Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Kitties and Christmas trees~ what a headache ! But always entertaining.The glitter on the ornaments is irresistible and they just HAVE to give one a swat or two. 

What a great scratching post!!

The next thing I knew a soccer game was in progress with 3 cats swatting the bell  to each other.This one was plastic.I pretended I didn't notice while I wrapped presents~ until SMASH!! One of the glass balls bit the dust. Of course they all went running.Fortunately , this room can be closed off by french doors. As soon as you open the doors a stampede of kitties race through the door from nowhere (:<  I think I'll poke two holes in the bottom of a few stockings and slip  the kitties into the stockings to 'hang out' for awhile to keep them out of trouble.
 It seems that, every year,  tradition holds that an old favorite ornament will break . But a new gift, from a child or grandchild,will be added to be treasured year after year.

Monday, December 23, 2013

What's on our Christmas trees? What do they say about us/ Are they memories  we treasure or just glitz?The decorations we choose have varied importance. Some we buy because they are just 'so dog gone pretty~

others are collectables and  fun novelties~"All Aboard!!!"

Some may tell a story ~

Others have precious memories~ a daughter's lace from her wedding dress that she made into an ornament to be remembered by you.

Or a Secret Pal gift from a friend who left this earth too early, leaving behind young children.

A WW II  blue glass ornament with a paper hanger.Metal was precious in war days and was redirected  for military needs.

My parent's first Christmas ornaments which hung on the trees in my early childhood.

Trees hold precious gifts from children who struggle financially but still remember you, "MOM" this heart has engraved.

Little toddlers need to touch but not break, so the unbreakables but pretty hang on the lower branches.

Christmas gifts to parents are unpacked and re-displayed every year. 
 My hand print,Kathleen Lawler December 1954.
Many an elementary school teacher earned her tenure 10 times over .

And now my grandchildren make me gifts that I treasure , display , and then pack away at the end of our next Christmas celebration.(:>

Sunday, December 15, 2013

I usually support fund raisers for kids because 4-H groups,soccer teams, school bands and Christian schools are expensive to run .They are also  important activities for children . A half bushel of grapefruit is a bit much for my husband and I but I love it for breakfast. Instead of letting it shrivel up  in some corner of the house I decided to can it up. Cut through the skin in quarters then peel it and remove the white layer. It strips off pretty easily.

Then I cut through the grapefruit in 4 pieces and quarter each of those sections.

I make a light sugar syrup, according to the Ball Bluebook ( or any of the canning books) and water bath the pint jars. I did half today and will do the other half of the box tomorrow. This is the first year I canned grapefruit. I hope I like it.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

After Thanksgiving ,schools and some work places remain closed for Deer Days~the first 2 days of deer season. After spending hours in the deer stand , there's nothing like coming in from the cold to a big pot of turkey soup that's been cooking down all day.

I can up my soups during the late fall and winter after all of the harvest canning and freezing is over.I add noodles later, when I heat the soup up to eat because noodles mush in the pressure canning process.

These little guys hatched out on Thanksgiving Day. They will be laying eggs by June or July.

She doesn't like getting her picture taken.

They are terrified and so huddle in the corner .They saw a VERY BIG HAND coming thru the roof ! Run Away !!   Run AWAYYYY !!!
I love listening to their contented  purrs and  peepings from  the basement thru the kitchen door .I will have another batch incubated for Christmas,hopefully.

Monday, December 2, 2013

In November, my husband bought me a soda maker.It makes seltzer from tap water via using a small CO2 canister .You certainly DO save $$$$$ and the seltzer(soda water) comes out perfect. You can buy these units in your local grocery stores and can exchange the CO2 canisters for fresh ones at multiple local chain stores.I love seltzer, especially iced cold.I experiment with homemade flavours and am very impressed. We cut up a lemon in pieces and put it in a half gallon jar of plain water to steep for 24 hrs in the refrigerator.The colder the better when using these units for the best outcome. Lemon makes it taste great!

Instead of dumping the fruit juice down the drain from canned fruit, use it as the syrup for soda. When was the last time you had PLUM Soda?? Hmmmmm? It was excellant !!  YUM !

The family is growing and for some reason the picture of the other side of the table did not show up in the camera!  Phooey!We need 2 tables now and as we continue to add loved ones to our feasts, I thought about how much fun it would be to set up the trains and run the line thru the middle of the table with flatbed cars carrying salt & pepper, butter, sugar ,etc.  " Joel!  Please pass the brussel sprout hopper to Uncle Jimmy! "  OK NANA !  The whistle blows and the brussle sprout car arrives right on time.

Little Sean in the collander. Twenty years from now he'll be too big to fit in a Volkswagon !

How is it that kids, only 1 year old, know how to order 'Pay per View' and cost me money???

My little Andrea napping after she ate the teradectyl leg.I can't believe she ate the whole thing.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Spinach is finishing off in the green house and I'll start snipping mature leaves tomorrow.

I planted garlic today. Garlic is planted in the fall for a spring crop. Spinach is finishing up in the green house Then I started working on the sauerkraut..

Chopping up the cabbage was taking too long with the meat cleaver, so I switched to the machete'. 
Over the left shoulder...WHACK,,,WHACK !!    Over the RIGHT ~~~~ POW!!!!!  WHOOOSSSSHHHHHH !!! 

Should be finished in about 5 weeks. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Yesterday I turned 64. I think about what my life will be like 10 and 20 years from now.I would be so sad away from the activity of my farm.I often think , these days, of elderly people trapped in nursing homes with nothing to do. Nothing worth watching to interest their day. What a great idea it would be to locate a nursing home next to a farm, active with cows, horses, goats, sheep, chickens and ducks and turkeys gobbling in the morning!!Being able to see from their bedroom window a boy with a plow or seeding a row.

~A farmer bringing produce for the nursing home family to enjoy! Or visiting with a baby lamb for them to touch.A big pond to fish for bass or cat fish. Blue gills or sunnies. How nice that would be.(:>

Can you believe this? It's November and my greenhouse plants are green and beautiful! This is spinach and strawberries.

This is my yellow climbing rose plant I rescued from a poor growing site.I sprinkled  dill seed around it. If you allow dill weed to dry, save it and sprinkle it on your buttered bread for grilled cheese or grilled tuna fish. So EXCELLANT!!

In November I pick my brussle sprouts , save the sprouts and store the leaves and stalks in the barn for the horses, sheep and goats.

Never pick your brussel sprouts before the end of October or mid November. They will not be ready.During the summer the plants will grow sluggishly. That's because they are a cool weather crop.Leave them alone. The first crock of sauerkraut sits atop that table.I have 30 cabbages to do. Today will be sauerkraut day.
This is my animal family gathered around the dining room trough. It is filled with hay and brussel sprout leaves. They go bizerk over brussel sprouts. They love the leaves the best.That is not a green sheep. That is a sheep who will not move when you are throwing hay down the trap door.

I dug up the last of my potatoes. Gus saw the camera and raced over to pose. He does this all the time. Was he a show dog before I got him from the rescue??

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The cider press and crusher ended up in the kitchen because the bees became to much of a nuisance.This year I learned to make cider . I actually knew beforehand but never had enough apples of my own to do this.This year was a bumper crop of apples and I took full advantage of it. Tonight I pressed out the last bushel I picked last week.I am bartering with my neighbor for more apples from their tree so that I can freeze up apple pie filling and one more batch of applesauce. I shall give her meat chicken roasters for her freezer.   
     My neighbor, across the street,buried one of my sheep last spring with his back hoe. I did not forget his kindness to me (digging a hole that deep was TOOOOOO much for me to think about!) So.. I told him today that turkey butchering is next Tuesday and he has one turkey coming to him for a sheep funeral (:>
   This week I learned a few more cool things......How to make distilled water. WOW!!!   You can make it yourself with little effort.    Then I learned how to make soda.... carbonated beverages. I LOVE seltzer. This is my next project. I shall buy a CO2 cylinder and make my own.    I'll let you know how it works out (:>

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


My apple crusher arrived this week.With 4 apple trees to pick from this year , I needed one. 

Crush up your apples,let them drop in the nylon pressing bag  situated in a 5 gallon bait bucket ~
 transfer it to the cider press and squoosh away. I got this baby (cider press)  for $50.00 a year or two ago. I grabbed a jar of vaseline and greased those rusty rungs and ZOOOOOM ~~~~~ !!!! Whallah !! That press was movin'  !! All manually cranked and fortunately my husband came come just in time to help me crank. The yellow jackets monopolized the green house during the day  and made it difficult to get anything done until dark. One last giant bee of a different species just WOULD NOT GO TO BED !! (:<     But finally I was on my own in there and with the help of a camping propane lantern I was able to see what the heck I was trying to accomplish.

The cider press may look dirty but it's not. I scrubbed it good with soap, water & chlorine bleach. 
 A chunk of plastic molding is missing from the cider press so that  leakage occurs off  to the side .No matter, that's what roast pans are made for.
 I placed the cider in half gallon canning jars overnight and decided to deal with the rest of the process of canning it up in the morning. I ended up with 7 half gallon jars and a quart. It is sooooo delicious ! I love hot cider instead of tea or coffee all fall and winter.I was left with two huge pots of apple mash that I could have composted or given to the chickens and turkeys but why should I do that since they get so much of everything else I can? Their meat is sweet enough by now so I will save it for my horses (: >

I bagged up the left over mash in empty bread plastic bags, ice bags and just plain zip lock bags and tossed them into the freezer. During the brutal winter weather days I will heat up apple mash and mix it in their grain to warm their bellies. Good stuff!!!