Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The last couple weeks have gone by quickly.  With nothing big on the schedule it left room for a lot of whatever we felt like doing. 
Montana family was in town, they hadn't come in the summer for a couple years, so it was fun to do campfires and outdoorsy things with them again. 

The animals are a handful right now.  Chickens, turkeys, and bunnies everywhere.  A couple more weeks and it's time to butcher the chickens.  

The turkeys are growing, but still looking very much like the chickens

Our new batch of bunnies.  Finally have a litter that didn't die.  We've been having issues with the mommas this summer, not caring for them.  

I love this picture of Clay with our Amish neighbors. He likes to chat with them :)

Our popcorn is so tall this year!  The boys each have a little patch. 

I spotted our first watermelon, i haven't ever grown watermelon before but i had room where the spinach and cabbage were and wanted to give it a try.  Can't wait to see what happens, i hear it's a hard thing to grow. 

We have some barn construction going on right now.  It will look a lot different, more open and new concrete flooring.  We want to put in a couple stalls for any new animals we might get down the road.  
Before pic:

Taking out some beams and the feeding troughs.  Also digging out the concrete for a new concrete floor

We took the boys to the Buck over the weekend to see the monster trucks.  They put on a great show.  I wanted to go last year and it didn't work out.  They bring in monster trucks twice a year at the Buck.  

A lot of star wars talk was coming out of their mouths

Sunday after church we had some families over for a slip and slide.  It was so hot that day, the kids loved it.  

Rod wasn't impressed with the yard afterward :)  

Thursday, July 9, 2015

honey project

Yesterday was the day....the day i disturbed tens of thousands of bees and took their hard earned honey frames from them.  You can imagine their fury.  They were flying at me, beating off my suit so hard it sounded like rain drops against a windshield.  I had multiple layers on so i wouldn't get stung through the suit and i didn't.  It took 1.5 hours just to go through the boxes of frames and pull the ones out that were fully capped (when they are capped that means the bees made the honey the right consistency and it's ready to harvest.  Harvesting uncapped honey could mold).   Then i had to brush the bees off the frames and quickly put it in our cooler and shut the lid so the bees wouldn't follow it in.  I got 15 frames to extract.  I was a sweaty mess till the end of this all.

The capping is just wax that they make

Then in the evening, after picking up the extractor and setting up the kitchen, we harvested.  It was so fun!  I used a hot knife to cut the capping off and then we put the frames into the extractor.  It holds 9 frames, someone then turns it and it spins the honey out of the cells.  It was a family affair.

Aunt Mary has never seen or done anything like this in her almost 90 years of life.  

The honey falls to the bottom and comes out of a nozzle for easy bottling

I cheated and looked online at how much honey 15 frames makes so i knew we'd get around 4 gallons, and that's what we did.  Pretty much exactly 4 gallons.  I'm so grateful for a strong hive that survived the winter and has done their job so well.  I feel so blessed.  We'll extract again in September.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

I was looking forward to Sunday for many days.  A day to myself!  Rod took the 3 older boys to ride some mini bike trails a couple hours away.  And my mom kept Clay for an overnight.  I was so excited for this day, that the night before i didn't get to sleep until after 2:00!  

Even though i didn't relax per say, i was able to do things on my own timetable, without interruption and that in itself is peaceful and relaxing for me.   

I housecleaned the toy room, picked green beans, finished Clay's photobook, went grocery shopping, and cleaned out bunny cages.  It was glorious.  

The mini bikers had a great time.  It rained a lot the day before, so there were some puddles, but i think that was the attraction.  

My mom took Clay to a traveling zoo at a nearby store, i love these pictures of Clay on a camel.  And i'm a little jealous, i want to sit on a camel!

Now everyone is back home again and i have a boy clinging on me as we speak.  Back to reality!

Friday, June 26, 2015


We're so blessed with an abundance of veggies from the garden and berries on our property.  This week I've been amazed at all the variety we've been able to harvest and eat.  Growing our own food still fascinates me.

During the school year Adam brought home a little cabbage transplant, as a project/contest for the classmates and other schools too i think.  I'm not sure what variety this cabbage is, but i'm pretty sure it should have "giant" in the name somewhere!

I emailed the picture to his teacher and she wants to use it in future years to show her students.

Clay wanted to be in on the excitement
Adam wants to make sauerkraut from it.  I think we have enough to make some coleslaw too!

This is our  current variety in the garden and greenhouse.  Green beans have started too, i planted A LOT of them this year.

We purchased some additional land a couple years ago and dozens of raspberry bushes were on the property.  The previous owners had a business w/ them, selling them at market.  We have gotten 25 quarts so far.  Not even thinking we got half of them...We're due for a lot of rain, so they might not last much longer.  We've had fun giving many boxes away, and trading some for fresh cherries.

Wanted to share a few recipes i've made with the raspberries, other then the usual smoothies, fresh eating, or with cream.   Friends have shared their favorites with me, since i wanted to use some up.

Raspberry pie:
4 c. raspberries
1/2 c. sugar
4 T flour
2 pie shells (i used one deep dish)

3/4 c. flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 stick butter

Mix raspberries, sugar, and flour.  Put in pie shell/s.  Mix topping ingredients until lumpy.  Sprinkle on pie (since i only made one pie, i didn't use all my crumbs).  Bake at 450, covered, for 10 minutes.  Reduce oven to 350 and bake, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes.

Frozen Raspberry dessert:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup nuts, chopped fine
1/2 cup softened butter
Mix and press into bottom of a 9 x 13 pan and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  Cool and then break up with a fork and save 1/3 cup for topping.

2 egg whites, beaten until stiff
add 1/2 cup sugar, gradually
add 2 T lemon juice
Whip 1 1/2 c. raspberries into egg white mixture
fold in a large container of cool whip.

Pour over crumb base and top with extra crumbs.
freeze at least 6 hours and then cut into squares.

Raspberry Sauce:
2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
1 3/4 cups, PLUS 1 T water, divided
1/3 cup sugar
2 T cornstarch

In a saucepan, combine the raspberries, 1 3/4 cups water, and sugar.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Mash raspberry mixture and strain through a fine sieve into a 2 cup measuring cup; discard seeds.  Add water if needed to make 2 cups puree.  Return to saucepan.

Combine cornstarch and remaining water until smooth.  gradually stir into raspberry mixture.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Cook and stir 1 minute longer.  Remove from the heat; cool.  Store in the refrigerator.

Monday, June 22, 2015


This past weekend was the annual Father's Day weekend Fly-in, in Dillsburg.  We went Friday - Saturday.  The weather was good, but since they were calling for nasty stuff Saturday night, there were less people and planes there then normal.  A plus side to that is the boys got an airplane ride and didn't have to wait!


They all loved their rides, even this guy.

We set up camp right along the runway

After dark they played the movie PLANES on the runway.  The boys stayed up and watched the whole thing.  Rod and i feel alseep!