Homemade Applesauce

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      Does anyone else still make applesauce or am I the Lone Ranger? Growing up we always made homemade applesauce. I didn’t even know bought applesauce existed……… 028.jpg       I haven’t done this in several years. My freezer was empty and I was buying applesauce. Oh, the shame of it! So, when I got word that there were apples on the tree……I recruited some help and went a pickin’. They were beautiful! Here is the first step….washing and cutting. 027.jpg       I started this process after my morning chores. You cut them in half and snip out the stem and bottom bits. Then quarter them and you’re ready to start the cooking process. 029     I had two kettles going and I was rushing around to keep up with them. You put a little bit of water in the pot so as not to scorch the apples…..(who wants burned applesauce) and let them cook until soft and mushy. If you add too much water the applesauce will be watery and runny. I learned that the hard way…..back when I was young and inexperienced. Now I’m old and I still don’t know anything…….031.jpg       Now for the fun part. Pour the hot apples into the top of the “strainer” and start cranking. The seeds and peeling of the apples goes out the end and the sauce runs down the “chute” into the pan. Mmmmmm…..warm applesauce is delicious! 035.jpg      The kids have always loved to make applesauce. Everyone was busy that day, but I did get the “youngest farmer” to do some cranking for me. 037       I came to the point where I was seriously dragging and I decided…..screw it…..I’m fixing myself a big ‘ole iced coffee. I figured I deserved it………it was fabulous. 039.jpg     I persevered and this is what I had at the end of the assembly line. Does that not look fabulous?! It was some of the best applesauce I’ve ever made! Add just a little sugar because the apples are tart. 041.jpg       Wow! What an awesome feeling. All that hard work and the end result is a freezer full of delicious applesauce. Goodness! I think I went a little crazy! Never underestimate the power of a farm girl. Your favorite Milkmaid………………….Carol

 

 

 

 

 

All American Dairy Farm

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     It’s summertime. Time to fly the “American flag” and celebrate. What better time than the 4th of July. So, I’ll show you what I like to do out here on the farm……041.jpg       Red is bright and eye-catching. It goes well with the farm….and my flag themed décor. Of course, a cow skull is a must. Cows are my life, you know! 026.jpg    We are in the middle of “haying season” and so the bales were a nice backdrop for the roadside flag. Those will be hauled in to the hay barn today. Before or after evening milking? Time will tell. 037.jpg     I found these patriotic pillows early summer and just had to grab a few. How perfect for my patio! The old door is part of my vintage garden every year. The flag is beginning to look a bit faded. Maybe I’ll replace it this year…… To do lists are my thing. 008.jpg     I would love to have an American flag on top of the silo. How in the world will I ever get that accomplished?! That thing is 70 feet tall and I’m scared of heights. If you look closely…..Candace is at the top with raised hands. She has totally lost all her marbles! She climbed to the top to get storm cloud pictures. Desperation has set in is all I can say. It’s actually very cool up there….if you have the nerve to climb that high. 053.jpg       Big girl likes the flag too. I stuck it there just for the holiday…..and they all had to sniff and play with it. Jersey girls are the cutest….051.jpg      Holsteins still rule. The mud holes are almost completely dried up and the heat is intense. Therefore, I’ve got the misters going every day. Ahhhh……they love that cool water spraying on their backs. That half mile walk home every afternoon is hot and tiring. It doesn’t take long and they’re chewing their cud….totally relaxed. I’m thinkin’ maybe I’ll stand underneath those misters and see what effect they have on humans. Haha So long….your favorite milkmaid…………………..Carol

 

 

Peony Power

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     May is the month for Peonies. Hands down my favorite flower ever. I remember as a young girl having them in our garden. Only problem….I didn’t appreciate them back then the way I do now. Funny how that works. Adulting changes everything.  012.jpg     Why would you not love these beauties?! I have 3 different kinds and I’m fairly certain that I’m going to invest in many more. Lots more. I may even have to sell a cow to help pay for them. The one that tries to kill me every time I milk her. She’s hateful! Just like some humans……….. 013.jpg     In full bloom….fabulous! I have this color out by the barn and it brightens up the whole day. Too bad they only bloom once a year. I made sure I enjoyed them while they lasted. 105.jpg      These pictures are different sizes because my phone did an update and changed everything. Anyway, in my research I discovered that when picking blooms you’re supposed to cut them when they feel like a puffy marshmallow. I think this one is ready to harvest. 101.jpg      Oh my….just look how beautiful! The flecks of pink are awesome. I was dense and didn’t write down the name and date when I bought these, so I’m not sure what I have. You’re supposed to plant in the fall and let them grow for 3 years before harvesting any blooms. After that they’ll outlive you. I had better get busy…. 114.jpg     Here again, I’m not sure what kind this is. I have a catalog that I’ve been “shopping” in. I flip through it and circle the ones I want. Then I realize I circled way too many. Decisions, decisions. And where am I going to put them? Trust me….I will find a special place. 123.jpg             The white ones were right in my path walking to and from the barn. So, I would stop and get on my knees and sniff and admire……. I tried to get the rest of my crew to appreciate the beauty. I pointed out “Hey, look, aren’t these amazing?!” They just gave me this blank look like “Mother”…..calm down. I took tons of pictures. I’ll swoon over them this winter when the North wind is howling and I’m teetering on the edge of sanity………………………Carol

 

 

 

Clear as Mud

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     As a milkmaid, I also get to experience working in all weather conditions….rain or shine. For the last 6 months it’s been more rain than sunshine. I am now an expert at working in MUD! Let me give you a clear definition of what mud is all about…………  066.jpg     This is my life…..on the farm. When the mud gets this deep, a  person needs to be very careful. The mud will act as quick sand and suck you right down into the endless abyss and they’ll never find you again. Amen!  Thank God for muck boots!  065.jpg      Yea, I know. I should’ve known better, than to go through this mud hole. It is possible to get the 4-wheeler stuck. Especially when you get 10 inches of rain within a weeks time. Total madness! The farmer pulled me out with the tractor…..I just got a “look” from him….nothing else was said. Haha 097.jpgThis is what our pasture has looked like for most of the year….and this is the better part. As soon as it starts to dry up…..here comes another rain storm. Our pasture is so rutted up and rough right now. The tractor creates massive ruts and then with 100 plus cows marching through every day….it’s almost impossible to get around.098.jpg       We finally gave the 4-wheeler a rest and started using our trusty little tractor to go feed my calves. It has served us well over the years and has seen its better days, but still keeps on running. Nothing runs like a Deere……John Deere! I like that green! 095.jpg       We’re probably the driest right now than we have been in months. The weatherman says there’s more rain on the way. Help! I’ll take that sunshine any day. So will the “big girls”….they’re getting sassy……and so am I………………….Carol

 

National Dairy Month

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     Hello June. Welcome dairy month. You know what that means? Drink lots of milk! Eat cheese! Eat ice cream! Thank your local dairy farmer…they work hard. I can definitely vouch for that. Amen!      151.jpg       Here are a few random “dairy photos” to let you know what’s happening on the farm. This cute little stinker is only a few days old. We’ve had a handful of babies this last week. As soon as I get a batch weaned…here comes another group of new ones. My work is never done……     156.jpg        The “tween” group. They are very naughty….just like human tweens. There’s a lot of “trash talk” happening at the water hole. I know what they’re saying….and it’s not good. They create drama. They push their boundaries every day.   144.jpg      Big girl wants to give you a gentle reminder to drink milk! She works hard every day to help with supply and demand. She doesn’t care what flavor….white, strawberry, or chocolate. Just drink!   154.jpg     Our little preemie born just 2 days ago. It’s healthy and very aggressive. It sure is weenie, though. I’ll have to keep a close eye on it. Those little ones sometimes have a rough row to hoe. Alright then……here’s to dairy month. Who’s up for some milk and cookies……………………Carol

 

They Call Me Milkmaid

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    Milkmaids….we are a dying breed. Few and far between. The work is hard…the stress is real…just look at me. I am a “milkmaid”.     190.jpg     This is my basic milkmaid attire. Bad hair…don’t care. There is no makeup in the milk barn. I wear the same clothes day after day. They’re faded from being washed in hot water every night….but the smell still remains. I live in muck boots, and have to buy a new pair about every 6 months. Whenever my feet say “Ouch”.   017.jpg          Some of my best friends are in the form of “bovines”. So much of the herd is what I have raised from baby on up. They see me every morning and evening…7 days a week. We have bad days and good days. Sometimes we even fight, but we have to get along.   018.jpgThen there’s Miss Daisy. Very curious. At least her nose is clean. Have you ever watched a cow clean their nose? Wish I could do that! Especially in the winter time when it’s cold and I have to wipe my nose on my coat sleeve and just keep goin’. Yes, a true milkmaid will do that…….   021.jpg      I still have a handful of baby calves to feed, but nothing like last winter. Everything is so much easier when the weather warms up. We found this little tyke right after it was born. Mama was mighty proud! 061.jpg      I clean up once in a great while. At least for special occasions….like Mother’s Day. These are my little “peeps” all grown up now. I am now the smallest person in the family. “Little but mighty” is that what they say? I’m just trying to survive………………Carol

My Latest Crush

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     I hope the cows don’t get wind of this post, because I’m going to talk gardening again. They tend to get pretty sassy if they know I’m not giving them full attention. I’ll take my chances……   001.jpg     If you’re visiting garden centers and taking a look around….I’m sure you’ve noticed that succulents are all the rage. It took me awhile to catch on, but now that it’s planting time I’m joining the craze. I like putting them in any old vintage container I can find. A broken piece of clay pot gives it a little extra punch.    010.jpg      A shiny pot looks just as nice if you aren’t into vintage. I like to add a tall plant, something that trails, and always an uneven number. I can be pretty “OCD”
about some things. Most succulents are green, but different shades. Some look almost blue. Some change colors as they grow. I’m learning all this as I buy and plant.    233       This is another creation we’re trying. An old vintage box. I love these. The great thing about succulents is that they don’t require much watering. Maybe once a week if that. I’m going to try a squirt bottle and just moisten them a bit.  004Here’s another vintage box, but with only four sections. I have this pebble gravel everywhere so I just sprinkled this over the soil. You can buy fancy stuff, but I’m not fancy.   005.jpg      All these wooden boxes are pretty cool. I’d like to collect them all. The “hen and chicks” always make me think of my Grandma. Precious memories…how they linger….remember that old hymn? Carol

 

Farm to Table

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     I always plant my “cold weather” vegetables in my old junk garden. I gathered together a bunch of old rusted out stock tanks and filled them with dirt. They make for great raised beds when my big garden is still too wet to till and plant. So, the first of March I gathered together some seeds and plants and headed out to the garden.      251.jpg        I planted a bunch of green onions….they sure are tasty. It’s so nice to just walk out the back door and pull a handful of fresh greens. Everything has so much flavor. I sure miss that during those cold winter months.  249.jpg     The kale just went crazy. I can’t keep up with it. It is so easy to grow. I like to put it into a stir-fry. Delicious!  250.jpg     The lettuce and spinach is also being very productive…..and it tastes absolutely fantastic. Nothing’s better than a fresh garden salad. I’ll eat them for breakfast, lunch and supper. So much lettuce to eat.   244.jpg             Let’s not forget the radishes. I like to visit my junk garden while I’m working outside and I just use my pocket knife to cut everything and pop it in my mouth. Hmmm……where has my pocket knife been? Don’t panic…I give it a swift wipe on my pants and we are good to go. A quick little snack. So, do you want to join the local food movement and find out how and where your food is grown? I have plenty right now and will share if you are craving a fresh garden salad………………….Carol

Beautiful Berries

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      How about those chocolate covered strawberries?! One of my favorite treats. These are what kept me going the whole month of February. I always dip strawberries for Valentines Day and this year I just kept on dipping and dipping and dipping…….   183.jpg       ……and I ate and ate and ate. It was a bright spot in the midst of the “muck and the mire”. I’ll share with you some of my tips for this special treat. When buying your strawberries you always look carefully through every container slowly turning in all directions. Once you’ve inspected every single one….you go back to the first one you picked up. Happens every time. I always give them a quick rinse and let them air dry while I’m milking.     182.jpg      I have tried many different kinds of chocolate chips and this is by far the best. I’m a big fan of dark chocolate. Not just that, but definitely “Ghirardelli” brand. This melts so nice and smooth and has perfect consistency.  184.jpg     Next find a microwave safe bowl and dump in about half the bag or just take a wild guess what you’ll need. Don’t panic…..I have the perfect solution for any leftover chocolate. I microwave 10 to 15 second intervals….stirring between each one. Once you have a nice smooth consistency it’s time to start the fun.  189.jpg       I grab them by the tops and slowly dip making sure to leave a little red showing. Makes them look pretty. I might give them a little “shake” to let any excess chocolate run off and then lay them onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. I have a hard time keeping the “farmers” away to give them drying time.   187.jpg    I don’t always use the white chocolate, but I wanted to make these special. Just use the same brand of chips only white and repeat all the steps. Then use a cake decorating bag and cut a weenie little hole in the bottom to squeeze the white chocolate through. Just swirl back and forth….the messier the better. And here is the secret for all leftover chocolate. Take a bag of marshmallows and some toothpicks and start dipping. Leave a little white showing to make them look fancy. These are absolutely divine! 191      And there you have it….a farm girl’s goodness. These make everything right with the world once again………………..Carol

 

Baby It’s Cold Outside

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      It’s so hard to talk about winter when spring is in full swing around here. It must be done though, so one more story about our wicked winter and I’m moving on to better days. If I hear one person say that our winter wasn’t too bad…….I will totally lose all control. Obviously they don’t work outside!    243.jpg     Just look at all the bitterness. That’s snow and ice on the cows. They tolerate the cold weather much better than I do.    174.jpg     We had a very wet winter and lots of freezing temperatures…mud everywhere and horrible ruts all throughout the pastures. It would rain torrents and then a deep freeze would come. This is only the tip of the iceberg.   122.jpg       This is what we used on the cows all winter long. You need to protect their “tits” ( every dairyman says that and we don’t think nuthin’ of it ) from frostbite. This stuff works like magic. We didn’t have any problems as long as we put this salve on them every time. We pre-dip with iodine and post with this salve. Keeps the cows happy and the humans from getting kicked.  246.jpg      Underneath all the heavy layers are Michael and Marshall. We have become experts at layering and staying warm….except for our fingers. My hands get so cold while feeding calves that I’ll dip them into the warm milk to take away the “sting” and then hurry on down the line. By the time I get back to the barn I can’t decide if I want to scream or cry they’re “burning” so bad. Don’t ever tell a milkmaid that you love wintertime…….    250.jpg     We had just enough snow for one small snowman. They spent all this time building the cute little guy and then after they got done, they took the 4-wheeler….raced straight for him….and squashed him like a bug. Don’t mess with farm kids either.  244.jpg      An early morning sunrise. One of the few beautiful things about winter. I’m so happy that is behind us and we’re enjoying all the beauty of spring. Ahhhhh…..new life everywhere. I plan to go “hog wild” on the gardening this summer……………………..Carol