Sunday, February 27, 2011

Summer Bounty

Last summer I discovered a wild plum tree growing in the edge of the woods in the back yard. I guess the reason we didn't notice it before was because it never had fruit on it. It seems that everything produced abundantly last spring and summer and this small scrubby looking tree did too. There were only a few plums that feel off daily, sometimes 3 or 4, sometimes 9 or 10. When I would walk the dogs, I always picked them up and put them in the freezer, until there were enough to work with.
Last Friday, I had the day off. I took them out of the freezer, rinsed them off, and poured them into a big pot and added about 2 cups of water. I cooked them gently until they were mush, about 20 minutes, I guess.
After pouring the pulp into a jelly bag and letting it drip, I eventually came up with this!

Plum  juice! I cooked it and did it ever smell good! Then poured it into my jars and
Wild Plum Jelly! 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Fluffy Sweets!

While I waited for the Barefoot Trimmer to come and trim the horses feet today, I whipped up a batch of vanilla marshmallows. When I made them the first time, before Christmas, I used a hand held mixer and it was nearly 'too much' for the machine. Well! I just had to try it again with the KitchenAid mixer! It was so easy!
After whipping them up, then you have to let them sit and dry for a few hours. When that has been accomplished it is time to cut them into cubes.
The pizza wheel did a nice job cutting them up.
Yummy! I'm going to try them in a cup of hot chocolate!

It rained buckets today while the trimmer was here. He was very happy to see Solomons feet. They are shaping up nicely, with a good concavity. I think he has nicer looking feet than he has ever had. Katie is a puzzle. She is lame if he takes her down to where she needs to be, but if he leaves her longer so she isn't lame, then the hoof wall develops cracks in the toe area. She has him pretty bumfuzzled! 

So much for spring! It was 55 degrees this morning, but it is 35 degrees now and feels really chilly, after that nice warm 65! I for one will be glad when it is consistently in the 50 degree range!  

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Last weekend we started to enlarge our rather small chicken house. We are just barely having enough eggs for our customers and hardly any for ourselves. We would like to have enough to put some chicken in the freezer. E thought that we could add another half dozen hens and maybe raise a few extras for meat. Neither of us want to do what it would take to do that, so maybe it won't happen either. But it is a thought. We know someone that says they would take care of that, for some of the meat. But...don't know if we will go that route or not.

Solomon is going to be 22 years old in May. It seems so unbelievable to me! I well remember that wet thing laying in the straw with Easter (his mother) and wondering what sort of horse he would turn out to be. Not too bad, as it turns out. He is a good boy.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Blessed Gift!

About a month before Christmas, I was asked if I would like to have this mixer, even though it had no attachments or a bowl. I told her YES, and that I would gladly purchase the pieces. She wouldn't have it that way, said she would get them herself. I had given up on it as it was months ago! Yesterday, she said they finally came into the store where she had ordered them, (after having to reorder as the company sent the wrong size). I was completely taken by surprise! But so grateful and will put it to good use! Thank you Lord!
I just can't help myself. I love this view. I took this Thursday from the dining room of the home we were cleaning. Can you imagine having this view from any window of your home? Watching the seasons change throughout the year from your dining room table? 

Yesterday I took Stray Kitty to the vet, as he was coughing and not eating well, even though he is near starvation. Vet did some tests and he doesn't have any life threatening diseases, such as Aids or Leukemia, but has an upper respiratory infection and probably a sore throat as a result of that. He eats canned food like you would expect a starving cat to eat. I think he would kill for that! Also have to give him antibiotics for 2 weeks, in his food. Vet thought maybe the scabs all over his nose were burns. So we will feed him and hope he starts to look and feel better.

Now I'm off to make something with my new (used but in perfect working order) mixer. Probably cookies or something! Come on in and share them with us!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

A New Face

Here is another view of Lake Monroe. I would never tire of watching the seasons change from this window! The lake is frozen over and has been for many weeks.

This was supper. I roasted this chicken in the Turbo Cooker for 1 1/2 hours and it was very moist and tasty. Also had home canned green beans and scalloped cheesy potatoes. Sure wish you could come and have supper with us.

This is a new face that showed up in the barn this afternoon. He is not full grown, unless he is just small. He is also the skinniest cat I have ever seen! He is as thin as a sheet of paper. His nose has scabs all over it. He tries his best to rub on the dogs and our legs. He want someone to pet him! Do you want him? We will feed him and get him back to being a happy and filled out kitty but we don't need any more cats!  We already have 6! And they are all strays but one, that have found their way to our barn, to be fed and loved. You would think we were running a homeless shelter here, now wouldn't you?

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Baking Day

I had a busy day today, making Hot Dog Buns.
It was a good day to stay inside and bake. I had some Brats in the freezer but had no buns of any kind. With the help of the Internet, I decided to make my own buns and this is the end result. I originally tried to make them with my homemade yeast but it didn't seem to be working as the first batch of buns didn't raise at all. I eventually took about a half cup more of flour and added a teaspoon of instant yeast the flour, then kneaded that into the the first batch of buns. That was at 2:00 PM this afternoon. It is now 9:10 PM and they are starting to rise now! So my guess is they will go into the fridge to finish tomorrow.
These photos are of the second batch I mixed up, using a different yeast. I started them at 3:30 and we were eating them at 6:30.  Rising.
I will likely put some of these in the freezer as we can't eat them all while they are fresh. E grilled the Brats out on the the porch, while I made a pan of caramelized onions to top our brats with. Yummy! These are just out of the oven. 
They were tasty. Maybe not as soft and light as I would have liked them to be but at least I knew what went into them, unlike the packaged ones from the store. And I like the idea of making them myself!
Maybe you would like to try to make your own? It was not hard to do, at all.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

More Snow!

Today we have more snow! Everything is so pretty, all the trees and bushes are frosted in white. This is the front pasture and hay field, taken through the window.
Here are a couple more photos that I took yesterday on my way to work. The whole countryside was bathed in diamonds. The sun was shining and everything just glistened and sparkled with all that ice on it. It was breath taking! 
I had the camera in one hand and took these out the window of my truck. All this ice is still there, it is just covered up with today's snowfall.
For years, I used to pass this barn on my way to work every morning and often wanted to photograph it, but I never did. It is surrounded by housing developments and the old fashioned farmhouse is there too, just out of sight from the road. Would love to know the story behind this lone farm.

Click on photos to make them larger if you wish.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Winter Woes

We cleaned two homes today and every bone and muscle hurts. It is a 5 hour period of bending, leaning, pushing, (vacuuming), hands and knees, (baseboards) stretching, and wiping. I didn't expect to be so sore after that fall on the ice on Wednesday. But it has been a long time since I have fallen on something as hard as that frozen water! Advil is my friend right now. Nothing is broken, just sore. Just please go away winter!

Does anyone have a daffodils trying to grow yet? Mine are still hidden in the frozen tundra. I haven't seen any robins in our neck of the woods either. Since it is supposed to snow tomorrow, I think I will make some bread and that will help warm the kitchen too!

Watching the birds at the feeder and watching the deer are my entertainment during these frozen months. Last week I drove up the drive way after work and noticed the horses all looking at something near their lot. Then I saw them! There were 8 deer grazing beside the run-in shed and 4 of them were bucks! Two were BIG bucks, and two were younger bucks and 4 does and last years fawns. They all watched me, as I sat there in my truck watching them, and then they hopped the fence and ran down into the woods behind the barn. That was a sight to see!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Iced In!

E and I have spent the last two days at home because of the weather. Last night a mighty racket woke us up and I stumbled out to the living room to see what all that noise was! Well, it turned out that the temperature had briefly gone up above freezing during the night and ice was falling off the limbs of the trees.The wind was blowing like crazy so the ice was hitting the sides of the house! This was at 12:30 AM! What a racket! But by daylight it was 19 degrees again and we were in the deep freeze!
I don't think my flower garden likes all this ice either. Remember this deer, Jeanie? I think he looks pretty nice on the pole in my garden. The wind cups were so full of ice they couldn't turn, even in 30 MPH winds!
The drive way is a solid sheet of ice. E wrapped a chain around each tire on the Farmall tractor and it didn't have any trouble going up or down the driveway. But the snowplow on the tractor was completely useless as the ice was just too hard and solid and it had no effect on the ice at all! Ed had me take the tractor and a couple of chains up to the top of the driveway (just in case I had to pull the truck up) and wait for him while he drive our vehicles up the hill. With a long run at the hill he made it up without mishap. He parked them in the drive way of the neighbors mobile home. We will have to walk out the drive in the morning to our trucks but at least we can get out to go to work! The highway is clear of ice and snow. They put a lot of salt on it on Monday afternoon. I guess it helped. Wish they would salt our driveway, especially the hill!!

They don't really show it as it really was. It was pretty and sparkly, but very treacherous. I found out how treacherous! I was being very careful, but the next thing I knew, I was flat on my back in the driveway, out in front of the barn. I have an egg size lump on my head to remind me, that you can't be toooooo careful! I am fine, just a bit sore and stiff. With an inch of ice on the ground, I don't see it melting real soon as the temperature  isn't supposed to get out of the 20's until Sunday.