Thursday, July 31, 2008

New Store Site is Up!!

We have the new General Store site up and running. I am still working every day to put all of the items we sell on there. You will have to check back to see what all we have. We are actually hoping to have some good children's books on there for Christmas giving.

Stop on over by clicking on the banner above. Let us know what you think. Do you feel it is easy to navigate? Is there something you really don't like about it? I really would like to change the background color, but haven't found the right place to change it. =) I am learning as I go and getting lots of help from someone.

Thursday Product Highlight

On Thursdays I plan on highlighting a product that we carry in the General Store. This will give people a chance to hear about why we chose to carry that product.

Today, I am going to talk about the Champion Juicer. We have had one of these for several years now. We know people that have used theirs for over 20 years. These juicers are a really powerful machine. The Champion Juicer is the answer to every juicing problem. Because it operates on the mastication process, the Champion Juicer chews the fibers and breaks up the cells of vegetables and fruits. This give you more fiber, enzymes, vitamins and trace minerals. This all results in the darker, richer color of the juice and a sweeter, richer more full-bodied flavor.

You can get another screen and make applesauce or other fruit sauces. Many people use the Champion to make banana ice cream. You just put frozen bananas through the juicer and you have an instant healthy frozen treat. You can make baby food and peanut butter or other nut butters.

We sell both a domestic unit and also a heavy duty commercial unit. Each one is available in the four colors you see below.

The domestic unit is powered by a 1/3 horsepower electric motor. An Improved model with more starting torque, stainless steel motor shaft with latest design of front and rear endshield, front and rear ball bearings for smoother running and cooler operation.

The commerical unit has heavy duty front and rear ball bearing installation for smoother running, maximum R.P.M.’S. Added winding capacity which increases starting torque and allows the motor to run cooler increasing the durability factor and performance under heavy use conditions. Stainless steel shaft for longer wear.

The following is from the Champion Website...

What makes a Champion... a champion?

Quality and value. Our passion for promoting healthy living through the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables extends nearly a half century to the introduction of our very first Champion Juicer. Since that time, we've continually refined its operation and meticulously enhanced its capabilities to extract every ounce of nutrition and flavor from the fruits, vegetables and grains you enjoy the most.
The Champion 2000+ Juicer* includes a number of features that bring the power and durability of commercial juicers directly to your kitchen countertop:

A Champion is easy to use.
Designed with simplicity in mind, the Champion 2000+ Juicer doesn't require nuts, bolts, screws or clamps. Assembly can be completed in seconds. Cleaning is equally quick and painless.

A Champion is very versatile.
A large feeding chamber reduces prep time by eliminating the need to cut vegetables into smaller pieces. In addition to fresh juices, this unit can also make fruit sauces, baby foods, nut butters, ice cream, sherbets and everybody's favorite - fruit smoothies. Exchange a single part, and your juicer is instantly transformed into a homogenizer. A grain mill attachment extends your healthier eating choices to include grains and flours.

A Champion is durable.
Long-lasting stainless steel construction resists both wear and food odor. A stainless steel shaft is complemented by the tempered stainless steel blades cast directly into the cutter for added strength. This way, the blades will never separate, twist, tarnish or rust. The durability of the Champion 2000+ Juicer is backed by a 5 year limited warranty on all juicing parts and a 3 year warranty on it' motor.

The bottom line:

A Champion delivers the goods.
Your Champion 2000+ Juicer is designed to produce the highest possible quality of juices and foods. It's a difference you can see in the color of the juice: darker, richer colors contain more of the pigments - and nutrients - you desire, while the extracted pulp is pale in color. And rest assured, it's a difference you can taste. Champion juices will likely be richer, sweeter and more full bodied than any juice you've tasted before.

If you are looking for a juicer, the Champion is truly a long lasting workhorse.

Come and see what we have in the General Store. We have added many new items.

Pickle Making Question

My sweet friend Patti (who I haven't seen for years) asked a question about hot pint jars. Many people do this many different ways. When I water bath, here is what I do. I fill my canner and put the first round of jars that I am going to use. Just a little aside here... I don't use the blue or black granite wear canners anymore. I had 3 that rusted through. I also did not care for the racks. I burned myself more than once using those things. I found a big stainless steel pan with a lid and I use the round rack from my pressure canner in the bottom. After the water in the canner is boiling (making the jars hot), I get them out one by one and fill them, wipe the rim, put the lid and ring on and then put them back into the water.

One reason it is a good idea to have your jars hot is because you are filling them with very hot liquid and food. Jars can break if they are too cool and you are putting something hot in them. I know some people run their jars through the dishwasher right before canning. They take the hot jars out of the dishwasher and fill them. That works as long as the jars don't cool down. I know other people who put the jars in the oven and turn it on warm and take their jars from the oven. I just like to do it the way I do. It is the easiest for me. Patti, I hope that answered your questions. If not, ask away. =)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Green Beans, Flowers & Friends

I finally was able to pick enough green beans that we can have them for a meal. The first planting has not done really well. The second planting will be much better I hope and pray. We could sure use a good rain.
I went around my yard and picked myself a beautiful bouquet to bring into the house.

The WN girl came over today with her Mama to give me a present she found for me. It is a sunflower salt and pepper shaker. Isn't it cute??? Thanks Fiddlin Farm Girl. Be sure and check out the beautiful aprons she makes here.

Pickles And Trip Yesterday

Rachel asked me in the comments on the last post if I had a good bread and butter pickle recipe. My Sister-in-law used to make the best bread and butter pickles I ever tasted. I finally got the recipe from her (through my niece) a couple of years ago. I had tried so many different recipes and they were OK, but I was looking for GREAT!! These are GREAT!!! Now mind you, they have a lot of sugar, but since I don't sit down and eat a whole jar (although its tempting) I go ahead and make them. Bread & Butter Pickles

6 cups Vidalia onion pieces
4 quarts cucumber slices
1/3 cup salt

Mix the cucumbers and onions together in large pot. Sprinkle the salt on and cover with ice. Let sit for 3 hours. Drain well, but do not rinse.

5 cups sugar
3 cups red wine vinegar
2 Tblsp. Mustard seeds
1 ½ tsp. turmeric
1 ½ tsp. celery seed

Add this mixture to the cucumbers and onions. Bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and pack into hot pint jars.

Water bath 10 mins.


Yesterday, my husband dropped me off at my dad's house at 6AM. We left and headed for Kentucky. My Aunt had a stroke back in May and she had been home a week and we wanted to go and visit. She is doing much better than we expected, but she is still very frail and has a ways to go. They said the kind of stroke she had leaves 50% of its victims dead. She was totally paralyzed on her right side, but has regained much use of her arm, hand and leg. She ate by herself using her right hand and she was able to walk with a walker. We are praising the Lord, but continuing to pray for her.

They live near Lexington, KY. There were a lot of HUGE beautiful horse farms all around that area. They live not too far from Kentucky Horse Park. We got there a bit early and she had a therapist there with her, so we were driving around looking at the farms and horses. Here are a couple of pictures from one pasture that had babies and mamas.

Here is some of Lexington's finest. I thought it was very appropriate that they were on horseback!!

Not too far south of Lexington is a little town called Waco. There is a pottery place there called Bybee Pottery. It was established in 1809 by either my Step-Great Grandpa or my Step-Great-Great Grandpa. My Dad wanted me to see it. He had taken my Mom there About 12 years ago. We decided we would go and look around. We made a wrong turn one place and it took us awhile to find it. We finally pulled into the parking lot at 3:39PM. It had closed at 3:30PM. =) Here are some pictures of the building. I guess the whole thing is pretty old.

Here is my Dad looking to see if anyone was in there.

Nobody is there, so off we went. =)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Wee George & The Chicks

That title sounds like some kind of band or something. I was over here adding items to my store page (you need to check out all the new stuff - think up coming gift giving) and the WN (Wonderful Neighbor) girl came over and brought me Boy George or is that Baby George. That is her fingers holding the leaf that he is on. I have never had one this tiny before. Maybe I should name him Wee George.

Here is Big George. He already looks bigger to me than he did yesterday when my dear sweet Michael brought him to me. The red you see are my gladiolas on the counter.

I have needed to get my banty chicks out on the grass for awhile. We had this old pen that we built in 2000. It is almost ready for the burn pile, but it is going to hold the little chickies for a bit. The wood is pretty soft. I was talking to the WN girl when the oldest WN boy came over to say howdy. He and his Dad have been off to the far north (way up in Canada) on a fishing trip. He caught some BIG fish. They are not stories either, I saw pictures. Anyway, they asked about this contraption in my yard. When I told them what it was, they went to work and started getting it together. The WN boy ran home and got their heavy duty stapler and they undid the rolls of hardware cloth and went to town. Then, I drug a huge tarp that had holes in it up to put on one side to keep rain out and give them shade. Michael helped me get the tarp attached, and he cut a piece of wood for the opening.

Look at these little peeps. They are truly having a bad hair day. They are so cute and frizzy!!

We got them in, put the top on and put a brick to keep critters out. They are thrilled to be in the grass and I know they will be thrilled with the sunshine tomorrow.

Vision Forum Sale

Vision Forum is nearing the end of their 2008 home school conference season. Over the past several months, the Phillips family and the staff have been privileged to minister to families all across the country. Their teams have traveled from beautiful Washington State to sunny Orlando; from the New Hampshire mountains of New Hampshire to the coastline of California; and from Minnesota’s many lakes to Arizona’s desert scape — and we’ve enjoyed every minute of it!

And now they want to offer a final encouragement to you. At each conference, Vision Forum offers discounts and set specials on our materials. In keeping with these rates, Vision Forum is now offering one last opportunity for you to take advantage of their conference special pricing for many of their key ministry products, CDs, and books for the family. For four days only, they have selected over sixty of the top products offered by Doug Phillips and Vision Forum during the conference season and made them available to you at a 35% savings -- much like you would find if you visited their book table at one of these conference events.

These key books, CDs, DVDs and family resources are available at a discounted price through midnight (CDT) August 1, 2008. Hurry to take advantage of these savings! Offer good while supplies last.

Ministry Products at Conference Special Pricing Save 35%
Click here to view the entire listing.

Count Your Blessings Monday

Here is an opportunity for you to give thanks unto the Lord for a blessing in your life. If you have a blog, please sign Mr. Linky below and post on your blog. Please link back to this blog and you may use the picture above. If you do not have a blog, leave a comment on this post telling us what you are thankful for and what you are counting as a blessing today. This is a way that we can encourage one another. Many of our blessings we will have pictures of and we can share those as well. I think that many times we forget that it is a blessing to be able to breath, to get out of bed, to hold a baby... Share your blessings with us. They encourage others. We can share so many other things.... special gifts, recipes, let's take the time to share how God has blessed us!!

Today, I am thankful for being able to breath freely. I know several people with asthma and have known people with different illnesses or diseases that struggle for each breath. This morning, the air is a bit thick with humidity and I can feel it in my breathing. Yet, I am still able to breath freely and take large breaths.

In thanking the Lord for that, I also ask you to pray for Tricia. I have posted before about her and her Cystic Fibrosis. She got pregnant and they wanted her to end the pregnancy because it might kill her. She did everything in her power to help that baby along and did almost lose her life in the process. They also told her that if she did have this baby, she would probably not be able to ever gain back enough strength and health to have the double lung transplant she needed. Gwyneth was born as a micro-preemie in January of this year. Then in April, Tricia received her new lungs. Everything went great at first, but then as a side effect that can happen, she got a certain kind of lung cancer. It did not respond well to treatment and she is now having to take a more heavy duty treatment. She does not complain. She is a real champion. Pray for her. You can read more of their story over at Confessions of a CF Husband.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A New George

The last George that I found is not a Monarch caterpillar. The WN (Wonderful Neighbor) girl told me that it was some sort of moth. Right now, that George is in some sort of hairy cocoon.

My dear sweet Michael was out on the property and found me a new George. This one is a Monarch caterpillar. I tried to take a couple of pictures of him, but they are both blurry. I will have to try again tomorrow.

I Was Given An Award

Holly and Katie over at The 2 Sister's Blog have given
me this award.
Thanks Girls!

Once an award is received,the rules are as follows:
1. Put the logo on your blog .
2. Add a link to the person who awarded you.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs. 4. Add links to those blogs on your blog.
5. Leave a message for your nominees on their blog.

I am giving the award to the following blogs:

Melanie at Candle By Night Blog

Clara at Clara's Corner

Peggy at Hidden Haven Homestead

Jenny at J the Milker

Heather at Muddy Boot Acres

Sharri at Sharri's Snapzshotz

Teresa at Homemaker Under Construction

I would also give it to Ginny at R and V Farmstead, but she won't take awards. =)

There are others that I would love to give it to as well, but they said to pick 7.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Chicken Day

Today was chicken pick up day. Everything went well. The chickens were smaller this year. The last 3 years, our average weight has been 5 to 5.5 lbs. This year the average weight was 3.9.

Julie asked in the last post why we butchered them so early. We did a couple of things different this year. First of all we switched to a different feed. We had been having all feed made to our recipe. In order to have the organic items we wanted in it, we had to go about an hour away to get our feed. This really cost in gas and add that to the rising price of feed and it did not seem feasible this year. We found someone closer who does feed that is organic. With the shorter drive and being able to get organic feed, we took the plunge. We know what all is in the feed, but not in what ratios. We need to get the recipe and look at our feed recipe from last year. So the first change was a feed change.

The second change was that we butchered them one week early. These birds are bred to be large at 8 weeks. Our normal butcher date is 8.5 weeks, because they are born mid week and we butcher on Saturdays. We thought that with the higher feed prices we could get by with one week's less feed. Somewhere between these 2 items it did not work.

So, we will be checking the recipe for feed and we will let any future chicks go the 8.5 weeks. We have always been happy with the chicks from the hatchery we use, so we don't believe it was the chicks.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Chickens, Pasture and Flowers

Our broilers are 7 1/2 weeks old now. Tomorrow they go in the freezer. They are not quite as big as normal, but they are still a good size. We will let you know what the average weight is. This is our chicken until next year and chicken for several other families.

See the little guy by the waterer? I doubt he will even be 3 lbs. There is always at least one little one, but this guy looks smaller than normal.

I finally was able to get a picture of a bee on my Echinacea. They don't like me getting close and they fly away.

This is one of my Rudbeckia's blooming. I don't know why but mine always blooms later than everyone elses and doesn't have as many flowers.

This is that flower that is growing on stems taller than me. Someone told me that think it is a Wild Coreopsis.

I want to say this has Geranium in its name, but I am not for sure on it either.

Even the Queen Anne's lace can be pretty.

Here is a Jewelweed flower. Jewelweed is the best remedy for poison ivy. The stem is hollow with thickish walls. We cut a portion of the stem and put it through an old garlic press we keep for that purpose. It comes out almost like salve and you can rub it on the itchy places. It works for bug bites too. We were told one time that anywhere you see poison ivy to look around that God had placed a remedy nearby.

Our pasture was originally seeded to resemble a European lea (meadow). Many of the plants have died back, but you can still see lots of them. There is some alfalfa, but I have not noticed much of it this year. I may not have been out there at the right time either. This is one of the vetches that is part of our pasture. There is also some Crown Vetch, but you don't see as much of that.

There is also Yarrow. There was a couple of other herbs, but I can't remember what we were told.

There is White Clover.

There is Red Clover.

The animals all seem to enjoy the pasture. We are missing something in the soil though. We are getting LOTS of thistles.

Garden Stroll

I wanted to get some newer pictures of the garden. There are some weeds as you can see. We are working on them. =) The corn is looking good, but the bottom leaves are turning yellow. Did this happen to anyone else? The beets and bush beans are in the foreground. We have some bush beans in another area as well.
My pepper plants are finally taking off. This is one of the very few blooms that are out there.

The tomato plants are tall and lush, but there are not tons of tomatoes and none of them are turning red.

Here are some of the slicers.

This is some of the cherry tomatoes.

These are some of the paste tomatoes.

My dill is getting heads. I lost some of my plants in my herb garden. I am nursing the others along.

The cabbage is getting big. I went out and salted all the plants to keep the worms off.

My pole beans are growing like crazy. I have not seen any blooms yet though.

I have a few baby cucumbers. The neighbor shared some big ones with me. I hope to get enough to do lots of pickles.

This yellow squash plant is small and puny. I just read that they are the number one draw for squash bugs. They said to not plant straight or crook neck yellow squash and chances are you won't have squash bugs. I took all the leaves or portions of leaves with their eggs and burned them. I took the leaf off of a weed and squished all the adult bugs I could find. For as puny as this plant is, there are 3 squash growing on it.

The zucchini is going wild as usual. We have already eaten lots of them, and have lots in the fridge and lots on the vine. =) Want some zucchini??

Here is another picture of our first planting of corn.

I hope to be showing you the harvest of our labor before too long.