Monday, October 21

Milking Stand / Stanchion

Building a Stanchion or Milking Stand.
Our goddaughter Shelby and her husband Dave gave us three baby goats last November.

Miss Claudia Milk Mouth, Gretel Buckleberry and Fetus
They are now grown and my youngest goat, the beautiful Miss Claudia Milk Mouth is going to have a baby!

We’re in the middle of a kitchen remodel along with all the other zillion chores around the farm so I just haven’t gotten around to building a milking stand. 
A milking stand is used to immobile a goat for milking and for hoof trimming and vet visits.  The same type of stand can also be used for sheep and sheep sheering.

Saturday, September 14

Debra's Stuffed Peppers

My sister Debra passed away three years ago. Her Birthday is in September so in honor of her I decided to share one of my favorite summer recipes. 

She was a fantastic cook, but didn't write down her recipes, so all were lost when we lost her. Although I did not have a copy of Debra’s recipe,  I created this one to copy the peppers she would bring to our parties and family gatherings.  She used Anaheim peppers which are a little on the hot side.  

Wednesday, September 11

Summer Tomato Sandwich

These are wonderful summer sandwiches,  extremely easy to throw together and oh so delicious.

My husband's friend Roger gave us this recipe. 
During the autumn months Bill and Roger sometimes watch a few football games together on Saturdays,  but during the summer months they sit outside at Roger's Antique store. 

While sitting in the beautiful gardens Roger built, the two of them solve all the world problems, and work up quite an appetite. Roger usually whips them up a couple of these.

I have been hooked ever since Bill showed me how Roger makes them.

Saturday, September 7

Hillside Sidewalk and Stairs

We have a slope on one end of our ranch style home.  Our garage is under the dining room on that end of the house.

There wasn't a patio here when we purchased our house 2 years ago.   And no walk from the back door down to the garage.

Nothing but a worn path through the grass, which has mostly turned into DIRT.  Ugh!

Last year we had a stamped concrete patio installed, but that still did not solve the problem of a walk and stairs down to the garage.

A couple months ago my son called from a construction job site where he was working so I could salvage the large 6 x 6 x 10 pressure treated beams from a playground being torn up.

Friday, August 30

Quick Raspberry Jam

This recipe locks in the summer-fresh-just-picked-from-the-bush raspberry flavor.  And what’s even better, there’s no canning process involved.

I have been using a similar recipe for freezer jam for years, but with strawberries.  This Raspberry Freezer Jam is just as good!
Remember, when choosing berries, fresh from the farm fruit is always best and has the most intense flavor, which in turn produces the best results.

If you are purchasing produce from a grocery store, try to stick with the organic.
If you are concerned about the sugar, Sure-Jell has low sugar and no sugar recipes on their website. But please research the dangers of artificial sweeteners before using!

I use homemade Raspberry Jam as an ingredient in my sauce for my Jamaican Pork Tenderloin, and on Raspberry Sponge Cake.

Tuesday, August 20

Building A Scarecrow

Scarecrow at a festival in New Jersey

A scarecrow is a decoy or mannequin usually in the shape of a human. It is dressed in old clothes and placed in gardens or open fields to discourage birds such as crows or sparrows from feeding on recently sown seed and growing crops.

As its name suggests, it’s supposed to scare away crows from the field or garden.
Mostly they're for decoration, I think.

The first scarecrows in recorded history were made by the Egyptians along the Nile River to protect wheat fields from flocks of quail.  
Egyptian farmers put wooden frames in their fields and covered them with nets.  The farmers hid in the fields and scared the quail into the nets. 

Monday, August 12

Pickle Relish

With an overabundance of cucumbers this year I'm making relish.
This is a hot dog style pickle relish but can be used on anything, it’s that good.  As for hot dogs, we usually don't eat them, unless we find the all-meat, nitrate free ones, which are delicious I have to say.  Did I mention this relish won a 1st Place Blue Ribbon at our County Fair?

About the ingredients:
The results are best if you use fresh from your garden produce or from a local farm market.  Store purchased is bland compared to home grown and fresh, which will affect the flavor of the relish.

And because of that, summer is the best time to make enough pickle relish to last through the winter. I use mostly red bell peppers in this recipe as I find green bell peppers have an overpowering flavor. 
You may want to use half red and half green.  

Use a mixture of red and sweet onions, not only for flavor but also for color.

Thursday, August 8

Natural Tomato Soup

A Healthier Soup Alternative
Tomatoes are ripe on the vine here in Ohio and since I plant my own, I have an abundance!  The smell and taste of a ripe tomato fresh from the garden is one of my favorite summer joys.
But what to do with all those tomatoes can quickly turn into a summer dilemma. 

A few years back,  good friend of my niece Sarah posted a recipe for homemade tomato soup on Facebook.  I changed the recipe after the first year by adding 1 less green bell pepper (over powers the tomatoes) and by adding 1 to 2 extra bay leaves.
I have been making it every summer since. 

It’s a pretty easy process and the soup is delicious, especially in the middle of the winter.

For best results use only fresh produce from your garden or organic produce from a local farm market.  Store purchased produce has no where near the flavor of fresh locally grown, but you probably already know that.

Determining how many tomatoes you need is no easy task.  I have found that I need approximately 12 to 14 pounds of tomatoes to make about 8 pints of soup.  (or one canner load) Or another way to figure it is you need approximately 2 large tomatoes per pint.
I add more tomatoes to mine, making my soup mostly tomatoes with the veggies added for flavor. Adding too many vegetables makes it tastes more like vegetable juice!

Wednesday, July 24

Lake Superior Circle Tour, Canada

Lake Superior Circle Tour and Camping Trip

If you have a sports car or motorcycle this is a drive well worth the time and miles.
The views and scenery are breathtaking and absolutely amazing.  
But you can enjoy them nearly as much from a camper, full size car or van. This is merely the highlights of our Circle Tour trip.  
There is so much more to see and do it is impossible to do on one trip.

What is the Lake Superior Circle Tour? 
It is a 1,300-mile circle tour by highway around the world’s largest and most famous freshwater lake, with scenic shorelines, sandy beaches and towering bluffs.  (We actually ended up driving around 2400 miles)

Saturday, July 20

Cucumbers into Pickles

Easy Homemade Garlic Dill Pickles

I'm always thrilled to find an easy way to make something my family loves.  Pickles were always difficult to get correct because of the whole brine thing.
But now I'm in pickle heaven, with this easy to follow recipe and method.  I have made several batches of pickles since discovering the Ball Kosher Dill Pickle Mix.  I changed the recipe just a little because we like strong dill and garlic flavored pickles like the Deli style Claussen pickle.  The end result is amazing.

Wednesday, July 3

July 4th Party Ideas

Tobacco barn now has a new tin roof
July 4th Party and Decoration Ideas

Oh my gosh, I've been as busy as bees making honey!
We're having a Barbecue this weekend with family and friends to celebrate Independence Day.
Here are a few ideas I'm working on for our party.
We decided to have a "photo opp" spot set up for guests to take snapshots of themselves with Red White and Blue props.  I am using our old "tobacco barn" as the backdrop.

Tuesday, March 19

Johnny Marzetti Recipe and History

I have been making Johnny Marzetti for years and years.  Recently my son asked if I have all my recipes in our family cookbook. 

On further inspection of my cookbook, (a Scrapbook Cookbook I made), I realized that I have not added recipes I use often and know from memory.  For instance my deviled eggs recipe is missing, simply because I just whip them up.   So for the last couple of weeks I have been trying to add recipes that I know the kids love, but I have neglected to write down. 
One of those happens to be the Johnny Marzetti.  I decided to find out a little history on the creation of such an easy, delicious and well known recipe and was surprised to find out it was created right here in Ohio

Wednesday, March 13

Malabar Farm Maple Sugar Festival

It is nearly the end of the season in my region for Maple Syrup making.  But farther north the season is still going strong. 

About an hour and a half drive north from my location is the historical home and farm of Pulitzer prize winner author Louis Bromfield.  His home and the surrounding nearly 1000 acres is now a state park called Malabar Farm State Park, located in Lucas, Ohio.

I love to tour historical sites and if possible, like to tie it in with seasonal activities or a hobby I’m currently involved with, so the Malabar Farm State Park Maple Sugar Festival was perfect for me! 

Friday, February 15

Maple Syrup Making

What I've Learned About The Process So Far
I’m back tapping maple trees this year, having enjoyed last year’s process and syrup making so much that I decided to try it again.

My previous posts, Tapping Maple Trees and Turning Maple Sap into Syrup details my first year tapping our farm's maple trees.

Here are a few things I have learned:

Spiles (tree taps)
There are many types of spiles (tree taps) you can use.  Some are made of a thinner metal, (the ones I purchase from Tractor Supply last year) and some are made of a thicker and stronger material.  Most spiles have hooks for hanging buckets, but some also have a metal lip on top to hold the bucket handle or metal sap bag holders.

Wednesday, February 6

Seed Storage Container

Easy Way To Organize Seed Storage

This is an simple way to organize and store seeds, and makes it easy to inventory the seeds you have on hand.  
I like to separate my seeds by groups or type, that way come spring I know which seeds I need to purchase and which ones I have plenty of. 

What you’ll need:

  • 1 Plastic Storage Container (shoe box size)
  • Card Stock or Index Cards
  • Scissors
  • Glue Stick
  • Seed Packets

Saturday, February 2

Cookbook Scrapbook

When working full time, I needed to make folders for presentation purposes, to show clients what I could do for them.
One day the thought came to me that I could easily use the same concept for a recipe binder.
I have many recipes, some typed, some recipes hand written on index cards or scraps of paper and even recipes torn out of magazines. Retyping all of them as word documents on 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper and putting them in a binder will make it much easier to read and find!

The concept is quite basic, easy and fun to do.

What you'll need:
  • A three ring binder
  • Clear sheet protectors
  • Clear sheet protectors with tabs
  • Scrapbooking paper, magazine pages or color paper
  • Scissors and a glue stick
  • Recipes

Friday, February 1

Orange Marmalade

Since writing this post I entered my Orange Marmalade in the Ohio State Fair and won a 1st Place Blue Ribbon
and a Best of Show! I am tickled...... orange!

1st place and Best of Show Orange Marmalade

Using Leftover Holiday Oranges
I have a few oranges getting close to being "too" ripe, left over from Christmas I think.  Oranges are a tropical fruit and at one time were considered an exotic luxury for anyone not living near Florida, California, or in a Mediterranean climate. 

Thursday, January 24

Garden Plant Stakes

Easy DIY Garden Plant Stakes
It has been in the single digits here in Ohio, even down to -0- degrees one morning this week.
And the wind chill makes it even worst.

This time of year and this kind of weather makes me long for warm summer days and my garden.

Each year I try to mark my vegetable seed rows with a plant marker so I know where the row is and what's in it.

Here is an inexpensive plant stake that's easy to make.

Thursday, January 10

Easy Hay Feeder

Building a Pallet Hay Feeder

We started our goat herd in November of 2012.
Our baby goats, 3 kids, are now about 3 to 3 1/2  months old and finally weaned.

I started shopping around for a good quality hay feeder.  Goats are notorious for wasting hay.  My goat mentor and giver of the goats, Shelby, told me early on that if I wanted to save money on feed and hay, I needed to buy or build feeders.
Goats pull large amounts of hay onto the floor at a time, then once on the floor it is just too dirty and unclean for them to even think about eating!
Spoiled rotten goats, says I.

Monday, January 7

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Making Laundry  Detergent at Home

Seems everyone is super excited that homemade laundry soap saves piles of money.  And that is great news!  But that's not the only thing I considered when I decided to make my own.

After reading a few articles like this one from Natural News called "Your Laundry Detergent may be Hazardous to Your Health"  I decided to research laundry soap a little further. 

We are trying to move towards using more natural products, so was disturbed when reading the list on the EPA's website of what may be in commercial soaps, and that they are of concern to humans, animals and fish:

Surfactants:   Toxicity to aquatic organisms
Builders:   Potential to cause eutrophication in fresh water
Bleaches:  Inherent toxicity and toxic byproducts.
Colorants:  Studies indicate that certain colorants may cause cancer or other adverse health effects
Optical Brighteners:   Potential toxicity to humans
Solvents:  Toxicity to humans and aquatic organisms
Packaging:   Non-reusable or non-recyclable containers

Sunday, January 6

The Old Farmers Exchange

I wrote this in 2007 I think,  and sent it out in an email to family members who might remember the old feed store in the town where we grew up. I was asked about this just a couple days ago and asked if I would post it on this blog.
So here it is:

The Old Grove City Farmers Exchange

While in a committee meeting this morning I got news that the silos for the Grove City Farmers Exchange were going to be torn down. I decided to stop and get a couple photos. There were quite a few other people there, a small crowd even.  There were older people who remember how Grove City used to be, farmers, shop owners, neighbors, even people sitting in lawn chairs, all had come to watch and a few others like me taking photos.

Gift Tags

Homemade Gift Tags

Ever wish you had something you could do with the greeting cards left over from the Holidays?
Here’s a great way to reuse or recycle them.
Make your own homemade one of a kind gift tags!

Use these templates or make your own shape and style: