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Happy Thanksgiving

Letters to Declan

Declan is growing!!  He is our second grandchild and only grandson!

Declan is growing!! He is our second grandchild and only grandson!

Dear Declan,

Nana and Papa are in what looks like a Halloween fog today but it’s supposed to warm up later this morning. Hunting season is very unusual this year and it’s too hot to hunt.

We’re preparing for winter even though it’s very warm. The woodhouse is almost full of firewood and I’ve filled three large boxes with kindling. The few apples that we had this year have been picked and made into applesauce which I bet you will love and Nana canned 20 half gallons of apple juice. We don’t buy a lot of food that we eat unless it flour and sugar. Granny Barbara can tell you about all of the fruit and vegetables that we grow and can. We’re a natural farm and raise chickens, cows, and rabbits. Victoria adopted one of our bunnies from the last batch and named her Leila.

This is Leila and Victoria's new baby!

This is Leila and Victoria’s new baby!

She’s brown and very pretty and loves to play with Victoria. Her cat, Boo-Boo and dog, Jip, are afraid of the bunny. Isn’t that funny?!?!?!

We have about 65 cows and 30 calves on the farm now and three bulls. The farm looks like a golden forest at the moment but those golden leaves are falling really fast.

We have three ponds on the farm and each one holds different breeds of fish. The big pond has bass, perch and carp in it. The carp help keep the pond clean and we have a paddle boat that we use during the summer. Victoria loves to go out in the middle of the pond in the boat and read where it’s quiet. The smallest pond is used to raise minnows that Papa uses to trout fish with. The middle pond is loaded with bass and catfish. We want to catch out the bass and put them in the big pond.  Victoria wants to teach you how to fish when you come to the farm.

I’ll tell you more about the farm as time goes on and hope that Granny Malone will read this to you. She has been to the farm and likes the quiet and beauty of the country. I hope one day you will be able to come to the farm and learn to love it as much as we do.

I hope you have a grand day with Granny and want you to know that we love you very, very much.

Love, hugs and kisses, Nana

Recipe Pages Updated

Fall is in the air and cooler weather keeps me in the kitchen making comfort food.

Fall is in the air and cooler weather keeps me in the kitchen making comfort food.

I’ve added a few more goodies to my Recipe Page if anyone is interested. Hope you will enjoy them as much as we do! They include Pumpkin Pie Squares, Steamed Asparagus, Grilled Chicken Salad, and Pumpkin Cookies.

End of Summer Roses

My flowers are gone and this is the last of my beautiful roses.

my-last-roses-for-2016-3 my-last-roses-for-2016-2 my-last-roses-for-2016-1

Did I Say Canning Season Was Over. . . NOT!

Nope, canning season is not over and believe it or not I’m glad. I’ve been canning half-gallons of apple juice all morning!

Twenty half-gallons of fresh apple juice canned and sealed.

Twenty half-gallons of fresh apple juice canned and sealed.  There’s only 15 jars showing here because the last batch is just about ready to come off the stove.

Our orchards did not bare much for us this year due to the frigid spring and heavy frost when the trees were budding and flowering. I love a glass of juice when I first get up in the mornings and apple juice is one of my favorites right up there with grape juice.  We decided we would have to purchase some apples to make me some juice.

Eddie and I ventured over to Botetourt County last week and picked up six 70-lb. sacks of their cider apples.  The day we arrived to pick them up they were sorting Red Delicious and they were beautiful  Out of 420 pounds of apples we may have found a dozen with rotten spots.

Six bags of red delicious apples

Six bags of red delicious apples

Beautiful Red Delicous apples for eating, juicing, cooking and baking.

Beautiful Red Delicious apples for eating, juicing, cooking and baking.

On Tuesday, our daughter was off from work and came up to press apples with us.  We cleaned up the cider press, washed the apples, and started pressing all of the wonderful juice out of the apples.

Cider press is cleaned and ready to make some juice.

Cider press is cleaned and ready to make some juice.

Pouring in the first bucket full

Pouring in the first bucket full

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

American Cider Mill

American Cider Mill

Sassy watches close by and freezing since she got a haircut and cold air gets in her old bones pretty quick but she won't miss a family outing.

Sassy watches close by and freezing since she got a haircut and cold air gets in her old bones pretty quick but she won’t miss a family outing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We finished the seventy pounds with two 12 gallon milk cans full of juice and a bowl full of apples left over to eat and make some apple bars.

We use all of our milkcans here on the farm for cider in the fall, watering our plants as we put them in the garden and for maple syrup in the spring

We use all of our milkcans here on the farm for cider in the fall, watering our plants as we put them in the garden and for maple syrup in the spring.

Heather presses.

Heather presses.

Mom presses.

Mom presses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family fun

Family fun

We stored the cans in our garage until this morning so it would stay ice-cold and so the settlements squished into the juice would settle to the bottom of the can.

I washed up all of the half gallons jars and sterilized them for the juice.  Eddie went to the garage and  poured the juice gently into large stainless steel pots and brought them to the kitchen.  I heated the juice just to boiling and poured it into the hot jars. placed the lids on and tighten them for canning.  The jars were too tall to fit any of my canners so we used our turkey cooker for the job and it held five half-gallon jars.

Turkey deep fryer hasn't been used a lot but it sure came in handy for this job. I rarely use half-gallon jars for any canning.

Turkey deep fryer hasn’t been used a lot but it sure came in handy for this job. I rarely use half-gallon jars for any canning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After placing the filled jars in the “canner”, I filled it with hot water almost covering the jars, turned the heat up to high and waited for it to start boiling.  Once the boiling started, I timed the process for 25 minutes and when completed I turned off the stove and let the boiling stop.  I then picked up the jars and placed them on a heavy towel on my kitchen table (away from drafts) so they could seal. We have twenty half-gallons which should last through most of the winter.

The difference in the quart and half-gallon jar is shown here.

Half-gallon jar compared to a quart jar.

Half-gallon jar compared to a quart jar.

 

I love these tongs because they're so strong and easy to handle when removing full, hot jars.

I love these tongs because they’re so strong and easy to handle when removing full, hot jars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We saved the sacks the apples were in to use next year when picking our own apples if Mother Nature cooperates, bagging onions, drying walnuts or anything else we may need them for.

These green mesh sacks held 65 - 70 pounds of apples and we save them for other uses. Recycle is a big word at our place!

These green mesh sacks held 65 – 70 pounds of apples and we save them for other uses. Recycle is a big word at our place!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The apple peelings filled up one big galvanized bath tub and four five gallon buckets.  We feed them to each of the three herds of cattle and our bulls.  The extra milkcan of juice will harden to cider which we also love.  If there’s any that gets too hard, I’ll let it turn to vinegar and store it in jugs in the cellar.

Leftovers after the juice is pressed out. They're unbelievably dry at this point. I'm sure the squirrels will be raiding the barn until it's all gone. I'll also put some out for the wild rabbits that hang around the house.

Leftovers after the juice is pressed out. They’re unbelievably dry at this point. I’m sure the squirrels will be raiding the barn until it’s all gone. I’ll also put some out for the wild rabbits that hang around the house.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just put some apple bars in the oven and I’ll share the recipe if it turns out well since it’s a new one for me!

There’s rarely anything that goes to waste on our farm.  This does NOT end the canning season either!!!!  I killed a really nice 7-point buck yesterday and the hams will be cubed and canned early in the next week.

Our chestnut season is over though and we sold 35+ pounds of those this week and saved about 10 pounds for ourselves to snack on.

The chestnuts were few this year but the ones we picked up were huge and so sweet.

The chestnuts were few this year but the ones we picked up were huge and so sweet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Until next time. . . .

The Garden is Empty (almost)

We’ve cleaned out the garden and everything has been stored, frozen or canned. Hubby did till up a few spots and planted some turnips as a winter crop. He loves them boiled and with almost every meal. I like them raw!!

End of harvest 2016

End of harvest 2016

We harvested several small pumpkins and four large ones.  The small will adorn the entrance to our house and the large ones I canned.  dscn8721

I washed them good on the outside, split them in half, scooped out the pulp and seed and then sliced them to make peeling easier.

 

Split in half to clean.

Split in half to clean.

Sliced w/rind makes for easier peeling.

Sliced w/rind makes for easier peeling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diced to cook

Diced to cook

I diced them up in 1-2 inch pieces and put them in an old canner.  I put one quart of water over them to cook on the stove on medium low heat.

 

 

 

 

They need to cook slowly to keep from sticking/scorching.  I don’t add any seasoning until they’re to be used for pies, cookies, or pumpkin bread.

 

dscn8723  Once they’re tender enough to stick with a fork, I drain off the water and run the pumpkin through my sieve.  It’s very important to get as much water out of the pumpkin as possible before mashing.  I usually let the pumpkin set in the sieve for about 15-20 minutes so the water on the pieces will drip out.  Dump this water out before pressing.

I love this sieve and it works great for all vegies and fruits.

I love this sieve and it works great for all vegies and fruits.

It's beautiful and ready to go in the jars.  I use pint and quart jars because of the different recipes.

It’s beautiful and ready to go in the jars. I use pint and quart jars because of the different recipes.  

Quickly add the pumpkin to the jars, clean the tops of the jars and add the lids & rings, and tighten.

Quickly add the pumpkin to the jars, clean the tops of the jars and add the lids & rings, and tighten.  I process them in the hot water bath for 20 minutes.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Out of the four pumpkins, I canned six pints and three quarts.  I can’t wait to start baking with them.  My pumpkin recipes will be added to my Recipes From My House To Yours page tomorrow.

I hope you can enjoy your garden harvest as much as we are.  With Hurricane Matthew charging up the coast and a cold front moving in from the northwest I’ve used some of our harvest today to make a big pot of homemade soup!!!  It’s suppertime!

Grandson Update

He is so adorable and I can only imagine what he is like in real life.

He is so adorable and I can only imagine what he is like in real life.

His Granny Malone holding him.

His Granny Malone holding him.

Declan rides home from hospital on September 21st , 2016.

Declan rides home from hospital on September 21st , 2016.

Our grandson, Declan, is finally out of the hospital and appears to be doing well. We got word this morning that he now weighs 6 pounds 2.5 ounces and the doctor is impressed with his weight gain. His Daddy weighed 6 pounds 4 ounces when he was born.  He will continue to wear a apnea monitor but we are not sure how long that will continue. Our son was going to visit him this weekend in New Jersey but has come down with a sinus infection and is afraid to go.

I can only dream of holding him for now and wish we could have more pictures of him but they don’t come very often.  I’m  keeping a journal of  what we know about him and of pictures of him to share with him.  I’ve also started a collection of books to read to him hopefully in the near future.

This is all we know for now but I know in my heart that God will make sure he knows about his other family in Virginia and will provide a way for all of us to see him soon!!

PS

Declan means “man of prayer”!

 

The Weaver’s Girl

The Weaver's Girl by Gracie Ayers, based on life on Maryland's Eastern Shore and a small village call Furnace Town.

The Weaver’s Girl by Gracie Ayers, based on life on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and a small village call Furnace Town.

I just finished this new book while sitting in my deer stand last week. The book is by Gracie Ayers and I was given the book by my best friend, Margaret Tongue, when I was visiting her a couple weeks ago.
Margaret took me to visit a museum in Maryland that she used to make costumes for. It was wonderful and the name of it is “Furnace Town”. The book is based around this museum and begins with a young woman taken back in time after an upset with her boyfriend. It’s a heartwarming adventure in this small village on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Gracie Ayers has written three other books about the area and I can’t wait to get my hands on them too!

I want to thank my best friend, Margaret, for a delightful visit to her home and we are both looking forward to getting together again real soon for more laughter, tears, good food and more adventures in her world!

Margaret and I heading into the Blacksmith Shop at Furnace Town.

Margaret and I heading into the Blacksmith Shop at Furnace Town.

I’ll post more about Furnace Town in a future blog post.

Love you, Margaret!!

Canning Season Coming to an End

It seems all I’ve accomplished this summer is canning. That’s not a bad thing but when you work so hard all summer and it all fits in one room it’s kind of underwhelming!!

Stocked and ready for winter.

Stocked and ready for winter.

We still need to harvest and freeze some more corn, dig the potatoes and sweet potatoes, harvest the pumpkins and late cabbage.

I started our own sweet potatoes plants this year.  I started our own sweet potatoes plants this year

The plants started really easy and I got 14 plants from two plants.  One end of the garden is full of sweet potato vine.  I've got my fingers crossed that there's lots of sweet potatoes.

The plants started really easy and I got 14 plants from two plants. One end of the garden is full of sweet potato vine. I’ve got my fingers crossed that there are lots of sweet potatoes.

We filled up the food shelves and had to make room on the canning jar shelves for the sauerkraut and barbecue sauce.  The pumpkin and some cabbage will also go on those shelves.  I may even can the sweet potatoes because I don't know how long they will last in the cellar.

We filled up the food shelves and had to make room on the canning jar shelves for the sauerkraut and barbecue sauce. The pumpkin and some cabbage will also go on those shelves. I may even can the sweet potatoes because I don’t know how long they will last in the cellar.

We canned 14 quarts of whole tomatoes yesterday.

We canned 14 quarts of whole tomatoes yesterday.

We froze 16 pints of corn this morning and it’s so sweet.  During the summer I’ve kept busy filling these jars:

28 pints of sweet pickles

28 pints of sweet pickles

18 pints of pickled squash

18 pints of pickled squash

Pickle relish, I think 23 pints.

Pickle relish, I think 23 pints.

21 quarts of squash to use in casseroles and soup

21 quarts of squash to use in casseroles and soup

24 pints of spaghetti sauce and it's so good!

24 pints of spaghetti sauce and it’s so good!

24 pints of barbecue sauce

24 pints of barbecue sauce

Two quarts and 24 pints of sauerkraut

Two quarts and 24 pints of sauerkraut

100 plus quarts of green beans this year

100 plus quarts of green beans this year

18 pints of squash pickles

18 pints of squash pickles

Pickles, pickles and more pickles!  I canned 36 pints of pickle relish.

Pickles, pickles and more pickles! I canned 36 pints of pickle relish.

We froze 24 bags of broccoli and we we’re STILL waiting on the Brussel sprouts.    We’ve never raised them before but the plants are about two feet tall, still healthy and a beautiful green.  We see lots of little heads at the bottom of the stalk but not enough to harvest yet.  They seem to be waiting on something.

I froze 25 half-pints of rhubarb and a few pints of applesauce and don’t need a lot because we have some left in the freezer from last year.  I diced six gallon bags of green peppers.

We’ve fought potato beetles all summer and they seem immune to everything we’ve sprayed on them.  The potato bin is empty now but looks like we’ll have a good harvest again.  We were afraid with all the rain we’ve had this summer that they might rot.

Empty potato bin waiting to be filled.  Last year we almost had it complete full and it'll hold 20 bushel.

Empty potato bin waiting to be filled. Last year we almost had it complete full and it’ll hold 20 bushel.

I hope everyone’s harvest has been as wonderful as ours.  The garden is still full of tomatoes and corn but I think we’ve put away all we need this year.

The hens have sure enjoyed all the scraps!

Chickens waiting for more garden scraps!

Chickens waiting for more garden scraps!

HAPPY GARDENING!!

 

 

News Update. . .Lost in Time

Please forgive my silence. Between the garden, animals and the issues unforeseen, I’ve just been inundated with work and only open the computer a couple times a week.

The garden is full!!! With so much rain this summer, our pantry is running over.

The garden is full!!! With so much rain this summer, our pantry is running over.

Our granddaughter graduated from high school in June and starts college in a couple weeks.  Where has the time gone!!!

Victoria and proud Uncle Shawn

Victoria and proud Uncle Shawn

Parents, Victoria, and maternal grandparents.

Parents, Victoria, and maternal grandparents.

On top of that we have a brand new grandson born three months early and he’s in New Jersey (450+ miles from Virginia). He’s in a neonatal unit at Children’s Hospital in New Jersey. His mother had some major health issues which caused toxemia and the baby had to be delivered early on July 8th. He weighed 2 pounds and 2 ounces and 14 inches long. He’s a little fighter and gained some weight and now weighs 3 pounds and 15 inches long. Declan Bryant is his name. He’s having some serious issues this week and the little guy is exhausted. Shawn, our son, is in New Jersey this weekend to see him for the second time and he’s keeping us updated.

Shawn's first visit with his son.

Shawn’s first visit with his son.

I’ve been canning and freezing green beans, broccoli, cabbage, pickles, squash, apples, rhubarb and Eddie told me last night that I’ll have more beans in the coming week and corn after that. We’ve pulled the onions and waiting on the brussel sprouts. We have a crock of kraut fermenting now and hope it’ll be ready before anything else comes in.

Pickles, pickles and more pickles!

Pickles, pickles and more pickles!

Squash pickles

Squash pickles

Canned fresh squash

Canned fresh squash

Green beans and we're not done yet!!! I think we'll sell the ones coming in now.

Green beans and we’re not done yet!!! I think we’ll sell the ones coming in now.

I’ve taken on two part-time jobs working on websites for two sisters and working away from the house on one of them 2-3 days a week. The other one I do from home. It’s a little extra spending money. Our big yardsale/estate sale was for one day and we cleaned out one house on the farm and made around $2500.00. I’m in the process of filling it up again from the other buildings and we may have one more sale next spring just to get rid of it all.

This is enough news for now but will catch up again later. I haven’t touched my blog in some time but haven’t given up on it.

One more bit of news, neighborhood dogs that aren’t watched after cleaned out our duck population in one night back in June, I think, and another one got in my chickens this week. I’m down to 21 hens and two roosters at this point.

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This is just a quick catch up and I’ll hopefully be back soon! Love you my friends and want to ask you all to keep our grandson and son in your prayers.

Gardening while I wait

While I wait for the freshly swept, mopped and waxed floor in the living room to dry I’ll take time to write about our 2016 garden.  We thought we were very late getting it started but in fact this is the second year in a row that spring has come early to our farm and this neck of the woods.  We had three, maybe four, heavy frosts/freezes in May but did get the old and new garden spot plowed, worked and tilled (three or four times).

New garden plot plowed last fall.

New garden plot plowed in March.

Second plowing and tilling.

Second plowing and tilling.

We started planting the last week of May and it’s all worked out really well.  We’ve had lots of rain but with a couple of days of dry weather and the wind we could get in to till and pull weeds.

Last year hubby said we would cut back and only plant about half of what we normally plant and I smiled!!😉  He says this every year!!  Not only do we have most of the old garden plot full, we also have the new plot which is attached to the old full.  I’m going to be very busy come the middle of July!!

In the first row of the old garden plot we have summer and winter squash. I've already seen two summer squash about two inches long. In the second and third rows and half of the fourth we have onions.

In the first row of the old garden plot we have summer and winter squash. I’ve already seen two summer squash about two inches long. In the second and third rows and half of the fourth we have onions.

In the third and fourth rows we have onion and cucumbers. In the fifth row we planted broccoli and green peppers. Last year I had beautiful peppers but they're not looking so good this year but we'll keep working on them.

In the third and fourth rows we have onion and cucumbers. In the fifth row we planted broccoli and green peppers. Last year I had beautiful peppers but they’re not looking so good this year but we’ll keep working on them.

The sixth row is cabbage and 7th is brussel sprouts and at the end of that row are a few watermelons.

The sixth row is cabbage and 7th is brussel sprouts and at the end of that row are a few watermelons.

The eighth row is sunflowers (for my chickens) and sometime this week I'll plant Blue Lake green beans between each one so they can run up the sunflower stalks.  I also need to hill them like we do potatoes to keep plenty of dirt around the stalk as they grow.  They tend to lean somewhat and with beans growing on them they'll need all the support they can get.  I may even stake them as time goes on.  I planted a whole row of indian corn beside them that was saved from a few years ago but none of it came up and that's why there is a wide space between the sunflowers and the next row.

The eighth row is sunflowers (for my chickens) and sometime this week I’ll plant Blue Lake green beans between each one so they can run up the sunflower stalks. I also need to hill them like we do potatoes to keep plenty of dirt around the stalk as they grow. They tend to lean somewhat and with beans growing on them they’ll need all the support they can get. I may even stake them as time goes on. I planted a whole row of indian corn beside them that was saved from a few years ago but none of it came up and that’s why there is a wide space between the sunflowers and the next row.

The tenth row is a very crowded row of tenderette green beans.  They are stringless, early and great canning beans when picked young.  I love green beans!!!

The tenth row is a very crowded row of tenderette green beans. They are stringless, early and great canning beans when picked young. I love green beans!!!

This space is empty for the moment but I will probably plant a couple more rows of corn and summer squash about mid-July.

We planted another later batch of cabbage and then we have this large space which is empty for the moment but I will probably plant a couple more rows of corn and summer squash about mid-July.

In the new plowed ground we started with three rows of potatoes.  We had a few spots where the potatoes did not come up and hubby filled those in yesterday.  They'll be later but he can't stand empty spaces between plants.

In the new plowed ground we started with three rows of potatoes. We had a few spots where the potatoes did not come up and hubby filled those in yesterday. They’ll be later but he can’t stand empty spaces between plants.

Next we have one row of green beans and two rows of Silver Queen corn.

Next we have one row of green beans and two rows of Silver Queen corn.

THEN, we have lots of tomatoes!   There are 32 Mr. Stripey tomatoes, 12 Roma's and 4 of a new yellow tomatoes we're trying.  My spaghetti sauce and barbecue sauce that I canned last year is such a hit that I'll be canning a lot more of it this year and lots of salsa and diced tomatoes.

THEN, we have lots of tomatoes! There are 32 Mr. Stripey tomatoes, 12 Roma’s and 4 of a new yellow tomatoes we’re trying. My spaghetti sauce and barbecue sauce that I canned last year is such a hit that I’ll be canning a lot more of it this year and lots of salsa and diced tomatoes.

The tomatoes are blooming and full of little green tomatoes.

The tomatoes are blooming and full of little green tomatoes.

Last but not least are the sweet potatoes.  We have a dozen plants and they're spreading out.

Last but not least are the sweet potatoes. We have a dozen plants and they’re spreading out.

The sweet potatoe sets were started in my kitchen window.  I placed a large sweet potato in a large bowl and kept it full of water.  It soon sprouted and now they're in the ground.

The sweet potato sets were started in my kitchen window. I placed a large sweet potato in a large bowl and kept it full of water. It soon sprouted and now they’re in the ground.

I"m just waiting on them to bloom and produce big sweet potatoes to can and to bake.

I”m just waiting on them to bloom and produce big sweet potatoes to can and to bake.

We’re currently bringing in black raspberries and freezing them.  Soon there will be transparent apples to make applesauce and apple butter with.

Don’t you just love growing your own food????

 

 

 

Burlap Wreath

I made my first ever burlap wreath yesterday and it turned out really fluffy.

 

First try and it only took about 15 minutes to complete just the wreath.

First try and it only took about 15 minutes to complete just the wreath.

The wreath was very simple to make by using a wire wreath and burlap.  I used this link to watch a two-minute tutorial:  https://www.burlapwreath.com/how-to-make-a-burlap-wreath/.  It’s so simple and to think I’ve been putting this off since last fall because I didn’t know if my brain could handle one more thing in it.

I wanted to do something patriotic for the front porch but this was just a little too plain so I decided to add a little more red, white and blue.

Simple, yet elegant!!  July 4th, bring it on!!!

Simple, yet elegant!! July 4th, bring it on!!!

Elegant yet country, don’t ya think!  Now I need to come up with some just as patriotic at our mailbox at the end of the driveway that won’t get blown away by the storms like we’ve been having! Oh well, I’ve got nine days to come up with something!

The brain is already full of ideas for the fall and winter and have you seen the different colors of burlap out now???  It’s amazing!!  Happy crafting!!

 

 

Busy Day

I slept late this morning and didn’t get up until  7:45 so started breakfast pretty quick.  I think a good breakfast starts the day out right.  We had waffles and link sausage and cantaloupe.  After breakfast I washed up the dishes, made the bed and turn on the computer.  I turn it on and walk away when I have things I want to get done because I can get wrapped up in it pretty quick and lose track of time.

The cookie tins were depleted this weekend so the first thing I did was fill up one tin with Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and the other with Snickerdoodles.

Snickerdoodles is one of the easiest recipes you can make and they're really good.

Snickerdoodles is one of the easiest recipes you can make and they’re really good.

My favorite recipe for Oatmeal Raisin cookies and the Mr.'s favorite.

My favorite recipe for Oatmeal Raisin cookies and the Mr.’s favorite.

After these were in the tins and the mess cleaned up, hubby asked Heather and I to go to the back fields and count the fall calves and see if we thought we should send them on to the market.  We did this and checked them all out for pinkeye or other abnormalities and found none.

Heather helped me pull two large baskets of grass for the rabbits and I cleaned out their cages and made sure they had enough water, grain and sunflower seeds and then she headed home.

I came in fed Sassy her lunch and headed to the henhouse to check on the water, feed and sitting hen situation.  I have a ISA Brown hen and a Sexlink hatching this weekend.  I testing something I read last year about the shape of eggs can determine the sex of the chicks the hens hatch.  More on that later!!

I filled up the lawn mower and mowed the inside yard and waiting for the sun to cool off before finishing.  I would like to get all of the trimming done before the showers move in tonight.  Then I dead-headed all of the roses.  They’ve been so beautiful this year.

Now it’s time to fix some supper but hubby won’t be out of the hayfield for probably another hour or so and I have plenty of time.  We’re having fried turkey biscuits, potato salad, green beans and cantaloupe.

It’s been a productive day but cookie baking took most of the morning!  I hope everyone has had a very good day!

Father’s Day with Mr. Caldwell

Father’s Day at Caldwell Farms was blessed with glorious weather and our kids and granddaughter with us.

Dad/Papa at his best

Dad/Papa at his best

I fixed him a big breakfast of his favorite pancakes, maple syrup and sausages and then presented him with my gifts for being a wonderful Dad.  I got him a honey extractor, double strainer and honey de-capper.

Honey extractor makes for staining honey straight from the frames.

Honey extractor makes for staining honey straight from the frames.

We pop the frames that hold the uncapped honeywells down inside the basket of the extractor, put the lid on and turn the handle which spins the honey out of the comb.  The comb can be re-used several times.

We pop the frames that hold the uncapped honeycomb  inside the basket of the extractor, put the lid on and turn the handle which spins the honey out of the comb. The comb can be re-used several times.

Our oldes, Shawn, spent the day with us.

Our oldest, Shawn, spent the day with us.

Shawn knows how much his Dad enjoys going to Cracker Barrell and gifted his Dad with a gift certificate.  We like to go there for breakfast every couple of months.

Heather and Victoria enjoyed the sunshine "together" after Heather spent the morning teddering hay

Heather and Victoria enjoyed the sunshine “together” after Heather spent the morning teddering hay.  Victoria loves sitting on mom at any occasion!!

Heather gifted her Dad with some new bibs, gloves and a new box of honeycomb.  I think once our hay is off the ground and rolled we’ll be taking care of business with the beehives.

Bedroom Spring Cleaning and New Closet

May was spring cleaning for me and hubby helped me by making some changes to our bedroom.  We live in a 100-year-old home and with any house no matter the age, I clean the entire house starting in May or June depending on when the woodstove is shut down for the winter heating season.  This year I wanted to start with cleaning our bedroom and painting it.

Before I start cleaning I always try to go through our clothes and sort winter from summer clothing.  Well, our bedroom is a really nice size but it only had a 3×5 foot closet and it held only his clothes.  It was chocked full of clothes he wears everyday, winter clothes, summer clothes, hunting clothes, coats, sweaters, you name it was packed full.

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I asked for a new closet and my wish was granted.

Corner for the new closet

Corner for the new closet

Framing begins

Framing begins

New Closet framed for master bedroom 05052016 (1)

Door goes up

Door goes up

Finished closet

Finished closet

The finished closet has two rods, one at top and one down lower for organizing and room.  Shirts on the top and pants on the bottom.  The old closet will now hold his coats, jackets and shoes/boots.

Painting is completed

Painting is completed

Spring cleaning in this room done and gorgeous!

Spring cleaning in this room done and gorgeous!

There’s nothing like a fresh coat of white paint on the ceiling, trim and doors to brighten up a room.

Beauty of Summer



I remember my roses being beautiful last summer but they’ve outdone themselves again this year.IMG_0006IMG_0007IMG_0008

Peach rosebuds yet to unfold.

Peach rosebuds yet to unfold.

White rose at it's peak.

White rose at its peak.

The botttom was blooming last week and the top was full of buds.

The bottom was blooming last week and the top was full of buds.

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Old Timey Rose and no matter how much I cut it back it bushes out and full of blooms.

Old Timey Rose and no matter how much I cut it back it bushes out and full of blooms.

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The roses are beautiful but when you add a little nature . . .

We have wild rabbits everywhere and sure hope they don't get in the garden.

We have wild rabbits everywhere and sure hope they don’t get in the garden.

then you add a view like this . . .

View from the front porch.

View from the front porch.

And a view of the mountain

And a view of the mountain

beauty is everywhere!!!

Graduation 2016

Our beautiful granddaughter has grown up and graduated from high school!  We’re all so very, very proud of her and know she can accomplish anything she sets her mind too when she wants to.  I want to share our evening watching her walk down the aisle and get that diploma.

Scholarship awarded

Scholarship awarded

Diploma from high school principal.

Diploma from high school principal.

Parents, Victoria, and maternal grandparents.

Parents, Victoria, and maternal grandparents.

She's holding it together pretty good!

She’s holding it together pretty good!

Victoria and her two best friends, Rachel and Amber.

Victoria and her two best friends, Rachel and Amber.

I leave my granddaughter with this quote from Steve Jobs:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” – Steve Jobs

Victoria Elizabeth, we love you and are very proud of you!  Nana

Hay Season 2016 . . .

It has officially began on Caldwell Farms. I’m going to miss seeing those waves of grain in the field while sitting on the front porch every evening.

The orchard grass is over the backs of the whitetail deer.

The orchard grass is over the backs of the whitetail deer.

The first field cut, raked and baled this year is out behind the barn that's closest to the house.

The first field cut, raked and baled this year is out behind the barn that’s closest to the house.

This fields total yield last year was 191 and we're anxious to see how it does this year.

This fields total yield last year was 191 and we’re anxious to see how it does this year.

Kubota tractor and rake have completed their work in this field for today.

Kubota tractor and rake have completed their work in this field for today.

The spring rains brought us a heavy crop of orchard grass.

The spring rains brought us a heavy crop of orchard grass.

The 4x5 baler is hard at work as is the driver of the tractor that's pulling that baler.

The 4×5 baler is hard at work as is the driver of the tractor that’s pulling that baler.

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The previous pictures are of the first field which was completed on Friday and Mr. Caldwell has moved on to three smaller meadows today.  He probably won’t put anymore hay down until the weekend because it’s calling for heavy rain on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  The grass is so heavy that it has to have at least two drying days before it can be baled.  Wet grass means moldy hay which means sick cows that eat it and bad milk for the calves that nurse their mothers.

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Meadow beside the mansion is small but produces big.

Meadow beside the mansion is small but produces big.

Meadow at the stable is the smallest and worst of the hay.  We've already decided it's needs a load of chicken litter.  The litter has already proven itself on the other hayfields and pasture.

Meadow at the stable is the smallest and worst of the hay. We’ve already decided it’s needs a load of chicken litter. The litter has already proven itself on the other hayfields and pasture.

The only issue had this season is the poor quality sisal baler twine.

The only issue had this season is the poor quality sisal baling twine.

He's making quick work of this field.

He’s making quick work of this field.


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These ladies will be fed in the coming winter!

 

Spring calving

2016 spring herd grazing along.

2016 spring herd grazing along.

Most of our morning was spent with our cattle, my daughter & son-in-law, and two very good friends.  We had 24 calves from this herd and they all received their baby vaccinations, pinkeye and tetanus shots, eartagged and banded if they were bull calves.  Everything went smoothly and only took about two hours.  We have some beauties in this herd and the last one was born last week.

2016 (3)Big Herd cows calves 2016 (6)Big Herd cows calves 2016 (8)Big Herd cows calves

After taking care of all of them we turned Clyde and Sam (new bull) in with the herd.  This is always a big chore but went quickly this morning since we had such wonderful help.  I hope they all know how much we appreciate giving us their time and muscles.

Now we watch them grow!!

Eddie likes to play with the little ones when they're just a couple days old.

Eddie likes to play with the little ones when they’re just a couple days old.

2016 (11)Big Herd cows calves

New Babes on the Farm

We’ve added stock of a different kind on the farm that we’ve not had here in a long time or never.
First to arrive were two Swedish Black ducks that were supposed to be mallard ducks. Our granddaughter fell in love with them right off at Tractor Supply.

Pablo and Gwen were Victoria's first real farm animals, I believe. She'll correct me if I am wrong.

Pablo and Gwen were Victoria’s first real farm animals, I believe. She’ll correct me if I am wrong.  They’re laying on her butt while she’s reading a book at our house.

Like all babies they grow so fast and boy did they!

But they were still captivated by their mommie!! Wherever she went they went and she took them for walks every day.

But they were still captivated by their mommie!! Wherever she went they went and she took them for walks every day.

Victoria’s boyfriend, Cody, built them a nice hutch which we kept close to the pond but had it shielded from predators.

Duckling hutch

Duckling hutch

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Hutch with shade and close to the pond.

Hutch with shade and close to the pond.

They kept growing.IMG_0025 IMG_0024 IMG_0023

Papa told her they weren’t mallard ducks and she did the research to find out what kind of duck they were.  In the meantime and while she thought they were mallard ducks, Papa told her that mallard ducks would migrate in the fall unless they grew up with domestic ducks.  She was devastated and talked him into letting her have a couple white ducks to grow up with and he relented.  She came home with seven white ducklings.  Pablo and Gwen were jealous and soon taught them they were the head-honchos on this farm!!IMG_0014 IMG_0024 IMG_0025

Here’s the gaggle of ducks (or is that for geese?)!  We also inherited another duck from a lady that got one for Easter and kept it in her home (after full-grown) and finally decided a full-grown duck did not belong in the house.  Her name is Fiona and she is full-grown compared to these and they all live happily together on the pond.

Then we decided to raise rabbits and I bought two female lops from a friend of ours and a un-related buck.  We’ve had them since the first week of April and they were bred a few days before I picked them up.

This is Cleome.

This is Cleome.

This is Marigold.

This is Marigold.

This is our buck, Sebastian!

This is our buck, Sebastian!

On May 8th, Cleome had three little ones but one did not make it. It was a three weeks before Marigold introduced her little ones to me and we thought she had seven but today after weaning them from their mama’s we found out she had eight.  They are all now in their big playpen together and giving mom’s a much needed rest so they can gain back some weight and grown their beautiful coats back.  Here are the two litters combined and they have been eating fresh grass, rabbit grain, apples and carrots for a week now.IMG_0010

The hutch has an enclosed room with hay for them to eat or stay warm in.

The hutch has an enclosed room with hay for them to eat or stay warm in.

We have two solid black ones.

We have two solid black ones.

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They have plenty of feed and I pull grass for them three times a day and more if they eat it up.

They have plenty of feed and I pull grass for them three times a day and more if they eat it up.

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There only two that look alike and they're both solid black.

There only two that look-alike and they’re both solid black.

They really seem to like their new nest and have been playing and running all afternoon.

They really seem to like their new nest and have been playing and running all afternoon.

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I can't tell if this little solid white one is enjoying his new nest or if he's eating his nest but it is content!

I can’t tell if this little solid white one is enjoying his new nest or if he’s eating his nest but it is content!

One of the white ones have black dots on both eyes and one has a black streak down it's back.

One of the white ones have black dots on both eyes and one has a black streak down it’s back.

This shows their play area and where they eat and get their water.  I need to get them a couple salt blocks since the weather is heating up.  They're hutch gets more shade than their mother's hutches.

This shows their play area and where they eat and get their water. I need to get them a couple salt blocks since the weather is heating up. They’re hutch gets more shade than their mother’s hutches.

We used chicken wire on the sides of the play area and a tighter wire on the floor.

We used chicken wire on the sides of the play area and a tighter wire on the floor.

So, we have 10 ducks, 13 rabbits, 29 chickens and about 75 head of cows and calves on the farm currently.  Today one of my older hens decided to go broody and set so I foresee baby chicks in a few weeks to add to the menagerie!

 

Hydrangeas, Bleeding Hearts, & More

Proof of spring and early summer!

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Lavender & purple Iris

Lavender & purple Iris

Siberian Iris

Siberian Iris

Columbine

Columbine

Peonies

Peonies

 

Peony buds

Peony buds

More peonies

More peonies

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Can you tell I absolutely love peonies and have them all over the yard!?

Rose of Sharon started from seed from our old homeplace on Johns' Creek.

Rose of Sharon started from seed from our old homeplace on Johns’ Creek.

Lilac bush from my daughter to be planted. I'm making sure I choose just the right spot.

Lilac bush from my daughter to be planted. I’m making sure I choose just the right spot.

Bleeding Heart

Bleeding Heart

Purple iris

Purple iris

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Hydrangea

Hydrangea

Beige & peach Iris

Beige & peach Iris

Peach Iris

Peach Iris

Two year old rose

Two year old rose

Old fashioned rose

Old fashioned rose

Siberian Iris

Siberian Iris

And of course, where would we be without our wonderful honeybees pollinating everything.

And of course, where would we be without our wonderful honeybees pollinating everything.

This is what is blooming at our house right now, the last day of May!!!

Beautiful New Stock

Our two-year old heifers will soon meet the one of the men of their life.  These girls have turned out so much better than we hoped.

Six of eight heifers born in March & April of 2014.

Six of eight heifers born in March & April of 2014.

The other two have got out and went back to a closer herd of cattle.  One may have gotten bred in March right before we sold one of our bulls.  We put the date on our calendars to watch since we try to keep close tabs on heifers when having their first babies.  The other one recently decided to take out some old fence and join that herd as well.  She and the other six will be back together in mid-June when one of the new bulls, Buckshot, will meet his first ever small herd. There are six Angus and the other two are Angus White-faced.

The cattle market prices have dropped drastically since last fall and now will be the time to add bought heifers but these were raised on the farm.  Their mothers are good milkers and their daddy came from a Holstein mother.  We can only hope and pray they are great nurturing mothers with lots of milk!

Crazy Month of May, the First Chapter

I don’t even know where to begin. My daughter and I decided to have an Estate/Yard sale and for the entire month, we gathered, took pictures, priced, organized and prepared for the largest yard sale I’ve ever seen that was for one family. Of course, it was four generations of collections of one family, the Caldwells. It was a history of the Caldwell family that was taking up too much space and after watching my daughter dealing with my mother-in-laws estate and the clean-out of her house,  I decided I would not do that to my children after I’m gone.

We cleaned out my house, the Mansion, and the remains of what Heather and her Dad cleaned out of her grandmother’s “stuff” and had our sale on Saturday. It included, antiques from three or four generations ago, household items from our home, Heather’s home, my husband’s grandmother and aunt & uncle, and his grandfather and great-grandfather, tools, and we filled three entire rooms of the Mansion, the front  porch and the yard.

We advertised on Facebook, our personal email contacts and asked everyone to share the details. We did really well and I was blessed to see so many old friends and acquaintances including my Dad’s best friend, Bobby Rose.  What a treat to have him here on the farm.  There’s a wonderful family story behind this which I will share at a later date.

We worked the sale with the help of a very special friend, JoAnn, my granddaughter and one of her best friends.  We were too busy to take pictures during the day but I will share a few pictures of the treasures that left the farm.

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Wood cookstove in excellent  shape.

Wood cookstove in excellent shape.

Antique churn

Antique churn

Old toys

Old toys

quilts

quilts

Box after box of bottles, jars, insulators.

Box after box of bottles, jars, insulators.

Tool sharpener

Tool sharpener

Pottery

Pottery

Stoves of all sorts but we only sold two.  We still have propane, wood, wood/coal stoves.

Stoves of all sorts but we only sold two. We still have propane, wood, wood/coal stoves.

Bowl & pitcher

Bowl & pitcher

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This is just a teeny-tiny bit of what left the farm.  The rooms of the house were as full as we could get them.  It was a beautiful day and the cleanup has begun!!

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Happy Mother’s Day to All of the Mothers!

Country Girl Produce

This country girls is so busy it’s not funny and should explain why I haven’t posted this week.

We have about six bushel of potatoes left over in the cellar and  we want to sale five of them.

Potatoes perfect for peeling for fried potatoes, potatoe soup, mashed potatoes, potato salad, and perfect for canning.

Potatoes perfect for peeling for fried potatoes, potato soup, mashed potatoes, potato salad, and perfect for canning.

Baking potatoes as big as the palm of my hand and solid.

Baking potatoes as big as the palm of my hand and solid.

Potatoes for growing, canning, eating, we have it all.

Potatoes for growing, canning, eating, we have it all.

Our bin is still half full and they've kept so well.

Our bin is still half full and they’ve kept so well.

Kennebec potatoes  that will be sprouted before sold.

Kennebec potatoes that will be sprouted before sold.

We also have lots of fresh asparagus for sale.  I’ve washed it, kept it chilled and it’s gallon Ziploc bags with a pound in each bag.

Asparagus bundle by the pound for $2.50

Asparagus bundle by the pound for $2.50

The asparagus is so sweet this year.

The asparagus is so sweet this year.

Would anyone like to buy some fresh eggs for $2.00 per dozen?

Fresh free-range chicken eggs for $2.00 a dozen

Fresh free-range chicken eggs for $2.00 a dozen

You just can’t beat fresh produce straight from the store and I’m thinking about selling fresh loaves of bread too.

Not the best photo but a two pound loaf of homemade bread and made using our own honey.  It's divine!!

Not the best photo but a two-pound loaf of homemade bread and made using our own honey. It’s divine!!