Mmmmmm… Apple Sauce!

Thanks to my neighbor and new friend Connie, I have had a surplus of apples around here.  After helping her peel a mess of apples last week, she had given me a bunch of apples and her apple sauce recipe that she found on line.  We increased the ingredients to yield enough to put some jars up to enjoy later.

First Step:  Peel and slice your apples:

Second Step:  Mix apples with water, sugar and cinnamon and cook until apples are soft:

Third Step:  Once apples are soft, smash them with a potato masher until they reach a consistency that you find pleasing:

Now you can serve it warm or stick it in the refrigerator to serve chilled.  I bet this recipe would be amazing over vanilla ice cream!!  If you like, you can go ahead and can them to enjoy later.  I have chosen to do that since I am committed to have a home grown Thanksgiving this year.  I will be sure to blog more about that subject down the road.  Now I know that if I have nothing else, my family can enjoy home made apple sauce November 22, 2012.

Recipe:

28 apples
5 1/4 cups of water
1 3/4 cups of sugar
4 teaspoons of cinnamon
(These quantities made the 3 jars you see above)

Hay, There!

Our animals are currently all together in one paddock that has no grass whatsoever.  When Ladybug first came to stay with us, the paddock had some grass away from the trees, but that was stomped and grazed down pretty quickly.  Someday I hope to have more land where the horses can have a nice pasture to nibble on and run through at their leisure.  Until that day happens, we make hay runs.

About every two weeks I make a run to Smith Lake Rd to buy a round bale of hay.  They load it up in the back of my truck, and off I go.

Round bale being loaded on to the back of my truck

Doesn’t the truck look like a snail?

 

Once I get the bale back home, my husband helps me roll it off the truck and on to a pallet outside of the paddock.  We cut off the outer binding to access the hay and throw small piles of it over the paddock fence to the girls as needed.  We usually have three piles, one for Eve our alpha mare, one for Ladybug our first mare, and one for Phoebe and the goats.  Sometimes two piles will do, as long as Eve has a pile all to herself.  She’s not too big on sharing.

Some people have large metal rings that encase the round bale of hay so that the farmer can just leave the whole bale out in the field as free-choice hay.  I would love to be able to do that, but I know our goats would just jump on top of it to play “King of the World” and end up fouling the hay with urine and excrement.  The way we do it may not be the best way, but it works for us for now.

I did it!

Today is the big day…  Yup, I am officially 40.  And you know what else?  I’m a farm girl!  Oh, don’t get me wrong…  I still have a ways to go, but I’ve had a great start!  At this time we are enjoying two acres, most of them woods, with a paddock housing our current eclectic herd that currently includes three Nubian dairy goats about six months old, one dear donkey named Phoebe who is a total lovey, our mare Ladybug whom you’ve read about previously, and our newest mare Eve whom I’m hoping to be riding in the next couple of months.  We have lost some birds to predators lately, so we’re down to two male ducks, one silkie rooster, and six hens, plus our oldest son has a pair of silkies that he plans to breed.  I am also raising seven blue slate turkeys who are almost two months old.  I’m hoping they will be ready to harvest in time for Thanksgiving.

Aside from the animals, I’ve also started a garden.  I’m kind of going about it like a patchwork quilt:  a little bit at a time, piece by piece. I am currently growing sweet potatoes, various tomatoes, a squash, okra, blueberries, raspberries and black berries.  I need to add some more and start planning my fall garden.  I’ve committed to having a home grown Thanksgiving this year, so we will only be eating things we grew ourselves, raised ourselves or bartered for.  It will be a great experience!

Over the next year, I hope to blog more consistently and reach a few more goals.  I’d like to see our chicken coop and run completed, and I need to build something for the turkeys.  They are outgrowing their current cage and really stinking up my laundry room!  I’d like to increase the size of the paddock and have the goat pasture completed so that Phoebe and the girls can move down there sooner.  I want to build a milking stand for the goats and start training them to go up there twice a day in order to make future milking an easier process.  I also want to increase my gardening skills and plant a few more fruit trees.  Whew!  Lofty goals, so keep me accountable, folks!  I’m going to need a cheering committee!

I’ll get better about posting pics, too!  :o)  Thanks so much for reading!

Fast Forward Three and a Half Months!

Yes, Ladybug (her full name) came to stay…

We were keeping her at a community barn for a few weeks when a tornado, yes a tornado, hit the barn in the middle of the night with her alone in her stall. All the horses on the property were shaken but uninjured thankfully! Friends and I walked her about 5 miles to our house where we put her up in the goat paddock. At that point, we thought we’d be taking her back once the fencing and barn had been repaired, but here we are in May with Ladybug still residing with Penelope, Zoe and Isabella.

Although her current living quarters are on the smaller side, I think she likes being around the whole family where she gets lots of attention and sees a lot of action.  The kids love getting up on her bareback when she’s grazing, and we take turns riding her fully tacked as well.  My DH has been trying to get her out for a little ride every day, and she seems to really enjoy it.  So does he!

 

A Horse??? Sure! :o)

In good Farm Girl fashion, we are adding to the “herd”… Only this time we’re thinking bigger. If things go well, we will have Lady joining us this Sunday. Lady is a retired mare who is looking for her “Forever” home where she will be well-loved, cared for, brushed, pampered a little, and even ridden once in a while.

A friend had found a horse on Craigslist that she thought would be a good fit for us until she talked to the owner and got more information. She told the owner that we would be more interested in a good beginner horse, and we were able to meet Lady.

This week will be filled with prep work to get our soon-to-be pasture cleaned up and ready for fencing. She will be arriving on Sunday! I do have a call in to a friend of a friend who may have a stall available for short-term boarding to give us a little more time to do what we need to do at our place, but I won’t know for sure until tomorrow. If it works out, great! If not, I think we can get everything done, but whew! It’s going to be a busy week!

I’ll post photos as soon as she gets here! Oh, wish us luck!!

Another Farmgir…

Another Farmgirl Swap is complete!  I had a lot of fun making this cute little mouse pin cushion…  I found the instructions here:  http://mybyrdhouse.blogspot.com/2008/01/year-of-mouse-ppp-pincushion.html.

                                          

The theme was Valentine’s Day, so that’s why the conversation heart print.  I really like the way it came out, and it was very easy to do.  I’m still debating adding whiskers.  They would be cute, but the fabric is so busy, I almost think it looks fine without.  I’ll probably leave it as is.

I know this post isn’t very “farm” oriented, but I am loving finding the time for crafts.  And I guess a good farm girl ought to know her way around a sewing machine, right?

Getting Crafty

I joined an online forum a while back on http://www.maryjanesfarm.org and LOVE it!!  Through this site, I have learned so much about goats and have really gotten back to crafting…  Something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time but just hadn’t found the time.  The Farm Girls on this site do a lot of different “swaps” such as dish cloths, vintage postcards, tea cups, and homemade Valentine’s cards. I signed up for the Valentine’s cards along with 28 other women.  After just a few days of consistent cutting and pasting, I made 28 cards that are all filled out, addressed, and just awaiting stamps and a trip to the mailbox.

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Not only was it a fun project to do, it is going to be even more fun to receive 28 handmade Valentine’s from others across the country!!  Sure beats a mailbox full of junk and bills!