Saturday, December 31, 2016
Winter has hit the Pacific Northwest in a more, well, winter-like way than usual! We've had snow & icy temperatures more often, which I'm enjoying to the fullest!
Well, except for today, since I've got a nasty cold bug and the trip to the barn for evening chores sounds exhausting at the moment!
Our Christmas Country Chicks event went
Today I made a nice Broccoli Cheese Soup, since I have a cold and it sounded comforting. It's really easy to make: Boil a pot of broccoli florets until they're as done as you like them. Drain them and set aside for a minute.
In a separate kettle, melt a cube of butter. Remove it from the heat and whisk in a half cup of flour. When it's totally smooth, whisk in a pint of chicken broth and a cup of milk.
Now you can return it to the heat and stir until it's bubbly and thickened. I added about a cup of grated cheddar and a cup of smokey swiss cheeses (you can choose your own favorite) and a handful of frozen bacon bits.
Next you can toss the cooked broccoli in and stir. I like my soup a bit thinner, so I added another pint of chicken broth. You can thin it with more milk, if you'd rather. Either way, it's delicious and will put hair on your chest! (wait...what?)
Feel free to season it with pepper & salt to taste.
Eat up, we're not making dinner tonight. Can you say....toast and hot cocoa? I told you I have a cold!
Ripley the cat races through the house and flings himself against the sliding glass door repeatedly when he sees Tippy, the ouside cat. Eventually he settles down....wherever he wants to, often in my crafting room.
I think I shocked a visitor recently when I mentioned that, yes indeed, we do milk the goats twice a day, every day!
So far, two of our milkers have freshened (given birth to kid goats) and each had triplets! That means I go to the barn at 8am and again at 6pm or so to milk Shiloh and Merrieanne, and then bottle feed six hungy babies!
Isn't this a beautiful picture of the snow on the trees? I was thinking about the first snow of the season on the forested hills outside my kitchen window: The snow illumines each tree, changing the forest from a green mass to hundred of unique individuals. I imagine that God sees us that way - where I see a crowd, the masses; God sees each unique individual illuminated.
Meet Mortimer, the bull calf (heart on forehead) and Harriet the heifer! They are sweet little babies and growing like weeds!
A little black goat came along, too. She had suffered from starvation at a previous home and arrived in very poor condition, nearly unable to stand and with very little interest in life. I broke out my arsenal of goat remedies and I'm happy to say, she is very gradually improving! In her emaciated state, she was not worth a nickel, so I named her Bad Penny!
Farm life changes continually, and at the same time it stays very much the same. Animals and chores come & go and we tend to do the same kinds of things over and over through the years.
Well, I've caught up for now and it's about time for chores again, so I'll stuff my pockets with kleenex, and take my aching self down to the barn. Imagine how good that woodstove is going to feel when I'm done with chores and can collapse in my recliner for the evening again!
Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Mr. Ripley believes he should be part of every adventure. My daughter, Laura, and I were suddenly overtaken by the need to 'Fall clean' the house. Included in that endeavor has been all kinds of odd sorting through things and disposing thereof.
We went through a couple boxes of fabric scraps...
We have a solitary grapevine on the garden fence. My son planted it 10 or 15 years ago and the most it has ever produced was a box or two of grapes. This year has been a phenomenal fruit year and we harvested 6 big boxes of purple grapes for juice and jelly! It's all canned and tucked away in the cellar.
We had a cider-making potluck party with a group of friends and sent them all home with jugs of the fruits of their labors!
Today I picked a box of Jonagolds and one of Libertys to store in the outside fridge. I tasted my way through our 20 year old orchard. We planted it when we first bought this land and we are definitely reaping our reward in harvest this year!
Many long hours of crafting were represented in my shelves & bins at the show. This buzzard was one of a kind and didn't last long.
Our next show is only about 7 or 8 weeks away and it's a Christmas show. I've already started on a dozen Old Worlde Santas and some little snowmen, Lots of work to do to be ready, and of course we still have things to can!
Well, the garden is finished for the year, other than mowing the remaining vegetation down and trimming back the raspberries. I've closed some of the windows in the rabbit house and we've combined the young and old chicken flocks. Four of the goats will head off to the auction, the haying equipment will be moved under cover and the porches de-cluttered and ready for Fall & Winter winds and rain.
This morning we had the first frost of the season and a fire in the cookstove. The sun came out later and it was warm enough to open the windows once again, but the weather forecast is calling for winds & rain for the next few days so it's time to fill the wood box and get the kindling chopped. Soon the sunshine will be gone for good.
Mr. Ripley is growing and learning how best to torment Maddie the chihuahua. He appears out of nowhere and then disappears just as fast, but can usually be found if you put out a box or basket.
My son & younger daughter and I were talking at
This is just a smattering of what we've been up to on the hilltop and there's still much to do before the farm can sleep for the winter. What a blessing it is to have such a bountiful harvest!
Monday, August 29, 2016
Being attacked by a flying bundle of teeth & claws is hard to get used to, but we're working on it.
These are just a few of them. To be totally honest, my camera chip is full and I've been either too lazy, too tired or too forgetful to take care of it.
Call me ignorant (but not to my face!), but I found out the hard way that the little memory disc/chip that goes in my camera has a teeny tiny little lock on it that slides up or down.
We spent a couple days camping at the beach and I couldn't take a single picture because I couldn't get my camera to work. Of course I would have Googled the solution if I'd been home, but we had no Internet service while camping.
Hard to live without Google, lol!
Today we canned a dozen jars of green beans and started the applesauce. I'm aiming to can about 48 pints of applesauce, maybe a dozen apple butter and then a bit later, apple pie filling. We're working through the Gravenstein apples at the moment and waiting for the Kings to get ripe for pie filling. We will not starve this winter.
One can only accomplish so much, which is quite a bit, but then we run out of gumption. Wonder where you can get a nice big pile of gumption?
The next day, this little beauty showed up in the kitchen at our building with my name on it! What an unexpected blessing!
When I was a kid we would gather in costumed groups and stop at as many houses as we could to Trick-or-Treat and gather up as much candy as possible. I remember many happy moments spent later in the evening, our bags dumped out on the floor in front of us as we all examined and compared our loot! The neighborhood was a safer place back then. Oh good grief! Here I am, talking about the 'good old days'...and me so young! (DO NOT LAUGH AT THIS POINT!)
It's a tiny chainstitcher machine. Isn't it cute? It's very small.
My hubby has a nasty cold (at this time of the year!) and I have to go to the dentist tomorrow for a night-guard fitting because I clench my teeth. Life is full of such things, but God is good and blesses us every day. Until I write again, may He hold YOU in the palm of His hand and may you know Him better!
Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Have you ever lost someone you loved so very dearly? Almost 9 months have somehow passed since we lost my mom and still some days I am shocked and heart-broken anew. Did she know we loved her so much? I still dish up too many plates for dessert sometimes and a few days ago I stood in the room that was hers and cried. I miss her company. Sigh. More time. More time will ease the ache and loss, though never the hole.
It seems like our summer was here and now gone.
First, it was day after day of HOT, unseasonably
so, weather. Up in the 80s, the 90s...Way too hot
for us Western Washingtonians! Like boneless chickens, we lose all ability to do anything useful as we wilt. Too hot to do any more planting or weeding outside. Just when I finally had gone through my closet and found capris, short sleeved shirts, sandals.....South it went! Now, the low temperature tonight may supposedly reach the upper 30s and it's been nothing but gray skies and cloudbursts and gullywashers!
I LOVE IT!
What else have I been up to? Hmm. I had loaves of onion mustard sourdough and Italian Hersbs & cheese breads in my freezer, left over from the Farmer's Market & Spring Festival, so I sliced & diced & dehydrated them!
It's going to be a 'fruit' year for sure, if the pests don't get all the goods. The apple trees are loaded with little apples and even though Dave hard-pruned the pears, there are quite a few of them, too. The Italian Plum is loaded, but one huge major branch split and needs to come down, so not as many plums as we thought. What can you really do with plums, anyhow? I mean, you can eat SOME, but boxes and boxes?
Mama Deer has twins this year. She's very flighty and we only catch an occasional glimpse of her.
The perfectly pretty peonies pleased Pam. There. Say that 5 times real fast!
Hobo Dinner. THAT is not a new thing and it is so easy that you'll want to run to the kitchen right now and fix yourself one for dinner. Or lunch.
Yum, what a feast!
NOTHING is better than this bean dish. Try it. You'll thank me.
It's great for potlucks, too.
I realize that a lot of women go to work and spend many hours away, but with a chronic illness like Lyme Disease, it was a hard road to travel and none of us has recovered very well yet.
Well, I'm sure more stuff has happened than I have remembered to write, but I'll stop rambling for now. God has been good to us and I thank Him every day for His love and blessings to us. This farm is my happy place. All those years when I was a child, living in duplexes in the city with my single mom, I dreamed of living on a farm. Well, I also dreamed of eating all the whipped cream I wanted, but never mind that! Until next time!