Saturday, December 31, 2011

ever have a morning like mine

I was up and dressed and had some of the kiddos fed while the last minute stragglers were still getting dressed. I was going to make some scones for breakfast but that sounded like too much work, then thought about baked oatmeal, but decided that a bowl of cereal would be quicker. Matthew was outside taking care of the animals. Kinda a yucky morning, freezing rain. His brother stopped by to pick up his parents car that we had borrowed the other day, and his wife came in to say hi. She had on a new sweater, that I love! Very nice! I told her so too. She said go to Target, they have a bunch on sale... I think I see a trip to Target in my very near future. I love sweaters! They have so many nice ones these days. Anyways...went on a little bunny trail there. We got rid of our rooster who doesn't crow, but we don't want any babies, and got a new one for the winter who is super small. Smaller then a bantam, not really sure what kind he is, but we'll see if he makes it with our big girls. I'll try to get a picture of him on here.Another bunny trail... I found the new book I want to read on my counter that I was trying to clean off, while washing the milk pails, I sat down and started to read a few pages. I then realized I had told the kiddos to make there beds and brush their teeth, and that I hadn't done either yet, so off I went to do that. While down there I saw that the towels needed to be washed so I started the laundry, moved things around on my bed so I could make it. Then dumped the clean clothes on my bed and started folding them. Then I remembered that I hadn't finished washing the milk pails and probably should go do that. But first I needed to fill up the water buckets and get them outside so Matthew could water the animals. Our outside water was frozen. Once the buckets were outside I washed the last of the milk pails. I went back to the wash and put the clothes in the dryer, started another load, folded the clothes I didn't get folded yesterday, and put them in the kiddos rooms so they could put them away, I went back to the kitchen and glanced at the clock, it was only 8:30! Oh man this is gonna be a long day, I thought as I filled up the dish pan to wash the breakfast dishes. Then wandered back to the bathroom to fill up the water buckets again to take them out side so Matthew could finish watering the animals!
Ever have one of those mornings where you just can't seem to get going? That's been me all morning. I'm not holding out much hope for the rest of the afternoon!! I think I need another cup of coffee or a nap!!
Have a great day all and Happy New Year too!

Friday, December 30, 2011

{this moment}





A Friday ritual. A picture with no words. A moment I want to remember and savor!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

winter clean up

Yesterday was 50 degrees! Not very seasonal for us. Usually a lot colder then that! I'll take it though! We got a Christmas snow storm and got a inch or two, then we got heavy rain and away went the snow! Along with some wind! Yikes! We got some wind. Then the nice day, it cooled off quick in the evening though down to about 9 degrees. I was able to get the horses stall cleaned out. There was some frozen poo in there and I was able to get it all cleaned out. I know if I had been on the ball and not procrastinated and just cleaned it out I never would have had that problem. But I didn't want to go outside and do it, and I was busy cooking stuff for Christmas, yeah that's it!! Farm life is slower. Just daily chores and lugging water. Don't get me wrong that all takes time too! I'm glad for the change of pace in farming right now. A nice break from the faster pace of spring, summer and fall!
Today I started cleaning up my house and trying to "catch" up on some of the house work that I get behind on during home school. We have a wood stove and it's very easy to get behind on the dusting. Everything gets a nice coat of "fire dust" on it in no time. I had the kiddos help with "winter cleaning" instead of "spring cleaning." Actually I have 4 seasonal cleaning sprees. Plus all the regular stuff. Then you add all the Christmas stuff... things just need a good clean up. Tomorrow all the Christmas stuff will be exiting the house after the kiddos get back from their eye doctor appointment. I like to put the tree up, but once Christmas is over I like it out! We've left it up a little longer for Little Matt's sake. He was hoping his Christmas gift would arrive and he could have it under the tree, but it hasn't come yet. I checked and the company said the estimated arrival date would be Jan 3. Not leaving the tree up that long.
I'm looking forward to the new year that is coming up in just a few days! We have had a good year overall and am thankful for that! Next year will prove to be interesting with our land situation hanging in the balance, but I'm sure something good will come out of all this!
As for bringing in the new year we don't have any big plans. Never do really. How about you? Any plans?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

what's cooking in my kitchen

Alright so I'm probably thinking this is not the best thing to post after Christmas when everyone is on chocolate over load and coming off their Christmas highs. And people seem to always think weight loss is a good idea after the holidays and a new years resolution. But oh well. Let me indulge your love of chocolate! And if you don't have a love of chocolate you can skip this post. I will not be typing out the recipe, because it would take me forever as I said before and I don't want to leave something out. Just too many details. But I did snap a few pictures of the recipe for you! Now you can write it out! How nice of me right! I don't know if you can read it all, but I will tell you that it is a Pampered Chef recipe. I found it in their new "Chocolate" recipe cookbook. My sister in law got one, and I just thought it was great, then one of my sisters, who LOVES Christmas bought me one. How nice of her! I actually love it because I love chocolate. My poor husband. Can't wait until I can make some more recipes! And I will post pictures of them too! But that won't happen until next year! A big sigh of relief! Now here is the Fudge Tort with White Chocolate Mousse!

 Oh my look at that!! I didn't take a picture of the whole thing because I didn't like how it looked. It kinda fell apart a bit during transportation to my parents. It tasted good though. I think it tastes a little bit like the Chocolate Lasagna at the Olive Garden, that they used to have, but no longer do, at least here in Maine.  Just to give you a guess of what it tastes like. If you've ever had that dessert there. Oh so good!



Don't let the time it takes to make scare you. It's cooling time for the cake, and mousse, and such. I think it's worth it and will be making it again for a family get together!
Until next time!
Have a great day all!

Monday, December 26, 2011

after Christmas confessions

I hope ya'll had a very Merry Christmas! We did.
Today started the after Christmas clean up and put everything away. Our tree is still up for a few more days. After having lots of places to go over the weekend we all just kinda crashed today. We took care of things and threw away all the trash. The boxes and boxes of packaging that everything seems to come in these days along with all the bloody twist ties and tape that are on toys. It's enough to drive any sane person over the top. Not to mention the kiddos.
We have so much food, no not food but junk food and chocolates in the house... makes my head spin. Yes I did make some of it, but we are always given more and we all need to detox afterwards. And need something healthy and yummy to eat for supper instead of filling up on party mix, cheese cake, chocolates, etc etc for the past few days. So we are going to have turkey pot pie. Mmmmmm. And watch a few movies today that we got as gifts. 
So glad to be on school break. All of us need it.
One of the gifts for Little Matt didn't come. We told him ahead of time that it didn't come, and it should be here soon. He asked if I would wrap it up for him, and I said I would. 
I was supposed to bring some of my homemade garlic dill pickles to my parents for Christmas. Forgot them. I was supposed to bring them the next day, told my sister to send me a text in the morning. She did. I still forgot them. All day I was scatter brained. Really bad.
We went to a coming home from boot camp party for one of Matthew's cousins. That was nice. Yummy food too! Not on Christmas, but a couple days before. Our weekend was full of parties and food!
Once the kiddos were in bed snoring loudly and sprawled out in their beds, My Man and I had a quiet evening on the couch.
Now I have to run because I need to get supper out of the oven before I burn it and we have to eat chocolate again for supper.
Have no fear I will be posting the yummy Chocolate Torte I made tomorrow!!
Have a great night all!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!!

from all of us here at SweetLand Farm. Wishing you and yours a very blessed holiday!


Thursday, December 22, 2011

more chocolates

Again I don't want to disappoint. I finally finished the Triple Choc Truffles about 8pm last night. Now I have some baking to do, but actually I won't do most of it until tomorrow. Oh yea, probably outta take my ham out of the freezer today too to thaw it out. That would be a good idea. I've got so many things going this week I can't remember what day it is. I feel like I'm a day late with everything I've got going. My BIL said the best thing the other day that "if someone had told us Christmas was on the 25th this year maybe we would have been ready!" I just thought that was funny, because I feel so ill prepared. I don't think I am though. Maybe I should make a list...

Now without further ado

They are melt in your mouth good too! Sorry I just had to tell you. That and I think they look pretty. It's white choc, semi sweet choc, and bittersweet choc. I would share the recipe, but it's so involved to make some of these things it would take me forever, and then I would feel like I left things out. So instead I will tease you!
Have a great day all!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas chocolates

OK, so as I said yesterday I would post pictures of the chocolates my sister in law and I made. I would hate to disappoint you. I only have one of the chocolates and then a trifle I made for a party at my in laws the other day. I will have to take a picture of the Triple Choc Truffles when they are done. I messed up the first batch and threw them out and then made a second batch that I need to finish. Today I need to get that done. I'll post a picture for you too. Try to avoid licking the computer screen too! hehe

 We have from the left bottom the one with the gooey looking choc filling those are the Choc Beignets. They had to be fried. Imagine fried chocolate! Yum. Then we have Reese PB Squares, the choc on top and pb on bottom. Just above that the white filled one those are Neehams. Then above that we have PB Balls, the brown ones.

This is the Double Choc Mocha Trifle. It's a brownie, white choc pudding & cool whip mixed with instant coffee, and crushed up Heath Bars on top and in between the layers! Yumminess indeed!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas confessions

So are you all ready for Christmas?! Me? No. Why do you ask?
Gifts are not wrapped, some still have not arrived, and some still need to be bought. Talk about cutting it short.
I get asked on Thanksgiving if I'm done. Nope usually haven't even started yet. I like to click a button and have it shipped to my house!
At least the tree is up, and the lights work this year! Bonus! Last year half the lights died a few days before Christmas.
 I would like to do some cooking.
I like to make chocolates with the kiddos. Then I like to give them away so I don't eat them all! Works out great for me! Just a heads up my SIL came over to make some with me, and I will be posting some pictures of the yummy looking treats!
I like to have cinnamon rolls for breakfast on Christmas morning. mmmmm all warm and gooey! With Florida Natural OJ! No pulp of course.
This year should be interesting with milking, our tree, church and needing to get out the door early...
Christmas with my family will be on Christmas Eve. I'm so excited about it too! We always have certain foods when we get together too. All the necessities of course. This year I'm making a ham, homegrown, crescent rolls, homemade, and drum roll please... Fudge Torte w/ White Chocolate Mousse! OOOhhh yummmmmmmmm! Have no fear my blogging friends I will post a picture and maybe the recipe. It's a lot of directions so I will have to wait and see.
Have a great day all!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

painting

What a day and a half we've had. I went to help Matthew today. He was hired to paint a room, to help out a friend, and he wanted me to come and help. I thought no big deal, I like to paint, and my mom was happy to watch the kiddos for the day. I could work on the trim and he could use the roller. Matthew's not big on painting, so I figured I would do the trim and let him have the big parts! Well we get to the house and the guy is there, and he wasn't supposed to be home until later that day. Matthew walks up on the deck and the man greeted us and said his dad had literally just died last night, unexpectedly. OH MY WORD! I was standing on the ground, ready to jump back in the car, after hearing that news. I felt so bad, the man was holding back the tears and I just hated to stand there. I dug my sneakered toe into the ground, literally about 2 centimeters from a large dog poo. There was another one to the left of my sneaker too! It's no wonder I didn't step right in it! I started to shiver because it was cold this morning, and I didn't have my jacket on, not to mention I was uncomfortable. Matthew spoke to the man and said we could leave. The man said no. They are in the process of moving and need to get the house ready. So he said come on in. Matthew motions for me to follow. I walk up the stairs and go into the house, I look at the bottom of my sneakers just in case some dog poo did get on it. Nope. Clean. Matthew and I made eye contact, and had the same thought. Awkward! We went into the room and chatted, then the phone rings and the man leaves us. We look at each other and shrug. Now what? Oh it was so awkward to be there. We motion to each other and start moving furniture out and lay down the paper on the carpet. It was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop. Once in a while one of the dogs would bark. Matthew and I empty the room, fill the holes and start to paint. The owners of the house are downstairs. It's a raised ranch house. Neither one of us said very much all day, it was the mood of the house, and now us. Quiet. Sad. Thankfully we have been married long enough to know how to work together with very few words. A long, a gesture, a nod.  It was such a long day. Up and down a step ladder, up and down on my knees painting. We didn't stop for lunch. We just worked quietly all day. Not wanting to be a bother to the people mourning, and wanting to get the job done. We feel sad for the family that lost their loved one during this Christmas season so unexpectedly. Our prayers are with them.
Hug your loved ones and tell 'em you love 'em, cause you just never know.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

aaawwww

Just couldn't resist this...

Maggie and Dandie in the pasture on this beautiful day! I had to sneak outside really quietly to get this picture, but I'm so glad I did, makes me go aaawwww.
The weather has been really mild for us so far. We've had some snow, but then the temps go back up to the 40-50's, and it all melts! Crazy for us, but I love it! I was tempted to mow the lawn the other day just to say I mowed it in December, but I didn't. I decided I'd mowed enough this summer! But I've been hearing on the radio that it's supposed to do something tomorrow, like snow. We shall see! Until then...
have a great day all!

Friday, December 9, 2011

for sale

This could be looked at three different ways. I guess it depends on which end of the sick your on. One it could be your house/farm for sale. It could be a sign in front of the house/farm you want to buy! Even better! Or if you are in my shoes it's a sign in front of the property you lease, for haying. Kinda an unsettling feeling. OK so a very unsettling feeling.Yup our wonderful neighbors are moved out of their house. We have seen this coming all summer long, and have been looking for different farm land to use/lease/buy. The man went into a nursing home. He's got dementia, and his wife just can't take care of him anymore. And his wife has decided that the house is just too much for her. And another winter with that drive way is another story. So she has moved out into a retirement home. We are very saddened by this. We lost some wonderful neighbors that are like grandparents to all of us. It's so sad to know they are gone, and won't be coming home again.We have no idea who is going to buy the house, and who our new neighbors will/might be. The place has been shown to some people, and some have come back for a second look. So it's good for my neighbor, but sad for us. We are not worried about the situation we are in, but we have been praying about it. I know God won't bring us this far in our farming venture to leave us hanging. I know He is faithful to His own.
On the flip side we have some things in the works that we are praying about as well. So we shall see where this is going, and we are excited about it as well!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

it's ready

What's up with this picture? Such a dreary day today. The fog is so thick and the air is very heavy.


Actually this is the roof of our little sap house! We got our new roof jack and chimney installed. (It's the silver thing, just in case you didn't know). And when I say we I mean Matthew did it. I was off having fun with some friends making Christmas cookies while he was putting this on. Thankfully our son was home helping him, just in case, on the ground mind you! Now there were four moms and 14 kiddos! That equals lots of sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies, and frosting! Go figure! Had a blast! It's always fun to get together with friends and kiddos and cook, especially this time of year. Actually the kiddos put a little cookie with their frosting! Sorry I forgot my camera, so no pictures. But by the end of the day they were all pumped up on sugar! And wanted to do it again next year!!
Anyways, now we are ready for maple syrup season, even though it's months away. I don't know if ya'll remember but we bought a commercial evaporator last year, and had that "learning curve" with it. Having the chimney pipe be at two 90 degree angles would not work properly with it. It wouldn't get a good rolling boil and stay boiling. So it needed one straight line up, now it's in and waiting for the boiling to begin!  Looks good don'tcha think? I'm now looking forward to the spring when we can start the season!
Have a great day all!

Monday, December 5, 2011

a parents worst nightmare

Sunday morning started out like they typically do. It was a cold morning with a heavy frost on the ground, it should be cold, it's December. The only thing different was a couple that lives down the road from us, and attends the same church, was taking the oldest two kiddos to church with them because our van had broke down and isn't fixed yet, and we are borrowing my in laws car that won't fit 6 people in it. They are very nice people and the grandparent type to all the kiddos in church. They give them a small Christmas present and a card on their birthdays. So they came and took Little Matt and DaLaney. I was getting the younger two's hair done, and tights on and we weren't quite ready to leave yet. So about 10-15 minutes later we left for church. Rachel burst into tears and said she had to pee really bad. Too late to turn around and go home. Thankfully we found a portable one at a store. I was driving, Matthew had enough driving and, well I love to drive, so Rachel was all set and we were back on the road. The girls requested Christmas music. So it was. We chat as I drive, then we notice there was a road block up ahead. No one was going through. There were two options go left or right. The cop said take a left to continue on our way for our destination. We did. The girls were in the back happily singing the Christmas carols. One asked me if I knew where I was going. I said "a detour." "Why?" "Can't go the other way something happened." "Oh." More singing. Out of the corner of my eye I see Matthew dialing a number on the phone. One sided conversation is what I here. "Where are you?" It's his brother. "Oh, well call me when you get to church and let me know if they are there." Hangs up. I suddenly get a sick feeling in my stomach, and my hands turn all sweaty on the steering wheel. "I just got a real sick feeling in the pit of my stomach." I said. "Me too." Matthew replied. Suddenly it was very hard to breath, my chest constricted and I took in a deep shaky breath. I drive. There is a silver car in front of me. I have no idea where this road comes out. The girls are giggling. The phone goes off as we take a very sharp L turn to the right. It was my brother in law. "Do you have their number?" Hangs up. "They are not there yet." Matthew said to me. It's even harder to breath, my chest hurts, and I can't feel my legs. I take another breath. That silver car is still in front of me. Fear grips me and I start to sweat. "You OK? You want me to drive?" "No. Gives me something to concentrate on." My heart is racing, and I pray silently, "Dear Lord. Please keep our kiddos safe and protect them. Please don't let this accident be them. Please no God."  I seem to get tunnel vision and my chest is tight. I grip the steering wheel with my sweaty palms. I was suddenly thankful that there was someone in front of me going the speed limit, 45, and I had never been on this road and it was too busy to pass due to the traffic on it, probably it's not a very busy road on a typical day. I still couldn't feel my legs. My arms are tingling as I pray again. We stop and turn right. Matthew said something to me. The girls are still singing in the back. I suddenly knew where I was when I saw the road sign, and knew where we would turn out, I told Matthew that one of his childhood friends lives on this road and he just so happens to be a state trooper. He nodded. Just up ahead I see the stop sigh. The road is blocked to the right. I come to the stop sign. The silver car turns left. "The road is blocked." I state the obvious here. "We are going down that way." "I can't." I uttered. "Do you want me to drive." I just nod and take my seat belt off, and move, as Matthew gets in the drivers seat and down the road we go. Just a short ways down the little hill and turn I see the flashing lights. Nausea hits. I see an animal control officers black SUV, and other lights and cop cars. I see two cars off in the ditch to the right. They hit an animal, was my first thought. The road is slick and there is lots of salt on it. "Is it them?" "I don't know. I can't tell." I pray again as Matthew stops the car and hops out and heads down. The ambulance has come and gone. I can't breath, tears come down my face and I'm gasping for air. Fear that my kiddos were hurt, and I wasn't there with them. "You OK Mommy?" "I'm OK." "Sounds like your crying. Are you OK?" Rachel and Emma were concerned about me. They have no idea what is going on. I need to keep it together. I don't typically cry. "I'm OK." I'm still trying to control my breathing and fighting the urge to puke. I wipe my sweaty palms on my dress. I can't catch my breath. I watch as the cops approach Matthew. They are talking. My eyes are glued to the back of My Man. My legs felt like jello. I see the cars in the ditch. I pray. The phone goes off, and it's my brother in law. I can tell by the ring. Matthew left it in the car. I grab it and manage to croak out a "hello." "Yup they just pulled in the driveway. Their fine." I felt the hot, tears coming down my face as the words "their here, and safe" sunk in. Relief swept over me. I managed to croak out something to the affect of " Thank God. Thank you." And hung up. My whole body was shaking, and I was still sweating. I was ever so relieved that my kiddos were safe and sound at church waiting for us! I suddenly could breath and my chest didn't hurt. I got the feeling back in my legs. My toes were cold. I had so much air back in my lungs and relief coursing through my veins and tears I was trying to control. I look up and Matthew is walking back to me shaking his head mouthing "it's not them." I held up the phone and nodded. He gets in and I said, "your brother just called. They are at church."  Matthew looks at me. "You OK?" Breath. "Yup." I'm glad for sunglasses. It took me a few minutes to pull myself back together as I prayed and thanked God for his hand of protection on our life (kiddos). Matthew told me the cops were very nice about him going down there. And that he had had to take some deep breaths before he could talk after seeing the cars. One of the cars in the ditch looked like the one the kiddos left in.
Once at church we head in and I walk in looking for my oldest two kiddos.Rachel trips and falls, and Daddy scoops her up first as he was closer to her. DaLaney sees me first and come over and gives me a hug and a kiss on my cheek. "Hi Mommy. I missed you." I squeeze her tightly to me and kiss her soft cheek and whisper in her ear "I love you." "I love you too."  She smiles, and I fearsly blink back the tears. She had no idea what we had been though. "Where's Little Matt?" I search the room for him. "He's with some of his friends." I found him with my eyes and looked at him. His handsome face and boyish grin.  I went and sat down with DaLaney. When Little Matt came over I hugged him tight and said "hey boy, I love you."  And swallowed the lump in my throat. "I love you too Mommy." As he hugged me back. He has no idea. He sat down. Again the relief and thankfulness came over me. Our kiddos were safe. I've seen them and hugged them both. My life is good now. I could relax. We now have the number of the couple who drove them to church. 
The rest of the day went by without incident. That night we had 2 brother and sister in laws, along with all the kiddos over for pot luck supper, last minute, and read our Advent celebration together. We had some Ribbon candy too! Anyone remember that stuff? I didn't even know they still made it. My great grand mother always had it at Christmas time. It was such a treat for us kiddos to have!
That night the kiddos went to bed, in their own beds. Happy, full and safe. All four of them. I went in their rooms and looked at them each breathing slow, and deep, some were snoring. I covered the ones back up that needed covering and said another silent pray of thanks giving for their safety.

Friday, December 2, 2011

clean up

Ever clean out your recipes? I have some that I thought looked good, and have saved, but once reading through them and realizing that I'd never make them. Not to mention I cook entirely different now then when we were first married. I have had some recipes for years and never have made. Some call for those wild ingredients that I never have on hand and would go to waste because it only goes in that one recipe. So I decided to clean them out and throw them, to make room for the new ones I have found online and from friends. I try to organize it by main dishes and desserts, then extras like horse cookies. Yes from time to time I make cookies for my horses, they love them! So much better, now I just need to get them on recipe cards and in the cookbook. I like to use the old photo albums, they are perfect for them.
I also have a little photo album of recipes I use only when canning, like spaghetti sauce. I'm always rummaging through the cookbooks to find them, then finally the light went on and I put them together, and put them in the canner. So next year when I start canning they are all right there in one place!! Brilliant! Only took me years to figure that one out...
Anyhow, life is kinda slow, and by slow I mean farm wise things, most of all our equipment is undercover before the snow comes, again. Everything around the farm is picked up, like the kiddos summer outside toys, and the like. Barns are winterized and now we just wait for the snow. It has been such an awesome fall. We had an Indian summer, and so far it's still been mild for Maine weather. Some cold, but mostly warm sunny days, like in the 60's!!  No kidding, I've loved it too. I'm sure winter weather is coming, but it's been so nice to have some mild weather and not have to keep the fire going all day, but at night to keep the chill out and not have all the winter gear out!!!
I'm sad to have to say this next part. You remember all our wonderful chicks that hatched out and mama hen left them? Well we had five. One was a rooster and the rest were hens. Well three days in a row someone hit them. I guess they thought playing "chicken" in the road was fun. Makes me soooooo mad. They hit three hens, figures. Then we killed the rooster. Didn't want to deal with him over the winter, and don't want chicks. So we have the one hen from the five babies left.
Well I have tons of things to finish, so have a great day all! Just thought I'd let you know what I've been up too. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

thankful 14

For my man. Can you see the heart? That is what we would be if we were carrots!! ;-)


Monday, November 28, 2011

thankful 13

Oh am I ever thankful for a barn full of hay! Literally. We were blessed with such an amazing hay crop this year. Chicken poo is really a wonderful thing!! Our hay field was starved for some input of manure and we got a truck load and WOW what a huge difference it made. Last year we had to buy hay in the spring because it was so wet and we couldn't get the animals on the field without destroying it and our hay was gone. This year we have some extra to sell!! And we got our first second crop of hay too. I feel totally blessed with hay this year! We have all the equipment to hay the fields and better yet it's paid for. My husband likes to joke that we are state of the art 1970! But hey it works! We did have to hire out to have the field mowed due to the abundance of it, but still I'm so thankful for it all! All our animals will be fed homegrown organic hay this winter!!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

thankful 12

The ability to cook, and enjoy doing it, most days. There are days it would be nice to get take out, but I live in an area where there is no delivery. But you get my meaning. I am a self taught cook. I'm not bragging, but I am. It's something I have worked very hard to accomplish and to do well for not only me but my family. I've had some whoopers too, and I'll be the first to admit to that! Much like my fried zucchini... And not to mention various other cooking catastrophes, oh the horrors, and I still set off my smoke alarm from time to time. But I do enjoy cooking and learning to make new things and expanding our palates. Sometimes it's good and other times I throw the recipe in the trash. I want my kiddos to enjoy eating and enjoy eating foods they have never tasted before. I get bored cooking all the same things and that is why I am always looking to try new things, and have found some wonderful things on blogs that I follow, and stop by and visit from time to time. Not just cooking, but cooking from scratch, which seems to be a lost art, along with knowing what is IN  the foods we eat and where and how it's grown and raised. I think people are so disconnected from their food. Kinda scary actually to eat mystery meat, eewww, like fast food... I'll leave it at that!
Have a great day all!

Friday, November 25, 2011

good quote

"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty." Winston Churchill

thankful 11

I'm so very thankful for family. My family, my husbands family and my church family!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving

From all of us at SweetLand Farm we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!  We hope ya'll have a great day!
 Enjoy your day with your family and friends. I know we will be!

Eat too much turkey and watch too much football!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

thankful 10

I'm thankful for being a stay at home mom. Matthew and I decided that I would stay home once I had Little Matt. I worked for a portion of my pregnancy with him. It's not always easy and certainly not glamorous, as your reaching your hand in the toilet to try to pull out that toy before it goes down and clogs up your toilet. Even though it goes down anyways. Or you wash rocks or dry red crayons into your bedding in the dryer. Yup that's happened. Having and raising kiddos has been such a life changing event in my life. With each one my life has changed and the dynamic of our family. I don't think, most days, (if I'm being honest), I could leave them for someone else to raise or teach them. I remember my mother in law telling me a joke about staying home and home schooling her sons, and now I can totally relate to her joke about it. I won't share it, but women who do what I do would understand! Ya it's a challenge, but I love a challenge and feel confident that we are on the right path. With the help of my Heavenly Father I know I'll make it, along with His forgiveness, and that of my kiddos when I fail.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

thankful 9

May seem silly, but I am so thankful for our wood stove, and plenty of fire wood! Wood heat gives of such a different kind of warmth I just love it. I can stand on the warm hearth pad with bare feet and warm them up before I put my boots on!! I like to turn off all the lights and curl up on the couch and watch the flames flicker and dance against the glass door as the snow comes down. And according to the weathermen we are in for a good one tomorrow! Not worried about it, we are ready! I'll take pictures of it!
I'm not really ready for snow to come just yet, I never am, I don't like the stuff, but I live in a snowy state, so I guess I'll enjoy playing "queen of the hill" with my kiddos when it piles up this winter!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

thankful 8

The bartering system!! It's alive and well. Not to mention a wonderful thing!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

thanfkul 6 & 7

I guess these two things kinda go hand and hand.
First of all I'm very thankful for a healthy family. Generally speaking we are all healthy. Sure we all get the occasional cold or flu, or knock out a tooth! but there are no major illnesses. I am so thankful for that! There are so many things out there that can happen and cause an illness or they could get a disease and have it all go down hill so fast. I pray for the health and well being of my family daily. I'm well aware that what comes our way is from the hand of God, and there is a reason for it.
With that said I'm also thankful for medical care. Weather it be a chiropractor, regular doctor, dentist, surgeon, a specialist or nurses.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

boys, boys, boys...

Where have I been you wonder? Or not. Well grab a cup of coffee or what ever you like to drink and a muffin, or donut and I'll tell you about my past few days. They have been busy.
It a started about six years ago..man this is gonna be a long post... naw just kidding!!
It was about 4am on Thursday actually. Our boy woke us up crying and couldn't move his arm or something, my memory is kinda fuzzy and I wasn't awake. I mean it was 4am! We stumble down to his room and he said something was hurting his arm. So Matthew proceeds to take his shirt off, Little Matt's that is, and he sees a deer tick is in shoulder, just below his collar bone! Oh great! It's head was in there, it was a bite! So bleary eyed me, Matthew and Little Matt stumble to our room to get the tick out. The rest of the kiddos were sleeping peacefully and we didn't want to wake them up. We get the tick out and send him back to bed. In the morning we call the doctor and we get an appointment for that afternoon. OK, let me back up a minute here, the night before we were up until 12am. Matthew had a meeting he had to go to. One of my sisters came over for a visit and we made some yummy, delish food together, and burned some bacon. oops. Then my SIL came over with her kiddos. Our husbands went to the same meeting, and they were gone until 11:30. My sister left around 9:30 after much laughing and shopping online for, well, clothes. So none of us had gone to bed until 12am-ish. Just so you know we are all very tired to begin with. Well at the doctors office they got more of the tick head out and put him on an antibiotic for 10 days. Then in 6 weeks he goes back for a Lyme Disease test. We are praying the antibiotic works and he is free and clean! Then Thursday night was a late night again, don't remember what we did. Then Friday morning was a disaster too. Nothing was going as planned for any of us. Matthew was going hunting in the morning with one of his brothers. He had just left.  Keep in mind we are all still running on low sleep and energy, due to late nights and early mornings. I was in the bathroom putting my makeup on, when Little Matt lets out this holler and a distressed "MOMMY!!!" Running for my son I see him holding his mouth. I asked what happened and he shows me his tooth. Now it's his front tooth, his adult front tooth, and nice sized chunk of it was in his hand! OH MY WORD! I get him calmed down and look in his mouth, no blood. That's good. How did he knock out his tooth you are all wondering? Well he has a long toy rifle, that he plays "Danial Boone" with. We are huge Dan Boone fans around here, especially my boy. Somehow he had the top near his face, and somehow managed to knock his head into the top just at the right angle and whack, there goes the tooth. He doesn't remember how he did it really, but that is close enough to how it went down.  I took his tooth and got the phone and called Matthew. He came right home. I called the dentist. It's Friday and they are closed. Great. I call the doctors office, and the person who answered the phone says take him to the ER. So we all pile up in the car and head to the ER. The girls and I sit in the waiting room, and the receptionist gave them a color book and crayons. I thought that was nice of her. The T.V. was on and it was CSI Miami. Not a good show for young kiddos. So the color books were great for them to do and not watch the show. They were very good waiting and didn't complain, but did ask how much longer they were going to be gone. A woman comes in and asked me if they were all mine, and I proudly said yes! After an hour or so we can leave. There is nothing they can do for him. Wondering why they sent us there, the ER doctor called our doctor and he said he didn't send us there, so I'm thinking that whoever I talked to might be getting a talking to from the doctor, sending us there. Oops. So my boy had a nice chunk of his front tooth missing all weekend. We put his tooth in the fridge to keep it to show the dentist. The weekend was a bit of a blur. I went to my grandmothers on Saturday for a her 79th birthday, with the kiddos. After the party my parents took the kiddos to TSC (Tractor Supply) to do some window shopping for Christmas. My Dad loves to take the kiddos there. It's such a hoot to watch them all. They always pick out the all terrain go cart thing, that they want. Which I tell them they are not getting that for Christmas! Matthew worked, went hunting and put in some fire wood for his parents. Then that evening we had our monthly supper with all of Matthew's family. He's got 4 other brothers, and all are married with kiddos too. My in laws have 18 grand kids. (one of which is in Heaven). So there are lots of people to feed and kiddos playing! (For those of you who just started following my blog)!!  Sunday was church. Thankfully we got some much needed rest on that day! Monday rolled around and we got an appointment with the dentist in the morning. So another day running. The girls went to my MIL while Matthew and I took Little Matt to the dentist. We took his tooth too, and they were able to glue it back on right then!! That was kinda cool. They were just going to put a filling to cover it, but when I said we had his tooth they decided to use that instead, seeings how it was in one piece. Now he just can't bite into an apple or carrot, because his tooth is only so strong and could still come off. If that happened they would put a filling on it. Someday down the road they can put a crown on it and it will be just like all his other grown up teeth. Come to find out we know a few of people that have a cap on their front tooth, and you'd never know. I'm so relieved that it's fixed and is doing fine.
Oh we are not done yet. My poor boy has had a time of it. Seems like things happen in threes. Then the other night we were at my BIL and SIL for supper. Mary and I were inside freezing chickens, (they had some late broilers that they had raised), the boys were outside stacking fire wood, the kiddos were inside playing Lego's. Matthew came in and asked for a drink, and my boy went to get him one, and then tripped over the cord and fell on the corner of their hearth pad by the stove and went down hard. The water spilled, but the glass didn't break and my boy was in tears. I thought oh no it's his tooth again as he hit the floor with a thump! Matthew grabbed him and got him on the couch and asked what hurt. His arm. It was swollen and he wouldn't move it. Oh here we go! I thought as I got him a drink. He was pale and tired, and sore. So we waited a while to see what we were going to do. Little Matt sat around outside with the men. We finished freezing the chickens then went home. We kinda figured we might be going to the hospital the next morning if it wasn't better. Matthew thought it might be broken, so did I. Well the next morning we got up and Little Matt was using his arm, bending his elbow and moving his fingers. All good! So we are very happy to say it is not broken. Just sore and tender. Phew.
Then last night it was so nice out, a balmy 55ish degrees. I have wanted to have another fire pit with s'mores, and I have everything just waiting. It's been really nice the past few days and warm! Oh my it's been nice out. A sweater and jeans!! Yup it's a nice fall. So we invited my BIL and SIL over with their kiddos and we had s'mores by the fire pit! I love s'more's! So good by the fire with friends and it's warm out! It was nice to visit and not have anyone get hurt or have my boy get hurt!
My poor boy is doing much better and is on the mend from all his troubles of late. He's been such a trooper though all this too.
Now I'm ready to not spend so much time at the doctors!
Ah kiddos, just when you think all is well and your so thankful for healthy ones, something is bound to happen. Although I am thankful for healthy kiddos, because they really are. Don't really go to the doctors often, if you don't count the past week! ;-)
Have a great day all!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

thankful 5

On this special day I am thankful for the men and women who are serving or have served in the military.
I have family/friends that are currently serving, and family/friends that have served in the past. I am very grateful for their service and protecting my freedoms. My prayers are with you. Thank you!
Also to their families who have to survive without them when they are gone. Thank you!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

thankful 4

My kiddos.
They are such a blessing in my life. Each one has brought a new and amazing grace to my life. They are so full of love and freely give it. They also are quick at forgiving me, when I mess up.

Monday, November 7, 2011

monday confessions

I made a pot of coffee, or I thought I had, and was wondering why I wasn't hearing anything and smelling the coffee as it brewed. I took a look at the pot and realized I didn't put any water in it! I'm just glad I didn't break the glass. Hate it when that happens. Reminds me of my mom when I do that. She once said "it's hard to remember ALL the ingredients in a pot of coffee!" I would have to agree!

Every once in a while I put the jelly in the cupboard, and the peanut butter in the fridge...

Sometimes I don't eat lunch.
Sometimes when I go to town and don't eat lunch I buy a whoopie pie and devour it on my way home. All that shopping makes me hungry. There is a store near where I shop that carries the best whoopie pies for store bought, that is, and I just have a weak spot, eerrr maybe sweet tooth, for them! And sometimes it's nice to have a guilty pleasure on my way home!

I really don't like Mondays. It comes every week, and yet it always seems to be the worst day of the week for me.

Our kiddos like to hide on us and then jump out at us and scare us. I like to return the favor once in a while, just to keep them on their toes! Once in a while they really do jump me. When I jump them they giggle and say that I scared them! Love that!

Don't know if you've noticed but most all of my blog post titles are all lower case letters. Don't ask why, I don't have a reason, it just kinda happened that way.

Happy Monday all!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

what's cooking in my kitchen

So with all the pumpkins that we grew and even after giving them away I still have lots of pumpkins. But not as many as last year I think it was, we had around 60 pie pumpkins. I refuse to can them too. It takes I don't know, 80 minutes or something ridiculous like that to can them. I don't like them frozen as they tend to be watery. So they line my hallway and eat them as we go. I've been trying different recipes and some regular ones too, like pumpkin pie, bread, roll, and muffins. I found a pumpkin smoothie on Pioneer Woman the other day that I'm going to have to try. Looked really good. I made a new pumpkin muffin recipe that called for cream cheese in it. The recipe said it's like the one's at Starbucks. I've never had one of their muffins so I wouldn't know, but figured it must be good. I like their coffee though, I really like it. I've never had cream cheese in my muffin before either. I was looking for one like Dunkin Donuts pumpkin muffins, but all the recipes I found called for a pumpkin spice cake mix. I don't have that in my cupboard, and I wanted homemade so I changed my search to just pumpkin muffins. And I choose this one!
Now that you know all that lets make some cream cheese filled pumpkin muffins!!


Take all your dry stuff and dump it in the bowl. I like the different shades of color that the spices, sugar, four and soda make. I covered most of one of the spices with the sugar. When I copied the recipe I forgot to write in the sugar and had to go look it up again to put sugar in it. I don't think they would have been as good without it.
Blend all the dry together. Smells really good.
Next add you wet. Oil, I use olive oil for all my cooking, fresh pumpkin, and eggs. Beat the eggs before adding them to the mixture. 
 Just gotta say look at those eggs. Now that is farm fresh nicely colored and firm eggs. Laid yesterday by our lovely hens!
Plop all your wet into the dry...

Mix it well. Then...

 Get your cut up chunks of semi frozen cream cheese out of the freezer and...

Put one chunk of cream cheese in the middle of each muffin

This is what the look like ready to go in the oven. I use stoneware, that is why the pan is discolored. It's Pampered Chef don't-cha know!
mmmmm out of the oven and ready to be eaten. Just don't burn your tongue on the cream cheese. It's very hot! Don't even need any butter!
Here is the recipe it you are interested. I googled pumpkin muffins and choose this recipe! It's really easy to make and really tasty!
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins-(like Starbucks) (that was the name of it)

3 C flour                            1 tes cloves
1 tes cinnamon                     4 tes pumpkin pie spice
1 tes nutmeg                         1 tes salt
1 tes baking soda                4 eggs
2 C pumpkin                     2 C sugar  (don't forget to write in the sugar)!
1 1/4 oil                          8 oz cream cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Cut up chunks of cream cheese into 1-2 teaspoon and freeze for about an hour. I only froze it for about 10 minutes, I was too impatient to wait, and it worked fine. I just got to lick the cream cheese off my fingers when I was done! Mix dry, mix wet, throw together. Mix well. Put into muffin tin, then push a clump of cream cheese into the middle of each muffin. Pop it in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Enjoy!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

thankful 3







Mama and her baby. How nice is that to see? I had let Maggie in this afternoon and Dandie was hungry. She- Mama Maggie comes in for a few hours in the afternoon, then goes back out until the evening milking and stays in all night, while Dandie is still little. Dandie will not stay in the fence because she can run right under it.  I can only stay a few minutes, because she won't eat and just show off and play. I just thought I'd share.





Friday, November 4, 2011

thankful 2

I'm thankful that we own a Jersey cow named Maggie. She is the first cow I have ever had, and been around. She's funny in her behavior and she has an attitude. She swats me in the face with her tail, a lot when I'm stressed out and trying to milk her. I guess it's her way of getting my attention, and she'll look at me with those big brown eyes and seems to be telling me to "chill out", and she'll cool it with the tail. Never fails, when I relax, she stops with the tail, and goes back to eating. Sometimes she'll come in the barn just fine, then other times we have to herd her in the barn and make her come in. She'll even stand at the door of the barn and look at us and stand there for a few minutes before she'll come in, other times she turn and high tail it back to the farthest corner of the pasture, and make us go get her! I told you she has an attitude with a capital A!! I like to watch her in the pasture eating, laying down chewing her cud, or running around like a spring heifer when she has a mind too. I like the sound of her eating her grain or hay as I milk her and the rumble of her stomach and the sound and smell of the milk as it hits the pail. I like that I don't have to buy milk, and can make cheese, soap, butter, and yogurt with our milk. It's certainly not free milk either. There's a lot of work that is involved with having a cow, or any livestock kind of animal. We don't have the milk to buy at the store, but we have the grain bill, and the hay. Along with the cleaning, spreading and cleaning more manure, and the milking and the jar washing, the pail washing, the floor washing when I spill milk all over the floor. That's always fun. Milk is sticky.
Yup I'm thankful we have a milk cow named Maggie, even with all the attitude and extra work she brings our way.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

thankful

Guess this is popular on blogs for the month of November! It's a thankful challenge. So I will be posting things this month that I am thankful for. Probably not everyday, but maybe once a week. Guess I'll have to wait and see how the month goes.
Feel free to copy the idea, or leave a comment about something your thankful for! I'd love to hear, or read it! So here goes my start to the thankful challenge!

I'm thankful I live in the country, on a back road, on a farm. I only know this life and I'm so glad I get to live it. Even when I'm dog tired and my head hits the pillow and I wake up with the imprint of the pillow on the side of my face. When I have to traipse outside in the middle of the night and check on the cow. When there are weeds in the garden that need to be taken out and then a houseful of produce in the living room and kitchen beckoning me to get it done, and I trip over it every time I come and go. I love the beauty of life all around me. The beauty of spring when the trees and grass are coming alive, the birds are "twitterpated" and dive and leap around, the peepers out in full force happy to be coming out and growing and changing as the spring turns to summer. The hot, long days of summer with the tick lush grass and the animals happily eating it, swishing their tails at the flies. The BBQ's, fire pit nights with s'mores, friends and family. The fall when the trees are changing their colors to red, yellow, purple, gold, rust and brown and then fall and twirl around in the wind. The way the air changes to a deep earthy scent. The white snow that comes to cover the barren ground and put a new beauty to it in white. The kiddos playing in the snow, and sledding down the driveway. And the white stays with us until the earth warms up and comes to relieve us of the cold with the promise of spring as the air turns warmer, the sap starts to run and the trees once again begin to come alive with buds!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

good quote

"Would you like you, if you met you?"


I have no idea who said this, or wrote it. I just saw it the other day and stopped and thought about it, and so I thought I'd share it and maybe you'll think about it too. If not that's ok too!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

fall snowfall

I went to bed Saturday night to this


Snow. It added up real fast too. That's looking out back of the house. A heavy wet snow at that!
Sunday morning I woke up to this


And this. My lonely clothes rack, getting buried in snow.


And this was a little later in the morning. It finally stopped around 10.
More snow. And no power. AAaahhhhh! Thankfully we were ready, kinda. I'm so thankful for our wood stove. Makes winter power outages so much warmer!
When Matthew went out to milk the cow he quickly realized how much snow we got. 12-14 inches of heavy, wet snow. I was going to drive up and check on our neighbor, and went out the shed door and saw all the snow. Matthew was shoveling to get into the cow barn, and I realized I wasn't driving anywhere. The car was buried in snow. I really didn't want to walk all the way up there in 12 inches of snow, so I instead went to feed the horses, sheep, and check on the chickens, and Matthew decided he would take the tractor up and check on our neighbor and see if she needed anything with the power outages. I milked the cow so he could get going. I had to dump the milk, because we had no way to cool it and we needed to get to church, and with all the snow and moving it around we were a little behind. Just as we were about to head out the door to church our neighbor called and said his cows were out and was wondering if we could help get them in. They were way down to a different neighbors house, which for his cows was a surprise. He has beef cattle and they don't really do that far. I guess with the snow storm and loss of power they decided to go for a walk! Maybe they were confused. It's not time for snow, in my opinion. So Matthew put his snow boots back on and headed out the door to help. The kiddos and I stayed home. I was glad we were home to go and help. Our neighbors have helped chase our cow a few times and have stuck through till she was in, so it was only right that we help. I would have, but didn't have anyone to watch the kiddos. It took them 3 long hours to get the cattle back in. They had them rounded up, until someone drove by and scared them off, back into the woods. So back to square one and rounding them up, again!
The power had turned back on right when Matthew left, and I was happy, but I decided I better get some more water for the animals and the, ahem, toilet! I didn't know if it would stay on with all the wind, and knowing how wet the snow was I figured better be safe then sorry. Boy I was glad I did too. The power was only on for about an hour before it flickered and then went back out for a long time.
We left later in the afternoon to a fellowship meal and hang out with our church family, and the power was still off when we left. On the way to the party we heard on the radio that tons (they gave a number, but I don't remember it) of people were out  of power and probably would be for a while. I was again glad I had refilled up the buckets, and if all else failed we could melt snow in the house by the fire place. Thankfully when we got home that night it was back on! (Matthew had come home and done chores while I stayed at the party, and when he got home it was still on! Phew!)
Then Monday morning when I got up the sun was out and it quickly warmed up to the 50's!! The kiddos went out and played in it and made some snowmen and snow horses! They also deiced shoveling sounded like fun, so they did that too!
Now most of the snow is gone. Just a hard and fast reminder that winter is quickly knocking on the back door and we need to make sure we are ready, and I mean completely ready for it! Yikes, it came fast, and let us know that we still have a few more winterizing projects to do before it comes to stay!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

my morning

I milked Maggie this morning for the first time this cycle, and I'm sure I'll have many more milking's with her too. Matthew had to leave very early this morning for work, so the kiddos and I had chores. I don't mind, I rather enjoy taking care of things on the farm. Probably a good thing too. I was having a hard time getting into the swing of living on a dairy again. I have really enjoyed having the time off, and was thankful we dried Maggie off when we did. It really isn't ideal to dry a cow off in the middle of the season of growing grass when your wanting a mostly grass based dairy cow, but that's how it worked out. I wouldn't complain if that is how it works our again. I was so busy with the gardening and canning and all that good stuff milking a cow was the last thing that was on my mind. I'm sure we would have worked out something... but it was good for me! We tend to share the chores, and the work load of the farm. It's nice to work together as a team. The kiddos are always willing to lend a hand too.
As I went outside to milk this morning it was 7:15. The sun was still coming up, and it was a brisk morning. The kiddos were getting up and dressed, so it was quiet when I went out. I had the milk pail in hand by my side, gloves and wipes in my back pocket. My cowboy - eerrr my girls would pop in and say "cowgirl boots mommy"! here, as they clinked the hardening ground. The crows were out and I heard them cawing to one another, and strangely enough I liked that sound. Abby and Time Out were out in the pasture basking in the sun that was starting to warm them up. Abby let out a friendly winnie to welcome me and say good morning, as she always does when she sees me. The sheep were just getting up and let out a good morning baa as I walked to the cow barn. The baby chicks greeted me as well with happy hungry peeps, and ran after me to get some grain. I greeted all the animals with a good morning. It felt good to be outside with a milk pail in my hand, the cool, damp, fall weather on my face, my hot breath blowing out  into the cold morning air as I called to the animals. I peeked my head in the cow barn and both were laying down. I said good morning to Maggie and she got up while I was getting her grain and minerals. Dandie got up and bounded around the barn as I brushed Maggie down to get the hay and sawdust off her. I decided to wait a while to see what Dandie would do. She was too busy showing off for me to be bothered to eat. She ran, hopped, and bounced around me. She would come up to me and nuzzle my boot or leg, and jump when I would reach out and pet her. Then she would put her head down and jump sideways, so I scooched down and copied her, she looked at me and jumped the other way as I laughed. She flicked her tail in the air and jumped up on Maggie's stanchion, then back off and fell flat on her face. That made me laugh as she got her long legs untangled and shook herself off. She looked at me as if to say she meant to do that and decided to stop being silly, for about a minute. Knowing I had to get things in order and start milking to get it done I sat down and the kiddos came in. Dandie had new people to show off for! As I sat on the stool and started milking and the milk came down and hit the empty pail with a swish, squirt, noise I realized I had missed milking. The munching sound of Maggie eating, the grumble of her belly, her occasional mommy moo to Dandie, the calf being a goofball,  the kiddos laughing as they played with Dandie and then ran off to help feed and water the other animals for me. The older two helping Rachel get dressed and ready to go with her Aunt, cousin, and grandmother for the day and making sure she had on matching clothes and shoes and socks on her feet. What a blessing to me to have them be so willing to help me without me having to ask. I quickly warmed up as I milked and the pail quickly filled with warm milk and the snish, swish  noise it makes as it fills up. My hands were burning slightly, but not as bad as I had thought they would, and I was glad of that. I relaxed into the rhythm of milking and the noises that I love so much and was glad I had to milk this cool fall morning!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

what's cooking in my kitchen

Geeez it's been such a week here. Not really busy, just I don't really know what, just a week. Settling in with a new calf I think has thrown me off. I don't even really know why. It's not like I am going in 1000 different directions this time of year.
So I decided that something sweet yet slightly tart would be good to share. One of my sisters had just raved about a Raspberry Crisp she made. Then my other sister talked about it, actually just about anything raspberry she is in love with, and she said how wonderful it was. So I had to make it too, I couldn't be left out of the wonderfulness of it all!. I needed my mouth to water, and make my kiddos wonder what new delicious thing I was creating in my kitchen as they smelled it cooking! I love it when they walk in the house and suck in a loud breath of air and  exclaim that my kitchen smells like a bakery! Hey living on a farm, it's nice to hear that! I think all you farmers get my point here! It's Pioneer Woman's recipe on her food blog, just type in Raspberry Crisp for the recipe! Oh man it's really good too! I had to double it for my large brood, but I highly recommend it. So without farther to do! Lets look at some pictures and get hungry for some Raspberry Crisp shall we??!!

Some yummy raspberries, cornstarch, vanilla and sugar

Flour, butter, brown sugar, white sugar, oatmeal

raspberries on the bottom, flour mixture on top, pop it in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes or so

hot out of the oven and ready to be devoured, eerrr or eaten, which ever you prefer!

mmmm, so yummy. It's good with ice cream on top of it whiles it's hot, if your into that sort of thing!
I don't care for ice cream on anything, so I didn't have it on my crisp. I do like ice cream, alone. Kinda like cake and ice cream, oooohhhh don't let them touch each other! Yuck! The ice cream melts and makes the cake all soggy and wet, eeewwwww. I know just a weird bit of information about me. Just thought I'd share! But if we had some whipped cream, oh yeah that would be good. I told you weird right?! The rest of my family had the ice cream.
Happy cooking all!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

tickled pink

Do you see what I see???

We are so excited to  announce the birth of our newest addition to SweetLand Farm! A healthy heifer calf!!!! She was born yesterday around 2 pm! As you can see it occurred outside in the pasture. I took this photo shortly after she was born, she's still all wet and had yet to stand up. I only got so close and then zoomed in. Maggie is very protective of her, and we didn't want to interrupt her just yet. We had no idea what sex she was at this point.
Let me back up a little.  We had gotten home from church and we were expecting company soon. We had a few things to get done before hand, and had Little Matt go check on Maggie and he comes running back down that he thought she had calved. Matthew and I went up and low and behold there she was all wet and just a cute as anything. I had grabbed the camera just in case! She was up in the left hand corner of the pasture way in the back. What a great place, quiet and sheltered. We left her alone after we took the kiddos up to see our new baby. The weather was great yesterday too nice and warm for a fall day. Later that day we had to get the calf in the barn and milk Maggie, but to first make sure the calf was eating and got some of that good colostrum. I got to pick her up and carry her a bit too, she's probably about 50 pounds. Nice size baby girl. She was still wobbly on her long legs and to get them in the right direction was a work out. She reminded me of Bambi when he goes on the ice, legs going everywhere. Maggie was talking to her lots too once we had them in the barn, and just loving on her, drying her off with her long tongue. Matthew helped her get into position to eat

Took to it like a champ! Our company arrived and we had to show her off, but they all had to stay out of the barn because Maggie was nervous with all the people she didn't know, and we didn't want anyone to get hurt. They all thought she was cute! We left them alone to bond until it was time for milking to relieve Maggie a bit. Then again left them alone and peeked in the window to check on them from time to time. They were both tired. No wonder, having a baby is hard work, and trying to stand is too!
I got up around 4am to check on them and they both were laying down sleeping. So I didn't disturb them.
 Here she is still wet and in the barn. Still real shaky on those long legs!


This morning after eating. Her pink tongue and a little milk on her nose! Check out those lashes. Enough to make any woman jealous!


Here she is this morning resting. Her belly full, and now it's time to sleep. We decided to name her. Little Matt picked out her name. He had it picked out with the last one, but it was a bull calf,  and now we used it with this one. It's Dandelion, but we'll call her "Dandie". I think we are all smitten with her. I mean she's a baby and just so darn cute. Now we pray she stays healthy and strong. We are thankful for her and the blessing she brings to our family farm.
Have a great day all!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

apple cider pressing

A number of years ago we bought a cider press. It's come in very handy too. We've even pressed pears in it and made pear cider and mixed it with apple cider. Just an interesting twist on the flavors. I'm not a huge fan of pear juice, kinda pulpy. We freeze some and turn some into hard cider. Both are yummy to enjoy in the winter! It's all arm power to turn it, the ole arms get a work out. The kiddos even give it a whirl, the older two can do it, the younger two need some help.
 Alright, so I'll break it down per photo. Kinda 101 cider pressing! It's fun.


 This is what our cider press looks like. Very basic and simple. There is a handle on top that twists down when it's being pressed, but I didn't get it in the picture.



This is where you put the apples to be ground up. You can see the teeth of it too. They are sharp and will cut your fingers in good shape.

Grab some kiddos and have them start grinding up the apples. My sister and brother in law came over to join in the fun. They have 4 kiddos too! The red wheel turns the grinder.

 Gotta keep on throwing in apples and grinding to fill up the bucket. I love the sky in this picture. It was so beautiful to look at, so many shades of blue and gray! It's over looking the cow pasture and the hay field.


Here is the bucket under the grinder. The mesh bag holds in the apples, and we fill it to almost the top before we cover and press it. But this is what the apples look like.

 Here it is covered and starting to press the apples! Yummy! The kiddos can do this part too, to a certain point, until it gets too hard to turn the handle. You can see how it collects in the wooden part of the press and then comes out the hole into the bucket.
This is for My Man. He loves this part when the cider is coming out and looks really good. Love the color of it. We like to grab a cup and drink some to make sure it tastes just right! It usually does. Yes we drink it raw. I know shocking right? We know where they come from and use clean apples, and we are careful when we press it as well. We have never had any problems come from drinking raw cider.

This is the pumas (left over apples). We feed them to the pigs and our neighbors cows. We throw it in the bucket of the tractor and it's easy clean up. The mesh bag makes it handy too. When we dig out the cider press we wash all the parts and bleach it as well. Then when we put it away we wash it and make sure all the parts are clean, dry, and then store it away until next season!
Well that's all there is too it! Easy, right?!
Have a great day!

Monday, October 17, 2011

harvesting...

I said a while back that we had another harvest of something coming, and we did. It wasn't the second crop hay either. Although we were happy to get that. Very happy.


It was apple picking! When the weather is cool and the apples are ripe and ready to be picked, we go!  There is a man that lives nearby and he gives us his apples in return for some cider. We think that is a good deal. The kiddos love to go pick apples, climb the trees and shake them! That's great fun for them, and us. I don't too often climb trees, but... never mind.  It was a warm, quiet Sunday evening, and we figured we'd better go get the apples before another frost hit them. The first one was fine, but we didn't want to wait any longer. The apples this year are great and the trees are loaded! There have been some years where the weather isn't that great, and the apples don't grow that well. Guess that comes with everything though. But thankfully it was a good apple year. The apples are Northern Spy. We usually try to get more then just one kind of apple for cider, because it makes a better flavor of cider, but we didn't have any other kinds this year when we pressed it the other day. It still tastes good! 


Can you see my boy up there? He was out of the car and up the tree before I could get out of the car!  He even took his bucket up there. He eventually dropped the bucket, shook the tree and came down, after he had his fun, then picked up the apples he shook free.

My girl decided to pose and smile a toothless smile at me. She lost her two front teeth recently and I just love her smile. Kiddos look so cute when they don't have there front teeth! The smiles are just great! She and her cousin that is the same age as her lost them about the same time. So she has company in wanting her two front teeth for Christmas! Ahhhh not ready for that! Even though it's right around the corner! yikes!

My baby is too little to climb trees, so she just grabs the closest branch and hauls the apples off! She always looks so pleased, and can hardly wait to bite into one. And don't take her apples out of her bucket unless you ask first. She gets upset when you remove all her hard work. But she's more then happy to let you help her fill  up her bucket!

Kinda bleary I know. My camera isn't working all that great all the time. Kinda annoying.

She put that apple in her seat in the car and ate it on the way home. All the kiddos picked out an apple to eat on the ride home. They happily munched and crunched and giggled as we drove home after picking for a while. With all of us picking it didn't take very long to fill our buckets and be on our way.
My camera died shortly after these pictures were taken. So that was all I was able to get. 

I have pictures coming of pressing the cider. I wanted to get a short video of it, but too much was going on, and I need a new memory card, so I just have pictures. Yeah I know I need to get the pictures developed, but some other day I'll do that. I like to save them up!! hahhaahaha. Long story, my family gets it though! So when I get them on the computer I'll share them! And IF we press more cider maybe I'll get a video, not making any promises though! We got all our apples pressed, and I don't know if we'll be getting more.