Monday, December 7, 2015

Raised, Processed, and Enjoyed

It all started back when Jacob had an idea.  He wanted a turkey - a "farm turkey" to be exact.  Last spring we jumped in and bought 4 turkey poults.  We bought four to be on the safe side because we had heard that turkeys were a little sensitive/tricky to raise.  Also, you do not buy turkeys that have been sexed; so we wanted to try to have at least one tom.  After residing in our house in a box for a while the four turkeys moved to the barn.

Once in the barn those turkeys grew and grew.  We had 2 bronze turkeys and 2 white turkeys.  Turns out we had a hen and a tom of each!  Their names varied daily:  Cougar, Panther, Squirrel, Coconut, etc.  They ate a lot and were rather stinky (sorry, they were).

Processing day(s) came with Big Fish doing most of the work.  Four turkeys landed in our freezer nicely dressed and wrapped ranging in weight from 22 pounds to our giant, white tom tipping the scales at 40 pounds!

We practiced with one of the "smaller" birds for our church Thanksgiving dinner.  It did just fine and tasted great.  Then, we had some out-of-town family combined with more local family all converge for a glorious Thanksgiving feast.  We thawed (in the fridge - so thankful to be babysitting a freezer/fridge for my brother!) that whopper turkey for a week!  Here is a picture with the kids reminding us of the 40 pounds weight:

The challenge was to fit it all in the oven, but Big Fish handled it beautifully!

End result was delicious! We fed 28 people that day and were able to send some leftovers home with people and keep some ourselves. Yum! This was definitely a learning experience, and we are open to raising turkeys again. I do believe Big Fish would like to build a smoker first....mmmmm....smoked turkey legs!

Honestly, the barn area that was the turkey pen is already transformed. We've started a rabbitry! Come on out and take a tour! TTFN!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Throw Your Hat in the Ring!

Gratitude.  I'm feeling that right now, for my business page has reached more than 300 "likes"!  Why don't you head over and participate in the giveaway.....winner to be drawn tomorrow (Friday) afternoon!  I want to do something special as a thank you, and I hope to treat somebody to something fun!

I am feeling the crisp fall air and wanting to get some honey extracted today.  Soap making is happening fast and furious around here too.  It smells pretty good in this house!

Thank you, dear people.  TTFN!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Sunday Lunch

Hello, friends!

Last week we attended a produce auction; we have gone to the same place 3 times previously.  In the past we've bought such things as:  bushels of peaches, pecks of peppers (hi, Peter Piper!), several pie pumpkins, bunches of kale, tons of tomatoes, etc.  This time we came home with 8 heads of broccoli, 3 small baskets of Concord grapes, and over a peck of peppers.  My mother in law bought a 50 lb bag of potatoes, several red cabbages, and some lovely mums.

We were able to slice and freeze the peppers for soups and stews later on, and I made a huge pot of broccoli cheese soup and some broccoli salad.  Did the links work for those recipes?  I also enjoy using Pomona Pectin and was able to make some lower sugar grape jam with my kids popping all the grapes!

So, today's lunch was a delicious conglomeration of many of the above-mentioned items.  With the gift of some of those potatoes from my MIL we had a baked potato (timed bake while we went to church) bar with broccoli cheese soup as one of the toppings.  We also had some leftover broccoli salad as a side.  And then the THIRD form of broccoli was steamed and sprinkled with cheese as another possible potato topping.  My own potato had butter, sour cream, a little cheese, tons of chives (from my herb garden), S&P, and a few bacon crumbles.  The meal was sweetly rounded out with some more produce auction goodness.....pumpkin snickerdoodle cookies using pumpkin puree I had put up last year using those pie pumpkins.

It was an absolutely crazy weird meal with broccoli in so many forms, but we all were quite satisfied and thankful for the auction goodies!  I forgot to mention we also picked up some butternut squash, so I think some Panera-esque soup will be happening soon.

Here's hoping you a cozy fall week.....I love that I can use the word "cozy" a bunch now that some chilliness has set in around here.  TTFN!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Just a Quick Hello!

Hi, friends!

A little greeting on this Monday morning will help the day start right!  I've had snippets of blog posts, but nothing has materialized yet!  This week looks to be kind of a funny week because we are all thinking thoughts of Fall, yet the forecast is calling for some very hot days!

The kids (and I!) are easing into the school routine.  We all love picking out new pencils and notebooks.  Even littlest girl, who is not really in school, was thrilled to have her new green notebook.  I was thrilled it was 17 cents!

We hope (since Labor Day gives us an extra day of Big Fish at home) to process our turkeys this weekend.  The turkeys have been weighed, and Saturday has been designated.  Our biggest tom weighs 50 pounds!!!  Dressed in my freezer we are going to have quite a Thanksgiving dinner.  I'll let you know his final weight.

I am knitting up a storm!  My goal is to make one thing a day to add to my bath and body products, so I am working on washcloths and other little knitted goodies.  I might have to expand to 2 tables and a shelf for display purposes!

Finally for today, our 2nd doe rabbit had her babies last week.  We are excited to see them emerge from their fur nest; there are 6 of the little babies. 

TTFN!  Hope your week is a blessed one!

Friday, August 7, 2015

A Fun Little Happening

We have a lovely lady in our church named Garnet (I even love her name!).  She sits in the pew next to us, but she also happens to live less than 5 minutes from our house.  Here husband Bill passed away this summer; he was the last male charter member of our church actually!  While he was still alive my husband would be part of a crew to help Bill up the stairs into our church sanctuary.

Garnet has been going on and on to me that she wants to give our family a cake!  Her relative is a caterer, and Garnet wanted her to make us a cake for us.  Isn't that so kind?  Well, you should see this cake that is now in my refrigerator!  The obtaining of it was a little story itself!

'Twas a dark night last night.  Thursday evenings I regular drive (about 30 minutes) to Grove City to attend Knit Night at the downtown ice cream shop (Sweet Jeannie's).  Last night after knitting I had to pick up a few groceries as well.  I was more late than usual driving home.

My phone rang with a "restricted" number, so I did not answer.  Just as I heard the beep for a new voicemail I also had a new text message come in from ANOTHER friend saying that Garnet was trying to get in touch.  I hurriedly listened to the voicemail which was indeed Garnet saying she had driven to our house with a cake (!), but she went home because no one seemed to be home.  Now, Garnet had never driven to our house before!  I still am so impressed she tried to find our house around 9 p.m. to give us this cake! 

I do believe she was in our driveway, but since I was at Knit Night and Big Fish had put the kids in bed and was watching a movie the house was pretty dark.  Also, our house is far back off the road; I just can't even imagine Garnet's perseverance!!  They were late in coming because on their (she and a cousin) way back from picking up the cake they came across a huge tree down in the road.  They had to do all kinds of backtracking to get to our area.

Finally I talked to her on the phone and told her I was still driving home and would be coming RIGHT BY her house in about 10 minutes.  Of course she was waiting for me on her front porch, and I picked up this cake.  Just take a minute to look at this cake:

Her relative, whom we have never met, collected from Garnet the information that we have "kids, bees, and other critters running around"; so this is the decal she picked.  I am just tickled pink with those bees all over the sides.  Isn't this just the most lovely thing.....a cake this fancy made especially for us.  What an adventure!  I told Garnet I would show the kids the cake when they woke up in the morning and take a picture.  We cannot wait to eat this!  Thank you, Garnet and your cake-making relative!

TTFN!  We're off to spend the day at Grandma and Grandad's!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Still Here! Busy Summering!

Hello, little blog!  I thought, since the laptop is now in working order (something happened with the hard drive and also something else - I don't know details), I'd check in.  Boy has the time been passing super fast; I can't believe all the back-to-school posts and activities around.

My goal today is to take my camera outside to snap pictures of the fairy garden the girls and I have been putting together.  We had an unwelcome visitor, in the form of a black bear, come around while we were attending a picnic yesterday evening.  We need to re-adjust our garden a bit, for that bear dug up some flowers (I think the bear was attracted to the compost/manure blended in the soil mix).  I also want a picture of the baby bunnies!

Jacob and Abigail are mainly involved in our rabbitry endeavor.  Through the generosity of a teenage friend from church they inherited some rabbit cages, feed, shavings, water bottles, and a rabbit named General.  We acquired 2 doe rabbits from a local breeder.  So, we have one litter that has arrived a couple of weeks ago; and we hope in a few more weeks to have some more babies!  Thankfully the cute little babies become not-so-cute when we use them for our meals.  We have been enjoying taming the 2 mama rabbits, and General was already pretty tame when we obtained him.  What rabbit can resist a hand offering it clover and lettuce?  Oh!  I almost forgot the kids' names for the rabbits:  Abigail has named her rabbit "Verbena" after a flower we have, and Jacob has named his "Red Eye" for practical purposes :)

Finally in this jumble of a post, I tried a new recipe.  Through generosity of another family from church (maybe you should come to our church!) we had some wonderful green beans!!!  For a couple of years now I've read canning articles and canning cookbooks with recipes for dilly beans.....thought I'd try a few jars.  Those pints were put up yesterday, and they look so nice!  The true taste test occurs in 2 weeks.

Well, TTFN!  Off to fill the coffee mug! 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Two Funny Situations

We are busy as my honeybees around here lately!  We hurry to finish the school paperwork, so we can get outside to learn in the outdoor classroom.  Spring means new critters and new plants, and boy do we have ever so much to learn!  I thought I'd share two things that have made me giggle:

Thing the first......I bought 10 blueberry bushes.  The ENTIRE experience was rather in exhausting actually because we didn't just buy most of  the bushes at the local nursery.  Oh no, we found a plant auction that was nearby.  I went with 2 kids while Big Fish took 2 kids to church workday.  Did I mention that 1 of my kids is in the midst of potty training, so there's that.  Ended up I spent 6 hours at the auction because the blueberries didn't go on the block until the end.  Oh well, I did come home with 7 bushes and scavenged 3 more at a nearby nursery. 

A few days later we had the time to put the bushes in the ground.  Wouldn't you know that after Big Fish dug 4-5 holes, and I planted 2 bushes that we decided that soil was not good in that area.  So, we hauled the 10 bushes (heavy in their 2-4 gallon pots) to ANOTHER location; I had to dig up (!) the 2 already-planted ones.  I was just thinking in my mind that if a stranger were peaking in on us they would most definitely think we were insane.  We felt insane finishing up that job too, but at least the blueberry prospects are in the ground in a place we all feel is suitable!

Thing the second.....the great baby turkey transfer.  We've had our 4 young turkeys (named Coconut, Squirrel, Soap, and Chester) in the house until a couple of days ago.  They have enough feathers to be out of the living room...yay!  We chicken-wired up a stall in our barn, and that is their new home.  We are concerned that a racoon or weasel could still get to them though.  Our solution (refer to the insane comment earlier) is to shut the turkeys INTO the racoon trap at night.  The trap is very secure; and our theory is if the trap can keep a racoon in, well it should be able to keep a racoon (or weasel or fox or whatever) out!  So, we are the people who trap our turkeys every night :)  We'll do something different as the fowl get bigger.  I'll keep you posted.

Hope you're having a great Monday wherever you are - TTFN!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Old Recipes

I almost titled this post "Odd Recipes".  My mom passed along a stack of newspaper clippings and other papers of mostly the cooking variety.  I'm sifting through the pile and collecting several yummy sounding ideas that would mainly fall under the "Christmas Cookie" heading.

But there are a few gems.  I tried to include the publications if possible in order to credit these whoppers:

1.  For part of your holiday buffet, please include a Flaming Cabbage.  "Clean a large cabbage.  Curl outer leaves back from top.  Cut out center; hollow it out about 6 in. deep.  Place a canned heat lamp in the cavity.  Place cabbage on serving plate.  Surround with frilly parsley.  Thrust wooden picks through cocktail sausages, and stick into the cabbage.  Stick an olive onto end of each (to protect fingers from flame).  Guests broil their own sausages.  From Betty Crocker's Party Calendar (January idea).

2.  The description of the Nonsweet Almond Hearts just makes me want to rush right out and make them:  "A bland cookie that appeals to those not fond of very sweet things".   From "The Cllector's Cook Book" #59.

3.  Mock Chicken Legs from the February section of Betty Crocker's Party Calender.  It involves canned spiced pork, Wheaties, canned pineapple, etc.

4.  And my personal favorite:  "SPAMwich with Cranberry".  "Cover lightly-toasted bread with sliced SPAM and dab of mustard, then a slice of cheese.  Broil 'til cheese softens.  Top with slice of jellied cranberry; broil again briefly."  From "A treasury of ideas for the Holidays" by General Mills.  Yes!  My life is incomplete.  Someone please make me a spamwich with cranberry.

I'm going to stop at this point.  Let me know if you need other holiday ideas!  TTFN

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Knitting Progress

Today's yarn/knitting update is due to motivation!  My husband's birthday is next week, and I really really wanted to get this sweater done for him.  Let's not think about the fact that I also really really wanted to get it done for his Christmas present....'kay? 

My second motivating influence is brand new yarn from Great Britain!!  I cannot wait to use it and start a cardigan project (for me), but my self-imposed limitation was to finish Big Fish's sweater first!  I'm down to about 10 centimeters on the crewneck collar and then seam up the underarms and weave in the ends.  Woohoo!!  Here's a little picture update:

This small person appeared when I had my camera out:

Joining in on the yarn along today.....also, no picture, but I'm reading a lovely book:  "The Girl of the Limberlost".

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Monday, February 9, 2015


So many things to post that I just get overwhelmed and don't post at all.  Well, maybe I can make a dent in putting my thoughts here by just doing some little snippets. 

Looks like another blogger has been experimenting with sourdough like us....go check it out

I did some internet research and started (ha!) my own sourdough starter!  I went the easiest route and started with a flour and water mixture in a quart jar.  The jar was covered with a coffee filter in order to allow wild yeast to enter.  Well, I feel like I'm raising a little pet now that needs to be fed and kept warm.  So far our kitchen has been warm enough, and I'm happy to report that it works!

In my research, I shared with the kids how some families have maintained a starter for decades.  Well, Abigail has requested I maintain this starter for her family!  No pressure or anything....

We have made some waffles, pancakes, and two batches of bread.  My favorite so far has been the honey wheat sourdough bread - um, yum!!  The waffles were a close second.  The pancakes, well, not so much.  I really think that tasty pancakes can be made with sourdough starter; I just happened to choose a recipe that was just completely sourdough starter with some eggs.  It was too sour!  I'd blend in some milk and flour with maybe a cup of the starter to balance the tanginess.

As I feed the starter, I'm only using rye and whole wheat flours; so I really feel the health benefits in our efforts to improve our eating habits.  I'll leave you with a picture of the wonderful bread we made last week: 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A Wee Bit of an Obsession

So, this is basically a knitting post.  You have been warned.

The New Year combined with cold snow and temperatures combined with Christmas money means I'm basically thinking of knitting and yarn and patterns all the time!!  I am so thankful God created sheep and silk worms.

So, I have discovered (I know, I know, where have I been) Alice Starmore.  I've heard her name several times in knitting circles, but I did not know what all the fuss is about.  Gracious sakes, part of me wishes I hadn't started to dig.  Her

Thanks to a trip to the library, I started with "Aran Knitting".  Now my very own copy is on its way to my house along with a handful of her other books AND yarn from across the pond.  Look at this site!    I used up my Christmas money to buy some delicious yarn from there - Alice Starmore's site.  I cannot wait to share this journey with you.  Bear along with me?  I'm awaiting yarn for a sweater and a hat, so I'll start posting some pictures when there are actual things to show.

Other knitting adventures include starting the sleeves for my husband's sweater.  Hang on, I'll find my camera and join the yarn along sec:

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Picture of the start on the sleeve on a background of a knitted throw I started using thrift store yarn from my mom.  This thrift store yarn is vintage wool - what a find!

I would certainly be remiss if I didn't give a shout out to my friend who reminded of one of my long-neglected websites for buying books.  I bought my Starmore stash from it.  Also?  I love hearing the beep of my mailman's little pickup truck because that means we have a package.  My mailman's name is Denny, and I might have scared him a bit when I ran out to give him a bar of my homemade peppermint soap - I told him maybe just give it to his wife :)

Talk soon, folks; the crockpot needs to be loaded with white wine and garlic chicken thighs for dinner.  TTFN