Sunday, October 23, 2016

Week 44 - In Which One Gets Older

No, it wasn't my birthday. But it WAS someone's....Our youngest granddaughter, C, turned 4 this past week.  She is sassy, and smart, and totally the baby of the family and we wouldn't have it any other way.

Aren't those dimples To Die For?  Happy, Happy Birthday, Miss Bear Bear!  

On another note, her daddy is up for re-election this November.  He has already served 2 terms in the House of Representatives and it thrills me when I see his name on the Utah ballot.  

While we don't get to vote in Utah, it's still fairly obvious that we would definitely vote for him if we could!

And one last anyone who says that knitting is a hobby?  I have this to say:
I'm certainly ready if the time comes...both in needles AND yarn.  Bring it on!

Have a wonderful week, my friends. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Week 43 - A Short Week

Sometimes you just need to take a day off.  That was me this past week.  I took Friday off, in spite of the fact that Monday had been Columbus Day holiday and therefore no work for me, and my regular day off is always Tuesday.  Friday is John's day off so we all hopped in the car and went to Silver Dollar City for the day.  Currently, they are in the middle of their annual Festival of Craftsmen and Cowboys.  This, along with their Olde Tyme Christmas, are our two favorite festivals at the City.  We rarely miss seeing these festivals each year.  There are basket-makers, weavers, woodcarvers, animal trainers, glassblowers, potters, jewelry-makers, quilters, coopers (barrel and buckets), folks who make sell honey products, vendors who make natural creams, lotions, soaps, salves, and balms, amazing cooks offering food from huge HUGE outside wok-like skillets to the usual kettle corn and dipping dots.  And the autumn decorations are out of this world. See?

The workers were busy putting up lights in preparation for the Olde Tyme Christmas festival that starts on November 5th. 
There will be a total of over 5 million lights throughout the park.  We will post more about this festival later in December.  

Mom and I went into the Pottery shop...John ambushed us when we came out.

That's a lady named Joanne behind us...she inadvertently photobombed us so we introduced ourselves...never saw her before or after!  TeeHee.

We had a wonderful time at the City...ran into our nephew and his wife and children while we were's always neat to see folks you know at the City.  

Of course, we went to Brown's Candy Factory for fudge and brittle - Pecan, Cashew, Black Walnut, you name it, they have it!   Then it was on to the Taffy Shoppe - pear, mango, cherry coke, peach jalapeno, banana, watermelon, cinnamon.  And, of course, some Cherry Mashes for John and Mom...they were in heaven! When we first arrived, John rushed down to Sullivan's Mill and ordered 2 loaves of fresh Indian Bread...we picked it up after 3:00...while waiting for it to cool enough to be put in bags, we also picked up some freshly ground corn meal, and some sourdough bread mix as well as a 5 pound bag of Indian Bread mix so we can make it ourselves.  The head baker there told John that their sourdough bread mix works equally well in the bread machine!  I see sourdough bread in our future much more often.

My brother recently retired and his wife sent us this picture.  The only thing I can say about this is - I am totally jealous!
Have a wonderful week, my friends.  Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Week 42 - Some Surprises this Week

Most folks who know me know that I really don't like surprises....I'm a bit OCD about schedules and plans and when something happens to my plans, I get a bit - scattered.  I carefully plan my days off to get a lot done, mostly in Springfield; shopping, appointments, meetings, etc.  I had such plans for this last Tuesday.  Some necessary and some fun.  Mom and I left the house and did several errands and while in one shop, I got a text.  It was from a nephew telling me he and his family were arriving in Springfield at around 1:30.....TODAY!  Now, I mistakenly wrote down their visit for a week later.  Fortunately, I wasn't actually driving yet or I might have needed to stop the car to process this wonderful news.  Mom said she'd not seen me like that - twitchy and undecided on a course of action.  I mean, I had things to on my plan for the day and this was gonna really throw the spanner in the works.  Once I got my head a,round the thing that I wouldn't get done that day (believe me, it was nothing special, just part of the plan), I was excited about their visit. 

We kept in touch via text all the while they were driving down to see us.  Finally met up with them in a parking lot and after many hugs all around, we went to Cracker Barrel for lunch. Then off to the farm.  

The last time I saw my nephew, he was 16 years old.  The day they visited, R was turning 40 the next day. R and his wife, T, and their two children, E and A spent the afternoon and part of the early evening with us.  Mom and I had not met T nor the children and I must say, they were delightful.  Here are some pictures of this wonderful family.

This is T, R, and me...picture taken by the indomitable E. (You will note he is much shorter than the adults, being only 6 years old)
 Mom and A (A is 5 years old and a kindergartner)
 Mom and E (7 years old in December, he is in the first grade. He has been sending his Nana Bette emails every time he loses a tooth - her mailbox 
is getting full!)
Mom, R, and T. 

R is the principal at the High School he attended.  He is smart, erudite, funny, and loving.  T. is a preschool teacher specializing in Bi-lingual education. She is a perfect partner for him. She is fun, sweet, smart and a really good mother.   T speaks Spanish to the kids at home and R speaks English...They think and talk in both languages seamlessly.

The children got to spend a lot of time out with the chickens, and the vacas (cows).  They asked quite pertinent questions and were answered with details.  I took them into the barn and they seemed to like it. When Uncle John came home, he took them with him to feed and move the chickens...And E was fascinated with our compost pile - John has just cleaned out a huge bunch of manure in the field and it was on top. E was interested in why we had poop on the grass pile.  When his dad explained how compost was made, and I explained why we used compost, he was perfectly satisfied...even went over and picked up a big handful to feel what it was like.  We then commenced to show him the water spigot for washing. They looked at bugs and caterpillars and used their mom's cell phone to take pictures and movies of all the creatures on our farm.  

I'm participating in a yearly Knit-A-Long again.  The project is a shawl - the rest of the information about it is a mystery.  I've done it for the last 3 years.  The designer is Stephen West and he is a wonderful designer - albeit a bit OUT THERE.  To say he is flamboyant is tame.  But I love his creations and always, ALWAYS learn something new.  So I pulled out some yarn (no, I agonized over my stash for hours) and finally settled on 4 colors that I thought would make me happy and this past Friday the first Clue came out..each successive Friday another Clue will be released until all 4 are out and we can finally see what we are making.  I'll show pictures next week once I get a little more into the knitting...right now it's just a small mess!

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Week 41 - Moving Chickens

Well, the baby chicks that were born on August 31st have enough feathers on their little bodies that they can survive being in the environment now.  So yesterday, John and our neighbor, also named John, moved all 89 of them to their respective new homes, i.e. chicken tractors.  Here is how they moved them from the brooder in our barn to the tractors. 

Yep, a few at a time into a 'travel'cage and then into their new home. Needless-to-say, this took several trips.

And here are our 37 chicks in their new home.

John is in there trying to adjust the waterer behind him.  Those chicks were so tiny when they first came to live with us...each one fit perfectly into the palm of my they weigh about 2 pounds and are halfway to their full size.  Another 4 weeks and they will then be butchered and put in the freezer.

When I drove home from work earlier this week, I glanced at a small strip of 'meadow' behind our house...there was a flock of wild turkeys pecking their way across the is a small portion of those turkeys.

They worked their way along the meadow and disappeared into our grove of trees.  I've not seen them since.  But, then again, Friday started Turkey hunting season around here so they may be in hiding!  Turkeys are smart like that!

Have a wonderful week.  Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Week 40 - My Favorite Season!!!

Anyone who knows me, really knows me, knows that my very favorite season is Autumn.  Since this past Thursday at 9:21 a.m. marked the beginning of Fall, you an bet I'm one happy chiquita!  I love the colors of fall. I love light of a fall sky.  I love the smells of fall....go ahead, close your eyes and just smell the air.  Tell me you can't smell the cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, pumpkin...all the spices of fall.  I'm already planning fall cookies, pies for Thanksgiving and Christmas, fudge (I've got a great recipe for caramel apple fudge that is downright sinful and so stinkin' easy - 2 ingredients).  

I said last week that I would tell you more about a chicken tractor. But first, I want to show you the baby chicks as of yesterday.  Here they are, our 37 and our neighbor's 52...they weight about a pound each and they have almost all the feathers they need to be transferred to the chicken tractor.  John says they need a few more feathers on their heads and that will probably take place next week.  Then they will stay in the chicken tractor for another 3 - 4 weeks before going to Freezer Camp.  

And here is a chicken tractor.  The far side has wheels at the bottom and the near side has a tall piece of wood that acts as a handle.  Once the chicks are placed into the tractor, John will move them the length of the device each morning to allow the chicks access to fresh grass and bugs...then move to another spot the next day.  At 6 weeks, they will then be moved twice a day since they will be getting exponentially bigger and bigger and they will need more and more bugs and grass.  At 8 weeks old, they are ready to Freezer Camp.  The chicks are a Cornish Cross breed that have a larger than normal breast to afford more white meat (which I like).  If they aren't butchered by 9 weeks, some of them will probably fall over and die from heart attacks - really! Talk about top heavy.  

I hope you all have a wonderful in the Ozarks the temps are starting to drop a bit and the humidity is getting less and less.  John is outside mowing for one of the few last times of the takes him about 6 hours to mow the property.  He doesn't mow all 10 acres cause we have the cows to do those 5 acres...but the other 5 acres are a never-ending 'chore' - if you can call sitting down on a riding mower and listening to music on your headphones a chore.  

Thanks for stopping by. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Week 39 - Family

This week was just a normal week...nothing spectacular happened, nothing crazy happened, nothing awful happened...just normal.  That being said, I have some pictures to share...

You may recall that we periodically grow a pig or a cow or chickens and once they are relegated to freezer camp, take a large portion of the meat to our son for his family.  This weekend was pig meat transfer weekend.  Mom and Big John drove to North Platte, Nebraska and met Young John and two of his young'uns for a very short evening of swimming, dinner, and sleeping...Two coolers of meat were transferred to Young John's vehicle, along with Christmas presents I'd amassed and wrapped and tagged and everyone left North Platte this morning at 4:00 a.m. to go home.  Big John and Mom arrived here at about 1:30 and I believe Young John also has arrived at their home in Salt Lake City.  

Here is Mom and William...he's almost as tall as she is.

Mom and Charlotte - again, getting taller all the time.

Four of my most precious beings in this world.

Young John (really?  Young?  He will be 39 in January!) has always taken care of this lady...and she's always basked in his love!

My family is complete again, now that mom and John are home.  It's pouring rain, pouring, I say.  The laundry is complete and I'm getting ready to make tacos for dinner.  I hope you have a wonderful week.  

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Week 38 - A Canning We Will Go

Earlier in the spring, John planted 6 Roma tomato plants and 6 Best Boy tomatoes.  This past weekend, some of the tomatoes were ripe enough to pick.  Now, even though we dearly love tomatoes, 12 plants produce way more than we can eat. So, we can those we know we won't be able to eat in a reasonable amount of time.  That way, we've got tomatoes all winter, and into the next spring.  I can use them in soups, stews, casseroles, even spaghetti sauce.  John puts them into a boiling pot and lets them bubble away for about 30 seconds, then dumps them into icy cold water in the sink.  I immediately skin them and put them into bowls.  We can then place them into the sterilized quart jars along with some salt and a bit of lemon juice and seal them.
 Once they've been sealed, they go into the canner for 45 minutes.
 After they have boiled and bubbled for the requisite 45 minutes, they are removed from the canner and set onto the counter for anywhere from 6 to 24 hours, depending on how long it takes for the thin lids to 'suck in' and seal.  In the picture above, the lids have a slight bow outward - that bow sucks in and that's when you know you have a good seal. We can then take the metal rings off and store the jars in the pantry.  Last weekend, John brought in 2 five gallons buckets filled about 1/2 way with tomatoes.  It probably only took us about 2 hours to can those into 7 quart jars.  I know some people who can 40 jars at a time, but we can do just a few as the tomatoes are ready to harvest - even thru the workweek - and that's just fine with me.  Standing in the kitchen, canning, is a long, hard, time-consuming, back-breaking job.  I'm fine with doing it a bit at a time, even though it makes a lot of work thru the week.  

I suspect we will do some canning this week...John and my mom are traveling to North Platte, Nebraska next weekend.  They are meeting Young John there and transferring 2 huge coolers of pork for Knotwells West.  

In addition to the pork, I'm also sending a lot of the Christmas gifts for them as well.  With 5 children plus John and Jill, the cost of mailing gifts at Christmas is almost more than the cost of the gifts themselves.  I can save a ton by sending them next weekend....So I'm wrapping gifts today as well as doing the laundry and updating the blog.  That way I have far fewer things to mail and less cost.  

Sometimes I amaze myself at how smart I can be.  Other times?  Well, let's not go there, ok?

Not much else to tell you this week. John is working against time to get his chicken tractor updated and ready to transfer the baby chicks into it - probably another 2 weeks and they will be fully feathered and can brave the elements outside the barn.  Pictures will, of course, be forthcoming so those of you who don't know what a chicken tractor looks like can be amazed!

Thanks for stopping by.