Category Archives: The Barn

Spring Give Away-an easter egg hunt…sort of

There is a new horse here on the farm. Daisy named it lightning

Look at that juice stained smile...a tip of the cowgirl hat to you mum.

These last few weeks I have been having so much fun getting back into the swing of farm life after several months of working off the farm, so to say. Most enjoyable has been the time to dig out the soap supplies and just be creative and the kitchen counters show it.

The running joke lately is hey, Mom, whats for dinner and Dick or Daisy will answer soap of course… :)

Marshmallow pie anyone?

In our Etsy shop I have reduced the cost of several bars, and I would like to give some of it away. I had such a great time with the give away I did at the last craft show I think I will try it here.

All you need to do is:

1. Go to our Etsy Shop, have a good look around and pick out you favorite item. While your there please “heart” our shop, and your favorite item.

2. Take a few minutes to blog/face book about the give away. Feel free to use any of the soap images if you want to. Don’t forget to link to our Etsy shop and our blog here.

3. Then come back here and tell me what you picked out and leave me a link to your post so I can check it out.

On Monday April 25th I will have Daisy help me pick out the winners. I will stop by each of your posts about the give away. I’m going on sort of an egg hunt for a word. I have already chosen  a “fun spring word” and every post I find that word in I will ship to you the item you picked out.

There may be more than one winner.  I hope every one is a winner and you could be.

Other great fun around here is the starting of the spring seedlings. A couple of weeks ago I sent Mark out to gather up the saw horses that I put up in front of the French doors in the cellar. It sure didn’t seem very spring like to me at the time.

Miss Daisy has decided to start her own plants this year. In her room she has been caring for the calendula and tomatoes on her window. She did this without help from me. I guess after watching and helping for the several years she knows what she is doing. Thats one of the wonderful things about farm life the skills are easy to learn with a bit of practice. I was so proud of her.

As soon as the mud dries up a bit we will start putting up some housing for the summer turkeys. We decided this is the year to give them a try. I think I will order a dozen of them with the hope that at least one is a Tom. I would like to over winter a Tom and two hens with the hopes they will hatch eggs for next years birds. We shall see.

I also will be ordering another dozen Delaware birds for egg production. The leghorn birds have sort of grown on me. I still think they are very dumb and I still can’t pick them up but at least now they will follow Della when she comes running to me for food. They used to run in the wrong direction. Boy do they lay some huge eggs and so they earn their keep. We have 6 chickens and all winter long we got 6 eggs a day. Not bad, it seems the solar powered lighting did its job. It was a good investment and was pretty much maintenance free all winter. Yes, we did have to brush off the panel so the sun would get to it but other than that I flicked the light switch and the girls had light. I have disconnected the light now and hooked back up the electric fence for the summer. Our small battery only has enough power to run one of the other in the winter.

cotton candy puzzle pieces

Do any of you local readers have any red wiggler worms you would like to trade with me? I am willing to ship if you are interested.

Have a wonderful day spring is almost here in the north woods.

Housework

Beautiful pie made from stored apples, yummy!

This past week while I was at work the “Farm Team” joined together and finished off my Fall to-do list! Just in the nick of time it seems. It’s spitting snow again this morning. It feels good to toss that list away and to know we are officially ready for winter. I have been worrying about it for the past couple of weeks knowing I don’t have time to finish it up myself and would those responsible for the task complete it and complete it the right way….Giving trust is something I need to work on it seems.

The stacking of the lumber pile that got torn apart a couple of weeks ago to build the small roof off the end of the carriage shed. This now holds the lawnmowers and gas grill. The goal was to just get the roof up and we will worry about the sides and a door in the spring when it warms up…. Check those 2 off the list.

The storage shelfs for the full canning jars has been sorted through and reorganized. Now everything is much easier to find…Check!

Window washing…The plan here was to wash the screens and both sides of the windows. This I guess will take a bit of practice. If the sun isn’t shining you can see out it…So this one gets 1/2 a check because the screens look great! No worries I washed it again and we had a good time laughing about it. It was a good opportunity to teach this important skill.

This beautiful organic soft neck garlic still sits on the counter waiting to be planted. It should have gone into the ground the first of Nov… The ground is now wet and cold. All I can do now is hope for a warm enough day to plant it without freezing my hands off and hope for the best. Don’t think that will happen so I will find something to do with this garlic before it all sprouts.

The most exciting project to be completed over the weekend is one that comes from an ancient list….way back when we were building the house 10 years ago! That is a closet shelf in Daisy’s room. When it is done there will actually be 2 shelves in here with a short dresser under them. Plenty of room to hold out of season clothes and toys not being used.

Two girls and their toys in one room, was a bit of a challenge at first but they have worked it out and act like best friends and sisters now. They get along for the most part but like sisters can have an outburst or two now and again.

Here son #1 and Dick are work hard, or should I say having a hard time working because their bellies are full of warm apple pie and homemade ice cream after eating their lunch of pot roast with roasted carrots and potatoes. It’s not always an easy life around here, is it?

Of course Miss Daisy had to build herself a place to supervise the project. She even sang them her ABC song while they worked complete with music…7 or 8 times….I had to laugh when I heard the guys pleading, please sing another song Daisy, please.

Lastly I would like to give thanks to the ladies who work so hard every day to provide us with these wonderful eggs. Do you see the size of that egg! The rest of them in the carton weigh in as extra large/jumbo on the egg scale. This one bottomed it out. When I cracked it open for breakfast it had 3 yolks in it.

Daisy decided she should eat that one because she was the one who carried it to the kitchen from the coop. You got it girl, and she ate the entire thing along with 2 pieces of toast with our homemade raspberry jam.

No worries, we washed it off well before cracking it open. This tell-tale smudge tells me cleaning the nesting boxes should be added to the list.:) If the nesting boxes are kept clean with hay, shredded newspaper or sawdust the eggs arrive to the kitchen sparkling clean.

I think I am catching the hang of having so much help. I put away the laundry this week that was nicely folded and stacked in a basket for me and It didn’t bother me that it all wasn’t exactly the way I would have folded it.

I have gotten over the frustration of having my cupboards rearranged and never the same twice. Now I holler…Jess where is the ____? you fill in the blank. She always comes running with a smile on her face. This was hard for me, very hard. The kitchen has always been mine alone and I could work in it with my eyes closed knowing each cup, bowl and spoon was always in the exact same spot. I think this trade-off is well worth the joy I have standing side by side with her while cooking a warm healthy meal for our family.

A pillowcase I just finished while at work.

Thanks Farm Team! I promise when I get home this afternoon I will make that peanut butter fudge you asked for over the weekend.

7 Months of Eating Well from our Pantry-The animals eat too…

I haven’t mentioned in a while about feeding the animals around here. The Dalton the dog, Dudley the house cat, and the barn cats eat the homemade food I prepare for them weekly. The process is simple and only takes about 45 minutes from start to finish. Sort of my version on Stone Soup for them. Do any of you remember that children’s book?

I pull out a rather large stock pot and start adding things to it. I take a look in the fridge to see if there is any left over meat, if not I will use about 1 pound of beef, chicken or turkey from the freezer. Next I add any left over veggies that I want to clean up, if not I check the freezer because there are bags in there just for them. I also save and freeze things like potato, carrot peels and other trimmings from preparing our meals and into the pot they go. This is where I add the water from boiling veggies I saved too.

Next I add several types of rice, oh’ I don’t know, about 1 cup. I sometimes use barley, oats, what ever I have around and into the pot it goes. NEVER BEANS! Fill the pot with water and boil until the rice is just about done, then I add a few hand fulls of pasta, what ever is close at hand. I add a couple of  Tablespoons of flax seed oil or sunflower oil and a couple of bullion cubes or any saved gravy. This will cook until everything is done and let it sit to cool before putting it into the fridge. This would freeze well if I wanted to make a larger batch.

Food from the garden being processed to feed our pets

This is good wholesome food, I’m not talking about feeding them the bad, spoiled left overs, those go to the compost. The veggies I saved are good but not perfect. The green beans had a bit of the discoloring they will get if you touch them wet while they are growing. The nutritional value is there, I use those for soup stock too.

The carrots that were too little or badly misshapen were washed well, cut, blanched and frozen. I am almost positive these are in better shape than what is going into commercial food being prepared for human consumption, never mind pet food.

This week’s meals was a combination of baked ham, grilled steak, zucchini, green beans, beet tops, carrot peals and tops, wild rice, long grain rice, barley, a bit of whole wheat macaroni, sunflower oil and 2 beef bullion cubes.

I can honestly say that feeding them like this saves us money. Most weeks there is enough leftover meat and the freezer has plenty of less than perfect veggies we grew this summer and saved for them. If we should run low there are packages of meat scraps I picked up from our local butcher that cost us almost nothing. A 20 pound box of beef scraps was $6.00. You know from these scraps I was also able to cut several pounds of very nice stew beef for our use.

We also have several pounds of venison a friend was cleaning out of his freezer to make room for the new deer this year. Now in most cases I would NOT feed deer meat to a dog! But our’s is always on his run when he is outside and his chances of ever going out hunting is very slim. He earns his keep by being cute I guess, and he is good at letting us know when someone is here or something isn’t just right.

Another great benefit is I don’t have to lug huge bags of dry pet food around. I don’t have the plastic bags it came in to do something with and that makes us happy to cut down on unneeded garbage to recycle. An 18 pound bag of commercial dog food costs around $18.-$23. these days. If you follow the feeding directions on the package that bag would last the dog just about a week. WOW!

Even if you don’t have room for a garden or freezer space, a trip weekly to the grocery store for fresh ingredients will still help you save time, money and your back.

 I certainly feel better knowing what they are eating, that it greatly lessens the chances of them becoming sick. How many times recently have I heard about pet food being recalled? To many for my liking. Store bought pet food is a fairly new invention made for our new fast paced life and a very profitable way for the meat processors to get rid of their by-products that would otherwise go to waste. In our Grandparent’s time store bought pet food was unheard of and I can pretty much bet they would not have parted with their hard earned money to buy it. Grain and hay for the animals yes, but to feed a cat or dog, no way on earth. The ads on TV and even from your vet about having to feed your pets commercial food for nutritional reasons is a marketing scheme to get you to part with your hard earned money while you feed your pets garbage. Wild dogs and cats are opportunists and will eat what ever they can find just like any other animal and have always done so.

I also have notice that they void much less than other dogs and cats who are fed commercial foods. Their food is actually being used by their bodies. That being said this is the reason why they are able to eat less. Dalton is a mutant Beagle (no not really, but he was bought as a 12″ Beagle and I think there is some blood hound in him that makes him larger than normal Beagles) he weights around 60 pounds and eats 1/2 cup of his food twice a day. Dudley is a small sized cat and I feed him about the same when he has had enough Dalton is all to happy to help him with the rest he didn’t eat. They will also eat scraps of toast, leftover oatmeal or other goodies we might have left after a meal.

Dalton & Dudley sharing a homemade meal together

Did it take up more garden space? No not really, these veggies would have gone to the compost bin. True these carrots were perfectly good for us to eat, and my up-bringing tells me to shredded them for baking or relish or even served them in less than perfect shape. But we had plenty that were prettier. If not a row or two can be squeezed in to feed the animals.

 True I had to purchase a bit more meat but that is the cost of keeping an animal. True it takes up valuable freezer space but there are other alternatives to freezing their food. Next year I might can jars of pet food instead of storing everything in the freezer and making a week’s worth at a time.  The other thing I could have done is dehydrate the veggies. Dehydrated food doesn’t need to be refrigerated or frozen. I have plenty of time to work this out over the winter.

So with the veggies and meat safely frozen in the freezer I feel good that there is enough to feed them from our pantry over the winter. It took very little planning and a bit more time but not much. I was chopping, and blanching veggies any way so a batch or two for the pets was not a big deal.

Lavender and Calendula Soap Cake

I have been saving this beautiful soap cake for this falls craft fair as the center piece. Since I have others in the works I have decided to sell it as is. This is infused with lavender essential oil and Calendula petals. A pretty pale blue topped with pale yellow and topped with white “frosting” and dried Calendula petals.

This would make a nice center piece on a cake stand for a bridal shower, baby shower or even a garden party. It has the single slice cut from it and you can cut the rest any way you would like.

This is a fresh batch of soap and smells wonderful but I decided to discount it to get it off my soap shelf and make room for the new ones. Visit our Etsy Shop if you are interested.

I’m off to build a temporary pen in the chicken run for our rooster. Seems the girls have taken to pecking at his tail and it’s now missing feathers and bleeding. Dick and I sprayed him down last night with Blue Kote but it didn’t help. The girls are chasing and picking him something awful. I tried to catch him this morning when I let them all out but he is to quick for me I guess. I’ll have to get the pen made and use the corral method, hope that works. My next option is to wait until someone comes home, but the poor guy is just running to keep away from his girls. Even their favorite treats won’t get their mind off his tail.

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