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Monday, December 23, 2013

Home is best, people are crazy

It is so nice to retreat to "home" where things are more along the lines of serene and calm. Good grief!! We had to go to the big city today to the dentist. How we messed up and made a dentist appointment this close to Christmas I will never know. Or worse yet, what the hell were we thinkin? We made a couple stops to do a lil shopping for a few grocery items and such. And to get lil man a few things for Christmas. People were in such a hurry to get "somewhere" it was like tryin to walk the tracks during a NASCAR race. Move quick, look over your shoulder or there is a damn good chance ya gonna get run over. People almost seemed desperate to get to "something". Like thieves, hurry and grab this or that so we can get out of here. Just makes a person want to say "dumb ass why the rush" it will still be there in 2 minutes when granny gets her cart out of the way soon as she digs in her purse and cant find the grocery list she made. I was real happy to survive getting the few things we went for and beat a hasty retreat to the safety of our house. I tell ya people are crazy. Maybe that is why I like my dog. Always pleasant, never a rush, loves unconditionally, loyal and dependable. Guess that is why they say the dog is mans best friend.

Other than crazy hurried people our day went well. An uneventful visit to the dentist for a cleaning, a lil shopping and home again. Now I really want to hibernate. Our weather is supposed to get pretty cold this week and maybe some snow flurries mixed in. I bet I can find plenty to do right here at home. My mind makes big plans then my body laughs at me when I set those plans in motion. I should and maybe will get some of our potatoes out of the cellar that are not keeping as well as we thought an can those. We wont be having our family Christmas till Sunday after Rob, Amoy and Liam get here. So I got all week to do "stuff". Rodger is on call at work for Christmas Eve and day but hopefully he wont have to go out. We sure could stand to do some cleaning and organizing in the closets here. Some damn critter keeps getting in my closet and seaming up my clothes while I am not looking. Seems every time I pull something out to wear it is a lil tighter than it was last time. Its underwear gnomes, thas it, thas what they do when they cant steal underwear. WE made an attempt at organizing the pantry here in the kitchen yesterday. Not that that went very well. Dang still cant find stuff in there. All joking aside, one of these days I will invest in one of those roll out shelf units that fits in the pantry and holds all kinds of stuff all neat and pretty. I am certain they make better use of space than just having extra deep shelves that would accommodate a family of squatters and a person would never find them. We humans are never happy. But really I am thankful I have the problem of a full pantry, over loaded shelves, chugged to the top freezers. It may be hard to find what I am looking for at the moment, a minor inconvenience,  but we can eat well and live on what is in there. There are poor folks in this country that would be thankful to just have enough to eat. What has happened to charity in our once great country? People have got so many handouts from our government that they don't for one second appreciate a real helping hand. They have been trained like a pet monkey to depend on a hand out. Most of them sold their soul for a lil bit of money that most times wont provide their basic needs and all they have to do to get that pitiful amount is to do nothing. Don't work the government will take care of you. No thank you!! I will make my own way and keep my freedom and my pride. And we wonder why young people are growing up the way they are with the attitude they have that the world owes them. We made em that way by giving them everything. I saw a lil girl in Walmart today, no more than maybe 7 or 8, with a cell phone. Who the hell does a small child need to call? Kids don't know how to talk to anyone or even each other. They are all too busy stuck to some kind of electronic device, texting, playing games or who knows what. No such things as human interaction any more. I remember not many years ago, just a few, cell phones were a new thing. I would see someone talking and no one near them and think for a time they were crazy and talking to themselves. Later to find they had a blue tooth and were on the phone talking to someone. Now today it seems perfectly normal to see people walking around talking to themselves. I just cant bring myself to be one of em. I can do enough stupid shit on a normal day to let the cat out of the bag without walking around in public talking to myself. Humans, funny animals aren't they?

I guess this whole post really explains why I really like to stay here on the farm at home. People may think I am crazy but I refuse to get out in public and act the part an confirm all suspicions.
Not much happening here on the farm. Just planning on relaxing and enjoying a lil down time with family to celebrate the birth of Christ our saviour. So I wish each of you the blessings of Gods grace. Have a merry Christmas and enjoy time with family and friends. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.

Stella

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Time flys when you are having fun

Or at least that is what they say. I just know for sure time has flown by this year. Mostly this fall. It seems like I have been away from home since early last fall. I guess I kinda have tho. Starting in September with the hunting lodge, the loss of my Aunt Ann, home for a bit, house sitting, another hunting season at the lodge, home for a few days and the final round of the hunting lodge. I think the hunting season is over for this year till September at least. Unless Carl comes up with another brainy idea. And knowing him, its possible. But I do enjoying helping out at the hunting lodge and it keeps my aunts memory alive for me.

Back at home not much to do in the way of gardening or farming. Other than keep the chickens fed and watered. Water is not much of a problem with all the rain we have had and are presently having. The temperatures are nice tho. I wont complain at all about that. It was in the 60's here today. I even had the patio door open for a while. I guess it helps that the patio door is off the kitchen and I was cooking supper adding to the heat in here. Rodger came home from work feeling like crap. He said he had been so tired all day and just felt bad. I think he went to bed around 6 , right after supper. Not normal for him. But he was up a lil bit ago and said his back did feel better. He has had several people off work with the flu and such. Some schools in surrounding counties considered calling off school due to illness. For what ever reason my arthritis has flared up pretty bad today. Not sure if its over use of my joints, the weather or just plain age. But dang, its hurty. I guess the one joint that has most of my attention right now is my big toe. OK laugh it up. But do you know how annoying it is to walk with your big toes sore, stiff an hurting? Well it hurts. I guess if that is the worst of my problems, its all good. With all the work at the hunting lodge this fall, I feel really good about my over-all well being. I did well. Not as much pain as usual. Not as much soreness as usual. I can live with this. I do still have major bouts with fatigue but IF time and events allow I can most times sleep that off. That is IF I can crash and sleep 12 to 14 hours straight. It may take a couple days but I feel better after the fact. With fibro, rest is essential or your mental clarity goes out the window. It seems life and your whole body just stalls. I guess it kinda does.

Any who, its almost Christmas time and time to spend some quality time with family an friends. In our case mostly family. Our kids, Rob, Amoy and lil Liam will be home end of this week. Cant wait to see them. We have not seen our Rob since April when we were in Nevada for Liam's birth. That lil boy has grown bunches too and is crawling, pulling up, and will probably be trying to walk soon. Time flys when ya have a lil one, they change daily. So this grammy needs to get some junk food made to spoil the lil one with while he is home.

Oh its so nice to be home in my own world, sleeping in my own bed, on the down side, I have to eat all my own cooking. I have a mental list of several projects I want to get done this winter. Yeas I said
"mental" list. I have a couple quilts I want to finish. Some crochet projects I want to work on and a few embroidery pieces I want to do. Not sure where I got the silly notion I want to make a bunch of embroidery pieces to later set up into a quilt. But the idea is kinda stuck in my mind. Although it may change after I complete one square. But those projects are for when I am house bound in really cold nasty weather if we have any later this winter. But for now I really should be in the summer kitchen getting more of our potatoes canned up so we don't have such a large loss on them. They just are not keeping as well as they should. Not sure if it has to do with the wet growing season or a disease or just what their problem is. But if I get busy and can the good ones they for sure will stay edible till spring. We had to buy sweet potatoes this fall for the first time in forever. Ours did nothing. Well they did the best they could in the grass that took over. They yielded about 2/3 of a 5 gallon bucket in 2 rows 100ft long. May as well say they did nothing. But I got those lil fellows canned up last fall too so its all good. We can use the ones we have stored fresh first before they sprout and save the canned ones will we run out of fresh. They will keep in the jar. I never did but still want to make an can some goulash like my friend Rosie makes. I still remember the taste and it was so dang good. Meat, beef or in my case venison, cooked long with lots of onion in a tomato like sauce. I remember she served it with kraut. Oh my, so good. I guess I should get her recipe to make sure I can get close to the same taste. Nothing in life is more disappointing that having your taste buds set for a certain taste and then it not meet up to your specifications.

I think tomorrow will be a chicken noodle soup day. Rodger not feeling good, its cool and rainy. Yep a good soup day. Good ole comfort food. Nothing better.

Not much else happening here, so till next time, Merry Christmas and many blessings from the McGuire homestead to your family.

Stella

Sunday, December 8, 2013

It is officially winter time here

I think winter time just hit us head on. We had lots of rain for a couple days. And last night it all turned to freezing rain and everything is coated with a lil layer of ice this morning. Not as cold as they had predicted tho. In the mid 30's here and the layer of ice is melting off the back deck. Mind you I have not been out there. I have hard enough time staying upright on a good day, not gonna risk breaking some body part with ice on the ground.
Rodger went out earlier to let the chickens out. They are none to happy about not being able to stay upright either. For the most part they darted back in the building. Not a chance of them catching a worm or bug on a day not fit for man or beast. My hens are not laying well right now and haven't been since early fall. I think it is about time to order a new flock of birds and start over with some young hens next spring. Some of my hens are close to 4 years old now and time for them to make soup and dumplings.
Before it started raining and getting all nasty I went out to the herb bed and cut the last of my lil cabbage from last fall. Oh they were sweet as can be and made perfect coleslaw. They were not huge or any size to write home about but sure were tasty. I wanted to get some turnips out before the ice came and they are not big enough for anything yet. I guess I did plant them a lil later than normal. Someone had given me some turnips one fall and I still had some in the fridge to snack on several months later. The longer they sit the better they taste. I don't like them cooked at all but love to just peel and eat them like apples. With a lil salt makes a tasty snack in the winter. I remember dad use to "hole" up our potatoes in the fall and one year he pulled an put a bunch of turnips in a pile with the taters and in the middle of winter he got some out. Talk about sweet and good. I still remember that taste. I did see some small rutabagas in the bed tho. That was my first time planting those. Next time I make soup from scratch I plan to cube up some of the rutabagas to put in as well. Those as well as turnips are cool weather crops that store well and get better with age in storage. Time and cool turns the starch to sugars in these root veggies and makes them more nutritious as well as tasting better.
My herb bed needs some minor fence repair come spring tho. I just put up deer netting about 2 ft tall to keep critters like cats and the dog from walking in the bed and it has seen some accidents and incidents since it was first installed. Lots of places it sags and looks bad and has some tears and some of the post are leaning. The beds out back need repair as well. I did have some metal "T" post driven in there to hold the net up and all was well till Rodger swiped the side of his truck down one post and bent it over messing up the fence. Now the hens can get in if they happen to be inclined to. Not to mention the dent in the new truck from the gas tank to the rear bumper. Ugh! Its always something here. He had backed up the back yard to unload deer and when he pulled back out he slid down the hill against the fence post and at that point was not a happy camper I bet. Glad I was not home at the time.
With it being nasty weather I guess its time to hibernate and drag out the quilt and knitting stuff and get busy. I have a quilt top that my aunt Connie had made that I do want to finish this winter for sure. And I still have lots of tee shirt yarn to make another throw rug for the kitchen. I enjoy my hibernating weather for sure. Just hate the guys have to get out an go work in this kinda mess. But am very thankful for the blessing of being able to be home and keep the home fires burning so to speak. Got to work on baby-proofing the house too. Cant have lil Liam getting hurt when they get home in about 3 weeks. Cant wait to see that lil fellow again. He grows so fast and its amazing to see him in pictures and videos as he discovers his lil world and learns new things. Thanks to my beautiful daughter in law for taking time to share all those precious memories with us long distance. She is so great and catching him doing cute things and sending pictures and lil videos. Love this one of him as he gets this "crawling" thing down pat. He will be a lil speed demon by time we get to see him.



This will be Liam's first Christmas and this grammy has already sent him several toys to unwrap at home. Not to mention he will get some new clothes and a small toy to have when he is here shortly after Christmas with us. He sure did not seem too thrilled with the Christmas tree tho. Maybe he was just having a bad day. He is cutting more teeth and that makes lil ones cranky. But cute none the less.

I have to wonder how long the tree will stay pretty with him crawling now. He will for sure keep his momma busy or building a fence around the tree. But thas why lil ones have good parents, to teach them things that will keep them safe. He loves their lil dog Abby, now if he can just catch her he will be a happy lil man.

Not much else happening here on the farm, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.

Stella

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Back on the farm

I am finally back on the farm for a while. It is a little hard to post about things that happen here when you are not here, right? Yep I been gone for almost a month. For the past 5 years now I went to western Ky to help my late Aunt Ann cook at the hunting lodge. So this year I was ask to do the same. Been back on this end of the state for just a few days and those days have been busy at best. Got home on Tuesday, had doctor appointment on Wednesday, Thanksgiving with Rodgers family on Thursday, stayed home all day on Friday then went to Lexington yesterday(Saturday) to the gun show and to do a lil stocking up and shopping. OH, did I tell ya I hate shopping. No one in their right mind should be shopping on a first of the month 3 weeks before Christmas. Good grief!! what were we thinking? Anyway, we did make a trip to Sam's club for some staples to re-stock the pantry so I can hibernate this winter, maybe. I can physically work a full time job due to the fibro and RA so I do some seasonal and part time work when I can. So the job working an cooking at the lodge in the fall is about my only income. In the past we have also had hunters during the December muzzle load season and I am kinda hoping we do this year as well. Another small amount of income to help out here.
In the meantime, back on the farm. We still have things to do before the winter weather sets in for good. I still need to get the hen house cleaned out and new bedding in for the hens to keep them toasty this winter. I think I might just move the manure and old bedding down to the 3 beds that are out back and just cover it over to rot thru the winter. Then in spring it will be ready to plant with early spring goodies such as carrots, onions, lettuce and things of that sort. I am actually looking forward to the spring garden season and the big garden this summer. I think I will feel much better and am more able to help with it this coming year. Last summer was just a blur for me. Gosh so nice to be off some meds that were sure not helping me. Our orchard needs some attention very soon. The deer are still doing lots of damage to the young trees. Not sure why the big bucks choose to rub on the lil young fruit trees with all the bigger trees that surround the fields. I found a post on Pinterest that intrigued me a good deal. Using like 2 liter soda bottles and cut small slits in the side of the bottle and put the lid on, mount to a stick or post of some sort and anchor in the ground. When the wind blows it makes a howling noise, almost eerie and depending on the size slit somewhat high pitched. I am thinking that maybe if I make a few of these it will make enough strange noise to keep the deer at bay. Maybe? At least for a while? When I make some I will post more details an pictures for ya so you will know if they work or not. I guess I wont know till I try. We did hang pieces of Irish Spring soap in onion bags around and it did seem to work as long as the soap was there. Deer are not stupid critters that some would tend to think. I also think next hunting season the fellers might think about hunting here and getting rid of a few of these destructive varmints. Beautiful they are, destructive to crops as well.

It is hard to believe it is December already. Where the heck did summer and fall go? Or did I just miss it somehow? It is a true statement that the older you get the faster time flys by. Or so it seems. I am looking forward to the Christmas holiday this year tho more than usual. Maybe because our lil grandson will be here to visit with his momma and daddy too this time. We haven't got to see Rob since we saw him in April when Liam was born. This momma is having some serious withdrawal. I do OK for a few months then I want to see my lil boy too. Guess its just something about mommas and their lil boys that only mommas with lil boys can understand. But they will be here around the 27th of December to spend about a week with us. Plenty of time to spoil Liam a good bit too. Really looking forward to seeing them all.

We are having our late Thanksgiving dinner here today for us and Jason and his lil family. I am making the turkey breast and all the trimmings and Jason is making the ham. He makes good ham. AND he has the big crock pot to fix it in so that makes him the elected one to do ham. He covers the ham with apple cider and a good deal of brown sugar mixed in and bastes the ham thru the cooking process which will take around 6 to 8 hours on low in a crock pot. Makes for a sweet tender ham. Just the way we like it. We will eat around 2 or so this afternoon. But I sure feel a nap coming on after getting most of my prep work done and dinner started. Nap, yes thas a good idea.

Not much else happening here on the farm. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.

Stella

Monday, November 4, 2013

Farm work is hard work

I knew this all along but dang the older I get the more I become aware of this fact. Anything you do on a farm is hard work. We have been busy all day as usual playing catch-up. I needed to dig some horseradish for a friend so I could ship it out in the mail tomorrow and as I normally do I walk around the house with fork in hand to dig for roots. I passed by my wisteria that has been sitting in a pot for 2 years now. I stopped and dug a hole to put the plant in near the pole that runs up to our cell phone booster at the end of the house. Damn who knew there were that many rocks out there. I should have after all the holes we have dug to plant things over time. But I got'er done! Now I wont have to baby my plant and worry about the roots freezing and killing it this winter. One task down, many to go. I decided to fore go canning more mustard and turnip greens as I have more than enough for me and the kids to use. But I did dig some horseradish roots for my good friend Anna and those are in the box with the sage, homemade lotion and home grown cornmeal that I promised to ship to her. So off that will go tomorrow on my way out of town.

Rodger hauled water for us this morning and finally finished that up about noon. He had the yucky job of cleaning out our corn crib to get ready to put the new corn in when it gets a lil drier and he has time to pick it. I needed to help him with that and had to put off the job of cleaning the chicken house out for now. Maybe next nice day when I am home again. We had a good bit of corn left from last year and the year before in the lil crib here at the house. We use the corn elevator and wagon to load it to take to the field and dump for the wild critters to feed on till its gone. That should attract a few deer and many turkeys. Not to mention it will feed lots of lil birds for quite some time too. Lots of corn shells off when it gets run thru the elevator so the chickens will have lots to pick up and eat when they are out roaming about. This project involved lots of raking and fork work not to mention having to push the elevator to fill the wagon level and not spill over the top in some spots. Talk about hard on this ole gal. I already slept wrong night before last and had a pulled muscle in my neck and using the rake sure did not do it any good. Needless to say my neck is very sore and stiff about now.
Maybe I will sleep good tonight an feel much better tomorrow. Maybe......

But I do love fall. I think it is one of my favorite seasons of the year. The trees with all their beautiful color, cooler air, no humidity, just perfect weather. To me fall is like the last hour at work. You know its not long till you can get off work and rest up for the next round. That's kinda how it is here for me. We work out butts off all spring and summer with gardens and such, then in fall we wind down the work with the harvest and then you can rest for a while till its time to start over. Poor Rodger has to do stuff here and then STILL go to a job. I guess I enjoy it more because I can kinda hibernate after all the harvesting and butchering is done and the gardens put to bed for the season. I get to stay in and just do things I really enjoy for a few months. After a few months of that stuff tho I am so ready to get my hands in the dirt again and start planting things. This year I will be cooking for the deer hunters at the Drake Lodge in west Ky and for Snipe creek outfitters. I love doing this but it will be a little different this your without Aunt Ann. I have some really big shoes to walk in there. I helped her for about the past 4 years with the cooking and the lodge so its nothing new. Its just that this year she is not with us. Lots of hunters have been coming there for several years, some already know she passed away, some don't and that will be the hard part when they ask about her. The repeat hunters knew she was sick last year but some I had not phone numbers for to be able to contact them. I just hope I can do as well as she would have and do my best to make the hunters comfortable and make sure they are well fed. This I can do in her memory. I am looking forward to all this and the final hunting season in December. Then I get to be home for a while hopefully. I know I will be home for a good bit around Christmas cause Rob, Amoy and my lil Liam will be home for a week or so. Cant wait to see that lil man again. He got to go trick or treating for halloween. His momma got him a lil monkey suit for his costume. So cute don't ya think?




That lil fellow is such a beautiful combination of his momma and daddy. There really is nothing in this world like your grand babies. They are a whole nuther level of love ya didn't know existed.
And look at those 2 lil teeth he has. I can not believe he is old enough to be getting teeth already. Such a precious age.


And they got him a high chair and he looks like he is ready to put those lil teeth to good use here.


After he and Amoy were home for a visit they said he really didn't want his bottle much because he found out there is more tasty things than his bottle. Amoy had got him started eating baby food and for such a lil fellow he did really well at feeding time. UNLESS that was something that got his attention and he was totally distracted and it got a lil challenging to get food in his mouth and not somewhere else on his face. Cant wait till they get home so we can kiss those lil fat cheeks.

OK enough bragging but I earned the right like all grandmothers I think. Not much else happening here on the farm, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.

Stella

Friday, November 1, 2013

Making lotion and herbal seasoning blend

It has been so nice outside today but dang it I didn't get out to enjoy it yet. I have been busy with piddly stuff in the house all day. It is getting closer to cold weather and my need for a good lotion for my winter time dry skin. I was all out. I think I gave Amoy the last 2 jars I had to take home with her. So it was time to make more. So that has been my project for today. Not sure why more folks don't make their own lotion so they can avoid all the heavy perfumes and chemicals in the store bought ones. I have tried and made several different lotions with different recipes and this one has to be the best and my favorite. Very rich, nourishing and creamy. It is more like a cream than a lotion I must warn you. But very simple to make. First I make an herbal tea to use in place of the "water" part called for in most recipes for lotion. I like to use soothing healing herbs that I grow or can purchase organically grown.

Make tea with about 2 cups of water and add in round leaf plantain, chamomile, rose petals, comfrey leaf, and golden seal, equal parts of each herb added to the 2 cups of boiling water and let sit about 10 minutes.
Strain the tea and measure out 1 cup and set aside.
In glass bowl or measuring cup measure 1/2 cup oils that are solid at room temp(coconut oil, shea butter, mango butter, avocado butter, cocoa butter) any mix you like, I use a lil of each.
Then measure out 1/2 cup of oil that is liquid at room temp(almond, apricot, castor oils) Measure out 1/3 cup vegetable emulsifier. Heat the oils in the glass bowl with solid butters and vegetable emulsifier till all are melted and smooth. Let oils cool a lil bit, hot but not scalding. Have the tea to about the same temp as the oils and then add the tea to the oils in a steady stream all the time blending with a stick blender. Once all the tea is in let lotion sit for a bit and blend again, repeat this till it has started to get thick. When lotion starts to thicken like gravy add in about 2 tablespoons of liquid germall plus (preservative, natural) and about 2 tablespoons of Hydrovance for stable consistency and also make the lotion feel silky on the skin. Blend well and pour into desired containers. Let cool completely and put lid on. Great stuff. I get most of my lotion making supplies from this place. Not to mention they always send trial size samples of new products with your order. Very reasonable prices too.

I finally remembered to make more of my herbal seasoning blend that we use on everything as well today. I feel like a chemist on days like this. I try not to get too adventurous tho when it comes to the food stuff. But I got out lots of my different dried herbs and used the spice grinder to grind all the ones that I use in the seasoning we use on chicken, venison, most any meats. Its kinda like Ms Dash only my version. You really can make it to suit your own taste buds by adding more or less of the different herbs. Or even leaving some out. But I added a lil more onions flakes to this mix and a bit of brown sugar. I just have to remember that the sugar will make foods brown much quicker whether in a skillet or on the grill. The recipe for the seasoning blend I make is in  this post from the past.

I brought a cast iron skillet home from Jason's house the other day that had some rust in it and was generally a mess. I think it was given to him and not sure at this minute who. Anyway I scrubbed the rust spots really well and used a Brillo pad on em, washed the skillet really good inside and out. Put it on the burner and coated it really good with oil. I let it get really hot but not smoking then turned it off. I will repeat those steps several times each day as long as I think of it and have time, heat up, cool down till it is re-seasoned. It is a nice size skillet and not as heavy as most I own so it might work really good for me. Hope it fixes the skillet but its not like I need another cast iron skillet. But just cant bring myself to see them get destroyed.

Not much else happening around here, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.

Stella

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Getting stuff done

I am getting some things done that I guess I should not have put off this long. Such as, using up some deer burger we had left from last year, some deer roast, canning gumbo. But I did get started on it this week since I have been home. I got 10 quarts of chili made and canned with the deer burger on Monday. I have made and canned 14 quarts of gumbo today. Gumbo takes a good long while to get everything browned and mixed and make the roux and get in the jars ready to go in the pressure canner. It really has taken me all dang day. But it sure is gonna be tasty. It smelled so good before it even got pressure canned. Nice dark color too. Deb will be proud of me, she taught me well.


Now maybe Rodger can have a few quick hot homemade meals when I am not home. This amount of gumbo wont last long at our house. I am sure it would not have taken me as long to get finished if I had not went to help Jason work on his kitchen. But I managed to do both today. Now tomorrow its get the mustard and turnip greens cut and canned. Maybe help Jason again if he needs me.

Jason and Rodger have got the floor leveled and the sub-floor in and it wont be falling thru anytime soon.



As you can see from the photos above it was built to stand the test of time. This house is close to 100 years old. I am still amazed that the foundation material is still in this good shape considering we had a water leak for no telling how long. But all better now. I will post pics of the after as soon as I can get those. He plans to make up-grades to the house as he can afford it. Next will be new kitchen cabinets in the kitchen as the ones he had are severely water damaged from the leak that had soaked them from the bottom up.

Not much else happening here on the homestead. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.

Stella

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Home at last

I am back home at last, at least for a while. Sorry about the long absence and lack of postings and updates. I just made it back home this evening. My uncle Tripp had ask me to house sit for him for the month of October while he was away and I did after talking with Rodger and concluding that there was nothing happening here on the farm that really needed my attention. So I headed to west Ky October 8th and just got back to my house today. It was a lil mini vacation of sorts for me but sad at the same time. I could sit on the porch at their house and felt like I was waiting on Aunt Ann to get home from work. Several times emotion overwhelmed me but at the same time I did find some comfort in being there. That big house sure is empty without her. Yet you can see evidence of her in every inch of the place. It is nice to be in my house again for a while. At least till the deer season starts and its back to the grind.

Back on the farm, Rodger went deer hunting and we have a few deer hanging that will get skinned an processed this coming week. So we have meat for the freezer. I still have some deer roast and burger left from last season in the freezer. I plan to use some of the roast in gumbo this week when I make and can more for Rodger. The burger I plan to use in making chili to can for heat and eat meals. We do eat a lot of soups, stews and chili in winter. Well actually all year round. Most weekends even in summer if we are busy we will have veggie soup or chili or gumbo for lunch or a quick supper. My version of convenience food only homemade. Rodger told me out potatoes are not keeping well in the cellar at all. I plan to go thru those this week and if they are salvageable I guess I will can up more of those. When we first dug them I did can a lot of the small ones. But dang I was so hoping they would keep in the cellar for use this winter. Guess I might invest in a big bag of Jasmine rice as our starch staple. I guess if we don't have our own taters we will just not be eating many taters.

It was too late when I got home to get to see how my cabbage were doing in the herb bed out front. I hope I have a few heads of cabbage to make a lil bit of kraut with. Kraut just makes my tummy feel so much better when I can eat a lil bit on occasion. Some fresh coleslaw would be nice too!! I could see even in the dark that the mustard and turnip greens will need to be picked and canned again this week. I just cut and canned a bunch of those before I left the early part of the month. I guess Rob and Amoy will get more of those delivered to Nevada in the spring when we make out trek out there next year. I am really sad that I have missed getting any apples at all this year to make pie filling or to freeze. But I hope I can dig in the freezer and find enough to make do till next season. Apples are far too expensive in the store to even think of buying any to freeze much less eat fresh. I do still have several jars of pie filling canned so I am good in that area.

While I was away Jason had a catastrophe at his house(the old farm house). They found a leak under the kitchen sink that had been leaking for a long long time. Water had soaked the particle board flooring underneath the linoleum and rotted it really bad. I was so worried that it may have weakened the structure of the house. So when I got home I went to check on Mary Kay, whom they had left to pull nails while Rodger and Jason went to purchase new floor material. And I was so relieved an happy to see the floor joist are as solid as the day they were put in about 100 years ago, and they are REAL 2 by 8 floor joist. Oak at that. Not to mention the sills are probably 10 by 10 inch squared timbers that are still solid as can be.  My grand dad and great grand dad may not have used a square or level to build but by hell they built strong. Some older houses can sometimes, with age, get to the point where you are almost better off to tear down and completely rebuild than to try to remodel, but I do believe this house is a perfect candidate to be remodeled. It does need a few minor repairs such as a couple floors leveled in the kitchen and dining room, the bath needs to be remodeled an expanded farther down the south side to encompass a bit more of the porch and add a utility room on. Jason would be wise to invest in doing those things and will end up with a good sturdy solid house. So the fellows will tackle the floor job tomorrow and get it fixed and as Jason has money he can do things to upgrade now that we know its on solid footing.

Not sure what I will tackle first tomorrow, get taters out of cellar and sort the bad ones out, make an can gumbo, make an can chili, just not sure yet. But I am sure I can find lots to do to keep me busy.
So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.

Stella

Monday, September 30, 2013

Life goes on here on the homestead

Life goes on here whether I am here or not. That's a good thing. I know I promised to post more often, and be dang! here it has been over a month since I posted last. Shame on me.
But maybe I can catch you up on life here. Or there. As for my health I am doing a great deal better managing my pain and RA and Fibro. I feel so much more "alive" now that I am off some of the meds that nearly killed me. I had my annual labs drawn about a month ago and now we find my thyroid is a lil on the low side. According to things I have read if you have fibro and low thyroid the levels need to be a lil bit higher than for normal people to combat the fatigue. So I go back to the family doc tomorrow to see what his plans are to deal with that. I guess there is a fine line between high and low with all labs when you have fibromyalgia.
I went to west Ky in early September to cook for the hunting lodge at the request of my sweet aunt Ann. She normally did not house hunters for bow velvet season but this year we had a full house. I spent almost 2 weeks doing that. Sadly on September 14th my aunt lost her hard fought battle with cancer and passed away. Talk about a hard week. I miss her so bad. I guess I keep waiting for her to call. Still we have carry on the lodge and cook for the hunters just like she would have wanted. So that will be what I do in November and December. It will be a tough few weeks seeing familiar faces as hunters return to hunt that have been hunting with Snipe creek Outfitters for several years and have to tell them that Ann is not with us any more. Not sure how tough I am when it comes to that. I got some big shoes to try an fill. Maybe I be best just trying to walk in her footsteps instead.
While I was gone in September Rodger kept the raspberries an tomatoes picked an taken care of . I still need to make some jam and get that done in the next few days. We got our sweet corn brought in that was left to mature on the stalk for seed. I should have enough Golden Bantam and Stowells Evergreen to plant next year.Also got some of the white corn field beans picked for seed as well. Still more of those to get off the vines as they mature and dry. I think we have a few green tomatoes left in the garden I would like to get picked an chopped an frozen to make fried green tomatoes later on. Maybe I can get those tomorrow evening after Rodger gets in from work to help me. Its getting close to time for us to get light frost. At least not too far off anyway. I picked the pears off our small tree here in the yard the other day and there is enough of them to make some pear preserves or pear honey. Or to just make canned pears. I like to mix canned pears an peaches together to eat in place of fresh fruit in winter time. Beats buying sprays stuff from the store. Hopefully next year we will have some fruit of our own to can. Our young trees should produce some fruits IF we properly care for them. Its time to start picking up black walnuts too for shelling and baking later. I told Rodger we can gather them, hang them in burlap bags in the buildings to dry away from squirrels and then shell the dried shell off with the corn sheller later. Then the hard part of cracking an picking the meats out of the shell. We also have wild butternuts here on the farm too if we can remember where the trees are that have them. They are easier to shell than the black walnuts. And have a lil sweeter taste too. Makes yummy cakes and fudge. The cabbage plants that I planted before I left to go west are looking pretty good. Had a good bit of worm damage but I think I stopped that with DE a few days ago. The mustard an turnip greens are looking really nice too. I guess I need to cut an can some of those this weekend so they can grow back and make even more. I kinda look forward to the turnips a lil later as the weather cools they get sweeter. I had some turnips that were pulled an stored in the fridge for like 2 months an they were like eating an apple, so sweet and crunchy. I still need to do more work on the herb bed. I think my plan is a go to kill back a lot of the mints and stuff an just leave patches of purple coneflower an mint and put down black plastic with mulch so in spring when it comes back out it wont look so scraggly and over grown. If anyone ever plants mint or anything in the mint family it for sure needs to be contained. Better yet, plant in containers so it don't take over. It propagates from roots an seeds and can get out of hand really fast. I started in spring with just a lil tiny sprig of peppermint and now I have a space of 3 ft square covered with it. I do like to dry peppermint for tea tho. Great belly ache remedy and sooths indigestion. I could stay busy for days on end and not get bored with things that need to be done around here.
But this week I don't plan on being too busy doing all this farm stuff. I got a lil grandbaby to play with an spoil this week. At least till Thursday till he an his momma have to go home to Nevada. Yes our sweet daughter in law Amoy an grandson Liam have been here for several days to visit. That lil man is so precious. He is the sweetest lil fellow. I guess when he goes home I will have to stay really busy so I don't go nuts missing him. Thanks for letting Liam and Amoy come home for a visit Rob. I know you miss them terribly but we certainly have enjoyed having them. Maybe we can just keep Liam and let his momma go home to keep his daddy company till Christmas when they come home to visit they can get him back. IF he is not so spoiled by then. But I really doubt they will let that happen.
Not much else happening here on the farm. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Stella

Monday, August 26, 2013

Canning potatoes, late garden work

Not much canning going on here this summer at all. But on Saturday Rodger and I got our potatoes put in crates and in the cellar for storage. We had put them on the floor of an outbuilding at Jason's house to cure and the skins to toughen on them and felt it was time to get those in the cellar while we had spare time. Not like we are all that busy but still lots of things to do on a homestead all the time. We had several that had developed soft spots from laying on the floor and I knew they would not keep stored in the cellar so I separated those and decided to can them so they can be used. So that is what I did. Not hard to do at all. I like to leave peels on my potatoes, especially for frying. I washed them really well and cut of damaged areas, cubed them up so they were uniform in size, packed them in pint jars, added 1/2 teaspoon salt, covered with water, added lids, pressure canned them for 30 minutes at 10 lb pressure. That is what the canning book says to do. They all sealed and needless to say I was a happy lil camper. This batch used the damaged ones, but I still have about 3/4 bushel of small ones that will shrivel over time in storage and be useless so those will be canned tomorrow, hopefully.


I canned a total of 18 pints, these are just ones I HAD planned on using for supper tonight for fried taters but someone changed my plans. They are still nice and white, you can see the brown areas which are the peels. The protein layer on the tater is just under the skin and this is just one reason I don't like to peel taters. Try to preserve more of the nutrition. I actually like to use boiled leftover taters to make fried taters anyway. They are just better. Try it sometime.

Over the weekend I did also get some mustard and turnips sowed to have for greens to can later this fall. I planted some rutabagas as well. I am not sure I have ever had rutabagas but they are kinda a taste between turnip and cabbage so they cant be all bad. Very nutritious as well and tolerate storage in the cellar. At least that is what I have learned about them from reading info online. I found 1 packet of parsley seed today while I was out and will get that sown tomorrow too. I do need lots of parsley dried for use till next spring. Still have some other herbs I need to cut and dry from the herb bed as well. Still need to dry peppermint, lemon mint, thyme and more oregano. Add that to my to-do list. We have picked a few ripe tomatoes in the last week and the raspberries are starting to get ripe too. Not enough tomatoes to can yet, but soon I think. The raspberries I am freezing to make jam later and for smoothies. Gosh so hard to grasp the fact that September is almost here already. Where did summer go?

I had a doctor appointment today and all went well with that. Last week I saw my family doc and had several lil basal cell carcinomas taken off. Those are peeling off and healing well. I cant complain. Life is good. It got even better when I got a call from Rob and Amoy to tell us that Amoy and lil Liam will be flying home in September to see us. That just tickled me to pieces. Cant wait to see them. Wish and still hoping Rob gets to come too, but if not he will be home in December for a visit. I do OK for about 3 or 4 months then I get to really wanting to see him and Amoy, in person, not just on ooVoo. Although I am so happy we have ooVoo so we can see Liam in real time and see him grow. Hard to imagine he will be 4 months old tomorrow. Damn time flys as we get older.

Not much else happening here on the farm, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.

Stella

I am still chasing that ever elusive case of fresh nectarines to can. I am thinkin it is time to give up on those. Maybe just get another case of peaches to can and be done with it. Rodger informed me last week we will have some pears this fall, not as many as we normally do but some. So we make do with what we have I reckin.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Yep, this is what I think of this day too


It has been one of those days. I had a really good day yesterday, low pain, low fatigue, just an all around pretty good day. Then the weather changed. I agree with Liam, phewwee on days like this. But tomorrow will be better.

Blessings from the McGuire homestead.

stella

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

We are heading into an early fall

No not a fall "down", but fall the season after summer. I am pretty sure grapes don't get ripe till sometime in September around here but mine were all ripe. Rodger went to the garden last evening to check on the tomatoes and see if we had ripe ones. He did pick a few so we have enough to use fresh with meals. When he came back in I ask him to help me pick the grapes. We cut the clusters off the vines with pruning shears. We had 3 of these half bushel baskets full of nice big sweet grapes.


This is the pic of 2 of the baskets, the other is already in the sink for washing. Yeah we still need to get the green beans put in the cellar. Rodger helped me make juice after we got the grapes picked.


We got 10 quarts of nice thick juice from those and still had a half bushel left to do. We finished off the last basket full this evening and made juice with those too. Ended up with 10 more quarts of juice. As concentrated as the juice is I do think it will need water added when we drink it. Not much work to produce grapes and not much to make juice. We only have 6 mature grape vines producing right now with 30 plus young vines that are not producing yet. I guess all in all these grapes were grown by organic methods as they had no fertilizer or chemicals on them. If I need to I can make grape jelly later but for now we still have plenty of grape jelly in the cellar. I chose not to make wine this year. The juice is more versatile anyway. I rather wait and make some raspberry wine. I need to check on the raspberries to see if they are ripening yet. I think they should be. The plants had lots of raspberries on them a couple weeks ago when we checked them. I should have a bumper crop of those this year too with all the nice rain we have had. As matter of fact it was raining lightly when I came in the house a lil bit ago, shortly after dark. If has been so nice and cool at night I think I will start opening windows at night an shutting off the central air. Might try that for a few nights to see how bad our allergies act up. Its nice to sleep with open windows and listen to the night critters at night. So nice to live in the country where you can do that.

Not much else happening here, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.

Stella

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Oh yeah, we on the rebound

I am not gonna say it no more. I am not gonna promise to update the blog more frequently. I will try tho. At least I can say with some hope that I am on the rebound and making progress toward feeling some better. Dang its been a tough couple years at best. As most know I am diagnosed with rheumatoid and osteo arthritis and fibromyalgia. Plus the damage to my back and arms from a work injury. Some day I am gonna wake up and not feel pain and know for sure I am dead. But until then the battle rages. The long an short is my doctors had me on some meds that are good for fibro and helping manage chronic pain from such but the side effects were killing me. I have always all my life loved being outside, in the garden, having flowers, taking care of different beds of edibles here on the farm, raising our own meat, all things farm related. I have spent the better part of 2 years INside because I could not tolerate heat or cold, the fatigue and brain fog were just awful. Then I had an Ah-ha moment. Yes another one. All this started when I was put on cymbalta and lyrica. So if they cause that many negative effects I did not have before then I think it would behoove me to not take them. I am here to tell you getting off the medications was a nightmare. Literally! I had horrible dreams, violent dreams, pain, headaches. brain zaps,(you cant know unless you have had these), my tummy has been mad at me for a long time. I have not allowed myself to drive now for about 3 weeks because I just did not feel safe riding with ME. I am now at the point where the worst is over. I can walk without appearing to be intoxicated now, I can drive and feel safer in my own abilities. I am making positive progress. Thank God!! I have had some pretty good days this past week. I at least have been able an felt like getting out side to do things. In all this, I guess the message is, if you are sick, no matter what the illness. Be your own advocate. Research your illness or injury, know your options, know your own body and really pay attention to how meds make you feel. Sometimes a bunch of small changes (minor side effects) can be as bad if not worse than big effects. IF you feel your medication is causing more problems than it helps, ask the doc to change it if possible or adjust your lifestyle to make you better. The cymbalta I was taking slowed the chemical signals in the body that tells the brain "pain". It slows the pain signals but along with that everything else in the body as well. I feel like my digestive system has slowed really bad to the point I don't digest my food well thus not getting the nutrition my body needs. Now I have to work on that too from a holistic standpoint. Add more cultured and fermented food to help digestion, fresh pineapple for the digestive enzymes. I kept wondering why I could eat only once a day and feel full and not hungry all day and all night. That is not normal ya know. But tomorrow is gonna be better. Always!!

Today I actually drove me to town and didn't scare me or damage anything or anyone. I went to check on mom, she is doing OK. Had lunch with Rodger at the local DQ(mistake). Ran into some old friends I had not seen in a long time. Stood on the sidewalk and talked to them for well over an hour. Had intended to stop by the store to say hello to Lori, but dang by time I looked at my watch it was past time to for me to start supper so I came on home. I cant remember when I have been out of the house this long. We had fresh green beans, new taters, corn bread an garden maters for supper. I fixed a pan of meatloaf but not much of it was eaten. We all just pigged out on the garden stuff. Rodger got his after supper nap in and then finished installing our cell phone booster. It has helped our cell phone reception a good bit. Not much signal to be had out here in the boonies. But that is a good thing. There are places on our road that has no GPS signal too. We so hid even the satellites cant find us. While Rodger was doing his project I started getting my stuff together to plant my lil cabbage plants that we picked up at Lowe's yesterday while we were in Lexington to the dentist.


There were only 9 of them but that is enough to make a few more jars of kraut and have coleslaw for a while. They should be done before really bad weather. I had the black plastic over this whole section of the herb bed to kill weeds and it did a fine job. I just left the plastic on the area I am not planting to keep the weeds at bay. I did use landscape fabric under the cabbage with mulch on top to keep it in place.


My friend Anna had sent me several lavender plants earlier in the year and I put them in pots so they would get really good strong roots. I got some of them planted here at the west end of the herb bed so they can have plenty of light in summer time and bloom really well. The nearby plant is one of my mature sage plant that has been all but scalped. I have about 10 nice sage plants growing in here now. I really have made some headway on getting the herb bed back in order. Gosh it was about gone with no weeding this summer. Next project is to thin out the mint(s) and purple cone flower. They are so over grown. The oregano is out of control too. I did cut a bunch of it last week to dry for use in cooking. If we don't get rain tomorrow I am gonna try to cut the chives and get those frozen for later use. Chives are best frozen. I got a spot ready to plant some parsley too. Parsley is good frozen or dried. I dry most of mine. Its about time to be thinking about where I can plant some turnips and mustard for greens. I probably need to can more greens so we can take more to Rob and Amoy next spring. I like to just eat the turnips raw like an apple. I had some last fall that got lost in the back of the fridge and stayed in there for a good 3 months. When I found those they were so sweet and good. Love em!
I had my camera in hand (can you imagine?) when I went out back to close up the chickens for the night and check on my beans out back. This jungle looking mess is suppose to be lima beans. Not sure but they have grown up and down the fence wire they are trellised on till it might be near impossible to pick the beans.


The smaller beans to the left of the tall "mess" are a few plants of the Ky wonder pole bean. Those are gonna get trellised this weekend I hope. But the beans on the limas are huge and to me look almost like fava beans.


Well, what do you think, Limas or Favas? I don't know, but if they lima beans they are gonna be huge beans. They are wide and flat and I always thought Lima's looked like large green beans as they grew, just a bit bigger.

These things are a good 1 1/2 inches wide and they are just starting to grow. I better ask someone who knows more about Lima's and Favas than me. I bet my friend Deb will know.

Rodger and I were out of town last weekend to western Ky to visit Aunt Ann and Uncle Tripp for the weekend and pick some green beans. Oh my, that woman, even with her being sick and taking chemo and radiation treatments all spring an summer she has a huge garden. At least she had some friends that came from out of town to help her daughter in law get lots of things canned up. They got green beans done and while we were there I helped Shawna make and can some tomato juice so she can comfortably do it alone now. And Ann had lots of tomatoes that were close to ripe enough to make juice. Please keep this sweet lady in your prayers that she can make a speedy recovery and we can have her for many more years.
Not much else happening here, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.

Stella

Monday, August 5, 2013

Need to get my ducks in a row

But these days seems like I am lucky to just get my ducks in the same pond. I feel lost in my own lil world. I lose track of time lapse. I have been thinkin for a week or more than I need to update my blog and let my readers know I am still kickin. Well finally , here it is. By the way, where the hell did summer go? Just the other day I was starting things in the greenhouse and wishing for summer to get things planted an now here it is mid-August nearly. Actually I have lost a lot of precious time and a lot of my life trying to get better health wise. NOW maybe I can be on the uphill swing. I have stopped a couple meds that I think were making me so fatigued and making me sicker. If I can just get me past the withdrawal of those it will be better. Making progress tho. Maybe in the near future I can do a whole post on what has happened an how I am making positive progress now. So many things to do an so little time before fall and frost, then the snow flys.
Our garden has not produced as much as we are used to but no panic here because when I do have an abundance I can like there is no tomorrow. So in leaner years we still have plenty of canned stuff. We finally got the first round of sweet corn put up late last week and weekend. Will be picking over it again probably mid week. Beans, well those are a whole nuther animal. Not going to be many if any of those this year. But we have enough already canned. Our tomatoes have lots of nice healthy green tomatoes on the vines but they will be a lil later getting ripe. No biggie tho.Our potatoes did really well this year. We got those dug a couple weeks ago and are in the building curing for later storage in the cellar. I plan, but we know how my planning goes, to can some of the smaller taters for quick meals. Not to mention the fact that the very best fried taters are ones that were boiled and left over. I got this idea from my friend Rosie who said in Germany her mother always had boiled potatoes in the kitchen to use in so many ways. And I love Rosie's fried taters. When I make garlicky herbed potatoes here I always make enough to have leftover fried taters the next day. So very good.
I did manage to get the sage cut an dried last week and ended up with a 2 gallon zip top bag nearly full of crushed leaves of sage. I still need to dry some oregano and mint from the herb garden. I should be planting some parsley to chop an freeze. Parsley an chives are much better frozen than dried. Parsley is OK-ish dried but better frozen. Chives definitely better frozen. A few weeks ago when I was making dill pickles I used some dill that I had chopped an frozen last summer. Good stuff.
I had a doctor appointment in Richmond last week an before we left town we had stopped at the local fruit stand an Rodger got me a box of peaches. I think the box holds 3/4 bushel. I ate a lot of em but did manage to can several jars too. This week I am looking to get nectarines. The fellow said he would have them last week and this week. Need to purchase those right now as my lil fruit trees are not big enough to produce yet.

Ended up with 11 pints an 2 quarts. Not bad considering I ate lots of fresh peaches. Love em!! My counters in the summer kitchen are pretty cluttered for it to be the middle of what should be canning season. At this moment I have lots of empty jars out there an a flower pot in which I had started some cabbage for fall cabbage. My cucumbers in the garden ate my cabbage. Covered them up and with all the rain the cabbage rotted from all the water. But not much can be done when ya have so much rain and don't  get the cukes trellised. Plan B, start an try to grow fall cabbage. Need to be thinking about gettin the fall crop of chickens growing too. If I order now they will be big enough to butcher off before the weather gets too cold and we will be done with our late season meat supply. Probably raise about 25 more for the freezer. I still have several from the spring "crop" to last till we get more raised.
The past couple weeks I have felt a bit better with some med changes and stopping some meds. A lil more energy I guess. I even had enough energy to clean the windows outside. I had found a recipe on Pinterest for window cleaner to use outside an you just need to hose off the cleaner, no drying needed an it drys spotless. Yippee!! So I tried it an be dang, it worked. So I will share the recipe with you so maybe it will make your window cleaning life a lil easier.

Outside window cleaner
1/4 cup ammonia
1/4 cup vinegar
1 tablespoon Jet dry(like used in the dishwasher)
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon dish soap

Mix well in spray bottle an take hose an rinse window to get the dust off so as to not scratch the glass. Spray the cleaner on the window and with a brush or sponge or even a mop wash the window. Rinse with the hose again and leave it be. The windows will dry spotless. This makes window cleaning so much easier for me. I don't have to climb on a chair or ladder to reach the taller ones, and no streaks from drying either. Now I really need to clean the siding with bleach to get the "green stuff" off. Maybe when I get another burst of energy that I am not forced out of necessity to use for something else I can clean the siding.
Not much else happening here on the farm, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.

Stella

Friday, July 26, 2013

Its not so bad after all

I thought our poor garden was gonna be a total bust this year, but its not so bad after all. Although we still have plenty grass in there that is covering up some things it is still decent. We have made enough pickles to last a year even if we don't have any more. The vines are nice and green, just no cukes or even bloom on them. Not sure about why that happened. But we good either way. Our taters are not visible for the grass but the vines have already died back and its time to dig those. Most likely we will do that this weekend if no more rain till then. Well probably Rodger, Jason and Miranda will get em out. My pepper plants are short but have lots of lil peppers on them and still growing. The tomatoes are nice size plants, green and have lots of little tomatoes. They will just be a lil later than we are use to because we planted everything later this year. I hope to have sweet corn in a week or so. And I think we will have plenty to last us.  Watermelons and cantaloupes are coming along too. Beans are starting to bloom. Not sure why they came up so spotty but we should have enough to last us. The corn we planted for cornmeal is huge and the ears are huge as well.


Rodger is 5'11 and the corn is twice as tall as he is. This is the Reid's yellow dent. An old fashioned open pollinated variety that we save our own seed for. So far we are happy with this variety for stock feed an to make corn meal. The chickens sure do like this stuff shelled. They don't eat much of it in summer but in winter it is a different story. Makes nice dark yellow egg yolks too. Rich and healthy for ya.
I am making progress on the herb bed, finally. I did get my new lavender plants planted in the herb bed and some sage plants that I had started in the greenhouse. They have been in pots for a several weeks to get some growth before transplant. Sure makes a difference in how hearty they are in the ground. I got some mulch put down too around the mature sage plants as well as the new ones.


I plan to try to get the sage cut for drying tomorrow as the weather has been much less humid for a few days. Rodger helped me last evening to get the rest of the weeds pulled so we could lay down black plastic to kill out weeds in the far end of the bed. By time we finished it was too dark to get a good picture, but trust me, it sure looked better.


This section of the herb bed has been established for a few years and has filled in pretty good and it has mulch so not much problem with weeds growing in here. A few strays that are easy to pull out here and there. The section that will have the black plastic on it for a few weeks is gonna be used this fall for  a few cabbage, maybe broccoli and brussel sprouts for a fall crop. After I harvest the sage tomorrow I plan to make a spot to sow some parsley seed to cut this fall. I am guessin if I plant it late I can let it come back in the spring an go to seed for a new crop next year without reseeding. Kinda takes care of itself. I have lost my tarragon plants. They got over run by the oregano and mint. Suppose I will have to obtain some new plants next spring. I still have enough dried to last a few more years. Seems like on the farm, its feast or famine. In those "feast" years I can and dry everything I can get my grubby lil paws on so we don't run short in the "famine" years. It has worked well for me so far. My strawberry plants near the driveway are still producing some. I did get the bed weeded, it just needs mulch put down now to keep the weeds out. Same with the bed in back of the house.
My new lil beans that I planted in the bed out back came up rather spotty but the ones that are up look nice and healthy. I will trellis those for extra beans to can and save seed from. I feel better now that we kinda have a handle on the weeding here. That got pretty depressing for a while with all the rain an heat and not being able to get any thing done about the over growth.
The excess rain has sure made nice berries this year. My 1 thornless black berry plant that my friend Rosie gave me a couple years ago had lots of nice big berries on it. I know this because I stood out there a few days ago an picked and ate about 2 big hands full. So sweet and juicy. I still have more than enough berries canned to last a few more years without having to pick any in the awful heat. So I took the lazy way out this year.
I finally got my car in today to get the right seal put on the moon roof to keep it from leaking. It seals nice and tight now. The mechanic also unclogged the drain hole so it don't get water inside anymore even if the seal should leak. He did say this is a rather common problem with these vehicles. Now to get the duck tape residue off the top of the car. Maybe I can get that done tomorrow too if it don't get too hot or rain on me.
I know this subject is touchy with most people but some of us still smoke. Yeah I do, and yeah I know its bad for ya. Now get off my case. With that said, we turn our attention to the ones of us who still do smoke. My friend Anna sent us a cigarette rolling machine. Bless her heart, so kind of her and her hubby. Hubby and I can both smoke for about half what it was costing for cigarettes. The machine is so dang neat. Much improved over the ones of long ago like I have of my dads that you had to lay the paper in, put the tobacco on the paper and dampen the edge, manually roll the lil handle to roll the cigarette up. Hell I would have to stop smoking if I had to do that. I have "NO" experience rolling. Nuff said about that. But when we go to the big city we plan to get our tobacco to start rolling our own smokes. I like menthol so I guess I will be finding the menthol filters to roll with. So if you still smoke it is well worth lookin into purchasing the rolling machine that basically shoves the bakker into the filter cigarette thingys. But if ya wanna really cut down or quit, by all means do so or roll ya own. Anna also sent me a huge bag of lavender that she had dried. I love love love the smell of lavender. So very relaxing to me. My plan is to make some lil sachets or bags and fill them with the dried lavender and store with bed linens. I will likely make a pretty one to just hang on the head of my bed and hope it helps me sleep a lil better. Hell any thing that will help a lil. Maybe if I do enough things that help a "lil" that all those "lil's" will add up to a good nights sleep. One can alas dream, er hope to dream.
Not much else happening here on the farm, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.

Stella

Monday, July 15, 2013

Wet season, garden is pitiful

It has been abnormally wet this season and our garden sure has suffered for it. Not that I can complain much tho. So far we have not had to haul any water for the well as it is up to the top full right now. The grass got a big head start in the garden and it sure makes it hard to trellis beans when its hard to find them in the grass. But it was dry enough this evening that Rodger did get the beans plowed out and he said if no rain tomorrow evening he will try to stick one patch of beans. I feel so bad that I cant stand the heat and get out and help him but the heat makes me very ill. I get dehydrated really quick and sick if I get hot. So seems I am banished to the house for now till cooler weather. We for sure must plan the garden better next year so as to not get so far behind and have to fight the grass in the mud. Rodger got the grape vines in the vineyard tied up to the trellises last evening and he came back in soaked it was so hot. Cant imagine how hot it will be to try and pick blackberries. They are getting ripe too. Rodger brought in about a pint other day when he was out driving the farm and found some ripe. I would like to have a few gallons canned but not sure about getting out in the heat unless we get a drop in temps for a few days. Which is not suppose to happen till this weekend. We shall see.

I finally got around to making my lil "saddle bags" for my car. Just bags to hang across the gear shift to stash things in like cell phone, inverter and such. I kinda like em>


I like the pink tiger stripe. Guess this will keep the fellers from wanting to drive my car. Naw, they will just take em off and toss em in the back till they get out. I know them. Anyway the evening I was working on the bags I had to go out to the car to measure the length I needed for the handles and got a heck of a surprise. My passenger floor was full of water. I was a little upset to say the least. We drove the car thru monsoon Mary and it didn't leak a drop and sitting in the drive way its full of water. We assumed it was coming from the moon roof and ordered a new seal for the window. Until it comes in I ran the risk of sucking water out of the floor every day after it rained so I coerced Rodger into helping me solve the problem till we can get the seal installed. This is the result and it works like a charm.


 With duct tape, WD-40 and baling twine you can damn near fix any thing on the farm. I told Rodger when I take the car to the shop to have it fixed I will take full responsibility for the duct tape repair. So I am sure the shop will get a good laugh out of this. But by dang my carpet wont be ruined in the meantime. Rob thinks we are true rednecks. But we raised him so am thinkin that makes him one too. His just don't show so much. 

So far this summer we have made 18 quarts of bread and butter pickles and more to come. Tomorrow we should have more cukes ready to pick. I think we will be making some dill slices from those tho. I am still working on getting the 50 lb bag of big onions dried and stored. Then it will be on to the celery and carrots. So I will start more onions in the dehydrator in the morning and they will be done the next day. Its taking a longer time to dry them crisp with all the humidity right now but they need to be dried. 

After I start the onions in the morning I am gonna try to get some weeding done in the herb bed before it gets hot outside an I cant take it no more. Then maybe try to get some carpet cleaned and major house cleaning. At least I can do that if I am gonna have to be stuck in the house. So we shall see what all tomorrow holds when we wake up. 

Not much else happening here, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.

Stella

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Life goes forward

Life goes on, forward most days, but only one day at a time. This weather has been yucky, we have had too much rain for the garden. Might be hard to believe but the grass has about taken over. Its still far too wet to get in there to work so the grass will keep growing. We do have a few nice days forecast thru the weekend. We should also get a lil break from the heat as well with temps staying in the mid 80's. I can do 80, its those 90's that do me in. I don't acclimate well at all any more. I am either freezing or burning up. I don't have a happy middle any more. But at least my knees will be happy for a while. I got the last of the series of 3 injections in my right knee yesterday. It is a bit sore but not as bad as they have been after the injections. So there is a plus. Now if only this stuff will kick in and do its job and relieve the pain in the knee joints I will for sure be happy about that. But the doc said it would take a while and depend on a lot of factors. So we wait. I don't do well trying to squat down to weed beds and such. So guess that is out of the question. But I certainly have plenty of it to do. I did manage to finish the beds out back this evening with Rodgers help. Still need to get the strawberry bed by the drive and the remainder of the herb bed weeded. Rodger bought me 20 bags of mulch to put down on the berries and herbs to help cut down on the weeding. Maybe I can get a lot of that stuff done this weekend as it is suppose to be nice and not rain. After I get the mulch down it can rain a bit to settle it in but no downpours please.

Last week after my doc appointment we had to make a trip to Lexington to Sam's club to pick up supplies for the company and get a few things stocked back up for us here at home. As the rain destroyed our onions in the garden we bought a 50 lb bag of onions at Sam's. I have been slicing some of those and getting them dried out in the summer kitchen. I also bought carrots to dry an celery. I am surprised at how many carrots and celery flakes I use in cooking. Lots to say the least. Our carrots did not grow this year either, not sure if it was too wet or too cold when we sowed them. But we planted twice an none made it. I still have enough carrot chunks in the freezer to last another season but needed some dried to make my version of Ms Dash. It has been a challenge at best to dry things in the dehydrator in the summer kitchen for a while. The humidity is high outside and it takes longer even in the dehydrator. But we making progress. Still got a lot of onions, all the celery an carrots to dry. Maybe by time I start canning beans I will be done with all the dehydrating. Rodger did make it to the garden last weekend and picked a bunch of cukes and we made bread and butter pickles with those. Tomorrow evening we will pick again and make more. We do use a lot of pickles. Rodger will eat the pickles as a snack if I don't have a dessert made. We try to make at least 20 quarts of bread and butter pickles and about that many kosher dills every year to last all season. When I have cukes that get too big to make good dill slices or spears I usually chop those and can them as chopped dill pickle for use in deviled eggs and such. Lots easier than chopping as you need them. Just open the jar an take out what ya need for the recipe.

Our yard had gotten beyond over grown before Rodger could get it dry enough to mow. Kinda resembles a hay field right now. Wont take long for it to grow back tho. He even ran the weed eater in the garden between some of the rows of veggies to get the grass out that was really tall. Its hard to believe it is almost mid July already. Where the heck did the summer go. Well I have lost most of mine going to the doc once a week for the past 6 weeks for the injections in my knees and before that we were on vacation. With the injections I am suppose to stay off my feet for 48 hours after so that has knocked out 3 days per week of not being able to get anything done. But we done with all that.

My hens are all trying to set I think, I have 6 sitting on eggs and the layers are still laying with them. That is a waste of good eggs. I have 4 hens that have been setting long enough to hatch 2 batches of chicks and have not hatched one. So if its not unbearably hot out tomorrow I may try to get the eggs out of those nest an trash em. The chicken house needs to be cleaned out again but not sure how spunky I feel with a wheelbarrow. I could use the waste on the beds in back where my Lima beans and tomatoes are. The broccoli I planted late is not doing anything so I think I might get it out of those beds and put a layer of chicken manure and bedding down on the bed and cover it over with black plastic or newspaper, if I have enough here at the house. That should break down nicely and make a good spot of fall cabbage and maybe some greens, or lettuce and onions. But definitely cabbage. Not sure the cabbage in the garden is gonna do any good or not. Rodger said the cukes have taken over the cabbage row where we didn't get those trellised. Not much you can get done when the weather wont cooperate.  It has stayed so wet that we still don't have the greenhouse taken down and stored away yet. I sure wanted it nice and dry before we try to disassemble it and put it back in the box for use next year. It was dry this evening but was too late to get it taken apart after Rodger got in from work. Maybe this weekend. I think our weekend list is growing by leaps and bounds. Our plan for tomorrow evening is the pick cukes and put the net fence around the grape vines here in the yard. The vines are loaded with huge grape clusters. The nicest ones we have had yet and I sure don't want the chickens to see the grapes and start eating them before they get ripe. My luck we will fence the chickens out and then wild birds will find em and eat em all. I see a good amount of grape juice coming from all those nice grapes this fall if we can keep the critters fooled. I don't think I will make any more jelly as we still have a lot that I had made a few years ago when I had a good grape harvest.

Not much else happening here on the farm, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.

Stella

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Gathering building material

I am seriously thinking of gathering materials for the building of the ark, again. Well that is a lil stretch but if we have many more weeks of rain like this we may sure need an ark to keep afloat. And the weather forecast is for rain all this week into next week. It is mud in our garden. Although the garden stuff is growing, so are the weeds and grass. I am betting I have cukes to pick if and when I can get in the garden without getting stuck in the mud. Our yard looks like a jungle out there. My herb bed is pitiful. I can not seem to get ahead of the weeds in there much less keep them at bay. Geez!! where does it end.

I get my second in a series of 3 shot in my right knee. Both knees still give me fits and hurt like the devil but I am still hopeful the injections will help long term. The doc still says it will take a while to tell a noticeable difference. So wait I will. After all what else can I do?

I used the June apples that aunt Ann brought to me for making some apple sauce to can. I left the sauce a lil bit chunky. Now I really need to find the recipe I used when the boys were lil to make an applesauce cake. The cake had applesauce in it and on top as well. Very moist and for the most part rather healthy. As I remember it did not have too much sugar in it and contained nuts and raisins. A rather healthy snack if there is such a thing. But hey, if ya think about it most cake does contain things that are good for ya. This is what I had for breakfast this morning.


Yeas I had Italian coconut cream cake for breakfast with my coffee. I love this cake. Aunt Ann made one for me to bring home this past weekend. Rodger and I went to visit them and spend some time with them before she starts her chemo treatments in a couple weeks. She and I got to hang out and just have fun, going to an auction(my first live auction), hit some yard sales, picked up some flowers and other plants at the local Lowe's store. Just had a good day talking an visiting. Rodger went with uncle Tripp to fly his plane to another airport after having to land at a smaller one the night before. He also made a stop in Louisiana to get some fresh gulf shrimp. We had those for dinner that night grilled along with steaks and other assorted goodies. Ann made 2 of the coconut cakes, one for eating at the cookout and 1 for me to bring home. That was so sweet of her. And she really should have just been taking it easy but its just not in her nature to sit around. But we had a great weekend and Rodger enjoyed Tripp's company and getting to fly in his MU2 plane.



Two of my favorite people. And my doggie. Luna loves people and she took to Ann and Tripp when they were here. Ann's lil dog Jack was so jealous that they were paying attention to Luna. He is their lil travel companion. And very easy to travel with.

We have not had much going on here on the farm lately with the rain. But we can hope it dries up enough to at least go check on the garden stuff. It looks good from the house.
Not much else happening here, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.

Stella

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Can I just rant and fuss today

I will try not to cuss but just rant about the dang blogger site. As most of you know I do not have ads on my blog and never have. I don't get paid for the stinking ads that keep popping up at the top of the age when I log into to blogger to do a post. This just irritates the snot out of me. So if when you check my blog ignore the ads at the top which are mostly singles sites or just something that will take you to a pop up ad of some sort. Sorry, nothing I can do about them to get them off here. I might have to move my blog or create my own website. I will see what happens in the next little while.

Dang I cant remember what I told you last time I posted so will just update from memory. We are getting plenty of rain to make the gardens grow. It also makes the grass and weeds grow too. The garden is doing good. Rodger said he needed to trellis the cukes but after he told me they had started to vine already I suggested he not mess with them. We have had rain and with adequate rainfall plants will be brittle and break easily. So at this point I think it best to just left them crawl on the ground. Makes them a lil harder to pick but better than breaking the stems an killing them dead. I think we will have enough produce to restock our food supply for winter and lots to eat too. As matter of fact we had canned green beans with new taters last week.

We were so happy to have Aunt Ann and uncle Tripp to visit this past week. Ann is still battling cancer and is getting ready to take some stronger chemo treatments. She is very positive and upbeat and we are still praying an holding out for healing for her. Aunt Ann looks great, her hair is back after having the radiation and it looks good on her. Uncle is his usual jolly self. Love those 2 bunches. Looking forward to working the hunting lodge with them this fall. She brought me some June apples to make applesauce with and a gallon of blueberries for the freezer. Gosh the blueberries were huge an so good. I love to eat them just fresh or after freezing them take them out an let em partially thaw an then eat em. Blueberry banana smoothies are awesome too. Makes a quick easy breakfast for me. And its good for ya too.

Our lil grandson is growing like a weed out there in Nevada. I would so love to see him in person before Christmas. Dang plane tickets are so pricey. I do get pictures and videos from his momma and daddy often tho and we sure do love those. So being a grammy I have to share the pics with ya.


I really love this pic of him and his momma. So precious and you can only imagine what is going on in that lil mind.


Love this one too, he is in a big hurry to get out of that car seat and into something else.

I think I want this one printed off and enlarged, matted and framed. He is a happy lil boy here and if you see the clock in the background it says 1:35 and I just wonder if  he is keeping his momma up. But who would not want to stay up and see that sweet smile. Cant wait to see that lil boy in December. But in the mean time we will enjoy him thru pictures, videos and hopefully Skype once I get my new computer. The one I am on now is old, about 8 years old, and is not capable of video chat. Today I had a warning pop up telling me to shut the computer down to prevent damage due to over heating. I know the cooling fan is not working properly and soon or later I will be puter less. So Rodger told me to go ahead and order a new one. So I did and it will probably be here this week from Amazon. Until then I will keep my fingers crossed.

I did get out and empty out the greenhouse today and move the pots that had plants in them to the herb bed for the summer.So soon as we get time and its not hot as blue blazes outside we can take the greenhouse down and store it away till next spring. I got in the herb bed later and got some of the weeds pulled out of there. I really need to add a good deep layer of mulch in there so I don't have to spend all summer weeding that thing. That gets to be a big job to keep up with. Not so bad right now but when I get busy canning it will get far ahead of me and then I just have to wait till fall and make the best of it. Maybe I can pull the other stuff out tomorrow and get the black plastic laid down in there to kill the weeds and then plant some stuff that I need to replant in there. Sure will make it much easier to keep up with. I already have a pot with some parsley and chives started and just need to make a place for  them that wont get over run with grass and weeks. I still don't have the old bath tub set in the ground to start my fairy garden yet. I am collecting ideas on Pinterest right now for that. I saw a big dried gourd that had the side cut away in a fairy garden for a house. I do have gourds so maybe that is an idea for my fairy house. Yeah like I need something else to tinker with. In this weeding process this evening I did find a lil Mexican cuke plant that had come up volunteer tho. So I will let it be and hopefully get a lil trellis put up for it to grow on.

Not much else happening here on the farm, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.

Stella