Thursday, May 26, 2011

Someone to check out!!

OK, I haven't been on again....we've been busy...and then I wipe out as soon as I come in.

That being said....My Man found a wonderful website and store a bit ago.  The folks are local and following about the same path we are...actually they are ahead of us on the path :)

I just discovered that she has a blog with great reading!!  You should check it out!

We are hoping to go meet them very soon!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Happy Armed Forces Day

Today was a BUSY and productive day!  So this may be a short post.  I not only started but ACCOMPLISHED something BIG on my 101 list.  So big that I think I should be able to cross off more than one line...alas...

We have what is called "the pump house."  Years ago it would have been called the "milk house" as I think it had a tank that they put the milk in.  It also houses the pump to our well.  And from the labels on the shelves it looks as though it was previously a root cellar.  Since we've been here it's been the 'junk house'.  It had a bunch of junk from two renters ago...and one renter ago, and from the one before them (about 15 years ago!)  Then add some of our stuff that when we moved it, I had no idea where to put.  So it went into the pump house.  Now add the fact that all winter I have been going to my favorite thrift store that seems to have jars every other time for CHEAP! and I would stack boxes of jars on any surface that didn't seem like it was going to crash over.

Yes, I should have taken a before picture!!

So over the winter, the power failed and the heater went off in the insulated box that the pump is in...and it cracked.  Now useless.  And me, not realizing...leaked water all over the floor and made it incredibly damp in there.

Man keeps saying that he needs to get the repair guy out, making my blood pressure go through the roof, because frankly, I know what kind of mess is in there.  BUT TODAY!!!  I CLEANED OUT THE WHOLE PUMP HOUSE! I organized the jars up onto shelved.  Was sad and disappointed at the things that were ruined by sitting in the damp, getting molded.  Clothes for charity that was "staged" that now no one can use.  The boxes of books that I didn't have shelves in the house for, some of our previous homeschooling stuff for the sale.....I filled up all three trash cans and two boxes.  You can walk in there now.  The repair man is coming on Friday to fix the pump (No more hauling water to the barn and chicken house!! WOOHOO!) 

And I have a table set up in there to continue going through stuff that is now safely up on shelves and needs decluttered or homes found.  But the next job is the Homeschool/Scrapbook Room.  It is on equal footing as the pump house.  You would not believe the mess.  It's where everything that I don't know what to do with, stuff that is "grounded" from Boy's room, scrapbook stuff that I know I would use...if I could find it. and the time.  Plus, I've got one week until the curriculum it has to get done!!  YIKES.  No resting on laurels.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Fun with Lilacs!!

Lilac Jelly

4 cups lilac blossoms, green parts removed

4 cups boiling water

8 tablespoons lemon juice

2 packages powdered pectin

8 cups sugar

First, pick all the flowers off the stems...don't leave any of the green or the bugs...

Rinse lilacs and place in a large glass or stainless steal container. Cover with boiling water, cover with a lid and let sit for 24 hours. This will make a nice lilac infusion which smells nice but doesn’t look anything like you would expect. It is murky and either greenish or brownish.  Ours looked like iced tea...and when we tasted it with honey...well, it tasted like tea without the bitterness.

Strain the lilacs, squeezing out the excess water, and discard. Add lemon juice to the infusion, stir in pectin and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.

Add the sugar all at once and bring to a rolling boil. Boil for one minute, skim and pour into jelly jars.  Finish with a 10-Minute Hot Water Bath.

I have read some websites that had their greenish liquid turn vivid pink when they added the lemon...mine didn't :(  I'm not sure if I have defective lemon juice or not...because other websites said nothing about it turning pink.  I actually was hoping it would turn out purple...but it now looks like "tea jelly."  I'll add finished pictures once it cools!  8 half pints and 2 quarter pints done!  We are well on our way of 800 canned.

Lilac Sugar

Make lilac sugar: This is the simplest thing to do, and flavored sugars are always a fancy little treat. Pick some lilac blossoms, clean and not buggy, and sprinkle them in a jar of white sugar, making a few layers, then cap the jar and forget about it for a couple of weeks. For a fancy tea party make little open face sandwiches with a sprinkle of lilac sugar and a few blossoms chopped into cream cheese, and a few petals for garnish, or use the sugar to make shortbread cookies.

Pictures of this once it has sat for 3 weeks and I can take a picture!!

Monday, May 16, 2011


You may have remembered my summer of jelly canning craziness....yes? So I was talking to a friend about some of the unique jellies that I want to try this year.  Another new friend was listening in...and said "What about doing some NORMAL jelly??" 

My friend explained that I canned over 300 jars of "normal" jelly last year and probably still had about 1/2 left after all the Christmas gifts...I loved the stunned new friends face at the number of jars of jelly we did!

So I was relating this conversation to my DH tonight as I was starting to prepare my "fruit" for my first jelly of this year (Stay tuned for the post tomorrow...or the next day...or...) and bless his heart.  He said, "Last year was "normal" jelly...this year it's ARTISIAN jelly."  SMOOCH!  Doncha just love him?!?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

What a crazy day! (From 5/12)

Another HOT one!  We're still working on getting the garden in.

We had a wonderful, unexpected blessing.  Yesterday, I was totally upset because the chickens were coming in the garden behind us and eating the things that we had planted.  I even threw my hand shovel at one of them (Don't worry, I have poor aim!)  Shortly after, I sat down totally defeated and trying to figure out what to do...then my Man, who gets emails from Freecycle, said there was a lady in Gahanna that had lots of rolls of  chicken wire left from their Easter pagent at church to give away.  Man emailled back and said that we would give them a great home and we'd love to exchange some eggs for them.

I had to go down to town for's appointment, so a time was agreed upon.  What a wonderful Godly lady!  We spent time talking in her driveway and laughing.  Mainly we were giggling because I brought down the little car...Man TOLD me to take the van...but gas is over $4 a gallon so I insisted that however much would fit in the car.  When the nice lady, Mrs.M, saw my car she said, "Maybe you should come see how much I have!"  Gulp!  But I was determined to prove that my car is truly "the little dump truck" as Dad calls it!  Well, we put roll after roll into the car and they kept fitting in there!  Once they were all in, I laughed that it looked like the old wire curlers that my mom had.  She agreed and added, "If the Jolly Green Giant had a wife...these would be her curlers!"

You judge for yourself!!

Friday, May 13, 2011

So...I'm a little behind...

But it's not all my fault...mostly mine...on the 9th, blogger went down for 3 days...and of course it was then that I had time to try to get back on track.  8 days have gone past, but I will try to get you updated and do better for the next 48 days.

Right now I am importing 1756 pictures off of my camera, because each time I go to take a picture, I have to delete an older one.  It is just slightly annoying most of the time, but I have missed a few cute shots because of it.  (and it is REALLY annoying to my DH when he wants to take a picture!)  And you think I am kidding about the number, but no, really it's 1756, and 5 2o second videos of my Boy's Stormy dog that we lost just over a year ago.

May was gym day for Boy.  I can't remember what else we did, probably not much since I can't remember it.  I've had quite a few not so great days with my TN, so I spend quite a bit of time laying on my bed wishing the pain away.  Sorry to complain...but it is the truth.

May 7th...I think this was the day the garden got rototilled..WOOHOO!  Soon onto planting.  I can taste those fresh tomatoes already.

May 8th, Mother's Day...spent the morning straightening up the house and yard.  Mom, Dad and my sister came over for a Mother's Day / Birthday Picnic.  My dad & sister's birthdays were in April and this was the earliest I have had them out.  We had hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill...first time this year!  And corn that I processed last year, "angel eggs" (we don't call ours devilled eggs), brownies and chocolate cake made with duck and guinea eggs (They are great in baking, guinea eggs are not yummy hard boiled.) Missing my grandma!

May to the doctor.  My family physician is very careful and thoughtful.  I really appreciate her.  She increased the diabetes medicine.  And we did a strength test in my legs to assess if there has been any improvement (no) so still dealing with degenerative disc disease, then she is still positive about the Trigeminal Neuralgia, but is sending me off to a neurologist for his specialized input.  She is slightly concerned that there may be something we are missing since I have continued nerve issues in more than just my face.  So I'll be going through tests to rule out other possiblities, namely MS.

May 10th...Boy broke his front (permanent) tooth, so today we spent waiting...for 2 1/2 get worked into the dentist.  They took an xray.  And decided that it isn't broken so bad that it is affecting the nerve, and his big tooth hasn't completely moved down, so we will wait...and we will just have crazy pictures until braces and stuff are done then they will cap it once it is in it's perm. place.  I was able to get a bit of laundry done today and started on another of the 101 in 1001 goals.

May 11th..High Day in Nikiverse...TODAY IS MY COUSIN, BFF'S 40TH BIRTHDAY!!  LOVE YOU! My sister came out and she and my son mowed 4.5 of our 5 acres.  They only left the pasture right behind the barn because there are fences down that you can't see and would ruin the mowers.  They both spent over 6 hours working on it...and it was HOT today.  85*  Boy the yard looks great though!  And Man got our tractor going again.  The poor thing has died and been "beyond repair" so many times!

May 12th...another hot one.  Boy and I spent most of the morning working on getting the garden in.  We came up with a really neat system so I didn't have to bend and really overextend myself.  I had his little kid shovel and would step it into the row, tilt it, he'd drop the seed behind the shovel blade as I lifted it back up and the seed would be in.  He did all the bending and we got lots of rows of beans in, in record time.  We noticed that the potatoes that didn't get dug this year have started volunteer plants.  WOOHOO.  Tomatoes are starting to get in and the tomato cages placed from the start.  Last year, my health went south about mid summer, and the tomatoes got big with no supports and were sprawled all over the ground.  What tomatoes the chickens didn't get, we had to dig under massive vines to get...because the rows were also too close so there was just one large area with vines over every inch.  Not this year!

We have both plants that we have gotten from the garden store and some that we started from seed.  Unfortunately, I started them late this year so they are very small...still I am thinking this will be good because maybe it will extend the season.  We'll see.

May 13th...gym day again.  Sold out of eggs!  I sell about 8 dozen at gym each week.  It was in the mid 80s again today and very sunny.  Gym was at the park and the kids played soccer.  Boy LOVES soccer.  He had a great time.  I got to spend time talking with two of my favorite friends from gym. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!

OK...recurring theme....boy was today busy!!

I push acre ish of our property.  It was getting long. Boy worked (cough) on his school (I don't think he did much since I wasn't in here watching him.  Then I spent 20 minutes talking to our delivery guy.  He is going to hook me up with some animals!  WOOHOO.

Danny and Iona took a two hour tour of the neighboring other words, Iona broke her cable (how???) and Danny took off with her...just like Stormy used to.  One of the caretakers of the local Christian "camps" conference center (which is really big and about 2 miles away) drove up with "Do you have a white dog?"  "Two that are missing, actually."  "Great I have them in my van."  SHEESH!

Boy and Man took a break to go fishing down at our neighbor (and friends) pond.  They have 3-4 year old fish that need fished out.  They got about a dozen BIG blue gill.  You may gill don't get big....yes, if they are fed for 3 years they do...and they were hitting their lines within 10-20 seconds!

Then I took Boy down to one of the nice metro parks with his buddies (and their sisters and mom) and the boys made Mason Bee Houses and learned about bees.  The funnest part was when his buddy broke the drill bit into his house and the lady running the workshop said "Well, that one will have to stay filled because I don't have any pliers."  My ever prepared farm boy piped up "I Do!!"  Her face was classic...I wish I had taken a picture!  Then Boy went home to spend the night with his friend (I'll pick him up at gym tomorrow.) and since I was in town, I went over to our favorite Mexican restaurant and pick up chicken chimis to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. 

After returning home and stuffing ourselves with chimis...we prayed for our nation as it was also the National Day of Prayer.  I know I forget to pray for our leaders and the folks that got this country into this mess.  I find it hard to pray for our president as I have ZERO respect for him, so it's a little like praying for our enemy , it's a hard thing to do.

Then back outside. I spent an hour picking up sticks and litter from the garden, getting ready for tilling tomorrow (Hopefully) if the rain holds off.  And got the burn barrel going.  I mowed around Ionas opening in the barn until it was completely dark and I couldn't see anymore.  Finally I gave up.  We don't get these nice days much lately so I want to use it all up!  They are calling for another 5-7 days of rain.  Good for mid season gardening...not so much for trying to get the garden in. 

Then Danny Dog got a bath, followed by my shower.  Now I am updating you...and soon..SLEEP!

Tomorrow is another busy day!  I'll try to update some pictures this weekend.

Love ya!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

May 4th! least so far.  I've collected 24 eggs, and 2 duck eggs.  Boy just came to tell me he found a big nest of them in the grain barn breeze way.  As soon as he brings them in, I'll "float" them to find out if they are good....

Did you know, if you put an egg in water (it has to be over the egg), if it lays horizontally on the bottom that it is freshly laid (within a few days).  If the end tips up a bit, it is still good, just older than a week.  These are the ones best for hard boiling (Fresh eggs are very difficult to peel, you need it to be a week / 10 days - store eggs are almost always this old)  If they float...throw them out!! Don't crack them either!

Later today, Boy has his Dualathon.  I think they run a mile, bike 2 miles, then run another mile.

I have optimistically changed my clothes around from my winter to summer clothes.  Culled out clothes that I haven't worn or don't fit.  I'll take them with me to church with me tonight for the Grace Clothes Closet...and will be accomplishing one thing on my 101 list...woohoo!

More updates later!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May 3rd

Today was a busy day....Boy went with his 'girlfriend' and her family to the Aquarium today.  So we were up at the crack of dawn....

I did Boy's outside the rain...ok...enough with the rain....

I planted another 8 crowns of asparagus for next year.  Did you know that asparagus needs to be cut in the first day after it has emerged?  It does...too much longer and it becomes seed.  A well maintained asparagus patch can last about 20 years!!  We've eaten at least 3 meals with asparagus...and have frozen one day's worth.

I found a new hiding place for eggs.  1 1/2 dozen today...and 5 duck eggs.

The baby chicks are getting bigger.  They now have their grown feathers.  I could take the heat light off of them, but am going to wait a few more days as they are calling for a few more really cold nights.

The kittens are doing well...I put them in a rabbit cage so the big chickens would quite eating their food before they got to it. 

All the rain has made the barn really wet and soggy.  There is a leak in the roof...somewhere up there and there is a pond in the middle of the barn.  There are a few more "ponds" in various areas of the farm yard as well...not exactly where I wanted the pond....but the ducks are loving it.

I am on waiting lists all over the county for animals.  On a waiting list to get 4 turkey poults (babies) next week.  On a list to get 2 beef calves (bottle babies) in July.  Just missed my chance to get a few squealers (baby pigs) yesterday...snap!  Back on the hunt.  Looking for a few reasonably priced goats, a dairy cow (Hopefully in milk, if not, at least bred...sadly, both are expensive and difficult to find),  and a mower.

Tomorrow I will be researching moveable electric fence to put the plans in motion.

Haven't been getting as much done as I would have hoped because I still have frequent "attacks" that seem to take me out...or at least leave me with a doozy of a headache!

Off to go pick up my Boy from his friend's house and hear all about the aquarium.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Why #62 was changed on the list

Originally on my 101 list was "Put up a Martin House." In doing some research, I've discovered that the Martins are not actually quite what I've been lead to believe....

#1 Martins fly and catch insects during the day....mosquitoes fly at really only the mosquitoes that are not wrapped right actually get caught by Martins.

#2 Martins DO catch insects during the day...but the majority of their diet are the beneficial bugs of the garden.

#3 Martins catch Martins on the Wallace Homestead!  We like our bees!

In exchange, I have changed #62 to hang two bat houses. 

#1 Bats DO fly at night...and eat those pesky skeeters!

#2 Bats do not eat the beneficial garden bugs.

#3 Honeybees are safe in the hive at night.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Happy May Day!

Happy First Day of May!

Well, we're off to a good start at least.  Today was warmish...and only some sprinkles...waiting for the storm to go through tonight and then they promise a few days of no rain.  That'd be nice.  I'd love to send some of this wet to Texas where they need it.

This morning was a nice morning at church, followed by not much of anything.  I was hoping to go down to a really great friend of my's Surprise 40th Birthday Party, but alas, I had a pretty good attack and had to sleep it off and missed it.  Dang!

We got 25 eggs today, and we ate eggs and asparagus for breakfast...both right from out of the yard!  I looked into getting a few cows today.  Still waiting to hear from the one guy and the other I haven't emailled yet as he has two bottle babies and I'm waiting to hear from the one with the cow already in milk....We had a big wind storm three nights ago (60-70 mph winds) and so today I walked around the farm and found a big tree down on one of the few fences that didn't need repaired (of course-grin) and another down out by the chicken house.  No animal losses-Thank you God for watching out for our critters.

We've been wondering why cars slow down in front of our house....first it was because of the potholes that would take out your front it's because either they are watching the ducks playing in the makeshift pond at the end of the driveway.will get a picture of that tomorrow!...or because the ducks think they own the road...and...take...their...time...crossing....  I think I am going to have to go to a sign shop and get a duck crossing safety sign to put up!

Tomorrow, I plan to post why I removed the Martin House from my 101 list.