Wednesday, March 30, 2011

New Light Fixture - Barn Repairs-Random Picture

4:00 AM, 34°

Monday and Tuesay, March 28 and 29th

Big News:
Our first granddaughter turned 16 on Tuesday. She texted me she got her license; I knew she wouldn't wait even a day! She is our pride and joy.The last two days have not been my favorite kinds of days.

When I painted the MBR I twisted the bulb too tight when replacing the globe on the vanity light fixture, sparks shot more third light. I decided Monday to remove the fixture and see if I could fix it.
I spent the entire day fooling around with this....I am so stubborn!

Called a local electrician. He promised to call the next morning...much to my surprise, he did at 7:30 AM. He came out checked out the fixture. I need a new fixture. He did use pigtails to combine all those wires so all I had to do to rewire was attach white to white and black to black.

Of course that didn't go easily. The plate that attaches to the junction box was configured differently. I had to use the one that came with the fixture and it barely fit the box. Much maneuvering later, I finally got it attached!

I took advantage of his being here and together we finally traced down where the power was coming into the cellar. He found the problem....eliminated one useless fuse box in the cellar, wired together the wires and now I have lights. All I need to do is get a cover plate for the junction box and put it on. How wonderful to flip a switch as I enter the very dark cellar.

In talking with him (I vowed to stay with him and learn what I could and he was very willing to explain everything to me), I found he is a "jack of all trades", plumbing, carpentry, electrician, etc. He works for himself.

I told him I had a list of things I wanted done but might have to do them in increments. He was fine with that. He also said when he starts a job, he stays with it until it is finished....what a novel approach.

He is going to repair and build all the doors on my round-topped barn. I want Dutch doors on the two front doors. I am having the milk parlor painted, at least the high gable ends....I might do the rest (and might not). He charges $25 and hour for electrical, $20 for carpentry and an additional $10 per hour for a helper.
He said he makes no money from the helper or the material. As soon as he tells me about the material for the barn, I am having him begin. I am thinking from his quote on labor hours I can safely figure all done for around $1,500 and I am delighted.

I am satisfied he knows electrical; and I will know after the first door, if he knows carpentry.

Finding anyone out here to do various jobs is near impossible. He will be a jewel if all goes well.

See, still no carpet....but I want all the outside fixed up nice and sound.

We have a roofer booked to do the barn roof. He will be free in about a month.

Real Food

I have gotten really interested over the last few years about real food. If you get nothing from this except one thing, please let it be:

Read Labels

I think many of our health issues could be solved if we would quit eating foods full of chemicals and non-food additives such as dyes. I hope you saw the news last night where even the FDA is becoming suspicious that food dyes may contribute to ADD, attention deficit disorder. We need to always be aware of what we eat and where it comes from.

Random Flower Picture

This is a single blossom of 'Erlicheer' daffodil. I am always amazed at the sheer perfection of the blooms. I have it on my desk and may have to move it further away; the fragrance is a little too much!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Snow - Company - Spaghetti Cheese Bake

Well, we awoke to a dusting of snow on the ground and another 30° early morning. I shook ice out of a daffodil yesterday morning. It rained almost all day on Saturday and by early Sunday there were little ice pellets in the double Erlicheer daffodils.

We had a really good weekend. An internet friend from Iowa was working in Missouri and swung by (way out of her way) to visit a couple of forum friends in southwest Missouri. It is a Farm forum that I have been a member of for several years. She is about our son's age. She is just a delightful person and was such an easy guest. We talked her into spending the night. I didn't want her driving back to town in a dark rainy night to find a motel. The only negative was the awful weather. All she got to see of the farm was from all the windows in the house. I hope she can come back during the summer. I promised her an ATV tour over the farm.

I served a spaghetti casserole that I hadn't made for some time. It makes a large pot so would be good for a crowd or to take to a potluck supper or to just divide and freeze for a later day.

Spaghetti Cheese Bake

Preheat oven to 400°


l lb spaghetti
1 bay leaf
1 large onion, chopped
1 to 2 lbs hamburger
1 small can chopped green chilies, not drained
1 med can sliced black olives, drained
1 small can sliced mushrooms, drained
1 quart tomatoes
1 lb mozzarella cheese shredded
salt and pepper to taste
butter and oil
Boil pasta with bay leaf in salted water. drain set aside.

Saute onion in small amount of butter and oil until very soft not caramelized.

Add hamburger and cook done, but not browned. Add mushrooms, olives, and chilies.
Stir well, add tomatoes, stir and heat through. Dump in spaghetti and mix well. I use tongs to lift and blending, try to get the ingredients all evenly distributed through the pasta.
I taste at this point for seasoning. I just added a bit of salt.

Pour into greased casserole, Spread cheese over top. Bake 30 minutes until the cheese is browned and crispy at edge.

Note: I like to separate out some into freezer containers and freeze for a later easy meal. I wait to spread fresh cheese on then. I also think you could cut the recipe in half.


This picture was taken as an afterthought so had been refrigerated. The casserole is not quite that firm.

Happy note: The peppers are coming up at last; I was getting worried.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Here you are with some modifications and ad libs by me.

Tyler's Ultimate Cheesecake (Tyler Florence)

Preheat oven to 325°


I used two full packets of graham crackers, ground finely in the food processor.
I also added 1/3 cup sugar to them.
1/2 t. cinnamon
1 stick butter, melted.

Mix well (I used my fingers). Spray springform pan with cooking spray (lightly)
Pour crumbs into pan. I begin by pressing up the sides of the pan at least an inch then using the bottom of my l-cup measuring cup, press all the crumbs to the pan pretty firmly. (don't do like I did and have the sides uneven. Sort of trim them to all the same height and press down again.

The Filling:

l pound cream cheese, 2 8-0z. blocks softened.
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 pint sour cream
1 lemon zested
dash of vanilla (I added some pure lemon flavor too because my lemon I zested was a little dry)

Beat the cream cheese on low speed for l minute until no lumps remain.
Add the eggs, one at a time and continue to beat slowly until combined. Gradually add the sugar and beat until creamy, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the sour cream, lemon zest and flavorings. Beat in, scraping bowl down. Don't overbeat. I stop when all ingredients are combined.

Note: While mixing, put teakettle of water on to boil for the bain-marie.

Set the cheesecake pan on a large piece of foil and pull up sides to form a bowl for the pan, pressing tightly to the sides. Pour filling in and spread with spatula.

Place the cheesecake into a pan large enough to hold boiling water half way up sides. Note: I may not do this next time. I don't have a large enough pan and some water always gets inside the foil...maybe from boiling too high? or don't use as much water. Be careful with this. The water seepage will make the bottom crust a little soggy if much gets inside the foil.

Note: I should have used the bottom half of the turkey roaster.

Bake for 1 hour to 1 hours and 15 minutes. I baked mine 1 hour and 9 minutes. You still want the center to jiggle. Let cool completely and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. I do overnight.

Unmold and transfer to a cake plate. Spread topping over or just per serving (I do the latter). I also like just some reserved crumbs sprinkled over the top....or nothing at all.

Slice with a thin, non-serrated knife dipped in hot water. Wipe dry after each cut.

Warm Lemon Blueberries (or berries of choice)

1 pint berries
l lemon zested and juiced
2 T sugar (or more to taste)

Cook in small saucepan just until berries begin to break. Cool before spreading on cheesecake.

Happy eating! This is one of life's great treats......

Baking Day - Friday March 25, 2011

It was 32° yesterday morning and the high 48°. We got a very nice rain early in the morning.

I told you I might just cook all day; I did!

We were almost out of bread. I made 4 loaves of French and 3 of 7-Grain. I apologize for the fuzzy photo...don't know what happened. That is why you should always take several shots....hoping one is decent. I was in a floury mess and didn't pay attention.

I had them scheduled so when one was finished baking the next was ready to put in the oven.
I made these 100% by hand, no mixer involved.
From Food
The French Bread is ready to form; the 7 grain is ready for the first rise.

When I rested up after that, I made a cheesecake. This is Tyler's Ultimate Cheesecake recipe. So far it has been fail proof. I will probably make a blueberry sauce for serving. I have a can of wild blueberries I bought somewhere.

7 eggs today.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

This morning was a very cold 32°. That is about normal for us; not the warm temperatures we have been having, but the change is drastic!

My plants under the lights have improved since I began watering with a dilute fish emulsion fertilizer that Kris uses.
They have been outside a couple of days and nights but I brought them in last night.

This is Asian Red Lettuce.

The cabbages:

The Golden Agastache is turning color. The other is a lavender agastache.

The bluebirds are back. I finally saw them entering the new bird house I put up last year.

And finally she went in. They were in and out all morning. The hole seems almost too small.

I gave up the struggle to not bake anything! DH has been asking for a cherry pie so this morning I baked one, and yes, I ate some.

I may just cook all day long tomorrow.........................

Sale Day - Errands - Rearranging the Living Room

Yesterday was still warm at 62° when we got up....the cold front is coming though. I can tell by the winds!


Wednesday is Feeder sale at the area sale barn. We still have some to load and take in. The loading went smoothly. DH gets them into the holding area and I use the gate on the quarter circle pen to push them into the alley and he moves them along into the trailer. Every time we do this, we appreciate all over again the set-up we have for working and loading. It makes our lives so much simpler. It was worth every penny it cost. My Dad used to say you needed the right tool for the job and this is the right tool for us.

I was sitting in the truck while DH was picking up our check. I always get a kick out of watching everyone coming out the door reading their check stubs where it lists the cattle sold,weights, prices and who bought them. Everyone does it.
This is a state of the art sales arena. We are so lucky to have it so close. We know one of the owners; he lives fairly close to us.

This is a side view of the area.
We unload the cattle on this side.

You see all types here from the little rigs to the bigger rigs; from old beat up trucks and trailers to this:
and then the really big rigs.

It was another very good sale day for us and we are grateful!

We stopped at the bank on the way home, then to the library to drop off books and pick up two they were holding for me. We are blessed with a new very fine library which is a branch of the Springfield-Greene Co. Library. Next was the post office and then the local market.


It was time for me to move all the furniture in the living room to sweep under everything; and, optimist that I am, I re-arranged things again. We are liking it for now but will probably put it all back like it was soon. It is a near impossible room to arrange furniture in...4 doors and a wood stove at one end!
At least it is nice and clean now.

The cold front has arrived; we could feel it getting colder late in the evening; I will not be gardening outside until it passes!

8 eggs.

No time outside.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It was 62° at 4:30 AM.
I put a pork roast in the crock pot.

I worked outside most of the morning.

Still trying to get the dead nettle under control!

I fed the three blueberry bushes soil sulfur.
I fed the two heirloom roses ironrite.

I scratched both into the soil and then pulled the mulch back around.

While at the garden fence, I dug more DN(dead nettle), pulled the leaves off the clumps of iris and moved back to the Milk Parlor area and used the trusty string trimmer to cut a swath through the DN. I finally cut the clematis paniculata, aka Sweet Autumn Clematis, back to about 36 inches. It has already leafed out some and I hate cutting growing things but it must be done.

I uncovered the Niobe clematis and the Westerplatte that were almost buried under the DN. I still have the front of the bed (iris mostly) to do. I am not looking forward to pulling the weeds there.

Cleaned (string trimmer again) around the parlor and feed room.
Pruned (again) that blasted euonymous that grows next to the brick chimney. It had already climbed up the the decorative trim and sticks to the bricks like ivy does.
We filled the garden cart. I want this bush gone!

I also cut back the Westerland rose.

I still have the driveway border and the garage wall bed to do. I am leaving the worst for last!

We are expecting a cooler and rainier week so I am glad I got done what I did.

I finished cleaning off the back porch and touched up the white woodwork. I will leave the runner rugs off now. It looks much better without them. We carried most of the winter farm gear out to the garage. It made a great improvement on how the porch looks. I need a giant back porch...and it would be full too.

We saw our first Blue Bird this week. No activity around the BB houses yet.

7 Eggs today.

Hours gardening: 4 (guess)

Random Pictures

These are the under-light plants that I am hardening off. Note my state of the art lath house. I blocks just enough sun.

This sassafras tree by the bird bath was a gift to me from the birds. These trees are very hard to dig up and transplant and wasn't it nice they planted it next to the River Birch we lost to the ice storm! I have always wanted one in the yard. It has really begun to grow nicely. See my new planting of hen and chicks in the jar on the cistern planter?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Flower Bed clean-up

The last two days have been beautiful, maybe a little windy, but nice and warm.

I finished the Cellar Bed Clean up. Well, you're never really finished; the weeds don't allow it.

It is looking much better; I can actually see the daffodils. So far there are three separate varieties in bloom. There are more to come on later.

This may be Ice Follies

There is a white quince just beginning to bloom and the Kumson Forsythia is barely budding out. It has never bloomed heavily since I planted it several years ago.
The white clematis on the left end of the middle of the bed is beginning to leaf out.

I cleaned the grass bed by firing the grasses. I should do this in February before anything greens up. As it is, I scorch some iris and sedum and the back half of the white buddleia....I can never remember it. It does create a huge hot blaze for just a few seconds. I had the water hose handy and wet down all the bed before I began. There are no bulbs in that bed.....maybe there shouldn't be unless I fired it in December.

I mowed all the front and west yards just to nip the weeds before they set seed and cut back 6 clematis. Also made some inroads on the Well House Bed.

Total Time Spent: 4-5 hours. I want to keep a rough total of time spent gardening...just because.

We got 8 eggs the last two days.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Thursday and Friday, March 17 and 18

Planted in flats under the lights:

Slim Jim eggplant, Prosperosa egg plant,
Bell peppers: Orange Bell, Kevin's Early Orange, California Wonder
Other Peppers: ancho, Sweet Banana and Serrano
This filled one flat.
On heat pad.

Still no germination from bell pepper from market.

Apricot tree has some open blooms, lots showing color. In danger of a hard frost when they bloom out this early. Glad to get the little cooler temperatures of Friday, high of 56°.

Korean Boxwood is blooming. You can smell the fragrance abut 10 feet away. The honeybees love it. I planted these on the north and east side of the back porch foundation a few years ago. They are wonderful pests, no watering and so far, no trimming. The blooms are not significant but smell wonderful.

The high on Thursday was 79°.

I found my poor oakleaf hydrangea which is a very slow grower laying on the ground after the workmen left. I am sure one of them stepped on it. It was leaning almost on the ground and looked like a dead branch....however, it had leaf buds all along the branches. I am sure it is a lost cause, but I buried the end that had a few twiggy feeder roots by the likes moisture. I hope I can save it.

We got 8 eggs. All the new girls are laying.

Friday, March 18, 2011

We decided to go down to Branson for the afternoon to visit with our daughter and family, (the birthday girl), at the condo they had rented at Indian Point. It was a beautiful place with interesting decor. All elegant rustic, with distressed wood floors, all dark woods but lots of stairs. Did I mention lots of stairs! I am a little stiff this morning.

We sat on the deck over the lake and enjoyed coffee and visiting while watching the birds soaring over...DH said they were vultures!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Tree Trimming Project and the Sale Barn and a Birthday Party

If that sounds like yesterday was way too busy, you are right!!!

I was beyond tired last night.

To begin the day, DH for some reason beyond my understanding, decided he was going to sell calves...I reminded him that we were having company....didn't matter; he was selling calves. So I imagined he was going to do it all himself and the sale barn is only 30 minutes problem. Wrong! He needed me to help load them....then asked if I wasn't coming to the Sale Barn..............No.......I was not.

The trimmers couldn't come Monday because of rain, they didn't come Tuesday, but came Wednesday, our Birthday celebration. Not really a problem other than our company had to drive through the field and into the yard. The bucket truck was parked in the drive that wasn't supposed to be blocked.

I told DH we were never going to try to sell calves on a busy day again...very nicely but very, very firmly!

The good news is the birthday party went very well and we got the best prices for calves that we ever have.

The Tree Project

This is a picture showing the Bird Feeder Tree where you can see the dead side with the bark practically gone.
From gardening Spring 2011

This picture shows the southeast view of the yard west of the drive. You can see the stump near the drive and the other tree removed is out next to the road. You can barely see the stump which I am leaving...I don't mow the ditch anymore and didn't want to pay an additional $400 for more stumps grinding.
From gardening Spring 2011
I took a picture of the grinder at work.....note the adviser leaning against the truck (DH).

From gardening Spring 2011

I worked outside a couple of hours this morning cleaning the HB when I say clean....this is what I mean....I don't rake; I try to leave a layer of old leaves and small debris on the bed to reserve moisture and keep the henbit and dead nettle at bay!
From gardening Spring 2011

I pulled some dead lily stalks and one was attached and had roots and small bulblets around the base that had white hairy roots and small shoots growing.
I replanted it in another bed.
From gardening Spring 2011

Then I finally rescued my favorite 'Madame Butterfly' daylily that had almost been choked to extinction by a clump of vigorous heliopsis. I was able to disengage about three or 4 pieces of daylily and I replanted them near the replanted lily. Maybe I can now keep track of them and keep them watered.

Coming up in this bed:
Phlox, two varieties
anemone 'Robustissima'
lamium ground covers
Shasta daisies

I was a good girl and emptied my garden cart of the debris as I went; I usually leave it in the yard for a week until I can make(ask) my assistant to pick it all up. Today's way is better.

Today was supposed to be sunny and 75° isn't!

Random Garden Picture


Good Thursday morning. Today is going to be a great day. 75° and I plan to be outside as long as energy allows.

We both woke way too early this morning.....2:45 AM and decided to get up. It is lovely to be here in the very quiet house, no phones, no TV and DH made our coffee so we are enjoying that.

This is my computer time.


When I was encouraged to blog, I did it very reluctantly....then I decided I would and the blog would just become an extension of my daily journal. Having it on the computer would make it easier for me to search for certain when to start cuttings or seeds or when something happened on the farm. I also wanted to share with others just what a daily life on a farm in the country is like.

I am enjoying it very much and have met via the internet some wonderful, friendly people and have a host of Blogs I must read daily before my day can get started.

This brings me to the subject of Awards....I knew I didn't want to participate in this but had no idea how to put one of those little No Awards or Tags labels in my side bar. I think it is an honor and I appreciate it more than I can say. But I always feel under pressure and hate to "pass it along" to others who may feel the same way.

So thank you to Home in the Hollow and Granny Mountain for the honor. I hope you all visit their blogs. Both are well written and not a daily journal but a wonderful variety of interesting topics.

I will go ahead and list 7 things about me but won't pass it along.

1. I don't like to travel
2. I hate being barefoot (may be an old lady thing!)
3. I am an early riser (you may already know that)
4. I am a southerner in my soul
5. I love mowing the yard (with my riding mower)
6. I love to brushhog (with the tractor and 7-foot mower)
7. I am not a joiner...clubs, etc. (love people; just don't like meetings)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Interim Post

I have been so busy the last few days that I haven't taken the time to post or read properly your blogs.

We are having company today for lunch. Our granddaughter and family are stopping by on their way to the lake for Spring Break. Grandma has been requested to make pizza and a chocolate cake with 'fluffy' icing. We are celebrating her 12th birthday. She also wants vanilla milk shakes. Whatever she wants, she gets.....usually.

I have also been doing some spring touch-up painting on our back (used as a front) door. The cats scratch when wanting food! and the threshold from the dining room out to the porch. I washed a few windows that were too dirty to be tolerated anymore.

I will be back after the company leaves this afternoon.

Because of the rain, the tree trimmer couldn't come until today! Isn't that just the way it goes....we didn't postpone him, because we would like it done before the leaves come out so I can "advise" them where to trim.

Random Farm Picture

This time it was DH, not me, that wanted to not sell this girl...We love her Mama and she has such unusual coloring on her face.

Monday, March 14, 2011

First day of weeding

Sunday, March 13, 2011

It was warmer this morning when I got up at 4:30 AM, 45°.

After lunch attacked the dead nettle that is rampant this year. I cleaned the small bed in front of the smoke house. Of course, I broke off a couple of lily shoots! They are the tenderest, most brittle things and I break some every year during the clean up.

I worked my way around the foundation from the back porch to the front of the house and got most of it done.

I was happy to discover the lilies, and some tiny tips of rudbeckia and what I think is a 4-o'clock, lots of self-seeded nigella and a few other rudbeckias. The new clematis Jackmani Superba is sending up a strong shoot close to the ground. I was worried about it because I whacked it off late summer while trying to get rid of the purple honeysuckle vine! Needless to say, the honeysuckle is alive and well. I am not sure yet about the new mum. The roses are budding out and the vinca minor is blooming. I tried to kill it out of the foundation beds, but failed. I may just leave it as ground cover. At least very few weeds can get through it. All the daylilies are about through the mulched old leaves. My old snap survived the extreme cold....due to the deep snow I am sure. I may have one or two surviving foxgloves. The never self-seed for me here.

A few more daffodils are blooming each week. Some need to be moved.

DH got the trimmer started and I did hit some very heavy beds of dead nettle and cut them into the seeds from them.

I always feel better once I start the clean up. When I look around and see all the beds, I feel I will never get it done; once started it doesn't seem so overwhelming, 2 down and 7 more to go!

We are having a neighbor who is a tree trimmer come today if it isn't too wet to begin a long overdue project. We had lots of damaged trees due the THE ICE STORM. One is the bird feeder tree; I hate to loose it but it is an Elm and is dead on one side. Once while mowing a large sheet of bark fell off near me and scared me half to death. He will trim the other two Elms along the drive so they look much better. We are removing a hollow Silver Maple out by the road. He said to leave the other three. There is another Elm by the road that will come out. This will let more sun into the front yard which faces the south. That will be very good.

The next is what I call Glenda's Folly. We have an ancient apple tree planted west of the smokehouse. It was damaged severely by the tornado or straight wind storm we had several years ago. I has huge broken limbs hanging down, but blooms and has apples each year. I have asked lots of people what kind of apple but no one knows. I know the tree isn't sound, but he is willing to really prune it up and top some dead stuff. I will be covering a hole in the trunk with plywood, caulked in place. He said if I could keep out rain that will prolong the life of the tree. Anyway, I am probably wasting money but DH was agreeable.

There goes my new carpet! DH was worried about damage from the trees if and when they fell and I don't worry asmuch about my interior decorating as I do my outside! Next project is scraping the front of the smokehouse and painting it. I began the scraping yesterday before the weeds called to me.

I am coming out of my winter lethargy....I was beginning to get worried about me.

Random Garden Picture

This two different clematis planted above and behind Annabelle hydrangea. I need to prune them this week.

Two different clems above Annabelle by chicken house

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Cabinet Cleaning; Pruning

Friday, March 11, 2011

I did my standard housework...breakfast, made bed, dusted floors. Then I worked on the kitchen cabinets again. I did most of the pantry shelves. Why on earth do I have all these boxes of jello. I haven't made jello in years!

I heard a soft scratching sound at the back door...checked it out and there was one of the cats scratching softly telling the cat man that they were ready for breakfast! I told him they were going by daylight not the clock! So, he went out and fed them at the barn. There were five in the group waiting at the back door.

I have yet to do the cabinets to the right which is odd pans and miscellany.

We had tacos for lunch...........because I found two boxes of taco shells! Very tasty and surprisingly DH really liked them. I made my own taco seasoning. No taco sauce and we didn't miss it.

After a rest, I rounded up my helper (bless him) and we headed out to the kitchen garden to finish pruning the fruit trees out there. I had worked earlier from the ground but this required me, a chain saw, and a 6-foot ladder …. and my helper fetching and carrying and stabilizing the ladder.

The poor trees look a little worse for wear afterward but most of this pruning was branches broken in strong winds last summer when they were loaded with fruit. I cut some more of the tornado downed Elm away from the back peach tree so I can now walk around it if need be. I also cleared a better path to the west end of the garden from the back side where the peach tree is.

I topped a new apple tree. I am trying this technique to see if I can keep it from getting too tall.

I contacted the nursery, Adams County, where I bought the apple tree grown on Bud 9 rootstock.They responded quickly. I was right; Bud 9 has a weak root system and I should have staked it on planting which they told me to do! However they offered to replace the tree for half price and send with my spring order. I took them up on it. We will be staking all new trees now. She said even a heavy load of fruit can cause the Bud 9's to topple. Good to know. They have outstanding stock and have been a very good company to do business with. My sis and I both have been very pleased with the quality of the trees.

Six eggs today.

I finished the book by Colleen McCullough, The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet, and was very happy with the ending. She redeemed herself with the final chapters! Just a delight. If you like Jane Austen, you will like this book.

Random Farm/Bird Picture

I took a series of 4 early this morning, around 6:30 AM. We could see them from the living room window so Biscuit and I took a walk down to see if I could take a picture. I was surprised how close they let me get.

I will show the rest in the next post. They have a different one in their midst this year.

Friday, March 11, 2011

I thought about just skipping posting on the 'do nothing' type days but for my own personal use as a journal, I will try to not leave days out.

Yesterday, 4:30 AM, 32° ;high of 47°. I was pretty much inside all day.

I worked on the kitchen cabinet cleaning project...a side benefit is I found some lost things: the microwave plastic dish cover; a mini crock pot....maybe I bought it for potpourri. I stopped mid stream and filled it with water, cinnamon, whole cloves and skin of an almost shriveled orange...soon a wonderful spicy aroma filled the kitchen. I found the missing lid for an insulated coffee mug. I found all three mugs and now have them together.

I pitched some way past prime instant coffee which I hate anyway. I collected some Christmas glasses and washed them. I need to find a storage spot way up high and not taking up prime real estate on the lazy susan for them.

I also found the plastic lid for the lasagna dish...put it with the dish. Cleared out the area above the microwave where I have extra coffee pots and thermoses.

I may tackle the spice area near the baking center....I know I have some ancient spices that should be tossed.

Late in the afternoon I began reading a new book by Colleen McCullough (Thornbirds)called the The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet. She has taken the plainest of the sisters from Price and Prejudice, Mary, and tells of her awakening at the age of 38 after her mother dies. I love the way she writes and am enjoying the story. What bothers me the most is she takes the characters from P & P and ages them also and they turn out to be (in her novel) less than the perfect people of the first book. Darcy who we all swooned over, is not a saint! I am trying to ignore all that and just enjoy the story.

I may feel that I have to re-read Pride and Prejudice again so I can view them through Jane Austen's rose colored glasses.

Today is supposed to be our first of several days of lovely warm weather. I suspect it is still too wet to do too much outside. I don't really like to clear off flower beds until much later. The perennials need the protection of a sudden drop in temperatures which I know we will have.

I did find my liquid fish emulsion and have started feeding the plants under lights with a very weak solution.
I will do that every time I water them.

DH does all of the hay feeding with the tractor. We feed large round bales weighing between 800 to 1000 lbs. We do not do our own hay. We buy it locally and have it delivered. It isn't financially feasible for our small farm to own the hay equipment or try to cut our own. Custom baling is a pain too. We have done that before, but they cut it when it fits their schedule not when it is optimum for quality we now do it this way. He feeds anywhere between two bales a day or less depending on the weather and the pasture situation.

Here he is going into the west lots and on down to where the west pond is to feed the heifer group.


We are about a month away from not having to feed hay.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Yesterday was very cold and windy.

The milking went pretty smoothly. I got my normal amount.

I could hear the hot wire clicking around the hay and new garden so checked it out and found where it was shorting out. It was a simple quick fix.

I glanced back at the young trees in the orchard and saw a bare spot in the orchard where a tree should have been. It was my Liberty apple tree. It was just lying on the ground....not broken at the graft but at the root line. There were a few hairy roots left and the tree was green under the bark, so I planted it in the whiskey barrel to see if I can save it.

We should have staked all the trees when we planted them, but did not. I am assuming the strong winds we have been having and the wet ground led to it just falling over.

I contacted the nursery, Adams County Nursery, just as a matter of educating myself. This was a semi- dwarf grafted on Bud 9 rootstock... I am wondering if the rootstock doesn't have a strong rooting system. I will stake all the trees that are coming this spring! It costs too much to lose one to carelessness.

I was very happy with the growth on the two peaches and plums left in the orchard.

I decided to leave the chickens up. I don't think the cold mud will help them at all. It sure didn't me. We got 8 eggs.

The weaned calves are bawling like crazy...I hope they settle down in a few days. We will feed them hay and a little grain until they are weaned good. I don't like to sell calves that are still bawling for Mama. They even lose weight during that period of stress. A lot of people pull them off the cows and ship them the next day...we have just never done that.

The corner of my cabinets to the right of the sink is the ‘baking area’. The lazy susan in the bottom corner is where I store most baking supplies and was a mess. I took everything out, pitched some things, and scoured the shelves. I decided to line them for ease in cleaning the next time. I just used paper towels. I had to overlap them. I put things back in a more organized manner and was able to gain some space.

I have plans to do at least one section of the rest of the cabinets at a time until I get them to suit me.

Random Photo

We need something to remind us warmer weather is coming.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday. March 6,7,8 2011

As you know Sunday was company day. All went well. I was glad I chose the biscuit topping.
They both had biscuits on the side with the Chicken Pot Pie.

We had enough leftovers that I sent them home with enough for another meal plus a dozen eggs.

We got 3 eggs.

Monday was a cold and rainy day.....I did not venture outside. We got 9 eggs.

Tuesday, another dreary day. I woke up at 2 AM and just got up. I realized I had let us run out of bread so at 3 AM I had two loaves going. Turned out great.
From Food
It isn't really burned; the shadow just makes it look that way.

I would encourage everyone to begin making their own bread. I is very, very easy and the time involved is the rising time and you can be doing anything you want during that time. I made this one entirely by hand. As you can see a big heavy duty mixer is not required.

One day I made what I call a skillet dinner. I got the idea of adding the smoked sausage from Granny's Place. I didn't have the green pepper so I added a pinch of red pepper flakes instead. Last year was a bad year for peppers here in my gardens. The other change was I added some sweet potatoes to the mix because I still have a lot left in storage. I even served it with cornbread like she did.
We both liked it very much.

I have seen green peppers in the store that were almost $2 each and swore I would not pay that ridiculous price for them, but I did. It made a lot of diced pepper that I froze. They were huge peppers.

I haven't checked to see how much rain we got yet.

The last vinca that I placed on a heating pad is up much better than the first planting with no bottom heat. I uncovered it this morning but left it on the pad and will do so for a couple of days.

I finished 'Mary, Mary' by James Patterson. We have several book due so I will have DH return them when he goes in for exercise today.

We got seven eggs.

This will be milking morning. I have put if off to the last minute and can't delay any longer. I don't like to get lower than ½ gallon before milking again.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Cold night and Day

We got no storm, but did get 1/2 inch of rain.

My poor little daffs are drooping almost to the ground after the freeze and another one is due tonight.

We are having the in-laws out for dinner tomorrow. It is his Dad's 86th birthday.
I made him peanut brittle this morning and he is getting a jar of my treasured ketchup (I am almost out). He loves both. I always enjoy cooking for them. They are such an appreciate audience.

I have chicken on stewing; I am serving Chicken Pot pie. I haven't decided whether I will do crust or biscuits, probably biscuits because
my MIL loves hot breads of all kinds; a salad of red lettuce, onion, toasted almonds and dried cranberries with an orange flavored hot vinaigrette dressing (sort of wilted lettuce with a twist) and Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting for dessert.

I made the cake today.

I should have a pretty easy day tomorrow with most of things done ahead.

I took care of the chickens just a few minutes ago. They needed water and I cleaned the nests and put in fresh straw. They gave me 12 eggs! Actually I had left three the day before hoping someone would take the hint and start setting. No such luck. That still sets a record for them of 9 eggs. I gave them a treat of stale cornbread.

I am enjoying all the colors we are getting.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Waiting for the storm

This was another very warm, breezy day. It is now 65°. We are waiting for the storm.

I did some more fruit tree pruning, and began cleaning out the raspberries and blackberries. I also planted more vinca seeds. Pinetree finally sent my backorder.

Good news. The last batch of yogurt did make. I guess that 185° step is necessary.
I had some this morning with honey and granola and enjoyed it very much.

I got some frozen meat sauce from the freezer and DH had it with fettuccine; I made a small amount of alfredo sauce for mine. I was pooped.

I have two clumps of daffs in bloom:


Random Picture

I finally caught a White Breasted Nuthatch at the feeder. They are very fast and hard to get a picture of.

From gardening Spring 2011
Thursday, March 3, 2011.

Another warm, beautiful day.

This was milking day. She withheld her milk. I could tell, down almost 3 quarts. If you do anything the least unusual, that happens. This morning I pitchforked some waste matter from the milking area and forgot my 5-gallon bucket so was delayed because of that. She punished me. Such is life with a dairy cow (mine at least).

Back to the house and I set up another ½ gallon of milk for yogurt...this time heating it first to l85° before cooling to 110° added Dannon starter, about 4 T, stirred, covered, placed on heating pad on medium, covered with towel and that was it. Very fast, easy process. Fingers crossed this time.

Turned the chickens out....and noticed the red Maple, October Glory, is red twigged and budded out.
Saw one egg already in the nest but left it for this evening.

I made a chocolate cake this morning…haven’t made one in a very long time. I will freeze half of it today.

A neighbor stopped by to visit and I shared a piece with her. She is about our daughter’s age with two teenage children, both boys. We have watched them grow up. They are both very good boys…..but she shares her issues with raising them…..I think it may be more difficult in this age of electronics that when we had ours. I admire her so much. A few years ago she was overweight and had been all of her life…she joined Weight Watchers and lost all of that excess weight and has kept it off.

The reason for the visit was her youngest son was selling bulbs for the baseball team. I never mind buying flowers. I bought glads, dwarf lilies, and I think Star Gazer lilies. They will be here next month.

She told us the local market had the chicken legs and thighs we feed the dog on sale for .39 cents a pound so later we took the short trip in and picked up 4 ten pound bags. This should last us over a month. He is actually getting fat on one of these a day and his coat has never looked better.

We stopped at the car wash and I washed the Pontiac. Next trip in we will do the truck.
DH will be forced to do the insides today!

Locked up the chickens and gathered 7 eggs.

I am finished for the day. I have started a new book by Isabel Allende called Island Beneath the Sea.
I think I am going to like it very much, about slaves during the l700’s on Saint Domingo.

Random Picture

When I came back in the birds were in a feeding frenzy on the feeders near the house. At one time they are lined up on the porch railing waiting their turn.

I caught the Downy (I think) woodpecker on the stump at the same time.

From View out Windows

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Just another day in the life........................

Yesterday was another sunny warm day.

The first thing on my list was to clean the was way past needing it.
Mission accomplished and now I don't mind opening the door to get something.
An added bonus was a large bowl of 'leftovers' for the chickens.

Around 2 PM, I went outside to work in the kitchen garden. I burned two piles of debris and then DH got my Merry Tiller running and brought it to me. I tilled the east end where the strawberries used to be and actually found two plants still alive.
The soil was in perfect condition for working. When I finished I hoed out the row of garlic. The dratted henbit and another annoying litte blue flowered week were in the row too close to the bulb to till out. That little job told me I am really out of gardening shape! The plants are looking good.

I still have about six bulbs left from last year's harvest that are starting to show green tips. I have read not to use them, they will be bitter....I haven't noticed any taste in the food so will continue until they are gone.

I turned over a board and found 4 earthworms which I felt was a good sign. I also tilled up this scary fellow:

This is a really bad year for henbit. It is absolutely everywhere. It is doing one good thing; feeding honeybees. I finally got a couple of pictures. I had lots of difficulty shooting outside yesterday. I couldn't see in the viewer what I was taking.

Here is my work in progress:

The garlic row is to the left in the picture.

I managed two hours. Quit; put tools up and then fed the very excited girls their
refrigerator clean-up treat. Five eggs.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Yesterday was a wonderful sunshiny day. It got up to 60° in the afternoon.

We had to put the car in the heater core. So the morning was taken up with taking it and and going back to get it.

My yogurt making was not successful. I now have a half gallon of buttermilk, very tasty buttermilk. I should not have skipped that 185° step...also maybe my thermometer isn't quite accurate and it wasn't up to 110°. I won't skip the higher heat step again. It is such a simple thing to do....and I should have done it.

I made lunch of pork chops, mashed sweet potatoes, cole slaw with chunky applesauce and a cookie for dessert.

Took my rest and then went outside to start the kitchen garden cleanup. This is an area maybe 30 x 60 feet. First I cleaned the dead vines off the garden fence. I don't think I will compost the hyacinth bean vine; it is almost like limbs...I will transfer it to the brush pile by the gas tanks.

I didn't quite get finished but should be able to today. I may burn some of the piles in situ and rake the ashes around some.

The ground should be tillable by today. It was a little too wet yesterday.

Next job will be getting the tiller (beloved Merry Tiller, 1976 Scotsman)up and running and then the riding mower. The rider does not like cold weather.

I saw that huge clump of blue aster that I have been meaning to divide and relocate for several years now.........this will be the year.

I found lots of sapling trees in the fence line and in various spots....I can't even pull them up so I will have to use the loppers to get rid of them. Probably from the hated Elm tree.

I need to hoe the weeds from the sides of the garlic row. It is looking very good.

I saw some things just beginning to break dormancy: Clematis, mums, and the plum tree is almost showing color. The poor little plum that lays on its side always blooms so early....I rarely get anything from it. I think last year was the first time I got enough to make plum preserves.

I need to prune some broken branches from the peach and cherry tree and cut some suckers from the apple tree.

I haven't firmed up plans for planting this garden quite yet. I do know I will do the early spring things here. Peas, lettuce, radishes, onions, spinach, etc.
I will also plant some herbs here to be close to the kitchen.

I have been tossing henbit over the fence to the chickens and they love it. I just got 3 eggs yesterday.

Alas, this birdhouse is no more. Some days ago I saw it laying on the ground....I thought we could just put it back up but DH said it was beyond repair.
I will be looking for a wooden one. We just had Martins use it one year but each spring I would clean it out hoping. I love those birds.

Blue Bird

Random Bird Picture:

A Black Capped Chickadee in morning sun.