This site is about my life as a farmgirl, wife, mother and grandmother. We have a beautiful granddaughter and the cutest grandson. We own two farms in Craig County Virginia, leasing one and raising beef cattle on the other.
I’m back up and running with a new Dell computer and advise on making my tablet run better which I took! I have no excuses now not to be writing in this blog and catching up from all the adventures of 2021 before the year ends. Big ideas sometimes come to life and hope this is one of them.
Love to my computer fairy and for her advice with my tablet. Too much junk can slow the thing down. I will be the first to admit I am not computer savvy at all, but I have kids that are and they’re my go to when anything goes wrong.
New posts coming soon, I promise, but first got to make sure I’m prepared for what may some ice on Wednesday. Everyone stay safe and please wear your masks!!
It’s hard to believe that a little black box called modem can stop communication in this world but it did in my world. I’m back though and hope to entertain and possibly educate about how we live on the farm.
The modem went bad and apparently it happens everyday and all it took was one visit from our wonderful TDS employee to get me back to posting. For over two months I would be in the middle of a post and like magic it would all disappear. It was most aggravating but I promise I did not rant, rave or cry! I did not throw the machine out the windows (too expensive to replace). I called the kids!! My son was afraid my computer might be dying or the modem might be bad. My daughter bought over her modem and we tried that and like magic it worked BUT it had quit working at her house. She took the cord from my modem and her black box and went back to her house to experiment. My modem was dead and her cord was dead.
I reported what was happening to our local phone service (TDS) and they made a service appointment for the next day. My daughter did the same thing but I think she had a really bad experience with her service rep and . . . . Well let’s just say it wasn’t pretty and she got a service appointment for that afternoon. We are both back online!!!
Thank you to my technician, thank you to my kids for trying to help this old brain and her electronics and thank you to my blogging friends for waiting for me to return!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!
I’m back online and computer is functioning quite well. Mike did not have the issues of getting it to open up but did find lots of files that loaded that shouldn’t have. He didn’t find any viruses and he did a recovery to the machine prior to the day my office files were downloaded. He also found some pretty major issues with a virus protection I had downloaded when I first got my computer. His recommendation was to delete it and to use the Microsoft free protection system. Computer gurus that he deals with all the time said to stay away from my old program and use the Microsoft because it was as good as some of the high dollar protection systems. As I’ve said in earlier posts, I am NOT electronically smart and I listen to the people that are and know what they’re doing!!
I’m back and got more catching up to do and hope you all enjoy the posts that follow!!
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!!
I never would have dreamed in a million years that I would miss blogging as much as I have!!! My computer locked up around Thanksgiving and couldn’t afford to just go out and buy a new one!! I’m too busy at work to take a few minutes to write a note and it probably wouldn’t set to well with the boss!! BUT, my dreamboat husband slipped around without my knowing and bought me a new Hewlett Packard Desktop and surprised me on Tuesday night with it sitting in our bedroom! He had told me he would get me one for my Christmas but he knew how much I missed the OLD one and decided to move on with the project and get it for a birthday present and early Christmas present. I have been since Tuesday learning how to use “THE NEW WINDOWS 7”! Talk about a learning experience. Anyway, I’m back and can’t write long as I have lots of housework to do, decorating to do, wreaths to make and crafts to start. I’ll be back soon with new adventures!
Wondering why I haven’t written anything for awhile. I decided to make my computer more user friendly and now I can’t get into it at all. I’ve pleaded the fifth with my son and he has agreed to come over on Wednesday evening and see if he can unlock what I did and then we’ll be back on the blogging trail. Until then, keep this crazy woman in your prayers!!!
I have been so aggravated with my internet connection at home lately. It just gets worse and today I contacted our carrier from my office during a break. He gave me five steps to take when I get home and three of the five I’ve done so many times it’s not funny. The tech I talked with said he could see that my connection was slow (duh!) and thinks if I initiate the steps when I get home it will be better. After an hour of going through all the steps it’s no better than it was. Tony, the tech, was very patient with me and has entered a outside inspection of our phone box and connections and if they determine everything is okay then they’ll set up a inside inspection. The situation is worse when you I have a really high speed connection at work and then come home and have to wait 20-30 minutes for a connection to my email or blog. Computers are wonderful when they work but when they don’t it’s maddening. I’ve vented now so it’s time to calm down and chill out so I don’t have bad dreams about it!! What I really need is for the weather to warm and stay warm so I can work outside in the evenings and not have enough time to get on the computer. There I go again wishing my life away! Enough griping, I’ll close for the evening!
This is the blog for our little farm in Skagit county. Here we have Shetland sheep and Nigerian Dwarf goats. In addition we have donkeys, cattle, pigs, chickens, geese, and peafowl. The blog describes the weekly activities here.