Window Project & Ramblings

Our 100 year old farmhouse has had several additions to it over the years from evidence seen in the attic and a from few pictures we’ve received from previous owners and tenants.  The most recent one being a bedroom added over the bath and laundry room that is also not original to the ‘ol farmhouse.

Originally, there was a window over the stairwell which helped illuminate the upstairs landing as well as the stairwell.  With the addition of the bedroom, the window was removed for the obvious reason of privacy for the occupant in the bedroom.

I might’ve been OK with it except that what I saw every time I went upstairs (which is several times a day because all the bedrooms are up there as well as my sewing and craft space) well, it drove me nuts because it literally looked like a window had been removed and boarded up on one side.

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I tried making it tolerable by adding a pretty hand-painted indoor barn quilt that was given to me by a friend.  It certainly helped but it still drove me nuts.  (Short drive, I know.  And, hush up those of you who know me, ha!)

After CountryBoy demoed the well-house…

 

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yikes!!!

 

I saw the window from the front of it leaning against a tree and got the brilliant idea of putting a window back where there was originally a window.

Now, in true Dream Valley Farmstead fashion, we reuse whatever we can on whatever we’re working on so I went to work on cleaning up the well-house window…

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The whole well-house had been swallowed up by a red trumpet vine so there were bits of roots of the vine stuck to the window.  I simply sanded the window down a bit, washed it then handed it off.

Poor CountryBoy, as usual, had to figure out how to turn my vision into reality.  He pondered it briefly then went to work…

yikes

He made quick work of the demo and set about determining where to cut into the paneling on the bedroom side…

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(Please ignore the discoloration of the walls.  We have done nothing to this room short of removing the closet where the head of the bed is and building a bed frame and headboard.  It’s on the to-do list one day!)

After some careful measuring and cutting we now had a hole in the wall and, a big mess on the floors.  Too late to change my mind now!

Before long the window was installed and the mess cleaned up…

I really like how it turned out even though it may seem kinda strange to be able to look into a bedroom from another room.  (See my sewing machine in the picture on the right?)  Since the décor of this room is our ‘ode to Florida’ and all things beachy my plan is to add working shutters in the bedroom.  They will be left open to allow the light to come through but can be closed when we have guests.  Meanwhile, until we actually tackle this room, my plan is to hang a quilt over the window if we have guests.

The stair side of the window still is not finished.  I need to get a piece of drywall next time we’re in town…

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The drywall installation will be up to me as CountryBoy would prefer to have nothing to do with drywall if at all possible.  I don’t blame him, really, as I’m not a big fan either but it’s the cheapest solution to finishing this project and finally, finishing this wall.  As you can see from the stains on the wall, I’ve done nothing to this wall either, short of removing a shelf that was over the window-less window and partially removing a wallpaper border.

I will be thrilled to have this wall finished one day but I am really enjoying the daylight that is helping lighten up my sewing and craft space as well as the stairway.  Yay!

Now for some rambling…

I have the day off so along with plans to write a blog post I decided to whip up a couple of things in the kitchen.  First up, was a batch of oil-pulling discs.

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My mouth and gums have been bothering me lately, as in feeling raw, so I decided to do something about it.  If you’ve never heard of oil-pulling then I suggest you Google it as there are much better sources out there than can explain the benefits of it far better than I could ever attempt to do so.

Anyhoo, it’s very simple to make some ready-to-use oil pulling discs by simply melting some coconut oil, letting it cool a bit and then dropping just less than a tablespoonful into the silicon candy molds.  I chose to add about ten drops of Thieves essential oil to the cooled coconut oil since the clove in this Thieves blend is beneficial for oral care.

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These silicon candy molds are awesome!  I popped out the discs and will store them in the fridge just to be sure the coconut oil doesn’t melt.  Using one a day this batch will last a little over three weeks.

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I also decided I wanted to have a hot chocolate mix on hand.  Some days and/or nights just beg for a cuppa hot cocoa!  Since I don’t like all the ingredients added to store-bought mixes I knew I needed to make my own so I checked Pinterest (what did we ever do before Google and Pinterest?!) and found a dairy-free hot chocolate mix recipe.

Why dairy free?  Well, I don’t have any powdered milk on hand nor do I usually keep it in my pantry.  We also like our hot chocolate made with whole milk rather than water so I didn’t see the need in having powdered milk already in the mix.  Thankfully, I found a recipe that didn’t call for powdered milk and I had all the ingredients in my pantry.

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I did substitute some white chocolate instead of the whole chocolate chips the recipe called for.  I also mixed all of it in my food processor, white chocolate and all, to make for a smooth and powdery mix.  I can’t wait to taste it as it smells so yummy!

Living 30 minutes from anywhere (as my brother likes to say!) it’s important to me to keep a well-stocked pantry.  I have spent the last several years learning what items are handy to have on hand and what, for us, makes a well-stocked pantry.  And, I’m not talking about having a pantry or freezer full of boxed or man-made foods (which really isn’t food but don’t get me going on that…)  It’s things like flours, sugars, home-canned veggies, coffee, tea, unsweetened cocoa, baking goods, yeast, etc.  It’s a good feeling being able to make things, even on a whim, because of my well-stocked pantry.  Yay!

And, in other news, my first column was published the week of Thanksgiving…

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Now that the stress and learning curve of my first article is done I’m excited to write some more.  I’ve had quite a few compliments to the point where I literally felt my cheeks turning red.  In fact, they’re turning red as I type this.  Mercy!  I guess that’s what happens when a shy girl that would rather be behind the scenes and definitely behind the camera is now in the spotlight.  As I often say around here, YIKES!

 

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Piddled & Foraged

I had the day off today.

I stayed in my house clothes the.entire.day. and it was awesome!!!  I have come to treasure these kinda days since I am now back in the workforce.

I didn’t have anything in particular that I wanted to get done so I just started piddling.

I wandered into the greenhouse and started straightening it up a bit.  It seems I am forever finding permanent homes for all our stuff.  And, it doesn’t seem to matter that I have tried to eliminate unnecessary stuff.  There’s still lots.of.stuff.

But, I digress.

I ended up rearranging a few of the plants that were brought indoors for the winter months; cleaned up the dusty, dirty heater CountryBoy brought in to the greenhouse for use on the below freezing nights; and I repotted one of my mint plants.

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It smelled so good and minty fresh!

I also spent some time foraging around the farm.  Not the typical kind of foraging for herbs and shrooms and such, but foraging for items that were here when we moved in that could be used as décor or other purposeful items.

One such thing was a beat up galvanized bucket that I had thrown a bunch of broken glass and metal bits in when we were cleaning up the small garden.  I decided I wanted to use it to hold a hanging plant from a pulley so I grabbed the bucket from the garden, cleaned it out and CountryBoy hung it up for me.

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I told ya it was beat up!  This plant normally hangs on a shepherds hook outside the greenhouse so I wanted to leave the original container in tack but wanted to put it in something more decorative and this did the trick.

Here’s another plant I put in another galvanized bucket that was left here…

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This plant is usually on the front porch on a plant stand.  I think I have a thing for plants in galvanized buckets (wink!).

It was pleasantly warm working in the greenhouse – out of the wind and cold.  I even had some company…

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Creamsicle and…

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Greyfus – also known as ‘the boys’!  They enjoy the greenhouse both day and night, that is, when they’re not out hunting for something a little more tasty than dry cat food!

CountryBoy had to remove Greyfus from his ‘bed’ so that he could get our old work jackets to put back in the truck.  (It never hurts to have something warm in your vehicle during the winter months, you know, just in case.)

Another item I found in the tack room while I was looking for greenhouse stuff was a small wooden shelf.  My mind immediately saw it being used as a spice rack.  But would it fit the space I wanted to put it?  After I finished up in the greenhouse I went back to the tack room in the barn and grabbed it. Mercy was it ever dirty!  I scrubbed it down and brought it in to see if it would fit.  It did, woohoo!

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I can’t remember whether this shelf was in one of the guestrooms or the loft that is now my sewing room but we took everything down so that we could paint the walls.  Wherever it was originally it ended up in the barn but is now back in the house being used as my spice rack.  And, it’s perfect!

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The spice rack I was using was custom made by CountryBoy for the fifth wheel but it was too small for the house and I had spices everywhere – to the right of the stove, to the left of the stove on a shelf and in the pantry.  Now, I have all my spices in one area.  Sweet!

I really love foraging and finding items that I already have and being able to put them to use maybe even in a completely different fashion than they were originally intended.  And, the price is always right!

(By the way, I am still trying to figure out where my missing photo files are.  sigh.)

 

Squirrel! and Some News

This blog post originally started out with the intention of revealing the interior of the greenhouse but as I was digging back through my mountains of photos squirrel!

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If you’ve ever watched the animated movie ‘Up’ then you know exactly what that means.  If not, well, it refers to a pack of dogs that are easily distracted by a squirrel and stop mid-sentence (again, you’ll have to watch the movie!) and say ‘squirrel’.

So, as I was saying… I was looking through my mountains of images for photos of the progression of the greenhouse and all the work that was involved when I ran into a glitch and was getting an error message that my program couldn’t find the image.  sigh.  I know you don’t really have a clue what I’m talking about but, as I was searching for the correct catalog and files I came across some photos I had taken several years ago when we were traveling and working out West.

In fact, the above photo of the squirrel was taken when we visited the Grand Canyon.   I won’t bore you with a bunch of pictures but here’s one of my favorite shots of the canyon showcasing the Colorado River…

grand canyon 2 CountryBoy and I had the privilege of swimming in the Colorado River several times when we were in Nevada.  The water is crystal clear and was a much-needed relief from the triple-digit weather in the summer months.

CountryBoy’s trade as a Millwright allowed us the opportunity to travel and work.  We traveled for three years working and saving money to buy what is now Dream Valley Farmstead.  Most of our three years was spent in Idaho, Nevada, and Arizona with the last job being in Texas which is where we were working when we saw our future farm for sale on the Internet.

He worked ten or twelve hour days, six sometimes seven days a week but when he had some time off or was in between jobs we got to do some sight-seeing which we loved.

One of those off-times we headed to Yellowstone and the Tetons.

tetons 1 It was a dreary day when we were there but I think it just adds to the ‘Wow’ factor of the Grand Tetons.

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So beautiful!

The green grass, trees and water was a nice reprieve from the Mojave Dessert where our fifth wheel was parked in Nevada.

In some ways we miss our traveling days but we traveled to fulfill a dream and along the way we reaped the benefits of seeing some beautiful countryside.

Now we live in our own little piece of beautiful countryside and we couldn’t be happier!

We are slowly reclaiming our rundown farm, meeting awesome people and making ourselves right at home here in the Appalachians.

Speaking of meeting people, I met a sweet lady at the Farmer’s Market last summer where we both were vendors.  She reads this here little blog o’ mine and, come to find out, she is the editor of our local newspaper and, (here’s the ‘some news’ part of this blog post) she has asked if I would write a column for the Citizens Voice & Times!  What?!  I’ve never, in my fifty some years of life, done anything like this before but, I said I’d give it a go since the subject of the column will be very similar to my blog.  Now to try and get that first article written and have a decent head shot of me taken.  I think the head shot will be the hardest of the two since I’d rather be BEHIND the camera as you witnessed in the above photos.  Not in front of it!  But, besides the photo-of-me-bit, I’m very excited about this opportunity and am looking forward to growing as a writer and seeing where it may lead.

Now if I can just find those other photos so I can finish my original blog post…

Honey Harvest and a Dream

I mentioned in my last blog post about our decision to remove the honey super from the hive in order to reduce the size of the hive to make it more manageable for the bees to maintain and to help keep them warm during the winter months.  Yesterday, I had a few hours before I had to go in to work so we decided to try to harvest the honey.

We only had four partially capped frames so we didn’t think it was worth using the extractor and then having to clean it up.  Well, after uncapping one side of the frame and letting it drain for an hour or so we decided that method wasn’t going to cut it.

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Not much honey, huh?  It would take a month of Sundays to extract our four partially capped frames!  So, we broke down and got out the extractor.

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It can hold two frames at a time so we uncapped both sides of two frames and put them in the extractor.

CountryBoy set himself up in front of the TV and started cranking.

For this extractor, each set of frames needs to be cranked for ten to fifteen minutes per side then you flip the frames over and do the same for the other side.

We didn’t think we would get much honey since none of the four frames were completely capped and filled with honey but what a pleasant surprise when our first pint jar filled up and there was still some honey left in the extractor.  I grabbed a quart size jar and, lo and behold, THAT jar filled up!

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To say we were pleasantly surprised and ecstatic is an understatement!

It was totally worth breaking out the extractor because it did a mighty fine job of getting the honey out of the comb in a timely manner.

Now, while all this is going on, I was also putting up the pinto beans we harvested during the summer months and had stored in the freezer.

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I wanted to have beans that were ready to use at a moments notice so keeping them in their frozen state would not suffice.  (I was also tired of seeing the shelled beans we harvested right before the first frost and put in the fridge staring at me every time I opened the fridge door!)  So, since I had a few hours that morning why not put all of ’em up!

I now have eight pint jars of pinto beans canned and ready for use.  Yay!

These eight jars were the results of a couple dozen plants.  We’ll see how long these jars last us but, next year, I’d like to double that.  Not having to buy canned beans during the winter would be a good thing!

On my way in to work later that morning, I had this overwhelming feeling of excitement and accomplishment.  It’s difficult to explain the feeling but those four hours we spent harvesting honey from our bees and putting up our homegrown pinto beans is precisely why we bought this farm – to become more self-sufficient, to know where our food comes from, to be less-reliant on outside food sources, to meet like-minded people, etc.  And, as I look at my jars of honey being proudly displayed on my coffee bar, they remind me of the dream we had before buying this farm and that we are now living that dream.  Now, I’m not saying living the dream is all peaches and cream because life is just not that way.  There are ups and downs as in anything so, be a dreamer and make strides towards accomplishing that dream but be realistic as well because it’s worth it.

I am reminded of a retirement meeting that CountryBoy and I attended while we were working in EMS (Emergency Medical Services) in Florida.  The speaker asked everyone to state what they wanted to do when they retired.  Many mentioned wanting to retire to a condo on the beach or have a cabin in the mountains.  Then, it came our turn… we both stated we wanted a farm!  The response from the instructor… “a farm?!  Don’t you know that’s a lot of work?”  Hahaha!  Yes, we know it’s a lot of work but, let me tell ya’, it’s fulfilling and rewarding work and we wouldn’t change a thing!

 

Another Day Off

Two days off in a row with nothing pressing to do.  Wow!  For a second, I was overwhelmed, again, with deciding what I should accomplish today.  It literally only lasted for a second though!

While CountryBoy was whipping up some breakfast I decided to pay a few of the ever-growing pile of bills.

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That pile may not seem very large to some people but to me, it’s WAY more than I wanted when we moved here two and a half years ago.  Add in house insurance, vehicle insurance, health insurance and property taxes throughout the year and there you have my whole reason for going back to work outside the home.  The sum is just too much.

My ideal when we moved was to simplify our lifestyle and keep it simple but the reality of it all is very difficult to do in this modern age that we live.  Everything is expensive.  From food to fuel to fashion.  We have managed to conquer simplicity and savings in some areas of our life such as growing much of our food and, fashion?  we shop thrift stores, but fuel? it’s something we have no control over and it’s a necessity.  Not only is it needed to go to and from work but also fuel is necessary to keep the farm mowed, weed-whacked and bush-hogged.  And, short of going completely off-grid, there will always be bills to be paid.  I am, however, working on a plan towards a debt-free lifestyle within the next five years.  Vehicle, mortgage and all.  It’s definitely a goal and one that I am working hard to accomplish.

Enough about that.  It’s depressing.

Let’s talk about BEES!!!

One of my bosses has bees so at our party last night (which was so much fun!) I asked her what she was planning on doing or had already done to winterize her bees.

She said she will put the reducer on, treat for varroa mites, reduce the size of the hive and she’s pondering insulating three sides.

We were thinking along the same lines so while I had the whole day off today I thought it would be a good time to tackle the hive.

I added the reducer this morning then when the sun came out we pulled the cover off and removed the honey super.

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LOTS of bees just hanging out!

I suited up (what little suit I have) and started the process of closing it back up without squishing any bees.

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After a few minutes of sliding the inner cover on and over the bees and brushing the rest of them off the edge I managed to get it all put back together.  And, I might add, without getting stung this time.  Yay!

The smaller hive is now more manageable for the bees during the winter months and will help keep them warm.

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We had left the honey super sitting on a dolly near the hive for the rest of the day.  Eventually the bees left it and just before nightfall I brought it up to the house and put it in the greenhouse for the night.

Upon inspection of the supers I found some capped honey on a few of the frames!  Tomorrow, before heading in to work, I plan on uncapping it and extracting the honey.  This will be our first honey harvest and definitely another learning experience.  I’ll let ya know how it goes!

 

 

 

 

 

A Rainy Day Off

It’s a wonderfully cool, rainy day today and I have no place I have to be until this evening.  I’m lounging around in my comfy house clothes, doing whatever I feel like doing and I’m lovin’ it!

I woke up this morning with nothing pressing to do.  It was almost overwhelming deciding what I should accomplish today as I have many unfinished projects but I quickly decided to write a blog post and just chill.

Originally, I wanted to spend some time in my sewing room working on the many unfinished quilts I have draped over a rocking chair.  Quilts such as this one…

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It’s a wall-hanging that I quickly basted to get it off the guestroom floor before our first batch of company came last week.  Unfortunately, when I picked it up, the backing had a huge folded crease smack-dab in the center of it.  Talk about a let-down (sniff!).  Now, I have to un-baste half of it and re-do it before I can quilt it.   So, I decided to work on another unfinished project that stares at me every time I’m sitting in the living room…

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a stamped cross-stitch table topper with, of course, chickens on it!  This is the last set of chickens to be stitched then it’s on to the back-stitching and it’s done.  So, since I’m so close to being done I’ve decided to work on it today and forego doing anything in the sewing room.  Winter is fast approaching where I’ll have time aplenty to be up there working on my many projects.

Other than a staff party this evening at one of the girls’ house, there is nothing scribbled on my planner.   There hasn’t been a blank day in months so, to say that I am enjoying this cool, rainy day immensely is an understatement!

I’m also looking forward to the party tonight.  We’ve had a busy month at the B&B and tonight we’re all going to eat, laugh and chill out.  Last night, I cut up some fruit and dropped them into some orange juice, apple juice and NingXia Red (a delicious fruit juice and essential oils beverage full of anti-oxidants from Young Living) for an alcohol-free Sangria to which I’ll add sparkling white grape and cranberry juices before serving and this morning I made a Mexican Layer Dip to take to the party.

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MMMmmm!  I can’t wait to dig in to all the goodies everyone brings.

This morning there was a mist over the mountain-top across the street.

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The foliage has been beautiful this Fall!  They were late in turning but it was worth the delay.  This year has been the brightest and prettiest since we’ve moved here.  I don’t know if this ‘raised in Florida’ gal will ever tire of Fall and its colors, cool air and all its beauty!

Speaking of beauty, this Clematis bloomed last week.

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It has survived several cold nights and even a frosty night or two.  I’ve planted these at the base of the arbor.  I’m looking forward to the day when it is covered with these beauties and welcoming guests to the front porch!

 

 

Garden Remnants

While much of the garden has already been harvested or is slowly petering out there are a few things that remain.

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Gone are the corn and corn stalks, potatoes, cucumbers and the pinto beans we planted.

What’s petering out are the tomatoes we planted and the okra is slowing down as well.

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And, although the okra is slowing down it will still produce until we get a good frost and that’s OK with us!

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We had some volunteer tomatoes show up that we’ve done nothing for them except let them be…

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We have no idea what kind of tomatoes they are but the plants are low to the ground and the tomatoes are small, grow in clusters and are extremely delicious!

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Here’s to hoping our first frost holds off so they can ripen!

Other garden volunteers have been a few pinto bean plants that showed up after the others were harvested…

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These are filling out nicely and will soon be ready to harvest.

The beets are bursting out of the ground and are just waiting for me to have some time to harvest and put them up….

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I see some pickled beets in the near future.  Yum!

The turnips?  We have no idea what’s going on with them.  The greens are looking good but there are little to no turnips.  Maybe we’ll just harvest some greens this year.  Who knows!

The lima beans are taking their time in filling out but it won’t be long until they are ready to be harvested as well…

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A recent planting in late summer were some cabbages…

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They are HUGE!  Some of these will be eaten fresh and the others will be made into sauerkraut.  That is, if I can find a fail-safe recipe.  The last batch I made was WAAAYYY too salty (thanks to guessing at the weight of cabbage vs. amount of salt needed per pound.  I now have a kitchen scale so maybe my recipe will work)

Although our garden was smaller this year than previous years we managed to get a nice yield from it.  We were able to put up enough for eating during the winter months as well as even sell some at our local Farmer’s Market.  Overall, it was another good year.

And, always ready to assist in whatever’s going on is Greyfus…

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OK, so it’s more like getting under foot in whatever’s going on but, nonetheless, he is our trusty helper and a sweet boy!

 

 

 

 

Corn, Corn, Corn

Have y’all ever watched the movie ‘Secondhand Lions’?  If not, you should!  It’s one of the few movies that I could watch over and over again.  There’s a scene in there where the phrase “corn, corn, corn” is said.  Well, that’s what we have going on this week at the farm…

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Lots of pickin’ and shuckin’!  CountryBoy was able to harvest the corn before the wildlife got too many cobs.  This is our best crop to date!

As I write this blog post he is getting ready to blanch the nicest cobs then freeze them.  The other cobs will be de-cobbed and canned.

He put up five quarts the other day while I was at work.

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This was his first time using the pressure canner by himself.  After reading the instructions in the Ball Canning Book and several phone calls to me, he successfully conquered the pressure canner!

He saved the cobs for me so I could try something…

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Corn Cob Jelly!  Yep, you read that right, ha!

I had read that this jelly tastes like honey and since I LOVE honey I had to try it.  Of course the whole ‘waste not, want not’ ideal was very appealing to me as well, so yesterday, I made eleven half-pints of corn cob jelly.

I just ate some on a piece of toast and I have to say, it’s pretty yummy and it does taste a lot like honey but with the texture of jelly.  On another piece of toast I added some crunchy peanut butter with the jelly.  That’s pretty good, too!

After I was finished with the cobs for the jelly the chickens got to enjoy them!

I must say, getting multiple uses from one source is very exciting to me!  Canned corn, corn cob jelly and corn cob treats for the chickens – what’s not to love?!  Truly a waste not, want not ideal!

We’re planning on canning the majority of the corn this year so we’ll be making a lot more of this jelly.  These will make great gifts as well as selling some at our Farmers Market and possibly some in the gift shop at the B&B where I work.

Speaking of selling jellies, we finally got our Home Based Processors license.  Woohoo! We can officially sell jams & jellies and low-acidic canned goods at our local Farmer’s Market as long as the majority of ingredients are locally grown.  I’d have to say that our Corn Cob Jelly would qualify!

Another exciting find this week…

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Our first green egg!!!

One of the ‘babies’ laid an egg AND she even laid it in a nest box!  Proud Mama moment, heehee!

They are only four months old so this is about a month early.  Needless to say, we were very surprised.  Oh, and it was very tasty even though it was so small!

What’s happening at YOUR place?

Be Our Guest

Be our guest, Be our guest, Put our service to the test
Tie your napkin ’round your neck, cherie
And we provide the rest…

Were you singing that as you read it?!

Sorry, I used to work at Walt Disney World and couldn’t resist, hahaha!

Anyhoo, our first guest room is coming along.  Two and half years later but, hey, they tell me Rome wasn’t built in a day (wink!)

We have company coming this weekend and the next so I’ve been working on it bit by bit over the past two months.  First up are my nephew and his lovely wife stopping by for a few days then CountryBoy’s folks are heading this way.  It will good to see and spend time with all of them!

So, let me show you what this room looked when we moved in…

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It certainly was bright with glow-in-the-dark stars stuck to and hanging from the ceiling!

While I do like yellow walls I usually go for more of a buttery yellow so we painted, added some wood panels to the lower part of the wall and painted the floor since I couldn’t get it to look clean and I couldn’t get the paint off.

Here’s what the room looks like today…

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We switched the fan out with the one that was in my sewing room.  Since there is no central heat or air we put a box fan in the window to bring in the cool night air during the spring, summer and fall and there’s an electric fireplace for the winter nights.

We brought the white cabinet with us and I’m using it to store extra quilts and afghans as well as a few baby quilts that are for sale when the opportunity arises to set up a table somewhere since I no longer have my Etsy store.  Which, by the way, is a long story but basically Etsy was asking their sellers to do something I was not comfortable with and since they issued an ultimatum to either comply or be suspended I chose to close my store.  Someday, somehow, I’ll have a venue to sell some stuff.  Meanwhile, they sit in this cabinet and in a plastic tote.

There’s a luggage rack for ease of getting into one’s luggage and the military trunk I refinished stores old work shirts and miscellaneous stuff.

As I was editing the photos I noticed my printer cover draped over the quilt frame.  I promptly went up there and removed it and put it on my printer which has been relocated downstairs.

The quilt top was made by my great–great-grandma on my mother’s side.  My Mom had it finished years later after it was handed down to her.  I’m using it, even though it doesn’t quite fit the bed, because I have yet to finish hand-quilting the quilt I made for this room.  sigh.  Maybe this winter I can work on it.  I’m not sure what I was thinking when I thought hand-quilting a queen-size quilt was a good idea.  Phfft!

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I’m still looking for just the right thing to go over the bed.  I’ll know it when I see it!

There’s a chair in the corner that can be used to either sit down and read or put shoes on and be used as a night stand.  In the other corner is an antique wash stand with basin and pitcher.  Since there’s no bathroom upstairs I’ve got half a mind to fill it!

Be Our Guest 2

We’ve had many guests come visit over the last two and a half years and this is one of the things I’ve learned… that having their own refrigerator would be handy.

Be Our Guest 5

Many travel with snacks and medication that need to be refrigerated.  When we know company is coming we stock up the kitchen fridge to the gills since we live so far from town which doesn’t leave very much room for anything extra.  My solution? a mini-fridge in their room!  There’s a container of water in there for them and plenty of room to keep whatever they brought that needs to stay chilled.

We found this awesome handmade tea-cart at one of our favorite venues in town – the Peddlers Mall.  I thought it was perfect to set the fridge on to make it easy to access.

I also thought it might be nice for our guests to have access to a bit of coffee or tea whenever they like.  Maybe they want to do some reading early in the morning before heading downstairs or after everyone’s in bed and sip a cuppa java or hot tea.

Be Our Guest 6

And, maybe they will want a little snack with it…

Be Our Guest 7

Fresh banana bread with some soft butter!  I got this idea from my B&B employer (wink!)  I made three mini loaves this afternoon and, of course, I had to sample it and man, was it good!  There’s another loaf in the freezer for next weekend’s company.

There are some hooks to hang a few articles of clothing as well as another convenience for our guests… a charging station for all those devices we have now-a-days!

Be Our Guest 3

One too many phone cords have been left behind.  Maybe now they won’t be!

And, of course, a few books to choose from while eating banana bread and sipping something hot!

I also made a sign that welcomes our guests to the farmhouse and has our internet access information on it…

Be Our Guest 4

Tomorrow I will put a couple of fresh flowers in the bottle, put some half & half in the creamer and put it in the fridge and fill the canister with coffee grounds.

We LOVE to entertain so my desire is to make our guests feel welcomed and comfortable during their stay while enjoying the beauty of the farm.  We’ll see if I’ve succeeded in doing so!

 

 

 

A Good Problem

A few years back when we were planning and building out the current pantry space we thought it would certainly be plenty big enough to store all our home-canned goods.  Especially when compared to the original pantry space that was there when we moved in!

house-tour11

Yikes!  This view is looking from the bathroom into the pantry space.  The door into the pantry/laundry nook/bathroom is to the left, behind the wall beside the dryer.

Many of you have already seen the before and after but for those of you just joining us, here’s a recap… there was a corner closet with some shelves and then the tall green cabinet was there as well.  We tore the corner closet out and replaced the subfloor with thicker plywood.  (The tall green cabinet was repurposed as nest boxes for the chickens!)

We salvaged some old fence boards from the neighbors burn pile and we began putting the pantry back in order.  We chose to do an L-shaped shelving system leaving plenty of space under the first shelf to store stock pots and food-grade buckets and what have-ya’s and what-for’s!

Here’s the space today…

Good Problem 3

This view is from the doorway.  (The corner closet would be straight ahead towards the left.)  It’s jam-packed and we’re out of room.  This is definitely a good problem because that means that we’ve had a productive garden and we have the equipment we need to put it all up for winter!

What IS all that stuff you ask?  Stock pots, pressure cooker, water bath canner, a crock full of fermenting pickles, a honey extractor, laundry basket full of potatoes, empty egg cartons, pots & pans hanging, food-grade buckets for flours and sugar, a chest freezer beside the laundry basket and, of course, the canned goods.  There are also shelves beside the egg cartons not pictured.  Those are full of dry goods such as pasta, beans and baking goods.  Below those shelves are crock-pots, a food processor and an old-fashioned ice cream maker.  It’s a mess!  And, for someone like me, that likes everything to have a place and to be in its place you know it’s driving me nuts!  Yea, yea, short-drive, I know, ha!

Here’s the real problem…

I still have lots of stuff to put up for winter… apples, tomatoes, beets, corn, lima beans and pinto beans and I’m almost out of room on my shelves!

Thankfully, the onions don’t need to go in the pantry!

We actually got a decent crop of onions this year…

Good Problem 1

The onions in the basket will be used fresh as needed.  The onions in the bowl are in the process of being chopped, put into quart size freezer bags and froze for use in cooking.

This has been an awesome year for the garden.  Just the right amount of rain and sunshine nourishing the veggies yet still allowing us to maintain the weeds.  Well, for the most part!

Knee Deep in Canning 4

We are in the process of planning to extend the pantry to the adjacent outdoor cistern ‘room’.  This means enclosing the space from the outdoors, moving plumbing to put in a door and deciding what to do with the existing cisterns that fill with water every time it rains and the concrete floor.  We’ve got ideas and are tossing them around but, it will take us a while to decide exactly what we want and how we want the space to work.  Then, there’s the funds and supplies needed to get it done.  Maybe by this time next year we’ll have a space large enough to store all our modern-day homesteading goodies.  A good problem indeed!

Till next time you’ll see me knee-deep in apples-n-such!