Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Crazy Farm



This weekend we welcomed some sheep to our farm! It has been so exciting adding some larger animals to the farm.

Meet Daisy May and her baby Binky (both are white). Binky is about 3 weeks old.


We also brought home Mabel who was pregnant. On Monday, Mabel gave birth to a cut little boy we named Hunter. Hunter looks a bit like a cow. I was lucky enough to witness the birth!! Mabel did a great job and is proving to be a wonderful mother.


About 1 hour post birth

With the addition of new animals to the farm, I have been put into scenarios I never dreamed possible. I also have imagined some scenarios I am SOOOO thankful never actually happened. I have to share these as they have given me some good laughs - now that I know they didn't actually happen and hopefully they never will.

The first came about while Mabel was in labor. Remember, we have NO experience with sheep - or other 'large' farm animals for that matter. I was blessed to witness the birth of a cow a few years ago at a neighbor's farm. There I learned that if the cow labors for 30-60 minutes and doesn't progress, they will help with the birth. Now, here I am watching Mabel move around with a couple of hooves emerging. I figured I should probably watch the clock. After about 20 minutes with NO progress, I was starting to worry (thinking about the cow time frame). I was able to get a vet on the phone, and sure enough sheep have the same 30-60 min time frame. Mild panic starts to surface. Luckily, mama was doing well and in no obvious stress. So, I start to prepare to 'help' mama. I found some gloves and washed them REALLY good. Changed my clothes and took my coat off - wouldn't want to ruin that. All the while I was praying Mabel would be done by the time I checked on her again. No such luck. A little more panic starts to surface. This is a sheep that doesn't know me, it is her first birth, I may need to help her, and I am the ONLY one home. ACK! Time to put my big girl panties on and do what needs to be done as we are now at about the hour mark. I take a few steps towards Mabel and she starts to bolt. Oh crap. I took a step back in hopes she would calm down.  How on earth am I going to hold her AND get the baby out??? So here is where the CRAZY scene pops into my head. Me, straddling Mabel BACKWARDS to try to hold her still while grabbing onto baby and pulling. Meanwhile she takes off running and there I am trying to hold on with all  my might and trying to deliver her baby. It still makes me laugh. Luckily, nature took over and Mabel delivered within another couple of minutes. I think God knew I was in way over my head and gave me Mabel a break. PHEW!!!


2 days post birth

The second scene that never actually happened came on Tuesday (the very next day). After getting home from work I let the dog out and went out to check on the sheep. And yes, I did change my clothes first - the mud on the farm is CRAZY after 2 days of rain. As I approach the area the chickens and sheep are, the dog is going crazy. A couple of steps reveals why - Binky had gotten out of the fenced area she was supposed to be in. Oh crap - again! I need to open a gate and get her in without letting the other sheep or chickens out. The dog needs to be put up as who knows what she is going to do. Daisy May is beside herself as she can't protect her baby. After several failed attempts on my part, Daisy May and Binky are now BOTH on the wrong side of the fence and in danger of getting into a tangle with the dog. Likely that scene was hilarious to watch - I bet we could make millions if we were on tv.  Then I see it - the gates that are my only hope of keeping these sheep contained on the farm are WIDE open. ACK! Enter, crazy scene. Daisy May and Binky running down the road with me chasing them, yelling, and waving my arms trying not to get hit by cars that are FLYING by at 55 mph. Luckily, I was able to get the dog in the house and gates closed before the sheep got out. By the time I got back, my little lovelies were safe and sound back where they belong. PHEW!

Thank goodness nature just took over and the right things happened. Since then, we have been trying to work with them so they aren't so skittish.





Hopefully there won't be any more situations that come up that will cause my panic to rise that much again. But, I'm sure there will. Until then, we will have fun with our newest farm members.

Until next time...
Jill

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Grandma Leffler's Molasses Cookies


Gramma Leffler - well, actually she was my great grandmother. I had the privilege of having her in my life until my senior year of high school. I just wish I had the opportunity of knowing her now - as an adult. Gma use to sweep the front porch when she came to our house to visit. I always thought that was the WEIRDEST thing. I mean, dirt does belong outside after all. But of course, now I sweep my outside porch/steps too. There are many days I smile as I find myself doing the things she use to do - that my younger self thought were crazy.

There are 2 recipes Gma was known for (at least within the family). One - her yeast rolls. Many in the family have tried and tried to get this right. To this day, 21 years after her death, no one has succeeded. Obviously, we are missing something from her recipe. The other recipe, her molasses cookies. Luckily, these are much easier to get right. I always think of Gma when making these, while wearing my apron and listening to music - they way Gma use to. Well, actually, she usually hummed and did everything by hand. I love my Kitchen Aid mixer, and am happy to use it whenever possible. Since my singing voice is nothing to write home about, I listen to the radio.  But the smells and the taste are right - which is all that matters.

Seriously, these are GOOD! They are always a hit at parties and other events. I can't seem to make them fast enough. If you have never had molasses cookies before, these are kind of like ginger snaps, but less on the ginger flavor and heavier on the molasses flavor. AND, these are soft. Which is by far my favorite way to have cookies.

In case you are wondering, I never make my healthier substitutions on this recipe. The changes in flours and fats would make substantial changes in flavor and texture. You would notice the difference. Now, you can try making the substitutions and you might like the results. But for us, we stick to the original, as it is tied so tightly to memories.

So, on to the recipe...

3/4 c shortening
1 c sugar
1 egg
1/4 c molasses
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger (ground)
1/2 tsp cloves (ground)
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 c flour (all purpose)

some extra sugar to roll the dough in.


Preheat oven to 350.
Line cookie sheet with parchment paper - because really, who wants to clean up that pan with cooked on grease?

I start at the top of the list and work my way down.
Cream shortening and sugar (usually for 1-2 minutes until the texture becomes light a fluffy).
Add egg and molasses until incorporated.
Add the next 5 ingredients and mix until incorporated.
Add in the flour one cup at a time.

I use a cookie scoop (that makes about 1"balls).
Scoop dough into 1" balls and roll into sugar. Place on cookie sheet. See - they are not perfect. It doesn't matter.



Cook for about 7-8 minutes. DO NOT over cook. The edges will only be SLIGHTLY golden. These are a bit over done. Still yummy, but the tops have a little too much brown in their golden. :)



Put on a rack to cool. Now - try hard not to eat them all. It might be a bit challenging.

Hope you enjoy these as much as we do.

Until next time...

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Hand Made Bathing Suit

Off the rack clothes fit most. HAH! As I learn more about alterations, I am learning to see how most people go around in clothes that just don't fit. A dart here or there, the right sleeve length, pant length, etc can make such a difference in how a garment fits and feels. I still have A LOT to learn, but that is part of the fun, right? RIGHT?

I am really supportive of others - it's not you, it's the clothes. Don't worry about making you fit the clothes, make the clothes fit you. Seriously. But I still struggle to apply that same thinking to myself. REALLY? Yes, really. I know, just shake your head at me and move on.

So, I'm thinking of making a bathing suit. Maybe if one fit better and actually flattered my body I might feel more comfortable. Also, I refuse to spend $100-$150 on a cute, modest suit that will never really fit quite right. So, I'm going to do a little fabric shopping and see if I can make one for under $30.

I have a few ideas pinned to my sewing pinterest board along with some tips - just in case anyone else wants to join me in my new quest.

I was thinking something like this...

Or this...


But, since I WILL NOT do a halter top I will do something a little different. Don't get me wrong, I love the look of halter tops - on other people. But they are not flattering for me, and they just HURT! 

So, do you have a favorite swim suit? Where do you like to shop for suits? Have you ever made, or thought of making, your own suit?

Later y'all!



Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Farm Growth

Our farm just always keeps us busy. We are in a bit of a 'lull' now - but really, that still means a lot of work!

The pumpkins are growing!!! We have lost several plants to viruses, but the molds and bugs have not really been a problem as of yet. Knock on wood!! It is really nerve wracking to watch everyday when we NEED these pumpkins to grow for the patch this fall. I don't know how full time farmers do this!!!


Fields early in the planting phase...

Growing bigger...

Getting flowers and some fruit set.

Flowers with bees.

Early stage fruit set.

And some miscellaneous bugs along the way.


We have been hand pollinating the plants as well as letting the bees do their thing. The plants that were seeded first mostly have fruits starting on them now. We really enjoy watching the progress along the way. If all goes well, we will have plenty of pumpkins for the patch this fall. We continue to work on the business side of things as well. We are now officially an LLC and have a farm number! We are working on all the signs needed on the farm too. Lots to do, lots to do! 

A few weeks ago we got a load of 9 yards of mulch! I am down to the last 1-2 wheel barrels. One of the projects I posted about a while ago was this area. It now has mulch. Next step will be to get some plants!


All of the existing beds also got a fresh layer of mulch and I made a new place under some trees that just can't be mowed. That will get some hostas - eventually. My lavender garden also got some much needed mulch. Slowly but surely things are looking nicer. 

The second batch of ducks are about 3 weeks old now and enjoy relaxing in the grass. 



Our first set of turklets just arrived this morning! They are MUCH louder than chicks and ducklings. 



We have blackberries galore. I have to pick every couple of days to keep up. Squash and cucumbers are also abundant. I have dried some oregano and some mint. I use the dried stuff while cooking and in my homemade soaps. 

And on Sundays we have been putting of a little road side stand. The kids help with this and I get a few hours to sit and crochet. 




Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A little break(down)

Yeah, I am a bit busy. It seems I crave being super busy and having lots to do. Looking back, I have always been this way. Always on the go doing something. The 'something' always seems to change, but the underlining theme is the same I need to be doing SOMETHING pretty much all the time. Every now and I again, I too get overwhelmed. Yes, I do - you just don't see it. I keep that to myself. No, that's a lie. My family sees it. Sometimes too often.

I can't do it all. I have to repeat this to myself many times. At times, I want to do more while knowing I should do a lot less. But, things ebb and flow. There are times I don't touch my sewing machine for a week or two. Other times, I don't go out on the farm (sorry dear husband). I have actually only been baking once a week or less (maybe I will lose a little weight???). I get tired of doing the SAME things over and over again. I have to learn how to do new things. I may never do them again - or I could get hooked with a whole new hobby. I know, I don't need any more hobbies. But actually, I do. I NEED to keep learning. It's just the way I am wired. Please don't hate me or be jealous of me. It's just the way I am.

However, balance is a tricky thing. I don't always give enough of myself to my family. Somethings I give too much. I am constantly TRYING to be aware of all the things I am doing and how they all interact with each other so one does not completely dominate my world. But really, who am I kidding?! I ALWAYS forget something and drop the ball somehow. Luckily, no major negative consequences have occurred. My family still loves me, the school just knows I am not going to be on many field trips and we will always need lunch money reminders, my customers are patient with me as it takes WEEKS to get some of the sewing projects done, and my friends know I love them even if we don't get to spend much time together but if they need me, I will drop everything and be there.

Some days I suck more than others. Some days I am actually successful. But really, the days that I suck seem to be increasing in number. So, I have just kind of dropped most things these days and tried to scale back. Instead, I have been reading - smut books. Yup, plain old, garden variety, romance novels. I know - me??? YES ME! Nothing but fluff. No learning involved - well, maybe a little, but I won't go there.

So, please be patient with me as I am having a toddler tantrum.  'I don't want to do anything!!!' My house is a mess, our clothes are not clean, we have switched to eating off paper plates. I will get my energy and focus back at some point. Until then, you will find me laying in bed reading while my family does who knows what. Please ignore my clothes and my hair and just picture me as one those really put together mom's. I know you can use your imagination - I just hope you have a great imagination!

Until next time,
Crazy Mom