Monday, September 6, 2010

Berry Crazyiness

It was supposed to be a nice family outing, looking for Elderberries, chokecherries, currants and other wild edible berries. While it WAS a fun family outing, it turned into a ChokeCherry Frenzy!!! hahahaha we brought back 22 pounds!! And easily could have picked 20, even 40 pounds more.

I've never made chokecherry jam/jelly/syrup before tonight. Definitely need to learn some tips of the trade.

At least the 6 jars of jam have all "pinged" and set their seals.

Any tips would be greatly appreciated, as I have barely made a dent in the haul of cherries, and we are taking our friends out to the "secret spot" next weekend.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Alaskan Wild Mushrooms

I fell in love with all the little "Mushroom Cities" I saw along the road sides and in the woods. Looked just like little fairy cities too me.

Traveling Gnome

Thursday, September 2, 2010

County Fair time!

Darn! Forgot to take a picture of my crocheted things before I took them down to the fair. I'll get a pic tomorrow, or maybe Monday when I pick em up. Hoping to get some ribbons! This is the first time in years that I've entered anything in the fair. Kinda nervous, kinda excited, don't know why. It almost feels like showing off, hahaha.

We're also going to watch the livestock showmanship competitions by the 4-Hers. Shawn will be old enough to join here in another two weeks! I hope he enjoys it as much as I did, finds something to be passionate about and work towards.

More pictures coming soon, of all sorts of stuff. :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Two of my favorite things

My two favorite souvenirs from our visit to Alaska

This blanket was crocheted by my Grammie (paternal grandmother). I found it in her basement, while helping to tidy things up, in bag stuffed in a box with other odds and ends (old drapes, towels, rugs, dust rags). She doesn't crochet anymore. I still have all the little toys and pillows that she sent at Christmas when I was little, and the items that she made for Shawn when he was a baby. Perhaps she is part of the reason I am so in love with Amigurumi and other small crocheted toys. I'll have to get all those little guys she made together for another post.

I LOVE how the granny squares are all different. And it's round. I'm thinking it's a scrap-ghan. To me it's the crochet jackpot! Now I have a Grammie blanket for my house! My mother has had a ripple afghan made by Grammie on her couch for as long as I can remember.
Grammie hasn't crocheted in years, so I'm thinking this is at least 10 years old. She doesn't remember when she made it. But it's like brand new!!

This was a treasure from my GGMA (maternal grandmother). Do you recognize what it is??? It's an old butter churn! With all the talk we've been doing of getting a milk cow (3 boys, gonna be teenagers at the same time, they can help milk that cow!) I've been playing around with home made butter. Buying cream at the store and shaking a jar. Hubby fondly recalls living out at the ranch with a big, doe eyed Jersey milk cow, and his mom making butter (she had an electric jobber) GGMa tells me "I have just the thing for ya. It's just gathering dust around here." While we were visiting she brings this out for me!
The lid is cracked around the rim, so I was thinking a little JB Weld should fix it up. In talking with a fellow crafting lady, who also loves antiques, I mention this guy. She says, as is, it's worth about $300. DO NOT attempt to repair it! That sometime you can find the jars, sometimes the lids with the crank and paddle, but together is quite rare.
While I think that's awesome, I WAS kinda looking forward to using it! After a bit of cleaning. I guess Hubby will just have to find me something else. After we get that cow. :)

Fall is almost here!

The nights are getting awful chilly, I've had to cover my tomato plants due to frost danger (hopefully I'll get some ripe ones before the big frost!).

The boys are back in school. With Paul starting Kindergarden this year I have mornings to myself! How fast the few hours seem to go.

Fair is this weekend. I plan to enter some of my crochet, and possibly some canned goods. We're going to try to watch the 4-H shows, namely the beef and poultry, to give Shawn an idea of what he can do next year. I'm so excited that he's finally old enough to join 4-H! I loved my time in 4-H (9 years) and I hope he finds some things that spark his interest.

I've been doing a lot of canning lately. My friend and I spent a whole day making chicken stock and canning it in the pressure canner. We started boiling down chicken carcasses and feet around 9am and finished up around 11pm. Whew what a day! Soups and stews are one of my favorite things about the cooler weather! I've also put up some beet greens, 9 pints of strawberry jam, salsa, diced tomatoes in their own juice, dilly green beans and plain ole green beans. I'm thinking I'll do more tomatoes and jam before prices on them go sky high. I've been buying them in bulk at a local produce supplier. Gotta make more ketchup today before the last of the tomatoes spoil. And I could use the room in the fridge!

My poor garden didn't do much this year. No ripe tomatoes yet and NO strawberries, except maybe 5 that the birds got. Time to freshen up the strawberry patch. The green beans are doing good, but they got a late start too. Note to self-check green beans today! There has been enough to have with dinner a few nights, I hope to get a good bunch to can.

The Swiss Chard did awesome! I found a great Italian recipe for it. The beets did quite well, but I didn't thin much, so not too many big ones. But the greens were tender and useable. The turnips did well too, but again I didn't thin enough when they were little. There was still a fair amount of decent sized ones. I left some smaller ones in the garden, as the greens were already moth eaten, so hopefully they'll plump up a bit. Now the question is, what do I do with them?? Lettuce was good this year too. I forgot I had planted little Romaine lettuce and mistakenly took it for Spinach that we had missed (yumm, the spinach was good too!). When I started rinsing it off and the "big" bunches were falling apart into little bunches I realized what it was! It was a nice surprise.

The little birds (the buffs and Silver laced Wyandottes) are out with the big girls now. They are soo cute to watch. They recognize me when I come outside and come running. We butchered the two roos that had come from my hatching efforts along with the meat birds. They were starting to harass the girls too much, and were related to some of em, so we figured putting them in the freezer was best.
I picked up a Speckled Sussex rooster from a lady in town. Shawn named him Bob (I call him Bob-a-Roo-ni). He's an easy going guy, and not related to any of them. He just started crowing today. I was wondering about him. Hearing the juvenile roos learn to crow is pretty funny. Almost sounds like they are being strangled. He sounds like he's saying "Booooooo-oohhh".

Ribeye and DaisyMae are getting so big! We let them graze the yard, but it has to be under close supervision, as they have discovered that chicken feed tastes good (but not as good as their grain) and that my little trees work ok for rubbing their big fat heads on. But that ticks me off!! I've worked hard to grow the poor little trees, to see them destroyed in a matter of seconds gets my blood boiling! The pasture should be up and growing next spring (we're planting crested wheat this fall), so they should have more grazing then. And the horses. Although the horses have done their fair share of damage to my trees.

Poor old Annie. She got a huge wound on her left hind fetlock the week before we went to Alaska. Thankfully I have some great friends that helped me out, changing her bandage daily and giving her her senior feed. But she is going downhill fast. She has Cushings disease, had a huge twisted gut surgery about 17 years ago, is going deaf (or getting selective hearing, hehe) and her eyes are clouding over. Her night vision is about shot. The vet put her body scale at about 2-3 when he came to fix up her leg, and she's dropped since then. Not for lack of eating. And eating, and eating. It's her metabolic issues (part of the Cushings and the surgery) and age. I said a few years ago that I couldn't look out and see her looking so skeletal (like an old horse down the road), but now that it's at that point.......It's so hard! She's still got such spark! But she won't make it through another High Desert winter. No way, no how. Not even with a huge pile of quilted, super warm horsey blankets. I'm gonna let her enjoy the rest of the nice weather, graze the yard to her heart's content (except when she scarfs down the chicken feed) and then....I'll have to say goodbye.
She was the first horse we bought when we moved to Nevada, has done it all. Pony Club (3' double oxers!), rodeo (she's the horse who wants IN to the barrel arena, not balking away from the gate), parades (side saddle, with an old bridesmaid dress; flags galore), and 4-H horse shows (local and state) out the wazoo. She's taught my boys (and countless other children) about horsey etiquette, brushing, picking of feet, haltering, riding, balance in the saddle, and a million more things. THIS IS SO HARD!!!