Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Canning Spaghetti Sauce
1 1/2 large onion
36 cups cleaned, cut up tomatoes (we do not remove skins because they get pureed later)
1 1/2 tbsp salt
4 tbsp brown sugar packed
1 red pepper, finely cut up
2 green peppers, finely cut up
1/2 tsp pepper
2 large carrots

Simmer for one hour, then puree.

To puree add:
6 cloves garlic
3 tbsp fresh oregano
3 tbsp fresh thyme
3/4 cup parsley, chopped (12 tsp dried)
3 tbsp fresh basil
3 bay leaves

(if you do not have fresh herbs you can use dried. The conversion is 1 tsp dried per 1 Tbsp fresh)

Put back into pot and simmer until desired thickness. Stir often to prevent scorching.

Pour into clean jars. Wipe jar rims and place lids and rims.

Process in hot water bath for 15 minutes. (water covering tops of lids by at least 1 inch)


What else can you do with cucumbers??

We have an abundance of cucumbers!  And I keep missing them until they are ginormous!!  (OK, about 8 inches long)

Cucumber Ketchup
ripe cucumbers
1 red pepper
1 cup chopped onion
4 cups vinegar (I prefer Apple Cider)  
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Peel enough cucumbers to make 8-10 cups. Add onion, capsicum, and enough water to prevent sticking. Cook slowly, stirring frequently, until tender.  I put mined in the crockpot and let it go for the whole day. Cook slowly, stirring frequently, until thick.

I made a batch of this last week....loved it!  Sadly, I didn't get it canned in time and someone thought it was the stuff I was setting aside for the chickens.....the chickens loved it too!

So I have another batch in the crockpot as I type this. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Getting into a routine..

Good morning!  Well, I'm starting to get into a routine...I think.  Today I am going to figure out when to put blogging back into it. 

Bess was A.I'd yesterday.  What that means is that she had a visitor (human) with a straw of frozen bull "stuff" and hopefully now she is pregnant.  Hmmm....it was a bit more involved than that. Being as this is a "family friendly" blog though, I'll leave it at that.  I had to have a very VERY interesting conversation with my 11 1/2 year old son last week.....

I was out and about and actually wasn't here for the procedure.  My wonderful sweet hubby took care of holding Bess while Mike the AI guy did his job.  Big love for a DH that is here for me!  So today I am (hopefully) going out before the big wind storm to get his (early) birthday present.

Which brings me to his new interest.  Rabbits.  Yes, Really!  He is interested in keeping, breeding and eating rabbits.  There is a fairly hard to find breed that has a great feed conversion rate that he would like to try, so I will be heading out to get a pair later today!! 

Sunday, July 22, 2012


No, I'm not taking a bunch of pictures...tho I should....

We are blessedly overrun with milk...so almost everyday I am making butter and farm cheese.  Yesterday, I gifted some ladies with a quarter block of cheese and they all insisted on buying my honey butter.  WOOOP!

This morning I found a blog that is giving away a cheese making kit.  I entered to win it.  (Though my luck with this kind of stuff...remember the book...still not here).

If you want to get some milk from me and make your own cheese...enter to win over here on this blog...


I'll post some pictures soon....CHEESE!

Monday, July 16, 2012

One week later....

My hands are getting better (???)  Well, at least I can type now.  Holding a pencil or pen...not so much.  We've had Bess now for about 10 days.  We've had bad days...and better days.  The last few milkings I've done without tying her.  She gives me about 20 minutes to milk before she is ready to moooo-ve on.  I usually give her some sweet feed at that point, change where I am sitting and milk like mad to try to get her milked out.  See if you don't take the milk, the next day she will produce that much less.  So each day it would be less and less until....you just have a great big smelly hay burner (although right now she is an expensive, not very accurate lawn mower.)

I don't think there are any picture of me milking yet.  I told my grandfather the same thing my cousin and I joke around about....I need a full time camera man to just follow me around and take pictures for the blog....and then I need a typist to put all my thoughts onto the blog as I am always blogging in my head, but never seem to have time to stop and DO it!

So....it's crazy busy here!  I have been off of work for quite some time.  With the doctor restrictions I have not been able to find anything within (or out) of the company that I can do.  (I need a job that I can change my position frequently-no extended standing, sitting, or walking.  Limited talking.  And if I have a seizure-I may need to lay down to sleep it off or take the anti-seizure stuff that knocks me out.)  I have in my mind, if there is something that I could do data entry and have to do a certain amount per day, but am not limited to just a certain 8 hours -so I might do it in 10-11 hours, say.  And I could do it 90% from home....I could do that.  I am working with HR to see if such a position could do that.  I am doubtful.  I have until the end of July.  (Yes, 2 week.) to find such a job.  I am also needing to do my final appeal to the Long Term Disablity Insurance.

My Man has taken over a lot of the garden work and spends most evenings weeding and watering.  The mornings picking and grumbling that the ducks keep getting into the garden and eating the cucumbers (Anyone need a duck or two??).  He's also gotten VERY interested in the rabbitry.  We picked up two more rabbits to add to our breeding program.  And the most recent set of bunnies are almost old enough for freezer camp.  Speaking of camp,  Boy went to camp last week (NOT freezer camp!!) and then came home with a cold.  I am hoping to get him back into the helping routine. 

My mom completely tore her rotator cuff and had to have surgery.  So I've been going down to their house 3 times a week to help them out.  It's actually been nice spending time with them and with my Grandfather who lives down the street.  He is obsessed with my cow and keeps telling me that now I need two pigs.  (with leashes--that will make sense once I get the whole story up here!)  Later today...I mostly promise (WINK).  I cook for the 3 of them, then come home and cook here.  Laundry here and there.  Cleaning there...not so much here, but trying to do better with that....but.....

Typing all that makes me realize the time, I have to get going and get some stuff done in the next 20 minutes before I leave for the "city'.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

What's been going on...

I've been wanting to post the daily goings on of having a new cow, but haven't gotten it done.  I spend alot of time dealing with milk! 

And for the first 4-5 day my hands were too tired or hurt too much to type. 

I want to get Bess' story up here before I forget....and so you can laugh at me like everyone IRL (in real life)  Glad to be of service as the court jester.  If there were only a thought to blog interaction tool I would have SO much for you to read, as the hour I am milking I am usually composing in my head.

The best laid plans.

What do you do when your best effort is just not good enough?  Well, cry vent and have generally a hissy fit….I would say have a cow…but that’s why I am so overwhelmed right now.  I have a cow.  I am spending at minimum 3 hours a day on her and usually closer to 5…trying to keep up with everything else, and taking care of my family and mom.  Please know that I am thankful and grateful for all the at I have, but right ow I need to just vent this out.  This morning is a perfect example.  Woke up at 4 with the worst charley horse…this is because of the erve damage in my leg.  Should take more lyrica, but trying to hold steady at 2 a night.  Frustrating because last night I took a muscle relaxer too…first time in about 3 months., also my standard 4 aleve.  Anyway….tried to go back to sleep.  Alarm goes off and I struggle to get out of the bed.  Out to milk Bess.  One hour of milking, getting pushed into the mud, screaming hands….Into the house.  Put a pot of water on to boil.  Strain the milk.  Scrub the milk bucket and then wash up.  Put milk in the boiling water and stir for almost 30 minutes while holding a thermometer in it.  Hands are steamed and sore.  After 30 miles tit finally gets to 161*.  Hold there for 20 seconds, then it has to be cooled as quickly as possible.  Lid the jar, and quickly go to put it in the silk full of cool water (not yet iced as I don’t want to break my only 1 gallon jar….and as you are moving it from the stove to the sink…have it slip out of your hands and crash to the floor.  Scalding hot milk in your socks, Glass and a gallon of freshly pasteurized milk all over the  wood floor (the has gaps that make it almost impossible to get everything up.) SIGH. Spend the next hour picking up glass, sopping up milk with 7 bath towels (that now will be ANOTHER load of laundry to do today) and then try to wash the floor so that it doesn’t get sticky and stinky.  Now the house smells of farm milk.  Then add that I already have a bunch of stuff that needs to get done today because I’m only home during the week on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  And  a friend from out of town asked to come out and see the farm tomorrow. 

To do: 
  • Pick beans and squash, and cucumbers
  • Weed my 1/4 acre garden.
  • Start mucking out Bess’s stall
  • First have to figure out how to get broken wheel barrel work.
  • Pick Blackberries.
  • Do something with the 3 pounds of blackberries I currently have.
  • Figure out what to do with the 7 gallons of milk that no one will drink because it is Farmy.  Also another reason I am trying the pasteurization.  What’s the point if no one likes it?? Really>
  • Make bread.
  • Make a decent dinner for tonight.  Frozen pizza is out..that was last night and was the last on in the freezer. 
  • Try to stave off the seizures that are increasing again because of the decrease in the steroids.  Consider rolling in the poison Ivy to be able to get more steroids.
  • Wonder where there might be a stashed bottle of wine.
  • 4 loads of laundry to wash dry, fold and put away.  I do fine with the first, had to rewash last nights load because I’m not the best with the moving on to the next step…and then the folding…bout 25% there…and putting away…Really? Plus, now both my pairs of shoes need washed too!  One  has been stepped on (repeatedly) by Bess (Yes, ouch) and the others are now milky and will likely start to stink from the outside.
  • Water the garden and the corn and the chickens,
  • Wash the dogs as they are a grass stained mess.
  • Milk the cow again and figure out what to do with that milk.  Should I try the whole pasteurization again?  Will the butter and farm cheese and drinking milk not taste ‘farmy”.
  • Get my flyers printed for the farm market on Saturday.
  • Mop the kitchen floor again.
  • Make dinner.  Do the dishes.

OK.  Stopping for now because I know there is no way I can get all of this done today anyway. And I if I keep the list up I will likely be even more overwhelmed.

I guess my frustration lies in e the fact that it’s only been exactly one week.  Mostly I don’t mind being the “punchline” for every family gathering.  And the fact that most everyone is questioning my sanity (including myself.)  It’s more that this morning was my best effort so far and I felt like I was really getting a rhythm and a routine…and it all crashed around my feet…literally.  And I have to wonder if my best effort is for naught….what’s the point?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Meet BESS.....

It's not a great picture as we were having a terrific lightning storm.

Bess is a Jersey/Holstein Cross.  She is 2 years old and had her first calf on March 15th.  She is currently giving milk as well. 

She is my way of Declaring my Independence!! 

It was quite a story how she ended up here. I want to post the whole thing, but going from never milking a cow to milking out for an hour twice today....after I fell down the steps back on Sunday and banged up my arm...my arms and hands are too tired!!  I promise a longer post with the whole funny story....teaser...we were the Marengo 4th of July "parade".

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


But I forgot to take a picture, so I can't spill the beans until tomorrow.  I know, what a rude thing to do...but it is SO...BIG....SUCH

Tune in tomorrow....