Category Archives: BLOGGING

A Quiet Day at the Farm

The only thing busy today are the birds at the feeding station and not very many of them!

It has been a quiet day at the farm with lots of fog, very little rain (thank goodness) and enough clouds to make it look like late afternoon, early evening.  Except for letting my hens and ducks out this morning and bringing enough wood to fill up the wood rack, I’ve spent the entire day inside writing letters.  I hope this is not a lost art because I love writing and receiving letters from friends and family that aren’t living close by.  This will be a short post today but I’m sticking to the challenge/resolution to fill my blog with things from the farm daily!  Have a blessed evening and we’ll catch up tomorrow.

How Hard Can It Be

Really??? Two days into the year and my one and only resolution is down the drain!  Why?  I can’t blog if the internet connection is non-existent.  I kept going to my computer yesterday to post a note but my computer kept saying “no internet connection”.  Oh well, today is another day and I’ll remedy the situation with two posts and hope you can stand two in one day!  🙂

I had a note from a cousin New Year’s Day wanting my Crockpot Apple Butter recipe and I sent it to her.  I’ll share it with you as well and if you have any questions just comment at the bottom of the post.  I’ve wanted for the last several years to make a copper kettle full of apple butter but we’ve not had enough apples to fill the kettle.  I have had enough apples of different varieties to freeze lots of applesauce which we love but it’s been building up.  Our smallest freezer is half-full of containers of applesauce and I thought maybe if I use up about half of it Mother Nature may give us a good crop of apples in the coming fall.

I store/freeze the applesauce in the large 48 oz. margarine containers or Cool Whip containers.  They’re sturdy and very stackable in a chest freezer.  After I cook up the apples, I always add sugar to the pot and stir well to make sure the sugar dissolves before I freeze it.  When we need apples on the table (just about every day), all I have to do is thaw it.

Now for the recipe:

I have two six quart crockpots with two settings of low and high.  One has a lid that can be vented and the other has securing handles but the lid had a pencil size hole in the top of the lid for venting.  I fill the crockpot almost to the top of the pot with applesauce (fresh or frozen) and turn the heat setting to high and cover with the lid NOT vented.  I want it to get hot and can tell when it’s hot enough because it will have little bubbles forming around the edge of the pot or may even bubble up.

First step–notice the color.

A very important note to making apple butter in a copper kettle or a crockpot, you MUST stir it.  In a copper kettle it has to be stirred constantly but in a crockpot you only have to stir at least every thirty minutes.  Why? In the copper kettle over an open fire it will burn unless stirred constantly.  Not so in a crockpot but it will get thick on top and form almost a crust of very thick sauce and you will have to stir harder and longer to get it to smooth out and incorporate into the rest of the sauce.

Once your applesauce has heated up to the point of bubbles add THREE cups of sugar and stir well.  This is why you don’t fill it all the way to the top, you have to make room for the extra sugar.  When you first add this the sauce will thin some.  Remember, stir well every thirty minutes or so.  DO Not put the lid on tight this time.  The vapor of the water in the apples needs to get out and this helps the applesauce thicken.  Also be careful of bubbling sauce popping out on your skin.  Each time that you stir you will notice the sauce turning colors as you stir.  Try to pull the bottom sauce to the top.  I found out a couple years ago the blending and stirring is easier if you have a good whisk to work it.

Notice the change in color?

At this point, continue to leave the lid cracked, stir every thirty minutes, and continue this step until the sauce gets thickened to your taste.  I don’t like it real thick, it spreads better on buttered biscuits and toast if it’s a little thinner.  Last step, this is where you flavor the sauce and it becomes applebutter.

Oil of Cloves and Oil of Cinnamon

This is the step that can make or ruin your apple butter.  Some people only like cinnamon, we like cinnamon and cloves.  My recipe is 4-6 drops of cinnamon and 3-5 drops of cloves.  Be very careful when you add this to your batch and taste test after one or two drops of cinnamon.  Once you have flavored with the cinnamon, then do the same process with the cloves.  You can add more drops of each depending on your taste but taking baby steps in flavoring will make the process worthwhile.  After you have the flavoring in cook the applebutter about 20-30 minutes longer stirring more frequently.  You will notice the applebutter will be darker.

First canning of 2019–Nine pints of Apple butter.

During the last minutes of processing, prepare your jars.  I use regular mouth pint, half-pint and jelly jars for canning.  The half-pints and jelly jars make great gifts but the gifter may come calling for more because it’s sooooooo good!  I pour the hot applebutter into the jars, put on the lids really tight and set aside with a heavy towel over the top to retain the heat until the jars seal.  You’re done!!  Easy and so good!!

Happy New Year from Countrygirllifeonthefarm!!

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Wishing all a very happy, healthy and blessed 2019.

I closed 2018 with a busy and productive day and hope to do that with every day in 2019.  I started the day by dropping off eggs to a customer and proceeded with cleaning up the kitchen when I got back, laundry done and put away, did some computer file clean up, completed two hours worth of ironing, filled up my new crock pot with applesauce to be turned into applebutter,

First canning of 2019–Nine pints of Apple butter.

put four more rounds on a rug I’m making for the bathroom,

Crocheting a blue rag rug for our bathroom.

did stitching around two more blocks of my granddaughters Christmas quilt, cleaned up my closet and put together a large trash bag of clean clothes for the Thrift Store, and took care of my animals.  It was a busy day but not a “wear me out” day!  It was also 52* when we went to bed and 55* when we got up this morning.  Crazy, considering in 2018 on this date it was 9*!

Today was spent preparing a grocery list after fixing a big breakfast.  While I brought firewood in the house hubby fed the cattle and let the birds out of their houses.  I have 38 chickens and three ducks, we get FOUR chicken eggs a day and one duck egg. I’m not upset about this because two weeks ago I wasn’t getting any eggs except from the ducks.  My plan is to get more chicks and ducklings in the spring and maybe a turkey poult or two.

I really feel good about this post because I’m hoping to post one everyday or at least one a week for 2019 as my blog was sorely neglected in 2018.  This is a start to my 2019 resolutions!!  More to come, I promise!!

Idea Book

I love to blog about things I make or decorate with and most of those ideas come from this book.

Journal of Ideas

Journal of Ideas

The book is almost three inches thick.

The book is almost three inches thick.

Indoor and outdoor projects.

Indoor and outdoor projects.

I started this one in October and it's almost full.

I started this one in October and it’s almost full.

Everything from decor, useful tools, and so much more.

Everything from decor, useful tools, and so much more.

There's enough ideas in this book to keep me busy the rest of my life and then some.

There’s enough ideas in this book to keep me busy the rest of my life and then some.

Ideas found on Facebook, Pinterest, and magazines I receive monthly.  I don't keep a lot of magazines anymore.  I copy the ideas I want to make and pass the magazines on to my daughter and she passes them on to her friends.

Ideas found on Facebook, Pinterest, and magazines I receive monthly. I don’t keep a lot of magazines anymore. I copy the ideas I want to make and pass the magazines on to my daughter and she passes them on to her friends.

Projects pasted into the journal.

Projects pasted into the journal.

Journal of Ideas #2

Journal of Ideas #2

Indoor and outdoor projects.

Indoor and outdoor projects.

My bookshelf is my keeping area for all of the project ideas.

My bookshelf is my keeping area for all of the project ideas.

As I pull ideas from the book I’ll post about them with details.  I sure hope this resolution proves to be beneficial to me and ideas for someone else.

2016 Resolutions

RitaI’ve been thinking for the last couple of days about resolutions that people make every year and I’m one of those people. Each year I try to come up with 10-15 resolutions that I really want to fulfill. Now these are not my “bucket list” which is a list of the same things but they’re for your lifetime.
My 2016 resolutions are:
1. Try to be more compassionate to those less fortunate than myself.
2. Count my blessings everyday!
3. Tell and show my family how much I love them more than I do now.
4. Teach myself to knit.
5. Set up my loom and learn how to weave.
6. Find and set out at least five new fruit trees.
7. Lose 10 more pounds.
8. Write a personal letter to friends and family at least once a week. That’s only 52 letters and I know I can do this if I just set my mind too it!
9. Take my younger brother on a day trip every other month. A trip that is just for me and him to connect and have a good time.
10. Finish the two quilts I started two years ago. I started a sampler quilt last year and a snowman quilt the year before.
11. Grow and spend more time in my gardens this year.
12. Spend a long weekend with my friend in Maryland.
13. Make at least one thing every two weeks from my “Idea Book” (more on that later)

14.  Road trip with my love at least once a month!

15.  Girls Trip with my daughter in 2016 because the 2015 trip was such a blast!

16.  Try one new recipe a month.

17.  Write posts on my blog better than in 2015.

18.  Make at least two more quilts besides the two previous.

19.  Finish the three cross stitch pieces I started years ago.

20.  Start and finish a 2016 journal.

Wow, if I can keep at least half of these resolutions in 2016 I’ll be very proud of myself.  I’ll check back in six months with an update and another at the end of 2016.

 

No more excuses, I’m just . . . .

too sorry to write a good post!!! Yes, I’ve been a little busy but that’s no excuse for not writing a quick post at least once a week. SO, I’ll TRY to do better from here on out!

Cindy is growing like a weed.

Cindy is growing like a weed.

This is a early picture of Miracle.

This is an early picture of Miracle.

Mama's little boy

Mama’s little boy

Changing seasons

Changing seasons

Mother Nature has thrown me for a loop the past two weeks with cold weather, hot weather, rain, and now cold weather again.  The orphans take a lot of my time.  I’ve been bow hunting a lot and reading some good books while in my deer stand, cleaning my house, working on a cookbook and much more.  But that’s still no excuse.

Today will find me baking cookies and writing posts most of the day.  Please forgive my absence!

Two month anniversary

I cannot believe it has been two months since my retirement began!  I’ve been so busy that I am rarely in front of my computer which is why I’ve not posted any new stories.  This morning before I head out on the farm I’ll give you a pictorial view of my life since leaving public work and before I do let me just say that I am in heaven!!!

Laundry day

Laundry, cooking, cleaning and gardening just about every day.  I’ve been off the farm less than 10 days in two months because I am in heaven!!

Moving haybales 5th day 2015 (9)

I helped Eddie move hay off the fields and we had over 725 bales rolled this year.

Hummingbird moths on tall flox 082015 (2)

Gardening at least twice a week.  My daughter has a friend that clearing out flower beds and I’ve been gifted an abundance of perenials.Cavitini w a twist (4)

I have my kitchen back full time and cooking breakfast and dinner  every day.  Trying new recipes and perfecting old ones.

1st sunflowers 2015 (2)

I’ve harvested all of my mammoth sunflowers which grew over eight feet tall.

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I have three new orphans to care for now and there will be numerous stories to follow about them.

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Fall calves are starting to arrive and this was one of the last ones.  More stories about them later.

Cuddles aggravating Sassy 082015 (4)

Sassy is really starting to show her age and becoming white on the muzzle.  Cuddles is her best friend and aggravates her to no end.

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This is “Miracle” orphan number three.  More to come.

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This is Roscoe and orphan number two.  More later!

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This is Cindy named after a friend of mine and she is orphan number one and a spoil rotten brat!!  More to come!

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I finally completed my bathroom re-do and it will be my next post.

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I went to Covington to visit Dean and watch him bowl.  He’s received another Special Olympics metal for his bowling.

The cellar is full except for the potatoes and meat.

The cellar is full except for the potatoes and meat.

The Cellar 2015 (3)

Canning started my first day and I just finished last week.  We’re digging potatoes today and the meat will come during deer season.

Have a blessed day while I celebrate at home on the farm!!  What a blessing!!

Back with a vengeance!

I apologize for being out of touch and hope to catch up with a bunch of posts from the past few months!  Between family, the house and the farm, I’ve been a little tied up!

I still love my new job that started in July and miss the folks I worked with before.  My husbands mother passed away in September and we took in his sister.  My brother has had some serious health issues but everything turned out great.  I’m so blessed to have the children we have.  The summer and fall were spectacular.  Hunting season was a near miss.  My weight goals are still a challenge.  All of these things will come out in a post in the next few weeks.

Glad to be back and have not missed any of the posts from fellow bloggers.  You have kept me sane!!

Absence makes the heart grow . . .

fonder and I hope a fresh catch up on my blog.  This summer has flown by and this gal has been topsy-turvy all summer. I hope to remedy that soon and settle into a calmer routine.

To start with the blog has been quiet due to family and work.  In earlier posts I noted that little brother was having some health issues and thank the good Lord above and lots of prayers from family and friends those issues aren’t as bad as expected.  A biopsy was completed on his prostrate after antibiotics were used and the issues remained.  The doctor expected cancer but the results were benign, praise Jesus!!!  The doctors are now treating him for high blood pressure but have released him to compete in Special Olympics and he’s very excited about that.  He will be competing in bowling, swimming and possibly softball and basketball.  Dean is also very happy because he is working three days a week at the James River Enterprise recycling center and loves taking that paycheck to the bank twice a month.  I was told last week that he has the best production of any of his colleagues there that have been working for 13 years.  He still attends “Life Skills” school twice a week.  This summer has been really full for him socially too.  He’s taken trips to Mill Mountain Zoo, The Science Museum in Roanoke, flea markets and festivals, Mill Mountain Playhouse and this weekend is supposed to have gone to the West Virginia State Fair.  He seems quite happy and rarely calls me now but I still call him every week and visit him every other weekend when he’s home.

The other thing that has kept me away from my blog during the week is a change in employment.  On July 25th, I started a new job at Virginia Tech in the Aerospace and Engineering Department and it’s so very exciting.  This job just fell in my lap with a call from my daughters mother-in-law and within two weeks I had the job.  More pay, different working hours and change in scenery have been a great thing for me!!  I miss the colleagues at the Coal & Energy Center but still run into them on campus and talk with them through email.  They were a wonderful group of people!!!

Of course, the garden and homework will always keep me busy and here’s some highlights of what’s going on at home:

Making pickles and I love the smells pickling spice send in the air.

Making pickles and I love the smells pickling spice send in the air.

Abundance of squash and what in the world do I do with it all???    Give it to anyone that will take it, of course!!

Abundance of squash and what in the world do I do with it all??? Give it to anyone that will take it, of course!!

Beautiful applesauce, cooked off, and in the freezer!

Beautiful applesauce, cooked off, and in the freezer!

Canning, canning and more canning!

Canning, canning and more canning!

Kitchen table is staying covered with produce from the garden.

Kitchen table is staying covered with produce from the garden.

Sterlizing jars of all sizes and filling up the cellar.

sterilizing jars of all sizes and filling up the cellar.

Gorgeous English cucumbers for canning pickles, eating raw, for salads and of course, for friends and family!!

Gorgeous English cucumbers for canning pickles, eating raw, for salads and of course, for friends and family!!

Green peppers and the plants are full of them.

Green peppers and the plants are full of them.

Banana peppers by the baskets full!

Banana peppers by the baskets full!

Gorgeous Kennebec potatoes bigger than my hand.

Gorgeous Kennebec potatoes bigger than my hand.

These came from two hills and I cooked some with fresh green beans and we baked some for supper last night.  SOOOO good!

These came from two hills and I cooked some with fresh green beans and we baked some for supper last night. SOOOO good!

Mr. Stripey and German Pink tomatoes are being picked daily to keep the chickens from getting them.

Mr. Stripey and German Pink tomatoes are being picked daily to keep the chickens from getting them.

Golden nectar from the honeybees again.  We got 13 quarts with comb and 1 quart of strained.  We lost a lot of bees last winter but the ones that made are working so hard!  We may get one more super before we end the season!

Golden nectar from the honeybees again. We got 13 quarts with comb and 1 quart of strained. We lost a lot of bees last winter but the ones that made are working so hard! We may get one more super before we end the season!

More baby chicks!  Last two hatches produced four each.

More baby chicks! Last two hatches produced four each.

And of course, a little bit of crafting.  More details on this in a new post.

And of course, a little bit of crafting. More details on this in a new post.

Flicker back on my blog

After some searching and trying, reading and experimenting and finally asking the right questions, I got my Flicker widget to work on my blog. I hope everyone enjoys the photos I’ve uploaded and will continue to upload.  The widget is to the left of this post and will look a little like what I pasted below.

 

Widget Flickr

My Photo Album

My kids 03172012IMG_0209

All you have to do is click on a photo and you’ll be taken to my Flicker website.  I’ll also be adding more photos throughout the year to my photo page which is found in the title bar at the top of my blog.  Hope you enjoy looking through them as much as I did when choosing what to put out here.

Back with a vengeance

I’ve been active with my blog this weekend and I have even taken the time to update my blog.  I made some changes to fonts, color and design and hope they are appealing to you as they are to me.  More posts coming throughout the coming week, I promise!    I like the new colors especially and have posted some new goals and cleaned up the home page.

Have a very blessed day!

LAZY or Busy!! Excuses, excuses!

First, let me apologize for being to involved in my life, busy, lazy, tired, and just plain “not in the mood” to post new blogs but I will try to make up for it in the next two days.

I have so much to tell everyone and rather than a long post, you’ll be seeing lots of small ones.  I’m off from work yesterday and today due to the snow storm that hit Virginia and we got almost 20″ by the time it was all over.

Watch for the new posts coming today and throughout the weekend.

Stay warm and dry!!

Rita

My car disappeared under the snow during the night.

My car disappeared under the snow during the night.

I blog because . . . .

I received a comment today from someone that I don’t follow and did not know they existed until the comment.  They had apparently read my profile and the last post I made and commented on “that I had so much “Stuff” for someone that lives off the land”.  At first it made me angry that they said what they did but then I got to thinking about how I write and how things can be misleading.  I went to my profile page and changed the wording a little.  I blog to leave a story for my family and friends when I’m gone.  I’m not perfect but I like to write and I like the way we live so I blog about it.  We’re not “mountain men” or hippies, or naturalist by no means.  We grow our own food, we hunt our own food, we farm and raise cattle to pay for the farm taxes, upkeep on the farm, and do things we love.   We do alot of things the way I was raised such as canning, cutting firewood for our heat and to cook with in the winter months.  We have two freezers that we keep stocked with vegetables, meats, fruit and more.  You’ll probably find a bag of french fries and some ice cream bars in the freezer as well.  We have a big garden that we raise and store the produce from.  I sew, crochet, craft, quilt and much more.  My husband farms, hunts and traps.  I feel certain that if the economy goes belly up like it did during the depression we could take care of ourselves, our family and our neighbors.

I’m going to get off my “high horse” now and calm down and try to ignore the remark that came in the way of a comment and hope that all that read my blog don’t feel like I was misleading anyone.  We inherited our farm over 10 years ago and we’ve learned how to take care of it so it would take care of us and that’s what I call living off the land and loving it.  As for the room that needed lots of organization, I’ve been collecting so much stuff  to use in my retirement and creative time and sometimes it get’s a little out of hand, so whoever you are, GET OVER IT!!

I need help from my blogging friends.

This weekend I started a  new page on my blog called “Recipes from My House to Yours”.  I thought I would share my recipes this way than through a regular post.  What I entered over the weekend looks like I expected and I kinda like it.  However, tonight I added a page to it under the parent page in position one.  After I published it, I went to see how it looks and I can’t find it unless I go my dashboard under pages.  What did I do wrong?  Any help will be much appreciated!!!  I’ve looked through all of WordPress hints that I’ve printed off and thought this was the correct way to add to the “page” posts.   On another note, did any of you receive a notice that I posted the new page/pages or will you only receive the posts for the home page?

HELP  :(!

 

My Website Update

This evening hubby decided to take the hounds to the woods and I had some free time. After doing two loads of laundry and sweeping up the living room, I decided to play on the computer. I have been thinking about sprucing up my blog and tonight was the perfect time.
As you can tell I changed the theme, sidebars and colors. I renamed some of the widgets and still may change some more. As it got closer to 9:00 p.m. my computer kept getting slower and slower so I stopped and will spruce up more as time goes on. Let me know what you think.

On another note, hubby and I celebrated our 41st anniversary at home last night and watched a movie together. He fixed us BLT’s with egg sandwiches and we reminiced about our first evening together 41 years ago after a quick meeting with the justice of the peace in North Carolina and then a rush to get back to our apartment so he could go to work. We eloped!! Our elopement began with a snow storm the night before, two flat tires, and not getting to Sparta, North Carolina in time to get married. We spent the night in our car huddled up under our coats and trying not to freeze. Even after all this, he still married me!!! Love is blind!! 😉

We lived in Roanoke VA in a small basement apartment for three months and spent most of our time back in Craig and eventually moved back there in May of that same year near the farm that his Dad owned. A year and three months later our son was born and we moved into a mobile home on the family farm. We’ve been farming ever since!!

Pictures back in my posts

I have worked most of this afternoon putting pictures back in the posts that I’ve done in the last year.  This is going to be a very slow process!!

I’ve written over 130 posts and lost all the photos messing around a couple weeks ago.  After four hours this afternoon I’ve put them back in posts from present back to December 16th.  I’ve really got a long way to go since that’s only about twenty posts.

Bear with me and I will get it done.  Have a wonderful evening and I’ll continue tomorrow.