Thursday, December 14, 2017

Winter Planning With Chickens

Although just a dusting, the snow seemed to make everything more beautiful!  I don't think the little chickens shared my enthusiasm though.  Just look at them talking about 'that white stuff'.  Funny girls!

Before the snow fell this year, we did some preparation for our flock.  Click HERE to read my article at Community Chickens.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Adventures in Raising Turkeys and Thanksgiving in New York City

Did the title make you turn your head and say "what?!?!?"

It guess it proves that my husband is right... You can take the girl out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the girl!

While recently traveling home from New York City, I received an e-mail pertaining to my 2015 article about raising turkeys for our holiday meal.  I had to chuckle when I thought about what I had just experienced...Thanksgiving dinner at Hard Rock cafe in New York City!

For the first time in my life, I didn't celebrate Thanksgiving at a family table.  This year we were in New York for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  No homemade food, and certainly no homegrown turkey this year.

We did however have a traditional American Thanksgiving meal of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, cranberry sauce, and pie.

It was delicious!  And fun!  YOLO! (You Only Live Once)

You can read about our turkey experience HERE.  It was a challenge, to say the least, raising that turkey for a true farm to table experience.  An adventure that included a crazy turkey and a cow friend.

Life is an something today that makes you laugh!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Easy Homemade Applesauce

Making your own applesauce is easy peasy!

Two ingredients are all you truly need.

You don't even need to write this down or print this got this.

Apples and water.  That's it!

Simple, simple,'s my mantra for life...although not always achieved. ;-)

Any type of apple will do, as long as they are firm, not mushy.

If you're feeling like you need some sweetness, add some sugar.

If you crave a little spice in your life, add some cinnamon or another warm spice.

If you are feeling smooth, puree the apples into a smooth sauce.

If you're feeling like you want some depth, mash those babies with a potato masher and enjoy a chunky applesauce.

I have made this from my Mom's 'recipe' many know the one where you 'add some apples and a little water' to a pot.  But for you my friends, I tried to pin down some measurements...

Easy Homemade Applesauce
4 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced.
1/4 to 1/2 cup water (basically enough water to prevent the apples from sticking/burning)
In a sauce pan, combine the apples and water.
Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low, and cook until the apples have softened, 10 to 15 minutes.
Mash with a potato masher, puree in a blender, or blend with an immersion blender, to your desired consistency.
Store any left overs in the fridge.

And, if you are feeling like a domestic queen, make plenty to freeze or home can.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Pumpkin Log Recipe

Oh hello pumpkin log.  I look forward to greeting you every fall.

The smell of pumpkin wafting in the air evokes all the autumn feel goods, while the sprinkling of powdered sugar ignites my love for snow that  will soon be here.

Recently, when I went to make this,  I could not find the recipe in my over crowded recipe basket.  Thank goodness I had it on the blog!  Just in case you misplaced your recipe ;-) I thought I'd share it again...just in time for the holidays.

Whether this is your first time making a pumpkin log or you are a seasoned pro, I hope this pumpkin log recipe finds you cozy!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Our Fall Garden

In July I shared with you our country garden, flourishing with summer produce.  The plants were neatly planted into raised beds, making for great growth.  The gravel pathways made it easy to meander through the space.  And it was all tucked inside the nostalgic white picket fence.  Can you tell I love the garden?  ;-)

During the harvest season, we enjoyed many garden-to-table meals, along with plenty of cherry tomatoes and peas straight from the vine.  I also preserved some produce through freezing and canning.

Tomatoes, peppers, and zucchini lasted a good while in our garden this year.  I credit most of the success to the good soil prep and the raised beds that weren't full of weeds.

In August, I planted more seeds to be able to enjoy a fall harvest...

The radishes took only a few weeks to mature.

Lettuce seeds quickly grew into beautiful, delicious leaves.

The kale was a flop...for the summer and fall plantings.  Maybe I'll change their place in the garden next year.

The snap peas are still hanging on, even though we've dipped into some cold weather here and there.  They should be ready soon. 

Most everything else has been pulled up and the garden is ready for a long winter nap.

This is my first time having a fall garden and I hope to expand my plantings for next year.

I'm always learning...

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Why Chickens Molt in the Fall Time

Some of the trees are bare and so are the nesting boxes! 

Even other chicken owners that usually sell eggs have covered up their 'fresh eggs for sale' signs.

On my post for Community Chickens, I discuss why fall is a common time for chickens to molt.  Click HERE to read it.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Tomato Pie

What do you do when it's October and you're still harvesting tomatoes?  You make tomato pie.  I used a combination of yellow and red tomatoes for this beauty.

This is a great recipe to use up those last few tomatoes of the season, or any time of year.  I used monterrey jack cheese because that's what I had in the fridge, but feel free to use your favorite cheese for this.  The parsley flakes add great color and flavor to this dish, and is a favorite seasoning I use often in my kitchen.

Easy Tomato Pie

Single pie crust
4 tomatoes
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 cup monterrey jack cheese, shredded
salt, pepper, dried parsley flakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the pie crust in a pie dish and bake for 5 minutes.
Thinly slice the tomatoes.
Mix together mayonnaise and cheese.

After baking the crust, spread a thin layer of the mayo/cheese mixture.
Place tomato slices on, sprinkling with salt, pepper, and parsley.
Spread another thin layer of mayo/cheese mixture on top.
Place another layer of sliced tomatoes with seasoning.
End with spreading the rest of the mayo/cheese mixture on top.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.
Let rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Moving chicks from brooder to outside

With our weather being unseasonably warm, I was able to move the chicks out of the brooder sooner than anticipated.

They are growing strong and changing daily.  Read more about the transition here.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Farm Photo Friday (September 15, 2017)

Welcome to LL Farm's Photo Friday!

There is lots happening around our little farm this time of year.  Grab something warm to drink on this cool morning and join Pumpkin, the cat, and me as we walk around.

The zinnias are still blooming beautifully.
The bees and butterflies have enjoyed them, almost as much as me.

I love the vibrant colors along the fence.

And in a mason jar on the deck.

I also love bringing them inside.  I've already bought zinnia seeds for next year!

And on a side note...see that blue and white tea towel?  I got it this summer when we went to London, England.  I purchased it from a quaint little shop in the Cotswolds, England's beautiful country side.

I picked a whole basket of apples this year from our tree.
I made applesauce and almond apple crisp with these babies...yummy!

The peppers were a flop this summer...hardly any harvest.
I'm glad I left them in the garden though, because they have finally decided to join the garden party.

Yes!  Strawberries in September.
I planted 8 strawberry plants in the Spring, and although not much of a harvest, they are still providing some good snacks.

Because we did raised bed gardening this year, I am able to have a fall garden.  This has me quite excited!
The radishes have already been thinned.

Another round of sugar snap peas are a welcome sight.
I love them raw or lightly sauteed.

Lettuce, kale, and spinach have popped through.
I saved a few onion starts, hoping they would grow.  Yes!! They are.
A fresh garden salad in the fall, yes please!

The weather has been unseasonably cool, but I'm not complaining.  Fall is my absolute favorite season!
When mums and firewood adorn our front porch, it means fall is knocking at the door.

This gas fire table is awesome on our DIY deck.  It's so convenient to have on for just a little while, without the work of having a wood fire.

The ladies have also been enjoying the cool weather.
It's the perfect temperature for a day at the chicken spa!

And, we can't forget the baby chicks, that are now 3 weeks old.
They are growing healthy inside our garage.
This little white crested polish is a hoot to take pictures of...just look at that hair-do!

* In case you missed it - The text that is in bold red throughout this post will take you to other posts about that subject. *

** This weekend is the Country Living Fair in Columbus, Ohio.  I'll be there with my Mom! **

Monday, September 11, 2017

Homemade Tomato Sauce (No Peeling Required)

Preserving tomatoes.  It's something I've been doing for a few years now.  And, although I enjoy the final project, let me be honest...prepping the tomatoes is a messy, time consuming chore that I don't enjoy.  Marking the tomatoes with an X, blanching them, plunging them into an ice bath, then peeling the skin's a lot of work!  I even tried the food mill strainer/sauce maker.  Let's just say that I made a bit of a mess and move away from the subject.

The garden has been generous with tomatoes this year, but I was dreading the preserving process.  I thought, why go through that mess...there has to be an easier way.  By cooking (or oven roasting) the cut tomatoes and using an immersion blender, this homemade tomato sauce is now my go-to way of preserving the harvest - no peeling necessary!  I currently have some stored in the freezer and in jars on my pantry shelves.  

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Oven Roasted Tomatoes

The garden is still producing beautiful tomatoes!
Along with eating them fresh, I have canned some and I have froze some.
One of my favorite ways to prepare garden fresh tomatoes is oven roasted.  

This summer, I did this for the first time, and I quickly asked myself, "why did you wait so long to do this?"

Monday, August 28, 2017

Raising Baby Chicks In A Brooder

Eight baby chicks have arrived at LL Farm!  

No momma chicken, no rooster, no fertile eggs...

I not only ordered them on line and picked them up at the post office, but I ordered all females!

I am sharing some tips at Community Chickens about raising baby chicks in a brooder.

Click here to read more.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Feeding Egg Shells To Your Chickens

If you read my article about egg eating chickens, you probably think I'm crazy because now I'm writing about feeding egg shells to your chickens.

If you're hesitant, I completely understand.  I was too...until recently.

Click HERE to read the rest of the article at Community Chickens.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Pepper Jelly (Home Canning)

I have enjoyed pepper jelly for years, but this is my first year making my own.  And, wow is it good!

I used these adorable little jelly jars, and hope to give some of these cuties as gifts.

For this pepper jelly, I used one red pepper, one yellow pepper, one orange pepper, two green peppers, and one jalapeno pepper.

If you like spice, add more hot peppers.
If you don't like spice, then only use sweet peppers.

Start by getting the water set to boil in your water bath canner.

Always follow safe canning guidelines.

The Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving is a great reference to have on hand.

Now let's make some beautiful, colorful, delicious pepper jelly.

Pepper Jelly
makes 10 jelly jars

1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 orange pepper
2 green peppers
1 jalapeno pepper
1 cup apple cider vinegar
6 tablespoons fruit pectin
1/2 teaspoon butter (to help reduce foaming)
5 cups sugar

Cut off the top of the peppers and remove the seeds.
Finely dice up all the peppers (using a knife or food processor).
Place diced peppers into a large pot.
Add vinegar.
Stir in pectin.
Add butter.
Bring mixture to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.
Stir in sugar.
Return to a rolling boil and boil for 1 minute while stirring.  

Ladle into prepared canning jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space.
Wipe jar rims.
Cover with lid and band.
Put on rack inside canner
Continue filling other jars.
Lower rack of prepared jars into the water bath canner.
Put lid on the canner.
Process for 10 minutes.

A favorite way to enjoy this colorful pepper jelly is to pour some over a block of cream cheese and serve with crackers.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

The New Pioneer Magazine Fall 2017

Summer is flying by!

Like many of you, our summer has been packed full of adventures.
Long days of fun (and work) in the sun, can make for a sore body and tired mind.

How about a little pampering with some home made bath salts made with dried herbs and essential oil?

The Fall issue of The New Pioneer magazine is on news stands now.  In it you will find my easy DIY article with steps on how to dry herbs and make bath salts that will help calm your mind and pamper your body...something we all need every now and again.

With Fall knocking on our door, Christmas is right around the corner.
Add a pretty tag and bow, and this will make a great gift for someone.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Country Garden

Our little country garden received a face lift this year.

We added raised beds and gravel pathways.

I'm working on an article with details, but I wanted to give you a little peek at how well it is working out.

The tomatoes are growing up cattle panels.

The first couple of ripe ones may not have made it into the house.
Instead, they went straight into my mouth.  ;-)

I have some new farm helpers this summer.  I've caught them napping on the job a few times...good thing they are adorable!

The kohlrabi has already been harvested.

Strawberry plants were planted, and I am so looking forward to next year's harvest.

Radishes were a first for me this year.

As were sugar snap peas. 
We have been eating them plain and sauteed in olive oil with some s&p.

If you are thinking about raised beds, I say go for it!
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