Sunday, July 30, 2006

Patty Pan Squash

Someone had asked that I post a picture of patty pan squash when we harvested it. Here in this basket are zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers and 2 patty pans. They are the round ones on top that look sort of like a flying saucer. They taste the same as the yellow squash, but I am told they keep their texture better if canned or cooked.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Newest Additions on the Farm

Well, we ended up getting pigs. We do them about once a year. They are so fun to watch. People think that pigs are so filthy. They are actually very clean animals. They go mess in the part of their area that is farthest from their food. If you give them a nice muddy spot, they will wallow in it. Pigs can't sweat and this keeps them cool. They have already rooted up a large area. You see them doing a dance up against a tree to scratch an itch. One of them was standing over a log doing a nice little dance scratching his belly.

We also got one more jersey bull calf. This one is slightly larger than the other two. They are all the same age, but this one has been on a nursemaid cow, while the other 2 have had a bottle. The newest one, Texas T-Bone (because he is so big) has not enjoyed his new schedule. He is letting us and our neighbors know in a very loud way, that he wants to eat throughout the day, not just at certain times. We told our neighbors when they moved here (they bought 2 acres from us) that they will either realize they love a farm, or they never want to farm. They have been a real help with animals that get out, or an emergency butchering session, etc. The children in the picture above are 2 of the neighbor children.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Pickle and Relish Recipes.

Shawn asked for my pickle recipe that everyone raved over and Brenda wanted my relish recipe. So, here they are.

Crock Pickles
I make these in a crock and then transfer them to a gallon jar that I keep in the fridge. However, you can make them in a jar or a big pan as well.

4 Tblsp. Pickling spice
½ cup Salt
2 Tblsp. Dry mustard
½ tsp. Cayenne
½ to 1 cup sugar ( I use organic cane crystals – it just depends on how sweet you like them)
4 cloves of garlic (I did not have cloves this time, so I used 3 tsp. of minced garlic)
½ tsp. alum
1 quart plus 1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 quarts water.
1 Vidalia or sweet onion cut up
2 to 3 sprigs of dill

Put all the above in crock or jar. Add pickles until you can’t add anymore and have them be in the brine.

Cover and stir every day for 4 to 6 days. Put in jar and keep in fridge

Sweet Pickle Relish

1 quart of chopped cucumbers * See note below
2 cups of chopped Vidalia or sweet onions
2 cups chopped green bell peppers (I used one red one to add some color)
¼ cup salt
3 ½ cups sugar (I used organic cane crystals)
2 cups red wine vinegar (You can use apple cider vinegar as well)
1 Tblsp. celery seeds
1 Tblsp. Mustard seeds

*I put the cucumbers, onions and peppers through my meat grinder. They came out the perfect size and texture. It was very easy to do as well. There will be lots of liquid, that is OK as you drain it later. After you have chopped and measured the above veggies, put them all in a large bowl, sprinkle the salt over them and then cover the whole thing with cold water. Let it sit for 2 hours.

Drain it while really pressing out the liquid.

Combine the sugar, vinegar and spices in a pan and bring to a boil. Put your drained veggies in and let it simmer for 10 mins. Put it into hot jars, leaving ¼ inch head space. Water bath for 10 mins. This made just over 5 pints.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Gardens and Miracle Corn

I knew that I was going to need a few more cucumbers on Wednesday. I was down to just 5 in the house. I have made crock pickles (everyone who has tasted them raved over them and asked for the recipe), dill pickles, bread and butter pickles and pickle relish. I made the relish yesterday. So, Tuesday night we went out into the garden and the first picture shows our harvest of that night.

We have a story at our house about miracle corn. My husband planted corn in our garden in Florida. He worked just 7 mins. away so he would come home for lunch. After lunch, we would go out and walk through the garden. His corn was not coming up very well. There were maybe 3 or 4 corn plants total. He was really bummed. One day, my son and I were at Lowes. I had never seen corn plants for sale with the veggies before that day and have not seen them since that day. However, they had corn plants. We bought a bunch, ran home planted them and tried to smooth the dirt and hide the plastic trays they came in. We went out after lunch to stroll through the garden. I had to walk a few steps behind him, because I was having trouble keeping the smile off of my face. When he got out there and saw the corn, he said in a voice full of disbelief and excitement, "Marci, LOOK at the corn!!!!" I said, "Wow, you've got to be kidding me!!" in my best surprised voice. He turned and looked at me, then at the corn and then at me again. He then said, "You brat." with a big grin on his face. We call it his miracle corn. Well, he has not had much luck since then in growing corn, although we have not tried it every year. This year, his corn is doing wonderful. He is so excited. The second picture shows the corn. The first planting is in the background (you can see the tassels)and the second planting is in front of it.

The next picture is of one of our Sugar Baby watermelons. They are growing really well. The next picture is of the canteloupe. It is hard to see, but there are 2 larger ones in the background and then one little fuzzy baby one just starting. The last picture is one of the pie pumpkins. It is so fun to dig around under the leaves of the garden plants looking for treasures. All three of us can get excited about finding things. Growing a garden is really a chance to see the miracles of our God and creator.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Godliness With Contentment

1Timothy 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.

Wow, that verse slaps me way too often. Today was one of those days. God has abundantly blessed me with cucumbers. I am trying to be a good steward with them. I have given many away, and I have made pickles. Today I was hoping to get a couple of batches of dill pickles done and maybe some pickle relish. Well, I am on my second batch of dills, but oh my attitude really needed some adjusting.

Our house is in the throws of remodeling. This is not a quick remodel, but one that is lasting years. The next step in the process is to move our washer and dryer. Once that is accomplished, then we will set the pantry up where the washer and dryer are now. Until that happens, I have a makeshift pantry that is rather like a death trap to get into. Plus, I have things on my kitchen counters that won't be there when I have my pantry. So, as I carefully went into the pantry for more salt, watching where I step and holding my dress up to not catch on the screws sticking out of the shelves on the floor.... My attitude started there. A few other things happened and then I had to get some grape leaves. I have learned that grape leaves put in with your pickles keep them crisp. The Plain People that live all around me taught me this trick. Well, our bush hog is in need of repair. The men have been trying, but this one bolt, will NOT come off. So, in my bare legs under my dress I have to wade through grass and weeds that are above my knees. Then I had to go around an overgrown patch of briars, make my way through a whole line of poke berry trees and then stretch out over some more briars to reach my grapevines. The only leaves with in reach are mostly eaten by the Japanese beetles. =) Oh, I felt so sorry for myself. I started with the pity party and the woe is me.

Then God whispered in my ear.... Count your blessings. Sin not with your lips or your heart. Godliness with contentment is great gain. Praise the Lord that He perseveres with me. I need to get my eyes back on the Son and keep my focus there. I love that song... Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim. In the light of His glory and grace.

Here is the pickle recipe. It is really good.

Dill Pickles

Slice your cucumbers and put in cold water for an hour. I put a few ice cubes on top.

Make your brine:
Boil together –
3 quarts of water
1 quart of vinegar
1 cup salt

Put 1 garlic clove, 1 sprig of dill and 1 grape leaf (to keep them crisp) in each jar and then pack with the cucumber slices. Pour the brine over the pickles.

Water bath for 10 mins. Makes 7 quarts

Monday, July 24, 2006

How Bluegrass Are You?

How Bluegrass Are You?
Your Result: Ultimate Bluegrasser

You've been singing Flatt & Scruggs since you were in diapers. You can pick a guitar, banjo, fiddle, dobro, mandolin, and a bass (and if you can't you should!) Your custom modified camper with the banjo shaped door handles adds a nice touch. Keep it going, Bill would be proud!

You're Purty Bluegrass
You're Somewhat Bluegrass
Ehhh....not Bluegrass at all
How Bluegrass Are You?

I took the quiz and the above is my results. =)

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Where's My Momma??

This was a full and busy weekend. Our son has been in Florida all week helping my Dad to get some things done around his house. Since Joshua is a jack of all trades, he asked his Papa to make a list of things that needed done and then he went down and made them right. I am thankful he has the heart to do that.

Last year, we did something we never do. When our 2 jersey cows calved, we left the calves on the Mommas. We were still getting milk, but then we got less and less and less. At that time we really were not set up to run 2 pastures of cows, so we had to keep the calves in there. This actually ended up being a blessing. When I got sick in August, my husband stayed at his parents house while I was in ICU and even a few days after that. They live 5 minutes from the hospital, instead of over an hour where we live. So, when people filled in and did our chores, they did not have to mess with milking cows. This past Friday evening, we took one of our milk cows, Molasses, to a neighbor's angus bull. They will keep her over there for a bit until she is bred and it won't matter as we are not milking her. Yesterday, we took our other cow to a friend that has milk cows. This cow, Buttercup, still had a little bit of milk. Her calf/heifer was still nursing some even though she turned a year in April. So, he is going to try and milk her with his cows to keep her in milk if she is. My dear, sweet, adorable husband has allowed me to try one last time for a honey colored jersey heifer calf. Buttercup is honey colored. Molasses is very dark brown although she is full jersey. I really like the lighter honey color. In fact when Molasses was born, I named her Honey. Then she turned dark, so I changed it to Molasses. =) Well, since we took Buttercup away, Sucanat (her daughter) has not quit bellowing. SHE WANTS HER MOMMA!!! Blackstrap (Molasses's daughter) has hollered a few times, but Suki is TRUMPETING loudly. Our poor neighbors. She did it most of the night as well. She has been a bit quieter today, unless she sees a human and then she starts again. She got out of the fence twice. She was herded back in both times by my husband, our dog Star and the neighbor and 2 of his children. My husband went out about 5AM to put her back in by himself. We are all tired today. =)

The above pictures are of the sky last night. It was not raining, but the pink and salmon colors were just beautiful. The last one is of Sir Loin of Beef. He is growing up.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Friends, Pickles and Monsters =)

A dear friend came over unexpectedly yesterday to visit for a bit. She had borrowed a DVD from me and she had some things she brought to me. She is moving out of state soon and I am really going to miss her. I felt blessed to have another visit with her before she goes. She lives about an hour and a half from me, which is far enough to make visiting a treat instead of daily fare. She is one of those rare souls that can be herself. She has the sweetest chuckle. She brought me the casserole dish that you see in the picture. She knows I liked it and she gave it to me as a reminder of her. I will treasure it and think of her whenever I use it.

I finally got some pickles done yesterday. Someone used to give me bread and butter pickles a long time ago. They are the best I have ever tried. I got the recipe for them and decided to give them a try. I am told the longer they sit, the better they are. I will probably make another batch of these, once I get some more red wine vinegar. I also made one gallon of crock pickles. Oh, they are SO GOOD!! I had my friend try them yesterday. Her eyes lit up and she asked for the recipe. I had asked her the day I made them about a substitute. The recipe called for 2 cloves of garlic and I have always used 4. However, I did not have any cloves of garlic, just minced garlic. I asked 2 people and they both said between 1/4 and 1/2 of a tsp. per clove. So, I who LOVES garlic put in 3 heaping tsps. =) When I told her what I had done and that the pickles she was tasting was that recipe, she told me to change the recipe to include that. Actually, the garlic is still not a strong, strong flavor. Maybe over time it will be.

The last picture is to show what happens if you do not pick your zuchinni and yellow squash EVERY day. You get monster size yellow squash and zuchinnis that you could use for a baseball bat.

Thanks everyone for leaving your comments. I enjoy seeing who stopped to visit at my place today. =) May the Lord give you a wonderful and productive weekend!!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Garden Loves This Weather

We have had above normal temperatures for this time. It sounds like much of the country is in the same boat. However, we have been blessed with enough rain. We are very thankful for that. The plants have gone balistic. Even the zuchinni which still has some powdery mildew is growing. We have gotten lots of zuchinni, yellow squash and cucumbers. We have also had lots of lettuce.

I went out a little bit ago to pick the cucumbers again as I am getting ready to make 2 batches of pickles. I have a HUGE salad bowl. You could probably wash a small infant in it. It was heaped up and over flowing. Man, those things grow fast. I also found 2 of the largest yellow squash I have ever seen hiding. They got too big for their hiding place. I have a friend who slices the squash and then dehydrates them. She uses them in soup or spaghetti in the winter. She said they are not all soggy, but seem to retain their texture. That is what I will be doing as well.

Monday, July 17, 2006

The Beauty of Blossoms

I love this time of year. Everything is starting to bloom. The flowers are all so different from one another in shape, color, texture, scent and I am sure other things I am not thinking of. I always marvel at how God could have made this world black and white and we would never have known the difference. However, he chose to give us beauty and so many different forms of beauty. The different trees are beautiful, the lay of the land, the sky colors, the colors of the oceans and lakes. These are all flowers in my yard. Some of my flower beds have seen better days with less weeds, but I am trying to make sure our vegetable garden is sort of weed free. We are making the veggie garden more of a priority. Even in our neglect of the flower gardens they are still blooming madly. God is still receiving praise and glory from His creation.

I will post pictures of our vegetable garden soon. It is really growing. These really hot days and a bit of rain here or there has really done its work.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Processing Poultry

For any of you who have always wondered how we get our chickens from the above stage to the place they are ready to be cooked, this video is excellent. Well worth watching if you want to learn how. a3: Processing Poultry Jim Warmke has done a great job.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Harvest Time is Starting

Well, the inside of my house was really suffering. =) I was busy, busy outside and only did the barest of inside chores. Well, after a week of that, it really showed. So, Monday I stayed in all day and cleaned, and straightened and all sorts of things. I had checked on things in the garden over the weekend and picked what was ready. We still have lots of weeding to catch up on, plus stay up on current weeding. Then my Dad is up here from Florida. He was coming to my house Tuesday afternoon and was staying for dinner. I wanted to make up something special for dinner, and do some other clean up type stuff around the house. On Wednesday it rained all day, so I did not go in the garden. OK... for 3 days I was not out there checking on things.

I have quite a few cucumbers in my refrigerator. We have used some in salads and I have given some away. On my way to milk the goats last night, I noticed a couple of rather large cucumbers. Now after 3 days of not being looked at a couple of large cucumbers did not worry me. Well, you see the haul that I made last night. I stopped and started picking and picking. I actually have given some of what I picked away already. So, today I will be making pickles and a bowl of cukes and sweet onions in vinegar and sugar. I am going to make crock pickles today because they are so easy. I am waiting on a tried and true and tasted by me bread and butter pickle recipe from my niece. I have always loved her mother's bread and butter pickles and they are giving me the recipe. I have 4 zuchinni (this is after giving some away) and one yellow squash as well. I will try and incorporate them into dinner tonight. Have you ever heard of zoodles? I have this nifty contraption that you can make long strings out of potatoes or zuchinni. You use the zuchinni in place of pasta. You don't boil them like you do pasta. To cook zoodles you saute them briefly in a pan with some olive oil or butter. Also add a bit of garlic or if you are me, add LOTS of garlic. It only takes a few moments to get to a crispy tender texture sort of like pasta.

I don't know if my cucumbers cross pollinated or what. I had 4 hills of pickle cucumbers and 2 hills of regular cukes. I can't figure out which is which. Does anyone have any clues? I was going to write down a map of my garden, and then talked myself out of it, because I would remember. HAH!! Don't listen to yourself if that is what your are hearing.

Monday, July 10, 2006


Our babies on the farm are growing up. The top picture is Cookies-N-Cream. It looks like he is smiling in this picture. I tried to get a good picture of Chocolate's face, but he wouldn't look at me. These two lambs out of all of them have the cutest faces. The next picture is Sir Loin of Beef. I go out and in a sing-song type voice call, "Sir Loin" and he comes running. He can suck down a half gallon bottle of milk in about 23 seconds. Jersey calves are really among my favorite animal babies. I love their huge eyes. They are so gangly and they can really bump you around looking for a teat. =) The bottom picture is the neighbor's calf that is in with ours.

I have a lot to do today. Most of it is inside stuff. I have neglected the inside since the outside needs so much work. I still have part of the garden to weed and I have to finish mulching my herb garden, but the inside has waited long enough. I have dog hair tumbleweeds, because my guys like the dogs in the house. I noticed the bathroom sink is all dirty from us washing our hands after coming in from the garden. I have kept up with the kitchen though.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Oh How the Weeds Grow!!

We have been staying pretty much on top of our garden this year. After all the things that happened in our life last year, we just let the garden go. So, this year, we have been trying extra hard to keep up with it. We left a week ago Saturday morning for Kentucky and did not return until Tuesday evening. It looked like we had not weeded our garden in a month. The only place that was not weedy was where we took the time to put the paper and the straw down. If you look at the third picture that is what most of the garden looked like when we got back. I guess they had some rain, which did water the garden for us. It seems that the weeds grow way faster than the plants you want, especially with some rain. =)

My dear sweet husband has been off this week. If you look at the bottom picture that is what we have been doing a lot of hours this week. We had to go a wedding on Friday night. I felt like I was crippled from bending over in the garden. I was walking very slowly. =) Also, since Michael has been off, I have not been on here very much.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Family Reunion in Kentucky

We had a family reunion in Kentucky this past weekend. The weather was clear, but it was very hot and humid. It was in the high 90's and very humid. However, it was on a big lake, so you could always jump into the water. Also, there was an old well in the front yard. It has the sweetest, best tasting, coldest water I have ever tasted. We have gone to this place since I was a little girl. The well was a popular place with the children. Some one big would bring up buckets of the water, hand over hand. Then they would pour them into other buckets and containers sitting around the well. The children and some of the adults would splash themselves or each other with the ice cold water. When you wash your hair in it, you are sure that your brain is frozen.

There were 2 pontoon boats and a speed boat there. We would all get in and go over to these cliffs where people could jump off. The first picture is my son jumping off the highest part of the cliff. There were different levels to jump from. I was amazed at how brave some of the smaller children were. The second picture is of one of our boats we were on.

The next picture is a rock overhang that my Grandpa and Dad used to take us in the boat. We would get in underneath the rock cliff and they would tell us how that rock falls every 100 years and they think this is the 99th year, 364th day, etc. It has still not fallen. =)

The last picture is of the old house that is there. It is over 100 years old. The part that has the darker roof is all made of hand hewn logs. That part has the living area and kitchen. The other part has 2 bedrooms and a bathroom. We used to always have to use the outhouse. My Grandpa put the bathroom in when I was probably around 12. He just used the smallest of the 3 bedrooms in that part of the house. The entire house used to have the red tin roof.

There was no hot water in the old house, so baths were in the lake or at the well. I cheated and went on Monday night to my Aunt and Uncle's house (which is behind the old house) and took a shower there. They live there all summer, so there house is totally modern.

It was good to see family and have a chance to talk about old times. It was sad that this was our first reunion without my Mom. I sure would have liked to sit and talk to her.