August 27, 2010

Another Magazine Give Away!

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It was such a hit last time, I thought I'd do it again!
I am giving away a years subscription to your choice of Reiman Publications. I love Birds and Blooms, Country Woman and Taste of Home. If you are chosen as the winner, you should receive your first magazine in 6-8 weeks. Just in time for getting settled into cooler weather and the fall and winter months.

I'll pick a winner next Saturday, September 4, 2010....that gives you a week to comment and send friends this way. You don't have to be a follower but I would love it if you decide to be.

To enter, just leave me a comment about your favorite fall festivities. We did winter last time so we can't leave out fall! I'm always torn between spring and fall as my favorite time of year so I'll just enjoy both of them to the fullest while they are here! We love to visit the pumpkin patch, carve Jack-O-Lanterns and decorate with fall colors, hay bales and corn shocks, have wiener roasts and hayrides and spend a few nights camping in our tent under the stars. I love sweatshirt weather!

What do you and your family do during this beautiful time of year?

If you are chosen for this give away, you get to pick one of these magazines:
Birds and Blooms
Country
Country Woman
Farm and Ranch Living
Healthy Cooking
Simple and Delicious
Reminisce
Taste of Home

Reiman Publications is not aware of or endorsing this give away. I just like their magazines and want to share with my wonderful readers.

Comments must be in by Saturday, September 4, 2010 at 9:00 a.m. Central time. Winner will be announced shortly after! Good luck!

August 26, 2010

Remember Marv?

Marv is one of Nanny's babies from last year. He's grown up into quite the handsome man. I don't talk about Marv much because he's such a shy, quiet guy. He's part pygmy and part Nubian, which makes him a Kinder goat.
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Marv is our only whether so I think he feels left out from time to time. The girls are all pushy and demand attention. Marv just waits his turn. He's such a sweet goat. He loves it when I scratch behind his ears.
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He always looks like he's asking you something...like "Do you have a cookie for me?"
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"Got any gummy bears in your pocket?"
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"Will you take me in the house and let me sleep in your bed and watch TV?"

Okay, you're sweet but that's going a little too far Marv (if you didn't read the above link, my youngest son named him Marv. I said Marv? and he said YES, as in Earf, Jupiter and Marv! - so Marv it was!)

Marv wanted me to tell all of you wonderful readers that I am going to host another magazine give away tomorrow! The last one was such a hit, I thought I'd do it again! So check back tomorrow and jump in on the fun!
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"Do you want to win a magazine? Huh? Huh, Do ya?"

August 22, 2010

Photo Restoration

A little break from the chickens and the garden to share something that is very special to me. I've been going through some of my moms albums gathering old photos that I want to scan and keep. One of my favorite albums is full of photos of my Dad's family when he was a little boy. I love to look at the ones of my grandpa. I never knew him. He died four years before I was born but I have heard many stories about him from my Dad over the years. I'll be sharing some of those over the next few weeks but today I want to share one of my uncle.

In the bottom of a box I found a very old negative. Negatives were very different 50 years ago, almost like photo paper instead of the clear film we see now. This is a scan of the original that I found in the bottom of the box.
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My Dad could tell that it was a photo of my uncle, his younger brother who passed away 15 years ago from a heart attack at the age of 49. My first thought when I saw it was "What can I do with that in Photoshop?"
I brought the negative home and started on my restoration journey...
First, I scanned the negative then opened it in Photoshop CS2. I knew that negatives were flipped, a mirror of the actual image, so I hit the transform/flip horizontal button. Then I clicked on Image in the tool bar and picked the Invert options. This changes photos to look like negatives so I was hoping to get the opposite effect and it worked.
I now had this image.
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Looking much more like a photo and showing more detail! That blue haze had to go so I changed it to a greyscale image making it black and white then adjust the contrast to give it more depth.
Then, the tedious part....all those scratches and specks and he had a big line right through his cute little face! Using the clone stamp tool and the healing brush tool, I spent about an hour working on this photo and I can honestly say that the money I spent on Photoshop was worth seeing the final image of my uncle, especially since I can now have his wife who loved him with all her heart and my Dad an enlarged copy of this precious photo made as a keepsake.
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You can click on the photos to see a larger copy and more details. I just love the wagon full of puppies and that little boy smile! I don't think it could be any sweeter!
If you have Photoshop, what do you use it for? Web design, photo editing/restoration, making siggies/blinkies/buttons? Tell us! I'd love to find even more ways to use mine!

August 20, 2010

Canning Apple Pie Filling

We picked apples again this morning and my little helper peeled and peeled and peeled. He loves using my Pampered Chef apple peeler. He makes tractor sounds while he's turning the handle.
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We canned a few jars of apple slices in a sugar water syrup. These are great for making fried apples.
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But my BIG PROJECT of the day was canning homemade apple pie filling for the first time. I found a few different recipes online and then took a look at my apple pie recipe and did some modifications...
Here's what I came up with.
Peel apples and cut into pie-sized slices. I let mine sit in a big bowl of water with some lemon juice added to keep them from turning brown. You should do enough to fill 7 quart jars packed tightly.
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Canned Apple Pie Filling
6 - 8 pounds of apples
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup regular clear gel (not instant clear gel)
2 Tbsp. vinegar
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. salt
5 cups water
5 cups apple juice

Mix sugar, brown sugar, clear gel, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together in a bowl. Put vinegar, apple juice (I used some I had juiced with the steam juicer earlier but bought is fine too) and water in a large pot on medium heat. As liquid begins to warm pour sugar mixture in stirring WELL to get the clear gel dissolve. I even used my hand mixer for this so it didn't clump. Heat mixture until bubbly, thick and hot. Pack apples into hot jars tightly. I was afraid the thick filling wouldn't get between the apples well if I packed them too tight but that's not a problem so pack them in there. You can tell I have a little space in the bottom of my jars that could have been filled.

Ladle the hot filling into the jars of apples. Using a wooden or plastic utensil, poke around in your apples to release the air bubbles and to help the filling get down to the bottom and in between all the apples. Finish filling each jar with additional filling leaving at least 3/4-inch head space. Filling will expand a bit during processing. Adjust hot lid and bands and process in boiling water bath for 20 minutes.

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I had a little of the mixture left over and my boys LOVED it with fresh apple slices. Might have to can some half pints of this as apple dip!
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So go can some apple pie filling and this winter when the snow is falling outside, grab a jar, make a homemade pie crust and ENJOY the smell and taste of warm apple pie!

August 18, 2010

Sneaking Apples

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This fawn and it's momma live in the woods behind our house.
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They usually wait until late in the afternoon to visit the apple tree.
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But they got an early start yesterday evening and he loves the apples.
I took these pics from our bedroom window.
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I have watched this little guy growing and playing over the last month from my kitchen window.
Last year I watched twins grow up there with an older doe after witnessing their birth in the middle of a thunderstorm.
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Just one of the many reason I love living way out here in the middle of nowhere!

August 16, 2010

Officially a 1st Grader

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And so grown up! But he still holds his momma's hand. See...
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And gives Daddy and Luke hugs.
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He's proud of his first missing tooth. He was determined to pull a tooth before school started. He pulled it Friday.
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and his new back pack!
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His little brother has really missed him today.
I wasn't sure he was going to let go of him when we were ready to leave the school. He ran back for one more hug.
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And then I walked away and left my big boy first grader sitting in his new desk.
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He came home and said he really liked the first grade and then he showed me how he learned to write a cursive "e".

I think back to the first day of kindergarten and know that this year will go by just as fast as last year did and then Luke will be heading out that door to Kindergarten with him every morning and I won't know what to do with myself...at least for a little while and then I'll decide it's time to do some of those things I've been wanting to do.

Like....make goat milk soap!

August 10, 2010

Apple Time Again

Lots of links in this post! I didn't plan it that way, I promise!
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Each year our apple tree bears it's little heart out! This year is no exception. The apples are smaller due to lack of rain but it is absolutely covered in them. A lot of them have already fallen to the ground because of the excessive heat and dry weather. The guineas and chickens love pecking on these during the day and there's always a doe or two eating apples at night when I flip the porch light on to let the dogs out.

Each year I find a few more ways to use the apples. Last year I made jelly but the long, tedious process of jelly bagging and squishing and straining and dripping made me decide I'd rather buy my apple jelly but then I found that wonderful thing I have been blogging about lately. The STEAM JUICER! It's on the stove now filled with apples, pouring out beautiful clear apple juice for jelly.
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See....
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I will also make a couple of apple pies over the next two to three weeks and I will can and freeze apple slices in syrup. My boys have gone through the 8 quarts of apples I canned last year and have started on the frozen ones. They request fried apples at least once a week and I can't resist making a few fried apple pies once I have them cooked.

I am also going to use apples in the Pear Custard Bar recipe. I tried this with fresh peaches and it was absolutely delicious! Don't tell the pears but the peaches were even better! Along with several bags of frozen peaches for this recipe, there will now be several bags of apples!

I also use my Roma Food Strainer to make applesauce and apple butter.

My husband uses my Pampered Chef apple peeler/corer gadget to make these apple rings. He dips them in cinnamon and sugar and dehydrates them. Yum!
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A few calls go out to neighbors and friends and they come and pick apples for their own uses and then a couple of five gallon buckets are stored in a dark, cool, dry place to keep for feeding the deer and birds during the winter months.

Needless to say, our little apple tree provides a mighty harvest for many!

August 3, 2010

Hot! Hot! Hot!

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I think I'm going to live now! I am recovering from the worst summer cold I have ever had! It started as a sore throat Friday night and by Saturday morning it was a full blown head cold then moved into my chest. If you know me when I say I haven't wanted or had a cup of coffee since Friday then you know I have been SICK!! I know I'm getting better because I'm drinking my first cup this afternoon.

Shannon, your magazine is ordered. You should receive the first one in 4 to 6 weeks. I hope you enjoy it. That give away was so much fun, I think I'll have another one soon!

It is so hot here right now. Here's the latest post from our weatherman, Kyle, a few minutes ago.
WPSD-TV It's a new weather record! The high temperature at the Paducah National Weather Service made it to 104º this afternoon. This ties the record high temperature for the date. At 4 PM, temperatures range from 98º to 102º, with heat index values of 113º to 123º! -Kyle
The poor chickens are so hot right now. I took a fan to the barn for them this morning and watered down a spot of dirt for them to wallow in and they hopped right in it. The goats are hanging out in the shade and the dogs run outside, use the bathroom and run right back in. Tomorrow is supposed to be the same. I think the only thing thriving in this heat are the hot peppers!

There's a few rumbles of thunder coming from the East. I'm hoping and praying it brings some much needed rain this way.

While I'm waiting on the rain, I think I'll make some
Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream
1 can Eagle Brand milk
1 gallon chocolate milk
1 lg. container of Cool Whip
1/2 cup sugar

Mix Eagle Brand milk, Cool Whip and sugar in a large bowl and pour into 4-quart ice cream freezer. Fill to fill line with chocolate milk. Stir and follow freezer instructions for making ice cream.

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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.
If you see something you like please ask for permission before using it!
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