "farm", cows........


From October 2010
These things have sprung up this week. All are under the drying Elm tree where we found morels a couple of years ago. I don't recognize them at all.

Do any of you?


this time of year, the roses get larger and the color better. This leads me to believe they really like cooler weather like spring and fall here than our miserable summers.

This is an heirloom rose originally from my Dad's mother (I almost hate to call her Grandmother....another story altogether). I did some research and am quite sure it is Aloha.
From October 2010
From October 2010

Report on Maslin pan:

I worked up over two pecks of Golden Delicious apples yesterday and the pan still wasn't quite full. I canned 10 pints of chunky applesauce. I got tired and decided if we wanted smooth, I would run it through the Cuisinart before serving.

Still wondering how I canned all these years without this wonderful pan. BTW, I see a very slight indentation on one side that I guess they call a pouring spout...not much of a spout. Ilene, check yours and see if it has one....mine might just be a flaw in the pan.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Pod! - Mincemeat recipe wanted

I have been watching this vine all summer worrying that it was way to high near the roof line for the wasps to find it. Look what I found this morning! I am so excited, now please just let it fill out..........This is the corkscrew vine, vigna caracalla and has the most heavenly fragrance.

From October 2010


I made some mincemeat last year just flying by the seat of my was good. I still would like an old tried and true recipe from years past.

Ilene, did you mention having one once? Anyone? Susan, how about you? Mincemeat pie ranks right up there with raisin....then there are mincemeat turnovers (baked), and cookies.

Mine last year just included raisins, apples, candied cherries, candied orange peel, oranges (skin and all) some frozen peaches....a little hard cider, some cooked down cider. I cooked it all down very low and then let it ripen on the porch in a crock before freezing. I didn't include meat in it...I don't like the stringiness that meat gave grandma's. I don't think Mom always used meat, but maybe she did.

Friday, October 8, 2010

maslin pan - raisin pie -Indoor Project-

We are having a much warmer day today.

I completed an indoor project I have been dreading for some time. I added two coats of poly floor coating to the kitchen floor. It is very old yellow pine flooring that we uncovered under several layers of newspapers, tarpaper and linoleum when we moved in. We had the floors professionally refinished but the area in front of the sink (where I spend about half my time) was worn off. I had to do it half at a time because of furniture and we wanted some access. I finished the last half last evening. I am pretty pleased with it and it has no odor and dries very quickly.
From Kitchen

Now I have started some serious fall housecleaning beginning with the back porch which can truly be called a mudroom! It needs to be repainted....may not go that far.

Right in the middle of the back porch cleaning this morning....the lawnmower reared its ugly head once again. Everything stopped; we had to use the come-along to get it up on the trailer and off to Bolivar once again. I mowed with it yesterday in the kitchen garden and it worked better than ever in some very tall grass. I pulled it back out in the yard and that evening it wouldn't start. We neither understand the mysteries of machinery beyond replacing the spark plug and keeping them filled with oil and gas.

Now that we are back, I feel the need of a rest before I retackle the back porch.

The report is in: I love it! A peck of apples peeled and chunked barely half filled it. I could easily have done two pecks at one time and thus filled the canner. As it was, I did 5 pints of sauce using some apple cider to give more flavor. I thought the apples this year were not the tastiest.
The sauce is temporarily stored in the pantry...will move out with other canned goods when I am finished.

Tip: Be careful not to splash the cider or juice or sugar water up on the high sides of the will turn dark. It didn't affect the end product, but I will not splash liquid like that again. It cooked rapidly with the lid on and I had no scorching problems but did stir often.

I did manage to make myself a raisin pie yesterday and DH the orange cake on Mennonite Girls Can Cook. We didn't care for the cake and I wish I had just done Ilene's Hot Milk Sponge Cake again. I loved the pie....DH won't touch it so the rest is going in the freezer today.
From Food

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Bread making day:
I decided to make my old white French bread recipe.....I get a craving once in a while for just white bread......

This is from a recipe I got out of the local newspaper about 40 years ago. It is a very fine textured and tender bread. DH does not like the holey, tough and chewy real French bread and I have never made it.I did use bread flour for the recipe but you don't have to.

3-1/2 cups warm water
2 packages yeast
1/3 cup shortening
1/3 cup sugar
4 teaspoons salt
10-2/3 cups flour
Dissolve yeast in warm water with sugar; add shortening . Add 4 cups of flour and beat with the flat beat for a few minutes. Switch to the dough hook and add enough flour to make a fairly stiff dough and dough begins to come away from the bowl. Knead 6 minutes with mixer or about 8 by hand. My mixer is overloaded with this much flour so I hand knead it. I add the salt with the last of the flour.

Place in greased bowl, cover with damp cloth and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour in a warm kitchen. Punch down. Form into 3 long loaves. I roll it out into a rectangle and then roll up, pinching sides and ends together, tuck ends under. Place on greased cookie sheets and let raise again until double (about 45 min to l hour). The last 30 minutes, preheat oven to 400°. Slide in bread and bake about 40 minutes. I test with an instant read thermometer for a temperature of 190 to 200° . Let cool before slicing (I never do!).
From Food
From October 2010
The hole on the left hand side of the loaf is where I stuck the thermometer! It looks like a worm hole.

More Tallow Rendering:

We found 3 more packages of beef fat in chunks so I thawed those overnight. I considered just tossing them, but dedided I should grind and render. I did and added it to the previous can of beef tallow. I should be set for soap making for a long, long time now. I also make suet cakes for the birds in the winter.

My kitchen was a disaster area (again) . After lunch and a rest, I attacked the mess. Finished all but hand mopping the floor.

I did nothing outside all day long.

Wednesday October 5, cool morning 39°.

Woke too early but we decided to just get up and start our morning coffee early.

Some wondered how I cook and use the sweet potatoes so I will try to remember and list the ways:

1.Baked. Served plain with just butter added at eating
2.Candied the way Mom always did: Cooking down in a little water with sugar until just begins to candy and scorch.
3.Calico or confetti fries like they serve at Silver Dollar City. Slice white potatoes, sweet potatoes, green peppers, onions and fry in usual manner. We love these.
4.Sweet potato pie....just like pumpkin
5.Smaller ones....scrubbed and baked and eaten cold as a snack – DH won't touch these.
6.Diced in soups either with white potatoes or alone. Can't tell the difference.
7.Peeled and sliced thickly and sauteed in butter. Toward last of cooking, add cream and finish cooking. Add a little butter to taste.

I think that is all the ways I do them. They need to be cured for a few weeks before using for best flavor. I will have to lay them out in flat trays and bring them in.....usually we have warm days and I can cure them in the garage, but we won't reach the 80° required for a few days.....or I may wait and see how warm the garage gets in the sunshine.

First thing I need to do this morning is go out to the milk parlor and skim the cream off and bottle my last milking. We are on out last ½ gallon in the house now.

I hope to mow off the kitchen garden this morning.....we will see how things go.
AS usual things didn't go as planned.

I chopped out about 20 feet of poke from the garden fence out back so DH could see when the chickens go to roost at night. The weeds were so tall you could barely see the hen house. While doing this I kept seeing various broken limbs that needed to be chain sawed down.
I have been promising myself a very light weight electric chain saw so we cleaned up and went shopping. I finally found one at Lowes for just $50. I think it will do all I want it to do and it just weighs 6.1 lbs.

My kitchen “tool” came today. It is called a maslin pan, used for jams and jellies in Europe for a very long time. It is larger than I expected. I can foresee lots of uses for it. I will use it first for cooking down the apples for applesauce. It would have been great for rendering the fats. It has a very heavy bottom. I found it at Lee Valley Tools where I bought my wonderful garden spade and fork. They are a good company to do business with. I wish it had a pouring spout, but can live without it.

Here it is:
From canning

Monday, October 4, 2010

First Frost - Sweet Potato Harvest-Few flower Pictures

5:00 AM, a very cool 38°. No doubt there will be more frost this morning.
From 2010_10_03

There was a light frost on the sweet potato row yesterday morning so I cut the tops off and dug them. I always leave them laying in the sun for at least a day to cure.
From 2010_10_03
The variety is Beauregard.
I was happy with the harvest; some hills were not good, some with 1 or 2 and several with 6 or more nice size potatoes. DH asked me why the difference and I was at a loss to tell him why. I will be saving a couple of potatoes for slips from the two hills with the most potatoes.
From 2010_10_03
I got 38 lbs from row. I figure that is at least $30 worth of potatoes, but haven't priced them lately.

I sorted out some of the longer skinny ones and I will scrub them in a few days and bake them. I love to eat them cold as a snack that way. DH won't touch them.

The grass bed is getting its fall colors now:
From 2010_10_03
This is the back side view:
From 2010_10_03

More outside work planned for today.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


We are having flannel shirt weather and tonight is supposed to be downright cold!

It is great working outside weather.

I made the first butter I have made in over 30 years yesterday. I had almost a quart of cream and made ll.5 oz. of butter in Mom's trusty old KA mixer. Working the butter, salting ... it all came back to me.
From Making Butter
From Making Butter

This my morning to I will begin saving cream again. She may be able to keep us in butter now too!

Plans for today:

Plant the mums
work more on the kitchen garden
Plant some greens (lettuces and spinach)

Thoughts on the flower beds:

What is still looking good with no work at all:

Salvia farinaceas : I have blues and white, taller and shorter
Salvia spendens: I have three different varieties
Melampodium: Just one plant - want more next year for edging
Vinca: Some I planted and some self-seeded

I discovered another rebloom in Iris 'Immortality'

Friday, October 1, 2010

Yesterday was a perfect fall day here. Lots of sunshine, no wind and in the 70's.

I finally tilled the old strawberry bed and got a 24 foot row of garlic planted.
I want to try some lettuce if I can just find my seeds...and some spinach. I have this idea of planting it under the pole bean hoop house so I can cover it in very cold weather. Sort of a cold greenhouse.

We took time out to pick up the beef and when we finally got it all in the freezer except for the beef tallow and the dog bones we were both wiped out for the day.

I still had to can the apple juice. That was pretty fast and easy now that I know what I am doing. I got 6 quart jars by filling a part full one up to the top with apple cider.

I will render the beef tallow today....may have to grind part of it...I see the processor didn't this time.

I don't know how we will save the dog bones...I am out of freezer space.

Friday Morning:

Well, I did chop part of the suet and then got out Mom's grinder attachment for the KA and made very fast work of the rest.
From canning
No matter how neat you are, this is a messy job!
I also rendered a package of hog fat that I found in the freezer.
Lesson learned: Beef renders much faster than hog.

The beef tallow will be used for soap making and feeding the birds this winter.

I cook with the lard.

For the first time, I asked for the dog bones.......what we have been missing! Live and learn I guess. Some of the bones were so meaty I decided to fill one of the cookers and cook all day for beef stock. Now the dog can eat cooked bones...I did put several in nooks and crannies in the freezer for him.

I put the stock in the fridge overnight so I can remove the fat. I will can the rest.

Ilene, I need to thank you for making me realize I am not as frugal as I thought. Your blog about this subject has made me look at things differently.
All I could see looking at those bones was what a waste not to use them for food.

The local FFA chapter was selling mums for $8 this year. I have been looking at them at various places and wasn't too pleased with the offerings until he stopped by with these in his pickup. They are almost bushel basket size. They are hardy garden mums so should return each year. Now I need to get them in the ground.