Monday, July 14, 2014

It's that time of year again....

It's been a busy week around here.  We've been picking squash/zucchini, giving it away, putting it up and eating it every day.  I don't think our plants have ever lasted this long or produced this much!  I've grated and frozen enough squash to have squash/zucchini bread all through the winter.  Now, I'm dehydrating it!
I do most of it plain to add to soups and stews in the winter. But I also lightly salt some of it because it makes the best "chips" in the world!

The green beans have started.  Last week Elijah and I picked over a bushel. Mom and I sat and snapped beans together for about 5 hours while we chatted and then I began canning.

I've done about half of what I need for the year. This is one afternoon's work.  The beans should be ready to pick again this week.  I think I'll wait till the cold front hits.  If what they predict is true, I'll be picking green beans in 60 degree weather.  Can't say I've ever done that before!

While I'm snapping and stringing the beans, I take the shorter, thinner beans and set them aside for dilly beans.  If you've never had dilly beans, you are missing a real treat!  I added one cayenne pepper from our garden to each jar - we like things spicy around here!
Of course this happened in the middle of things...

They are so cute and we loved seeing them get big enough to go to new homes! They like to hide in my car engine - it is their kitten playground.  Every time I needed to go someplace, I had to plan extra time to get them out.  It becomes quite a pain.  So glad I don't have to do that anymore. Thank you to everyone who adopted a kitten!

We've celebrated a lot of birthdays lately.  I've made a lot of these fresh strawberry pies!
I can't begin to tell you how much better a fresh strawberry pie is compared to a baked strawberry pie. My kids have begun to request them frequently.

For our 4th of July celebration, we did homegrown steaks on the grill, baked potatoes, green salad, green beans and this Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake...let the drooling commence!

Just to entice you further... here is a slice up close...

Brownie crust, candy layer, cheesecake layer, chocolate and chopped peanut butter!  It tasted even better than you can imagine.  I froze half of it to share the next time one of my kids are over. First come - first serve kids!

I'm planning on teaching a soap making class this Sunday for some people who are visiting from Chicago. They really want to learn how before they head home..if you are interested in learning how to make soap correctly I'll share more on that tomorrow!

I will be attempting to make a natural sunscreen today for the first time....I'll let you know how that and all....success or disaster!

Headed out to get the farm "batten down" for the huge storm we are supposed to get...

Friday, July 4, 2014

Time to milk? Here's help!

We were blessed to get a little helper with our new, she still doesn't have a name...

Meet Huey!

Isn't he the cutest thing?  Huey usually keeps the front two quarters (largest ones) empty for us.  Leaving us to milk the back two quarters...with the smallest teats in the WORLD... and we still get around 3 gallons of milk!

However...Huey was indulging a bit too often in her milk  and ended up with scours.  He has been separated from his mama for the last 3 days while we correct that situation.  He loves his mama and is calling for her loudly at the top of his lungs often 24/7!  Tomorrow is the last day of separation and I think we are looking forward to the reunion more than they are! They can touch noses through the fence but he can't reach that milky goodness!

Josiah is building a milking area in our barn for our lovely lady since she doesn't fit in our milking parlor. Hopefully, we will have our milking machine back early next week to alleviate some of the time the boys are spending milking.

In case you didn't notice, there is something special about Huey!

Do you see it?

Thursday, July 3, 2014

An ordinary morning becomes an Extraordinary Day!

It was about 9 a.m. and we were getting ready for church when the phone rang.  It was a sweet friend calling with a amazing question....did we want a cow who had just freshened (had a calf)....for FREE!!

Well, of course we did!  We had been looking for a milk cow for some time and right now they are very expensive.  Market prices are up in our area and milk cows are more than twice what they normally cost.

She had been offered to someone else here locally and they had declined.  They wanted to see her go someplace she would be well cared for...she has a shoulder injury from birth and does well on pasture but struggles in a crowd of hundreds of other cows or on cement.  

My friend told me there was a hitch....this was not a Jersey...."she's a Holstein".  Hhhhmmmmm.  We've never had a Holstein...never been around a Holstein etc.  We love Jerseys.  Higher butterfat content, cheaper to feed, smaller in frame so easier to handle.  Plus...our milking parlor was designed for Jerseys.

Elijah and I did some talking and came up with a list of questions. Our questions were answered...they offered to bring her to we accepted.

HOWEVER, she was giving 10 GALLONS of milk a day.  Gallons people!  Before your heads start swimming with pictures of cream, cheese, milk and ice cream...think about milking 10 gallons a day BY HAND!

So...we dug out our bucket milker, are having some tubing replaced and are looking forward to some relief.  Of course her production has dropped - we knew (and hoped) it would!  We aren't milking 3 times a day like the dairy was. We aren't feeding the same high intensity feed and we certainly aren't milking her dry each time.

I will say that this is the gentlest cow we have ever had.  You can walk out into the field, sit down next to her and milk her and she doesn't move.  She doesn't kick either - although she occasionally swishes her tail!

We had a family emergency the day she arrived so we didn't get to milk her until later that evening.  Elijah and I spent hours in the barn...she has very tiny teats! We borrowed a milker from a friend the next day to make sure she was milked out....I was worried about mastitis! One cow milkers may be the best invention in the world!

We are very grateful to our friend for thinking of us and to our heavenly Abba who has provided abundantly once again!  We serve an incredible Father!

She is only 2 years old so we hope she is a part of the family for a long time!  She doesn't have a name yet...we are open to suggestions!

She is certainly enjoying this slower paced fields, sunshine, and solitude. Well...almost solitude...there is someone who is helping with the milking right now....

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Head to Heels...Supersized!

Do you love my Head to Heels Peppermint Salve?  Does your jar disappear way to quickly?

It does in my own home! Between headaches and using it to soften those tough places like elbows, knees and feet (especially my heels!) My jar was empty every time I turned around! I use a lot of it on my feet in the evening.  I put it on just before I go to bed, pull on some soft socks and the difference in the morning is amazing.

So, I decided to put this amazing salve in the larger jars.  You get more salve for your money this way!

You will find it up on the website here.

Your feet will thank you!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Summer Surprise!

Do you love summer?  We do.  It is the busiest season on a farm.  Long hours working in the garden, then harvesting, washing, snapping and working for days canning! But aren't you glad when the snow flies the next winter?

We've been getting lots of squash, zucchini, tomatoes and now peppers are beginning! I noticed last night that our pole beans are covered with little beans...I imagine that by the end of the week we'll be picking green beans.  I'll can the majority of the beans but I'll also make some dilly beans from the smaller beans.  Yummy!

On nicer days, when a breeze blows through the barn, we've been working on barn clean up and organization.  Things are looking much better now but I'll be glad when we finish.

And the surprise?

Can you imagine why these things have turned up in my kitchen again?

And this time it is really different....

More next time!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Sale ends soon!

Quick reminder...the sale ends at noon today! Orders placed by noon will be shipped out today!

On Monday, I'll be releasing another salve in the larger size!  Check back to see which one!

Today, I'm spending time with my niece who is visiting and processing squash and zucchini. I've given lots away and am still over run.  My niece tried southern fried squash last night for the first time.  She had never had squash before and absolutely loved it! We do to!

Monday I'll be making soap and trying a new one. Lemon!  I'll take pictures and let you know how it turns out!

May your weekend be filled with family, love and memories in the making!


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Back with a Bang!

It's been certainly gets in the way of blogging at times!  It was an unusual spring.  We saw several babies born, many couples marry, and sadly saw many friends' parents pass away. My mama took a nasty fall and is still recovering. Our fellowship suffered an unusual loss when a young teenager murdered his parent.  It's been months of roller coaster emotions!

Happily, these last few weeks, life seems to have settled down to a more normal pace. However, I have not been idle as you will see in a moment!

We've had some happy news too....Josiah is getting married in September to a young lady we have known and loved for over 7 years now!  Last summer Jeremy married and added a lovely daughter to our family.  Our farm is getting quieter and quieter as the boys marry!  Unless my grandson is visiting!  He will be 2 this summer and is one of the smartest little ones I've met. I love spending time with him!

Our family has many birthdays in the summer so we are gathering together often.  We are getting to be quite a crowd! We just had our annual pontoon trip on a local lake.  The perfect day!  The weather was glorious, the water was perfect and we all enjoyed spending time together lazing in the lake and chatting.  I think we may need to do that again!

We are re-claiming our garden, one bed at a time.  I had two little foster boys with special needs for a year and a half. During that time the garden turned into a garden of weeds!  Help!  I need a natural remedy for Bermuda grass! Josiah is building our beds and Elijah and I are filling them and maintaining them. It is slow going but will be so worth it when I pick our first red ripe tomato!  The squash has been nice and the basil is yummy but I'm waiting for the tomatoes!

I've already put up 32 pints of strawberry jam this year.  Half regular and half hot (my favorite!) Green beans will be next...the vines are at the top of their trellis and I expect to see blooms before long.  The pepper bed is full of blooms so peppers won't be far behind!

We had a late freeze this year so I don't think we will get much fruit from our orchard.  The trees have grown like crazy but we had snow in APRIL!  Lots of it, and it nipped our blooms. Sigh....and I'm almost out of my applesauce!

I'm in the process of changing the names of some of my soaps. Don't worry, my soaps won't be changing...just the names.  I'll be able to share the reason for that soon I hope!

To celebrate my return to blogging with a bang....

1. You will now find Arnica Salve in a new larger container!  The picture will be added as soon as our weather cooperates! I've put this new large Arnica Salve on sale until Friday at noon - 20% off!

2. I'm putting my ebook Herbal Medicine Made Simple - The Art of Herbal Medicine from a Christian Perspective! on sale at 40% off until Friday at noon! Only $12.00!

3. I'm putting my ebook  Soapmaking Made Simple on sale...also at 40% off until noon on Friday!  Only $12.00!

4. Since summer has finally arrived, and summer makes me think of fresh juice, lemonade, limeade....I'm putting all of my citrus soaps on sale at 20% off! This includes: Citrus Sensation Gourmet Shampoo Bar, Tangerine Moisturizer, Siah's Citrus Delight, Lijah's Lemon-Lime, and Kitchen Citrus Bliss!  If you love my citrus soaps, now is the time to stock up because this sale will also end at noon on Friday!

I hope that was a big enough bang! How are your gardens growing?

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