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Showing posts from June, 2011

Home on the range

Yesterday was homecoming for our boy's new calves.  10 of them.  I went along to the ranch to be the photographer but other than that this was their deal. 

They did the talking, the helping, the learning, and the paying.  It promises to be a big investment in time and money.  Hopefully their pasture raised Black Angus will be profitable.  Because increasing numbers of people want to know where their food comes from, we think they will do quite well.

The calves were penned up ready to work.  They looked so little until they went in the chute, then they showed how big they really were.

The boys helped give them immunizations and ear tags.

And helped with the castration too.  Ouch!

J3 thought he was a little up close and personal for this procedure!

The calf didn't feel sorry for him in the least.

Then they were loaded up and delivered.

Final instructions from the rancher and their adventure has begun.

They still look a little lost ( the calves not the boys, ok, well maybe both) Hopeful…


It's blackberry season.  And blackberries are our garden favorite! So much so that I had to make a sign to start of the season.
Truth is, signs are fun to make so the blackberries were just a good excuse. I made this one out of a broken fence board.  It was already painted with white farm paint so I just sanded the edges for a weathered look.  Then I painted the lettering and berries on with exterior oil based paint (just in case it ever finds it way outside).  Exterior satin wood sealer finished it off.
It's perched happily on the open shelving in the kitchen where I hope to have bowl fulls of blackberries soon.
But the blackberries aren't doing as well as last year. Some research over the weekend told me where I went wrong. Pruning ~ or rather, lack of it.
Turns out, blackberries need to be pruned every year.  The crowns (the base of the plant) live for many years but the canes (branches) only live for two years.  This is our third year for this fence row of berries.
We have 1st …

Repurposed egg basket

My "great deal" egg basket is a great deal too big for the small amount of eggs we are getting presently. I decided to give it a new purpose.  Turns out it is perfect for holding fruit.  And it looks cute in a country kitchen too!  How much of a great deal was it?  $5 at Tractor Supply.  Who knew you could buy kitchen items at TS?

Skillet green beans

Ok, you asked for it.  There's no recipe but I'll tell you how to make them.   First you need a mess of fresh green beans. Heat 1/2 stick of butter in a large skillet and toss in the green beans.  Cook on medium heat stirring often for about 20 minutes until tender.  Some will brown but that just makes them taste better.  Add a little salt, pepper, and onion powder a few minutes before they are done.
I make skillet new potatoes the exact same way but you have to cut them up small if you want them to cook in the same amount of time.
Olive oil can be used instead of butter but it does tend to pop more.  Besides, everything tastes better in butter!

That's it ~ our favorite way to enjoy summer fresh green beans.

Bringing home the bacon and the beef

Today we picked up our meat from the processor.  Yes, the fruits of our labor will finally be on our plates. We kept the largest pig whose hanging weight was a whopping 287 lbs.  The steer we split with my in-laws and our share was 281 lbs hanging.  Every bit of that was wrapped in freezer paper to our specifications and ready to bring home today.

This was our share~ 9 bags the size of feed sacks.
Our 17 cubic foot freezer was completely empty.  It's full now!
Tonight for dinner: grilled ham steaks skillet green beans & new potatoes pickled beets and homemade whole wheat bread

Every bit of it was grown or made right here on our farm. That's a first and it sure felt good.

Chocolate Cake

My father in law got a cake as a Father's Day gift ~ a chocolate cake ~ an old family recipe handed down from sweet Aunt Effie.  She was the kind of lady that wore dresses and pearls everyday.  Ladies like that knew how to bake! This worn recipe card was written in her hand.

So what happened with the cake?  My father in law, Papaw, had a piece last night and then another before bed.  This morning he had cake as a pre-breakfast snack. Then cake for breakfast and another slice before lunch.  Nana wasn't going to have that!  She called and said they had cake and he didn't need to eat the whole thing.  Off went one of my boys to get cake.  At lunch, we devoured the whole thing.  So good but not nearly enough! 

So what did I make this afternoon? You guessed it ~
Aunt Effie's Chocolate Cake.

Do I dare take Papaw another piece?

Aunt Effie's Chocolate Cake
1 3/4 c sugar 2/3 c oil 2 eggs 1 t. vanilla 2 1/2 c flour 1 1/2 t baking soda 1/2 t salt 1 c buttermilk 1/2 c cocoa 1/2 c boiling w…

Water, please!

Sammie has found a new past time,

following me around the garden begging for water from the hose.
It's better than her other new past time. 

 Yes, that's right, dollars.

I guess money makes you extra thirsty!

Farm sign

Well, really a ranch sign.  In honor of our three boy's hard work in starting a cattle business, I made a sign for them.  You may remember that I made a sign for our entrance and it was lots of fun.  Instructions on how I made it are here.
I have to tell you ~ I love making signs!

I've been wanting to make something for this spot on the side of the rec room.  It's right by the breezeway where we walk by a thousand times a day.  That big wall just needed something ~ something big ~ like four feet big!

We bought 1/2 thick 8 inch wide cedar boards and screwed them together with a few runners across the back.  The screw heads show from the front for a little rustic flair.  Then my husband cut the boards out in a circle.  Next up was Sikken's oil based clear sealer for the wood (It's great stuff).  And then the hand painting with oil based exterior paint.  That was the fun part!  Hubby designed the brand.  Isn't it cool?  I love how the J is rockin'.

It needed a lit…

Natural horsemanship

Our life with horses began one year ago.  It would be an understatement to say it has been a challenge. We didn't have a clue what we were getting in to.  It's been harder than anything we have tackled on our road to country living.  And you know what? The work has been worth it.

But let me start at the beginning so you know where we were coming from...
We had done some riding as a family but we had never owned horses. Our boys had taken years of summer horsemanship. We even tried out some cattle sorting but we still considered ourselves novices.  So we purchased nice, trained horses, one of which was considered a "babysitter".  It didn't take long to find out that we were in over our heads.  The trained horses that we bought soon found out that we weren't trained and quickly started taking advantage of us.  When they didn't want to listen and respond, they just didn't.  They were also scared ~ of everything.  One of us was going to get hurt if we did…