Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Catch Up Time Again

I have been missing for a few days and when I do that it seems harder than ever to take it up again.

Our weather has been a little cooler than normal for us but sunny and bright. I think it is one of the nicest falls we have had in some time.

Yesterday was a busy one.  I had to be at the dental lab for a color  match on my first  crown.  That went well.  I was told it was very tricky because of the color and the density variance.  I was assured that they could do it......we shall see.

Next we stopped by DH's moms. She has not been able  to open her gmail for two months and I kept forgetting about it.  She wasn't home  but we went on inside.  The email was a 'no fix'.  All that had happened was that annoying little add  wanting  you to add a google app to your cell phone for emails was showing up and she didn't know how get past it.  We waited for her for 45 minutes but she is a very busy 94 year old lady!  She had been to church to count the money and then on to 'work out' on the treadmill at Cox's new fancy gym.  Don't we all wish we had her genes!

Back home to a quick ham and cheese sandwich  with our new favorite white mashed potato bread.  DH comments on it every time.  He loves the softness  over the whole wheat variety.  I feel guilty not making the whole wheat though.  My Sis (75) says that's nonsense.  At our ages it doesn't matter.  At least it is filled with real foods and no preservatives or other chemicals.

Late in the afternoon I decided to finish up the Golden Delicious apples---finally.  I made 8 pints of super delicious sauce.  I used the correct cone  on the Victorio strainer this time and was very happy with the results.  This time I cooked  the apple chunks separately from the cores .  I was curious about how much pulp you could get from them.  I got almost 2 pints extra.  There was a tiny bit of dark flecks from the seeds but not nearly as much when I used the wrong cone last time.  It was so much faster than the Foley Food Mill!

DH has decided  my kitchen cabinets, especially around the cooking area are dirty and need to be cleaned top to bottom.  I agreed.  I told him that would be a super job for him in the afternoons and that I had several cleaners and "we" could try each and see which "we" liked better.  Is this the end of the world as I know  it?  I have been married 51 years......this is a first for this kind of cleaning by him voluntarily or otherwise.  I am loving it.  I will let you know if he actually follows through........

Update on Soap

It is still curing but I have tried the white soap and it has great lather.  I may take shower with it this  morning.  It passed the lick test but needs to harden  more.

From Soap 2012

From Soap 2012

This is a milking morning, so I need to head out.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Bread follow-up - A Girls Day Out

We are still warm here for October25, 61°, this morning but our favorite weatherman, Brandon Beck, of KY3 tells us by 7 this evening it will be in the 40's!  I told DH to load wood and kindling on the back porch.  The upcoming week  will be perfect for the wood stove.

My sis and I had a great day yesterday.  We headed for the Mall which is not something I usually consider a fun thing but somehow with her along, it was.  She needed a couple of things from Kohl's and I promised my mate to look for some long-sleeve tees for him.  I swear he has a tee shirt fetish!  I should count all his short and l s ones.....no maybe I shouldn't. 

I also have been wanting some better quality hand towels and wash cloths, not fancy but not stiff as a board like the last JCP ones I have. 

We were both successful and she even bought two pair of shoes.  I was very good and just got 3 tees for DH.  I did find some towels on sale....the test will be how they launder.

We then hit WalMart for Milnot which she likes to cook with.  For some strange reason she can't find it in her stores anymore.  She got her Milnot and I bought a couple of Paul Mitchell hair care products from the beauty salon.  I even talked her into trying the super clean hair spray.  I thought I was paying a lot for mine (Mitchell brand) and found she has been paying almost double that for some from her beauty salon!  Egads!  I hope she likes it but bet she won't.

Then I took her to lunch at Culver's which is our favorite burger or sandwich place when we are shopping the mall area. 

By then it was way after noon and knowing we had to spend some time with our Aunt, we had to just drive past the cemeteries.  We were both disappointed but the BIL didn't want to be driving after dark back to Pomme de Terre.  Also I had promised to make pizza for supper. 

The weather was perfect so it would have been a great day at the cemeteries....just not enough hours in the day this time.

I was very proud of myself.  I drove. My sister has serious vision problems up close and one eye can't even be corrected with glasses.  I rarely drive anymore because I can't get a mile from the farm without DH coming with me.  I am not complaining; I love him driving me everywhere but I have been telling him I would forget how to drive if I didn't start to do more.  I wasn't nervous at all and negotiated all the new interchanges and overpasses and all that stuff required to get to the mall from James River Freeway.


I responded to everyone's comments about the oatmeal bread, but for some reason, I see none on the blog.  I am curious how many actually tried it....and I would love to hear how it turned out.  When you do make it, let me know.  I always worry about a recipe I list.

Our pizza turned out just OK.  I like for the crust to rest all day and we didn't have time for that so it was a softer New York style crust.....not my favorite.  We like a crispy crust that will 'stand alone' when you eat it.

Random Cat Picture

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Oatmeal sandwich bread and Company

Our first month of fall has been near perfect with several rains.  We got another small thunderstorm Monday night and slightly over 3/4 of an inch of rain.  We are so grateful.  I think we are now just 8.5 inches down for the year.

Since I wrote last nothing out of the ordinary has happened.  We are still waiting for the new doors on the outbuildings.....who knows how long that  will be.  We have moved lots of things back into the Milk Parlor.

My sister and BIL are down visiting until Friday morning.  This will be their last trip with the motor home for this year.  They are staying for the first time at lake Pomme do Terre.  She and I are  taking today to visit our Aunt in Nixa and  the two cemeteries in Christian County where our family is buried.  Younger people won't understand this but we both enjoy doing it.  I always feel very peaceful and somehow closer  to my roots when I visit.  We reminisce about when we were growing up and the various relatives we remember.  She doesn't always get the time to do it when she visits so this trip we are 'making' the time.  The guys will be visiting the local sale barn.  Today is feeder calf sale day. 

I realized yesterday morning that I was nearly out of bread so I started very early to get my baking done before they got to the farm at 10  AM.

I made my standard Mashed Potato Bread (3 loaves) and did a new recipe that was on the side of the King Arthur bread flour bag. I had cut it off and left it laying on the counter so I wouldn't forget to try it out.  It is Oatmeal Sandwich Bread.  The recipe is unique in that you dump everything into the bowl and mix it and knead it.  It is very simple and we all tested it and agree it is a keeper!  It makes a very moist loaf which is a little unusual for oatmeal bread.  My sis took two pieces with her to the motor home last evening and called me to tell me it toasts wonderfully well!

Remember you can find it on King Arthur's website as well.

Oatmeal Toasting & Sandwich Bread

This tender bread is just slightly sweet. Follow our step-by-step photos for making this bread at 
our blog, Baking Banter.
3 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
1 cup rolled oats (old-fashioned oats)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons brown sugar or honey
2 teaspoons instant yeast OR 1 packet active dry yeast*
1 1/4 cups lukewarm milk
3/4 cup raisins or currants (optional)

*If you use active dry yeast, dissolve it in the warm milk before combining with the remaining ingredients.
Manual Method: In a large mixing bowl, or in the bowl of an electric mixer, combine all of the ingredients, mixing to form a shaggy dough. Knead dough, by hand (10 minutes) or by machine (5 minutes) till it's smooth. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and allow it to rest for 1 hour; it'll become quite puffy, though it may not double in bulk. Shape as directed below.

Bread Machine Method: Place all of the ingredients (except the fruit) into the pan of your machine, program machine for manual or dough, and press Start. About 10 minutes before the end of the second kneading cycle, check dough and adjust its consistency as necessary with additional flour or water; finished dough should be soft and supple. Add the raisins or currants about 3 minutes before the end of the final kneading cycle. Shape as directed below.

Shaping: Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled surface, and shape it into a log. Place the log in a lightly greased 9" x 5" loaf pan, cover the pan (with an acrylic proof cover, or with lightly greased plastic wrap), and allow the dough to rise for 60 to 90 minutes, till it's crested 1" to 2" over the rim of the pan.

Baking: Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 190°F. If the bread appears to be browning too quickly, tent it with aluminum foil for the final 10 minutes of baking. Yield: 1 loaf.

I will be making this one again.  I used dried cranberries but can see adding sunflower seeds, various nuts and fruits as well.  I also think it would make a great bread without any additives.

If you have never made bread this one would be a great starting place.

Baking day results.  Two of the loaves split on the sides again and I even switched places in the oven in case I had a hot spot.  I also rolled  the loaves up jelly roll style and pinched very tightly the edges and ends.  Next time I am going to just  push the dough down into the pan with no seam  and see how that turns out.


And this is the oatmeal bread.  I think you all with bread machines would find this one perfect for it.

I had to bake this in a casserole dish.....I broke my glass loaf pan that same morning.  I need to order a couple more loaf pans.  I can bake 4 loaves without crowding in my over sized oven.  Denim,  I am still loving the Frigidaire stove.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Soap Making Days

I have put it off for so long....but at last, I had no real excuse not to get busy.  I got out all my supplies and worked up two recipes, one for goat's milk with oatmeal and honey and one a super skin conditioning soap.  My skin gets very dry this time of year.

They both turned out......but I  won't really know until I can use some about 6 weeks from now.

My daughter had ordered the oatmeal bars.  I used lavender and rosemary to scent both batches.

As I looked at the mess in the kitchen, a thought occurred to me..................I am  going to move all soap making supplies out to the Milk Parlor.  I may have to buy a new shelving set up but It will be nice to get it all out of the kitchen and off the back porch.  I think DH is starting to worry....

The weather was cool and very windy today. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

New Baby for Willow, Baking Day

Today is a perfectly beautiful fall day, 71°with full sun

The big news on the farm is I now have a new baby to put on Willow!  It is a darling half Jersey; half Holstein bull calf.


Our  neighbor that bought  our old farm that adjoins ours (the one who saw the mountain lion) called and told me about this calf.  Her  son brought it over yesterday evening.  I don't think this baby was ever allowed to nurse its mother because it had no idea that Willow was a source for good food.  He had been fed last night before delivery so we didn't get that fun experience until this morning.  We tied up Willow and  then chased the baby around and around until I could get a halter on him and urge him up under Willow.....once I squeezed that  teat and got it into his mouth he was on his own.  She didn't seem to mind as much this time even though her calf was still locked in the barn and she couldn't see him.  I think maybe his color which is nearer  her own might have helped....maybe cows are color blind.....maybe she is mellowing in her old age.......who knows.  I let the calf nurse for a while even though I could  see Willow hadn't let down her milk.  He was getting something because his little tail was hiked out behind and he was wagging it to beat the gun, always a good sign. When I turned out her calf, she immediately let down and the two rear quarter filled nicely.  Accidentally the new calf  got between her legs and nursed from the rear  which put him right at the best source of milk.  A cow's rear  quarters are always the  heaviest milkers.

I always wear  my gardening apron to protect my front from 'farm soil', but still I had to come in and launder my jeans.....a  splatter occurred.

Here the baby has latched on and I am just keeping him in the right place.



Since I knew they were coming with the calf late in the day and I was needing to bake bread, I decided to make my favorite sweet rolls for them and to do a new recipe for potato bread that makes three loaves.  It is a keeper of a recipe.  I let Josh (the neighbor's son who brought the calf) decide if he wanted the rolls or bread.....he picked bread!  I sent the rolls home  with him anyway.
I did save back two for us.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Weather, Milk Parlor, and new freezer

I started  this October 12.

The storms are south of us so far. We are having some lightening.

At last, the men came yesterday and pulled the bulk tank out of the Milk Parlor. The also patched the ceiling and rehung the old door. The are building a custom fit standard door which will be installed as soon as they get it finished.
Tank RoomBulk TANK removed

I have just begun the cleanup.  The motors near the sink will go to the shop.  I need to paint  the tongue  and groove ceiling once I wash down everything.

They also brought another load of river gravel to smooth out the back barn lot where we load calves.
river gravel fill

I haven't seen any of it yet but will check it out soon.( I did the next day and took the pictures)

Today(Friday) is also the day the new back porch upright freezer arrives...it seems foolish to get another freezer, but I like having some things close to the kitchen and the old one was frosting up constantly so I know it wasn't working properly. I can't even remember when I bought it. It is a brand unheard of today, Marquette.
The new one is 2 cu ft smaller but I will (I vow) quit stuffing these freezers like I was feeding a family of 10!
It will be such a relief to have one I don't have to worry with taping the door shut and defrosting monthly......

This is a nice, new (to  me) feature:  the controls are touch (isn't everything!)on the outside of the door and it has a built in alarm if the door comes open or the temp gets too high.
As you can see it is full.....I had to take two bags of fruit out to the fruit and veg freezer.......Have  I mentioned  that I have inherited my Mother's hoarding instincts....she lived through the 30's depression and lived on potatoes, tomatoes and onions.

Exciting news in our neighborhood this week:

Our immediate neighbor west that bought our old place called to tell me she and her son had seen a mountain lion laying on top of some round bales of hay just west of our place, less than a quarter of a mile. They missed getting a picture but are quite sure of what they saw. We have thought for some time that was what killed a few calves before we got the llamas. Another neighbor just west that lives on Asher Creek says she spotted a mother and three babies recently. Supposedly we have no breeding animals making permanent residence here but we all disagree. I guess until someone catches a picture on a camera the Conservation people will still deny it. I know they don't normally attack people but I haven't taken walks over the back of the farm since we lost those calves.

Weather news:

The recent storm front passed through last night. They talked about tornadoes spotted at Willard which is very close to us but we didn't even get bad winds here. What we did get was 2 full inches of blessed rain.  I just heard the Willard man lost a garage....maybe there was a tornado after all.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

No Frost - Yet-----Wrong!

It was 34° but no frost that I could see out the window.  Very cloudy but no wind.

I finished 16 pints plus one for the fridge yesterday.  I used the Victorio strainer for the first time and was very happy with it.  I used the wrong  cone because I couldn't find the correct one so I have some tiny bits of  seeds and hulls that I don't like but I can Foley Food Mill it out for guests.  Then when I am ready the box to store things, out of the depths falls the correct cone!  Drat, drat.


I have a tray of the last apples we  bought.  I think I will just freeze them.

Sunday Morning

Well, I was wrong about  no frost yesterday morning......I went outside around 4 pm and saw that the sweet potatoes were totally blackened.   I corralled  DH into helping me and cut off the tops and dug them.  There were only strings in the first 4 hills and then, paydirt!  I don't like the huge sizes but I had no control over that. I think this was just 3 or 4 hills.  I only planted 10 and lost some.

Since  I didn't  cut the tops off that morning  as soon as the sun came up, they may not last.  That is what Dad always said.  We will soon know.

The Early Girl tomato had been completely covered by the sweet potato vines and was hanging full of green tomatoes....we just picked a few.  My poor little hot  pepper had just finally begun to grow and was hanging full of small very hot peppers.  I picked a few and then just pulled the entire plant and hung it  in the smoke house.  I found just a few of sweet peppers.....they were covered with the sweet potato vines too.

We definitely had a freeze last night.  About the middle of the week, I will mow the entire east garden down.  I am ready for it all to be gone.

Note to Self:  Next year plant sweet potatoes in the new orchard garden and leave space on either side so I can just mow down  when the vines get out of control.

This is Sunday dinner with my MIL as guest.  I have a Pikes Peak roast in the crock pot with a package of onion soup mix.  I just took a banana cake out of oven (to be frosted with cream cheese frosting).  I will be fixing potatoes and the 'gourmet' green beans with toasted almonds later.  I am also making  a batch of the Best Ever Potato Rolls from Granny Mountain.  DH is still  commenting on the bread from the recipe.  He says it is the softest bread ever which is what he really likes for sandwiches.  It toasts beautifully too.

Friday, October 5, 2012

This was one of those days that plans changed....I was all set to begin the apples but realized we were almost out of bread and I saw Chickens In The Road had posted a good-sounding iced soft oatmeal raisin cookie so.........

I did both.


The bread was from a recipe  for 'best ever potato rolls' on http://grannymountain.blogspot.com/ 
Thank you Joyce for sharing with us.

 I wanted to  try it as two loaves of a soft white bread that would be good for sandwiches.  It turned out well and tasted super.  I did modify it a bit with l more teaspoon of yeast.  I probably should have left it alone because one side ballooned out but my other recipe  for two loaves and 6 cups of flour called for two packages of yeast. I wasn't factoring in that one was a whole wheat bread and the other was not.  

and the cookies,


Tip on cookies:  Do not get in a  rush and put two or more sheets in the oven at one time.  I did that and before I knew it, the bottom pan was way too brown (burned) on the bottoms....chickens were very pleased.

The recipe is on Suzanne's blog, Chickens in the Road.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

More Green Beans and a New Helper

2:30 AM; I knew it was too good to  last! 

We sold the calves yesterday and while DH went in to the sale, I stayed home and picked the rest of the pole beans.  I got more than the last time which was both good and bad.  Good for the food bank but bad for  me to have to process.  I would rather work in the garden than process the results.

I was surprised  late in the afternoon DH said why don't "we" break the beans now. I jumped on that suggestion.  We both sat on the porch again; this time with him helping break them and made fast work of the beans.  He then told me I should finish them that evening  instead of the next morning.  By now it was 5:30 and I didn't really want to.....but the more I thought about having to do them the next day, I did it.  I got 9 packages again but some were larger  than before.  We also took out the tiny gourmet size beans that I picked for my MIL and I froze them in separate packages.  These are the kind they leave whole and use fancy trimmings on top.  I think they look kind of nice. 

They are about the size of a straw or pencil.

I couldn't believe DH sat with me and helped through the entire hour!  He now has a new job and I told him so.  He didn't seem to mind.  It was fun with someone helping.  We enjoyed watching the  chickens  scratch in the grass and, of course, one of his cat joined us on the porch.  We also had a couple of hummers coming in for nectar and the always constant noise of various birds that  we couldn't identify singing to us way up in the tree tops.

BTW, we were very pleased with  the sale results.  A few of the calves were lighter than we normally sell but they bring the highest price per pound and we wanted the cows to have time to put on some weight before winter hits.  Early weaning helps with this.

Today I start with the apples......no help there I'm afraid.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Sale Day, Four o'Clocks, Green Beans and miscellaney

At last, a good night's sleep!  Up at 3:45 AM (that's good for me) .  Our weather remains beautiful and cool but I do understand a possibility of a freeze is near.  I must remember to dig up my rosemary and put it in the barn.  The sweet potatoes look to me a total failure....all tops and no roots.

The only thing that is doing well in the garden:

I remembered the Foodsaver this time .   Some  were over a quart and some under.  This 9 brings my total to 18. 

I still have to finish picking this morning.  I did the others late in the day and stopped  when my tub was full and I was tired.  I will probably get about half what it did.  Now if frost takes them, so be it.

While I was doing the beans, I poured a gallon of cider in my Maslin pan and began the reducing process.
It went down to this,

The talk about using it as syrup makes me  wonder......mine reduction is very tart!


DH got someone to haul the calves  this time since our trailer won't hold over 10.  They picked them up at 5 yesterday evening and took them into the sale barn.  DH will go in this morning to watch them sell.  I am keeping my fingers crossed for good prices.

We hear  the farm news daily and it doesn't sound good for any of us, farmers and consumers alike.  I would be stocking up on pork for the freezer now.  Predictions are that pig farmers will dump the market because of  the high price of corn; market  will be flooded; prices will go down......temporarily.  Then lookout!  The same could be true for beef.

Then have you heard the talk about the price of milk?  Predictions are off the charts until and unless the farm bill is signed!

All the news  makes me so grateful to be living a pretty self-sustainable life here on the farm.  I could milk my cow feeding her only grass and hay alone.  She wouldn't give as much but she could support the two of us and her calf.  Same with chickens.....if I let them graze they could get by for about half and maybe less than they do now.  We could also eat grass-fed beef or milk fed baby beef (up  to 7 months old). 
My sympathies are with everyone else.  That is why I encourage people to plant a garden even if it is just a 10x10 plot in the yard.

Also remember gardening doesn't need all the input we are using.  I bet my Grandparents never spent on anything but seeds now and then.  Just build up  the soil by using leaves, spent plants and keep it mulched. 


A friend recently was talking about broken colors and 4 o'clocks and I realized that is what my little clump is,

I guess, technically, this wouldn't be a broken color but it is edged with an apricot color.