Saturday, July 30, 2011

Thinking Outside the Box With Cell Phones

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Straight Talk for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Remember the story about going to pick up Honey in another state? We had a flat tire out on a highway and no cell phone. We knew we needed to fix that. We looked into all sorts of phones and after talking to one friend decided to go with a phone company that does not require contracts. You can get caught up hook, line and sinker with this phone service.  

There are many benefits to having a Straight Talk phone. Many of the phones that you can buy for the other providers require lots of extras. Plus you have to sign a contract that keeps you using their phone even if it is no longer convenient. You can get all the features and benefits at up to half the price with a Straight Talk phone and there is no contract. Think of what you could do with the money you would save. Paying off another debt and being one step closer to debt free!! :) That is what we would do.

They have different plans you can choose from. The “All You Need Plan” meets even the needs of heavy phone users with 1,000 minutes, 1,000 texts and 30 MB of web data. Or you can get unlimited monthly service for only $45, and that includes calls, text, picture messaging, and web. Imagine getting unlimited calls, text, picture messaging and web for a whole year, for only $499.00! We were paying more than that with our other cell phone and we did not have all of these advantages and services. All of the 411 calls are free of charge and there are no fees to activate, reactivate or terminate. They also have an International Long Distance Service that allows you to call a friend world wide from you home or office at low rates.

They have a wide variety of phone selections as well with everything you need. Straight Talk only uses trusted phone manufacturers like LG, Motorola, Kyocera, Nokia and Samsung. Plus you get great nationwide coverage and excellent reception. Reconditioned phones are available as well at prices starting from $10.00 with camera, mp3 player, mobile web access, and blue-tooth capability. They have smart phones; touch screen phones, and app capable phones with features like voice navigation, camera, video recorder, music player, instant messaging, and Bluetooth® So there is no sacrifice at all to go with their service and again, there is no contract. This video show you more about what you will get.Here is a video with customers sharing why they like Straight Talk phones.I think this is the way to go with a cell phone service.

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011


It is amazing what can bring back a memory. I think smell is a powerful way to do this. I can remember opening up a bottle of horse linament and I was immediately back at my Grandpa's house. He used this often on his own sore muscles. I remember after my Mom died when I went into her walk in closet.... I could smell her. Sometimes it is music that brings the memory back. I had never heard of the Song, "I Can Only Imagine" until my Mom's funeral. It took me several years before I could listen to it and not sob. There has been a couple of things recently that really made me think about my Mom. One brought back a memory and the other made me miss her and wonder about our future reunion.

Today, a friend wrote a note about their husband and his gift of music. She was telling how he can play music by ear and knows lots of songs. A group of people went to a nursing home. They were playing requests and one older gentleman requested Suppertime. My friend's husband was the only person there who knew it other than the older man. When I read that, it made me remember the song. My Mom had a Jimmy Davis record that she played a lot. In fact it used to drive us children crazy. One song in particular we made fun of and she played it often. That was Suppertime. I found the following YouTube of Jimmy Davis singing that song. It no longer drives me crazy. In fact, I want to listen and close my eyes and visit the home of my youth once again and picture my Mom in the kitchen singing along with him. (Don't forget to turn the music off in the side bar or down below)

The other incident was a bit different. When I fold laundry (usually a couple of baskets full) I put on a movie. Sometimes it takes me over a month to finish that movie. I turn it on where I left off the last time I folded clothes. I have been watching what is probably my favorite movie, Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea. This movie touches me in places that sometimes I don't understand. Others I do understand, but they are way too personal to put on here. I have been watching this for a long while and was able to finish it. The scene that touched me this time was when Anne and Katherine Brooks arrive at Green Gables for the summer. Marilla and Rachel Lynd are on the porch talking and Marilla looks up and sees Anne coming up the lane. She gets up and goes running while Rachel fusses at her. Then Anne looks up and sees Marilla coming and she drops her bag and goes running to meet her. They meet up and they are lots of hugs and just looking at each other. Oh, how I would love to see my Mom and run to meet her and hug her and have her hold me once again. Then I thought, maybe that is how it will be when I leave this earth and enter heaven. Maybe she will be standing there waiting on me and we will run to each other and hold on. I hope so.

Butter the Not So Old Fashioned Way.

I am making cheddar cheese and butter again today. I just wanted to show you what happens when I make butter in my DLX. :) Once the butter buds separate from the buttermilk, many of them work their way up the sides of my paddle. :) I just have to scrape them off.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sour Cream

Someone left a comment a couple of posts ago and asked me how we make our sour cream. I have done it several different ways, but the way that I am currently using is this. I first make yogurt and then strain or drain my yogurt. The whey that comes off can be used in some of the fermenting I do, or I give it to the dogs. The result of the straining is a yogurt that is almost a cream cheese consistency with a flavor much like sour cream. That is what we have been using.

I just watched a free video from GNOWFGLINS (God's Natural, Organic, Whole Foods, Grown Locally In Season) that shows another way to make it.


Yesterday was pickle day. I made 3 kinds of pickles and will actually be making more today. This is a picture of my pickles that I am fermenting. I am trying this for the first time this year. The jar is layered with grape leaves, cukes, garlic, onion, peppercorns, and dill. You then make a salt water brine to pour over them. I filled a pint jar with water and it is sitting in the mouth of this jar to hold everything down under the brine. This will sit on the counter for a few days and then I will put it in the fridge.

The recipe called for black peppercorns. This is the only peppercorns I had. I think they are so pretty. :)

These are going to be regular dill pickles. We found a recipe that we really like and make lots of those because we love them. The bowl you see is catching the whey that is draining from my cheddar cheese in the press.

These are crock pickles. I used to make a lot of these. You put all the ingredients in a crock or jar. They sit out for about a week and then you put them in jars in the fridge. I don't make lots of them any more because I don't have the fridge room. I made them with stevia instead of sugar this year. I hope they turn out.

Crock Pickles

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
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 totally under the brine.

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

Monday, July 25, 2011

Count Your Blessings Monday!!

Here is an opportunity for all of us to give thanks unto the Lord for a blessing in our lives. If you would like to take part great. If not that is OK too. If you would like to share your blessing, just leave it in the comments. If you want to use the picture above and list a blessing on your own site, then leave a URL to your site in the comments. There is no pressure here. I just know that I am incredibly blessed and I would like to share that and give thanks to Him who all blessing come from. This is a way that we can encourage one another. I know that I am often encouraged when someone shares a blessing with me. 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. 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 the every day gifts and miracles that are all around us.

Sunflowers blooming...

Corn growing tall...

Beans growing up and reaching for the sky...

Tomatoes growing even though the wind knocked them over...

Black-eyed Susans dancing in the wind...

Flowers blooming everywhere...

Bluebirds and their eggs...

Plenty of rain in July after 3 summers of drought...

The blessings and gifts from God are all around us. We just need to look around and take notice.

What are YOU thankful for?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Lots Going On

We have had a lot of stuff going on this last week. I'm sorry I missed my Monday post about blessings, but we had guests here. I feel like I am so far behind that I a lap down. :)

I know that much of the country has been under a wave of heat. I hope you are all surviving the heat and your animals
as well. This is hard on animals. I know my sheep have been spending a LOT of time in the shade. I can't imagine being out in this heat with a wool coat on.

If I keep my house closed up, it stays pretty cool... at least to the outside temperatures. We do have a window A/C unit that keeps 2 rooms cool.

I have been making butter again. I love having milk again. I have made butter, yogurt, sour cream, cheese and of course we have had milk to drink. I would like to make some cottage cheese today or some feta. I will also be making yogurt.

I always have a hard time working out all the buttermilk in the butter. There has to be a trick to it. :) I work it and work it and rinse it and rinse it. I have been putting the butter in a mold I have and freezing it.

I am also thrilled to be back in the cheese business. Here are a couple of rounds on the counter waiting to dry and get a rind. With all the humidity we are having, I may have to do the drying process in the rooms with A/C.

Here is my first round of cheese that has one of my new cheese labels. My sweet friend, Patti, designed it for me. I will think of her each time I put one on. I am using up the rest of my cheese wax and then I am switching to bees wax.

The Echinacea are in full bloom. I need to be drying some leaves. I may have enough this year to dig up some roots to dry as well.

I have Bluebirds in the bluebird box again. I put up strips of foil to try and keep the sparrows away. I need to get out there and check it again.

Remember that something was getting our chicks in the brooder? The day we put the last batch of chicks out into the field, this is what my husband saw. The chicks were too big for it to get, so it must have gotten in (although I have no idea how it fit through chicken wire) and pigged out on feed. Then when it went to try and get back out, its greed caused it to get stuck. It was already dead when it was found. GROSS!!! We are going to replace the chicken wire with hardware cloth and see if that helps.

Our car started making funny noises on Wednesday evening. We had a local company that shares our name come and get it yesterday. The Wonderful Neighbors let us borrow one of their vehicles so Michael could get to work. THANK YOU, Wonderful Neighbors!!! :) The car got fixed and we were able to pick it up last evening. We are so grateful for taking Dave Ramsey's FPU. We had the funds there to fix the car!!

We have not been in the garden to do much weeding for about 10 days. We have had some nice rains and lots of sunshine. I went out last night to see if we had stuff ready and it is a JUNGLE!!! Sigh.... it does not take long to get out of control.

Friday, July 15, 2011

More Tidbits

I always enjoy this view in this spot. There is a huge corn field on the right, and you can see the one in front before the road turns. I love to see all the rows. :)

I have been drying herbs and putting them in jars for use in my kitchen. They smell so much fresher than what you buy in the store. Growing your own herbs is easy to do and does not take a lot of space. You can even grow herbs in your window sills. You will smell and taste the difference.

I have more hanging and drying in the house.
In our CSA basket we got this week, we got some Adirondack Blue potatoes. I fixed 2 small ones for supper last night.

For any of you local people, I am taking garlic orders right now. I need your order by Monday. If you want to know pricing and what types we will have, email me.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Another Miracle!!

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

You can see how small George started out on June 24th, here. He went into his chrysalis on July 4th. Today, he came out. It is a miracle every time. That teensy little caterpillar eats and eats and eats and grows so large in just days. Then this fat stripey caterpillar that is green and black and white, attaches itself to something and some how makes a chrysalis that looks way too small for it to fit into. They do it the same way every time. I have done many of these for years. They chrysalis all look the same for the Monarch caterpillars. They are green and have a shiny gold line and 2 shiny gold dots. They all have them, and the gold looks like real gold. You can go here to see pictures and a short video of a George going into the chrysalis. You can look on this post to see a close up of the gold line and a dot.

On July 13th, the chrysalis started getting a bit clearer and you can see the wings a little bit.

Then this morning while my friend Ginny was here I looked and it was really clear and you could see the wings really well. I left my thumb in the picture so you can see how small that chrysalis is.

We had looked at George right before she left. She lives about 7 miles from me. Before she could have even gotten home, I looked and George was out. He likes to sneak these things in while I am not looking. See how wrinkled his wings are here. I let him continue to hang here for a time so they can straighten out and begin to dry. I do not touch him at this point. He is clinging to the clear chrysalis he just came out of.

Pretty soon his wings were down and beginning to dry.

I always put them out on my wreath to let their wings totally dry and then they are free to fly away when they are ready.

Who can witness this and say there is no Creator. It IS a miracle. It is a miracle that we can be part of. A small picture of how God can take us as poor miserable wretches and turn us into something new in Him. Thank you Lord for these every day miracles you give us!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bits And Pieces

This morning I went out and picked some mint. I got a huge bunch of peppermint and there is plenty more to cut. I also cut a little bit of spearmint. It has not spread as much since it was planted this year. The Wonderful Neighbors told us how they make mint tea and it is wonderful. Pick 2 long stems of mint. You can pick your favorite kind or mix and match them. Then cut them into about 4 pieces each. Put all the pieces in your blender and then fill the blender with water. Turn it on and let it mix. Then take a strainer and put over your gallon jar or pitcher and pour the tea into the pitcher straining out the pieces of mint. Put the mint back into the blender and do this again and do it a third time. After you pour the third blender full in the pitcher, skim off the green foam. We made peppermint and liked it unsweetened so we did not add anything, but if you like it sweeter, then add stevia to taste. Over ice it is a wonderful, refreshing and good for you drink.

We also picked our first zucchini and there are 3 more little ones out there. I picked more cucumbers as well.

I have a very dear friend who is a graphic artist. She designed my store logo. I always label my cheese with what kind it is and the date. So, I asked her if she would design me a cheese label and as usual, she did a fantastic job. We give some of our cheese as gifts and these will be an added touch.

Storm Front

We had a storm front move into our area. Here is a couple of pictures of it arriving.

The sky looked pretty angry. We got lots of thunder, lightning, rain and wind, but no damage thank goodness.

The sky turned an eerie yellow color.

How Does Your Garden Grow?

How does your garden grow? I am praising the Lord for the rain He has sent. We have not had to water much at all. It does amaze me though at how quickly the weeds come back after a rain. Here is a picture I took of our garden last evening.

We have one zucchini plant and one yellow squash plant. I had not seen the first blossom on them, but Michael told me that we have a zucchini almost ready to pick.

We harvested our garlic. It looks really good. I need to put them in bundles of about 12 bulbs and hang them under the shed roof.

The pepper plants are growing well.

We have one large pepper and here it is. :)

We have some cayennes coming along as well.

The cabbage is coming along very slowly.

Our potatoes are doing wonderful. This is the first time they have looked this good.

The turnips are doing nicely. We may eat some of these, but I am wanting to see if the cows will eat them.

My cucumber plants are doing wonderful so far. I hope they continue. I have been able to make my first small batch of pickles.

I want to ferment some this year as well as pickle, but we LOVE this recipe and wanted to have some on hand. We put in garlic and a couple of hot peppers we had dried.

The bean plants are really growing, but I have not seen any beans yet.

I love sunflowers and they are growing at various places throughout the garden.

My lima beans did not come up very well. My little row of herbs is doing good.

We did not plant much corn since we had so much left from last year. It is behind most of the corn in this area, but it seems to be doing well.

The lilies are blooming everywhere. I have them in my yard and down the driveway, but they are in ditches and along the road every where you look. I took a salad to church last Sunday. I cut up lily blossoms to put in the salad and then garnished it with one of these blossoms and a blossom off of a Stella d' Oros Lily.

My Echinacea seem to be doing well.

My Black Eyed Susans are just getting ready to bloom.

How does YOUR garden grow?