June 27, 2010

Steam Juicer and Blackberry Jelly

The steam juicer has been the hot topic over on the forums at Chickens in the Road and a post by Dede ~ wvhomecanner on the Farm Bell Blog convinced me that I had to have one. I picked blackberries yesterday morning. Our wild blackberries are doing great this year. These are an inch long and so sweet.
I washed them and put them in my new steam juicer pictured below. Please ignore all those Friendship bread starter bags in the background.
I LOVE this steam juicer. It has simplified my life. If only I had had it last month for my cherries! You can find the one I bought here.
Water goes in the bottom, your fruit in the top and the juice is drained into the middle section and out the tube into a waiting jar. Awesome little invention! It took a few hours to extract the juice but extract the juice it did! From 2 and a half quarts of blackberries, I got almost 2 quarts of juice! Seedless, wonderful juice without the mess of a jelly bag and dripping and crushing....just beautiful juice pouring from the tube into a half gallon jar.
You can can this juice for use later or you can make jelly. I made jelly using this recipe!
Blackberry Jelly
3 3/4 cups juice
4 1/2 cups sugar
1 box pectin
1/2 tsp. butter or margarine (optional)

Extract juice from blackberries. Bring 3 3/4 cups juice and 1 box pectin to full rolling boil. You can add 1/2 tsp butter or margarine to prevent foaming. Stir in 4 1/2 cups sugar. Return to full rolling boil. Stir for exactly one minute. Remove from heat. Skim foam if any. Ladle into prepared jars. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with and adjust lids and bands. Process in boiling water bath for 5 minutes.
We've already opened a jar and ate it with some sour dough bread and butter! Delicious!

June 23, 2010

Morning Sounds

Lily in the morning sun...
I use lots of photos to share my farm stories but as I sat milking Bella this morning I turned on my "listening ears". There are so many sounds around a barn in the morning. I mentally made a list of the sounds I heard so I could share them with you.

It takes me about 5 minutes to milk Bella and these are the sounds I heard during that time:
  • First and foremost the rhythmic squirting of milk into my milk pail.
  • Bella munching her feed.
  • The other goats pushing and shoving over who has the most feed in their trough.
  • The twitter of two barn swallows discussing their nest overhead.
  • The sound of a barn cat sharpening his toenails on the old wooden gate.
  • The sound of the bassets and Tucker scuffling in the grass.
  • The breeze blowing through the big oak behind the barn.
  • A limb from the same big oak scraping on the edge of the tin roof.
  • The guineas chirping and waiting for some corn.
  • The twirp, twirp, twirp of the young geese talking to one another
  • The cheaping of young chicks.
  • The cluck of hens waiting for their feed
  • The louder rooster clucks of Red and Pumpkin deciding who will "rule the roost" for the day.
  • Far away I can hear a lawn mower
  • The motor of a barge on the river nearly 5 miles away as a crow flies.
  • Flies, always flies, it's a barn!
  • The many, many purple martins who have called their babies from the martin house. I love the sound they make when the sky is full of them and they are going about their socializing in the early morning.
  • Then I hear a voice, no two voices, and I look to see two little boys in their underwear, standing on the front porch, yelling, "Momma, we want some breakfast!"
Take a few moments to close your eyes and enjoy the sounds in your life.

June 19, 2010

Fowl Update

Apparently, I only get one Cochin Bantum baby at a time. Bootsie sits on 8 to 9 eggs and 1 hatches. That's it! Just like last time.
Hello Boo #2!
She is so little! Her mom is less than half the size of a regular hen.
Her Dad, well that's Stud of course and he runs the place. At least he thinks he does!
Here he is trying to fight Colonel Sanders, the Ameraucana rooster, through the fence.
Pumpkin and Red are still around. They don't fight very often but they keep an eye on each other.
We had to do some spur trimming and Red is mad at me. Those spurs get long and cut the hens backs if I don't keep them trimmed. He's giving me "the look".
The other chicks are growing
The guineas just hang out near the edge of the woods where two of the guinea hens are sitting on eggs.
Gertie-the-hen is getting old. Sometimes she gets confused and thinks she's a guinea because of the color.
and the geese...
They are growing so fast! They have their belly feathers now and are starting to get their little wingtips. One has developed what he thinks is the worlds best honk....his voice cracks a little in his adolescent age and it sounds more like something being tortured than a goose!
Big, clumsy and cute!
I have 4 little Black Giant/Australorp mixed chicks in the brooder. They are almost big enough to go in with the other younguns'.

That's our fowl update!!

June 18, 2010

Don't Be Mean!!

or we'll make you look silly!
Nellie has been ugly to Bella!
So now she has to wear the green balls of shame...that sounds awful!
Look at her hiding her face in embarrassment! She is SO ashamed of herself!


Nellie: "Get these ridiculous things off my head right now woman and bring me a Pop-Tart while you're at it!"

June 14, 2010

Growing Garden

Remember back awhile ago when I was planting onions and potatoes? The garden is doing well.
I have sunflowers, potatoes, onions, broccoli, peppers and more peppers, tomatoes, squash, zucchini, corn, beans, cucumbers and radishes. I've been working on pulling weeds daily but as you can see, I still have plenty. I don't want to till right now because with less rainfall it dries out the soil.

I love peppers! I planted lots of cayenne, jalapenos, bells and banana peppers this year.

I have LOTS of tomato plants. I started most of these guys from seeds. There are little green tomatoes everywhere but no ripe ones yet.

I somehow managed to grab a pack of broccoli instead of cabbage so we're growing broccoli for the first time this year.

I got my first "mess" (Kentucky word for you) of squash yesterday! We're having fried chicken, creamed squash and biscuits for supper. YUM!

The corn is tall and beautiful this year.

and the beans have blooms and tiny little beans all over them!

As I typed this, we got a much needed rainfall. The temps have been in the high 90's this week and things were looking a little wilted at midday.
Thanks for touring the garden with me...what?? You're leaving?? Get back here and pull some weeds!! I'll feed you fried chicken and squash!!! I even have iced tea made!

June 8, 2010


The cherries are gone for another year. During all the rush and business of ball games, graduations, milkings and garden weedings, I managed to put up 9 pints of cherry jam and freeze several bags for later making pies, jams, homemade ice cream, etc. It's always sort of sad when the cherries are gone each year but that means the blackberries will be ripe soon!

June 6, 2010

Pear Custard Bars

I have noticed that some of my print pages are not printing right so I've decided to redo most of them. It may take a while and will be a work in progress for the next few days but eventually they will all be like the printable recipe below. You can click Printable Recipe and then use the print option in your browser toolbar to print the page. Hope this works better for everyone. If you have any problems just let me know.

I recently went to a wedding shower and had these pear custard bars and they were delicious! My cousin tracked down the recipe from the friend who made them and mailed it to me last week. I thought I would share with my blogging buddies.

Pear Custard Bars

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup chopped macadamia nuts

1 pkg. (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 can (15 1/4 ounces) pear halves, drained
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

In mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in flour and vanilla until combined. Stir in nuts. Press into greased 8-inch square baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned. Cool on wire rack.

Increase heat to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth.
Add sugar, egg and vanilla. Mix until combined. Pour over crust. Cut pears into 1/8 inch slices. Arrange in a single layer over filling.
Combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over pears.
Bake at 375 degrees for 28-30 minutes (center will be soft set and will become firmer upon cooling).
Cool on wire rack for 45 minutes. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cutting. Store in refrigerator.

Yield: 16 bars.
For 13 x 9 inch pan double the filling recipe.
I also use chopped pecans when I don't have macadamia nuts.

June 1, 2010

Guest Post

Please check out my guest post over at Chickens in the Road.

Amish Friendship Bread


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All images and graphics on this page were made by me with the exception of that little rooster! He came from Beth Logan's Checkered Chickens at pccrafter.com. Photos were taken by me and graphics were created using Photoshop CS2.
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