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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.


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.