Raspberry season

First fruit of the year for us this year is raspberries and Eddie and I are picking about a pint of wild raspberries every other day. He picks them for me because I love them fresh, in preserves/jams, berry pies and in muffins. He just likes the fresh off the vine but can’t eat too many of them since his gall bladder was removed about five years ago.

Fresh raspberries

Fresh raspberries

A cup here and a cup there!

A cup here and a cup there!

Todays cup will add a total of two gallon to the freezer.

First gallon

First gallon

As soon as we pick them I they get washed, dried, and spread on a cookie sheet and I put them in the freezer.  The next day I shake them loose and put them in a gallon freezer bag.  When I freeze them loose like this, I don’t have to thaw the entire bag when I want to make muffins or pancakes,  I pour out what I need and zip the bag  and put them back in the freezer.  If I want to make a batch of jam or a cobbler, I can use the whole bag or  whatever my recipe calls for.

A layer of fresh berries on a cookie sheet and pop in the freezer overnight.

A layer of fresh berries on a cookie sheet and pop in the freezer overnight.

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The season is just about over and the birds are eating them faster than we can pick them but what we have will not go to waste.

Some of my favorite cleaners

I’ve recently found two cleaners that I swear by!  I don’t normally promote products because everyone has a different opinion and some don’t buy unless its environmentally friendly.  I personally haven’t found any “environmentally friendly” product that really does the job of cleaning that I expect.

The first product I want to share with you is “OUT White Brite”.  If you’ve followed my blog for very long you will remember that I hate my new washing machine which does not have an agitator, it’s environmentally friendly and does not clean the way my old machine did.  I also tend to walk around inside and out with my white socks on all day when I’m home and I can’t get my socks snow-white anymore.  I was looking on the internet a few weeks ago for a product I used with my children’s cloth diapers when they were babies and it was called “Miracle White”.  I can’t find it anywhere and when I was at Wal-Mart about three weeks ago I looked again and couldn’t find it but I did find this product:

OUT White Brite-you will absolutely love it!!

OUT White Brite-you will absolutely love it!!

All it took was 1/4 cup of the powder.  You fill your washer up with hot water before you add any clothes.   Then you add the OUT and swish around in the water until it dissolves.  Add your clothes and push them around until they’re soaked good.  Let them set for 15-30 minutes, then set your washer to wash as normal.  My socks came out white as snow!  I was amazed!  I need to stock up on the product because not all Wal-Mart’s carry it and I’m afraid it’ll disappear like the Miracle White did.

The next product I want to brag on is this wonderful wood floor cleaner:

Holloway House Quick Shine floor finish.

Holloway House Quick Shine floor finish.

This is another product that I found at Wal-Mart and decided to just see how it would do.  My wood floors are beautiful in the living room but were losing their shine.  I had tried a couple new products but nothing seemed to bring out the luster until I tried this.  I mopped my floor, let them dry and then mopped on a light finish because I didn’t want it to look foggy.  I waited and waited for the floors to dry and thought after 30 minutes this is taking too long because they looked as wet as they did when I mopped it on.  I got down on my knees and the floor was dry as a bone and this is what they look like now after two weeks.

After using Quick Shine!

After using Quick Shine!

They look wet!!

They look wet!!

Aren’t they beautiful?!?!?!?  Remember cheaper is NOT ALWAYS cheap quality.

Here’s a few more products I keep in my laundry room for cleaning and try to never be without.

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Swiffer dusters with two different wands that make all corners and spaces accessible.

IMG_0008 IMG_0007Swiffer mop and wet wipes make my laminate floors and new tile look brand new.

This is just my opinion and I’m not promoting these products for profit.  I just darn well love them and always feel pride when my cleaning is finished and it looks so good!!

 

New heifers

We’ve sold several really old cows the past three years and lost a few to the bad winters and their age.  We’re down to about 50 cows and needed to restock to keep enough money for taxes, winter feed and other farm supplies.  Eddie and Heather went to a sale and bought six cows that were due to calve within one month and as long as four months.

New cows are adjusting well to their new surroundings and already follow Eddie around when he has a bucket.

New cows are adjusting well to their new surroundings and already follow Eddie around when he has a bucket.

We kept eight of the heifers from the 2014 fall calves.

We kept eight of the mountain heifers from the 2014 fall calves.

The heifers are weaned and living in the herd of new cows for the next couple months.

The heifers are weaned and living in the herd of new cows for the next couple months.

Fourteen replacements are a good start and we may have a few more heifers we keep from the big herd.

Working the calves

Just a peek at what’s entailed in keeping our cattle and calves in good health.  I don’t know what we would do without our daughter’s help.  Farming is in her blood!

Now what??

Now what??

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Eartags to match mom and calf in the event of health problems or heifers kept on the farm.

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Baby shots to keep them from pinkeye, blackleg, lockjaw, and other diseases.IMG_2249 - Copy

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Castration to prevent inbreeding while on the farm.  Cattle start early!!IMG_2247 - Copy

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Mother’s waiting outside the gate for the babies.IMG_2245 - Copy

Our new squeeze chute is much gentler on the little ones and on the farmer working on them.IMG_2244 - Copy

Hard part is coaxing them through the metal chute when they can’t see their mama.IMG_2243 - Copy

Somebody got too close to the back-end of another.IMG_2242 - Copy

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IMG_2153First baby of our new cows and she’s a red angus.  Small but very frisky.

 

 

Prissy & George Update


DSCN6987 DSCN6986 DSCN6987 - Copy DSCN6984 - CopyThey’ve grown so much after such a rough entry into the world!

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We questioned whether Prissy would make it at all and then at three week she really came out of her self and then George got sick.  We noticed he was as playful and was having trouble getting up and walking.  We were told by the vet that lots of times when they are born and don’t get their mother’s colostrum in their system they will develop an infection that gets in their joints and can kill them.  Our vet, Dr. Wall, gave him a mega dose of an antibiotic and left us pills to dissolve in his milk for two weeks.  Here we are two months later and he is doing so much better.  Prissy outgrew him fast and is now about 75 pounds heavier and bossier than George but he’s coming on strong.  They’ve both tripled their birth weight, eating grain and grazing just like the other calves on the farm.  They still get a bottle every day instead of three bottles but that will come to an end when the bag of milk we have  is gone.  They love sweet feed and have started following our new cows and heifers around which is a great way to wean them.  I’m not looking forward to sending them to market in the fall but know it’s coming.  I’ll just make sure I’m not around when it happens.

Visitors from across the world

In the spring I met a very precious new friend that works down the hall from my office and she’s from China and working on her PhD at Virginia Tech.  She misses her family in China (husband, father and mother) very much and has her daughter with her.  I love learning about her country and lifestyle and she mine.  I recently invited Janet, her daughter and some of her close friends over to the farm.  It was such a treat to share our life with them and be able to actually show her things we do on the farm.  The following is a picture album of our day.

We showed them how we  bring in and process our own firewood.

We showed them how we bring in and process our own firewood.

The little girls got to sit in a big tractor.

The little girls got to sit in a big tractor.

They met all the animals on the farm including the coon dogs and found out why we have them as working dogs.

They met all the animals on the farm including the coon dogs and found out why we have them as working dogs.

Gathering eggs was such a treat and something we take for granted.

Gathering eggs was such a treat and something we take for granted.

The young ones got to feed Prissy & George.

The young ones got to feed Prissy & George.

We took them for a pickup truck ride on different parts of the farm.

We took them for a pickup truck ride on different parts of the farm.

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They took pictures of themselves to commemorate the day while I gave the little girls cooking lessons in an American farm kitchen.

They took pictures of themselves to commemorate the day while I gave the little girls cooking lessons in an American farm kitchen.

They took numerous rides in the paddle boat.

They took numerous rides in the paddle boat.

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Janet and her daughter plan to come back with their friends to a weekend campout at the pond one more time before they all return to China in late July and August.

I am so blessed to have friends all over the world.  I’m hoping they enjoyed the trip as much as we did.

They also brought us a charm of peace which I will keep at my home’s entrance as long as it lasts.  Peace charm

Thank you all so much for your charm, lessons of life and friendship!!  I’ll never forget you!

China visit  (5)

Rita and Janet, forever friends

Rita and Janet, forever friends

Teaching the girls how to make a daisy  chain for their hair.  Janet's daughter, Michelle and her friend, Boffy, they're such wonderful kids and very adventurous!!

Teaching the girls how to make a daisy chain for their hair. Janet’s daughter, Michelle and her friend, Boffy, they’re such wonderful kids and very adventurous!!

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Janet

Janet

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Sassy enjoyed our new friends too and the little girls couldn’t get enough of her.

Creative Husband (Another catch up post)

My husband always asked me around Thanksgiving what I want for Christmas or he’ll ask our daughter to find out what I want for Christmas, my birthday, anniversary!  He won’t forget but he hates figure out what to give me on his own.  I think a lot of men are like this!  It’s just too hard to listen or use their imagination or worse than that, they’re afraid we won’t like it.  I love ALL gifts I receive, I promise, but especially if it’s handmade or took a little thought about what I’m about!!

I November 2014 I was asked the question once again.  I was ready!!!  I told him I wanted a new bookshelf beside my “spot” in the living room to replace the cheapy I bought from WalMart which was falling apart and I’d only had it about a year.  Pressed wood sucks!!!   Or, I would like for him to make me a new spice rack for my kitchen and I wanted them made from barnwood or any kind of lumber taken from the farm.

Well, I didn’t get them for Christmas but since then he has made them both and just in time for our anniversary which was in February!  Both are made from boards lumbered from the farm.  He did such a great job!!  Here they are:

Three spice racks made from oak, cedar and pine and now full and hanging in my country kitchen!

Three spice racks made from oak, cedar and pine and now full and hanging in my country kitchen!

Closer look.

Closer look.

My new bookcase and full of the things I love to work on at night while watching TV together.

My new bookcase and full of the things I love to work on at night while watching TV together.

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While he was working so hard on my wishes he also made our daughter a gift for her new house and made out of wormy chestnut sawed on the farm by her great uncle Holl.

Made from wormy chestnut from the farm.

Made from wormy chestnut from the farm.

Hangers on the top and two coats of polyurethane to make it easy to clean.

Hangers on the top and two coats of polyurethane to make it easy to clean.

She can use it for spices in her kitchen or in another room for anything she wants to display.

She can use it for spices in her kitchen or in another room for anything she wants to display.

From Dad to daughter.

From Dad to daughter.

He is so very clever and had no pattern to go by, just my explanation of what I wanted.

Now I have to decide what I want for 2015!!