Friday, August 22, 2014

Ball Blue Book, The Canning Bible

One of the most important items to own when preserving is the Ball Blue Book.  The Blue Book covers canning, freezing, dehydrating and is a planning guide.  I've been canning for years but I always use the book to make sure I remember the exact time I need to can an item.  No one who preserves food should be without this wonderful book.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Winner of the Jarden Package

The winner of the package from Jarden is Barb Wright.  Barb you have until 10 am Monday to contact me with your email and mailing address so I can send it to Jaren.  Congratulations

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Bread and Butter Pickles

On International Can-It-Forward Day and for my review of the green canning jars I decided to do pickles.  I made 6 quarts and 1 pint of Bread and Butter Pickles using the Ball Flex Batch Mix.  I love the flex batch mix because you can do a little or do a lot.  I thought pickles would look really good in the green jars and that is why I made them.  As you can see they turned out beautiful and would make a nice gift with a ribbon tied around the neck of the jar.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Review on Ball Dry Herb Jars

The Ball Dry Herb Jars come in a 4 pack with labels and are  4oz each.  Each jar has a snap open cap that the herb can be shaken out of..  I love that they can be stacked for space saving storage.  These are a nice addition to the Ball family of products.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Complete Details On International Can-It-Forward Day

Please click on the link below to get complete details on International Can-It-Forward Day.

International Can-It-Forward Day Giveway

Here's your chance to win the complete bundle of items from Jarden Home Brands that include the following items:

The New Limited Edition Spring Green Heritage Collection Jars  6 wide mouth quarts and 6 pints
Fresh Herb Keeper
Dry Herb Jars
Frozen Herb Starters
5 Blade Herb Scissors
Ball Blue Book

All you have to do to get your name entered into the drawing is to leave a comment on any of the International Can-It-Forward posts and tell me which item you would use first and why.  The contest starts now and ends Saturday August 16th at midnight.  I will draw one winner Sunday morning

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

International Can-It-Forward Day

I will be participating in International Can-It-Forward Day on Saturday August 16th.  I have the following items from Jarden Home Brands that I will be evaluating and Jarden will be giving one of my readers the same items to evaluate.

The New Limited Edition Spring Green Heritage Collection Jars  6 wide mouth quarts and 6 pints
Fresh Herb Keeper
Dry Herb Jars
Frozen Herb Starters
5 Blade Herb Scissors
Ball Blue Book

Watch my blog for a review on each item. Also watch my blog tomorrow Thursday 8/14/14 on how you can win the above package of items.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Free Produce and Bread for my Chickens

I see on different blog sites all the time about people who have chickens and are able get free things to supplement their chicken feed.  The grocers in the area throw it out before they give it away to use like this.  I was just thinking about this again last night and God works in mysterious ways.
Today a friend called and said she was somewhere and the gentleman who runs the place said he wish he knew someone who had chickens to give the outdated produce and bread to.  Michelle said she knew someone and called me.  I go tomorrow and get my first load.  When I am there I will make arrangements to come twice a week to pick stuff up.  I am so excited and know the girls will enjoy the treats.
Thanks Michelle!!!!!!

Monday, March 31, 2014

2014 Garden is Started

On Sunday it was in the 60s so I planted over 300 onion bulbs (red, yellow and white), 3 apple trees, 2 peach trees, about 10 gooseberry bushes. This week I will get in some lettuce and radishes and the following week I will put in beets, peas, carrots and potatoes.  I started my tomato seeds last Friday so I am pretty much on time with this years garden.  The big problem is the weather.  Spring needs to come and stay and not just visit 1 or 2 days a week.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Canning Season I'm Ready for You

Someone brought in 34 dozen regular mouth canning jars seals, still in their boxes, all unopened and gave them to Ron.  I am almost ready for gardening, have all my seeds, onion bulbs and seed potatoes and will purchase a few plants.  In the next week I will get in some lettuce for me and the chickens and get the onions in the ground.  After that comes the Yukon Gold potatoes, beets and peas then the warm weather crops will have to wait a while yet.  Then the best part comes, the canning and I am ready for it.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Recycled Kitchen Drawer into a Drink Station Organizer

A couple weeks ago I picked up several free old wood kitchen drawers and cabinet fronts.  Four of the drawers were used to make nesting boxes for the chickens.  I then had 1 regular size drawer and 1 deep drawer.  While looking for ways to re-purpose them I saw how they can be hung on the wall for shelves.  I drew up a plan and my husband made it for me.  I sanded it and applied antique finishing oil to it to bring out the natural wood tone.  The vintage shelf liner was still in the drawer and in excellent condition so I left it in.  The shelves were made from recycled dresser drawer sides and bottoms.  The only thing purchased was the quarter round that the shelves sit on and it was less than $2.
I now have a nice organized drink station for less than $2 and saves on counter space.  The drawer I have left is a deep drawer and need to come up with a plan for it.  Also the cabinet fronts are waiting for a project.  All the stuff is vintage and is all solid wood.

My drink station.

Re-cycled kitchen drawer into a drink organizer.

The re-cycled drawer.

I'm going to add a towel to the drawer handle.

The Calendar and Mother Nature

The calendar says it is Spring but Mother Nature says it is still winter.  The temps for the last couple of days and the next couple of days say winter is still here.  The light snowfall last night says the same. 
It is time to get my onions in the ground and also some lettuce but it is going to have to wait until about a week when the ground is ready for me to get out and work in it.  I am ready but Mother nature is not.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Grafting Fruit Trees

Today was a fun day and a day full of learning.  A former co worker came over to my house with all the supplies needed to graft apple trees and peach trees.  We grafted 40 to 50 trees with the majority being apple trees.  I've never done anything like this before and was fairly easy to learn.
First we took the rootstock and Shaun used a grafting tool and cut the notch on the end, then came the cutting from a desired fruit and Shaun would prepare the end of it with the same tool.  I then would connect these 2 items and wrap them with grafting bands to hold them together.  This was not as easy as it sounds.  Some times it took me 4 times of wrapping the bands to get it correct.  After the band was wrapped you then apply tree pruning/grafting sealer.  It looks like and smells like tar and I still have some on my hands.   At this point it is done.  We took some sticky labels and labeled each tree with the name of the tree.
I kept 3 apple trees and 2 peach trees and will get them planted next week.  I am going to ask a gentleman in town that has white peaches if I can get some cuttings and then Shaun and I will graft some of them.   I've had some of the peaches from those trees and you can't get anything better than those.  Ron thinks one of the guys he works with has plums and I would love to get some cuttings off of them.  We need  to get these done in the next week so we can send for the rootstock so they can get in the ground real soon.  I will have my own little fruit orchard and that would be wonderful.  Shaun has created a monster.  :)

Shaun and I grafting apple and peach trees.  I cleared a spot in my storeroom in the garage because it was too cold out to do it outside.

Shaun and his son Chris leaving with all the work.  Shaun is acting goofy and Chris is eating lickerish. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Coops Cleaned

Yesterday I did the dreaded cleaning of the chicken and turkey coops.  In the winter I use the deep litter method so there was a lot of crap in them.  I hauled the waste to the garden bed and will till it in when the ground thaws more.  Found a couple mouse families in both, the chickens ate a couple of the mice (ick).  Not much I can do to keep them out, I don't have food in the coops that is in the runs.  I guess living next to a field and woods doesn't help.  Now until winter it gets cleaned monthly or sooner.
Today my back and knees are hurting and my legs keep me from getting a good nights sleep.  I am pretty much unfortunately used to getting little sleep.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Mr Sandman Where Are Thou

Mr Sandman where are thou, I need you to come back to my house tonight.  I went to bed last night at 9 PM and was awake at 12:30 AM.  So I got up at 1:00 AM and have been working on my store marking down all the items.   I need to make room for things I plan on purchasing in April on our trip to Pennsylvania.  We will be gone for a week and I can hardly wait to go.  We have only been to Amish country in Pennsylvania one time about 20 years ago.
Our almost 18 year old granddaughter will come over and help our grandson who is 23 that lives with us take care of all the chickens and turkeys.  While we are gone hopefully there will be some turkeys hatching.  Every Sunday I put the turkey eggs in the incubator from the week.  Out of the the 4 turkey hens only one is old enough to lay and I have been getting 5 eggs a week from her for the last 2 weeks.  The other 3 hens should start laying in about a month.  I will continue to try to hatch all of the eggs myself and then when it gets warmer I will let them hatch some if they go broody. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Smoking Meat

At an auction last month we purchased a new Brinkmann Charcoal Smoker for about $30.   Ron has wanted one for a while now and this is a nice size one and got it for a pretty reasonable price.  Ron and I smoked one of the turkeys we butchered this winter, a chicken I butchered last week, a corn beef tip brisket roast that I picked up yesterday and some fish filets.  When you smoke something you might as well fill up the smoker. There will still be plenty of space but for the first time smoking something I think we will stick with these 4 items.  We had the turkey today along with some pasta salad, quinoa salad and spiral cut baked garlic butter potatoes.
We will have the other meat during the week for supper.  All I will have to do is add a side dish with the meat and have a really nice meal.
This was a first for us, we have never smoked anything before and I can see we really missed something all these years.
Of course I taste tested everything and there will be a lot more fish done, the brisket is soooooo good and all the meat was nice and juicy.

The smoker.

The turkey, 7 lbs.

Fish filets.

Chicken and boneless corn beef tip brisket.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

I Gave In

Last week the granddaughter Hannah called me when she was at the farm store telling me they had chickens.  Of course I told her I had a dozen that were just a week old and 2 incubators full of eggs.  She informed me that they had Jersey Giants.  I don't think she knew I want Jersey Giants but I have been wanting to try them.  I held out for several days then on Tuesday I went and got the last 5 they had on hand.  They are White Jersey Giants and they were about a week old so they fit in very well with the other chicks.   About 6 months from now I need to look for a Jersey Giant rooster so I can breed some and won't need to buy anymore.
On a positive note, the day I choose to get the chicks was Senior Citizens 10% off day and I was able to get the discount on the chicks.  So it was meant to be or that is what I tell myself.  

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Two Incubators Full of Eggs

On Thursday I filled my first incubator with 41 chicken eggs and then today I filled the second one with 40 chicken eggs and 1 turkey egg.  I will have to take the turkey egg out and put in my 3rd incubator when I stop turning the chicken eggs.  Hopefully the turkey who is laying will continue and the other 3 will start laying real soon.   All turkey eggs I get I will incubate unless when it gets warmer one of the turkeys go broody I will let her sit on them.  But for now while we are still experiencing snow, ice and below zero temps I will collect the eggs and add them to the 3rd incubator.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Turkeys Have Started Laying

Found 2 eggs in the turkey coop today in a corner I hadn't looked in.  I just figured they would lay in the nice nest box I have set up them.  Needless to say with the polar vortex we still have going on they were frozen.  So from now on when I go out several times a day to get chicken eggs or to check on everyone I will be looking all around the turkey coop.  It is earlier than they started laying them last year so I hadn't been looking that closely.  I added some more bedding to their nest box and moved it to where I found the eggs and am hoping they use it.  I don't know where there are any golf balls or I would put a couple in the nest box.  I'll have to see if Ron knows when he gets home from work today.  Yahoo, hopefully I'll have better luck with turkeys this year, not easy to hatch and get past 6 weeks; that has been a problem for me.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Baby Chickens get Moved

I moved the chicks from the little brooder to the big brooder when we got home today. Unfortunately the first born chick got trapped beside the feeder and found him dead when we came home. I don't think the last 2 eggs are going to hatch but will give them until Monday morning. Out of 19 viable eggs we have 15 chicks, 2 died and 2 eggs have not hatched.

Phase One brooder box that Ron made last year from a wooden crate and lined it with heavy cardboard.  I took a piece of chicken wire and made a covering for the top.

Chicks getting ready for their move.

They are so cute and precious.

In the big brooder.

Ron made this last year from a crib that was picked up at an auction for $1.00, lined it with heavy cardboard, plywood bottom and chicken wire lid.  I use the cardboard on top to hold in the heat or let some out as needed.

Bulk Cheese Purchase

When we were in Indiana this past Monday we went to an Amish Bulk Food Store.   This was the biggest bulk food store we have ever been to.  It would take a good half day or more to go up and down every isle and look at everything.  We were there for a couple special items and CHEESE.  Buying cheese in bulk saves so much money.  We cut it in chunks, vacuum seal it and then freeze it until we are ready for some.  Amish areas always have huge varieties of cheese and most have samples.  Of course there were samples of almost every cheese they sold and I tasted almost all of them.
We picked up small chunks of the following cheese:
Yogurt Cheese, Horseradish Cheese, Salsa Cheese, Cheese and Salami and Pepperoni Cheese.
We got 2 lbs of Amish Creamery Cheese, 6 lbs of the following: Baby Swiss, Smoked Baby Swiss, Smoked Mozzarella, Mild Cheddar and 12 lbs of Colby.
Prices for bulk cheese is a lot cheaper than small packages.  The cheddar was $1.99 #, Colby $3.15 #, smoked mozzarella and baby swiss was $4,49 # and the most expensive was the smoked baby swiss at $4.89 #.  If you would get any of the above cheese at a deli you would pay $2+ more a pound.
We also picked up 5 lbs of deli sliced smoked ham at $1.99 # and 6 lbs of smoked turkey at $1.99 #.  We packaged the ham and turkey in one pound packages and also that is how we packed the cheese.

Side parking lot and side of the bulk food store.

More of the side parking lot and side of the bulk food store.
1st basket of cheese going in the freezer.

The ham and turkey packed and in the freezer.

The Colby and Mild Cheddar before cutting.

2nd basket waiting to go in the freezer.

3rd basket ready to go in the freezer.

Friday, February 21, 2014

First Two Chicks

Woke up to my first 2 chicks out of the 19 eggs that were left in the incubator.  This was at 7 am today and it is 12:45 pm and I have 8 chicks with 2 chicks pecking their way out.  That leaves 6 eggs that need to start.  I was going to start right away filling 2 incubators with more chicken eggs but realized that they would hatch right before we go to Pennsylvania for a week.  So I plan on filling the 2 incubators on March 5th.  This way we will be home a day or 2 when it is time to take them out of the automatic egg turner.  I don't want our grandson to have to take care of any new chicks as he will be doing enough feeding the hens, collecting eggs, feeding the turkeys and taking care of the babies who will be about 4 weeks old when we leave; plus he works.   I'm sure my oldest daughter Gina will come over several times to help out.  She is really good about helping when we travel without being asked.  She just always volunteers to do it and she lives the farthest of the 3 kids. 

The yellow chick was from a brown egg and the brown chick from a green egg.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Feeling Eggcited

Today is the day.
For what you say?
I have been waiting 21 days.
One of the chicks is pecking away.
And soon will be here on this rainy day.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Unpacking the Amish Clothes

I started unpacking the items we purchased in Indiana yesterday. I had 13 bags and have 5 bags of items on hangers. Tomorrow I will take pictures of the items for men and hopefully get them posted. Then on Friday I will start working on the dresses. It will take me several weeks to get things posted as I only have so much room to hang things. As items sell I will post more. So watch the store for some really nice items.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Indiana Clothes Buying Trip

We left for our day to the Middlebury Shipshewana area Sunday morning and had a nice 5 hour drive there.  The weather was beautiful and the roads were clean.  We stayed at the Hampton Inn in Middlebury and would stay there again, very nice, clean and friendly place.  For supper that night we ate at a Italian Restaurant that the staff at the hotel recommended.  It was very nice and the food was excellent.
Up early on Monday morning and packed everything up and ate breakfast at the hotel.  They had a huge spread of food which is always so nice and convenient.  We left there and straight to do my clothes shopping.  The shop opened at 8:30 and we got there at 8:29.  Norma opened the shop and explain where the items I wanted to look at were and then went back into the house to straighten up from her kids getting ready for the morning.  I picked out the clothes, Ron took them off of the hangers and when Norma came back she clipped off the tags.  Had a wonderful time visiting with her while I shopped.  I have about 12 garbage bags full of clothes sitting in the middle of my living room right now and it will take me a day to get them on hangers and then the fun begins.  Everything needs to be written down with the color and measurements of each item.  Then I need to take the pictures and get the items listed.  Watch for more on my trip in another post.

We saw about a dozen wild turkeys in a field outside Middlebury.

Check out the beard on this fellow.

No mater the weather the Amish still hang clothes out.

A couple of horses with covers on to keep a little warmer.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Surgery Needed

I guess I am going to have to finally have surgery.  I've put it off long enough.  The doctors told me long ago about this problem but I just didn't want to have to go under the knife.  The surgery will be on my bottom (butt). 
They discovered I have a strong magnet in my butt and that is the reason I am not able to get out of my recliner to do anything.  The springs in the chair are metal and the magnets strong pull is holding me in the chair.  So you see I have an excuse for not doing anything.  I need to have it done soon if I want to get up and get things done around here.  Please keep me in your thoughts and hope for the best outcome.  Thanks

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Hatching Some Chicken Eggs

On January 31st I put 25 eggs in one of my incubators.  I didn't fill it because I wasn't sure the 2 roosters were doing their job.  Yesterday I candled the eggs and only 4 had not developed anything. So I have 21 eggs that are showing some growing going on inside. A week from this Friday I hopefully will see some babies. I will fill 2 incubators after this group hatches.  Now I am getting really anxious to see how many of the 21 eggs will hatch. 
In a month or so the turkeys should start laying eggs and I will put turkey eggs in the 3rd incubator.  I didn't have very good luck with turkey eggs last year and am hoping I do better this year.  
I will keep you posted and of course will post pictures just like any proud mommy would. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Another Chicken for a Pot of Soup or Noodles

After the dressing of the last egg eater I started find remnants of shell once in a while.  For a couple of months I have suspected that a chicken that the grandson gave us last summer was possibly eating eggs.  Every time I went into the coop she was always in a nest pecking around or just sitting there for hours without laying an egg.  On Saturday morning I went in to gather eggs and she was either pecking at an egg or at the bedding so I started with that nest first and gathered the eggs.  She went to another nest where there were 2 eggs and in a matter of seconds she had broken one open and was starting to eat it.  That was it I picked her up by the feet and finished gathering the eggs and promptly took her over to the turkey coop where she stayed until later that afternoon.
After we had done our Saturday shopping Ron and I proceeded to get her taken care of.  I always do the killing and instead of plucking her I skinned her and Ron removed the innards.  I brought her in and washed her up and plopped her in a freezer bag for later.
We try and do everything they suggest to prevent egg eaters but they don't always work.  An egg eater is almost impossible to break and can't afford to have one.  Both of the hens that we had to take care of were ones that would have been butchered later this year after the new ones that I am or will hatch started laying.  It's not something I enjoy doing BUT must do.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Deviants of Decay, Forgive Us Our Trespasses Art Show

Last night we attended "The Deviants of Decay, Forgive Us Our Trespasses Art Show" where our son Ron and 5 other photographers displayed some of their work.  There was a nice crowd and we had a nice time visiting and seeing everyone's photos.  You can check out and Like/Follow Ron's Facebook page to keep up with his works of art.  Sit back, relax and take a look at all the beautiful photos he has on his site.  Also click on "About" and see why he is inspired to take photos like this and if you have any questions you can contact him on the site.

Ron and some of his work.
Ron's work.
Several of the display items came from my auction finds.  Ron borrowed them for the display.
My 3 beautiful grand daughters; Reagan, Hannah and Eliz.

Sisters, Hannah and Eliz.

Cousins; Reagan and Eliz.