Thursday, April 25, 2013

Things on a Thursday

Things I am doing on this Thursday is making my first batch of sour dough bread!

The recipe I used was for a Honey Wheat Sour Dough.

It is rising!
It is rising!

The other thing that I am doing is working on getting the house ready for a visitor.

This cute little guy!

Our grandson is coming for a visit!

The pipeliner and I are so excited !

My daughter is transitioning out of the Army.
 Her boyfriend ended his time with the Army in November.

They have decided to move from North Carolina to Washington.

Their house is packed up.
They have to be out by May 1st.
The boyfriend is driving the first truckfull of their belongings across the country.

The daughter has to stay in the Army until all paper work is complete.
It might be anywhere from 2 - 4 weeks.

So grandma and grandpa get to babysit for that time!

We haven't seen the little guy since he was 2 weeks old.

It sure will be a big change for us!

I haven't had a baby in the house since my daughter was little.

Just hoping everything goes smoothly!

I know this grandma is going to love every minute!


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Total Couture Tuesday

I admit it, I love shoes!

And not just shoes.

Boots, clogs, slippers and flip-flops!

The pipeliner gives me heck because I own so many pairs!

My feet haven't changed size since 7th grade. Thats a lot of shoes I have held onto since then.
They are coming back in style too!

These would be my latest addition!

I can't wait till its warm enough for the strappy high heeled pair!

But most of the time at the farm I tend to wear these:

Nothing like a pair of comfy tennis shoes.

But if I were really truthful most of my summer time is spent in flip flops.

And when most days are spent working in the garden,

my feet tend to look like this!

A pedicure please!?


Sorry my link button appears not to be working this morning!!!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day

Happy Earth Day!
In celebration of Earth Day we added 3 more trees to our little orchard at the farm.
This is the Red Michigan Peach.
We also planted a tart pie cherry and a honey crisp apple.
What did you do to celebrate Earth Day?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Things on a Thursday

Things around here are quite soggy this morning!
We have been dealing with round after round of thunderstorms since yesterday morning.
They continued through out the night.
We were up around 4 a.m. to check the sump pump in the basement.
It had been pumping non-stop all night long. It was keeping up, but the pipeliner decided to add another little pump to help it along.
Then we put the plug in the basement drain.
This little plug has been a life saver!!
A little water had already seeped in. Nothing that the shop vac couldn't handle.
A few years back we lost a whole furnished basement while we were off pipelining!
I never want to go through that again!
I just got back from taking a walk around the neighborhood.
Not good!
Lots of people with garden hoses stuck out of their basement windows.
The pond continues to rise.
One of the neighbors paddle boat floated toward our house.
Our dock is standing up out of the water.

The people in the house across the pond have been erecting a sandpile wall. Hoping to stop the water from coming in their house.
I sure hope it doesn't get that high!
But its getting close!
Mother Nature, turn off those April showers,
we have plenty for our May flowers!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Starting my sourdough starter

Back in December, while I was spending my time at pipeline camp
(I had a lot of extra time on my hands!)
I started browsing different kinds of breads.

I wanted to add fresh baked bread to my farmers market booth this coming season.

The one that intrigued me the most was sour dough.

I spent days reading through starter recipes and how to grow a great sour dough culture.

By chance I came across this informative site:

In this site I read about

The story goes, in 1847 Lt. Col. Griffiths great grandmother brought the culture west on the Oregon Trail from Missouri. She passed it down the family line.
Carl T. Griffith inherited the starter from his parents and made an institution of sharing the culture with anyone who was interested.
If you sent postage to Carl, he would send you starter.
Unfortunately Carl died in 2000 at the age of 80, but his sourdough lives on!
A group of Carls friends carry on his tradition of sharing the starter. If you send postage, the starter is free.

Sounded interesting enough for me to find out. I sent a self addressed, stamped envelope and waited for a reply.

And this is what came in the mail.

A small package of starter mix.

Along with this letter

I wanted to revive the starter the minute I opened up the envelope.
But that was when the pipeliner took his 2 months off and we were on the go constantly.

A great sour dough starts with a great starter. And that starter needs a lot of attention in the beginning. Not what I had.

Now I have the time!

So today I began the revival!

I measured 1/2 tsp. granules into a glass jar.
Then the instructions said add 1 tbsp. lukewarm water.
Let stand to soften.

I decided to go on my morning walk.

I came back and it looked like this:

The granules had softened.

The directions read to mix in 1 tbsp of flour.

Depending on the flour, you may need to add an additional tsp or 2 of water. You want the mixture to be like thin pancake batter.

When the mixture gets bubbly, put it in a larger container.
The first sign of starter activity could take from 4 hours to 12 hours.

A warmer room temperature is helpful in reviving the starter.

Its a little chilly in the house today, so this is where it went.

On top of the fridge, between the pipeliners hats.

I will keep checking on it the rest of the day.

When its "ready" I will move on to the next steps.
And if it fails I still have more left in the package to try again.

Wish me luck!


Saturday, April 13, 2013

How the Homesteading conference went

I can hardly believe it has been a week since I attended my Homesteading conference.
We were all handed these binders when we checked in.
There was fresh fruit and an egg caserole to snack on while we waited for the ladies to start speaking.
Plus the tough decision on which class you would like to attend. They had 2 classes at the same time.
I think the schedule was a little goofed up on paper.
But I stuck with Deborahs classes. I have been following her blog, plus I was impressed with her book and knowledge of homesteading.
I have to admit I was a little disappointed in the classes. Yes, I did learn a lot. However I was looking for more information on rasing goats. She spoke more about using the milk from them. The different things you can make, soap, a variety of cheeses, and butters.
The poultry class was kind of the same way. I wanted to learn how to make a great chicken coop. What things have worked for her and what didn't.
Some of the other ladies at lunchtime commented on the same things that I thought.
At the end of the day both ladies, Deborah and Cathy did a question and answer segment that was very interesting.
Cathy gave us her blog address.

Cathy has a great you pick flower farm in Western Iowa.

I can see a road trip coming this summer!

She really has my mind going of things that I would like to try at our farm.

The conference was good all around. Not as great as I hoped. And I really hate to admit that.

I guess I will be doing a lot more reading about goats and chickens before I feel ready to take them on.

Somday tho...



Thursday, April 11, 2013

Fresh Strawberry Upside Down Cake

Today was our last Bible study group for the season. To celebrate a wonderful and blessed time together, we decided to hold a salad luncheon after worship.
 The days have been rainy, cold, and gloomy so I thought this summertime dessert might be a treat for the ladies.
Fresh Strawberry Upside Down Cake
This is a super easy one!
2 cups crushed fresh strawberries
1 (6ounce)  pkg. strawberry jello
3 cups minature marshmellows
1 white box cake mix
In a 9x13 inch pan spread the crushed strawberries on the bottom.
(I didn't have a full 2 cups today,woops)
Sprinkle the strawberry jello over the strawberries.
Evenly distribute the marshmellows over the top of this mixture.
Make the cake batter according to the instructions on the box.
Pour this over top the marshmellows.
Bake in a 350F. preheated oven for 35 minutes.
(I would start checking for doneness at 30 minutes)
Take out of the oven and cool for 15 minutes.
Run a knife around the edge of the cake, then invert onto your serving platter.
Let cool before serving.
Now how easy is that?
I can't wait until fresh strawberries are available this summer!
I have been suffering with a bad case of shoulder bursitis. This is how I have been spending most of my time lately.
On the couch, feet propped up, trying to rotate between ice and heating pad. My little Shaggy can't figure out why mom isn't up and going.
Lots of things to do for the weekend, so I hope this pain goes away soon!


Monday, April 8, 2013

Look for the potential!

The pipeliner and I had a nice 2 day get-away at the farm. It gets harder and harder to leave after the weekend is over.
The ride from our house to the farm is about 25 miles. We usually try to take a different route each time, you know check out the scenery.
But we usually end up driving by this piece of property that really isn't far from the farmhouse. It had a for sale sign on the fence for awhile, then it disappeared.
The pipeliner decided to do some checking on it recently. It was still for sale and the price has been reduced.
This weekend we decided to meet our realtor there. Have a little look -see.
The listing brochure describes it as 8.2 acres bordered by a creek and trees.

Many fruit trees to entice deer and other wildlife.
There is an old mobile home and garage positioned in the center of the land.
That was all fine until we walked up and looked in the windows.

Oh Boy!!
This is just the front porch!
The rest of the trailer is full of furniture and other things!
( probably lots of wildlife!)
The garage was cluttered with old lawn tractors.
Our realtor kept saying "oh my goodness!"
The place has been vacant for quite awhile.
One thing they forgot to add in the listing was the in ground swimming pool.
The property is beautiful!
It has a lot of potential.
But now we know why the piece of land has been on the market for so long.
It needs a lot of work!
We have some thinking and phones calls to make before we make a decision if this is a project we would like to take on.
And what a project it would be!





Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A peck, pecking problem!

I know spring is in the air because every morning now, I hear the chirping of the returning birds.

I love to lay in bed and listen to their tweets!

But lately my mornings have been met by a thud, and then a peck, peck at the window.

And here is the culprit!

The old red, breasted robin!

He see's the reflection of himself in our bedroom window. But to him it looks like a rival, trying to take over his territory.

So he swoops down onto the outside sill, sits and pecks, pecks at the window.

As you can see he makes quite the mess!

This has gone on a few years in a row!

I went on-line looking for solutions.

One article said put brightly colored wrapping paper in the window,to deflect his reflection. We had Christmas paper in our window until mating season was over. And it really never fixed the problem.

Another said to hang a pie plate in the window outside, the moving aluminum would keep them away.
No, he just perched on the string we hung it from and pecked away.

With the house up for sale, I really don't want people seeing wrapping paper in my windows, but I am also tired of washing the darn outside window everyday.

Have any of you ever had this problem?
If so, what did you do to remedy it?
I will take any suggestions!

The other sign of spring birds is this pair of mallard ducks that stop by the pond every spring.

They were camera shy this morning and I couldn't get any closer.

I would love to listen to the chirp, chirp and get rid of the darn peck, peck!


Monday, April 1, 2013

Goodbye March

Its hard to believe we have said goodbye to another month!

I think lots of us would like to forget about March, and all of the snow it brought to us.

I know I am ready to start digging in the dirt. But the dirt around here is still frozen!

So I just keep jotting things down in my garden journal.

When I turned to my page of things to do for the first week of April, this piece of paper greeted me!

The homesteading conference I had signed up for a few months ago.

It is an all day event at our local community college.
Deborah Niemann is the instructor. She has a great book I fell in love with a few years back.

I had stumbled across her blog somewhere. Then found her book through that. Her blog is called

She has shared some great stories from her journey to the farm. Some will make you laugh and a few have made me cry. But I have been intriuged by all of them.

She inspires me to strive for this kind of life when we finally move to the farm.

I am so excited for this Saturday!

To sit, listen and learn about some new ways of life. To interact with others who want to do things a little different. And to bring home new and exciting ideas to use on the farm.

With gardening out of the question for this coming week, I might have to work on  designing a new journal. I am sure I will have lots of ideas to put in it after attending my first homesteading class!