Sunday, November 6, 2011

Here is my 5 gallon sauerkraut crock.It sits quietly fermenting in my kitchen I am ready for any ocean voyage of long duration, for my keg of sauerkraut will prevent scurvy and keep my Vit C levels top notch .Captain Cook knew this secret and keep barrels of kraut in the ship's hold.I also read where it is a cancer fighter because it contains substances of many letters that will fight for you.(Google that one too).

I picked up a couple of Bubba cabbages because the cabbages in my garden are still small and full of dark green leaves.Those I'll use for pigs-in-the-blanket

My Kitchen Aide slicer /shredder turns cabbage leaves into kraut in no time.
 I have the actual recipe on a prior blog 2 years ago. (Check out Sept or Oct)
  Pound down to pack tightly the salted cabbage which ferments the kraut.

I found this recipe when I 'Googled' for sauerkraut recipes   It looks so delicious! It is what to do with the finished product. I shall have to try that with last years' sauerkraut (some jars still left in the cellar).This keg o' kraut will be ready in 2-3 weeks.I  place a plastic bag filled with water on top of the packed kraut. This method fills in all the air spaces better than any other I have used in the past.No yucky scum/mold formation on the top layers that would need to be skimmed off.A large plate as a covering lid (see first picture up top) is the finishing touch .
Almost done with canning, freezing and food preparation for the coming year.I still have to dig up 4 more rows of potatoes,pick the newly grown broccoli,and Friday I picked up a 50 lb bag of carrots from my favorite Farmer's market down the road.Alas, butchering is next on the agenda. (:>

Sunday, October 30, 2011

October Snow

What a pleasant surprise, snow in October! Not just a dusting but a regular snowfall downloaded from the flour sifter in the  sky.What to do when the pretty white stuff confines me to the house? Make bread and pea soup, of course! The aroma of baking bread is especially wonderful when you enter a house sniffing the air and stomping the heavy white stuff off your boots.

I have an old recipe book from my mother dating back to the 1950's.The cover has been missing for as long as I can remember. I love the recipes in it , especially the bread recipes.The 'WHY' of things are explained in detail.For example , 'WHY' you have to sift biscuit recipes 3 times instead of once~ because unevenly distributed baking powder will leave you with yellow specks scattered throughout the finished product.(And you wondered why Beulah won the blue ribbon in the biscuit contest and you didn't.).

I only have one of the 2 volume set of this recipe book . I should probably search the websites for its' mate.The pea soup below turned out scrumptious.I added a tablespoon of pearl barley to each jar to add substance since I didn't have as many carrots as I would have liked.I cooked up a 15.5 lb cured ham the other day from a pig we had butchered awhile back,divided up the left overs into zip lock bags with gravy and stored them away for future quickie dinners.The ham bone became pea soup and I was able to get 15 qt jars to store up for the winter & spring.Yummy! Hot bread and a bowl of pea soup , sitting next to the wood fire and watching the snow fall. (:>

Saturday, October 29, 2011

I love my Nubian goats. Always shy and peaking around a corner. Unobtrusive. Never the nasty ram of my sheep herd can be.Goats are delightful companions of horses, always getting along....for some reason unexplained. Sheep, on the other hand will be kicked and untolerated.. A goat can shove his head inside the grain pail and not be challenged...or not be killed.. How does that happen??? I don't know.My Nubians can fight their way into the grain pail competing with a horse's head and be tolerated. How does that happen??  I don't know,
I don't understand their reasoning. Three years ago I brought these 2 Nubian wethers home from a goat rescue. I had no info on them. I think, now, they were probably 2 old fellows,Burt died in July. I think Ernie will pass away in the next few days. I shall miss them both. Two lovely friends . 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It is nearly November and of course you know what that means for the turkey crowd.Here is a video of one of my Narangassett hens who refuses to be cooped.She is no dope.Instead she remains aloof  and sleeps roosting atop the roof of the chicken/turkey house.I don't butcher my Narangasset turkeys anyway.They are my pets (:> This little gal is actually a cross between her Narangasset mama and Bourbon Red gobbler daddy which has given her darker brown coloring and can easily be mistaken for a wild turkey.Since it's the beginning of fall turkey season this coming week, I shall have to catch her with a crab net and lock her up in turkey jail until the guns are put away.
Right now she's lonely and is calling upon her friends to c'mon out and play.I shall now take my life in my hands and open the door.................

You have no idea how dangerous this is to my health.Sixteen  to twenty pound birds flying off their roosting posts straight outta the door,over my head.A cacophony  of crazed  turkeys and chickens push and shove and crowd around my legs all trying to gain the upper hand to get first dibs at the grain pail I try to drag the pail upward away from their reach.Five  turkey heads , all flushed red with competitive anxiety ,are frantically pecking and burrowing  into the grain. My coffee can scooper dumps the first pile onto the ground. (SIGH) I can finally get away long enough to leave a trail of multiple scoops several feet apart from each other so that ALL may eat, not just the big bullies with the BIG appetites.Thirty pounds a day over the past three weeks .I have  thoroughly searched every nook and cranny of freezers and refridge  for  freezer burned  goodies.I throw open the grocery cupboard doors and toss boxes and bags of old cereal ,nuts and whatever over my shoulders into bins to carry out to them.It is never enough They are Halloween turkeys waiting to devour.
They peck at my rings, my anniversary ring (:<   I hate that.  If you buy a Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey from me , please keep a look out for some shiny stones in your stuffing .

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Whopping Big Train !!

And so, one hour after we expected the train to arrive, Pop Pop came speeding past at a zooming 23 mph !! ( A tree fell across the tracks and had to be cut up and removed so the train could continue down the tracks. ~ the reason for the 1 hour delay)) It was worth the wait. Soooooo~  what's more fun than reading poetry to Nana on Grandparents Day????    Hmmmmmm..........let me think ..................

Last Friday was Grandparent's Day at my grandchildren's school.It's the kind of school that makes you smile and thank God everyday that your kids are able to attend there.The kids love it (:> I have never missed a Grandparents Day special in the past. Each grade in the lower elementary school puts on a special skit with singing and of course my eyes start to sting and blur and my nose starts running as I rummage through my purse for a tissue that's NEVER THERE AT THE RIGHT TIME !!!  I can cry at the drop of a dime but music hits the right button every time (:<   This year, despite phone call reminders and the note under the refrigerator magnet,..........I forgot. I didn't remember until somewhere around midnight afterward..I was mortified and every other ...tified  word that the dictionary contains .I felt HORRIBLE that my grandson's Nana wasn't there for them.So I decided to make it up to them the .Maybe I should buy them a new built in indoor swimming pool (???) Or a pony??? Or... at least a liverewurst sandwich.I decided to spend the day with them and hit the Pumpkin Festival and then buy pizza and then intercept POP POP'S TRAIN !!!   

Sunday, October 2, 2011

This is a picture of last years grapes. I was unable to get a pic of this years' crop before it was finished but I was certainly NOT disappointed . YOU-TUBE is filled with videos on grape vine management . Plan on pruning in the winter or early spring during the dormant season.This year we made jelly and grape juice once again. The yummiest recipe is 3 handsful of grapes, 1/4 cup on sugar, drop each in a qt  canning jar and fill with boiling water. Then can in hot water bath or pressure can on 3 lbs pressure accord
ing to Ball Blue Book.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Digging For Gold

I  figured , with all this rain, that I should check on the status of my potato harvest .Usually I wait until the first frost in November to dig them up , put them in boxes and store them in the cellar.This year has been par-tic-uuuu-larly WET and I was concerned my potatoes might get soggy and rot. I dug up part of a row and was delighted to find the spuds in excellent health and some the size of my shoe.Each plant brought forth a potato family similar to our own.The big daddy potato, the mama size and the big kid,adolescent the little kid and the baby not yet weaned from the stem (:>

I tossed these in a box,with their dirt protective  layer and brought them inside.They will dry and the dirt will protect them from deteriorating for many months to come, as long as they are in the cool cellar.We don't have a root cellar but I have a wood stove upstairs that keeps the house toasty warm but the cellar remains cold but not freezing all winter.Perfect ! (:>

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Before and...

Flooded town.


          I took a walk down Main Street in Bloomsburg yesterday near the Fairgrounds.This would have been Fair Week but because of flood devastation the annual Bloomsburg Fair was cancelled. Kids from 4-H Clubs won't be showing off their prized animals they have raised and I wonder how big and heavy this year's  grand pumpkin would have been ? Blue ribbons for quilts and canned goods will not be presented this year but the food stands are there, lined up and cooking for those that just CAN'T IMAGINE going one year without that scrumptious Fair Food. Gotta have it! (:>

There are a lot of sad sights out there but people have rolled up their sleeves and the sounds a hammering and the whirring of saws can be heard throughout the neighborhoods.Construction crews are backed up with   requests for extensive home repairs, excavators are trying to meet emergency repairs for extensive erosion around foundations and all this has to be done before winter.Neighbors and friends are tearing out damaged walls and flooring .Piles upon piles of linoleum, paneling, sheet rock and ruined furniture are lined up on Main St waiting  for garbage pickup.

Recurrent rainfall has kept creeks and rivers flowing ominously and many are concerned there might be a second flooding.It's pouring outside right now and the rains were pounding last night.South and west of me  actually did receive more flooding last night.

I love covered bridges and I was so sad to see the Sonestown Bridge in Sullivan County take a hit. The damage was caused by a flotilla of uprooted trees impaling the wooden siding of the bridge.Covered bridges add such charm during the Fall Festivals up here when autumn displays her full glory of colors.Forksville will still have the Flaming Foliage Festival this weekend, Oct 1st & 2nd from 10AM-4 PM at the Sullivan County Fairgrounds on RT 154. The RT 220 end is closed so you will have to come by RT 87 through Dushore.Free admission and parking. (:>

Thursday, September 15, 2011

September disasters

Speaking of September disasters, 53 years ago ,on September 14th, a Jersey Central commuter train ,traveling  across the 8th Street R.R.station bridge between Elizabeth and  Bayonne NJ ,plunged into Newark Bay. The train was traveling from Bay Head stopping at numerous coastal towns en route to Jersey City and Manhattan. No one ever figured out why both the engineer and conductor ignored 3 signals warning of the open tressel bridge where oil tankers and other vessels would periodically pass below.It was rumored that the engineer had a heart attack and was dead.

The memory of that day is as clear as a bell. I was in third grade in Washington School but school was closed for the Jewish Holidays. I was sitting on the floor in the parlor playing when my mother ran in and turned on the news. She was a nurse , not yet working because she was a stay at home mom in those years, and was immediately drafted for disaster nursing and placed on standby.Bayonne Hospital immediately went into disaster mode , cancelled elective surgeries and set up the cafeteria as a patient care area. As it turned out,it wasn't needed.Of the four cars that plunged into the water, only two people,a man and a woman,made it out of the commuter car that sunk to the polluted bay floor. One car was dangling from the bridge with screaming people and one or two cars remained on the tracks.One of those passengers was my dentist's receptionist.Of coarse every one in town hopped in their cars to see this spectacle and my mom packed my brothers and I into our black Chevy..I'll never forget the helicopters,rescue boats below and that awful dangling car.I can still smell the polluted brown oil slicked bay water in my memory.It's one of those things that just sticks with you.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

As It Was In The Days of Noah

As Hurricane Katia tossed its' windy mane off the eastern coast, Pennsylvania's rivers and creeks swelled with the heavy rains and roared wildly through our little towns.Larger cities along the Sussquehanna River were flooded,in some cases covering first floors of homes and stores.A friend of mine had flooding up to the roof of her newly renovated home.Below is a picture of the aftermath where the overflowing creek pried up the macadam roadbed in Muncy Valley  and swept it away.

What caused this stream to suddenly overflow within minutes into neighboring backyards? Usually, in the past,it never overflowed beyond the road or driveways.

Uprooted trees and branches were first washed downstream and blocked a creek tunnel that ran under the highway.  Once that happened, violent alternative pathways raged into the neighborhood yards tearing away oil tanks afixed to houses,propane tanks,cords of wood,yard decorations, old cars,sections of people's porches and uprooting more .Some of these trees impaled the covered bridge in Sonestown. Scariest was uncut firewood which appeared to be telephone poles flying downstream.

Years ago I found this scary picture of misplaced debris  during a heavy rainstorm.You just never know what's going to slide down these mountains in bad weather (:<

Friday, September 2, 2011

A Summer Day's Ride

Summer is not over yet,at least not until the end of the month.I love driving along gravel roads where the corn is green and the sky is a deep bright blue . A rich blue where cirrus clouds  travel in armadas above ,as a naval fleet travels below . You never know what you'll run into as you come to a crest and a turn .The sight can be breath taking or it can be a junkyard with loose churlish barking dogs gnawing at your tires.No junkyard here.This sight goes on for miles .There are no buildings or highways in the view.I like that. In a few weeks, especially the second week of October,all this will be completely repainted in brilliant autumn colors.

I continued driving down this road  searching for a 'goat rescue' farm.So,up the road, around the corner and down the hill to a 'Y' in the road."Let's take a left", I said to my son who was driving.  "You mean the road with the 'KEEP OUT !! 'sign nailed on that tree?" he answered. "Yes. That's a hillbilly welcome sign meaning,"Ya'll c'mon in" .They jes' foolin',.I said. So I searched for goats among the pasturing animals as we drove downhill  on the narrow driveway .As we approached the blue house trailer I noticed a HUGE bull with an enormous forehead  that projected like an overhead anvil.  Curved horns protruded with alarming length and were navigating in our direction. He wanted no part of our visit.He scowled and snorted.He pawed at the ground and let out a deep gutteral growl. No moo's for him.I waited in my husband's spanking new truck for the householder to emerge onto  the porch to see what we wanted. I wanted to know if she was the goat rescue lady.I was interested in buying a goat. No one emerged.Only 2 skinny electric wires separated the shiny new truck from this bull who was now bellowing and pawing at the ground with 2 hooves  stamping dust clouds  around his legs.He was clearly their 'Watch Bull' and took his job very seriously. We decided to 'take tea ' some other time and got out of there as quickly as possible.
All this beautiful corn is currently being harvested for fruit stands,then later for animal feed.Many of the fields had a great deal of wind damage and were flattened .My corn was flattened by the hurricane spin off winds before growing was completed .I had to buy my corn this year.
 Look how far you can see in the distance. Those are the Endless Mountains, the range that travels through north central Pa.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Dining Room Chairs

My dining room has been the central focal point of so many happy family traditional gatherings since the 1970's.My first dining room suit was my Grandma Lawler's.I was born in November 1949 and she had this dining room furniture delivered for that Thanksgiving.I was brought home from the hospital on Thanksgiving.I cost my parents a whole $250.00 in hospital bills. I guess I was the turkey! (:>My grandmother died when I was 2 1/2 .Afterward, my dad inherited that dining room suit and when I was first married we used it for a few years.
But these pictures are of my current dining room chairs. We bought this furniture in the last half of the 1970's.I want to speak now of child abuse inflicted upon dining room furniture.Little girls are expected to help their mama's clean on Saturday mornings. Dust and vacuum.But little girls want to PLAY on Saturdays with little girlfriends.Hence, any impediment to Saturday playtime is met with great irritation and weasleling on "How to get out of dusting the gunge off the dining room chairs".I have YEARS of impacted peanut butter & jelly , dust and 'who knows what else' upon my dining room chairs.They just sprayed PLEDGE spray wax over everything and said,"I'm done. Can we go out now?" Hence, years of wax & gunge build up.I have tried naptha, every cleaner imaginable, and have even considered napalm. Then, a compassionate antique dealer told me he uses spray oven cleaner to clean furniture, but it takes off the varnish. I used it.It works.
Beutiful oak furniture should not be painted, but I had to do it.I visited Red Lobster for a yummy meal and Lo & Behold!! Beautiful red & green chairs!! So pretty, I couldn't take my eyes off them. I took a trip to Lowe's and bought a slew of paint to be applied in 3 stages.This is STAGE ONE: Basic coat. My son exclaimed ,"Mom, that's PINK!! (:<" Nope, that's the
bottom basic coat. These shall be red antiqued.So, I won't be able to do the next steps for a few days.This is CHAPTER ONE !! (:>

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sheep May Safely Graze~ J.S.Bach

I have so often thought of the idea of lolling about with nothing to do.Lovely thought! And so, I decided I would keep God's plan for mankind and do NOTHING!! This is the 7th year for my big garden. It is the Sabboth Rest for it. Last week I sat in my folding chair, on the 7th day (for me) reading a book.Something that would not cause my brain any disturbance at all, therefore it was, of course, about farm life. (:> I sent my sheep into the resting garden of plush green vegetation and watched them (with my WHIP). (I would not allow them any liberties, at all, to chomp at my grapevines.There was certainly enough vegetation to feed upon without THAT decimation!(:< !!! What is 185' x 185' of garden square footed?? These idiot sheep will find the only 2 trees in the garden to destroy and tear the bark off.Therefore, the whip.
We are clueless to the wisdom of God. He, Himself, rested on the 7th Day after He had done His work.Upon our days off, we use every spare moment to be as busy as possible.I have a list as long as a roll of Scott's toilet paper of things I need to get done.
Yet,the keeping of a Sabboth. What pleasure.How necessary to our well being. God kept it for His own well being. Are we superior to Him? Anyway, He will REQUIRE it of us. How many have you missed? You have no idea.
Several thousand years ago, King Josiah (a King of Judah) found the neglected Book of the Bible , probably Deuteronomy,and after reading it, became sick after realizing his nation was in severe trouble with God.
One thing you need to understand~~ God says, "I am the LORD, I change not!" The same God during Josiah's day is the same God, with the same mindset today.
The nation of Judah had neglected to keep the 'every 7 years land rest' for 490 years. That divides into 70 Sabboth rests for the land.Judah went into captivity for guess how many years??? Messiah showed up, guess how many years??? WOW!! The mathematics of God bowl me over! I think the people of King Josiah's day said, "Well, we don't do that anymore. That was for the ancients, but these are modern times." HAH! If you are familiar with your Bible, you will see that God gets His due. Hands down every time.

Red Beets

I should be enjoying the end of the summer, swimming in the ocean, fishing, picnicking, but NO! I am canning fruits & veggies and cleaning chicken coops for new peeps (meat chickens for the upcoming year).I guess I love homesteading more than vacationing. I'd rather be HERE than any other place on Earth. Yes, really.
Red beets are probably the more tedious of vegetables to prepare but HARVARD BEETS are the absolute royalty of canned vegetables. You may hate plain beets or pickled beets, but the recipe for Harvard beets (that I have been blessed with from the Pennsylvania Grange Society Cookbook) makes all that hard work so VERY worth it! (:>

I did not grow my own beets this year.I bought them from a local veggie stand.Would you like the recipe? #1 ONLY buy BABY beets. #2 I will send you the recipe upon request.(:>

Saturday, August 13, 2011

My fruit trees are still in their adolescent stages of growth. They produce, but in smaller amounts. So, I still have to buy from the local produce stands. I like that anyway. I touch base with my neighbors who have been an immense help to me . They have taught me how to make sauerkraut,mix and stuff a sausage,recognize and treat an abcess in a horse's hoof,cure a corned beef,etc.
I have dwarf peach fruit trees, but their fruit is still dwarfed. I learned a hard lesson with mail order trees. My supposed MacIntosh apple trees turned out to be crab apple trees. My Freestone peach trees turned out to be a kind of peach that needs to be peeled and does not release from the pit.NOT freestone.My best deals came from buying trees form Home Depot. EXCELLANT trees!!
I cannot stock up enough peaches. My family and friends love them so! When they come to visit, they scan over the shelves of canned goods. Peaches are the all time favorite. How many
will I part with?? It's so fun to visit the farm and go home with 'take-out goods'.That is not a sacrcastic term on my part.Nothing makes me happier than sharing the happiness of this farm . I always can & freeze more than I can use.

CORN !!!!

Once again I'm freezing corn. It comes out so much nicer than canning it.I will probably have to buy a good portion of my corn this year. I only have a small patch growing next to the nursery chicken coop.
My daughter just bought 100 ears from a local farmer.Beautiful, perfect corn. She couldn't stop munching on it.Last year my cat had the same thought.He buzzed through ear after ear in a few short minutes a piece.
A nicely sharpened butcher knife is essential to kernaling corn. I played around with 3 until I grabbed my vegetable knife chopper.Whop! ~ Whop Whop !! I began zooming through the job.

I bagged up my corn in quart size zip lock bags,pressed it by hand to get the air out & also flattened the bag into a square for storage in the freezer.And so, I needed to find space. HMMMMMMMMM............
I've been foraging through the freezers looking for meats and veggies that are outdated. I need to make room for fresh newborn crops.My dogs are thrilled with this idea since freezer burned old cuts of meats are baked then cut into bite size chunks for them to enjoy.We'll get there. I have 50 chickens,13 turkeys, a pig in October....all that will need freezer space.I am so happy to have found .One freezer I got for free , another for $50.00.I've done well with Craigslist.

Sunday, July 31, 2011


I LOVE the sound of oats racing up the pipe and filling the oat room in the barn.I love the feel of oats ,its'silkiness flowing through your fingers in an 80 lb bag.My sheep, horses & goats love the feel of it flowing over their teeth !
Harvest is not in November at Thanksgiving time.That's the tail end of harvest when brussel spouts and the last of the potatoes are gathered in.November is the meat harvest.Deer,pigs,beef and the tail end of chicken & turkey.
This has been a good year for crops, so far. Enough rain and enough hot sunshine.In over abundance, plan for years of under abundance.Canned food lasts for several years. Frozen stuff does not. Pork will turn rancid, even if frozen too long.If you raise your own pigs or beef,this is the time of year to inventory old cuts of meat. Wacky cuts that you don't know what to do with??~ cut the meat off the bones, grind it into sausage or hambuger. Cook up the bones for the dogs & cats.Save the broth for beef broth & can or freeze it. Even better, cook up outdated cuts in the oven, give the meat to the dogs,use the beef broth water to swish up the brownings for richer beef broth in the baking pan & CAN it! SO MUCH WASTE that can be used for average needs. Now, for you canners,lids are CHEAP at the FAmily Dollar. Just tipping you off.You know how it is.Every year it's more expensive.I know where you can get cheaper lids. ALSO~~~~ RUBBER GASKETS !!!
Oats fill the Oat Storage room with a 'HISSSSSS' as it races through the pipe and fills the storage space to the top.Happy horses. Happy sheep & goats! Thank You, LORD, for this years oat harvest (:>, (ahead of time).Why wait until November to thank HIM ?

Friday, July 22, 2011


Sweet little things ! Cute little nose. Cuddly and warm (:> I have 1 or 2 of these fishers on my property.They will kill my chickens with lightening speed (they already got one chicken, my bandy hen plus all her peeps.) They will return to my coop every day until a vacancy sign is posted.My son interuppted the demise of one bloody barred rock chicken . The Fisher took off running. We checked out on line info about these critters.They were almost extinct due to massive killing off these predators.Then they were "re-introduced". I wondered "WHY?" Well, it appears they are the ONLY natural predator of porcupines (!!) I have determined to trap these guys and present them to my Pastor and church. They will be so happy!! A porcupine is eating away the porch at the main entrance to the church.So far they have had no luck at trapping the porcupine.(:> Maybe I can help.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Onion Time

Now that raspberry & strawberry season is over, it's time to dig up the onions.You can braid the long green stems together and hang them to air dry, or you can freeze them. I don't waste the green stems. They are scrumptious and fried in olive oil with chopped carrots makes GREAT fried rice!First, fry your chopped onion greens & some purple onion and chopped carrots in olive oil.Add cold (preferably) cooked rice, well drained, and add a handful of light brown sugar. Sprinkle a little soy sauce and toss and cook until nice and hot. But not too long.It will mush up.Too much soy sauce will also make it mushy.

They are also wonderful and colorful in salads.

Chop them up and spoon them into ziplock plastic bags in meal size portions and drop them into the freezer.