Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Lessons Learned

I have made so many mistakes in my life, more than these readers will ever know. On the bright side though, I have learned from many of them and here is a list of just a few.

1. Never trust a guy that has on two different shoes. (Yep, done that)
2. Snakes really will bite you.
3. You don't have enough gas to make it to the station on the other side of town where the gas is 2 cents cheaper.
4. Never sell a truck that you like.
5. When building anything buy twice as much as you think you need then you will at least have half enough to get the job done.
6. Big tires cost you a lot more in gas but, they are still cool !!
7. Don't shuck corn inside the house.
8. The garden will do best when you just leave it alone.
9. When you are wating for something important in the mail it will run very late that day.
10. No matter how hard you work there's still more to be done.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

My Little Garden Girls and Help From a Friend !

The girls and I thought that we should probably go ahead and dig some of the potatos today. The bugs have pretty well got the best of the vines. That's ok we will just have some little new taters to add to our green beans and to cook with other meals. Savannah (the one on the left) loves new potatos and will be eating most of them I bet, Katie (the little darling on the right) love the tomatos. After digging the taters the girls still wanted to work in the garden so we looked around to see what else we may be able to harvest today. They got maters, cuke's, bananna peppers and bell peppers too. Zucchini and squash were in the basket too, look what a huge cucumber Katie is holding. We had a great time in the garden this evening.

I ofcourse had the canner out today too. Canned some tomatos and some tomato juice. I ran into a little problem and had to ask a fellow blogger for help. MOH, who has a great blog over at Throwback at Trapper Creek came to the rescue. I was putting hot juice into hot jars with hot lids when the lids started to seal. I wasn't sure if I still need to put them in the canner or not so, I jumped over to Trapper Creek to ask MOH for some advice. I was lucky to catch her out of the hayfield for a min. The answer, can them with new lids and rings just to be on the safe side. She responded quickly to my question and saved the day. A GREAT BIG THANKS to MOH !!!!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Got Kraut ??

We have been so blessed latley ( Not that we aren't always ) with an abundance of food. Neighbor down the road gave MMIL ( My mother-in-law ) 4 huge heads of cabbage yesterday, and I'm talking HUGE. Well she came straight to our house and said that we should make kruat and then split what we can up. You gotta know I was ready to tackle the job. Having never made kraut before I went to my favorite canning site, pickyourown, and read all about it. Much more involved than I thought, mix cabbage in a brine and let sit for 4 to 6 weeks and then process in the canner. Got to be something better and faster than this, so I moved on over to Jackie-Clays blog and found just what I was looking for. Gotta love the internet!!! Shredded the cabbage and packed into clean jars add salt and cold water and place lid and ring on, let sit and ferment for 4 days and then give it a good boiling water bath. Now that sounds more like what I had in mind. Be sure to check out Jackie's blog for more great information. All said and done we got 13 qts of great looking kraut. I gave MMIL 7 of them and kept 6 for my pantry. Wed. or Thur. they will get their hot water bath in the canner. I know I have talked alot about canning for the last few weeks but whats the point in growing all this stuff if you can't preserve it? We have had so many people give us their extras because they either don't know how to preserve it or didn't have the time. I guess if things get as bad as I think they are going to we will have plenty to give a helping hand to those in need. The Lord works in mysterious ways.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Ol' Boy Can Even Bake Bread

As most who have planted zucchini we have them running out our ears. We have been fixing them alot of different ways just to try to eat them fresh rather than freeze them all. We had zucchini baked with tomato (from the garden)and cheese for dinner today and it was great. Well they just keep on coming so why not zucchini bread. I have always wanted to learn how to bake bread and I'm not afraid to try new things so I found a recipe at and proceded to follow instructions. The wonderful smell on cinnamon filled the house as I waited patiently to see how my first baked bread turned out. What a hit!! We ate half a loaf within 10 mins. Nuts are optional and I would have liked to have them but we were out and I wasn't gonna let that stop me. If the other loaf makes it through the nite we may freeze it and enjoy it later on in the fall. I'm not wearing a bakers hat just yet but the project was a success. Just goes to show that even a guy can bake bread if you just set your mind to it. I'm glad to have another skill to add to my ever growing list. I love to learn new things, it gets me excited and in this case everyone in the house was too. lol

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Canning for half. Good or Bad ?

My neighbor that brought the cuke's a few weeks ago ask if I would like to can his green beans for half of the crop. I thought that would be great for both of us, he doesn't have the time and he is a really good friend too, plus he is Liv's uncle and the one who let us use his tractor. I would do just about anything for him anyway. I canned 35 qts. on Tues. and Wed. I canned 29 more for a total of 64 qts. all together. I must say it was a LOT of work as anyone who has done much canning can tell you but worth it just the same. I now have 32qts. of beans that I didn't have to go through the trouble of raising. I have plenty in the garden but it's hard for me to turn them down on a deal like this. Plus it was a big help to him also which makes me feel a little better to. We both seem to come out on the deal. Some friends say that they would not do it for half. (These friends don't have any beans either I might add ) But for me it was a fair deal. He also ask if I was interested in doing the same when his corn comes in. I'm sure I will, like I say I have plenty of beans and corn growing of my own, but I have the time to take advantage of helping others and myself by canning on the half's as we call it around here. Is this something that you would do?? If you don't have room or time for a garden but have time at night or whenever to can maybe you can see if anyone in your area is interested in canning on the half's. Here is a picture of the first 35 qts. canned. Neighbor supplied his own canning jars and lids.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wind Damage

I was away from home for 2 days and came home to 2 weeks worth of work to do. To all my readers, I am sorry for not posting sooner. Been very busy and at the end of the day I have been beat. It's 2:30 am as I write this. Had a storm on Tuesday with a lot of wind and hail and it blew a lot of the corn down. Finally got it all straightened up and in pretty good shape.The corn is starting to produce some ears now. Not the best time for a wind storm but I think everything will be alright. Here is the pepper plants that the ducks ate a few weeks ago. Doing great now as you can see.
The goats are really starting to show now, about 7 more weeks till the kids are due.

Cows are getting fatter by the day now. Feeding them corn every evening to help fatten them before the slaughter.

Baby ducks are growing too. Smokey Bear is some duck retriver. haha!! He loves to play with them as much as we do. He never tries to bother them in any way.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

One Big Happy Family !!!

Well we finally made it through the wedding day and I must say it was a tough one for us all. Traci was so nervous that I thought she was gonna crack. I'm not sure who was more nervous, me or her. When the preacher ask "Who gives this woman to this man" I boldly announced "Her family and I". How those words got past the lump in my throat I'll never know. Everything came off without a hitch, thank God. It was a beautiful wedding and a beautiful bride and groom. Pictured above is my whole family from left to right, Savannah, Me (The bald guy), Traci (The Bride) Adam (The Groom) Olivia and Katie. I am very proud of the family I have produced.
You just can't imagine how glad I am to be home, back to the farm. I better get out there and pick those zucchini and squash and cucumbers.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My Oldest Daughter is getting Married

It seems that I will be out of town for a few day's this weekend. My oldest daughter Traci, is getting married and I am walking her down the isle. It seems like only a few months ago that I brought her home from the hospitol and now she is getting married on me. I guess time really does fly. Anyhow, we are going to West Virginia on Friday morning, the rehersal is at 6:30 that night and the wedding is at 3:oo on Sat. I am so very proud of her, she is a great daughter and has never been any trouble. She is 19 and has a really good man, Adam, and they have a nice home waiting on them. Going to The Great Smoky Mtns. for the Honeymoon to stay in a cabin in the mountians. I am so very proud !!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

UPS Delivery !

UPS came today and brought the Home Canning Kit that I had ordered from Amazon. Man I really need this kit, the jar grabber alone was worth the price to me, I have been dipping water out of the canner with a cup and then reaching in with a dish towel to get the HOT jars. This will make things a lot more enjoyable and safer too. You can find the link to this kit on the left side of the blog, if you don't have one this is a great kit and a great buy. Comes with all you see here.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

HELP !!!! I'm Canning and I Can't Stop

Well guys i've been at it again, this time tomatoes. Call me crazy but I was at the Farmers Market the other day and I came across a guy selling tomatoes for $12.00 a 25 lb box. The first thought that crossed my mind was buy, buy, buy. That's 48 cents a pound, China-mart is selling them for $2.28 per lb. and Kroger had them for $2.89 per lb. so this had to be a good deal. Sure I have maters growing in the garden but they aren't ripe yet and who knows I could have a hail storm or anything and then not have any maters. Maybe I'm thinking this thing to death but, a bird in the hand, well, you know the rest. I calmed myself down and bought only 1 box, 25lbs and came straight home and fired up the canner. We saved some to eat and gave a few away ofcourse and I canned the rest, man these things are great. Ended up with 7 beautiful qts of tomatoes to be used in soup and so on. I have come to love this food preservation thing. The sound of lids popping as the jars are cooling are music to my ears. Here is a picture of one of the cans. Liv made some really nice labels using address labels, we got the date wrong but it's close enough.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Flea Market Finds

I had to go to town today to get more canning jars and I then thought, hey I'm only a mile from the flea market. Well I never pass a chance to go and look around at all the stuff they have there. FleaLand is the largest indoor fleamarket in Kentucky, they also have lots of stuff outside as well. That's where all the good stuff is anyway. After looking for just a few minutes I found these, a meat grinder and a jucier. These are great items to have around the house, no electricty needed and they are very dependable also. Got the meat grinder for 3 bucks and the jucier for 2, pretty good deal I think.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Rind Pickles are finally done !!!

Well it's taken a while but here they are. Got the recipe from here. Mine did not turn out red like the ones on the link but they sure smell good. That much sugar and cinnamon sticks it has to be pretty good. I didn't get the 4 to 5 pints that they said so, I just put half into 2 different qt jars, giving one to Liv's mother. I'll wait a few weeks to try them, let them sit and work awhile. I still think they look alot like apples. They have a very nice amber color to them. But anyway, I gave it a shot. Never had them before but wanted to try to use the rind that most just throw away. When I try them I'll post the results. If anyone else tries this, please let me know how yours turn out.

Friday, July 11, 2008

While waiting on the rinds

The watermelon rind pickles are taking a while, first had to cut away the green and the red. Next let them sit in a salt water brine for 3 hours, then cook for 10 mins. Mix 9 cups of sugar, 3 cups of water and 3 cups of viniger together and bring to a boil for 5 mins. After they are both done cooking pour the water off the rinds and pour the mix over them. Let sit over night in a refrigator. That's where I am now. Nothing hard about this it just takes a while. Oh well, I guess I have more time than I do money, or atleast I hope I do. hehe!!Sitting in the brine, also had to add 2 trays of ice. They look alot like apples.Maters are realy getting big just not red. Come on guys Turn, Turn !!
This picture is for Marie over at Food Storage. She was interested in the taters that I have growing in totes. I am growing taters in several places to see what works best for me.
Now that's a pretty nice size bean. I have picked from these small rows ( 2 at 25 ft. ) 5 times so far and they keep on coming.

Just a picture of the hen house. All from scrap out of the Lowes dumpster.
Inside where the girls do their thing.
Some of the corn. It seems to be doing pretty well.

Zucchini are coming on strong.

A few more rows of corn about 8 or 9 I think. Notice how the corn in the center is much larger. I had a compost pile there last year before we plowed it up this spring. Guess it was pretty good stuff.

Peppers are recovering from the duck raid.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Even More Pickles !!!!!!!!!

What do you do when a neighbor brings you 25 cucumbers?? Make more pickles ofcourse! Not that we really needed any more pickles but you just can't seem to eat cukes fast enough to use them up before they start to go bad. We had the mix, sugar and viniger , so why not can them.
Liv's mother , Gracie, cutting up the cukes to fit into the jars.
Finished product, 9 qts. and 2 pints.
And we still had this many left over.
Got to go and start on the pickled watermelon rind, it's gonna take a while. I'll keep you all posted.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

We be Jammin !!!

Here is a list of the things we have canned here so far,

1. Strawberry Jam ( This was our first canning attempt )

2. Bread and Butter Pickles

3. Canned green beans the other night

4. Our most recent adventure - Blackberry Jam

Went and picked a few blackberries today, not near as many as I had hoped for. They are not all ripe just yet but I did find a few that were ready. I wasn't sure if I had enough for jam but after some mesurements I found that I did have just enough. Woo-Hoo !!! More canning.

Here Katie tries to make off with the loot.
Cooking up the berries and sugar and pectin mix.
Ended up with 7 -- 1/2 pints of beautiful blackberry jam.

I left the seeds in because I don't have a food mill just yet, this is, just yet. I think the seeds give it a nice look though. All in all, I am very pleased with the outcome. Getting more fresh goodies stocked up for me and the family. Not too bad for an hour of berry picking in the peacefulness of the wilderness. Time well spent !!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Canning Green Beans

As you all know I got my canner in the other day and I am very excited. After reading the instruction book from cover to cover I decided that I was ready to give it a try. I went to the garden today and picked green beans, I had enough for 5 qts.. The canner can handle 7 qts. but I thought this would be a good time to hone my skills with the canning process. All went very well, the only difference was that instead of a boiling water bath the jars went into the canner instead. My booklet said to co0k at 11 lbs pressure for 25 minutes. The hardest part was maintaining the pressure at 11 lbs. It took a little time and effort to keep the canner at this pressure ( very easy to get the pressure to high ) but I guess with practice things will get a little easier. Anyhoo, I canned 5 qts. of fresh green beans and they look great to me. As with most things I do, time will tell. I am very happy with the ease of use of this canner and the great instructions that can with it. If you're interested in this canner check out the amazon add at the left of this blog for more information. I think if you purchase one through my blog I get like a buck or something. haha!! Either way I just hope you all find the canner / cooker that's right for you. I sure did.

Canner holding steady at 11 lbs. pressure.

5 qts. canned and ready for the pantry.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Look what Fedex just brought !!!!

Fedex just brought the 23 qt. pressure canner/cooker that I ordered from Amazon. More on this later, too exctied to blog....hehehehehehehhehe!!!!!!!!!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Ducks in the Garden- Update !!

In a earlier post I ask if anyone had ever had ducks in their garden and Tracy, over at Possum Living, said "I had some Muscovy ducks that also ignored my peppers and other garden plants, until one day it was like a light bulb went off in their heads, and they wiped out most of the peppers". Up until then I had had no problem with the ducks bothering anything, that is up until then. I belive the ducks must have internet out there. That very night after Tracy left that comment they wiped ME out too. 6 peppers plants fell prey to the baby ducks, so they are freerange now and they are loving it. I just kept them up for their own safety. I guess you could say that Tracy knows ducks.

Momma Duck and the babys have made their way all around the yard and found refuge in the goats lot along with our 2 Buff Silkie Roosters.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Freezing Zucchini

Got more free veggies today. Liv's mother gave us 3 medium size zucchini and we decided to try freezing them as per instructions from Pick you own. We love this website because it is loaded with easy to understand instructions for preserving just about anything you can imagine. When I say easy to understand, I mean even I can do it. hehe! We are trying different ways to preserve food and seeing what works the best for us, this is a learning process. We are lucky enough to have a FoodSaver and it is a great addition to any home and has been and will be very useful to us. Here are some picture of our process to freeze zucchini. ( I think free ones always taste better, hehe!! )

Our beloved FoodSaver that both vacums and seals the bags.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Adventures in Pickling

Todays adventure here on the farm was pickling cucumbers. Olivia's uncle Ed raised more than he knew what to do with and lacking the time to pickle any he brought Liv's mother a bunch, and I mean a bunch! She knew that I would be more than willing to pickle some so we went in partners on them so to speak. Mine are a few days away from being ready to pick and these were free and needed to be preserved so this was great for us both. She had some canning jars and so did I, I had the sugar, viniger and pickling mix that I had picked up a few weeks ago in preparation for my cucumbers. We had all the supplies and were ready to go get pickled. hehe!! Found a great site that has all kinds of canning information.
all kinds of supplies and a list by state of farms where you can pick your own stuff. Check them out and I know that you will be glad you did. Anyhow, thats where we got our pickling receipe. A few things we learned along the way are.

1. Keep plenty of clean dish towels close by.

2. Get a jar lifter or grabber, oven mitt just don't cut it.

3.Give your self plenty of room to work.

4. Pack your jars tight with cucumbers, otherwise you waste space.

5. Keep your jars in the oven to keep them good and hot. 200 degrees works great.

6. Remember that the jars are HOT and don't grab one until they cool.

Below are the ingredients that we used. Sugar, Vineger and Bread and Butter Pickle Mix.

And ofcourse you have to have cucumbers.Pour hot mix into jars of cucumbers with a laddle. Becareful, both jars and mix are very hot. Observe my steady hand. hahahahahahhah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Place lids and rings on the jars and then put them into a large pot with the water just above the top of the jars and boil for 10 mins.These jars are packed correctly.These are not. We thought we had a lot of cucumbers in these jars but they needed to be packed in there. They will still be fine but that's a lot of wasted space.By the time we went through all the cucumbers we had a grand total of 17 qts. Not too bad for veggies that someone gave us. We will be enjoying these for some time. I will be taking Ed a few jars for sure. Wonder how his peppers are doing ????? (Grin )