Tuesday, May 29, 2012

New Greenhouse

My dad is putting up a new greenhouse at the farm.  This is no small undertaking.  The dimensions are 24 feet by 48 feet.  As you can see by the picture below you can easily drive a truck in it.

He has the ends framed in now.  There will be two large fans in it at the front.  They hope to be able to have a few raised beds in it to have fresh vegetables all through the year.  They will also use it to start all the plants for the big garden.

You can see the larger garden on the other side of the green house.  The smaller garden is closer to the house.  We have most of it planted.  It is time to start weeding already!

I can't wait to see it finished.  This is my dad's pride and joy right now!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Patriotic Desserts

I love summer.   We have three months in a row that we celebrate our Patriotic Holidays.  The first of those is the last Monday of the month of May.  Memorial Day is a day that we honor those who gave their lives for their country.  We march in parades and honor their sacrifices for our freedom. It used to be called decoration day because ladies used to go out on that day and decorate the graves. A lot of people still go out and decorate the graves of their loved ones and this day.

On June fourteenth we celebrate flag day.  Which we pay tribute to our flag and our country.  Then on July 4th we celebrate the Declaration of Independence.  In our town it is a week long event with activities going on every day. 

To celebrate our summer events most of us like making patriotic desserts.  Thankfully we have plenty of red and blue berries that are ripe in the summer to help us with that.  Food coloring does the rest!!

Our church youth group had a bake sale on Saturday.  So I made these cute flag cookies for them to sell.  Have I mentioned that I love decorating cut out cookies!!

Today for Memorial Day I made one of my son's favorite desserts.  It is just titled Red, White, and Blue Dessert.  I got it out of an old taste of home magazine.  Here is the Recipe.  I love it because it is made of strawberries and blueberries.  The whipped cream and cream cheese mixture almost tastes like a cake batter.  It is scrumptious and delicious.  And of course you use the blueberries and strawberries to form a flag on top of the dessert. 

On a more serious note, this Memorial Day marks the year anniversary of a fallen soldier in our family.  We remember John M. Runkle Jr. who was killed in Afghanistan last year serving his country.  Check out my post Freedom is not Free to read more about it. 

Have a happy Memorial Day everyone and remember all those who gave their lives so we could live in a free country!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Little Miracle

A few weeks ago we went to a State Park that has a working farm on it.  One of the ladies in charge of the animals was there and asked us if we wanted to see what was in her office.  To our surprise when we went in her office we saw a Bantam Chicken with her chicks that she hatched out that morning and a very small baby calf.  He was so adorable and then she told us the story. 

He was only two weeks old and shouldn't had been born yet.  He was three weeks premature.  The mother died giving birth to him.  The vet told them if he ate that night then he would probably live.  A volunteer came in every night to bottle feed him.  He looked so little and frail but he was so cute.

The lady told us we could take him out and let him get some sunshine. 

 So we did.  He just loved the sunshine.  He also loved sucking on your fingers.  He is a little dirty.  He does not know enough not to lay in his own waste.  Normally his mother would clean him off every day and take care of him.  So the workers clean him up every day. 

His name is Willie and he is a Charolais Bull crossed with some Holstein and Hereford.  His mother was Charolais.  We just love the color of him. He is two weeks old in these first two pictures.  He should not even be born yet!!

When we went back yesterday we were surprised at how much he had grown and he was more active and played in the barn yard when they took him out.

At five weeks old he is really filling out now. 

He is getting very curious of the grass and starting to chew on it a little.
He is not eating grass yet but just checking it out.

I can't believe how tall he is now.  The first pictures you can see he is barely up to my son's knees.
Now his back is almost at my son's waist.  What a difference a few weeks make.

That volunteer that saved his life is still coming in every day to feed him.  She is dedicated to this little miracle and helping him have a chance in life!!   They still have to wash him off each day to keep him clean.  He will probably be the tamest cow they have at the park!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Crochet Cotton Dish Cloths

I have been so busy lately.  My friend had her show at Locust Hill in April.  She invited me to sell some of my crafts there.  I did sell a bunch of stuff and had some orders for more things.  So I have been making some American Girl doll clothes and dish cloths.  My dad had ordered two Wise men and camels from me to give as gifts also.  So I have been busy trying to get everything finished and finish up home schooling for the year at the same time.  We are almost there with school!! We still learn all summer long but we are not sitting in the basement at our computers doing lessons!

I found this pattern for dish cloths on the Lily Sugar N" Cream website.  Look under free patterns.  The name of them is Mod Gingham Dishcloth.  I love this pattern because it is super simple.  The whole thing is done in a double crochet.  You just change colors each row to get the design in them.  Each row has two colors.  You carry the color not in use on top of the bottom row and crochet over it.  You bring up the new color in the last double crochet of the former color.  They make up very quickly and they are nice and large.  The pattern says it is an approximate  10 inch square.  I measured mine and they are 9 1/2 inches by 10 1/2 inches.  So pretty close to a 10 inch square.  The ones below are the ones that someone ordered from me.  These are the colors that person picked out.  I really like the orange and brown and the lime and blue ones!!  These dish clothes are so durable and last a long time.  I have several home made cotton dish clothes.  Some I made and others from my mom.  They make great gifts for any occasion.  For my friends show I folded them and tied them with a bow around them.  They looked so pretty.  I will be making some for her summer show in red, white, and blue, and then again for her fall show in fall colors.  For the Christmas show I will make some in red, green and white.  I have made these while camping sitting around the camp fire in the morning waiting for my family to wake up!!

I love the gingham check design of these.  They have such a country look to them!!

Wouldn't you love to have a nice stack of dish clothes like this.  One for every day of the week!!

I need to get some more made for myself.  I try to use one dish cloth each day and get a new one out the next day.  That way they are clean and my dishes, table, and counter stay clean!!

I am linking to Frugal Days Sustainable Ways

I am linking to Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Refurbished Hair Accessories

Along with the hymn book angles I also made some hair barrets and headbands to give as prizes to the young girls in our church.  It was a simple process but they turned out so cute.  These are  music themed to go along with the Fanny Crosby impersonator that we are having for our banquet.

I found some stickers that look like old sheets of music.  I took off
white ribbon and formed it into a bow and hot glued it onto a barret.
Then a put some stickers on and then sealed the whole thing with
Mod Podge.

These barrets were made with the same ribbon.  I just formed it the
length of the barret and added the stickers.  They are also sealed
with Mod Podge.

The headbands are made from the scraps of sheet music left over the the hymn
book angles.  They are all made with Fanny Crosby's songs from 100 - 110 year old hymnals.
I used Mod Podge and completely covered the plastic headbands on the inside and out with
strips of the hymns.  They turned out so neat!!

I can't wait until the banquet next week.  It will be so fun to see the program and to give out the prizes!!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Dehydrating Apples

My son needed a snack for his boy scout camping trip.  It is supposed to be healthy and something that he could take on the trail.  They suggest trail mix which contains nuts.  Since he has an allergy to nuts I decided some dried fruit would work great.  I happened to have a bag of apples in the fridge.  My kids love apples but only if the peel is off.  They hardly ever just pick up an apple and eat it except if they have picked it themselves fresh off the tree.  Last fall a friend gave me a bunch of apples from their orchard and I dehydrated them.  I dehydrated for three straight days.  Pulling the dried apples out and filling up the tray twice a day. Dehydrating apples is very simple. 

I first use one of my favorite gadgets.  An apple peeler slicer.  I love this thing.  It peels, slices, and cores your apple all with a few quick cranks of the handle. 

After the apple is peeled, sliced, and cored I slice the apple in half.

I load them straight onto the dehydrator trays

I dehydrate them at 135 degrees Fahrenheit for 6-8 hours

Then put in a container with a lid and let sit overnight.  This is the conditioning process.  It allows the moisture to evenly distribute through the fruit.  As long as there is not moisture on the lid of the container the next morning your apples are properly dried. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Eating From the Forest

Yesterday the kids and I went for a walk along a Bike Trail.  This bike trail used to be an old rail road line and is now a paved trail that is used for both bikers and walkers.  I love walking down this trail because we can see nature in all its glory.  I started pointing out plants to my kids as we walked along.
One of the first things we saw was wild strawberries.

Right now they are just in bloom.  The wild strawberries have a white bloom that looks just like the domestic varieties.  The berry though will be quite a bit smaller and more round.  Here is a picture of what the strawberries will look like once they start to develop fruit.

We have mock strawberries growing along our shed.  The mock strawberry plant looks just like the wild strawberry plant except the flower will be yellow. It is not a true strawberry and the fruit is even smaller than that of the wild strawberry.  Seeds almost completely cover it though.  They are edible just like the wild strawberry but have very little flavor to them.


Another edible plant that we stumbled upon was the common blue violet.

I have been using the flowers from these to make jelly for years.  Look at my post on violet jelly for a tutorial and recipe for the jelly.  Both the leaves and flowers are edible on this plant.  They are seen in yards and forests all over the place.  My mom sugared both the leaves and flowers and put them on a cake for me for my birthday this year. The picture does not do it justice.  The violet frosting was the exact color of the violets.  For some reason my purples never show up well in pictures.

As we continued down the trail we stumbled across a patch of wild onions.  I pulled some up and showed the kids what they looked like.  Then I had them smell them and taste them.  They were surprised at how mild the flavor was compared to onions from the store.  They also were somewhat sweet. Wild onions do not get big bulbs on them like domestic varieties.  You always know when you have stumbled across a patch of them. You normally smell them before you see them.

You could combine the onions with some dandelion greens and violet greens.  Throw in a few violet blossoms and wild strawberries and have a wonderful salad.  I plan to harvest some wild plants for this purpose so my kids can taste natures bounty.

My son found some lambs ear as we were finishing our hike.  He asked if we could eat lambs ear.  I was not sure so I looked it up.  It is edible.  I can't imagine how good it tastes.  Those fuzzy leaves don't sound very appealing. This made me wander how many other things in the woods are edible.  So I have begun a search to find all the edible wild plants in Ohio.  I am finding some great things and learning a lot of the foods that our native Americans ate.  As I continue to research I will post about them.  I am so amazed at how many things we can eat in the forest.