Thursday, April 30, 2015

:: Strawberry Rhubarb Freezer Jam ::

Just  a few short weeks ago I checked on our rhubarb patch and a majority of the 30 plants I put in last year were just beginning to pop up.
Fast forward to last night & boom they were starting to head out (I got rid of those quickly) and picked a few stalks that were big enough to be thinned out.
Today I made three batches of Strawberry Rhubarb Freezer jam. It's SO yummy ya'all & super easy!
A friend introduced this to us a few years ago and it's a HUGE hit with our kids. In fact if we run out, I hear constantly "mom, we need more jam".
Start with 4 cups of Rhubarb (I actually used some that I had frozen last year.) and 1/4c water.
Bring to a boil, constantly stirring and mashing with a potato masher as it cooks down. Add 2 cups of sugar and mix in well.
Once it's mashed down good add 1 small package of strawberry jello. Stir in and boil for one minute.
Let cool slightly (not too long or it will completely set up before you have it in the jars) and pour into hot jars or the plastic Ball Freezer jars. LOVE these little jars!
Let sit until cool enough to put into the refrigerator or freezer. (This type of jam must be stored in a refrigerator or freezer.)
Strawberry Rhubarb Freezer Jam
4 c. Rhubarb
1/4 c. Water
2 c. Sugar
1 sm. pkg. Strawberry Jello

Bonus, your house will smell AMAZING!
What's your favorite Rhubarb recipe? I have feeling I'll need to be trying a few new ones soon!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

:: Spring Blooms ::

Finally! The grass is green & the flowers are blooming! We even mowed the grass for the first time last week! Today I thought I'd share what's blooming around our yard right now.

I picked up a few annuals from Walmart the other day to put in a few pots. These are so cool! I pulled the tag from them so I can't remember what they are called, but I will for sure be getting more of these to plant elsewhere!
This geranium darn near caused another level of havoc at our house on Friday night. Little did I know they are toxic to dogs. Needless to say, the puppy must have gotten ahold of a bloom because he got sick that night. Ugh! I thought what else could go wrong around here! He is completely fine now & all is good! (And the plant has been moved up and out of his reach)
I love poppies! They remind me of my grandma. I used to pick the little fuzzy flower buds off and pulled them apart just to see the color inside. I'm sure she didn't love that I did that but she never said anything. 
The two apple trees we planted last year are starting to get tiny little blooms. Have I mentioned how excited I am about our little orchard. I'm sure I will over and over again. 
The grapes aren't necessarily blooming, but I was excited to see they made the winter!

My lilac bushes were here when we moved in and Aaron has threatened to take them down a few times. NOT gonna happen! I love them too much! 
And last but not least, I purchased a magnolia tree last week from our local nursery. This is just one of the trees on my "bucket list". My grandparents had one in their yard and we got my mom one last year for her's. In fact, we have always referred to it as a Tulip tree, but when I went to the nursery they informed me that it is infact called a Magnolia Tree. So there ya go. We learn something new everyday. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

:: The Heartache of watching one of your animals in pain & trying to do the best you can ::

My last post ended with this ...

All is well this morning on the Farm. We are truly blessed.
And while we truly are blessed; all wasn't so well on the farm Friday evening.

Aaron took that day off work to help get the yard and barn prepared for a hog roast we hosted at our place on Saturday night. The day was filled with yard work and basically cramming most of our Spring to-do list into one exhausting day. But, it was beautiful outside and we kicked butt on getting it all done!
Throughout the day I had to lock Clarabelle & Pistal up in the chicken coop area so I could bring the tractor in to get a load of mulch, etc from the pasture. All seemed to be fine with the critters & I hadn't noticed anything different with our little bucket calf Clarabelle. She was laying down when my niece went out to see her, but that wasn't out of the ordinary on a warm sunny day or any day in the life of a cow I suppose.
That evening around 5:00 when the boys went out to do chores and give her her bottle she wouldn't eat it. She kept kicking her leg out to the side and after further inspection we discovered how incredibly bloated the poor thing was!
Aaron made a phone call to a cousin of mine and he indicated that she had twisted her stomach somehow. Apparently it happens often and doesn't always end the best. He was amazing enough to let us have a shot that would help her muscles relax. That was the fastest round trip I've made to Taylor Ridge ever!
It was also suggested to give her mineral oil as a laxative so we tried that too! We knew the most important thing to do was to keep her up and keep her walking! Thank goodness she's a little calf because when she got to the point of exhaustion and laid down it took both Coe & I to get her back up.
Even after a few hours of walking, the shot, the mineral oil, she wasn't getting any better. We had to tube her. Meaning we had to put a hose down her throat to try to get to where the twist was and release the pressure!

That was such a tough thing! Aaron, Coe, & I were all holding her trying to comfort her hoping it would work. By then, Coe & I were both in tears. It was so hard to think we were doing our best; but sometimes the best just isn't good enough. Tubing her hadn't worked.
Around 12:30am we decided we would make her a bed of straw and put her in the barn. We said our good byes & lots of tears were shed.
We went to bed thinking we would be burying our little calf in the morning.
We had done all we knew to do.

The next morning our youngest son Chase came into our room and said "Mom! I just looked out my window and Clarabelle is standing at the gate in the barn!" Holy Moly! She had made it! We woke up the rest of the crew and ran out to see her. We couldn't believe it!
Whether it was the shot, the oil, or the fact that she was finally able to lay down and relax enough to get it all working again we weren't sure, but she made it! I like to think we loved her back to health but that was probably just a small part of all of it.
Saturday we watched her closely and some other friends of ours brought her over a shot of penicillin.
I can't say enough how grateful we are for friends, neighbors, and the local vet for helping us out in a situation like this. Friends and a wonderful community are the best!
I know, I know, some people may say "it's just a cow". But when you're not used to things like this and watching your oldest son who has been doing such a good job taking care of the animal break down in tears; it's hard not to get upset and write a long winded blog post about it all!
While we are still keeping a close eye on her; there is a crazy little long eared goat who is extremely happy to have her buddy back bouncing around again!
It's SO true people; "farming ain't easy".

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

:: Amos Moses : A Puppy Surprise ::

Some days Aaron and I pass in the driveway or even on the road as I'm heading to a photo shoot and he's coming home from his day of work. That's just what happened last night. I had talked to him and reminded him what time Chase needed to be taken to practice and which kids to pick up along the way, etc. etc. No where in that conversation did the fact that he had stopped on his way home to get the kids a puppy ever come up! It wasn't until I received a text with a photo of Ella & the pup saying, "oh by the way..."
We have been talking about getting another dog for awhile but Aaron got it in his head that he needed a bird dog and my vote was for another heeler. I win! Hee!
The gal we got him from had actually already named him Amos, so we couldn't help but go with Amos Moses of course!
He's adorable & the kids (especially Ella) are thrilled!
He came out with us this morning to do chores & if I can convince Ella that he does in fact know how to walk he will love to run here.
All is well this morning on the Farm. We are truly blessed.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

:: Meet Willie & Waylon ::

We brought these guys home last night from my favorite local dairy farm. Aren't they adorable!
Meet Willie & Waylon!
Clarabelle is like "Um, wait just a minute. I did not approve this."
There will be lots more pics of these guys in the future I'm sure! Happy Tuesday everyone!

Monday, April 13, 2015

:: A Weekend Full of Work ::

 Saturday was a beautiful day for yard work! Chase, Ella, and I planted 4 more apples trees for a total of 6 apple trees & one peach tree to make our little orchard. This means in approximately five years, the trees should be baring fruit and our kids will be 17, 15, & 10. Yikes! I'll just stick to thinking about how quickly the trees will grow & not the kids.
Chase dug the holes & Ella and I planted the trees and filled it back in. We topped them off with some mulch and they were ready for last nights rain!
Meanwhile, Aaron & Coe were busy working on our new turkey coop made from recycled material. Yay, it may not be fancy, but it will work!
I'll post more pics as we get the fencing done. The turkeys are set to arrive in May!
Time for lunch picnic style!
Our next project was to move Pistal's barn to a new location next to the turkey coop. There are plans to redo some of our fencing so it needed to be moved. I wasn't here when they originally moved the barn from the neighbors, and boy am I glad I wasn't. Just moving 50 yards in the same pasture made me nervous enough.
Chase was once again the photographer while I helped with the move. He got a little artsy with his fartsy. That'a boy! Hee!
The evening ended around a campfire with hotdogs.
It was a good day. A busy day, but a GOOD day!