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Friday, July 26, 2013

 The harvest and canning season has begun!  Our garden is rather smallish this year, compared to other years, but still there'll be some food for the shelves!

We picked about 30 heads of cabbage - ranging in size from basketball to softball - as long as they were filled out we picked 'em!

SAUERKRAUT here we come!
 Here's some of them after we got them in the house.  The cool plastic bins we picked up at Cabella's (Sporting Goods Store).

We actually picked them all one day and then started our kraut-making the following morning.  They'll keep just fine overnight - you're going to take a couple of outer leaves off anyhow and that's the only part that wilts a bit.
 We use our Cuisinart food processor to make our kraut.  We just trim the outer leaves off until we hit clean cabbage, cut them in wedges and shred on the smallest blade.  We measure out 5# of shredded cabbage, sprinkle 3 Tablespoons of salt over and let it wilt for a few minutes.  (We have several containers, so we do it assembly line fashion!)
 Once the cabbage shreds have wilted a bit, into the crock they go and you push, push, push on it until it packs in and juices up.
 Keep going!  Every 5# gets 3Tblsp of salt.......
 When you've got as much as you want (we filled them to within 6" of the top, but I didn't take a picture of that......) then you make a brine (1 1/2 Tblsp of salt to each quart of water) to fill bags for the top.  I just use new 13 gallon kitchen trash bags, doubled.  The idea is to block all the air from reaching your kraut and to cover it completely.  You want to fill the bags with enough brine to make the edges of the bag reach all the sides of the crock.  The reason you use brine instead of plain water is in case of leakage - that way you won't spoil your kraut by watering it down!
 Now it'll sit in my back room for about 3 weeks and then I'll water-bath can it. 

Here's the goat clean-up crew eating up all the cabbage plant leftovers.
 My black New Zealand rabbit still has all ten of her new kits.  They're looking good!
 I'm still working on primitives.  I work a bit on them each day, so today I finally finished up a few that I've had in the works all week.   Three rag dolls, seven bats, and 7 witches hats.  (Sounds like a poem.....)
 THEN, my husband came home with an unexpected blessing from my aunt.......
a BAZILLION shipping boxes!!!!
WOW!  This will save me a fortune on my ebay selling!   What a wonderful surprise for me!
That's it for today (remember, the kraut was a couple of days.....)
This is our bee house.  It's built like Fort Knox because we've had bear problems in the past.  So, we now call it......(are you ready?).....The Bearicade!

That's all for now.  Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His mighty hand!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Blue Skies, Sunshine & English Lops!

 We always say we've got rain and August here in SW Washington, but it's still July and it's been pretty dry for the last few weeks.  Today it's almost 90* in the shade and it feels hot & muggy.

DEFINITION:  Muggy - [Probably from Middle English mugen, to drizzle; akin to Old Norse mugga, a drizzle.]First used in the early 1700's.
 We can't grow grapes here on our place.  Once every 4 or 12 years we get a few - once we even had enough to dehydrate a few raisins out of the Interlaken ones and another year we had a few to make a couple quarts of grape juice.  This is what the purple ones look like right now.
 This picture is NOT a mistake.  This is a very rare and wonderful thing where I live.  It is called Clear Blue Sky and this phenomenon only occurs a couple months out of the year.
 These are Jonagold apples.  It will be a modest apple year this year and a poor pear year.  Last year there were gazillions and kaboodles of pears so I guess the trees are resting up this year.
 My English Lop babies are growing like weeds now.  They are totally in love with people and always head for the front of the cage when the door is opened so they can be loved on.

Today it is just over 90* in their barn and they are conserving energy by laying flat all over the cages!  They have two electric fans to keep them cool, but it's still pretty warm today!
 This is a new litter of English Lop babies born just 3 or 4 days ago to mama Armazindy.

You can't see the white one as he was too warm and crawled away a bit, but these are a broken Chinchilla and two broken Magpie colored English Lops (or E-Lops).  Their mama is a silly goose, so their nest box does not stay in her cage.  I put them in her cage every morning just long enough for her to feed them and then back to a separate cage they go.  Some E-Lop moms will spend all their time sitting comfortably on the babies.....who then perish by being suffocated & squashed!

I found this FABULOUS old screen door for just.....(drum roll please.....)........$7.50!!!!!   I LOVE it!  It was just weathered wood colored but I wanted it to be RED, so I painted it.

It's going on my bunny house!
 When we built our place, we had this hand pump installed in case of emergencies (power outages, etc.)  That was 17 or 18 years ago and it is now rusted in place.  We should probably think about having the water well people come out and get it back in working order.
No doubt I will think of this again.....when the power is out and we have neglected to have it serviced.....
 Does your laundry room and back door look like this?  These are the chore coats & hats.  We call this 'The Boot Room' - always have.   I love baseball hats.  They keep the rain off my glasses and the sun out of my eyes.  Necessary chore apparel.
 I have this dresser in my craft room.  I didn't want it to look like a bedroom dresser, so I changed it by painting Clark's ONT Cotton captions on it and now I LOVE IT!   Wish I'd get back to it and paint that bottom drawer, too!
Well, enough computer time for me, now.  I'm trying to make a whole bunch of primitives to put on Ebay, so I gave myself a sewing day today.  I was making really good progress, but then I digressed by slipping over to the computer and here I still am!
Must get back to it now as tomorrow we have designated for harvesting the cauliflower and freezing it, harvesting a bunch of cabbage and starting our sauerkraut.

I'll try to remember to take pictures of the kraut making and post them next time!


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Hamburger Buns, Lemon Curd, Scones & Primitives!

 This blog sounds like all I do is cook.  And bake.  Not true!  I do a lot of cooking and baking, true, but I also sew, do craft work, farm & garden chores, etc.  We live like in the old days, close to the farm, but we still enjoy all our conveniences - computer, electricity, running know.  We just don't buy a lot of convenience foods, so if we want to eat, well, we have to work!  This is going to be a LONG blog today because I've

Hamburger buns.  I detest those puffy, stale tasting storebought ones.  So I made a couple dozen.
 This is my favorite recipe.  It's quick and easy and makes DELICIOUS buns.....2 dozen of them. 
 Wow.  Those LOOK like my mother's hands.....or maybe my GRANDMOTHER'S HANDS!!!!!   Ugh.   They're mine.  Well, at least they're doing a good job flattening out those hamburger buns.
 Don't they look yummy?  This is only half of them!
Guess what we had for dinner the day I made these?
(duh, hamburger on a bun!)

This was yesterday, I think.  Or maybe the day before.  I can't keep up!
 I KNOW this was today.  This morning, as a matter of fact.  I grated lemons and them sqeezed them and made LEMON CURD.  When I first heard of it, I thought it sounded GROSS.  Who ever heard of.....curd anyhow?  Well, it's more like a sweet/tangy lemon pudding and it's DELECTABLE.
Oh, yeah.
 You can google a recipe, but basically you grate up the zest of three or four lemons, then add that to 1 1/2 cups of sugar and one cube (1/2 cup) butter.  Beat in 4 eggs (our homegrown ones make it a nice yellow color).  Then add in a bit of salt and the juice of 3-4 lemons (1/2 cup).
Put it in a double boiler (water in the bottom kettle, lemon mixture in the top....) and cook over high heat, stirring until it begins to pudding.

 Keep breathing in the lemony goodness while stirring.
 Pour into little jars so that if you don't eat it all right this minute, you can store it in the fridge and eat the rest in the night......
 While it cools just a bit, you can whip out some scones (I did, so you can, too!!!).

Turn your oven on to 400*.  In your mixer bowl, put 2 cups flour, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1/4 tsp. soda, 1/2 tsp salt and a cube of frozen butter chopped fine (yes).  Mix.  Then throw in 1/2 cup sour cream, 1 egg (work those hens!) and a handful of craisins (or raisins if you like).  Mix until dough forms.  Roll or pat into an 8 or 9" circle, cut into wedges (I did 12).  Place on baking sheet....... your 400* oven and bake until golden on top - about 12-16 minutes or so.
 Oh boy.  Try to do this a that you can eat several before anyone else notices or you might not get enough!
 We didn't bother splitting them, just spoon some Lemon Curd over the top, pour some coffee and sit down and relax for a bit.  WOW.
 I finished this little primitive prairie rag doll this morning, listed her on Ebay and by the time I got back from doing the milking & feeding chores....she had sold!   Don't you love her hair?  It's sheep wool!!!
 I also listed these primitive little bees....
....and four little bats.  I started them yesterday and finished them up last night.  Then I had to get pictures taken and get them listed, too.

My mom had chemo treatment today, so I had to run into town (40 minutes to town, 40 minutes at the Cancer Center and 40 minutes back!).  I stopped in a fruit stand in town and bought a flat of raspberries and a box of pickling cukes.  Froze the raspberries to make jam later and will make pickles tomorrow.....stay tuned!

Now I'm tired.  We also are watching the closest neighbor's doggie, so had to run down there (3/4 mile and actually I drove) three times today to walk ShayShay.
Here's my sentiment for the evening, now that day is done.....
Out of the dreariness,
Into its cheeriness,
Come we in weariness,
                                                (author unknown)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Quick post, then get back to work!

 Looks like a party, doesn't it?  Well, it's not ;-)  It's just a mid afternoon snack!  If we waited for a party, we'd have a long wait as we're not exactly party animals.  In between different jobs on the farm, we fixed this snack and took time to sit down in our porch rockers and enjoy it....for a minute....then back to work!
 Isn't it pretty?
 This is what I had for breakfast.  I made the batter, heated the waffle iron and had everyone watch their own waffle while I sat and savored my own.  Sounds selfish, doesn't it?  Well, normally I'd cook them all, keeping them warm in the oven and then serving them all at once, but I'm trying to create a new tradition of NOT cooking on Sundays (doesn't work) so I make a tiny effort towards that every so often......
I made regular waffle batter (from scratch of course) and then sprinkled chopped pecans over before I shut the waffle iron lid.....Then butter & maple syrup (both real, no fake stuff here...)   Yum.  Of course I had to go out to the chicken house first to find a couple of eggs, but that didn't slow me down too much.  After all, the waffle iron had to heat up.

Today we're pouring the second half of a concrete slab in our barn, so I've got to imagine lunch for hungy concrete-pouring-people so today's blog is short!  Breakfast first.....bacon & pancakes, then milking chores, bunny chores and then back in to start on lunch............Gotta run! 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Sunshine, Pumpkins, Onion Burgers & a Singer 285!

 These are not ghosts.  They are little piles of primitive handmade pumpkins-to-be!  The weather is fabulous here and it's hard to make myself do anything inside, much less sit at the computer, so explains the long lapses between posts.  HOWEVER, I feel the need to create weird little things, so this is what happens when it's hot outside!

I made these from osnaburg (rustic fabric).



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Osnaburg was a coarse type of plain textile fabric, named for the city of Osnabrück (from which it may have been first imported into English-speaking countries). Originally made from flax yarns, it has been made from either flax, tow or jute yarns, sometimes flax or tow warp with mixed or jute weft, and often entirely of jute. The finer and better qualities form a kind of common sheeting, and the various kinds may contain from 20 to 36 threads per inch and 10 to 15 picks per inch.[1]
It began to be woven in Scotland as an imitation from a German import of a coarse lint or tow-based linen cloth in the later 1730s. It quickly became the most important variety in East-Central Scotland. Sales quadrupled, from 0.5 million yards in 1747 to 2.2 million yards in 1758. It was exported mainly to England, the Netherlands and Britain's colonies in America, and some rough fabrics were called "osnaburg" as late as the mid-twentieth century. In the Atlantic plantation complex, prior to the abolition of slavery, osnaburg was the fabric most often used for slave garments.

 I mixed acrylic paints into colors I like, painted them, added stems & then 'grunged' them with a coffee/spice mixture & baked it on!
 A few extras and.......voila!   Primitive pumpkins & pattypan squash for your rustic decor!

Don't's one of the ways I earn a dab of spending money selling on Ebay!
 One of the days that we sewed outside on the porch I made this pair of mini quilt tops.  I'll add them to my pile of UFOs (un-finished objects). 

These were fun because they called for mini charm squares of fabric (precut into 2 1/2" squares).
 My microwave quit years ago, so this is my primitive method of thawing hamburger.  Of course NORMAL people (people with an actual memory) simply take it out of the freezer early in the day.  I put it in a ziploc bag and then into a bowl of HOT tap water.  In a short time........thawed and ready to cook!
 If you mix a couple tablespoons of Onion Soup Mix into your hamburger, form patties & then brown them, you can then add a couple cups of water with about 1/3 cup of the soup mix over the top and simmer for about 45 minutes.  Quick skillet Onion Burgers!  Even my non-onion lovers like this one.  You can serve over noodles, rice or potatoes and you've just got to add a veggie and you're all set!
This is a Singer 285K.  The K means it was built at the Singer Kilbowie Scotland Factory.  This is a fixer-upper I'm working on at the moment. 

The 285, built in 1963-64, was considered an economy model, a straight stitcher, and not necessarily one of Singer's finest machines, but I liked the blue color and the price was right, so he's getting an overhaul.

I've been working on primitive Snowmen, too, but that's a picture for another day.  We've been picking pie cherries GALORE off our two little trees, so one of the next posts will be canning cherry pie filling!  Right now it's entirely too hot/sunny outside to be INSIDE canning pie filling, so they are going straight to the freezer until canning day!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Monday Ramblings...

 This is Armazindy.  She's a sweetie pie.  She's waiting for my other hand to scratch her head and ears and then plant a lil kiss on her pretty head!
 These are Pinky's children!  Haven't they grown??  Already they are right at the front of the cage for attention!  Go ahead and pet one, they love it!
 This calendula was glowing so nicely, it begged for a picture.

 I was noticing ants on the sidewalk and wondered what the flowers looked like if you're an ant......
 Apparently, snapdragons are tall as trees if you're an ant.
 See that little pile of grass?  That's because I never quite get anything COMPLETELY done.  I flit and flitter from one thing to the next and hardly ever sit still......
 What's not to love about living on a farm????  All that WORK, you say?  Have you tried it???  There is nothing in this world as satisfying as working your own piece of ground, watching the things you've planted grow, the babies you helped into the world fulfill their purposes.  The PEACE you find in the quiet of the evening, when the work is done and you wander the trails and see what's still ahead to do.  To give thanks to God for allowing YOU to be the one He entrusted this piece of ground to!  I LOVE THIS FARM!
James 1:17  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

I love that God is the same forever.  You can't say that about much of anything or anyone else!  He can be trusted!  I like that.
 I was out weeding at 6:30 this morning to beat the heat.  We Washingtonians think it's SWELTERING when it gets over 75 or so and the last couple days have been hitting a little over 90....and the ground is still damp, so it's muggy.  HOT.

I made a nice dent in the weeds!
What's wrong with this picture?  Well, besides the fact that you can still see some weeds, the HEN does NOT belong in my garden!
 I found this in the grass.  It's from a Stellar's Jay.  I saved it and maybe I'll use it in some of my craft work.
 The girls are waiting to be milked.  Again.  They never stay milked......
 Do you know what this is?  It looks like someone decided to pick up all the bark & sticks & tiny pieces of wood in the woodshed and piled them up on top.  Actually, it's a big packrat nest.  I'M not reaching up there to get wood for the woodbox come Fall!
 Remember the new baby boys?  Texas Jack & Old Roy?  Well, Jack was very sick for about a week, but he's bounced back nicely and is growing like a weed now.  Soon we'll dehorn and castrate them both - for their safety and ours!

 These are our hens-to-be.  There are a couple of roosters in there, too.  The tiny one in the left front is named Cruikshank.  Her lower beak is twisted off to one side.  So far, she's small but plucky and manages to still eat & drink well. 
 I found these cuties in the bird house in a maple tree.  It looks like there are 4 of them.  They're tree swallows and keep the insect population down nicely.  Well, their parents do......
This is a promise.   A promise of work ahead to do, picking, canning applesauce & pie filling, cider-making.  A promise of good times around the table later, feasting on hot apple pie & coffee this winter.  Hot mulled cider in the crockpot on Christmas Eve.  A promise that if we work, we eat.  Each one has a promise inside - seeds that promise  to continue the cycle.  Cool.

This was a little walking tour around the place tonight.  After weeding this morning, we headed to town for my mom's chemo treatment and then....horror of horrors.....Walmart for groceries!  Everybody and their brother was there!  Those shelves were getting bare with all the shoppers choosing their 4th of July feast foods!  Lots of busy people and I was glad to get home!  This life is busy and hectic, with times both good & bad, but at the end of these busy days, if we've put our trust in Christ, we'll have the peace of home (heaven) at the end of the day to look forward to.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."  John 3:16.