May 31, 2010

Memorial Day


My grandfather served in World War II for 3 years then came home to the wife he had married in July, before he was deployed in November of 1942. He went on to live a long and healthy life and passed away if October 2008. His years in the military were something that he still talked about in his last years. Something that effected him deeply that most of us, unless we serve our country, will never understand. It doesn't seem enough to just say thank you but he never even asked for that, he fought because he loved his country, he loved his family and he loved his freedom. He stood up for us so we could be free to live the lives we live today.

Thank you so much to all those who have served and do serve to protect us each and every day.
Take a moment today to remember the veterans in your life who are no longer with us and take a moment to say thank you to those who are.


May 26, 2010

Crazy Busy!!

Please don't give up on me my faithful followers/readers! I haven't forgotten that I have a blog and wonderful blog friends, I haven't taken to bed with a grave illness, I haven't even fallen of the face of the earth. I promise! This is such a busy time of year here on the farm.

The garden is doing great and growing fast but so are the weeds so I'm weeding.

Bella waits for no one. When her tank is full, it's full and she let's me know it. There has been a little cheese-making, yogurt-making and milk-freezing going on. At 1/2 gallon a day, it adds up fast.

Jake goes to a private school and they decided he and his classmates were far enough ahead that they would change the last day of school from the 28th to the 21st so I lost a week of "preparing for summer". He still has graduation on the 30th so we've been practicing for his lines in the graduation program and I try to do a little school work during the summer just to keep him in practice but not enough to ruin summer fun. So I'm sort of homeschooling and playing. Jake's request for a graduation gift was a swimming pool so we've spent the afternoons leveling and sort of destroying our backyard to make my boys happy but the big piles of dirt that I have to look over to see the deer in the back field are worth it when I saw the smiles on their faces as they head out the door to get in the pool. That water is still a little too cold for me!

There's a thousand other things going on as the cherries are ripe and need picking, pitting and canning and freezing and the blackberries are right on their heels.


Oh and the boys have ball games, both 2 times a week. One plays T-ball, one plays baseball. They are both Yankees and both #5.

I have 2 brooders of chicks I'm raising and 5 new 1-month old geese that I couldn't resist taking from a friend.

And mowing the yard which my husband usual does but I try to fit it in if I can because he's as busy as I am this time of year...oh and I forgot...I do have a job that takes up a few hours a day.

That position for egg-washer is still open!

That's what's going on here on our little farm.....what about your late spring/early summer?? What fills your calendar this time of year??

Since I haven't been quite as faithful to my readers as I would like to be, I'm giving away one of my cookbooks. Just tell me how busy YOU are in the month of May and June! I'll post the winner Saturday morning around 9:00 a.m.

May 17, 2010

Please Welcome Miss Bella!

This is Miss Bella!
We picked her up Saturday morning and brought her to our little farm to become part of our family. Miss Bella is a Sable dairy goat and is a wonderful milker. I do have experience milking goats but some make it harder than others. So far I haven't had to use the head chute yet. She stands on the milking platform and eats her grain while I squeeze, squirt, squeeze, squirt until all her milk is in my bucket. The first few milkings I gave to the cats and dogs with their feed and froze some of it for soap-making just to be sure there was nothing but our grain and hay in her system. We bought Bella from our neighbors who raise show goats but it never hurts to be safe!
She got to meet the other goats yesterday afternoon. There was a little pushing and chasing. I made sure Nellie and Nanny behaved with those horns.
From now on I am buying goats without horns or debudding them when they are young. It may seem cruel to some people to do this but I have found Nellie with her head hung in the fence one to many times to wish for more goats with horns.
I check my goats twice a day plus I can see them from the house so I find her before she's had her head in there for very long, but if they were more free-ranging and I didn't check them as often, a goat could die from dehydration in that situation very quickly. Plus, they can be just downright mean with those horns. Luckily, a little head pushing was all that went on here and they seemed to accept each other.
I got a little over a quart of milk this morning. I got almost 2 quarts yesterday morning but I milked a little later last night so I didn't expect to get quite as much.
Before milking, I clean her bag with a mixture of 1 quart of water, 2 Tbs. Clorox bleach and 1 drop of regular Dawn dishwashing liquid. I also use this as a teat dip after milking.
We do pasteurize our milk using the flash method.
I know that some people would never do this because it kills the good stuff in the goats milk and so on but I prefer to pasteurize, at least until I perfect my sterile milking method!
The flash method consists of heating your milk to 160 degrees, holding it there for 15 seconds and then rapid cooling. For the rapid cooling, I use my ice cream maker.
I load it up with ice, pour the heated milk into the container and let it run for approximately 15 minutes. This makes the milk cold but not frozen.
From there I pour it into half-gallon glass jars and refrigerate. I usually pasteurize a gallon at a time but wanted to go ahead and get started since it's been months since we've had any goat milk around here!

May 13, 2010

Wanted: Egg Washer

Wanted: Egg-washer in the Western KY area to wash multiple eggs given by these pretty ladies each and every day.
Job may be seasonal depending on the mood of the ladies! Sometimes they refuse to work when it's cold.

Benefits include spending your free time playing with these youngsters
Or cuddling these babies
They are just too cute and fluffy!
Or sleeping like these two.
Can't get any egg washing out of Biscuit and Bessie. The hardest work they do is occasionally chasing a butterfly (usually in their sleep) or barking at the deer and turkey that frequent the feeding area out back.

Or you can sit in the rockers on the porch and enjoy the roses
or clematis on the lamp post....
Hurry this job opening will not last long!

Fine print: These benefits may end on Saturday with the arrival of our milk goat. Goat milker will be added to the title of egg washer and full time employment will be established!
Just don't tell Nellie that she has competition coming!


May 6, 2010

Canning Give Away!!!

I love to can! I love opening those jars on cold winter days and having a little summer goodness right there in front of me. I can apples, cherries, strawberries, peaches, beans, tomatoes, salsa, pickles, beets....and on and on....I haven't gotten into canning meats yet. I prefer to put that in the freezer but I did get a pressure canner last year so you never know what I might decide to try.

I am hoping by doing this give away that someone else will decide to try canning. I promise you won't be disappointed. You don't even have to grown your own fruits and veggies if you don't have the space or time. I grown a lot of mine but I do buy some of my stuff from the local farmer's market or the Amish community nearby.

Today's give away includes this 5-piece home canning kit.
and the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.
How to enter...
Leave me a comment about canning, why you like to, why you want to, your favorite things to can, etc. You do not have to be a follower of my blog but I would love it if you decided to be! Send your friends this way too!

A winner will be drawn on Monday morning, May 10th, at 9:00 am Central time. The items will be shipped to you directly from Amazon and I am going to have to limit this to U.S. entries only after I checked the price of shipping for other countries. Sorry about that, I hope everyone understands.

May 5, 2010

Amish Strawberries

I absolutely love this time of year! Strawberry time at the Amish Community even came a little earlier than usual this year. I took a drive out there this morning in search of their delicious homegrown strawberries. The first place I stopped was sold out so I continued on my journey.
Everyone was busy riding to town in their buggies or working in the fields.
Just past Stutzman's Feed Mill where I get all my chicken and goat feed, I found my strawberries!
I bought 14 quarts. One went to Mamaw Shirlene's house. She's my aunt and babysitter. I knew the kids she had today would enjoy them. I dropped off another quart to my Dad and put one quart in our refrigerator for nibbling on.
The rest I made into wonderful strawberry jam and frozen sliced strawberries.
Freezer jam is simple but I prefer to can my jam in cute little jelly jars and line them up on my pantry shelf.
Here's how I make my jam:
I pull out my trusty Ball Blue Book of Preserving and look up strawberries.
Here's what you need:
5 cups of prepared fruit
7 cups of sugar
1 pack of pectin (I use Sure-Jell)
1/4 cup lemon juice

I wash the strawberries and remove the stems
Mash them a layer at a time with my potato masher
Measure out 5 cups
Put strawberries, pectin and lemon juice in a large sauce pot and bring to a boil.
Add 7 cups of sugar and stir until all sugar is dissolved.
Bring back to a boil stirring occasionally.
Bring to a hard boil and time for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Pour into clean hot jars and apply lids and bands.
Process in hot water bath for 10 minutes. Remove from hot water bath and place on counter to cool. Listen for that satisfying little "pop" the lid makes as it seals. That's all there is to it.
Half of my 12 quarts of strawberries made 5 pints and 11 half-pints of jam. The other half made 5 quarts of sliced strawberries which I put in the freezer for homemade ice cream, eating with angel food cake, or my boys favorite, with milk and sugar. These are simple to fix. Remove stems, wash and slice strawberries. Mix 1/2 cup sugar per quart of strawberries, stir well and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes until sugar turns to syrup. Pour into freezer bags or freezer containers and freeze.

The canning season is officially underway!
I'm thinking a "canning" give away should be in the near future!

May 1, 2010

Twix Cake

Simple, rich and delicious!

No pics today, my sister has borrowed my camera!

Twix Cake
1 box chocolate cake mix (eggs and oil per instructions on box)
1 can Eagle Brand milk
1 can caramel ice cream topping
1 large bowl Cool Whip
1 package Twix candy bars (or other favorite brand)

Bake cake in 9x13 inch pan following directions on cake box, let cool.
Punch holes in cake.
Pour 1 can Eagle Brand milk over top of cake and let soak in.
Pour most of the caramel ice cream topping over cake.
Add layer of Cool-Whip
Crush and sprinkle candy bars on top.
Drizzle with remaining caramel icing.



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