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Old Fashioned Apple Butter

This recipe is for use in a crock pot, but I make mine on top of the stove.  Just adjust times based on the texture and taste of the apple butter if you want to make stovetop.  I really like this recipe in part because your additional ingredients are based on the amount of sauce made after your apples have been cooked and strained.  I enjoy an apple butter with robust flavor but Mike prefers the spices to be toned down.  (I like to use the spices in the exact amounts specified in this recipe, but if you like a milder taste, just cut back on the spices.) While these directions offer the convenience of using the modern convenience of a crock pot, the flavor yields old fashioned taste.  

Old Fashioned Apple Butter For every 12 to 14 apples use the following: 2 cups apple cider/apple juice (I actually used hard cider) 2 cups sugar (I used dark, brown sugar for a more robust taste. You can use white sugar or a mixture of white and brown.) 2 teaspoons ​cinnamon 1 teaspoon allspice 1 teasp…
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Restorations and Improvements to Buildings and Grounds

Some "before" pictures and then progress on the 100 foot building Mike is restoring.  Just like the barn he restored, this building will have some noticeable flaws that could not be repaired due to age, damage, erosion to the ground, etc.  However, to replace this building with a new one of equal size would have costs us a fortune.  Restoring these old buildings brings new life to buildings with a history and will provide adequate space for the rest of our lives.

This building is a "commercial" chicken house probably built in the 1960's.  With the historic feeders, waterers, shipping crates, brooder boxes and such left in the old buildings, we are able to piece together a bit of the history of this place.  These former farmers used the building to start peeps and then raise them up, uncaged, in this building.

We will use this building to store large equipment and hay.  We may also use a portion of it for shelter for some of the cattle during inclement weather.

Monday Excerpts

October 29, 2018
The piece of framed art catches my eye and I can’t avert my gaze.
Usually, it’s a realistic piece depicting some rural scene, often with an old farmhouse, a barn, or a combination of both structures.The artwork to which I am attracted most often is not high on the list of priorities to other attendees at an auction.Rarely do I focuson a piece that is extremely valuable. I often end up paying a dollar or two for nice, framed art at auctions.  (I admit that I buy more than I can justify.) My latest piece is a print of a water color painting by Steve Zazenski depicting an old, white farmhouse and barn, with fenced pasture in the foreground, and a gravel driveway between the two pastures, and everything lightly dusted in snow.The scene evokes feelings of peace and contentment each time I look at it.
When I was a child, we didn’t have much in the way of art (or even family pictures) on the wall.  I remember gazing at pictures in books the way I look at framed art today, stud…

Changes to Monday Journal Entries

We had simple leftovers for lunch today and then we drove to an orchard, about 25 minutes from our house, and picked up six bushels of apples (some for us, and some to share) returning to a less commercialized orchard where we had shopped last year.We like those "mom and pop" venues where the folks doing the selling actually have some dirt under their finger nails, and where we can put our money in the hands of the smaller businesses.
At first, we couldn't remember the name of the orchard or exactly where it was located.  Mike did a little research and remembered that it was called “Mousey’s”.We laughed and wondered about the name. Today when we pulled in to the orchard, there was an older gentleman that Mike immediately recognized as being the man we had seen on the tractor last year in a field close to the orchard.We surmised that he must be dad to the two women we met last year who sold us apples. We later found out that our hunch was correct when visitors stoppe…

Monday Journals

October 10, 2018
I am never quite sure what the day will bring.Mostly, unless Mike is in Staunton, I plan my days around whatever project he is tackling.Most of the time that means I have my own projects, but sometimes I assist him with what he is doing or I “ride along” with him when he has things to do away from home.Monday morning, he decided to tackle a most unpleasant task.I worry because he tries to do too much by himself and he is quick to remind me that there is no one else who is going to help do the things he needs to do.He has a point.It has mostly been that way for us.That’s not to say that we don’t have people who help us, because we do, but mostly one can’t ask for help with the unpleasant and difficult tasks.It just doesn’t work that way.Mostly, over the years, I have tried to “be the other man” to help carry the loads and lend what strength I had to the situation, but I am not in a position to do that at this point.In the unfinished basement of our home, old, inoperable…

Freezer Slaw

Recently I found some hand, written recipes from my grandmother.  I remember her writing out this recipe for a number of family members and friends.  

Freezer Slaw
 1 Medium Cabbage Chopped 1 Carrot Grated 1 Teaspoon of Salt
Mix salt with chopped cabbage and let stand for one hour.  Then, squeeze out all moisture and add carrot. 

Vinegar Dressing
1 Cup Vinegar (I used Bragg's Apple Cider) 1/4 Cup of water 1 teaspoon mustard seed 1 teaspoon celery seed 2 Cups sugar (Adjust to taste)
Combine and boil for one minute.  Cool to lukewarm and pour over cabbage mixture.  

Toss slaw and vinegar, mixing well.  
 Place in freezer containers or freezer bags and store in freezer until ready to use.  Thaw thoroughly before serving.  Last up to six months in the freezer.

Monday Journals

October 8, 2018
Following an afternoon of rain, a heavy fog settled over the mountain ridges that surround our home.The sun was beginning it’s decent behind the tallest of the ridges and the mist hung below its rays creating a mystical aura.The atmosphere gave me cause to pause and reflect for a moment, my spirit offering up a prayer of thanks for all that is good in a world that frequently feels as if evil might win.These moments of quiet reflection, no matter how brief, strengthen my faith as I hold fast that which is good.As I made my way from the barnyard, a bit weakened by my recent health issues and struggling to carry the awkward, heavy, bucket of milk, movement caught my eye.From out of the mist a great, blue heron rose into the air.I stood mesmerized, as I always do when I see this solitary bird, and I watched as the beautiful creature flew without effort from our meadow where he feeds from the running stream to the meadow across the road owned by the neighbor.I see the Heron …