Tuesday, November 26, 2013

noses and snow

I am still battling my cold, although I am starting to wonder if it is bronchitis. I can not get over, how winded I get going from the house to the barn!

"Q"'s nose

I took the camera to the barn tail end of last week. So I am a little slack about posting these. Daughter #3 took the cows out Saturday morning, and she also took the camera. So some of these are hers.

Hubby is hoping he will be home tomorrow. I have feed for the cows for one more day. Worse comes to worse, I will feed the cows with the tractor. IF I have to!

Last Tuesday, hubby and I purchased a tote of whole oats from a neighbour, but the tote is still sitting in the box of the truck. Our old Super 90 just didn't want to start. The Super 90-we affectionately call him Grandpa-is attached to my roller mill, which is inside the granary.

This is Grandpa

Junior can get the tractor to turn over, but Grandpa just doesn't want to start. Plan B, if we can't start Grandpa, we will drag him out of the way, and  bring out Little John out of the barn. I am hoping, when Hubby is home, he will have enough time to do this for me.
 There is always some sort of 'drama' on a farm!

I have managed through all the hack attacks, to keep the house relatively clean, dishes done up, a fire going, suppers made for the kids, making cheese, and the most important one--chores are getting done.

I just can't manage to walk the distance for feeding cows. When Daughter#3 took the herd to the next feeding spot, of course she was accompanied by entourage of canines.

Junior took out his chain saw, and bucked me up enough wood for about a week. He usually doesn't work weekends, and this might become one of his chores for the weekend. From past experience, this isn't going to be his favourite chore. Next spring, we will get more organised for winter.

I can not get over the sunsets or sunrises that we have been getting. The good Lord above, is one hell of an artist!

Murray here, and Puss another one of our barn lions do not get along. Puss won't let Murray into the barn. And the canine unit, have a habit of chasing Murray. This is one spot on top of the wooden gate, where Murray feels safe.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

beef jerky

My gang is big on beef jerky. 
It doesn't matter how much or how often I make jerky, it sure doesn't last long around here. I try to be sneaky about it, when I am making it. If only it didn't take so long for the dehydrator. I will have to wait for a time when both of the boys are in camp. 

It is another one of those 'skills' that I shouldn't have learned. I just ended up spoiling my family.

In the past when we took a bigger steer in for butchering, I always got the butcher to to thinly slice about forty pounds of meat, (I called it rouladen) so I can make jerky. I usually make it from scratch. 
For the past two years we have taken in smaller steers, so no rouladen. So now I am cheating!

I purchased a couple of these different flavour Jerky spice kits. The spice and the cure are included in the box, enough to nix up six pounds of ground beef or venison.

Last time I made this jerky, using this product,I made up about twenty pounds of ground beef. Which I don't recommend doing that much at once. I had my dehydrators going for a few days, and the excess meat had to stay in the fridge. 
This time around I only made eight pounds-twelve hours. 

I always add more spices. This time around I added hot dried ground peppers that I grew. For an extra bite.

When we sold our last farm, we sold the bare land to a young family man. He was also a hunter. He stopped in for coffee one day and we were discussing making jerky. Donny told me that he used this product and he used ground venison. He also told me to purchase the tool kit for making the strips.

This kits come with three different attachments. I haven't used the one for pepperoni or the double tip nozzle.

It takes a bit of practice-maybe one or two strips to get the hang of it. If you squeeze the gun, and pull back across your screen to fast, you end up tearing the meat. If you hold the gun to long in one spot, you get a ripple effect happening. I use a dinner knife to 'cut' the meat away from the nozzle. 

Throughout the drying process I used paper towels to dry off the jerky. The fat kind of melts, and you need to wipe it off so your jerky doesn't go rancid.

Let it cool, and store in freezer bags. Keep it in the fridge or the deep freeze. Mine never makes it to the freezer!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


 For the past three weeks, I have been denying that I have been sick. I've had a cough ever since I got that spasm in my back. I cough so bloody hard, I swear I am going to break a rib or cough up a lung!!
Well, I finally had to admit defeat!
 I am sick! 
I hate being sick.
 I don't even want to leave the comfort of my bed, but chores still need to be done. 
There is no rest for the wicked.

Hubby has finally got the porch insulated and the drywall up on three of the four walls.
The house wall, needs to wait. We want to remove the old window, and block it off. Than there is the old blue trim that either needs to removed or something. Something has to be done to it. And of course, some sort of boards need to hammered on to the house over that sixties stucco stuff.

We received a call on Friday, that the power company was going to do a 'control black-out' for Sunday, while they replace aging power poles.

Sunday temperature was -18 C. and than there was the wind. It made for a very chilly day. When the sun was started going down around 3-ish, is when the house started getting cold. 
The power finally came back on at five, and hour later than what the power company had planned.

The two previous places that we owned, both of them had wood stoves. You sure appreciate having that alternate heating source. Not just for heat, but also to prepare meals. 

So it was given, that we were going to have a wood stove in our porch. We just didn't know when. So with the power company phoning, and the cooler temperatures coming, and Saturday being the last day for this sale on the wood stoves at our local hardware store, we decided today was the day.

Hubby worked diligently all day Sunday to get the stove installed. He faced many obstacles, one major one of course was no power to operate his power tools. Plus the biggie. He couldn't warm up.
Monday he finished installing the wood stove.

Come spring he will have to fix the roof with proper roofing supplies. 
He politely informed me it will leak. 
But right now, it is a hazard to be up on the metal roof. And with these temperatures that we have had, none of the roofing materials: silicone or roof tar, would adhere properly.

He said the next stove we get, it is getting installed in the spring time.

Through out the day on Sunday, hubby went a few times up to the paddocks to check on the animals and the waterers. One of the three wateres were frozen.
 After the power came back on, the boys took a pail of very hot water to the barnyard, and proceeded to thaw the  waterer. Thankfully it was a quick thaw, and that there were no further issues with any of the waterers.

Daughter #3's goats have been getting locked up in the barn  for the past few nights. Hubby thought since they were small, and Henry was shivering, better be safe than sorry. 
This weekend our temperatures are suppose to be back to seasonal average.

Hubby got the phone call that he has been expecting. He heads back to work tomorrow. 
Most of today, he has been gathering dead fall out of the bush, for us.
 This weekend, I will have to put Junior to work, gathering dead fall and buck it up for us, while his dad is in camp.
We definitely weren't prepared for our wood stove! haha

All the puppies are enjoying the warmth given off of the stove. 

Especially on a day like to day.

This was the temperature at 9 am this morning.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Guest Post from Daughter #3: Brandi

Brandi is a 2000 Jockey Club reg'd Thoroughbred mare. She's registered as In a Romp. She raced at Northlands Park as a young gal, running three races in total and lost them all epically. Not everyone can be a winner. Upon retiring from the track, she has been used as a broodmare. Until coming here, of course.

This gorgeous lady also happens to be the mother to Ike, the other Thoroughbred on the farm. 

Brandi was offered to me (Daugher #3) in 2012 after I purchased Ike, as I wanted to (and still do one day) start an equine rescue/rehoming business, as my mother so kindly told the gentleman these plans, and he figured she and Lu (who is has gone to her new home) would be excellent starters for it.

Except, Brandi is lame. We don't know what is wrong with her. The vet doesn't know what is wrong with her. She has a problem with her left hind leg. It likes to swell to an enormous size that is very uncomfortable for her. It does go down, after a long time, then swells back up. She limps, she's in pain and we're all at a loss. The vet thought, perhaps, it was a skin infection due to her chronic scratches (mud fever). Nope. The first medication did not help one bit.

The donkey was casting shadows when I attempted to take photos of her leg, the bugger. Here, you can see the swelling, somewhat.

Returned to the vet and we're trying some new shots to see if they help bring down the swelling and keep it under control. Cold hydrotherapy helps and will attempt wrapping it on the weekend with a sugar wrap to see if that helps any, alongside the shots. 

She is such a good girl.

Dad showed me how to give needles. I figure, since I want to own horses, I might as well as know how to administer a needle to them when need be. This medicine is thick and was extremely tough to inject. Brandi, the darling, stood like a champ through the entire procedure without blinking an eye.

Thank goodness I have such excellent helpy-helpers to aid me. 

Ike & Brandi

Still, in reality, I cannot afford to keep experimenting on drugs to help her out. She is offered up for "adoption" for free to a home who can afford to look after her needs. Until then, I will continue trying to find a way to help her live more comfortably.

pumpkin soup

I know I seem out of sync with putting up the garden. I am just starting now to do something with my little sugar pumpkins. 
Summer blended into autumn, and I really have no idea where fall went.
 I went to the neighbours and dug up some horseradish. I canned some, and planted three roots.
 I wanted a perennial bed near the garden, where I plan on having a herb, and perennial plants together-so I had to till that area up, while hubby hauled old rotten manure out of the cow shed into the garden.
Hubby rented a post pounder, and in my future perennial bed, we put in posts for a fence.
I dug up another perennial bed, and planted tulips and daffodils bulbs.
All the while, my pumpkins were slowly, quietly, ripening on the shelf in the garage.

Today I pureed three of those sugar pumpkins. Trust me when I say, you can't even tell that I took three pumpkins off of the shelf! I will be processing more pumpkins in the very near future.

Once I got these three pumpkins pureed, I made hubby and I pumpkin soup for lunch. I thought it tasted good. Hubby just says it was different and it was ok. I am not even sure what that means.

The rest of the puree will be made into muffins, and  bread.

Pumpkin Soup

1 onion, minced
2 stalks celery, chopped finely
2-4 carrots chopped finely or grated
3 tbsp butter
1 garlic clove minced
3-5 cups of pumpkin puree
salt and pepper
2 c half and half

-saute onions, carrots, garlic, celery in the butter
-add remaining ingredients except for the cream
-cover and simmer for about ten minutes
-add the half and half, heat through and serve 

-makes about 4-6 servings.

I added about a cup or so of chicken stock at the same time I added the pumpkin. I think my puree was to thick. Also, I don't measure out my herbs and spices. I go by taste.

welding repairs

Hubby today was getting ready for winter. He was busy doing some welding repairs
that should have been done this spring but other projects took priority.

During last winter, hubby broke the top link on his 3 pth forks. He managed to get it welded today. He also did some welding on his snow blade. He just tells me that last winter was rough. 

He also put on the tractor tire chains on the back tires of the chore tractor. Our tractor is not a front wheel assist and the chains give the tractor traction in the snow.

With winter upon on us now, hubby is expecting a phone call to head off to work. When hubby goes off to work, he is gone for six days, and is only home for two nights and day. During his day off he is busy putting out feed for six days, in six different feeding areas. Than all I have to do, is open gates, and move the cattle. I can feed the cattle with the tractor, I just don't like doing it. Hubby does it so much quicker than I can. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

corn chowder and biscuits

Several ago, I knew an older couple. They were like grandparents to me. I loved both of them dearly. I use to visit them faithfully.

 I remember one time when I was over visiting, and Bina had made hamburger soup for lunch. Aw, that soup was so delicious. The only kind of soup I could make came out of a can. I told Bina that I wished I could make soup like her. Her comment back to me was why can't you? I told her I didn't know how. It never once occurred to me, to look in a cook book.

 Pete pipes up and proceeds to tell me a story about an old woman and a beggar. They were both starving and the old woman told the beggar she had nothing to eat except for a bone that she was going to feed her dog. The beggar took the bone and put it into a pot with some water. He continued to ask the old woman if she had a potatoe, an onion, a carrot, etc. In the end, the beggar made them both a pot of soup.

I don't have a lid for my pot. So I had to impervise.
Pete always told me, you take a bit of this and a bit of that to make soup, but always make sure you have some fat for the soup. It is the fat that gives the soup, flavour.

 Bina in her infinite wisdom always said to make sure your soup has colour. If you are making a vegetable soup, always add potatoe, carrot, onion, tomatoe, peas or beans, corn. She basically said it is like the colours of the rainbow you are adding; white, red, green, orange, yellow.

Once I started making hamburger soup, I haven't looked back.

If I happen to use a can of tomatoe soup, I usually embellish it with either rice or macaroni, celery, onion and some spices for a really quick soup.

 There is something about homemade soup that is so comforting and warm. 

Corn Chowder Soup

-Fry  4 slices of bacon cut in small pieces. Remove bacon bits and drain on paper towelling. 
-Pour off fat. Keep 2 tbsp and return to your pot.
-Add 1/2 cup finely chopped onion. Cook until transparent but not brown.
-Add 2 cups diced raw potatoe and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook 8-10 minutes or until tender. 
-Add 3 cups warm milk, 1 (14 oz) can, undrained, whole kernel corn, your crisp bacon bits, salt and pepper
-Heat just to boiling. Season to taste. Makes about 6 cups.

Baking Powder Biscuits

-Place in a bowl: 2 cups flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, mix well.
-Add 3 tbsp butter. Mix till crumbly.
-In a measuring cup, measure 1 cup milk, add 1/2 tsp of baking soda to the milk. Stir well.
-Add the milk and baking soda mixture to the flour mixture. 
-Mix until it forms a ball.
-Turn out onto a floured surface.
-Knead 8 to 10 times.
-Roll or pat into a circle about 3/4" thick.
-Cut into 2 inch circle. 
-Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for about 10-12 minutes, until the bottoms are a nice golden colour. Makes about 16.

sunrise and rainbows

The sunrise at 8.40 am today. Accompanied by a rainbow.

Monday, November 11, 2013


I enjoy making copy cats of store products. They are so easily to make. Some only take minutes to make and taste far superior to those from the store.

Here is a recipe for mustard. 

Into a small sauce pot add the following:

4 tbsp dry ground mustard
1/4 c water
3 tbsp vinegar
1/2 tsp flour
1/4 tsp salt plus 1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp turmeric
pinch of garlic powder and paprika

- bring to a boil and simmer for about five minutes stirring often

-remove pan from heat, let sit uncovered for about a minute than cover pot until cool

-store in a jar with a lid in the fridge
-makes about 1/4 cup of mustard.