Saturday seemed to fill with odds and ends. It was a beautiful day. It was so warm in the sun yet nice and cool in the shade. I was very surprised to find out that the high temp of the day was only 69 degrees. Sunday was quite different. We got a little rain and then before you knew it, it was sunny. Since it was my father’s 84th birthday, we met up with he and A for lunch, along with my two brothers and sisters-in-law. We must have enjoyed ourselves because we sat there in the restaurant for three hours!! As we began to peel ourselves off the chairs that were not that comfortable, I wondered, “are we crazy??” None of us would have ever thought we could have handled sitting there for that long! But we did and it was a good time. It was a nice time to just be together and celebrate a man who has been a great father to his children and a man who has earned our respect. It is hard to watch parents age. As frustrated as they get having to deal with the aging process, it is nearly as frustrating watching them not be who they want to be; not being able to do what you know they’ve always loved doing. Sure we joke around about it but only because there’s nothing else we can do about it. We cannot reverse the clock and all the while we watch our parents age, we are aging ourselves. Not fair!! After the birthday lunch we went to where our youngest daughter and her family are camping. We helped them get set up and enjoyed a little time around the fire.
Monday it rained off and on ALL day! It was the kind of day where I just wanted to curl up in a blanket and sip on a hot cup of anything. I did manage to make some Paneer Cheese which comes from India. It is much like Ricotta in that it is easy to spread, very mild in flavor and easy to use. I’m thinking I will use it to make a cheesecake. It is not as smooth as cream cheese but by the time it is mixed into the cheesecake batter I think it would be fine. I shall find out! The whey that is left over from making this cheese is more like milk! I bottled some up to use in baking. Since making the cheese requires bringing the milk to a boil, it is now pasteurized and should keep for some time. It can also be drank. It doesn’t really have a distinct flavor to it so I should use it up quickly.
We have company coming Thursday so I’m doubtful I will be able to post much but maybe tomorrow I can.
I tried something different the day before yesterday. I typically poor milk into my crock pot and warm it to the temperature suggested in the instructions I happen to choose at the time. Seems there are many different suggestions as to what temperature it should be heated to and I’m not sure why. Some heat the milk as high as 180 degrees. Others suggest lower temps. I decided to try something. I brought the fresh warm milk in after milking and added a little of the milk to my yogurt culture from the previous batch. I made sure it was mixed very well. Then I added that to the whole jar of milk, placed it in my oven with the light on to keep the milk warm and let it set for about a minimum of 24 hours or until it was thick. It turned out great! I will be watching it to see how long it lasts. Maybe bringing it to a higher temperature before culturing it, makes it last longer. I will find out. I’m quite sure though that it will be eaten up before I can ever find out! It is creamy and hubby liked it so I do believe I have just made making yogurt easier. Of course if you don’t have a cow, you will need to warm the milk and for that you can choose from any number of recipies on line. I found these containers at Marshall’s. They have a silicone lid on them which is nice. They were a little pricy at $5.00 ea. but they are nice. I believe you can get them on Amazon as well.
The other thing I want to report on is the lemon peels used to make a cleaning solution. I soaked lemon peels in white vinegar the first time and the next time I made it I soaked them in rubbing alcohol. I used a pint jar filled half way with lemon peels and then poored in just enough vinegar or alcohol to cover them. I let them set for a full week or so. I then strained the liquid off into a spray bottle and added water to fill the bottle and a couple drops of Dawn dish soap. So far, I think I like the vinegar solution better but either one seems to be fine. Both are antibacterial. I will probably use vinegar because it is more cost effective and would work better on cutting lime build up on sinks, etc.
That’s all for now. Happy Summer!
In 2015 we took the plunge and tilled our pasture, fertilized and seeded it. Last summer I began to wonder if anything was going to work on it. The weeds were now fertilized and seemed to be equally as plentiful as the new grass. We called the feed store near by and they hooked us up with a man that knows what to do to improve the soil, according to the readings from the soil sample we had sent in. He must know his stuff because he advised us to put potash on and this year it is looking much better. There are still some weeds and I’m sure there always will be but over all the rain we have had has really helped get the grasses growing. I mowed today to keep the weeds from going to seed. Hopefully it wasn’t too late. I was too late last year and it still looks better this year so I am optimistic. I’m sure it won’t be the last time I have to mow it to keep it in good shape. I like mowing. It looks so good when it’s done. As long as we cut it between 6-8 inches, that is long enough for the cow.
Talking about the pasture reminds me of a conversation two of the grandkids had last summer. They were playing farm and kept calling their pasture, “pastor”. One of them said to the other, “Is this the poop pastor?” I had a good laugh to myself be-cause they were just as serious as could be.
We have an old corn crib that will someday be taken right down if it doesn’t fall over first. The structure is quite rotted and wouldn’t hold up to moving it where I would want to use it. There was however, an empty bird’s nest in it that looks to me like a Mourning Dove nest. I took the nest down to find the funniest thing; this nest had woven into it, used zip ties that must have been laying in the driveway by the work trucks or dump trailer. Three of them woven in amongst the sticks! I’d say it was a very smart bird but I doubt that anyone ever taught the bird what a zip tie is. Makes for a nice picture and display.
What a beautiful evening. I look forward to cracking the window open tonight for fresh air while we sleep.
Seems like when summer comes there is a busyness that comes as a result of summers being fairly short and very busy with activities and events. In my mind of planning and mapping out what I should get done and when, I dream of getting the yard work and stuff done early enough that I can then just maintain and enjoy the rest of the summer. Sounds good! Right? I have picked up sticks in the yard at least three times now because of high winds. That doesn’t include the sticks others have helpedpick up! I just have to see it as good exercise. Short grandkids are great. They don’t have to bend over as far and if challenged with an ice cream cone or something special, can go for long enough to make a difference in the work load for me!
The whole family is at a very busy time right now but they’re good times. Four Sisters Farm daughter number one is busy deep cleaning carpets and upholstery while she is able, before she gets too far along in her pregnancy. Daughter number two just closed on a their new home so there will be much cleaning, painting and the usual that goes with the very hard task of moving. All this will happen before their new baby arrives in August! Daughter number three is also in the process of moving their business, “Honey Dew Naturals”, into a bigger and more spacious building. They are rebuilding the interior of a pole barn to suit their needs for production, shipping and all the things that go with running the business. Daughter number four is taking care of her four young children while recovering from surgery and I’m sure will be involved in helping the second sister. All of the husbands bring another dimension to the picture with jobs that require them to “make hay while the sun shines”. This isn’t literal but makes my point. It is all good. Sometimes I wonder how it will all get done but it will. I’m hoping to be of much help where and when I can.
This weekend was busy with some of those events that I always imagine to be perfect just like the ads show us; you know, the cookout for Father’s Day with perfect weather, great food and all the fun that goes with it. Well, hubby’s birthday was Saturday and we had a graduation openhouse at dinner time so daughter number four hosted the cake and ice cream celebration. Oh how beautiful and delicious the cake was! It has quickly become the family favorite chocolate cake. We had a very nice time. Sunday of course was Father’s Day. As the whole weekend was rainy off and on, we didn’t do much. None of the perfect cookouts happened but it was all good. The rain is still appreciated since at one point it looked like June might be too dry. Not so! This week looks to be cooler in temperatures so it may help in getting some things accomplished that the hot weather seems to make difficult.
Enjoy the picture of the birthday cake! It is calorie free! (The picture that is.)
I managed to get outside today and get at some weeding and tidying up of the landscape around the front of the house and out in my “Moon Garden”. In a perfect world, the Rose Chafers wouldn’t destroy beautiful flowers, and the wind and rain wouldn’t take the flowers that aren’t eaten by bugs, down! But it still looks nice and is surprisingly still rewarding. Once I get started at weeding I can’t hardly make myself quit. I’m a little obsessed with getting all the weeds. I spent 7 1/2 hours picking up sticks (that the wind blew out of the trees), pulling weeds and Maple seedlings that the rain seems to water frequently and raking up the weeds that I pulled. Needless to say, most of the day was spent bent over, kneeling down or sitting on the ground. And,,,,,,I’m not done; almost but not quite. Such satisfaction comes from it though. I do look forward to finishing.
When you do nothing else but weed allllllll day long, there isn’t much else to write except “good night!”
I shall return!
I did a little work in the yard today after running a couple of errands. I didn’t get a whole lot done as it began to rain. We are getting enough rain that the flowers and lawn are just beautiful. Rain water makes such a difference in the health of a plant. Have you ever noticed, you can water from the faucet faithfully but let it rain on any plant and it thrives like you never did water it. I have put into place two rain barrels and they are full most of the time. It really doesn’t take much rain to keep them filled. Even our small tool shed roof fills a barrel quit quickly. This year I put goldfish in the rain barrels as well as the pond. I must say we don’t have the mosquitoes that we could have. The fish are really eating up the larvae. Now if I could find a spray to take care of the flies! They aren’t too bad around the house but poor Gennycow has really had a time. I’m in the process of trying many of the DIY fly sprays. We shall see if anything works. Also I’m on the hunt for anything that will take care of the Rose Chafers. If I could just find something they didn’t like that would keep them off the plants I spray. I refuse to resort to chemical sprays. There has to be something out there.
It can be pretty amazing. As I sit in my porch, the evening comes to a close but not without interesting sites and sounds. It started out quite sunny. Within an hour, the sky was blue/gray. For a while the winds kicked up and I got to see a pine tree explode in yellow pollen. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen that happen before. It was amazing how much pollen came out. Soon a little rain came with a lovely sound on the roof. We must have a mocking bird. I am seeing it from a distance and the songs it sings are too numerous to remember. It fakes me out almost daily. I think I’m hearing a Cardinal, then it will sing another call like an Oriole or some other bird. It mimics so many other birds, the only way I know all of those different birds aren’t out there is because it sings all of it’s songs, one right after the other. So it’s as if several different birds are sitting in the same spot on the same branch, singing all of their songs, taking turns, one right after another. It is quite impressive actually.
Today’s flowers that popped out are the Peonies and the Siberian Iris. The Clematis is blooming and the Roses are ready to burst open. They have lots of buds. If only the flowers would stay in bloom all summer. What a site that would be! These are by the pond. They just don’t last long enough; nothing seems to. Reblooming roses are nice. They stay in bloom most of the summer.
Lovely are the days with flowers; summer bouquets.
Hubby and I began our friendship in England while on a college travel study program. The time we spent there was great and we love the beauty of the countryside. Years later I began writing to a pen pal (pen friend as she would say) and have kept in touch ever since. Infact she has been some of my inspiration to blog. She blogs about her frugal life and I enjoy reading it. It is amazing to me how much we are alike in so many ways. We are close in age, have raised similar size families, lived in similar homes and done many of the same things on our homesteads. Best of all, we both love being frugal. This morning I am reminded of England as I look out and see the morning fog over the neighbors field. It is quickly dissipating as the sun rises. It is forecasted to be very warm today so my list of things I hope to accomplish needs to be checked off by outside work first. I have a feeling I will want to come in when it is 80 degrees out. The house will feel cool and comfy. I purchased annuals yesterday for pots that grace the entries and patio. My dream would be to raise all of my own annuals but I’m not there yet.
This is a short post for me but I must get at the day as the sun has already moved a considerable amount in the sky and isn’t going to slow down for me! I shall return, hopefully with a better post and a picture.
I don’t know that I’ve ever seen June begin like it has this year. The trees are fully leafed out, the Lilacs are all but done and gone, we have been mowing for weeks now and the lawns or so lush. The smell of Lily of the Valley is beyond wonderful. I could stand a whole summer like this and not be disappointed. Yes, many people like it hot but I’m very happy with 70’s. It’s warm enough for almost anything but swimming, of which I never cry if I don’t get the opportunity to swim. It is also cool enough at night to sleep well with the window open. There is something different this year with the birds. It’s as if the birds are singing more than usual. I’m not kidding! You’d think there was some kind of bird singing competition going on! This morning they were going at it by 5:00 and I didn’t even want to go back to sleep because it was a very nice way to wake up. My favorite room in the summer is the front porch. I love it in the morning. It faces the East; perfect for watching the sunrise. It’s almost always cool enough in the morning to enjoy a couple cups of coffee before going to milk Genny. In the evening it’s a place of unwinding and listening to the birds as they brag about their happenings. It’s a place of pondering the day’s events and remembering the things that are most valuable. It’s a place of planning the next day or dreaming of the things that are on the “To Do” list. It’s a wonderful place to sit and listen to the rain. I have even found it possible once in a while to tip the head back, soak in the warmth and catch a few winks of a nap. It is even more lovely when there are simple bouquets gracing the tables. June it is and memorable it will be.
Have you ever heard of feeding your dairy cow (or any cow for that matter) Baking Soda? Yep, the same stuff you put in your baked goods! Our friends that we bought this cow from told us about having baking soda available to her, that they will eat it when their systems need it. I would never have believed it but it is true. There was a time when I actually called our friends and asked them “how much is too much?” I was told that she would only eat it until she didn’t need it anymore and to let her have as much as she wanted. Well, that’s the way it works. She will take a little now and then and then she won’t touch it for quite some time. Only once have I seen her go through a 4lb. box in just a few days. Same with free choice minerals, she will eat what her body needs and that’s it. Amazing; if only I could be so in tune with my body that I only ate what I needed! I order the baking soda from Walmart if I’m not already making a stop there. It’s nice to have it delivered to the door and not have to go into the store. The hand sanitizer is something I keep on hand for our own use but I was quite impressed last year to find that it worked on the condition she had on her udder after her milk came in. It seemed to clear up much quicker by putting that on it after each milking. It is a condition where the udder enlarges and swells, causing the skin to crack and get a rough sore. In everything I’ve read, no one knows for sure whether it’s caused by bacteria or something else. There is also no known absolutes about how to treat it. Some say to keep it dry; others say to keep it soft. I have treated her for two years in a row now and this past year was the best as far as getting rid of it more quickly. The first year I tried washing it each morning and spraying it with Iodine. It was four to five months before it was completely gone. This last year I washed the udder each morning and put a good dose of hand sanitizer on the affected area. It was gone in about three months and never did get as bad as the previous year. I hope it wasn’t just coincidence that it went away more quickly. I think the alcohol in the sanitizer might be not only a bacterial killer but also a drying agent. We shall see if it happens next fall when she calves again. The bottle of spray cleaner is just a DIY cleaner. This is made with 1part water and 1 part rubbing alcohol and a couple drops of Dawn. I use this to wipe the counter down, the refrigerator, the milking machine and anything that needs cleaning.
I shall be back soon.
Every year I think there isn’t anyone graduating that we know of and every year I am surprised to get four or five invitations to open houses! Saturday was our first one. It was very nice because it was my nephew’s son’s graduation party so it was basically a nice family reunion. It was a beautiful day as well. Sunday was quite nice but Sunday evening brought a change in things. Our youngest daughter had stomach pains come on quite suddenly so she ended up going in to get checked out. Sure enough, she had to have her appendix out! Fortunately they were able to do the less invasive procedure with only three little tiny inscissions. Now it’s wait till the soreness goes away and don’t lift the eight month old to nurse him! Poor girl. This is not the way she wanted to start her summer but I’m sure she will be back on her feet again soon. We did manage to celebrate her six year old’s birthday Monday evening. She was able to get home in time from the hospital.
Hopefully I will get back to writing as usual soon but this week looks to be rather scrambled so I will not make any promises! The picture is of what I picked from the yard. Is there anything sweeter than apple blossoms and For-Get-Me-Nots? The Lilacs are out and the Lily of the Valley are coming on as well. It is a glorious time of year in the yard for sure.
Soon to return