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!!
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!!
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!
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!
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!!
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!!
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!!
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!!
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.