Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Farmer Ingenuity

Our driveway is atrocious - especially after all of the snow and wind the last 2 days. In the past, Todd has always used our skidloader & bucket to "plow" the driveway, but this takes a while (usually about 45 min. to an hour on a good day) and it's cold sitting out there in a skidloader.

This past summer he found a snowplow for a truck for $50 - but not to put on his truck (as he said I don't want to beat up my truck with a snowplow on it.) Plus, I think if he put it on his truck, he would get lots of requests for driveway plowing, which he didn't want to do. hehe

So he converted it to run on the pallet forks of the skidloader:

So far so good - 10 minutes to clear a 1/4 mile driveway of 8+" of drifted snow from today (which included some playing around making snow piles I am sure).

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Snowin' & Blowin' & Sewin'

The snowstorm has hit. The kids were off school today (for the 7th day this year) and when I got home from picking them up at the babysitters, I could barely make it up the drive in 4 wheel drive. Every now and again, we think we could get by with a car that is good on gas mileage (let's face it, a durango 4x4 and a F250 4x4 with a V10 are extremely hard on gas), and then a day like today hits and blows that idea clear out into outer space. I think we have 6-8 inches now, and it is still snowing. I will admit, it is pretty when it's snowing and the trees (and animals) are covered in snow (I forgot to take the camera when I was doing chores, and just snapped these 2 pictures outside our back door):

Todd had fire practice, and he called me shortly after I got home - due to the weather (and gas prices) if I didn't need him for anything (like to get in the drive) he was going to stay in town rather than make the 30 mile roundtrip to come home and go back to the firehouse.

So I did most of the chores (I didn't water the bull - he dumped his water trough and I'm brave, but not brave enough to go in his pen), brought the horses in, fed the cows, filled water troughs, fed the dogs, shoveled off the deck so all that snow didn't get dragged in the house and brought wood in for our woodburner.

After feeding the kids leftovers for dinner and putting them in bed by 8:00 (7:55 to be exact), I settled down for a quiet evening of sewing. I started to quilt this quilt:

And then ran out of white thread for the bobbin when I was 1/2 way done. Bummer. This just means I have a valid excuse to go to JoAnn's tomorrow to buy more white thread so I can get it done. So far, I like the quilting I have done on this - and it's going quick, which is nice. I'm not sure what I will do with this baby sized quilt - I had thought baby shower gift, but all of our friends are done having kids (like us:)).

I also made another batch of yogurt that about 11:30 tonight I can put in the fridge. I've been using vanilla flavored yogurt, and tonight the kids (all on their own) got the bright idea to crumble up the homemade granola bars I made (again) over the weekend and mix that into their yogurt with frozen blueberries. 1 quart of homemade yogurt was gone in a day. This could be a daily occurrence. I did look on ebay at yogurt makers - and I will be buying one if they keep asking for yogurt. My kids are off, in that they will ask for fruits, veggies and especially salad before asking for most cookies and candies (with the exception of Oreos). I'm not complaining, because I'd rather try to feed them as healthfully as we can. It's just strange when out friends kids are clamoring for the cookies, and ours are begging for a salad.

So now I'm going to start pin basting another quilt so I can keep moving on quilting (once I get more thread). This quilt top has to be a little over 60 years old:

While I am not a even remote fan of black and white fabric (of any kind), I think this quilt top is striking in it's own right. It has some very worn spots in it, it has been in various attics over the last 60 years or so. I'm not sure if whoever made this intended for there to be another border around the outside edge, but I'm quilting it just as it is.

No more baby calves - I'm glad, although it was a little warmer here today (36 at one point). I just don't want to be the only one here when someone decides to calve.


Monday, February 25, 2008

Necessary work

Rather than sewing on my quilting, I sewed on Todd's carharts. The bull got to feeling frisky tonight, and managed to break open the bale of straw Todd was putting in his pen, and got the twine wrapped round his neck. Then he was playing and chased Todd over the feeder - and the carharts ripped. So my sewing machine was put to good use tonight:

Tomorrow night Todd has fire practice, so the kids will be in bed tomorrow night by 8 and I will have about 2-3 hours of uninterrupted time. I love it that our kids are so well trained about bedtime.

4-6 inches of snow tonight and tomorrow, and 2-3 tomorrow night.

I did make yogurt tonight from Angie's post earlier today - can I say how yummy it is (I had to try it before putting it in the fridge)??? Our kids are yogurt fanatics (they will eat this quart in a matter of hours), but it gets so danged expensive. At least this way, I know what is going into it. I could buy enough yogurt for 2 quarts a day for our family, and it wouldn't be near enough.

It's 6:30 Tuesday morning, I just pulled the yogurt out of the fridge for my kids' breakfast - they say it is better than store brought stuff. It is good. I guess I'll be making more tonight.

Stay warm,


Sunday, February 24, 2008


Unfortunately, it was not a "fresh" ham - it was a precooked, presliced jobbie that Todd got from his former employer for Christmas one year. But as I was contemplating tonight's dinner (last night), I realized if I cook this ham, he could have lunch sandwiches for the next week or so that would be way, way better for him than actual lunch meat (and a lot cheaper, as we already had the ham). So I thawed it and I cooked it. I had intended to make homemade scalloped potatoes to go with it, but my desire for home cooking petered out after making bread and cookies yesterday (which are now all gone), so we did baked potatoes and green peas.

And every now and then, life on the farm will throw you for a whammy. I had intended to do nothing but fun stuff this weekend. Instead, I was thrown a curve ball and did this:

  • I ran way over on our family plan cell phone minutes last month when my sister was in the hospital (to the tune of a $240 cell phone bill) and Verizon told me if I came in and got Todd a new phone and changed our plan, they would wipe out the overage on our bill. So Todd got a new cell phone on Friday, which meant that Saturday morning I was in Wal-mart at 11:00 in the morning looking for a new case as his new phone is much bigger than his old one (and I was NOT paying $55 for the case that comes with his phone at Verizon)

  • Todd also decided that he needed to castrate/vaccinate and ear tag all 4 calves that we have had this year so far. And guess who was nominated to help? I am not a good one with knives or ear taggers, so it was my job to HOLD THE CALVES. This wasn't hard, until we got to our oldest calf who is 2 months old. I failed miserably holding this poor guy. I did manage to, barely, semi-contain him, and then had to sort of sit on him and choke hold him to keep him down.

  • I have scrubbed my kitchen floor on my hands and knees 3 times this weekend, and will be doing it again here tonight after we eat dinner and the kids are in bed. Living on the farm means lots of poop, which inevitably gets dragged into the house with the - I just need this, or I just need a quick drink. And, I am a fanatic about keeping my floor clean (I hate gritty floors) I saw Lyndsey at Yonder Way Farm has a post on the Swiffer Scrubber and homemade recipes for floor cleaners. I have my list and am going to the store tomorrow.

  • This afternoon I also had to help clean off the cow lot. We have a 20 x 40 concrete area with head gates, as well as a 1 acre lot they stay in this time of year. Of course, with the round bale feeder being on the concrete, the cows like to congregate there. And it gets filled up with poop. Todd and 2 of his buddies were here this afternoon doing various manly things, but then AFTER they leave - he needs help running gates to scrape it off with the skidloader - and I get nominated again. The reason I get nominated - is I'm not afraid of the cows (One of the guys that was here is used to dairy cows, and he thinks ours are going to come after him - as Todd says, "it is just easier if you help me, and I don't spend my time laughing at him.") Pretty exciting stuff being told you are a better farm hand to your hubby than his friends. (Of course, if he wants to use the muscle of his friends, I am perfectly happy with this, as then I can do what I had planned to do over the weekend and did not get done).

  • I have also picked up more toys this weekend than I can ever remember. I wish (as do the kids) that they could get outside and play - but winter is still around.

  • I have sorted through 267 boxes of girl scout cookies that Jessie sold to make sure I had everyone's order. Now the fun part is delivering them all. . . .

Speaking of Wal-mart, are people just not shopping like they used too? I avoid that store like the plague, but when I was there Saturday a.m. (prime shopping time) there was NO ONE there. I was able to park right up front, and be in and out of there in 15 minutes. I know we aren't shopping like we used to, but I was impressed. Not impressed enough to start shopping there unless I really need something they carry, but. . .

I hear we are also to get more snow - just what we need. I am going this week to buy the rest of my seeds, so that here in about 2 weeks I can start my garden seeds indoors. I've had little success with this in the past, but after reading Angie's blog and joining her Take 5 group, I am ready to try again (and again, if necessary).

Bring on Spring!!!


Friday, February 22, 2008

Mindless Evenings

I love down home, good for you simple cooking. And I remembered to put my roast in the crock pot last night, it cooked all night, and this morning at 6:30 before leaving for work, I dumped in onions, carrots and potatoes. Umm good. We tend to eat very basic, good for you food here at home, but I am not into eating a roast in 90 degree July weather, so in the winter, I make it about every other week. The good thing was, it was mostly all local foods - our roast, a farmer's potatoes and onions - I can say I honestly don't know where the carrots came from, and same goes for the salt and pepper. I did make a loaf of bread (in my bread machine today while I was at work) and the butter we got from our local bulk food store.

Since I've been trying to get a number of quilt tops finished up so I can go on a quilting spree this weekend and next week, I needed something mindless to sew - that I wouldn't have to think too hard on tonight. I found 2 pillow case kits that my Mom had brought a number of years ago (I'm thinking at least 10 years back), and decided to put them together. They were so quick, I'm now thinking that I can make some for our beds in between the quilting projects:

I may never use these, and they may in fact make it onto my Etsy shop this weekend, but oh how quick they went - I think I spent about 30 minutes on both of them. Jessie may have something to say about me getting rid of them, especially the valentines day one, but I can distract her with a wild print pillowcase (hopefully)

My house is also now decorated for Easter. While we were home yesterday, Tyler wanted something to do, so I dragged out the Easter decorations and let him "decorate." Of course, all my snowmen had to come down (didn't seem right to have snowmen and bunnies out together), but I am SO READY for spring. It's 24 degrees out, blowing and snowing, and I am sick of it. School was canceled here (I really don't know why, the roads weren't all that bad), but this makes day 6 for the year, so they will have to make it up in June, and any days that are missed in the coming weeks. I always get a little blue this time of year, but it seems to be hitting harder than usual. I will say though, it does brighten my day to see everyone's comments here, and to go cruising around reading everyone's blogs. Am I the only one that gets excited every time I see new posts on someone else's blog?

This weekend will be a quiet weekend, if I have anything to say about it. Weather permitting, we are going to clean out the heifer and cattle pens, and the horse stalls one last time before the spring rush.

I hope everyone enjoys their weekends,


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Fun Day

I could get into being off work all the time. I had no babysitter today, so I played hookey from work. I got the house semi clean this morning, and then after picking Tyler up at preschool and getting a couple things at the store, we came home to play for the afternoon. I finished this quilt top:

I am so thrilled with the way this turned out. I still have 1 more border to put around it, which will be 5 inches of either a red or a blue tone print, and then baste it, quilt it and another one done.

I have Tyler's firetruck quilt pin basted, a pink patchwork lap quilt pin basted, so once I get this one done, I'll be busy for a few weeks quilting all these.

It's freezing cold here - right now it's 23 degrees. This morning when we all got up it was 3 degrees. I did spend some time outside this afternoon filling water troughs for the cows - when it gets this cold they drink a lot more trying to stay warm. All the cows and babies are doing well, 069 is the only one that is still inside, but her leg is coming along and hopefully this weekend her and her baby will go out with the rest of the herd.

For dinner tonight, I cheated. I marinaded some cube steaks in a can of beer for an hour, and then rubbed them with brown sugar, salt and pepper, let them sit for 1/2 an hour and cook them. I got the recipe off of Sugar Creek Farm's blog - we'll see how they taste - they smell yummy. Along with noodles and veggies from Market Day at school, and a brownie mix from our local bulk food store, and that will be dinner (although I'm not expecting the brownies to last much past tonight). Tomorrow night will be a roast and potatoes and carrots - I just wasn't organized enough to start it all in the crockpot this morning.

See ya,

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Decisions, decisions

In my efforts to finish up all my projects before starting any new ones, I started working on m red white and blue quilt top. It will be small (12 9" blocks) but I'm getting into it.

My only problem is deciding if I put a double border around the outside edge or a single border:

Any suggestions?

I kind of like both of them. Then I plan to put either a red or a blue patterned fabric border around it all and that will be as big as it gets.

I'm not sure what I will use this for, other than as a lap quilt for somewhere. I love the stars, and I really just love anything americana.

. . .

For those of you who are into eating local, there was an interesting conversation happening at work today:

One of our attorneys raises chickens, and has been bringing in 2-3 dozen eggs every day for the other employees. One of the secretaries says she'll take 2 dozen eggs, until she opens the cartons Oh, they aren't white eggs - are you sure they are safe to eat? We just looked at her, and her response was I don't think that brown eggs are as healthy for you as white eggs, and their shells aren't nice and shiny clean, so they must be contaminated. (this is as I am jumping up and down because we are going to be eating local homegrown eggs). The attorney had to ask her if she'd never heard of a sink and water and washing eggs, whether you get them from your local farmer or from the store. . . . I myself had to walk away before I said something that would have gotten me fired. . . .

Mind you, this is also the girl who told me yesterday - I don't think I could eat beef brought off of you because it would not be as safe to eat as what you can buy in the grocery store. HELLO!!! Haven't you seen the latest beef recall?

Todd says he would like to take her on a tour of a fast food restaurant and let her see what meats go into the burgers there, and see what meats go into some hotdogs and other pieces parts.

Sometimes, some people's thoughts just amaze the heck out of us.. . . it also makes me wonder where people get the ideas they have. . . .

I am getting closer to convincing Todd to get chickens - I was showing him Angie's, Sugar Creek Farm's, and Yonder Way Farm'schickens. He spent some time online looking at everyone's chickens, and left it at we do have a small shed that we aren't using - maybe we ought to put it to use this summer.
Stay warm everyone - it's 10 degrees here in central Ohio!!


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Our Battle with Eczema

Today was a fairly quiet day - no new baby calves. Jessie had girl scouts tonight, so Tyler had us all to himself, for a couple hours at least. I did find time to start a batch of laundry soap though.

Jessie has horrible eczema - so bad that some winters, her little legs would be nothing but raw, oozing skin. We tried our family doctor, we tried 2 dermatologists, and every natural health food store around. One dermatologist gave us a prescription for a cream that he had never seen fail. $298 a tube later, it didn't work (and to top it all off, we see on the News that this particular cream has a 1 in 75 chance of causing a form of skin cancer with prolonged use - it went to the trash in a hurry).

In looking online, I discovered homemade bar soap and laundry soap. Todd teases me all the time - living in the 21st century and making soap like your pioneer ancestors. Well, the pioneers must've been on to something. I make the homemade bar soap from here (I use the All Vegetable Blend - No Palm Oil recipe and don't add any coloring or fragrances) and I tell you what, within 2 baths/showers, her eczema is entirely gone. My bars aren't pretty, by any means, but they work. And one batch lasts a little over a year since she is the only one to use it.

The laundry soap I use is here . I have no idea if it is cost effective, but again, when used in combination with the bar soap, there are days I will pay any price to keep her eczema away. And just using it on the kids' laundry, 1 batch will last about 6 weeks, give or take.

Every now and then, I think about trying the soap with coloring or fragrance added, but. . .if the poor girl cannot use Dreft or Tide Free and Clear, do I really want to chance it? You would not believe the parents who tell me - oh she just needs to toughen up - she'll deal with it. I always want to tell them you deal with her when her legs itch so bad she has blood running down them - then tell me I'm crazy for making soap for her.

And while her eczema is certainly not life threatening, to her, it's very painful and annoying. So I will probably be making soap into my old age (or at least until she is old enough to make it herself.

I did go to Joann's and get more fabric for my red white and blue quilt:

As well as some fat quarters to make Jessie pillowcases for her bed:

But that is the extent of my sewing for the day!!


Monday, February 18, 2008


In a prior life!!! Or at least very young in life???

Apparently, we are in the midst of calving season. I get off work at 4:00 every day, and after picking up the kids, I usually roll in the drive about 4:40, 4:45 or so. I always check to make sure no one is standing in the back of the front lot, especially this time of the year, just so no one is calving.

Todd calls me at 4:50 - "any calves yet?" "Nope, not a one"

. . .

then he gets home and GUESS WHAT IS IN THE SHED????

Another bull calf. My excuse was, with all the rain (1 1/2 inches yesterday) everything is sopping wet, and he is a chocolate brown calf that blended right in with the wet and muddy straw:

So I will have to redeem myself with the next calf that I really do pay attention (and as I pointed out, with the round bale feeder and the head gates, it is a little difficult to see into the shed), but still. . . Momma is fine, baby is feisty so all is well in our little corner of the world.

Boys - 4; Girls - 0

Hope everyone enjoys their evening,


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Firetrucks and more firetrucks

Here is Tyler's firetruck bed quilt:

I am so happy with the way this turned out. I wasn't sure about the black and red, but we are painting his room a light blue/grey, getting new carpeting (at some point in the next couple of months) and I think it will look fantastic.

Tyler was so excited to see his quilt top - he was all ready to put it on his bed. The little man has a severe articulation/speech dealy, and cannot say the "tr" sound in truck - it comes out sounding like "f". He's had therapy since school started last September, and if he really thinks about it, he can say "truck" but as in the case of yesterday, when he gets excited, that all flies out the window. So you can use your imagination and understand what he was saying. (Note: It's really cute to hear him say "dumptruck" as he can't articulate the "p" sound either - and he doesn't make a substitution for the sound, so dump is just dum"). He was so happy though to see his bed quilt.

At this point it's about 2/3 of the way pin basted. . . .I'm hoping to be able to start within the next couple of nights quilting it. I would really like to get it on his bed within the next 1-2 weeks. With spring will be coming, and who knows what I will have time for. Todd's thinking his million hours of work are going to be starting up first of March, so alot of the stuff around the farm will fall to me, which won't be bad if the weather gets nice. It has been very nice having him home on Saturday and Sunday mornings, but he needs to go back to work, as we are eating way too well around here at breakfast time on the weekends.

This is going to be my next project - it's a block of the month quilt my Mom, sister and I took the classes for maybe 4, 5, 6 years ago? I have one more block that I want to do here today yet, and get the sashings and borders on. I'm trying not to do anything new until I get some of these projects done. Of course, this will involve a trip to JoAnn's to buy fabric for the borders and sashings - how fun will that be? Although there won't be a lot of fabric involved, as the blocks are only 9" square:

My tomato seeds also came in the mail yesterday - I CANNOT wait to get out and start digging in the dirt.

Calves are good, it is 48 degrees and raining - hurry up and rain already so we get some sunshine and warm weather.

Take care,


Friday, February 15, 2008

2 Newest Additions

As promissed, here's better pictures of the 2 newest calves here on the farm. 069's baby is bright eyed and bushy tailed tonight, so we are fairly certain he got up and ate:

Good old 069 is going to be enjoying some time inside. She looks like she might have some mild paralysis in her one hind leg, but for now we are going to pamper her, hope she can walk halfway decently in a few days, and hope we don't have to medicate her. We really don't like to medicate either the cows or the calves, but at the same time, we don't want an animal to suffer needless pain. It's a fine line to walk, but we try to raise these animals as close to nature as possible. Our cows have pasture year round, access to good quality hay 24/7, and just a little bit of grain in the winter, that we make our selves, with no medications added. We grow our own corn for the feed, and just buy the bean meal, minerals, dry molasses, etc.

101's calf is a wild man. He's out there bouncing around in the pen. I love his coloring. He's an Angus/Shorthorn cross (Moody Blues shorthorn breeding), with lots of chrome (I tend to pick the flashier calves with lots of white, while Todd tends to lean towards the all black calves). Todd looked at him tonight, and normally we castrate our calves right off the bat - much less stress to do it at 2 or 3 days old, versus trying to band them at 7 or 8 months. But this one might be spared, as Todd thinks he could be nice enough to be a replacement bull for us at some future point:

And of course, a picture of our 1/2 grown calf - out with the rest of the cows now that the bull is no longer out with his harem:

Tyler's quilt top is also done - I'll post a picture of it later tonight or tomorrow. We have the fire department banquet tomorrow night, and the kids are spending the night at my parents (THANKS MOM & DAD!!) How wonderful to have a night out spent with friends.
Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!!


How fun!!

Excellent? How wonderful - Thanks Farm Mom!!

I choose to pass this along to: Just Granny's, Yonder Way Farm, The Beginning Farmers Wife, Loosing our Shirts, Keeping the Farm, The Quilting Bookworm, Crazy Mom Quilts, Sugar Creek Farm

I must admit, this has been so much fun - when I first started, I didn't tell anyone I was doing this for a number of weeks (I think it was mid-end January). I wasn't sure I would have anything worth talking about, and whether I would have time for it. But I feel like I have made a whole new set of friends, and our family values have shifted ever so slightly, for the better I believe, in that we are making a conscious effort to get back to a healthier, simpler, lifestyle.

Thanks Farm Mom!! Kris

Thursday, February 14, 2008

2 New Valentine's Day Calves

Calving season has officially begun, I guess. And I am not the best one to be in charge of calving - I tend to panic too easily.

This morning before we left for work, Todd says to me "we'll have a calf on the ground by the time we get home tonight." I go to work, and immediately start worrying (this is at 7:30 that I get to work every morning). I call Todd about 10:30 - "I'm supposed to go to Jessie's valentine's day party at school, should I swing by home and check on her? Which cow is it?" "It's 101 - and if you want to, go home and check."

Then I get a call from Jessie's teacher - the parents who were supposed to send in the in class treat and drink for the party didn't send it in - could I bring something (mind you, I'm at work, it's 12:30 and the party starts at 2:45).

So I leave work at 1:15 (gotta love wonderful bosses), run home, and call Todd "069 has a bubble hanging out of her butt" (gotta love the technical language). "What??? Are you sure it's 069?" "Yes. . . .it's the only red roan cow out here - and her ear tag says 069." And she is a first calf heifer. Todd says she should be fine, bred to an incredibly small angus bull. So I hang around for a little bit, but before leaving for shopping for the party call him back - "I can see feet and they look to me like they are pointing the right way." "Ok - call me when you get home".

By this time, it's 2:20. I run to Dollar General to pick up prizes for a quick game I came up with, stop at the local IGA and buy cupcakes and punch, and fly to the school - and made it there by 2:47 (and you know, it really irritates me that as the ONLY room mother, I called everyone Monday afternoon to remind them of the party, and specifically said - if you can't do this for the class, call me and I will take care of it - just give me enough time). The party was a success, and Jessie and I head for home at 3:30. We INTENDED to stop quick at home, check on 069, and go pick up Tyler at the babysitters.

But 069 had other ideas - she was sitting up just like a dog. Her back legs had apparently slid on the crusted snow, and she was spread eagle. poor girl. I call Todd - and tell him what happened, and I could see the calf's nose and front legs. He immediately leaves work (again, gotta love understanding bosses), and calls me back - "get the calf puller, the chains and handles, and a halter." By the time he gets home, I have everything back in the pasture by her, and we quickly pull the calf (with me in my carharts, columbia work jacket, and skechers). It's still alive at this point, so I head out to pick up Tyler. As we are backing down the driveway, he is trying to corral 101 - who he thought was the only one going to calf today, as she is in the early stages of labor.

I get home with Tyler, put back on my carharts, and Todd and I go out to bring 069 and her calf in. Todd throws the calf over his shoulder, and I get behind 069 to urge her towards the sheds. We get her into 1 pen, 101 into another pen, and wait for the second calf to be born.

While I throw together chilli for dinner, he gets the OB ward set up with clean straw for all mommas, fresh water, and hay. At 7:30 101 spits out her calf like she does it every day of the week (she is a 2001 cow, wider than she is tall shorthorn/maine cross who out of her 6 calves including this year's, we have had to pull 5 of them).

Todd just went out to feed 069's calf some colostrum - it's head is swollen from the difficult delivery. If we can keep it alive on the bottle until the swelling goes down, it should be ok - if not, that is life on the farm, but we will buy a holstein calf off of a neighbor to put on the cow and let her raise. She is a first calf heifer, this is not her fault, and we will give her another chance if need be.

Our kids think this is the coolest - to have 2 calves born on valentine's day. When I got home with Tyler, Jessie was standing back by the fence talking to momma and baby, and Tyler had to run back there immediately and see the calf. Both kids had to make a trip out there before bed as well, to see both sets of momma and baby.
I'll post more baby pictures tomorrow - but the count as of right now is boys - 3 and girls - 0. Tyler is ecstatic, Jessie is bummed. 7 more to go - hopefully the majority of them within the next month before Todd gets busy at work.
Happy valentine's day!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Sue Quilt is DONE!!!

It is finally finished - after 57+ years!!! It is quilted, bound, and ready for display. I cheated on the binding, and just folded it over twice to the back and machine stitched it down. I debated about binding it the "normal" way, but this quilt top is so old and fragile, and I couldn't find a yellow print to look good with the fabrics in the quilt, so. . . I'm happy with the way it came out:

It's a little wavy, I think because the fabric is so old, but on the whole, I'm pleased. No, this quilt will never make it onto Jessie's bed, fortunately it is entirely too large for her twin bed!! I just had to see how it would look!!

On the home front, I took a day off work today - which was so nice. Todd and I had off yesterday, as he had to have surgery on his sinus cavitites/nose, and we had thought we would be home early, but it was 3:30 until we got home. The kids didn't have school Monday and Tuesday this week, so then I had to go get them, do chores for Todd (as he isn't allowed to lift more than 25 lbs for a couple days), and I wasn't feeling the greatest this morning when I woke up, and Tyler didn't have preschool due to the weather. So Tyler and I have spent a nice day at home.

I had to laugh yesteray - while we were waiting for Todd to be taken in to the Operating Room, he asked about the garden and what I wanted to plant. As I start digging in my purse for my list, and rattling off the top of my head (sauce tomatos, slicing tomatos, cherry tomatos, cucumbers, peppers, chilli peppers, onions, garlic, celery, carrots, zuccini, squash, lettuce, cabbage, beans, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries) his eyes just got bigger and bigger and he finally asks - "do I have to double the size of the garden?" He's on board with this now, that we are going to try and grow as much of our own veggies and fruit as we possibly can, and in fact, he suggested we also grow eggplant and rhubarb (turns out he likes fried eggplant - I never knew that). So this weekend, weather permitting, he is going to haul some cow manure over to the garden and spread it around so it can sit for a while before we work it. He's also on board with doing this as organically as we possibly can. At least it got him thinking while we waited for 2 1/2 hours for his turn in the OR.

No babies yet - I've braved the cold a few times today, the girls look miserable, but I think they are waiting for it to warm up (hopefully this weekend). It's 21 degrees right now, and I am pretty thankful they aren't calving at the moment (it's too cold for me to want to be out there).

Now I had better go and try to figure out something good for dinner. I think it will either be chilli or steak. I'm opting for chilli with cornbread. . ..


Monday, February 11, 2008

Cold, cold weekend

Since it was going to be so cold out on Sunday, I decided to make vegetable/noodle soup for dinner Saturday night. I sort of followed Kelli'e recipe at the Sugar Creek Farm blog for at least cooking my soup bones (which worked out fantastic by the way), and then added some carrots, green beans, diced tomatos and a packet of pea/alphabet noodle soup mix I got at our local bulk food store:

Even Todd, who is not a big soup eater (more meat and potatos) liked it. With a loaf of homemade bread, it definitely hit the spot. And now I know how to cook those soup bones so I don't end up throwing them out in the spring when it is time to clean out the freezers.

No baby calves yet, but 2 of the girls are looking rather close. We were praying it was not going to be last night, as with the windchill the temps were -30 degrees, but so far this morning, there were none on the ground. We have a nice shed with lots of straw for all the cows, so hopefully the mothers won't be dumb and have them out in the field, but these are cows and you never know.

My pond hasn't frozen yet - guess our little stock tank heater is doing it's job, but the water is so murky - I am dying to get in there and clean it up and make it crystal clear again:

School was canceled for today due to the cold, so the kids are enjoying a day at the babysitter's while we are both at work. I didn't get any sewing done this weekend, but my house is clean and my freezers are somewhat organized.

Stay warm,


Saturday, February 9, 2008

Sunbonnet Sue

Quilting is ALL DONE!!! I was up until 11:30 last night quilting it, but now it's just figure out what to do for the binding. I'm thinking I'm just going to fold the edges over twice to the back and machine stitch them down. There's enough fabric to do it, I won't have to worry about yellows/prints matching (I do tend to obsess about these weird things) and I think it will work. That is, in my mind it should work, in person is another story entirely. I absolutely love it, and at the same time, I am SO glad I decided against using this on Jessie's bed.

The animals are happy if a little dirty and muddy after all the rain/sleet/snow/50's then 20's we've had - it was fairly nice out today here. These are just a couple of the "girls" - and hopefully a couple of them will be calving here before too long:

This is the bull. We took him away from his harem last weekend - while he is very tame as far as bulls go, if we should have trouble with calving, we don't need to be dealing with him:

The horses are so shaggy right now. I can't wait to get them cleaned up this spring, but it would be a loosing battle at the moment:

The guineas will hopefully not be here too much longer. While they are excellent at keeping down the bugs, there is guinea poo EVERYWHERE. Last summer they took to roosting on the top rail of the kids' swingset - which meant that it had to be washed down EVERY DAY. They are amusing when they chase each other (or our Jack Russell) but I am tired of dealing with guinea poo all over the barns, the tractors, the 4 wheeler. . . . I was showing Todd everyone else's blogs today, and he actually said - maybe we ought to get a few chickens, but if we do that, I WANT a couple roosters. Not sure about breeds - I always thought a chicken was a chicken, but I'm going to look into it here before too long, especially if he's thinking it might be nice to have a supply of eggs!!

And last, but certainly not least, is my garden/weed patch from last year. It is probably 50 x 200 feet (give or take) and after I was showing Todd what I want to do, he is talking that it needs to be enlarged a little bit???

Yes, it looks bad now, but here in a few weeks, weather cooperating, we'll start getting it ready, and hopefully with being involved in the Take Five group, I'll be able to keep up on it this summer.

Tomorrow's high with wind chill is -15. I'm hoping to get lots done inside. Stay warm everyone,


Friday, February 8, 2008

Homemade Granola Bars

Tonight I made homemade granola bars. These are absolutely to die for:

1 c. brown sugar

2/3 c. peanut butter

1/2 c. corn syrup or honey

2 tsp. vanilla

3 c. quick oats

1/2 c. coconut

1/2 c. shelled sunflower seeds

1/3 c. wheat germ

1 c. choc chips

1/2 c. raisins or craisins (we use craisins)

1/2 c. butter

heat oven to 350 - grease 9x13 pan

melt peanut butter, brown sugar, corn syrup/honey, vanilla and butter. Add remaining ingredients, press into pan.

Bake 15 - 20 minutes. Cool completely, if everyone will leave them alone, that is (our pan has been out of the oven for 20 minutes, and there's 4 inches of it gone already, if that tells you anything).


Thursday, February 7, 2008

Quilting Night

I love nights like this one - busy, but relaxing and I actually got a chance to sit down and sew:

I also love quilting when I am further along than I realize:

(yes, the one row has a jig jog in it, but I will rip that out tonight and redo it).

Now it's just do the outer borders, bind it and DONE. I had originally just intended to quilt around each Sunbonnet Sue and the inside of the blocks and let that be enough, but realized quickly that if I ever want to wash it, it needs to be a little more sturdy. So I did straight lines up and down the inside borders, and will go around the outside in straight lines. All in all, I am pleased with how it is coming out.

I should have worked on Tyler's firetruck quilt, but really wasn't in the mood to do a lot of thinking. This weekend it's supposed to be super cold out, so I will get some work done on it.

My sister's recovery seems to be moving very fast. She is on the regular heart ward hospital floor, eating and talking and starting to move around. Still very weak, but much, much improved. She was not believing anyone who said it was Tuesday/Wednesday 1 week later when she was really with it, and I would have loved to have been a mouse in the corner to see and hear her reaction. Her sons went up to visit her tonight, I am sure they are much relieved. **I just heard early on Friday that she could be discharged completely from the hospital as early as this Sunday, as soon as her chest tubes come out - YIPPEEE**

I am getting anxious for spring - so anxious I had to go out and buy some herbs to start in pots this weekend. We have a southeast facing room with lots of windows and it gets nice and sunny and warm. I figured I'll start them out now, and later on transplant them into my garden. Just couldn't wait for decent weather thought - had to get my greenhouse fix in February. I am really looking forward to gardening this year - I think it will be fun to be part of the Take Five group from childreninthecorn.

No cattle babies yet, but a couple are looking closer. The race is on already - more boys or more girls (and the kids are the main culprits - "HAHA we've got more boys" or vice versa). At least they are into raising animals and living on the farm.

Stay warm, everyone.