July 30, 2009

Blueberry Orange Bread

Blueberry Orange Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 egg
1/2 cup orange juice
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
2 tablespoons grated orange peel
3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. In another bowl, combine egg, orange juice, water, butter and orange peel. Add to dry ingredients just until combined. Fold in the blueberries. Pour into a greased and floured 8-in. x 4-in. x 2-in. loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 65-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pan to a wire rack.

July 27, 2009

Growing Like Weeds

Well, here we are the last week of July. Summer is flying by. Still much to do and it never seems to get done.
This week I am hoping to give the milk room it's yearly coat of paint and concentrate on yard work in between all other activities.
Normally about this time of year the weeds have died off, grass and pastures are brown and crunchy under foot and we wouldn't have to worry about mowing or weeds much longer. Surprisingly things are still growing strong this year. Grass and pasture is still lush and green. The wildflowers are still blooming. And the weeds... well, they seem to have a strong hold and are everywhere.
The babies are growing like the weeds. They don't stay small long. Here's little Miss Maybelle. Such a sweet little face. I will hate to see her go.
The pigs are also growing nicely after only 4 months. Hoping we can have them finished off by October and have them in the freezer the first part of November.
I have to admit I haven't had much down time lately to check in on or update the blog. I was so surprised today to see the site counter at over 10,000. Just totally amazed to have so many visits from my wonderful followers and other visitors. Thank you so very much for taking the time out of your busy schedules to visit us here at the farm.

July 21, 2009

I Really Should

be busy doing something other than sitting here at the computer. Can’t get much done just sitting still you know. Just can’t help myself today. It is rather dull, damp and rainy out. Feels like a slow paced type day. A perfect time to catch up.

It has been crazy, busy, non-stop here lately. With a little bit of everything thrown in…the good, bad and the ugly.

The weather lately has been absolutely beautiful here. Truly amazing weather for July. Not out of the 80's during the day and in the upper 50’s to low 60’s at night. Sunday we actually tied a record low temperature. I have gotten so many outdoor projects done and have enjoyed doing them. Today they say we aren't suppose to get out of the 70's. It's just wonderful, rain and all!

Not sure I mentioned but Dear Son found a job shortly after his moving home. The job is not quite up to his standards (half the pay, no benefits) compared to his last position. But like I told him, even though it was not exactly the job he wanted, it’s a start, it’s a job and it’s money coming in for him. Moving from the 4th largest city in TN out here to po’dunk MO I feel he is blessed to be able to actually find something so quickly in this economy. He can continue looking for something equivalent to his previous position in his off time. Kind’a like wing walking, you don’t let go of one ‘til you have a hold of the other.

He has been driving the farm truck back and forth. The farm truck is a gas-guzzler, a 1 ton, 4-wheel drive, dually. Perfect for all the heavy-duty farm work we put it through like hauling the livestock and hay trailers, the weekly run to the feed store type work. But so not good for driving back and forth 40-50 miles daily. It takes about $80 to fill. Way too expensive for our budget, draining the wallet quickly.
We have been working on helping him get transportation other than the farm truck lined up. Geez, anyone been vehicle shopping lately? You know how expensive vehicles are, well, reliable, decent vehicles? Not to mention all the other necessities that are involved like tax, title and license.
After a bit of time we were able to locate him a reasonably priced, decent used vehicle. All the particulars should be finalized in the next day or so.
A 2002 Kia Sportage 4x4.
Fuel efficient, about 25 miles to the gallon. Small, compact but with 4 wheel drive capable to take these rough country roads. He would probably have a fit if I ask him to do it, but it's even got room to haul feed or a goat or a sheep in the back. ;-)

Another bottle baby came our way a week after Violet and the triplets. The little guy, we call him Little Buddy, I think was actually close to being Floppy. (When you get a chance and if you are interested google Floppy Kid Syndrome in goat kids.) It was touch and go for awhile. Many late nights bottle-feeding every 2 hours and much worrying on my part. Happy to report he is now up on his feet. Not quite as coordinated or active as he should be, but still doing 100% better. He is going back to the breeder as soon as he is weaned.
Little Buddy with the white blazed face. Brownie with the white spot on her head.

A local kennel I have worked with in the past called for assistance a couple of days ago. Had a 5-day-old Shih Tzu male pup with eating problems. I tried to save him, but it was not meant to be.

We lost a feeder pig. The crazy thing somehow got his head stuck in the fence and choked himself to death. Of course has to happen when the guys aren’t around. The neighbor was nice enough to come get him untangled and dispose of him properly.

Things have been slow going out on the road for the Better Half. Low miles, doing a lot of sitting out there. Sitting around in the semi gets on his nerves, let’s say he has not been in the best of moods lately. If the wheels aren't turning he is not making money which makes him cranky.

Have made a bit more progress on the skirting table. Stretched and covered the top with chicken wire. Over the edges of the top and wire I cut and placed some spare trim molding we had. Have still to paint the molding and add a few finishing touches. Dah me, really should have painted the molding before I cut and attached them. Would have made things much easier.
Well, off to work up a bit of blueberry jam, parboil a few more tomatoes and pop a few ears of corn in the freezer. Hope everyone has a good one.

July 14, 2009

Blackberry Preserves

I managed to get a bit of berry picking in this morning before the heavy rains arrived. I felt the sprinkling on my back just a few minutes after I began. Actually was really rather quite enjoyable... light mist, cool breeze in mid July. It was when the thunder started rolling close overhead I decided to end my berry mission. Gathered about 1/2 gallon. Just enough to make

Grandma's Blackberry Preserves.
Combine 2 quarts berries, juice of one lemon and 5 cups sugar, let stand overnight in refrig.
Heat slowly to boiling. Cook until syrup is thick. Stir frequently.
Skim, then pour into hot sterilized glasses and cover with parrafin.
Makes 6 - 6 oz. glasses.

Grandma’s Bread and Butter Pickles
4 Qt. Cucumbers in chunky slices (or thin if you prefer)
1 medium onion cut fine
5 cups vinegar
5 cups sugar
3 cups water
1 tsp. Black pepper
1 tsp. whole Cloves
1 tsp. whole Allspice
1 tsp. Cinnamon
3 tsp. Salt
Mix vinegar, sugar, water and salt in a large non-reactive stock pot. Put spices in a spice bag. (Spice Bag -A cheesecloth bag with a closeable opening or a piece of cheesecloth tied with a string to close) Add spice bag to vinegar mixture. Heat to boiling. When boiling add cucumbers and onions. Return to boil again. Boil 10 minutes. Remove spice bag. Can in sterile jars while hot.

Pickles and Relish

Put up 16 pints of bread and butter pickles and 11 pints of sweet pickle relish yesterday. Today I hope to get to the Piccalilli.

Waiting to be worked up are the tomatoes.
I am off to make Dear Son breakfast before he heads to work, finish up the morning routine then out to pick blackberries if the rain holds off. Hope everyone has a great day.

July 10, 2009

Skirting Table Progress

Haven't gotten very far.
Old table frame, before, being cleaned and sanded.

With the new coat of paint.

July 9, 2009

New Kids On The Block

or things have a way of working themselves out.

I was just telling the better half I was concerned about how much milk we were not going to have this year. Sarah Beth being retired and drying off, Isabella developing udder issues due to an udder injury last year after kidding- with only half her udder producing (just enough for her babies) and Barb... well as I expected Barb is not pregnant, just purely fat. This means we have little milk for dairy products.

Just so happens a goat friend from a neighboring town calls me on the morning of the 4th. She was frantic. Said one of her goats had just unexpectedly kidded 10 days early. The doe had triplets and seemingly was not producing any milk for the babies. Would I come get the babies to bottle raise. Happy to lend a helping hand, over we drove to help out and pick the babies up.

When we arrived at her farm I immediately recognized the goat as Violet. She was a doe our registered Nubian buck had sired. Violet’s mom was one of my friend’s Boer doe. That would make Violet a Nubian Boer cross.

The photo above is of Keifer our ADGA registered Nubian buck, Violet's dad. He was sold to a dairy goat farm when we downsized our herds.

At the time Violet was kidding, my friend checked Violet's udder for colostrum. Violet gave her nothing. Due to working away from the farm my friend was overwhelmed with just the thought of having to bottle feed triplets and worried about Violet not producing much if anything at all. She said take them all (Violet and babies) home!

Things were not as bad as they seemed. Violet is a first freshner with what looked like a small udder in the beginning. She just needed a bit of time to bring her milk down and a bit of TLC. Also starting her on a different feed routine and changing her over to Alfalfa hay helped.

I also left the largest two of the triplets on her. Mainly so Violet wouldn’t stress in her new surroundings. I was concerned about her being moved so quickly after kidding, her afterbirth was still in tact when we loaded her up.

Violet and babies are doing great. The smallest triplet is in the house being bottle-fed.

Meet Violet and her triplets, Brownie, Banner and Wisteria. Dear Son named and claimed the bottle baby, Brownie. The Better Half named the little buck Banner, as in Star Spangled. I named Wisteria in keeping with the purple color.


Brownie the bottle baby, smallest, first born doeling.

Violet checking Wisteria, 3rd born, doeling. Banner, second born, little buck is in front of Wisteria (he is so little he was able to crawl thru the cattle panel).
Banner carries his grandfathers coloring and some of his markings.

Violet nursing Wisteria.

Check out the udder now :-)

July 4, 2009