Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Birthday Dad!!!

Today is my Dad's 76 birthday. He is in Florida, so I can't hug his neck. I can tell you though that he has been a great Dad. Here are some pictures of him.

This is one that neither he nor I ever remembered seeing until I scanned it last year. This is my Dad and I. I am his favorite daughter.... (actually I am his only daugther).

This is my Dad and my Mom

This is my Dad and his wife Alice. She has really fit well into our family. We love her and are so glad that she and Dad found each other.
This was on Father's Day 2002. This is my Dad and Mom with all the grandkids that were in Ohio at that time.

Here is a family portrait that is old. =) This is all of us except my baby brother, Doug.

Here is Dad playing with Scott & Doug. They are my two younger brothers. I am in the middle. I have 2 older and 2 younger brothers.

Here is my Dad with Joshua. He was being silly.

Here is Dad with some of his granddaughters.

Here he is with his four sons.

Dad, I love you and hope you have a wonderful birthday.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

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 want to talk about the cookbook, Wrapping It Up! by Vickilynn Haycraft. I have been in contact with Vickilynn for many years. I can honestly say that anything I have seen her try, she has done well. This cookbook is no exception. This cookbook tells you almost anything you ever wanted to know about wraps and some things you never even thought to ask, but are fun and good to know. She explains the ingredients and how to make them. She has a listing of wraps with an attitude. That list alone has 30 variations from hors douevers to main courses to desserts. She tells you different ways to fold or roll or wrap them. There are lots of different fillings and even recipes to make them gluten free. This is a very fun book and easy to follow. Many people think of wraps as just a tortilla for a Mexican dish. Vickilynn shows you that they open up a whole new variety for your menus.

Vickilynn is a wife and mother of five children. Although she struggles daily with a painful disability, Vickilynn administrates e-mail lists and writes cookbooks and magazine columns.

Vickilynn is a former paramedic and, with her husband, owned successful businesses: bread/pasta home catering and sales of products for health. Her own family’s illnesses caused her to learn all she could about whole grains, real foods, natural health and products that help support taking care of the family. Vickilynn has over two decades of experience using and market-testing different products and tools of the homemaking vocation, focusing on those in the area of better health and nutrition.

Come on over to the General Store and check us out. The holidays are coming and whether you need a gift or quality tools for your own kitchen or homestead, we hope you find them there.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Today on the Farm!

Today, was a day of blessing for me. Joshua dropped Brittany off at our house early this morning. The washer we have is Joshua's and they have no hook ups where they are living, so he drops her off and she spends the day doing their laundry, which I truly enjoy. Today was also co-op day. It was nice to have someone here to help me unload the truck. We then sorted the orders out and she took all of my items in and put them in the pantry or wherever they went while I did the paperwork.

My Dad and Alice gave me a bunch of my Mom's cross stitch books while we were down in Florida. I had gone through them and picked out some and I let Brittany go through and pick out the ones she would like. She had brought some cross stitching with her and she worked on that. I went up and got out some crochet books that had been my Mom's and went through to pick out a pattern. Then Ginny came by to get her order. She knew Brittany from Florida. They spent some time talking and Ginny mentioned she wanted to see the yarn I got back from the woolen mill. I got our a skein and she put it into a very artistic ball. She rolls them nice and fluffy with a center pull thread. They are works of art when they are done. Brittany held the skein for her while she did her stuff.

When Joshua comes back, they stay and have supper with us. Tonight we had egg noodle chicken Alfredo and homemade french bread made into garlic bread. Joshua was very sweet and carried several heavy items to the cars of some of the co-op ladies. After supper, she milked the cow by hand. We told them if they milked, they could have the milk. Both of them are very able milkers. Brittany milked cows in Florida. As you can see below, she has an audience of 2 dogs and a cat. Then they loaded up the truck and headed for home.

We had Bible study this evening and we are all four (Us and the Wonderful Neighbors) enjoying this Bible study more than any other one we have done.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Is it Autumn or Winter?

This morning we had snow flurries. It was hit and miss. It would start up and get really heavy like the pictures below and then it would disappear almost totally. You would have to really watch closely to even see a flake go by. Then it would start back up again. This is really early for snow flurries.

I had to go to the Post Office in town. I thought I would show you how the fall color is doing. It is past the peak. Many trees are almost bare. Then you will come across pockets of wonderful color. These first 2 pictures are at the end of the driveway as I was leaving.

These next pictures are just on the drive to and from town (which is not very far away. It is a one stop light town).

This is looking down my driveway on the way back.

Quick Reminder

Today is the last day for the big Clearance Sale at Vision Forum. There are some good deals to be had!!!

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, my blessing I want to tell you about is firewood. The only source of heat in our home is our Pioneer Maid wood burning cookstove. It does a really good job, and the cost for heat is in sweat and labor instead of dollars. Many Saturdays through out the winter are spent in bringing in firewood. My sweet Michael was able to cut some about a week ago. The Lord dropped some trees to the ground for us with Hurricane Ike. Michael dragged them up by the barn to cut and split. It was a good start, but much more is needed. This past Saturday, a friend and his boys pulled up with a nice size truck load of wood. He said that he had been asked to deliver it to us. He was not at liberty to tell us where it came from. It was probably at least a cord of wood. That is a major blessing for us. We told him to thank whom ever it was, and we are thanking God for them and their generous labors.

I will leave you with some sunset pictures I took on Sunday night. The cold front was moving in and the clouds were starting to pile up. I took some pictures that had the big billows of dark clouds, but it was already too dark and they did not turn out. We are supposed to be in the low 30's or upper 20's over the next few nights. There are even some chances of snow showers.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Make It Yourself

I was sharing with Elizabeth about making homemade cleaning products. I was going to share recipes with her, but then decided to tell her about a book that is worth buying. I also found it on for as cheap as 75 cents. Ebay had several copies for $1.00.

It is called Cheaper and Better by Nancy Birnes. It has all sorts of recipes to make stuff at home. Here are the chapters....

Pantry stockers
Convenience Foods
Snacks & Sweets
Gourmet & Gift Ideas
Beverages, Wines, and Liqueurs
Health and Personal Care Aids
Household Cleaning Supplies
Clothing Care & Closet Items
Gardens, Pets & Pests
High-Tech Toys
Children's Play & Rainy Day Items
Craft, Holiday and Decorating Ideas.

It has tons of neat things to do. It helps you to even figure out how much you save. The prices of the current stuff will have to be updated to todays prices, but it is still a very worthwhile book. I thought I would share it with all of you.

Done Canning!!

I think I am done canning for the year. I may do some soup through out the winter. I always make a huge batch of soup. I can the left overs to have for lunches. I also may can some apple pie in a jar, but I am not sure about that. Yesterday, my dear sweet Brittany was here all day. I truly enjoyed the fellowship. I canned my beets. I like them pickled. I think I ended up with 9 pints of beets. I tried something new with them this year. It was a trick I learned from the Wonderful Neighbors. I used my french fry cutter to cut them. That way all the pieces are uniform. You get a lot in the jar that way as well. I also made butter and another batch of the jalapeno cheese. It is a real hit around here. =)

Friday, October 24, 2008


Today was one of those days where I attempted to get too many things done. =) You would think I would learn. I had applesauce to make and had put it off for way too long. I was only going to do one of the bushels of apples up right now anyway, and that shouldn't take too long. These apples were called Enterprise. We got them at an organic orchard. The flavor reminds me of the green apple candy you can buy. I always said that flavor was nothing like apples, but these apples tasted similar although they were red. We also have a bushel of Gold Rush we picked. The man at the orchard said that they get sweeter with age and are good keepers. Our sweet friend Wina got some from him one year and kept them until March. So, we are going to hang on to those a bit. He told me the best way to store them was to rinse them and put them in a plastic bag while still dripping wet. Then put them in a cool spot and a fridge would be best. When we got to the orchard, the Enterprise were almost gone and had all been picked, so we just filled up bags from what he had left. The bags are 1/2 bushel in size and were perfect he said for storing the apples. Then when we went to pick the Goldrush, he gave us the paper type bags that sit on the ground better. So, as soon as I emptied the 2 plastic bags of the Enterprise, I put the Goldrush in those bags and they are in the milk fridge.

Here is one of the 1/2 bushel bags of apples.

Even though they are organic, I still put them in the rinse water.

Then I cut up a few at a time on the cutting board. I just had to cut them into quarters.

I would cut up enough apples to fill this bowl with the pieces.

I found this heavy duty fryer basket at a garage sale. It has come in so handy in doing tomatoes and apples. I fill it with apple pieces and put them in the boiling water. I use the popcorn bowl under this to catch the drips.

I let the apple quarters cook for 5 mins. This allows them to get to the right softness to run through my strainer.

I scoop them out of the water with the basket above and put them in the hopper on my strainer. I have a Squeezo strainer and I love it. I got it way back in 1987. It has seen some good use.

As you turn the handle on the strainer, all the peels, seeds, stems, etc. come out the end into one bowl. I fed these to the animals. Sometimes I will run these through twice and get some more out of them, but I had too much going at one time today.

The rest comes out a screen as applesauce. I catch it in a large bowl.

As the bowl gets full, I pour it into a large stock pot on the stove.

When I have run all the apples through, then I put the sauce in jars and water bath them for 20 mins. The bushel was not entirely full as we had eaten some and a few on the top were another variety I got to try. However, I got 9 full quarts of applesauce.

I had some company come today. One family came at 3 different times for different reasons. Ginny came over with some family that was in town to let the children see the animals. Anna showed up to volunteer her services which I appreciated.

While we were doing applesauce, I had a chicken cooking and then had to pick it for enchiladas that I made for dinner. We were out of bread, so I put the ingredients in the Zo to make bread dough and then put it in the pan in the oven. We also cut the tops and ends off the beets and washed them. They got cooked, but I was too tired to process them. I was going to make butter and cheese, but that is going to wait until tomorrow as well. It was a busy but productive day.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Guess the Date & Win!!

This is now closed for guessing. We will announce the winner when we get to the mark!!

This post will stay at the top for awhile. For new posts please scroll down!!

I started blogging in May of 2006. I put the counter on my site in August of 2006. I am getting really close to hitting the 100,000 mark. Now, for many blogs that is a drop in the bucket. I am totally amazed that people find my blog interesting. I can see that family and customers might want to know what is going on out here. I truly am dumbfounded. Anyway, I decided to do a give away. You can see the prize below.

As of the writing of this post my stat counter reads 97,816. Guess what day you think it will hit 100,000. If more than one of you gets the right date, we will draw names. The contest will be open until the 23rd of October at midnight EST. Anything posted in the comments of this blog before then will be counted. Please only give one date and only enter one time.

Here are some facts....
1. This is the 16th of the month. So far this month I have 2.069 hits.
2. My stat counter page says that the average hits per month are 3,878.

The prize consists of the following: A hand painted oil bottle, one box of Honey Vanilla Chamomile Tea, a bottle of whole nutmegs and a nutmeg grater, a pack of recipe cards, a Toby Tea Boy that will hold enough loose tea to do a gallon or more, a tea infuser spoon that will hold enough loose tea for a good size mug, 5 packets of Dandy Blend, and this last one is a real sacrifice on my part - One Citrus Sensation Gourmet Shampoo Bar made by the TN Farmgirl.

Start guessing!!

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 want to talk about the Jar/Serving Spoon. Have you ever had something stuck down in the bottom of a quart jar and you had to use a spoon to get it out? Maybe it was the end of the jelly or jam, or the rest of the soup you canned. When you put a spoon down in there, did you get food all over your fingers and knuckles? If you use a larger serving spoon, it often did not fit down inside the mouth of the jar. I have even tried resorting to sticking a knife down there and trying to get it.

Someone got tired of doing this very thing. They came up with the Jar spoon. In the picture above, you can see the spoon in a quart jar and one laying in front of the jar. There is plenty of handle still sticking out of the jar, so you don't have to get stuff on your hands. It is also a nice heavy weight so it will not bend and you will be able to dig out even stubborn peanut butter without bending it. It would also make a great serving spoon for a jar of salsa or other items in the jar. The spoon part is a very nice size. Not too small, but it would easily fit down inside a jar. Every kitchen should have at least one of these. They would make a nice tuck in gift for a wedding shower or bridal gift.

Come on over and check out the General Store and see all the new items we have in stock.

Don't forget if you are going to be ordering aprons or pot holders as gifts for Christmas, order early. Each one is made to order!!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Vision Forum Clearance

Hurrah! The new 2009 Vision Forum Family Catalog is in the mail and on its way to homes across the country and around the world. We are very excited about this year’s edition — 116 pages chock-full of unique, exciting, family-building resources, including more than 150 new products. In fact, we are carrying so many new products that our warehouse is now bursting at the seams!

To quickly open up warehouse space for our new products, we are reducing stock levels and discontinuing more than 100 items. From now through midnight (CDT) October 27, 2008, visit Vision Forum’s online clearance section for great savings on 100+ family books, CDs, and toys for boys and girls!

Many of these clearance items will be permanently removed from our website as soon as their current inventory is depleted. So, hurry to place your order while supplies last!

Browse Vision Forum’s Clearance Section Now