Tuesday, November 30, 2010

We went through 4 gallons of milk over Thanksgiving....I had anticipated that knowing my family. I had milked three times close together so I had the milk on hand and didn't have to go to the barn (that was DH's chore) while company was here.
I milked yesterday morning. The weather wasn't bad at all except it was drizzly and windy.

Today is supposed to much colder .

I cooked a large pot of pinto beans yesterday and tossed in a cupful of leftover ham bits. I like beans just cooked with butter, but DH wanted the ham. I still have the ham bone and fatty pieces in the freezer. I will save them for a pot of white beans.
We had cornbread and that was it. One of our favorite meals.

Our oldest granddaughter (16) loves photography so when she is here, I let her take my camera and use it to her heart's content. She took 238 pictures. Thank God for digital technology. She took a series of my 'cat whisperer' which I think is so typical of him. He does love his cats, all 8 of them!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

New Computer - Thanksgiving

The cold front arrived along with about 2 inches of rain and lots of thunder and lightening. Today is just drizzly and 30°.

Children and families got in safely and are at Grandparents now. I just baked a strange looking pecan pie and a pumpkin pie for our dinner tomorrow.

I was just text-ed that they sat down to eat at 3:18 for their 2 PM dinner! I am not surprised. It was a good decision for us to stay on the farm.

I bought a computer a couple of days ago. I got the HP I was looking at online. I opened the box and decided I better wait until after Thanksgiving to attack that. Our son had it up and running in about 15 minutes.....I can use both now and get on the internet on both! He just stacked the towers to the left of the desk. I will have to get used to the new setup.

It is now Sunday morning, November 28. Company all gone, all leftovers mostly gone.
Have a pot of turkey broth ready to strain and make into soup or freeze.

Big Hits: Peanut butter balls, Flowerlady's Oatmeal Craisin cookies.(sent recipe home with both kids), Butterball turkey (the moistest one I have ever cooked), and the coconut cream pie and pecan pie. You never know.......

The grandkids had the most fun running the tops of the big round bales east of the house. It was fun to watch, the dog ran right along with them.

Now life will get back to normal.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

I may not get back tomorrow so I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

From November 2010

I saw the bud on this a week ago and thought it would never make it, but it did. I picked it yesterday before the heavy rains. It suffered some wind damage.

My dinner will be on Friday at noon. I have been getting some things done ahead of time. Today I am making the rolls and later will bake an apple pie and maybe a cherry.

I miss a second oven when I am doing all this different baking. Some just can't be made ahead, like cream pie. I really don't like to do any pies in advance but this time, just had to.

I have milked a couple of times so I would have cream and have accumulated a quart which should be enough.

Right in the midst of this activity, DH decided he was going to sell calves today...tried to get him to postpone..........to no avail.

So this morning out in the drizzle to help load and off to the sale barn. We don't stay for the sale so it doesn't take much time. I pulled out another very large heifer to keep; he was expecting that. When we got back, we ran her through the chute again so I could ear tag her and she is now out with the other heifers and the bull. The farm doesn't stop for anyone.........

We got a really nice rain overnight and this morning. Very thankful for that.

Monday, November 22, 2010

More nice weather here Sunday, but the wind was horrific.  I don't think I got outside all day.

I made peanut butter balls for the grands.  When they were down last our grandson mentioned those round things.......hint, hint.  I tested a few....they are good.

From Food

Today I will be making hamburger buns and I am hoping to learn how Ilene makes her pigs in a blanket.  I don't know if I can make that dough ahead of time or not but I want to make it while the kids are here.  I think they will like them.

Might do some other cook ahead things.  Our son will be down Wednesday and leave Friday; our daughter down Thursday and leave Saturday.  I am not going to the in-laws this year, DH's decision.  Their dinner gets later each year, and 2 pm means really more like 3 pm.  on Thursday. DH has to be home and checking cattle before dark and that is just too rushed.  We are probably in the doghouse with them, but 49 years of conforming should be enough..........

Saturday, November 20, 2010

It is 40° here this morning and promises to be a sunny day with a high in the 60's.

I have a few outside things I need to do before our cold weather hits next week:

1.  move pots of rhubarb and things my sis brought me from her garden to the east side of the old chicken house.  I will
     bury them in straw soon.
2.  Check the lettuce for something more to cover them with.  Planted too late and will no doubt succumb to extreme
3.  Tidy up around the back patio area before Thanksgiving.

That was yesterday.

This morning after milking which went well  again, I moved the pots over to the chicken house and piled straw around them but not over the tops quite yet.  I will wait until is get cold and stays cold.

Tidied up patio by moving the pots and had DH take the two dog bowls to the barn and scrub them...hopefully they will stay back there.

Then over to the east sheds where I husked the dent corn and stored it in the milk parlor.  I am saving the husks for ???  I might try DIY tamales.........or a wreath or just compost them.  I ended up with some nubbins I will give to the chickens.

These sheds are a disaster area where we have stored old lumber from the tornadoed hay barn and other detritus that we can't part with.  There were even newspapers blown around from the summer when I laid my tomatoes on a picnic table on the papers.  While picking them up, I stepped on a board that turned with me and down I went.  I have a chronic dizziness that usually doesn't cause me much trouble unless I get up too high or get on unstable ground.  Didn't really hurt myself except for a jammed right elbow and a bruise on my right hip......  I did make some headway though.  I will slowly work on the rest over winter.  At first glance things are improved.

Next on the schedule was getting the chickens ready for winter by putting down some new straw bedding.
That always sends them into a frenzy of scratching.  They like nothing better  than scratching in straw.  As soon as I got it down on the floor and  the nests cleaned out here they came.  By tonight you won't be able to find the feeder or waterer.  DH will not be happy with me.

From chickens
This is the enclosed pen part.  The chicken house was a pre-built one made by Amish..  It is just 6x12 and one half is enclosed and the other is the pen area.  All under roof.  The nest boxes are accessible from the outside.
From chickens
This is our crossbred rooster.  He is the only one we have ever had that has never shown any aggression toward us at all.  I usually am afraid to even go into the chicken yard without a stick, but not with this  one.  May he live forever!

From chickens

I made a new apron today, but like my old denim style better.  I am retiring the sewing machine for the unforeseeable future.  It is a very messy hobby unless you have a dedicated hobby or sewing room and I don't.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Weather continues cool and overcast.

Flowerlady was kind enough to post her recipe for Oatmeal Craisin  cookies and I did make them.  We thought they were delicious and this now will become "the" oatmeal cookie recipe.  I like the texture of the cookies.  This was a DIY recipe so I made some changes:

I added l cup of coconut
and  l cup of chopped English walnuts.

From Food

I always bake one tray darker because my husband likes his cookies semi-burnt.  I put the rest in a ziploc bag and froze. I will see if the family likes them over Thanksgiving.
The recipe can be found on Flowerlady's blog

Not much else happened yesterday other than a trip to the library to return some books and pick up others.  I found another book by Donald McCaig, Canaaen, another Civil War novel.  I am looking forward to starting that one.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Still misty and cool, not much sun.

I bottled yesterday's milk and made butter. I had one guart of cream from the last two milkings. I got 9.6 oz of butter. I don't like to let the cream accumulate too long and since I just milk two or three times a week so I just make it more often. I am finding the food processor with the plastic blade is faster that the mixer with the wire whip.

I now have three little packages frozen.

We did our Thanksgiving dinner shopping yesterday. I hope I don't have to make another run for something.

I think both of our children will be here. That hasn't happened in a long time.
We will be crowded but the cousins all have such a good time together that it is worth the hubbub for that alone.


I pulled almost all of the turnips. They were beginning to re-sprout. I think I will try storing them in the cellar. The two or three freezes made them much sweeter. These should last me all year....DH won't touch them.

From Harvest 2010

A couple weighed over a pound and had split. I thought they would be strong and pithy but they weren't.

From Harvest 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Milking without Sharing -Reorganized upright Freezer

Journal Monday and Tuesday, November 15 and 16

We are having cool and overcast days with some mist; no appreciable rain.

The doctor's appointment went well and I am dismissed! Have to continue with the prednisone until February 15, but at another reduced rate. I am taking the smallest amount possible. He said he hopes, in the nicest way, to never see me again and told him likewise. He is my kind of doctor!


I see Suzanne is still having troubles with her baby calf and milk cow.

I can report success once I separated the calves. I am fortunate that there was a pen right in front of Willow's feed bunk. I rigged a gate across it so she can see the babies. At first she is reluctant to let down her milk, but I persevere.
I have had two milkings (mornings only) where I almost filled he bucket and got a full pint of heavy cream from each. She might be holding up a little on the cream but that is enough for me to make butter so that is OK.

The last time I didn't even let the calves out to strip her. Her teats are getting a little chapped so I slathered udder balm on after I finished milking and didn't want those rascals slurping it off.

They are very good about heading into the pen....there is grain in there for them.
From Milking

and after the milking Willow is visiting with them over the makeshift gate (door on its side)
From Milking

I will have a quart of cream to make butter with this morning.


I have put the second coat of poly on the bathroom floor. That is what was needed; it is now very slick feeling and after several days I will be able to put a rug down.

I had a senior moment (well, several moments actually).

I had a throw rug in there before I started painting. Yesterday I thought I would find it to be ready to put it back. Looked high and low...no rug. Began looking this morning again; no rug. Walked into the kitchen and voila!
I had put it under the chair in the kitchen...
From Interior house

It was suggested I show my 'reorganized' ancient upright freezer and share how I find things. Maybe if I commit this to the internet it will make be stick with the organization method. I haven't before!

From Upright Freezer
and the bottom area:
From Upright Freezer

You note I keep loose items in a plastic bag so they won't slide into the floor each time I open (untape) the door.

The top shelf is for cooked foods. Now properly labeled and I am happy to report I have used several items recently.

Second is strictly for breads, baked goods and ingredients for making breads.
The third shelf:
From Upright Freezer
Meats on the right, middle is various fruits and veggies are in plastic bag.

The bottom wired area is for vegetables. See the strange pale green stuff? It looks like shredded or ground cabbage. I will be thawing that this week for soup.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sunday Journal

Nothing special day. Very cool outside all day.

I think I had my first successful total milking without contending with the calf on the other side. At least Willow let her milk down and I almost filled the milk bucket. The real test will be skimming the cream.

I had a day off...did minimal housework. Cooked a fried chicken dinner for us and read.

I love the Civil War period both historical and fictional accounts. I have taped all of Ken Burns Civil War. We never missed a single one.
I am currently reading Jacob's Ladder by Donald McCaig. It is an award winning Civil War novel and may be the best one I have ever read. It was written in 1998. I found it through the internet. It is about Virginia and some of her plantation people during the war. It is just a great read.

This morning I have a follow-up appointment with the rheumatologist which I hope is my last. I am still doing great and hope to be off the very small dose of steroids asap.

I hope to get the poly coat on the bathroom floor this afternoon.

Just a last comment on cooking shows. I watched Cooks Country TV show yesterday and had to just laugh. It was about how to make fluffy mashed potatoes.
First peel and rinse, then dice into l inch pieces; rinse. Cover with water and cook 15 minutes; drain rinse; refill and cook 15 more or until done. Run through ricer.. season. Voila mashed potatoes.

I don't think I will be following that silly routine on for Thanksgiving dinner!

I leave you with yet another use for Duck Tape:

From Upright Freezer

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Journal for Saturday - Fall Color

We are a little cooler this morning, hovering around 40°. Highs are supposed to just be in the mid-40's. The rain we received was very light.

At last we are getting some fall color in the yard. We have a row of silver maples along the road out front, most are hollow and we are told they will die....who knows when, in the meantime, they get a beautiful yellow and they will stay until Mother Nature says otherwise.
From November 2010
You can see they suffered some ice storm damage a few years ago.

The trees got their color so late, I am afraid they will loose their leaves too soon for us to enjoy them very long.

This is the small dogwood by the front drive that everyone tells me I need to remove....haven't done it yet.

From November 2010
and this is the south side of the shrub border on the east side of the drive next to the road.
Nothing can beat the common euonymous shrubs for brilliance.
From November 2010
This is the border that I hope to be able to cut most of it down this winter. There are lots of dead things in amongst the shrubs and all need to be renewed. It will be a huge job using the new chainsaw.

The west yard is full of trees. We lost some huge ones to tornadoes and ice storms over the years and we have replanted, white oak, swamp oak, red maple and a pin oak that are getting to be a nice size. The October Glory red maple doesn't get full sun now that the trees on the south side are so large....the color is late and not as bright as other years. It is very hard to find full sun in our yard and if I do, it would block a path for the tractor or truck to access a field..........so no planting in those zones.

From November 2010

Nothing on schedule for today other than normal daily routine. I will milk this morning.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Monday November 8, 2010

It is a perfect fall day but breezy.

I finally cleaned out the bottom freezer drawer of the refrigerator....didn't gain much space, but did take some heavier things out. Chickens gained another bowl of goodies.

Sorted and organized two outside freezers.

DH is working out. When he gets back we will head back to Lowe's to pick up the paint for the bathroom and the back porch.

Made the trip to Lowe's and got the paint; I hope to start the bathroom today.

We had to make a side trip to Verizon; my cell phone died and I knew DH was due for a free replacement...........long story short I got him one exactly like he was using but just had to upgrade for me................now I have a learning curve. I could just kick myself!

Tuesday, ll/9/10

A beautiful day but I spent it inside painting the bathroom...........I think the paint is too dark. It looks good, but too dark, much darker than it seems on the wainscoting on the back porch. I could have diluted it with some white...don't know why I didn't. I think I am out of the practice of painting. I haven't done any for several years.
From Interior house

It went pretty smoothly until I had to reassemble the vanity light fixture that was in the way. I turned one more turn on on the the light sockets and sparks shot out. I will have to turn off the power, remove the entire fixture and see if it is fixable. I am not looking forward to that project. But we need the light...........now.

I may take a picture..............or not. I did.

Wednesday November 10, 2010

Another nice day predicted but in the 60's instead of the 70's.

I froze three quarts of the mincemeat and made butter after skimming and bottling yesterday's milk.

This is embarrassing. When I cleaned out the freezer drawer, I found a package of frozen mincemeat cookie dough from December of last year! I baked them and they were very tasty. I added some cream cheese icing.
From Food
I finished up the day by washing down the cabinets and woodwork in the MBR that I painted sage green with Murphys Oil Soap.

Thursday,November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day, I time to remember all our men and women who serve and who served to keep America free. My husband served in the Marines...not during wartime, thank God.

Another warm fall day.

I painted the guest bathroom floor today with the same paint I used several years ago. Now I will let it cure for a few days before applying at least 2-3 topcoats of polyurethane.
From Interior house
The poly will change the color a little, darker I think.

I made fresh tortillas and we had a sort of steak fajita for lunch.

Friday November 12, 2010

We got a nice shower this morning and a cool down is predicted.

I made sweet rolls. We will keep out two and the rest will go in the freezer for company over Thanksgiving.

Finally caught up with this week's journal.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Journal Friday through Saturday

Friday, ll/5/10

Cool day; high of 55°

Zelda has begun watching through the kitchen window....I moved the chair on the porch. She is actually begging for food.
From Cats and dog

I tried to replicate my mincemeat from last year. I changed some things that I didn't have like oranges, but did have candied orange peel from last year and added some frozen concentrate orange juice in stead. I cooked it down in the maslin pan for one hour and will now let it ripen a while before canning or freezing.
I guessed at the amount of sugar and cider to add because I think I have more apples than last year.

It has passed the taste test for me.
From Preserving

I tried the turnip greens....they didn't pass the taste test for either of us! Maybe they were too old? I hope the chickens enjoyed them.

I don't like chard or mustard greens either.

I thought about what I grew up eating at home and at Grandma's. All I remember is mixed wild greens at Grandma's and Mom's which we both love. I like just poke and really like just lambs quarter. I think it is milder than spinach.


It is very cold today, 25°.

Today's plans:

Milk, bottle last milking. Skim cream and make butter.:Note: Didn't make butter.
Milking was a small disaster. I think Willow was in heat. I failed to place my pail into the top of a 5 gallon bucket....ergo she stepped into it and I lost almost three gallons....such is life. I will milk again Sunday morning.

Clean out freezer drawer on refrigerator . Note: Still haven't done this

Hopefully do some fence repair. Note:DH says he will do this alone....

Put on a pot of beans. I cooked white beans this time and served them over hot biscuits like Grandma used to do. She never bought 'store' bread in her life...but I don't' remember her ever making yeast bread either. I think they ate biscuits 3 times a day.

We set all the clocks back last night but still got up at 2:30 AM. It takes us a while to adjust. We just wish they would leave it alone.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Open Apology to Commenters

I have been responding to your comments using my Gmail account by just using reply and sending. I just noticed they all have been saved as Drafts! What's that about?

So I am assuming no one has been get my replies???

I think I will just go to the draft format and hit send. Let me know if you are getting any replies or two.

My skills with the computer are pretty limited to just routine things.

Sorry, if you all thought I was ignoring you.

I don't think we got as cold as predicted. Last check it was 30° here.

I think I have skipped a couple of days of journaling.

Wednesday, November 3.

Several years ago we went to a very small candy shop way out in the country in the middle of nowhere. I was amazed they could keep it going...well going it is.

My first visit is what prompted me to learn to make truffles, the easiest candy in the world to make. Now mine were not made with gourmet chocolate unless you count
Ghiradelli and maybe weren't quite was delicious as theirs (they certainly weren't as beautiful) but they tasted darned good.
I get a card from them each year about their Open House. They have expanded the gift shop area, more candies, etc. I wanted to go. It was a beautiful day so we enjoyed that, but the shop is a little upscale and high priced for my taste. I did find a purse that I really liked at a reasonable price so I bought it.
From November 2010
Coming back we drove through Amish country and I got this gentleman crossing the intersection in front of us.
From November 2010
I think it was Diggins, Missouri. Just down the road we spotted two more parked at a hardware and a Dollar Store.

Yesterday started out as normal with our daily chores but took a turn for the worse.
We had a heifer in trouble calving. We got her up in the working area (remember the blue chute?) and the vet came and pulled a very dead bull calf. The heifer seems no worse for wear and was given a dose of antibiotics to keep down infection. I will be glad when the rest of these girls calve and we can quit worrying. This is all part of farming. I used to come unglued when bad things happened. I still don't like it but accept it more easily now.

The bull jumped back in with my cow again....have to watch that little group and see what caught his interest. I have my cow and her old-enough-to-breed daughter in the paddock along with another much younger bull.

We were exhausted after that so took it easy the rest of the day.

I finished Jonathon Kellerman's 'Flesh and Blood' which was so so and DH was reading another Robert Crais book.

I hope we get something more accomplished today.

I have a pork roast in the crock pot and think I will make a Roly Poly for dessert.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Canning and the first tour on the farm

First I want to reply about using the pressure Canner.

I am a novice. I did some pressure canning many years ago and inherited both of Mom's pressure canners. I was afraid to use them...they are the old fashioned kind with a pressure gauge on top.
I opted instead for a cheap Presto canner from Wal-mart. It is extremely simple to use. The pressure is regulated by the three weights on the regulator. You just follow directions on the book about how many to remove for what pressure is required.

I realize that many things have changed over the years about canning techniques so I also bought the Ball Blue Book (in inexpensive book) when I got the canner. I pretty much followed the directions for vegetable beef soup. It seemed all these soups with meat called for 1 hour 30 minutes for quart containers at l0 lbs. Pressure. That is what I did.

The most important steps to follow are to be sure the top of the jar is clean and don't tighten the lids beyond just feeling pressure. Steam must be allowed to escape. All of this is in the Ball Blue Book guide to preserving, l00th Anniversary Edition.

I have thought about getting a smaller one to use for cooking whole chickens quickly or whole roasts, but the good ones are very expensive and I really do have enough kitchen gadgets/tools! (except for a new Bosch mixer and a Nutrimill........then I am complete)

Another tip I think was from Ilene is don't boil the caps! I think I have done that before and I always seem to lose a jar or two of tomatoes....I think that is the reason. This time I just had them waiting in a pan of hot water (no fire) and had the clean jars filled with hot water that I dumped as I filled them. Everything is being sanitized in the pressure canner!

I still do some of my canning the old-fashioned way but I will not be sharing those techniques with anyone.....I still seal my jellies the old fashioned way. I do not recommend any do that......but I have been doing it for almost 50 years so probably won't change.

Wow, that was more long winded than I intended.
Farm Walk
This is just a tour of a very small portion of the farm. I hope to be able to do it all in small increments and share. It will be my enforced exercise program. I hate exercise when it is called that!

If you remember my old header picture where I am standing in the middle of the drive looking north to the old round topped barn that will help put you where we start the walk.

This is taken in the back of the barn looking north down the lane.
From Farm Tours
Turning to the left or west are what I call the sheds, each individual one is 12 feet wide by 24 feet deep.
From Farm Tours
The one with the sliding door is where we keep the small cattle trailer. Right next to it is where I store my/our bales of straw. I use these for bedding in my milking area and for the two calves bedding.....and, of course, garden mulch. Oh, I almost forgot I bed the chicken house down in the winter with it too. I have a dirt floored chicken house (for lots of reason, no. 1 being good health benefit for the chickens).

This is panning to the right toward the lane, our cattle working area. We haven't had this set up long and are amazed we farmed this long without it. I can load, vaccinate, fly treat or load the animals alone now, if need be and do it safely. It should have been our first farm purchase, but they aren't cheap so it wasn't.

From Farm Tours
This is the back side of the old barn. I milk in one of the front pens.
From Farm Tours

We have walked down the lane which turns to the right or east. The first thing that caught my eye was the skeleton of the old walnut tree. There used to be several growing here but they seem to attract lightening. Some loggers told us that and I believe it.
From Farm Tours
Now we are in a 20 acres (I think) field right in the middle of the farm. We call it the Mitchell Field because it adjoins his farm on the back. He is now decease and his farm has sold. I hate when changes like this happen....but they do.
Not much to see here.

From Farm Tours
We have lost several oaks to some kind of borer. This tree on the left is one of them.

The green field behind the row of trees on the right hand side is what we call the New Forty. We bought 40 more acres from the original owner of this farm several years ago.

At the foot of the hill in the Mitchell Field are the twin ponds, one is on the New Forty. I have seen what I think are muskrats jump in both these ponds but could never catch a picture.
From Farm Tours

Headed back home I spotted this beautiful old Oak tree. We still have several left.
From Farm Tours

I am cutting back to the barns through the field (called the East 20) which lies (or lays) to the right of the lane.

That concrete silo building with the bracing on the sides is where I have my new Orchard Garden and where the hot wire was down.
From Farm Tours

I noticed the cows had all gathered in the corner of the field to watch me and see what I was up to.

From Farm Tours

I hope the next walk is sunnier....I might even go today.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Overcast and pretty chilly, 44°. Slept in until 5 AM (late for me). We had a blessed l inch of rain overnight.

I went out to the milk parlor and bottled ½ gallon of yesterday's milk and brought the rest down to ripen for making cheese tomorrow morning. I started it with some leftover buttermilk after heating it up to around 85 degrees.

I took a walk back to what we call the Mitchell field (it adjoins his farm; he is now deceased). I took a few pictures but it was almost too dark a day for really good shots.
I will do a separate post with those pictures.

On the way back I noticed the hot wire coming out of the concrete building that fences my Orchard Garden was down. Who knows how these things happen....did DH really set it up correctly last time he took it down? Did some varmint hit it? Just fix it and go forward. These mysteries are never solved on our farm.

While inside the garden I checked my little turnip patch.....pulled several and took them down to the hydrant at the well to wash them off. They are now laying on the bench on the back patio area. I need to top them and put the turnips into the crisper. The internet is such a wonderful thing...I posted a picture of them on our local Ozark Forum on Garden Web and a lovely person told me I should cook the tops like they do in the south, with onions and pork fat. I will be trying that soon. I have never eaten them. Maybe Mom cooked them, but I didn't partake!

They are very high in nutrients.

Back in the warm kitchen..I had to change clothes. My pants were wet up to the knees, my garden gloves were soaked , sweatshirt had mud on front from carrying the turnips.....I often change two or three times a day. Living on a farm is not a clean life!

I have pizza dough on the rise for lunch and all the various stocks I found in the freezer in the Maslin Pan thawing. I think I may have two gallons.(I just had l gallon!)

From Harvest 2010

I may make up some soups and pressure can them. I have never done that before. The broth tastes pretty good just as is. I think one or two containers was hamburger soup. I see some red from the tomatoes and pieces of hamburger. I am very relaxed about labeling! I need to improve on that. I have two bags of mystery something that I think I will just thaw to see what it is and then give it to the chickens.

I did do the soup.

I added some potatoes and carrots and about two cups of cut up chicken to the stock and pressure canned 4 quarts. Be interesting to see how this does. I am not real adept with the pressure canner.
I haven't used one in years.
From Preserving

I have to get the book out every time. This took 1.5 hours at 10 lbs pressure so I just sat in my easy chair in the kitchen and read. I just had 4 quarts! I didn't guess that amount well.

I tried my long-rise method for the pizza crust again. I wanted to tell my son about it and be sure I was correct. I made the crust in the food processor and just left it to raise until I was ready to make it up. I started around 9:15 AM and let it raise 2 hours before punching it down and making the pizza. I rolled it out on a lightly floured board, then sprinkled my pizza peel with corn meal; transferred the rolled out crust and slipped it onto a very hot baking stone that had preheated to 500°. I pre-cooked the pizza about 4 minutes, pulled out the peel; topped the crust with what we like, and slid it back onto the stone. It just took about 10 minutes to finish baking.

From Food

This gives me a very crisp, hold alone, crust which we like.

I have two thoughts for my next posts: One I want to call my Aunt who is the only remaining relative on my Mother's side and visit with her about hog-butchering day at Grandma's. Granny J reminded me about how they rendered lard outside and made me remember those times at Grandma's.

Second I will just do a blog on the small tour of the farm with a few pictures. This isn't the prettiest time of year, but it is what it is and I love it.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Controlling the Calf

The first step was putting a halter on him.

I am trying a new technique with my milking and the rambunctious calf. First I am milking more often to get her more used to me and secondly to stockpile some milk for cheese making.

I have just been milking three times a week and since I found she has been holding up her milk and cream on me, I have been letting the calf nurse on one side while I milk on the other. Now I get as much in half as I was getting in all four quarters before.
From October 2010
We finally got a halter on him. Doesn't he look stubborn in this picture? He is.

I first tried to let him nurse about half and then shove him back into the pen behind hers. Ever try pushing a 3-month old stubborn calf anywhere....it doesn't work. Called in help and we got him in there.

I finished milking; no problems.

So this morning (Monday) I thought we would put him in there first; hoping she would look right at him and let her milk down for just me. I think it worked great except I almost filled the three gallon pail and I just gave out so I let the calf out to strip her out. I will know more about the cream when I bottle the milk in the morning.

We had to buy another container for holding the milk. I just use the cheap granite-wear from Wal-Mart. It works great and has a lid. I think it is labeled stock pot.

Both calves get to nurse at night so they are really getting all that is required. A calf just needs a gallon a day and both are eating grain and a little hay. I don't want anyone to think I am mean.

I don't' know if I will milk this morning or not. I will bottle the milk first and see where I stand on supply for cheese. I will skim off the cream to see if Mrs.Stubborn Cow (willow) has held out on me or not.

More to follow.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Yesterday was a beautiful, sunny day. I think it got up to 70°. Today is a different matter. It is overcast, very breezy and cool. They are predicting down to 20° by Friday! Ouch.

I defrosted and cleaned out the upright freezer on the back porch yesterday. I hate that job, but it has to be done. The freezer door doesn't close tight enough at the top and it frosts up badly. We have had the thing forever and should probably just retire it.

I found several bags of apple peelings and cores. I dumped them into the maslin pan with some apple cider (another thing to get out of the frig!)and cooked all. This morning I strained for the juice and then pressed the rest through the Foley Food Mill. I didn't get much pulp but it makes a delicious apple butter. I just add sugar and spices to taste and cook it down until it thickens a little. Right at the last I added maybe 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar. I ended up with 7 cups of juice (back in the freezer in one container) and 3 and half jars of butter.
From Preserving
From Preserving
Another note on the maslin pan: I wondered how it would work with really thick food and a small amount....no scorching and worked like a charm. I actually used the pouring method to fill the jars.

Nothing is really wasted here; if I decide something is past its prime I give it to the chickens. They come running. I often have a pan full of things when I defrost or clean the frig and freezer.

The Happy Hens

Ilene, I found another use the the Maslin Pan (it deserves capital letters!). I found a 3.5 lb. package of ground hog fat in the freezer so I rendered it this afternoon. It took 15 minutes to cook down the first rendering...I stirred it to keep it from sticking now and then. I ended up with a nice 1.5 quarts, a small jar of seasoning lard and almost 2 cups of cracklings.

Now to the easy chair and a good book!