Friday, July 31, 2015

$25 dresser from an auction

We LOVE auctions!

There are so many interesting things to be found at an auction...

And, truth be told... I L.O.V.E. the bidding process!

Holding up that number to say your in the game...

Locking eyes with the other person bidding against you...

being the winning bid...

it gives me a feeling of such excitement!

Sometimes my husband and I go to auctions by ourselves (romantic, huh?)

Sometimes we take the girls.
I doubt they would say they love it, but...
they do enjoy it.

When our youngest was little, maybe 5 or 6 years old, she would get into it...
she would raise her hand and say "hip", just like she observed the auctioneers do when recognizing a bidder.

Thank goodness, they didn't count her bids (smile)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Morning Of Pickin' Equals A Full Day Of Meals

I like to do my pickin' in the early morning before it gets so hot.

This morning's harvest is going to help provide our meals for the day...

Lettuce and tomatoes for a lunch salad.

Green beans mixed with taters and bacon will be supper.

Every morning brings an abundance of zucchini.
Even enough to share with the chickens right there on the spot.

I'm hoping to make some freezer pickles with the cucumbers soon.

What are you pickin' these days?

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Easy Blackberry Cobbler

We have been picking wild blackberries from the woods and freezing them.

Today I want to share an EASY recipe for blackberry cobbler.

Now I know there is much debate as to what constitutes a cobbler...

biscuit topping

streusel topping

pie crust topping

cake batter topping

So I did some research...
From what I found, I do believe the original cobbler was made with a biscuit topping.

OK, good to know right?
But that's not what I made (smile).

Friday, July 24, 2015

Farm Photo Friday (July 24, 2015)

Silver Laced and Aeracauna chickens strike a pose

Welcome to Farm Photo Friday!

There is a lot going on here on our little homestead...
Home projects...
There are opportunities knocking on our door...
It's summer...the girls are out of school...

...I haven't posted a Farm Photo Friday for a couple weeks, so...
this post is picture heavy...

I hope you find something that puts a smile on your face or intrigues you!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Hard Boiled Eggs (Mom's Tried and True Way)

If you ask 5 people for their method to hard boil an egg, you will get 5 different methods.

I am going to share with you my Mom's tried and true way of making hard boiled eggs.

It is the only way that I have ever known and it has yet to fail - farm fresh or store bought eggs.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Zucchini Bread

Zucchini bread is one of my favorite things to make with the abundance of zucchini that grows in our garden.  

It is a quick bread (no rising time or kneading), so it is easy to make.

I usually make more than one loaf at a time.  They freeze very well, holding their shape, texture, and taste for several months.

Think ahead to a cold winter evening...
Pull out a loaf of zucchini bread from the freezer...
Just let it thaw and you've got that fabulous taste for breakfast, snack, dessert, or any time.

It has a fabulous sweet taste to it with all the added spices.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Freezing Berries

It was early in the morning, before the sun was blaring down from the sky.

The girls and I put on long sleeves.

We tucked our jeans into muck boots.

We hopped on our ATV's.

Went splashing through the creek and into the woods.

We were hunting...

black berries.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Wild Blackberries

Let's go into the woods to see how the wild black berries are coming along...

Wild blackberries grow naturally in our woods.  They take care of themselves and produce year after year for our pleasure.  Notice the size of these wild blackberries - much different from the large 'perfectly' shaped cultivated ones that you buy from the grocery store.  

The ones that get more sunlight ripen faster than the ones that are in the thicket of the woods.
During these next few weeks, we will go berry picking at least once a week, picking the ripe black ones as they are available.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Basil and Mint Fly Spray

Hot weather = pesky flies.

Flies show no favoritism...
City - Subdivision - Rural

Flies can be troublesome, and let's get real...
those little things can hurt when they bite!

Commercial fly sprays contain harmful ingredients that I don't want around my family or my animals.

Using herbs that I grow on my porch, lemons that I almost always have in the fridge and vinegar that I have in my pantry, I created this medley to deter those pesky flies.

What you will need:
Fresh Mint Leaves
Fresh Basil Leaves
White Vinegar
Pint Mason Jar with insert and ring
Spray Bottle

How to make it:
Cut the lemon into quarters and place in the canning jar.

Add a handful of fresh mint leaves and a handful of fresh basil leaves, torn slightly to release their oils.

Fill the jar almost to the top with white vinegar, leaving about 1/2 inch head space.

Place the lid and ring on the jar.

Let sit for at least one week, shaking every day.

When ready to use, strain the liquid into a squirt bottle.
Discard the lemon and herbs.  (Great way to clean out the garbage disposal.)

This all natural spray can safely be used around humans and animals.

I spray it around us when we are outside and the flies are biting.

I spray it in the barn and the coops.  

Because it is made with natural ingredients you can safely use it on humans and animals (even cats and dogs).
Just be careful to not get the spray in their eyes.

This spray will not kill the flies, but it does help to keep them away.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Writing About Chickens and Turkeys for Community

If you would like to read my latest posts about chickens and turkeys, I invite you to Community Chickens (  I contribute two articles per month there about our personal experiences.

In Fences Makes The Best Neighbor, I talk about moving our chicks from an inside brooder to the outside.  They live next to the older flock, but are separated (and protected) by a fence.  We had to do a lot of work to make this happen, but feel it is the best for all involved.

In Broad Breasted Turkeys Part 2, I also talk about moving the turkeys outside and the prep work that had to be done ahead of time.  We quickly learned that the fence wasn't tall enough ;-) 

About Community Chickens:
Community Chickens is committed to creating a community made up of every breed of poultry enthusiast, whether you’re just thinking about raising these fascinating creatures or you’ve had them your entire life.
For this community blog, we bring together experts from our sister publications Mother Earth News and Grit magazines, as well as the prestigious The Livestock Conservancy and Joining them is a community of writers from all over the country who are excited to share both their experiences and their tips with our readers.
You’ll find posts on a wide variety of topics, such as:

  • Everything you need to know about raising chickens in the city, including tips on how to legalize it in your community
  • Humorous stories from writers raising chickens for the first time, and discovering just how much personality their poultry really have.
  • How to raise different breeds of chickens and other poultry such as heritage chickens, guineas, turkeys and ducks.
  • The newest and best chicken products on the market.
  • And much, much more!
Visit Community Chickens to sign up to receive their weekly FREE e-newsletter.  In it you will find great information, awesome give aways, and articles from their contributors (including mine).

Hope to see you over there!
- Lori

Monday, July 6, 2015

Simple Summer Mantel

For our summer mantel, I have taken the simple approach.

Other than the mantel clock, it includes white milk glass and an old church hymnal.
That's it!
Sometimes less really is more.

The milk glass pieces have been given to me by my Mom over the years.

The old church hymnal adds a bit of height.
I like having the pages face out.  I think it adds texture.  

The mantel has a very calming look.
With the busyness that is going on around our little homestead, I crave the simple, calm look.

On the hearth I have added two old jugs, one on each side.

Just imagine...
people used to keep their drinks cool in these...

Back when things were more simple...
like our simple summer mantel decor.

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Friday, July 3, 2015

Farm Photo Friday (July 3, 2015)

Welcome to Farm Photo Friday!

A picture is worth a thousand words...

I was surprised to see a few grapes already.

Beautiful apples.

Zucchini any day.
All the rain we have had is really helping the garden to grow, but hard to keep the weeds out.


Looking forward to eating some fried green tomatoes soon.

 Silver Laced chicken is really growing into her 'lace'.

Breakfast time.
Do you recognize anything different or new in this picture?

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Fence For The Tomatoes

Nothing says summer garden like a freshly picked tomato.

Although I grow different varieties of red tomatoes, yellow ones are my favorite!

If you grow tomatoes in your garden, you probably know the frustration that comes with trying to keep the plant from falling over.

We have tried different things over the years:

Tomato cages
The cages tend to crowd the plants, making it harder to harvest.

Being crowded inside the wire structure decreases the air circulation to the plant.  This makes the plant susceptible to pests and disease.

The weight of the plant would sometime weigh down the wire cage and they would end up on the ground.  This also makes the fruit more susceptible to pests and disease.

Tomato stakes (wood or metal)
Stakes with string/rope/pantyhose/yarn (you get the idea) holding the plant upright is another strategy that we have tried.

As the plant would grow, the string would need to be adjusted and more string would need to be added.

Another problem with this method is that the plants grew too large to stay upright on the stake, again tumbling over to the ground.

So this year we are using my Dad's method.

Cattle Fence 
This method allows the tomato plants to spread out as needed, while growing up and entwined in the fence.

We used cattle fence because we had some leftover from fencing in our pasture.
What my Dad uses are cattle fence panels.

You can purchase cattle fence panels that are 50'' tall, 16' in length.
The fence has 10 horizontal wires running the length of the panel, making it ideal for tomatoes to grow on and through.

Using a post drive, set the posts into the ground approximately a foot for stability.
Space the posts 5 to 6 feet apart.
(5 ft. if you are using 16 ft. panels, 6 ft. if you are using fencing).

Stretch the fence and tie onto the posts, using metal wire for strength and stability.
Wire together as many panels as you need for your garden size.
(Or cut the fence to your desired length.)

We installed the fence shortly after planting the tomato plants.
Stretching the fence on the left of one plant then the right side of the next plant and so on.

As the plants grow, 'train' them to weave in and out of the fence.

Use string for extra support if needed.

Depending on the expectant size of your plant, you can plant up to three plants per 6 feet of fencing.
Cherry/Grape tomatoes take up a lot of room, so I would only do one plant per 6 foot section.

Using this method not only keeps the tomatoes healthier, but also allows me to see the tomatoes more easily.

Hopefully I will be eating fried green tomatoes soon!

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