Tag Archives: food

My Spring Flowers

Our spring began with these adorable flowers, crocus!

Our spring began with these adorable beauties and then the blossoms came from everywhere.

Hubby bought me this heavenly hydrangea for Mother’s Day.

Fushcia was an additional joy from him on Mother’s Day. My kids brought me ferns and fresh cut tulips.

Now the porch is full of flowers and so is the yard with perennials blooming everywhere.

The flowers are gorgeous this year! We have three gardens one of which is full of potatoes. The second is full of baby corn (Chires), five different squash, cantaloupes, and sunflowers. The main garden has tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, green beans, corn, romaine, peppers, potatoes (3 rows), onions, cabbage and broccoli. All of this kept me busy while my computer was awaiting repairs.

Time to get back to work!!! It’s raining again!

Creasy Greens

A case of creasy greens from Ikenberry’s Orchard in Botetourt County.

A very, very special friend of mine went to Ikenberry’s last week and ordered a box of these spring greens that we absolutely love!! She started cleaning them and decided to give me a call to see if I wanted some of them. I took off for a visit because we both stay home all the time and we needed a “friend break”. What a wonderful visit we had and I came home with almost a full box of those greens.

It took me four hours that evening to top the greens ( means removing the lower stem and keeping the green tops), give the greens several baths to get sand and dirt off of them and cooked them on the top of my stove in a large pot for three hours. The smell of cooking greens just says pinto beans, fried potatoes w/onions, cornbread and greens!!!

Greens stemmed and bathed twiice.
This picture shows the stems and base of the plant. The stems are very hard to cook tender.
Two sinks were full and I had another large pot that I would finally put them in to cook.

We haven’t eaten them yet but I froze four quart bags of them cooked which is four meals. I see this meal in our dinner this week and I can actually smell them just thinking about them. Best greens in the world.

When we were first married we had cornfields behind our house and we picked them every spring. We had to be careful and not mix them with another green that was similar but bitter and one would spoil a whole pot when cooked. We have trouble finding them now because everyone sprays their cornfields for weeds so creasy greens no more. I got two packs of seeds this spring and after the potatoes are harvested in one of the three gardens we plan to have this year, we will sow the greens in the fall and hopefully have our own field full of creasy greens in 2022!!

Betty, thank you so much for the greens! I know I’ll think of you with every bite I take!! See you soon!!!

Beavers Are Back

This is a beaver hutch on one of our next door neighbors property.

Hubby says it’s the biggest hutch he’s ever seen and thinks it’s a big family of them. This spring the kits will be sent out to make their own homes in another area but usually close to the parents.

With all of the snow melt and ice melt there’s plenty of room for them to venture out in the flooded waters.
This shows the water building on our side of the property.
There’s plenty of woodland for them to chew down the trees and make more homes and enlarge the main home. Of course, a lot of the trees will be used for feeding their large families.

We let them stay as long as they’re not flooding any of the pasture or routing the water that will harm neighboring property. They’re amazing construction creatures and fun to watch at work when they think no humans are close and watching.

Pullets Doing Their Job

We bought these in May of last year and they really grew out pretty.
Last years pullets have grown up and started laying for me in February.
This is a few of the new and the old. I’m getting between 18 and 24 eggs a day now. I’m somewhat disappointed in the Speckled Sussex because they’re laying small eggs about the size of a bantam but the Buff Orpington and Columbian Wyandotte lay large brown and pink eggs.
This is a one day haul for today. Different sizes and different colors and all delicious!
Small, medium and large. Notice the small on the right? It’s what the Speckled Sussex is laying for me. I keep hoping that as they get older the eggs will grow!!
These are my one egg a day duck eggs.
Size comparison is quite obvious but shows why I love those duck eggs for baking! Some may say there’s a difference in the taste but the only difference we see is the abundance of egg! ūüôā

I have the one hen from last year that just hatched out the three babies and I won’t get any eggs from her for at least three months and I have a Buff Orpington that should hatch any day.

Farming is fun and educational!! Coronavirus doesn’t slow things down on this farm and I love being home everyday!


Today we are preparing for another snow event in our area of 4-8 inches of snow depending on what part of the county you live in.¬† We like to prepare for the worst and hope for the least.¬† Eddie hauling some hay just outside of different fields the cattle are in.¬† We just hauled firewood to the front porch.¬† The cattle were fed normally but tomorrow morning they’ll get hay and some grain but fed near the woods for protection from the snow.¬† Today I made sure the ducks and chickens have extra feed, watering pan full and I put some treats in the hen house for them.¬† The snow is not supposed to get heavy until tomorrow afternoon but you never know with Mother Nature.

We brought three tractor loads of firewood to the front porch and have covered it with tarps to keep as dry as possible.

Our woodhouse is only half full now but we want to use everything in it this year so it can be thoroughly cleaned out in the spring/early summer and treated for termites and wood borers.

I filled two bins with kindling for fire starting.

The wood rack beside the stove is full and holds enough wood for two days if the wind isn’t bad.

The end of the porch is filled with really dry wood and the stack to the front is semi-dry and used to hold the fire during the night. We do oversleep at times and the filled stove will hold fire about six hours. We both tend to get up during the night.

I keep this large teapot full of water day and night to help with the dryness of the air using wood heat.

We’ll be warm!!¬† I also brought in some canned goods and potatoes from the cellar, a big pot of vegetable/meat soup sounds good!¬† I filled two five-gallon buckets, and one three gallon bucket with water for flushing the camode if the power goes off.¬† I filled¬†10 gallon jugs and some gallon pitchers for drinking and cooking water,¬† We are ready for the second snow event of 2019.


A Taste of Frigid Weather

I don’t like being unprepared for much of anything but the last two weeks or so of frigid air gave me a real kick in the pants!¬† We have been used to teens and single digit weather but not with 20 – 45 mile an hour winds.¬† We were able to keep the house good and warm but had to keep heaters in the cellar and laundry room around in the clock.¬† We didn’t have any frozen water pipes or lose any of the valuable canned goods.

We did however have to keep chopping holes in the streams that water our cattle.  We had to move two herds due to the mountain springs freezing solid and the feed we gave them was increased by an extra roll of hay each day, giving the two larger herds three round bales and the heifers two.  The heifers and bulls  were given corn gluten every other day.

January 3rd we went to Rural King to pick up salt and feed for the chickens and he bought me a new insulated barn coat and insulated bib coveralls!!!  Along with the Extreme socks Heather bought me for Christmas, the flannel lined jeans Shawn got me and these from Eddie the winter weather coming would not be taking hold of me!!!!

First pair of flannel lined jeans I’ve ever had and they are so comfortable.

Flannel-lined jeans, heavy flannel shirt, black under armor, insulated flannel lined bibs and a wonderful insulated hooded barn coat.







I know how the Pillsbury Dough Boy  feels now, waddling around!!!!

January 5th was the worst day and the pickup wouldn’t start, the big tractor fuel was frozen and wouldn’t start, and we used the small Kubota until the hydraulics froze up.¬† At this point the cattle were fed the old fashioned way by using 15 square bales of hay loaded onto the old Dodge pickup for the larger herds and 10 square bales to the heifers.¬† We keep bales of hay in the loft of the bull barn for the bulls and they were fed hay and grain.¬† I had filled up the firewood on the porch and in the house and was constantly chucking it into the woodstoves.¬† I made a huge pot of soup on the stove and our bodies stayed warm and full on the inside!!! The chickens and rabbits were checked hourly along with Mischief, our coon hound and all were given fresh warm water. Mischief stayed wadded up in her house with enormous batts of hay! We had been feeding her extra food to keep some fat on for just this kind of weather. We take good care of all of our animals. The temperature that day finally reached 12* but the wind was raging and expecting to last through noon Saturday.¬† With the wind chill the last few days our temps were ranging from -12* to 0*.¬† ¬†Mr. Caldwell was working on thawing the tractor all day in the frigid cold and wind!

Finally on Monday we were able to get out and do some extra winterizing to prepare for the next onset which might be within the next week!

The chickens are out and able to free range again although there isn’t much grass for them to find and they love anything green.

Cleome staying in her warm nesting box loaded with fresh hay.

Marigold is doing the same but she comes out more than Cleome.

Sebastian has two sections to his hutch. When the wind is howling you won’t catch him out in this open area of his hutch.

During the storm they didn’t have this loose hay out in the open part of their hutches but they will now until spring. There is one area of their hutches that has no hay and that’s because it’s their “potty” area behind their nesting boxes..

Marigold likes to sit on top of her box a lot but didn’t during the bad weather! It’s unbelievable how Mother Nature had provided them with such luxiourious fur coats for the winter.








So with the rabbits taken care of before the next batch of frigid weather, I went straight to the hen house.¬† Extra bedding was put in their nests to help keep the eggs from freezing.¬† There’s not much I can do with their water freezing except take them warm water more often.¬† Hopefully in the spring the electricity will be added to their house but this new house is much warmer and cleaner than the old one.

The chickens are out and able to free range again although there isn’t much grass for them to find and they love anything green.

The hens belong to this cinder-block building now. It’s warm, easier to clean because it has openings along the lower end of the shed to clean out under the roosts with a pressure hose. It’s cool in the summer and warm in the winter UNLESS it gets in the 20 degree range or lower.

We have a frost-free spigot outside of the building to get their water. No more hauling jugs of water up the hill behind the house anymore!!

We have 36 hens now and Eddie put 14 nesting boxes so that everyone will have plenty of room to provide us with wonderful farm fresh eggs.

There’s no crowding on the roosts but chickens are the worst for having a pecking order.

Yesterday I put a layer of fresh hay on the floor for the older girls to sit in during the day. These ladies are all four to five years old and don’t lay much but they’re my girls so they get preferential treatment.














I use a metal pan for their water so that when it freezes I can take it outside, pour a little hot water over the bottom and the ice pops right out.¬† I do carry a jug of hot water with me when I go check the water for the rabbits, chickens and the dog.¬† They love that warm water to warm their insides!¬† I’m keeping the rabbits and the chickens feed bowls full.¬† If they have plenty to eat their fat stores will help to keep them warm.

Now that the animals are better prepped for the frigid air to return it was time to fill up the porch with two types of firewood.

The east end of the porch has well seasoned firewood. I put one end of a 9 x 12 tarp down on the porch and place the wood on top of it. This protects the porch and the leftover end of the tarp is pulled up over the wood and held in place with extra sticks of wood and bungee cords. The stack when full if about five feet high and fills the eight feet length of the end of the porch.

The west end of the porch has the same amount of wood but this has not seasoned as much and we use it at night to hold the fire for several hours. It’s heavier because it’s not been cut and split as long, is dry but not as dry as the other wood. We don’t have to worry as much about Flue fires with seasoned wood and there’s been a lot of complete home losses in Virginia this year due to fires!

We have two piles of wood outside and one is seasoned, split and covered.  The other is dried but not fully seasoned and not split.  We have plenty more in the woods ready to take down and bring in to the house.

We keep a large rack of firewood in the house beside the stove (about 18-24 inches away from the stove so we won’t have to go out everytime we need to fill the stove.




We have two large ponds on the property and both have 8-10 inches of ice on them now but the overflows water the heifers and the bulls. The other cattle now get their water from some lowland springs that rarely go dry but we have to watch them because with the weather we were having they will freeze and have to be broken up a few times a day.















We’ve made it through the first of the really cold winter weather but we’re ready for the worst to come in the next three months.¬† Between now and then I’ll sit with my new seed catalogs and prepare for what we all hope to be an early spring!!¬† ¬†When we expect high winds and possible power outages I keep plenty of buckets of water in the laundry room for flushing the toilets and several gallon jugs of water for cooking and hand-washing.¬† We keep supplies of candles, oil lamps and matches on hand and small wood on the side porch for the wood cook stove.¬† Four small tanks of propane are always full to heat the laundry room (holds our main source of water pipes) and the cellar.

Stay warm and don’t forget to prepare for the next winter hit of weather!

Making Sauerkraut

The last two years we’ve had an abundance of cabbage which I have canned and frozen.¬† We shared with our daughters and other family and some of our neighbors.¬† I was starting to run short on sauerkraut so I contacted my neighbor, Linda Smith, about the moon signs to work the cabbage and we got to it.

We brought in four large heads (very large) and Eddie started cutting thin strips from the washed and drained heads.¬† First he quarters the heads and then uses one of our LEM butcher knives to slice off thin strips into a large pan.¬† I mention LEM knives because we think they’re awesome (http://www.lemproducts.com/category ) because they keep a sharp edge longer than most we have and they have all sizes you could possibly need.

This shows how thin we slice the cabbage for making slaw.

Next we bring out my big crock and mallet that Eddie made for me years ago.

This is the mallet Eddie made for me to crush the cabbage when we make kraut. I usually put a layer of sliced cabbage about four inches thick in the crock and pound it down with the mallet to about two inches, sprinkle with table salt and pile on another layer. We keep doing this until the crock is about half full.  The mallet is about 36 Р40 inches long which is the perfect length to sit at the kitchen table in a chair and pound the cabbage.

As you mash the cabbage, liquid will start oozing out of the cabbage and this will make the brine needed to sour the cabbage.  You WILL NOT add any water to this mixture, only cabbage and table salt.  You MUST salt each layer as you go through the process.

This crock is about 18 inches tall and about 15 inches across, very large and very heavy!  You can see looking into the crock that I had quite a bit more to fill and mash to get it half full.

The crock is half full, the juices are covering the cabbage and now it’s time to cover the concoction. Eddie has made me a wooden cover 1 inch thick that sits on top of the cabbage.¬† We need to keep it down on the cabbage tight so that the juices will ferment but nothing, such as dust, bugs, or any other matter can get into the kraut. To do this we fill a heavy-duty trash bag with several gallons of water and tie it up and sit it gently on top of the wooden topper. We move the crock to a dark, cool room (usually my laundry room) and let it work for about two weeks.




















My first peek at the concoction is about 5-7 days from the covering.¬† We check to make sure it’s bubbling/fermenting and we do our first taste test.¬† The cabbage will taste slightly salty and may be just a bit¬† tart.¬† If we get that taste we know everything is good but if we don’t we may be in trouble!¬† We check again in two days, sour is good, smelly is bad!!!!¬† If it’s bad, we throw it out to the chickens.¬† If it’s sour, we’re whistling Dixie!!¬† Don’t be surprised if you get a little darkened leaves on top or even a brown bubbling “stuff”, it’s part of the fermentation.¬† We let it ferment, checking daily now and when it get’s to the sour point of making your face crinkle you’re ready to stop the process and pack it in jars.¬† I used to use quart jars but the last three years we’ve used pints.¬† Finish it off by packing the kraut in the jars, cleans off the tops of the jars, put on new lids and rings and pressure can the jars for 15 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure, remove from the canner and wait for the jars to seal.¬† Man, I can taste that kraut & smoked sausage, pinto beans, fried potatoes and cornbread now!!!


Back in September I posted about all of the wonderful vegetables and fruit that we now have stored for winter.¬† It’s hunting season and all of that wonderful meat our hunters will bring in will stay fresh for a long time if you use the equipment I use!

Broccoli and summer squash

Green pepper strips






Today I wanted to show and tell you about the best piece of equipment we’ve ever purchased and used to preserve our food.

Best kitchen tool in the house-Foodsaver Vacumn Sealer.

We have had three of these in the past 7-10 years and they range in cost from about $50 to $130.¬† We have had the more expensive ones but they didn’t do the job or last as long as the cheaper one.¬† We have meat and vegies in the freezer that range from one month old to four years old and every package we open is as fresh as they day we vacuumed, sealed and placed in the freezer.¬† Before we started using this sealer my vegies and fruits came out of the freezer mushy and old tasting but now it’s like eating fresh from the garden and vines!!

You can get the rolls of Food Saver bags from Walmart for $13.98 (two roll box) or you can get the bulk rolls from Cabelas for $29.99.

Each box contains a 50′-long, 4-mil-thick freezer bag that easily rolls out. This freezer-defying vacuum bag can be custom cut to any desired size with the integrated cutter on the box. We use the 11″ width.









You can’t go wrong with this food preservation system!¬† It’s quick and easy to use!

Back to my roots. . .

Yesterday, July 16th, I attended a Bradley family reunion at the farm of my cousins in Newport/Craig County. I had not been to a reunion since my Dad died in the late 80’s and it was held at my grandparents, Dewey and Mabel Bradley, home in Paint Bank VA. Most of our grandparents are gone and now the cousins get together once a year in July. My paternal great-grandparents were Ott and Melissa Carr Bradley and they lived on the mountain in Sinking Creek Valley. ¬†This reunion was held at the home of Uncle Claude, grandfather’s older brother, and Virginia Kathryn Bradley and I was treated to a tour of the beautiful farmhouse. ¬†

Everyone bought a covered dish and there was so much food including fried chicken, venison roast with potatoes and carrots, salads, desserts, homemade rolls and more.  We each bought items for an auction to benefit the maintenance of the family cemetery which sits behind the house on the hill.

Cousin Ralph and ¬†Aunt Jean now own the house and land around it and are working like all of us that have old farmhouses to keep the house in good shape. ¬†Old farmhouses are a chore to update, restore and make livable. ¬†This one is gorgeous and I love the lower and upper porches on the front of the house. The banisters on the upper porch are beautiful and add so much charm and grace to the house. ¬†There’s porches on both side of the house too. ¬† While standing in the house the entrance doors and all windows were open which allowed a marvelous breeze to blow through, ¬†making the house feel air-conditioned with 80* – 90* temperature outside. ¬†While walking through each room of the house you could hear whispers of the family as they grew old in this incredible home! ¬†It made me want to go visit my grandparents home and hear those same voices of time that I grew up with.

auctioneer’s getting ready to entertain the crowd. Left to right are Cousin Joe, Cousin Ralph and his beautiful wife, Jean.

Now, the auction was the entertainment of the day!! ¬†Cousins Ralph, wife Jean, and Cousin Joe kept the atmosphere full of laughter, smiles and goodwill as they “tried” to be auctioneer’s for the absent cousin that truly is an auctioneer! ¬†Everyone went home with treasures that others considered junk and a good amount of cash was accrued for the mowing and upkeep of the cemetery.

View of the side of the house with an enclosed porch facing the driveway.

Side view of the front with another smaller porch on the 1st story of the house. This faces the garden that Ralph and Jean work each summer.

Cousin Ralph has promised to take me and my husband on a tour of the farm, cemetery and old home place on the mountain when the weather cools. ¬†In the meantime, I’ll pull together more information about my cousins, their families and our great grandparents.

What a wonderful and blessed day!!  More stories to follow of my heritage as the summer goes on.



1st Annual Girl Trip

This post is a little late but so worth writing!! ¬†My daughter and I took our first annual girls trip this year and ¬†I so hope we continue to do from now on. ¬†We met up with our best friends forever in Norfolk, Virginia, where our Ashley lives and my best friend forever, Margaret met us at Ashley’s home for a long weekend in October. ¬†We had a blast!!

 The Girls (top left to bottom) Me, Margaret, Ashley and Heather.  Ashley is holding Molly!

The Girls (top  to bottom)

Me, Margaret, Ashley and Heather. Ashley is holding Molly!

We lazed around in Ashley’s¬†beautiful home in a historic district, we shopped, we toured some historic areas of Norfolk, we ate (no gorged) on wonderful food and laughed until we cried!

Ashley is a childhood friend of my daughter’s that just re-connected this summer and Margaret is my best friend in the whole wide world. ¬†We’ve been through a lot together and she’s always there for me.

Here are a few of the pictures we took while on our 1st Annual Girls Trip.

I think this is the USS Wisconsin docked in Norfolk for repairs.

I think this is the USS Wisconsin docked in Norfolk for repairs.

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Downtown Norfolk somewhere!!  :)

Downtown Norfolk somewhere!! ūüôā

Ashley's living room where we gathered in the mornings and crashed in the evenings!

Ashley’s living room where we gathered in the mornings and crashed in the evenings!

Her kitchen where we spent more time eating and laughing!  It's beautiful!

Her kitchen where we spent more time eating and laughing! It’s beautiful!

It's the perfect space for her two dogs Molly and Evan, precious Corgi's.

It’s the perfect space for her two dogs Molly and Evan, precious Corgi’s.

Ashley's backyard where we spent our evenings.  Surprised the neighbors didn't have us locked up for laughing so much!

Ashley’s backyard where we spent our evenings. Surprised the neighbors didn’t have us locked up for laughing so much!

We visited the Virginia Living Museum while there and it’s home to more than 250 species of animals found in Virginia including reptiles, mammals, birds and fish. They¬†provide a sanctuary for orphaned, non-releasable or injured animals.

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Heather enjoying the sights at the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News.

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Ashley checking out another exhibit. ¬†It’s a wonderful excursion and we saw so many animals and their habitats.

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I can’t remember exactly what this part was but it was gorgeous stone work.

We talked and laughed so much that I forgot to take a lot of pictures but believe me it was a wonderful trip!

We all cried when we parted but promised to make it a regular visit and our hostess was the “mostess”!! ¬†She introduced us to a lovely new friend Sally Haynes who joined us along with Ashley at the farm for Thanksgiving.

It was such a wonderful trip for me and my daughter to spend special time together and to be with such special friends. ¬†I’m really looking forward to next years 2nd Annual Girl Trip!!!

Family visit with cousins

Vada is my and her Grandpa's little duck!

Vada is my and her Grandpa’s little duck!

What a very blessed Saturday I experienced with some cousins of my hubby! On May 15, 2014, his only surviving paternal aunt passed away. Peggy Ann was such a beautiful woman and I considered her a friend because she welcomed me into the family with open arms the first time I ever met her as did her husband, Dickie. Peggy Ann and Dickie lived in Lanexa, Virginia and have two children, Stuart III and Teresa. I’ve never met Teresa unfortunately but Stuart and his beautiful wife, Debra, have become very special to me and have been to the farm previously. They have a 28-year-old son, Stuart IV, and daughters, Heather, Dana and Brianne. ¬†Heather and Dana had not been here before and were anxious to meet us and see where they’re grandmother was raised along with four other generations.
On Saturday, all of the family except for Teresa and Bri, but including two special son-in-laws and four grandchildren, caravan to Craig County to memorialize Peggy Ann and spread her ashes on her beloved mountain on the family farm which connects to our farm. This was the first time that me and Eddie had met Heather and Dana and their children. Our daughter and granddaughter joined us shortly after they arrived.
We spent the day with four of the most adorable kids and one being a seven month (I think) little girl by the name of Vada but I’ve nicknamed Ducky. I was in heaven!!

Dana, "Ducky" and myself

Dana, “Ducky” and myself

L J wrestling a huge bale of hay.

L J wrestling a huge bale of hay.

Lavar, Kenny, Ducky and Dana climbing the mountain.

Lavar, Kenny, Ducky and Dana climbing the mountain.

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2015-11-21 069This is Vada and her daddy, Kenny!  She never fussed the entire time she was here and took the cold on the mountain like a champ.

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Cousin Stuart was thrilled to be able to share the farm with his kids, son-in-laws, and grandchildren and they all visited the house that his mom grew up in. ¬†It’s still standing and they’re hoping to fix it up a little and be able to come and camp out whenever they want.

Keep in mind looking at this photo that my husband is not a baby person. He's always afraid they would break. I think he got a little attached to this little munchkin!

Hubby is not a great champion to babies and never was but I think he fell in love with Vada and she him!

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He doesn’t let just anyone wear his hats!!

Victoria and Heather, my granddaughter and daugher , we in on the visit too. Victoria was ready to go deer hunting.

Victoria and Heather, my granddaughter and daughter , were in on the visit too. Victoria was dressed to go deer hunting but never made it to her deer stand.

Eddie and Dana topping the mountain.

Eddie and Dana topping the mountain.

Linden and Heather on the mountain.

Linden and Heather on the mountain.  Heather has three children, two boys and a girl.

Before they trekked to the mountain in the cold to spread Aunt Peggy’s ashes they all got to visit the animals, check out the cellar, hives and sugar house after we had a small lunch.

This was a day I will never forget and am so looking forward to a return visit very soon.

Successful Striper Fishing Trip

Friday night a week ago hubby accepted an invitation to go Striper Fishing with a friend of ours.  They left around 8:00 p.m. and headed for the lake and caught these beauties before the rain storm ran them off the lake.



DSCN7157The biggest one weighed a little over ten pounds and the other two were just a little less.  Vince caught two and Eddie caught one but Vince had been fishing for them all summer and had enough in his freezer to them for the winter.

The next day Eddie took them to his “professional” fileter and this is what we got.

Pot full of striper filets!

Pot full of striper filets!

The first night i took 1/2 a filet, cut in 3″ squares and soaked them in salt water for about 30 minutes. ¬†Then I poured a package of cornmeal muffin mix in a ziploc bag, poured about 1/4 cup of Old Bay seasoning in the muffin mix, sealed it and shook like crazy to mix it all really well. ¬†Then I melted a stick of butter in a skillet and melted it to sizzling but not burning. ¬†I poured the salted water off the filets and dropped each in the cornmeal mixture, zipped up the bag and shook to cover completed. ¬†I let it set just for a second then shook again and popped them in the sizzling butter. ¬†When golden brown on the bottom, I flipped the pieces and started sizzling again. ¬†I tuned them about three times and then took out and placed on a paper towel covered platter. I served this with baked beans, coleslaw and a baked potato. ¬†Best fish I’ve made in a long time. ¬†The next day hubby fixed the same meal but instead of skillet he used the new deep fryer I bought him for Father’s Day and it was absolutely DIVINE!!!

My big question–when you going striper fishing again?? ¬†ūüôā

We froze the rest of the filets for future dinners and Heather got a few on Tuesday when she came to visit.



First Meal with Son and his fiancee

This is another late post but better late than never!

My beautiful first-born has had a lot of exciting things happening to him in the last couple years.

Shawn was the little tiny thing born in 1973 at 6 pounds 4 ounces and the new love of my life in June 1973.

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He grew up way too fast and we are so very, very proud of him.  He took a new job in Christiansburg a couple of years ago after receiving his Bachelors Degree in Engineering.  Soon after met the love of his life, Jennie Malone.

Recently got a very nice promotion, bought a new truck, bought a house AND got engaged.

Shawn & Jennie 2014

Shawn & Jennie 2014

Last month Jen’s mom and sister came for a visit with them and the newly engaged couple invited the family to a cookout at their new home and to meet Jen’s sister, Cynthia. ¬†We had met her mother, Barbara, last fall when she came to visit and they brought her to the farm. ¬†She and I hit it off right away and she’s a genuinely lovely person.

Eddie, myself, Heather and her husband, Joel met at the new house which they had put together after moving in within a month.  I was really proud of all they had done and organized in such quick fashion.  Eddie was very impressed with their new home and even more impressed that Shawn had a place all his own and not renting.

Anyway, back to the cookout, Shawn was the chef and I’m sad to say I didn’t get any pictures of that but what a spread they put out. ¬†He has become the “Grill Master” and all he needed was a chef’s hat!! We had chicken which had been marinated in a special sauce that Jen got from another chef (I believe), ¬†we had hotdogs, hamburgers and all the sides you could imagine and we pigged out. ¬†Everything was so good!!

Then came the homemade peach tart that Jen made that morning which was great. ¬†She loves making tarts. ¬†I had picked up a strawberry short-cake on the way to their home (horrible) and she had also made another strawberry dessert that I didn’t get the name of. ¬†Heather had made some of her divine deviled eggs and everything was delicious.

Dessert table at family cookout.  This is my son's fiancée Jennie helping me decide which to take.  We took all!

Dessert table at family cookout. This is my son’s fianc√©e Jennie helping me decide which to take. We took all!

Shawn’s best friend joined us and a good time was had by all. ¬†There was lots of laughter, touring of the new home and relaxing on their huge deck on the back of the house. ¬†We ate until we couldn’t move and there goes the weight loss program I’ve been working on again!!

We’ve all been invited back and looking forward to it!

Mary, Mary quite contrary, how does your garden grow??

Can’t believe I can remember that nursery rhyme!! ¬†I wanted to share with you the spectacular bloom my flowers and garden have provided this year. ¬†Hope you enjoy the photo shoot.














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!

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!






























Pinks, reds and white begonias.

Pinks, reds and white begonias.
















DSCN5215I had something blooming all summer and now the hibiscus, cardinal flower, hyacinth bean and trumpet vine are starting to open but it’s too wet to get new pictures. ¬†I’ve had a very good year. ¬†We’ve canned almost 100 quarts of green beans and hubby finally pulled up the last of the beans yesterday and fed them to the cows. ¬†He planted turnips in their place and the corn should be ready in a few days. ¬†In the spring the new rhubarb set got a great start. ¬†The asparagus just wouldn’t quit bearing and the strawberries got a great start too. ¬†We got raspberries and blueberries before the birds got all of them. ¬†God has been good to us this year!! ¬†Fall is upon us and soon winter will make us very glad and grateful for all of the bounty He helped us produce and these pictures will get me through the winter months waiting for spring to come again. ¬†Our migrating hummingbirds have returned and I’m patiently waiting for the hummingbird moth to return. ¬†Our fall calves have started arriving and the spring calves are growing fast!! ¬†Life is good on the farm!


Mother’s Day Lunch

We truly had a wonderful day with my kids and our friends and it seemed to fly by but I guess that’s because we were having fun!! ¬†The day was full of stories, laughter, getting to know each other and friendship.

For lunch, I fixed a vegie tray, fruit bowl and a small cheese tray. ¬†I made homemade chicken salad, teriyaki chicken wings, and fried morels for the main course. ¬†Of course, the day wouldn’t have been right with a big batch of homemade dinner rolls and loaf of homemade bread. ¬†I made a cocoanut dream cake which was my first attempt at the recipe and it was so moist and good but I dread what it may do to my weight-loss. ¬†I made a cherry crunch tart, also a new recipe, but I wasn’t real thrilled with it so that recipe is coming out of the box!!

Cocoanut dream cake for Mother's Day 2014.

Cocoanut dream cake for Mother’s Day 2014.


One of my guests brought some homemade cheese pastries that were so good and we had tea, lemonade and a new drink I’m using, called marguerita ade. ¬†It is so sweet-tart and really quenches your thirst on a hot day!

Family, friends, and fabulous food, what more could you ask for.

Spring delicacy

We had a slow start with our asparagus beds this year but now it’s coming in with leaps and bounds! ¬†I started a new bed last spring from seed and it’s starting to grow but will be at least two more years before we get any food from it. ¬†Most of our beds are wild and started by the birds. ¬†We’re sharing it with friends and family and eating it about every meal. ¬†I’m sure we’ll tire of it soon.

As long as we pick, it keeps coming in.

As long as we pick, it keeps coming in.

Bags and bags of fresh asparagus

Bags and bags of fresh asparagus

I don’t freeze or can asparagus because I’ve not found a way to preserve that it doesn’t come out spongy or slimy. ¬†Can’t stand that!! ¬†We just enjoy it as long as it produces and as long as we’re not tired of eating so much of it. ¬†I’m going to experiment with making an asparagus creamed soup and will let you know how that goes. ¬†That may be one way of preserving it for winter consumption.

Weight loss update

On the 25th of March I posted about starting over on my weight loss goals. It’s working!! I’ve started keeping my food journal again and though I may not walk everyday, I am walking at least twice a week during my breaks at work and working in the yard or with the animals on the weekends. I went back for a weigh-in on the 9th of April and had lost two + pounds. I’m meeting with my weight coach every two weeks again.  The two new pair of pants that I had bought were size 14 and were starting to feel too tight to wear again.

Gloria Vanderbilt jeans in a size 14.

Gloria Vanderbilt jeans in a size 14.

The size 16’s were feeling very good but knew that wasn’t how I wanted to deal with this and I’m working really hard to get back on track with this weight issue.

My weight coach is wonderful and so encouraging. When I was dealing with my younger brothers health issues the anxiety was unreal and I didn’t want to burden my family with what I was feeling so I ate and didn’t exercise at all.  I guess one excuse is as good as any!!

I also have three friends at work that listen to my troubles, walk with me, and encourage me to keep working at it. Carol, Gwen and Kathryn make me laugh and feel good about myself. You guys are my weekday lifeline and I love all three of you!

My best friend that lives on the eastern shore it my other lifeline. We talk, cry, scream and do all the things that best friends do together, even at a distance, to get through the “bumps” in our lives. I love you Margaret!!

I went back to my weight coach Wednesday and have lost four more pounds in the last two weeks.  I was so excited!

I just wish the weather was more comfortable to walk in.  The wind wreaks havoc on my sinuses and I’ve gone all winter (KNOCK ON WOOD) without getting sick and don’t want to push my luck.  I will continue to take short walks a couple of times a day while taking breaks at work and definitely walk or work at the farm to get the exercise I need to lose more and replace the fat with muscle!

Hubby told me last night he could tell a difference and I know I feel better.  I really think the exercise, the food journal I keep and the not eating after 7:00 p.m. is the results of the weight loss.  My goal for the next 8 weeks is to lose 10 more pounds and I’ll be the happiest girl in the world.

Keep me in your prayers!!

Merkels or morels

Spring is definitely merkel hunting time.

Spring is definitely merkel hunting time.

What in the world?????

Morels are a type of mushrooms which can be found growing all over the world in a wide variety of habitats every spring. They are among the most prized of the edible mushrooms because they have a rich and complex flavor that goes well with almost any food. They also have a very distinctive appearance which makes them readily identifiable, assuming they can be found at all, since they’re notorious for being very elusive.

Like all mushrooms, the morel is only the fruiting body of a larger organism. Most mushrooms form a massive web of fibers underground called the mycelium. This web of fibers can be quite large, and when it decides to reproduce it sends up mushrooms, which release spores from the parent fungus. Mushrooms are quite appealing to humans because they are often fleshy and flavorful. Scientists have not determined why mushrooms fruit when they do, but mushrooms are usually linked with rain and heavy moisture. In the case of morels, spectacular growth patterns are also linked with forest fires.

We love to search for these delicasies every spring and this spring is no different. ¬†When Mother Nature cooperates we feel like we located the “mother load”!!

During spring gobbler season every year, hubby and his friends make a day of searching for these tasty morsels in their secret honey hole.  As in years past, they did very well and these shots will prove harvest:

92 morels cleaned, halved and ready for the skillet!

92 morels cleaned, halved and ready for the skillet!

Some are golden, some are brown and some are white.

Some are golden, some are brown and some are white.

It's a beauty!

It’s a beauty!

Draining all of the water off so they'll last longer!

Draining all of the water off so they’ll last longer!


There is absolutely nothing better than country fried merkels, baked beans and macaroni salad for supper!! ¬†Wish you were here to enjoy them with us ūüėČ


My ladies are worth their weight in gold

Blue, green, pink, beige, light brown, dark brown, creme, winter white.

Blue, green, pink, beige, light brown, dark brown, creme, winter white.

18 in one day but maybe only 10 the next day.

18 in one day but maybe only 10 the next day.

Beautiful eggs of all sizes and colors.

Beautiful eggs of all sizes and colors.

17 eggs today

17 eggs today

A whole bucket full.

A whole bucket full.


I don’t think any words would explain myself any better than these photos!

My Recipe Box

I love to cook and have collected cookbooks from all over the place and from everyone. ¬†Finding the storage for all of them has become a challenge. ¬†Hubby made me an adorable recipe box from some barnwood and I’ve started taking my favorite recipes from all of my cookbooks and giving the books to my daughter, granddaughter and friends.

This is the first box he made me but all of the recipes I have won't fit in it.

This is the first box he made me but all of the recipes I have won’t fit in it. ¬†It’s a 7 x 7 inch box.

The recipes I have won’t even begin to fit in this little treasure so he made me this one.

2nd recipe box made from barn wood

2nd recipe box made from barn wood

It just barely fits on top of the pie safe.

It just barely fits on top of the pie safe.

My newest one is 7 x 16 inches long and it's almost full.

My newest one is 7 x 16 inches long and it’s almost full.

I’ve only went through about half of my cookbooks and I’m only putting my favorite, tried and true recipes in this box. ¬†As you can tell from the following picture it’s going to be a work in progress for some time. ¬†The wooden box at the end of the books on this shelf are recipes that hubby’s aunt had. ¬†I have a couple cookbooks I won’t give away because they belonged to my Mom and I would love to have a cookbook that my grandmother’s used but I seriously think all of their recipes were in their head and hearts.

My cookbooks are many and I've a long way to go transferring all the recipes from the cookbooks on top of the shelf and that's not all of them.

My cookbooks are many and I’ve a long way to go transferring all the recipes from the cookbooks on top of the shelf and that’s not all of them.

I also have a stack of written recipes I’ve collected over the years that have never been in a book. ¬†The more I think about this, I’m wondering if I shouldn’t write my own cookbook and maybe name it “Country Girl Cooks” or something simple like that!! ¬†That might be quite fun but very time-consuming. ¬†My recipe cards are all hand-written and in print not cursive writing.

The recipe cards are on 4x6 index cards and handwritten.

The recipe cards are on 4×6 index cards and handwritten.

I have about three inches left in the box and it's going to be a tight squeeze.

I have about three inches left in the box and it’s going to be a tight squeeze.

I guess I could make enough room on top of the pie safe for another one.  Hubby is getting really creative on the project ideas I come up with.  My recipes come from friends, family, family cookbooks, old cookbooks and concoctions I come up with myself.  I do love to cook!


The Nasty Beasts are Back

I’ve said in the past how much I detest and despise coyotes.Well, we have almost a month to go for the first spring calf to arrive and nasty beasts are back. ¬†Hubby set snares and has caught two, one young male and this huge male that’s probably two – three years old.

Huge coyote male snared 02/2014

Huge coyote male snared 02/2014


If there’s males around there’s bound to be females and their mating season will soon begin if not already. ¬†This brute could take a newborn calf away from it’s mother in a matter of seconds. ¬†A month old calf in a few minutes if it’s not with the herd. ¬†Of course, these cows always decide to calve out in the woods alone and the babies are then easy prey, especially with canines like these:

Two to three year old male coyote.

Two to three year old male coyote.

There’s open season on them and several trappers are trying to help but Mother Nature gives them the inate sense to breed larger welps when the group get’s killed out or dies out. ¬†We’ve lost too many babies to these predators and stopping them is essential to our farm profits each and every year.

Coyote snared 02022014 (5) Coyote snared 02022014 (11)


Not only do they kill the calves but they devastate the deer population, all livestock and will kill your pets.

Coyote snared 02022014 (9)

Coyote snared 02022014 (8)

I hope I don’t offend anyone with this post but everyone needs to be aware of the problems this creature creates for farmers.


Weightloss update

Not only have I been bad about posting on my blog, I’ve been very bad with my weight loss. ¬†Thanksgiving and Christmas were buggers for me in regards to exercise ¬†but I did lose 3.2 pounds. ¬†When I went to see my weight coach early January she and I were shocked when I stepped on the scales and we figured up that I had lost any weight at all. ¬†I figured I had gained three pounds, not lost. I’m very honest with her about what I do each day and I keep a daily log of what I eat. ¬†I’m still not sure what I did to lose but I was very good at our Thanksgiving and Christmas meals.

I did go down one pant size since beginning this journey of healthy living.  I went from size 16 to 14 from October to January.

Size 16-now they're just quite loose

Size 16-now they’re ¬†quite loose but still wearable.

Size 14-perfect fit if just a little loose.  I'm sure the washing machine will tighten them up, though.

Size 14-perfect fit if just a little loose. I’m sure the washing machine will tighten them up, though.


My new goal is dropping to a size 12 by April 1st but to do that I’ve got to get off my duff and walk or use my treadmill.

My treadmill shows, speed, miles walked, time walked.

My treadmill shows, speed, miles walked, time walked.

When I use it I usually walk at a pace of 2.8 – 3.0 miles per hour and I usually walk for 25 minutes which puts me over the one mile walked. ¬†I don’t think I can increase my speed without stirring up my mild asthma issue but I can walk longer and further if I just put my mind to it. ¬†I usually watch a DVD while I’m walking or listen to my new MP3 player my daughter got me for Christmas. ¬†In my defense it has been quite frigid out with negative temps but that doesn’t justify not using my treadmill. ¬†

My new goals set for 2014 are down another pant size, maybe two and get rid of the roll¬† that has taken over my waist line. ¬†I got an exercise mat and some weights which I plan to use on the nights I don’t use the treadmill, alternating each night.

Exercise mat, 3# weight and 5# weights.

Exercise mat, 3# weight and 5# weights.

I have printed off a lot of gut/butt busting exercises from the internet and will make a poster board to use as a guide when exercising on the mat. ¬†I have noticed that my under arms are getting a little flabby and I can’t stand that so the weights will be used to tighten/build the muscle in that area.

I’m still watching what I eat, how much I eat, and when I eat. ¬†I’ve grown quite fond of OIKOs yogurt with fruit. ¬†My favorites are blueberry and key lime and they are my between breakfast/lunch meals and lunch/dinner meals if my meal doesn’t satisfy me. ¬†I absolutely DO NOT eat anything after 7:00 p.m. ¬†It’s hard but I do it.

OIKOS blueberry and key lime.  YUM!!

OIKOS blueberry and key lime. YUM!!


My next weigh-in is next Wednesday–WISH ME LUCK!! ¬†I think I’ve lost 14 total pounds since October.

Here’s our Christmas picture of the family and everyone says they can tell I’ve lost some weight and that it really shows in my face.

Family Christmas picture 2013

Family Christmas picture 2013. ¬†I’m on the left with hubby and son.

Quiet weekend

This time last Saturday we were all preparing for a 40th birthday for my baby boy!    First there was the outside preparation of mowing, setting up games, cleaning up the paddle boat, most of which my hubby and my daughter did while I was at work.

Balloons in place

Balloons in place

Seating for everyone.

Seating for everyone.

Yard is mowed and gazebo ready for party.

Yard is mowed and gazebo ready for party.

BIG 4 0!!!

BIG 4 0!!!


Saturday arrives and we’re doing last minute things at the farm. ¬†Heather goes to Roanoke to pick up the birthday cake and pick up the hotdog and hamburger buns I forgot the day before. ¬†The cake is designed to show the past and the present. ¬†Shawn had so many superheroes when he was growing up and it was appropriate that the new Superman movie opened this year the week of his birthday. ¬†He just graduated with a Masters in Civil Engineering from Old Dominion University in Norfolk Virginia. ¬†He’s had his associate’s degree for quite some time and finally decided it was time to work on the other. ¬†We are all so very proud of him!!

Spiderman throwing his web over Old Dominion University.  Spidey was Shawn superhero when growing up and he just graduated from ODU with a Masters in Civil Engineering.

Spiderman throwing his web over Old Dominion University. Spidey was Shawn superhero when growing up and he just graduated from ODU with a Masters in Civil Engineering.





Birthday banner.

Birthday banner.


Plenty of cold drinks on hand.

Plenty of cold drinks on hand.

Now, all of the guests have arrived and here’s some pictures of the birthday party, guests, games and more!

Plenty of cold drinks on hand.

Plenty of cold drinks on hand.


Shawns 40th blowout

Volley ball was a big hit as was badminton.

Volley ball was a big hit as was badminton.

Victoiria and Jason enjoyed themselves.

Victoiria and Jason enjoyed themselves.

Keith & KIm, Matt, Tim and Jason, all friends of Shawns and work mates.

Keith & KIm, Matt, Tim and Jason, all friends of Shawns and work mates.

Shawn and Christine join Shannon and Lisa for the meal.

Shawn and Christine join Shannon and Lisa for the meal.

IMG_0221 IMG_0220 IMG_0219

Shannon and Lisa meet Christine for the first time, I think!

Shannon and Lisa meet Christine for the first time, I think!

Shawn & Christine wait for the guests and point to the parking.

Shawn & Christine wait for the guests and point to the parking.

Dad and Mom enjoy the festivities too!  Our little boy is all grown up!

Dad and Mom enjoy the festivities too! Our little boy is all grown up!

Dean, my baby brother that lives with us, even joined the festivities.  He doesn't like crowds.

Dean, my baby brother that lives with us, even joined the festivities. He doesn’t like crowds.

Vicotoria was my photographer.

Vicotoria was my photographer.

Hubby was the chef!!

Hubby was the chef!!


And a few more pictures of the evening.








This is a family friend that joined us.  Jimmy watched Shawn grow up right along with us!DSCN3893


Waiting for his guests to arrive!!

Kevin & Tim

Keith, Christine, Kevin & Tim

Off to see Annabelle

Off to see Annabelle

Kevin Shannon and Shawn

Jason, Shannon and Shawn

Now it’s time for the wonderful slide show that Christine prepared. ¬†She used 155 photos I sent her along with some of her own and made a history of Shawn’s life from birth to the present. ¬†I got so emotional watching him grow up all over again. ¬†Shawn and I both cried at the end and ended up in hugging each other so tight and crying like babies. ¬†Christine did a wonderful job and Tim set up the movie screen for us. ¬†I’ll never forget the show for the rest of my life and am tearing up now just talking about it. ¬†It’s just so hard to believe he’s 40 years old. ¬† On with the cake!!



Waiting for the cake

Waiting for the cake

The cake is lit!

The cake is lit!


Does he have enough to blow out 40 candles???

Does he have enough to blow out 40 candles???

Keith, Kim, Matt, Tim & Ellen eating birthday cake!

Keith, Kim, Matt, Tim & Ellen eating birthday cake!

And now the end of the party grows near and Shawn HAS TO HAVE fireworks!!









Fireworks last about 30 minutes.

Fireworks last about 30 minutes.

The sky was lit up!!

The sky was lit up!!




The fireworks at the end of the night were awesome!!

The fireworks at the end of the night were awesome!!


And we couldn’t possibly end the evening without Victoria lighting up the group with sparklers!!


Victoria with some heavy duty sparklers.

Victoria with some heavy duty sparklers.


At 10:30 everyone started helping clean up the aftermath, hugging and promising to come back to the farm real soon and going home!! ¬†I think it’s a party/birthday that Shawn will never forget!! ¬†HAPPY BIRTHDAY BABY BOY!!! ¬†Mama loves you!!