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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sweet Relish



Relish

10 Cups grated cucumber, zucchini, yellow squash or a combination
4 cups onions grated
5 Tablespoons salt
2.5 cups vinegar
5.5 cups sugar
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp celery seed
1 tsp cornstarch
1 green pepper grated
1 red pepper grated

Mix the first three ingredients and let stand overnight. Next morning, drain and rinse with cold water. Add remaining ingredients. Boil for 30 minutes, stirring often. Seal in hot jars. (I process for five minutes in a hot water canner.)

THE PEACE OF WILD THINGS

THE PEACE OF WILD THINGS

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

— Wendell Berry

Friday, July 23, 2010

Pecks of Peppers for Pickling!


Every year I make pickled peppers using this recipe. Always in the past I have packed the jars with cold peppers but that always leaves a lot of space in the jar once they are processed. So, this year I decided to hot pack the peppers and they definitely turned out prettier and the jars fuller. I will have to see if the peppers are too soft for my liking once I open them, but for now I am happy.

Besides peppers, I have been canning tomatoes, making pickles, and freezing blackberries by the gallons. That's in addition to all the new flavors of cheese spread I have been experimenting with. And it's hot, hot, hot! I'm looking forward to winter, cooler weather, and a schedule that is less busy.

Wait.....................did I just say that?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Conspiracy


It's a conspiracy and it all started with the pigs.

Before we got the pigs, our animals did not escape. The pigs were masters at escaping. When they began letting themselves out three and four times a day and coming to the house to meet us when we came outside, that was just a little more than I could take. I temporarily put them in "time out" in the stable.

When we finally found a way to contain the pigs (knock-on-wood), then the darn goats began to escape. I think they saw how much fun the pigs had been having and wanted in on the action. When they escaped four times in the same day, they went to time out in the stable. (I am currently working on a plan for a fence to contain them.)

(Note to self before proceeding with this story: Even though borrowed electric netting works perfectly for keeping goats in, once you buy several hundred dollars of your own electric netting and return what had been borrowed, the animals laugh and let themselves out of the fencing on a regular basis. Electric netting does not work to contain goats or pigs.)

Not sure if today's escape was the idea of the bovines or the geese but they evidently wanted to get in on the action.

I was straightening up the rugs and toys in the dog's room (yes, the dogs have their own room) when I heard a familiar sound. It really didn't register at first what it was. I have become so familiar to my little friend's constant chatter as they follow me around that I did not think it was unusual to hear them talking to me. But I was surprised when I looked up from where I was picking up dog toys off the floor and saw Splish and Splash calmly looking at me through the window. They were talking to me, to each other, and very intent on the conversation as they gazed through the windows.


I racked my brain trying to remember letting the geese out earlier but I just knew that I had not. I wondered how they had escaped. Then I suddenly remembered I had new share members coming today and I thought they might think me a little odd if they drove up and saw Canada geese staring and talking to me through the windows. I decided I better put Splish and Splash back in their pen for a while. I don't like for folks to think I am crazy the first time they meet me. I like for that realization to slowly take shape in their minds over time.

Splish and Splash followed me faithfully down to the pen and their casual "talking" suddenly became quite agitated and I could see why. Princess, the heifer, evidently is as smart as her mother, Maya, who learned early on how to open latches on gates. Tori and Princess had opened the gate to the pen, let themselves in and finished off the small amount of grain that I had put out for the geese.

After getting the heifers out of the pen, I allowed the geese to stay out the rest of the afternoon when they promised to stay in the barnyard and not follow me back to the house.

(Note to self: Imprinting is real.)

Monday, July 5, 2010

AnnaJoy Gorgeous






As promised here are the details on our newest little heifer.

Apple showed signs of calving Friday morning and I believed she would give birth within 24 hours but did not feel that the birth was imminent. I finished up the morning chores and went down to the farm to help out with the garden and produce. When I came back to the house early afternoon, Apple had put herself in the stable, had a long strand of blood tinged mucous, and was dripping colostrum from her teats. I knew it would not be long until she calved but having not eaten all day, decided I had enough time to grab a quick bite. I was so excited (and nervous) I could only swallow couple bites of potato salad. When I got back down to the stable, Apple was on the ground and pushing. The baby was 1/2 out and before I could turn my camera on, she was born. I ran over to her fearing that she was not breathing and brushed the afterbirth away from her face. She was fine and Momma Apple was up licking her. I was so afraid to look to find out if it was yet another bull calf so I first called Mike to tell him that the calf was on the ground. He asked me what sex it was and I told him to hold on while I looked. I remember closing me eyes as I lifted the calf's leg to see. I opened my eyes and began screaming with joy, "It's a heifer! It's a heifer! I got a girl!" A little later, I called Mike back and told him that I checked five times and it was still a girl and that it had not changed into a bull calf! Mike's dad came up the next day, winked, and told me that if I gave him $5 he would verify that it was a heifer calf.

This little girl will be registered with the American Jersey Cattle Association and Registry. Her dam is Avonlea Apple of Pine Creek. Her maternal grand-dam is Glenholme Just Waits AnnaLisa.

AnnaJoy was sired by means of AI and her sire is Rapid Bay Glasgow . Her paternal grand-dam is Vandenberg Amedeo Gorgeous.

July Letter from Ben

In case you are a recent reader of my blog and don't know Ben, he is a one year old Miniature Dachshund that started life here on the farm and now lives in Washington, DC. If you would like to learn more about Ben, you can type his name in the search bar at the top of the blog page.

Thanks for the letter, Ben! We love hearing from you!



I’m sorry I haven’t written for a while, but I’ve been very, very busy. I was one year old on June 22, and I’m adjusting to becoming a young adult. You won’t be surprised to know that I’ve been getting in a lot of trouble.



This last Tuesday was the most fun of all. Someone put a whole bowl of red and yellow balls on the kitchen table. When nobody was looking, I took them down one by one and spread them throughout the house, including upstairs, so that I could have a ball wherever I wanted one. That seemed like a really good idea until Larry caught me chewing on one in my box and asking what the heck I was doing with that tomato. Oops! By that time, I’d already eaten half of one yellow and one red one. Later, after our walk, Larry said that tomatoes must be a great diuretic for dogs. I don’t know what the heck he was talking about.



Wednesday somebody left a bowl of salad on that same kitchen table. I scarfed that down before anybody could stop me. I heard Larry saying that nothing should be put on that table. I like standing on it and looking down at the floor. It’s a great vantage point for someone as short legged as I am.



I like finding new toys wherever I can. Mr. Vu was here to check out the air conditioning system. He had lots of cool things. Every time he wasn’t looking, I found a new toy. I hope he comes back soon.



Larry also got me a ball that looks just like a soccer ball. It’s a lot bigger than a tennis ball, but it’s really fun. I push it all over the house, kicking up rugs and moving some of the chairs around. You can tell pretty quick where I’ve been playing with the ball. You know, I still enjoy playing with Larry’s old orthopedic boot. I’ve tried to take it completely apart, but I’m not having a lot of luck. When I get a little frustrated with it, I just bounce it one the floor. It makes a heckuva racket.



The squirrels and birds are really getting to me. They don’t pay any attention when I bark at them, and I’m not allowed to catch them. And this darned bluejay we saw this morning buzzed me three times. I’m gonna keep my eye out for that little flying brat.



I got to go to a big party last Sunday in Paris , Virginia . I rode out there with Robyn Kennedy, the big dog at the Renwick. Everybody said I behaved real well at the party. Aunt Julia and Aunt Helen were there. I was so excited to see them. You probably don’t know, but I stayed with them out in the country when Larry was in Europe . I got to run and run out there in the country. There were strawberries and asparagus tips to eat and a little stream of water where I could drink and get cool. They had a swimming pool, but I didn’t want any part of that. I had such a good time I didn’t want to go home, but I’m glad I did.



There are lots of children around, including really little ones in strollers. I like to kiss their hands and feet when they’re hanging out. I just love all children and get all excited when I see them. But, hey, I like everybody. Larry says he thinks I’d make a good therapy dog. He says if I get certified we good visit older people and maybe even kids in hospital. I think I’d like that. We’ll see if he follows through.



Here’s hopin’ you’re having as much fun as I am.



Ben

Friday, July 2, 2010

Our New Baby Heifer

Apple, our standard Jersey heifer gave birth today to a gorgeous heifer calf. Details and pictures to come soon!