Thursday, August 30, 2012

wheat harvest, part 1

We were given a wheat field. What? Yup, it was grown by a store that my husband does business with, and they said if you combine it, it's yours. What a blessing you might say. And it's organic! Even better. See how pretty it is...

...well was.
 It's not 100's of acres like out west, but it's still nice to look at. And hardly any weeds!
 Growing wheat has been something my husband has wanted to do for a long time, and did once, but that field has been taken back and we can no longer grow any wheat. But when this opportunity came knocking he took it! He kept an eye on it and tested the moisture and all that to make sure it didn't go past what it should be.

Up close of the combine cutting the wheat.

My man up on his tractor!
Back side view of combining. Perfect weather.

 The gravity box almost full of wheat to be cleaned.

Here it is. Yes that is a thermometer stuck in there. We had to take the temperature of it to make sure it wasn't getting too hot.
I'll have part two, the cleaning soon. Just life got busy here for a few days. Now with home school in session...every day just got even fuller! 
Have a great day all!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Christmas in august

Oh boy do I have some stuff coming your way.
 I have been up to my eyeballs canning...lots of canning past weekend...
 But while I was chained to my kitchen I heard some noises outside and some hysterical laughing too. So I grabbed my camera and went to investigate the noise. I mean I always try to grab my camera when I hear laughter like that. You never know what you may find...and this is what I saw to my delight and surprise...

no snow, no water? No problem. This is how we do it in the country!
Have a great Monday all!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

good quote

"Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble, but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy."
Norman Vincent Peale

"Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later."
Og Mandino

"You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream."
C.S. Lewis

Thursday, August 23, 2012

storing the harvest

Seeings how I'm canning the stuff now I figured I'd give out the recipe before it's all gone by and you can't try it.
So here she goes...

Start out with a bunch of this stuff, minus the cucumbers...and add some onions. Then...

Then chop it up. Then...

Throw it in a big ole pot and cook it for a while. Then...

Put it in some jars, pressure can it and tada!! Your done! Looks easy enough right? What is it? Oops for got that part. It's soup starter! We love it. When I want to eat it I fry up some sausage (rice, or chicken)  and then add soup starter, cook up some angle biscuits and have a nice warm supper!
Here's the recipe if yer interested...

***Disclaimer! Can at your own risk! Know what you are doing before you start!***

Soup Starter
Saute 1 onion in 1/4 C E.V.O.O (I like garlic so I put some in there too)
Then add 6C zucchini (I use summer squash, can use both)
3C Tomatoes (without the skin)
1 Carrot (I use more, and eyeball it)
1/2t salt
1/4t oregano
1/4t basil
1/4t pepper
1 bay leaf
Cover and simmer 15 min covered
Uncover and simmer 15 min
Put in jars and pressure can 10lbs for 35 minutes
1 batch makes about 2 quarts!
Happy canning!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

bountiful and thankful

I can go from nothing to OMW!!!!!!!!!!!

Take a look at what I mean!

 This is the biggest melon we have ever grown!! Whoot whoot!!We have a couple more, but not this size. I hope to pick them and eat them. All warm and yummy and juicy!!! Oh ya I'm into it!
The best way to grow melons, in  Maine, is black plastic and mulch, they like peat moss. I didn't know I do and will try that next year. But they did grow on black plastic. So I guess one outta two isn't bad. It usually isn't warm enough long enough here. But this summer...

I moved some weeds. OK, I hauled out a bunch of them and low and behold I have a pepper plant growing in the melon patch! I'm not sure how that happened.  I have 9 pepper plants I think. This is the only pepper I've yet to find. This is the first year I planted peppers.

We like beets around here. Harvard beets or pickled. With this years crop I plant to make only pickled.

Now try not to drool all over the tomatoes. Hehehe, naw just kidding I'm trying not to drool all over the tomatoes. Really. I didn't grow these beauties. A fellow down the road did. We bartered for them. Shhhh don't tell anyone! bhahaha
I won't beat a dead horse with the whoos of my tomato plants...again... but I can lay claim to the rest of the produce in the picture! Yup all from my garden. I'm pleased with what I got.
 My green beans are a flop this year too. Just when I was thinking I wasn't going to get any beans this year my neighbor came over and said I could go pick his, he had tons. So I ended up going over and picking his. Then my SIL said I could pick her beans, because she had enough. So I did! So I'm thankful for the beans I got.
So thankful for it all actually!
SO now tomorrow I'll be chained to my kitchen and stove, canning!!
What about ya'll? What's going on with your gardens? Any flops for anyone else, or just me?

Monday, August 20, 2012

pig update

I ended up with 14 quarts of Garlic Dill pickles, 3 quarts bread and butter and 2 quarts of a kind I've never made called ripe cucumber pickles. The recipe came from my aunt.

But on with what I wanted to post.
 Pigs. Oh how I just love these pigs. I think I may have a hard time sending them off. They have got to be the funniest critters ever! They love to be scratched, and will come running to me when I call them. I think I must be the food wagon, so it never fails for them to come to me. We have them outside in a hot fenced area, and they don't like that hot fence, and have not gotten far so good! They will sit down and grunt, squeal and bark at me while I get their food ready for them. Then jump into the barn and squeal at me and jump back out when I call them. Then they dig in with wild abandon pushing and shoving each other around! If I go in the pen to move something or get their water bucket they come over to see if I have something better to offer them then their food they are eating.
I like to watch them dig their noses in the ground and the sprawl out on their bellies and groan with pleasure as they sink down in the cool earth. It's been dry, except with the rain we got the other day, but the pigs don't seem to mind the extra mud they have to lay in. Either that or the water buckets that they climb into and spill  all over the place.  When I sit outside I can hear them snoring, at least that is what it sounds like they are doing. And when they hear my voice they jump up and squeal! As if to say "She's coming! It's time to eat!"
 I'm telling you what, I just love these pigs! I've never raised them before and it's been fun. I will miss them when they are gone for sure.

 Enjoying some beet greens.

He wanted to say hello!
How cute are they?!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

the month of august, so far

I realize my posts are far and few between this month. There is a reason. It's simple really. I call it life!
 I've been chained to my kitchen stove. haha Canning season is here for me finally. I was up canning one night, er rather morning until 1am when I finally crawled into bed. I'm finally done making pickles. I've never had so many! I may end up with a few tomatoes. Not only are my chickens eating them, but now I've got horn worms. Awesome. So I went and ordered two bushels of tomatoes, local folks. Gotta do something. I had the kitchen full of produce, and canning jars. No table, floor, and counter space for anything! I've since cleaned it up and put things away. I still have jars in the kitchen waiting name it!
We got some rain one day, all day..about 7 inches! The next day was nice and sunny and the land was dry! Oh it's dry here. Now today it's raining off and on. No picking beans today, maybe tomorrow, or Monday.
There was one week I went to town just about everyday. Not fun for me. Then one day I left home at 8:20am and didn't get home until 4ish. Driving all over the place.
The kiddos school portfolios are done, and they passed! Yay! School books are all ordered and on there way to me! Plan to start soon...
My husband has been busy with work as well. Now he's got some wheat, and oats to combine! We didn't grow it. But we get to keep some of it! He's excited to be able to do this too. Something he enjoys doing.
I swear with all the heat we've had this summer my kiddos have grown a foot each! Not to mention how their shoes no longer fit them,  they run around barefoot all summer long. When we leave the house I make sure they have flip flops to put on to go into the stores. What a chore they think! Shoes! I remember being the same way though, now the thought of going bare foot makes my feet hurt!  I notice how tall they are when my oldest two give me hugs. They are almost as tall as me. Sniff sniff. And the youngest two are in a race to see who can be taller. My baby is quickly catching up to her older sister...and has definitely lost the "baby" look of her this summer. Sniff sniff. Oh how fast it goes by, and wish they could just be little again. I didn't see it when they were all little, but now, oh how I see how fast childhood slips away, and now they are growing and becoming some amazing young people! I'm a proud mama for sure!
The critters keep me busy too. When it's so hot they drink a lot of water, as you all know. Just regular stuff you know. Nothing new there really.
The laundry continues to be going...everyday. 
How about your month of August?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

what's cooking in my kitchen

First off thank you all for the wonderful comments ya'll leave on my blog. I enjoy getting them and try to answer any questions I get, either through a reply comment or a post. And this post will be for those of you who want to make the luscious Lemon Loaf. I have found some really good tips and recipes from the blogs that I follow, and am please to have people ask for some of the recipes I share! I'm not the creator of these wonderful things, but I do love to cook, and like to share what I make with you. I really just want to make you drool on your computer key boards!! hahaha
Oh and Candy C! The summer squash that I can in the soup starter is soft but not mushy. I've yet to try the plain stuff, but it looks as though it held it's shape nicely. If it's awful I'll tell you! And I'll share the soup starter recipe too. It's coming!
So with that said lets get busy. I have no pictures of this process because I didn't have the camera when I made it and I don't want to make you wait any longer! That and I have no more lemon extract. I gotta get some more though!
Here tis

Oh you wanted the recipe! My bad. I just thought you'd want the pic again!!! The recipe is below!

Starbucks Lemon Loaf
11/2 C flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder (yes both of them!)
1/2 t salt
1 C sugar
2  T butter, soft
3 eggs room temp
1 t vanilla
1/3 C lemon juice
2 t lemon extract
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 C oil
Mix dry. Cut in butter. Add wet. EXCEPT oil!! Mix well. Then add oil and mix again.  Pour in greased loaf pan and bake in preheated oven at 350 for 45 min of until toothpick comes out clean. So super easy. This loaf if light and crumbly. Goes great with some fresh raw milk too!

Glaze- if your into that sorta thing, and I am. So lets make it!
1 C powdered sugar
2 T milk
1/2 t lemon extract
Said to simmer until reduced by half.
I did this and it turned hard and not spreadable. (I might have over cooked it). So I dumped it and didn't cook it the second time! Let me know how yours turns out.
Have a great night all!
Oh and have no fear the ones who asked about the cookie recipe's they are coming!

Friday, August 10, 2012

small harvest

So where have I been? What have I been doing? Not on the computer for sure! Two good questions. Grab some Starbucks Lemon Loaf and sit down and see. Oh you don't have a Starbucks near by because you live too far in the country to do downtown and get some!? Well then just make some. It's really good!
 Or just make some of these...

On the left you have Thin Mints. The right you have Tagalongs!
Oh yes I did make them too! With one of the kiddos. But my husband had the camera, so no pics of making it. If you want the recipe leave me a comment! I'll share them!
Now on with the stuff...
My SIL came over. As she and her family do lots of, and we go to her house. Anyways she was out in the barn while I was milking and she said I should show her how to milk sometime. I looked at her and smiled. "OK." I finished milking the back two quarters. Then showed her how to milk. She got down there and I was like "Oh no, now it's your turn to milk. Might just as well start now!" I moved off the stool and let her have a go at it. I had to get the camera and take a pic. She didn't want her face on there so I zoomed in on her hands.  Now I have a relief milker!! We usually wear gloves, and milk in a stainless steel pail, but I was going to dump this for the pigs so no gloves and a plastic pail!  See...

This was back in 2010 when we first got Maggie, and she came fresh. See her little bull calf in the back?! He's peeking over my shoulder. We lost him. But now have a healthy heifer from her! I've also gotten better at milking and much more comfortable milking now. I still enjoy it. I've been milking lots lately too. Takes me about 20 minutes to milk start to finish. I think that's pretty good, if I do say so myself!

 Had to bite the bullet and buy a new canner. The one I had my mom bought me at Walmart a very long time ago when I first started canning. I've been able to get replacement parts for it all along, until this year. I can no longer get parts, and I needed a gage. So I got a new one. Not at Walmart either. A hardware store and the Presto Brand, and I know I can get parts for it!  So I've been canning. Not as much as I have in past years due to the late start due to rain, and now due to lack of rain.

I've gotten some green beans. They are my favorite thing! Not much though. I'm thankful for what I have gotten so far.
More Garlic Dill pickles! So many cucumbers! I've also enjoyed many cucumber sandwiches too!
I also canned soup starter!

I think some of you were waiting for the recipe. I haven't forgotten! It's coming!

plain Summer Squash. I plan to saute onion and garlic with some E.V.O.O, then add some Kielbasa, and throw in the summer squash, this winter. When it's done I like to put some Parmesan cheese on it with some salt and pepper. yup, I like it! Something I like to eat in the summer, and figured it would be good in the winter too. Also some sort of cheese sauce if I can get the recipe! (A different recipe from the before mentioned)! Just some new ideas on what to do with the food I grow for winter. A little summer when it's cold out is nice!

Other then regular stuff like laundry, barn chores and house work that about sums it up. Haven't been to the ocean. Gotta go soon though!
I've ordered school books for the up coming school year. Yikes! I don't know if I'm ready..

Saturday, August 4, 2012

whats cooking in my kitchen

Oh I did! Oh yes I did! Evil, purely evil! Brwhahahaha

OK, so I'm not evil, but I did make these wonderful little things...

Donut holes? Nope.
Krispie Kremes? Yup! I made them this morning. It takes some time to make them. But they are relatively easy to make. Now don't go and roll your eyes at me because I said that and I seem to say they a lot, but I do think they are easy. I like foods that are easy to make, and have everything I need to make it in my cupboard. I hate buying a list of ingredients for one thing and then not using it for anything else. Know what I mean?
SO let's cook!

 Milk, water yeast and a little sugar. Let it sit and get frothy.

 Here you have ,eggs, flour, butter, sugar, salt.
 Dump it all in the flour and mix it up and you get this..

 Now for the aching hands. You knead it for 10 minutes. Yup, then you get this...

 dough. Let  sit for about an hour, until double in size.
 And this is what you get.
This picture reminds me of the Dots candy. Anyone remember that? You know the nasty sugar dots that kids love. I think it was multi colored. I made a double batch and got 48. Yup that's it. A single batch only gives you 24. SO it's work, for not a lot.

Then you fry 'em.

Then you roll em in a glaze, or sugar and cinnamon, or sugar and vanilla or whatever your heart desires! My kiddos like glaze so that is what I did.
One last look!
I found the recipe to be weird, read it and you'll find out why. Not all the ingredients are listed by the cup but by the ounce. I think that's weird. Maybe it's just me. So you might want a scale!

Krispie Kremes
8 oz flour
2t yeast
1 egg, beaten
1/2 t salt
1 oz butter, soft
3T boiling water
3T milk
11/2 oz Castor sugar (I just used the sugar I use for everything, and it was fine. Have no idea what Castor sugar is!)

1. Measure water in pan. Boil. Add milk, 1t sugar and yeast. Stir, and let sit 10 min.
Put the rest of the sugar, salt, & flour in a bowl and rub in butter (I just cut it in).
2. Then pour beaten egg, and frothy yeast into flour mixture. Stir to mix. If it seems dry add 1t warm water at a time.
3. Turn dough out and knead for 10 minutes. Want it to feel elastic. Then put in bowl and cover. Let sit about 1 hr until double in size.
4. Punch down, get air bubbles out. Divide into 24 balls.
5. Fry about 2 min until golden brown.

Glaze: 1/3 C butter
11/2 t vanilla
2 C powdered sugar
4T warm water-or as needed

That's it!
Have a great day all!


SO in all my spare time I've been working on a baby blanket. It's almost done too. A friend is having a baby girl or boy, she didn't find out, so I'm just gonna make two, and then when it's born give her the right one! It's the same pattern as the last one I made. I think it looks like popcorn.

Well there it is. The color is called ocean. I just love it! So pretty.
SO what are any of you working on?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

you asked for it

Now I'm so happy that my garden is FINALLY producing something!! Now I can get busy canning. With all the rain and cold we had to start the season I feel like I'm behind. I kinda am. I'm usually canning beans by now, and I have yet to fire up my canner:( I know they are coming because I weeded and picked beans the other morning, but they went to the pigs. I got maybe 1 quart outta all my beans. The pigs liked them. Oh well. I have a feeling I'll have so much to can in a few weeks I'll be crazy! I say that every year and I get it done. I get a little grayer every year. Hahahaha, thank goodness for hair dye, and a fabulous salon I go to! But check this out!!!

I can't lay claim to the amazing tomatoes. Mine are still green. But they are native to Maine, and local, so they count in my book. Besides I currently have 36 cups of summer squash in my freezer. I'm going to make soup starter. I made it last year and we love it!!!!  I'll show you, don't worry! ha
But someone did ask if I would share my garlic dill pickle recipe. I believe it was Kelly. Now I'm gonna pause and see if I can be techno savvy and post it here... Nope no idea how to do that. Any tips? I'm not computer savvy. I can hear my sister laughing at me now. I'm sure she can picture me sitting here trying to figure it out!! Anyways
I made Garlic Dill Pickles this afternoon. Oh how I love these! Now lets make pickles...

Disclaimer... Can at your own risk! I've done it for years and have never had a problem. Know what your doing before you get started! Save money and eat healthier.

 The obvious...
 Pickling Spice wrapped in cheese cloth

Water, cider vinegar and salt. I use sea salt, in case you didn't get that by the picture. I've never used canning salt.
 Oh yummy! Garlic and fresh dill. Nope not grown at my house. Both are local. Someday when my husband doesn't till my garlic in and my animals don't eat all my herb garden stuff... oh never mind..don't ask.

 Alum. Keeps 'em crunchy. Throw it all in a jar. I've got some from last year and they are still crunchy.

Boil the water, salt, and vinegar. Throw in the pickling spice and boil it for 10 min.

Put your hot lids,and screw cover on, and cover with a towel. Listen to the popping sound! It's music to my ears! Wait one very long month before you open them up! Better then store bought!!
3 C Cider vinegar
6.5-7 C water
little less then 1/2 C salt
Put 2 T pickling spice in cheese cloth and put in once everything is boiling. Boil 10 min.
In jars
Fill with cucumbers. Toss in 4 whole garlic cloves, and 2 sprigs of fresh dill. 1/4 t Alum powder.  Pour hot vinegar water over. Seal with hot lids! 1 batch makes about 4 quarts.  Let sit 1 month before eating! Enjoy!
Have a great day!