"Gypsy gold does not chink and glitter. It gleams in the sun and neighs in the dark."

~ Saying of the Gladdagh Gypsies of Galway


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Gratefully Blessed Gray Hairs

This is Gypsy.


Gypsy is a 26-ish year old Appaloosa Mare. She came to the horse rescue in the summer of 2005. She was one of the first horses I've ever know to truly steal my heart. I even met her before I met my white knight! I learned a lot of the basics with/from Gypsy. I learned to sit my trot on her...which, for those who are reading that have rode Gypsy in the past know, that is no easy feat! She retired from the rescue as an 'educational' horse in the fall of 2008 and came home to live with me. What an honor. I could go on all day about Gypsy. About how sweet her soul is and you can see it as she wears it proudly. She loves the kids, god does she love the kids. She is so patient. Nurturing. She let's you know when she wants some extra TLC because she'll lay her head on your shoulder. And she hates the heat. HATES HATES HATES the heat. And the flies that come with it. She can't stand them. Sometimes she'd rather be in the barn all day, instead of out munching grass, if it means being in front of a fan and less flies.

Last Sunday, Gypsy gave me a heart attack, a stroke, and no less than 9 gray hairs. I won't go into the hour long story, but I found her down in the pasture. I was home alone, it was approx. 500 degrees outside, and the baby was in the house crying inconsolably [which he never does]. So, after 3 hours or so, an emergency vet call, a mad dash from a wonderful friend to be by our side, and hubby grabbing my good bath towels instead of the 'rag' towels*, we got Gypsy back on her feet. And for that, I am ever grateful. I know she is 26. I know she has some arthritis. I know she can't live for ever. Or even long enough [selfish on my part] to be The Babe's 4H partner, but every day she is here with us is one more day I feel blessed.

Gypsy, I love you. We love you.

*Please note hubby truly could have brought me towels hemmed in 24k gold and I would not have care so long as it helped me help Gypsy! I was just sayin'...

Friday, July 29, 2011

Farm Friday - Miscellaneous Musings








'Everything is prettier with Heirlooms!'

I linked this post up with Farmchick's Farm Photo Friday!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Heirloom Cuc's


I have 3 different heirloom variety Cucumber's growing in the garden this year. One is the Ruby Wallace Old Time White Cuc's -- more on them later.

The other two are pictured below; Parisian Pickling Cuc's and Fin de Meaux Cuc's.
The pen is in there to give you and idea of size since I couldn't find a ruler :) The pen is about 6" long.

So, about these Cuc's.
I ordered them from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.


The Fin de Meaux seen here I let grow to long. [Hey! I am learning!] According to the seed packet, I should have picked them at 2" long! They are great for making Cornichon pickles with, but my problem is, I can't harvest enough at one time to get enough to make a batch of Cornichon pickles with them! So, Garden 2012 note - Bigger Patch for Cuc's! Right now I am harvesting enough to make a jar or two of Fridge Pickles so I continue to experiment with those recipes.

The Parisian Pickling Cuc, same thing. I am letting them grow too long I think! I believe that the one on the right was picked at a better size, but it still could have been picked a little smaller. These are a Gherkin type pickle and I envisioned making sweet Gherkin batches with this one, but again, I am not yet harvesting enough to make a full batch. So, fingers crossed, maybe soon, they will just go gang busters!

I think I may try to direct seed more of both here soon and see if I can get a late harvest from them as well.

Has anyone every planted either of these varities? If so, what has your experience with them been like?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Remodeling...the Barn!

I don't know. Would I call this an addition? A 'remodel'? Why does it have to be so fancy. I'll just call it what it is - 'Adding More Windows'!

It is no secret we have been having a heat wave I don't think I have ever felt yet in my life. It's hitting over 100* with the heat index. It is sticky and suffocating outside. GAG!

While I hate air conditioning, it is days like these that I don't mind stepping into an AC cooled house. My horses though, the poor babies, do not have that luxury. They have a fan, but at this point, all it is doing is blowing hot, suffocating air around. Again - GAG.

Luckily, the barn the mini's are in is positioned just right and it manages to stay fairly decent even during this sorching heat. The barn the 'big' horses are in - not so much. So, hubby started making more windows for them. Bear with me. These pictures probably all look the same to you, but it is so exciting for me :)


This picture is standing in the entrance of the barn. You can't really see the second window here but look how nice and big and open :)


These new windows face East and also face the barn the minis are in. That shaded, grassy patch you see in the background is soon to be the mini's own pasture.

Look! Hubby is in Gypsy's stall and I am standing in Romeo's taking the photo! Now Gypsy will be able to see the rest of her herd :)

Ahhhhhhh - it just feels cooler looking at these new holes in the wall!


Hubby will be framing them in and then making them so that we can close them up in bad weather - but honestly, it has to be really bad for me to close up the barn. Horses live outdoors - the more fresh air, the better. Yes, this means even 20* weather!

I am standing in the corner of Apollo's stall here looking out to the new windows!

And again, in another corner of Apollo's stall looking out. These windows make the barn so much more breezy, open and just nice! Ok, can you believe how excited I am about holes in the wall :) I'll stop now. But I will just add one more thing - the horses are excited too. When we walked them in from the pasture last night, they each had to stop in the aisle and stick their head out the new windows, checking out the new view!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Smile!


Oy Vey Mom...not other photo!


*click click click*


Okay, I guess I will smile!
*CHEESE*


*cheesey cheese*


*giggle giggle*


*Ohhh ohhh there goes that furry thing that keeps getting away from me*


*CHEEEEEEEESSSSSEEEE!*


I love you Son! Almost 5 months old already - you are growing too fast!


Monday, July 25, 2011

Harvest Monday, July 25, 2011


Our harvest is starting to be a tad more bountiful :)


This past week I pulled the garlic we had growing wild. Wild as in, been there since we moved in, in a front flower bed :) I had a picture but I can't find it at the moment. It weighed out at almost half a pound after it was cut and dried. YUM!

I also harvested the first of my cuc's for pickles.

We harvested the first of the Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans - they weighed in at .666#!

Zucchini's that came in at 1.795 #

And then, as you see in the picture, more Cuc's - some are Parisian, some are Fin de Meaux and that round yellow ball on the right of the photo [that you may assume is some kind of squash!] is actually a Ruby Wallace Old Time White Cuc that I found growing under the shade of a leaf so I am guess not getting adequate light prevented it from being white!

Something came in and ate/destroyed our Peaches and Cream Sweet Corn :( The one lone one you see in the pictures was enjoyed by our dogs. They snuck it off the counter while I was tending to a matter out in the pasture.

Check out other gardener's weekly harvests at Daphne's Dandelions!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Farm Friday - Fridge Pickles










Made with homegrown Heirloom Parisian Pickling Cucumbers!


This post is linked up this week to Farmchick's Farm Photo Friday!


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Pear Butter:Guest Posting


Really, it is seriously WAY.TO.HOT.

I need to move to the Pacific Northwest...or maybe Maine. Do they have heat like this in Maine?

Today I am guest posting at the blog, Stacy Makes Cents,
about my Homemade Pear Butter.

Depending where you live, you may start to see early Pears popping up at your local Farmer's Market in another few weeks. So snatch them up and make this! You won't regret it!

And in the mean time, stay cool!


*Disclaimer: Yes, if you enlarge the picture in the post, you will notice we turned into *those* people, still having Christmas lights strung on our barn! Look, we had a lot going on this year and taking them down wasn't a priority. We decided to leave them up and turn them on at our Annual Foruth of July party, for fun, .... but, we forgot to turn them on ;) So, we really are *those* people!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wordless Wednesday, 7/20/2011


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Special Thank You....

I'd like to interrupt this regularly scheduled blogging to thank the Rain Gods for the shower they bestowed upon us this morning :)

Thank you Rain Gods....

thank you for watering my gardens....

thank you for cooling down the weather, if even just for a short while, for the sake of my horses...

and thank you for filling my cistern - because now I will not have to hear my husband remind me at least 12x a day that we need to watch the water because we are getting low and just ordered 3,000 gallons and that I need to not flush the toilet every time I go #1 .... to which I say, I'll pay for another order of 3,000 gallons if need be because sorry, but I flush the toilet, no matter what  number.... thankyouverymuch.

Thank You Rain Gods!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Harvest Monday, July 18, 2011


This past week was a slim harvest again, but better than none!

I harvested herbs from the herb garden, including Dill and Cilantro.

We harvested our first peppers - 3 Jalepeno's!!

And, we harvested the onions pictured below. I don't know what to say about them...I planted them last year, I thought they didn't make it, then they sprouted up this spring, so we just pulled them and this is what we have! I haven't had much luck growing onions and I have decided that next year, I am just going to direct seed them and see what happens. No more fussing with bulbs or starting seeds early indoors.


Sunday Hubby and I spent all morning [before it became 90 degrees of sweltering sun] doing a massive weeding overhaul in the garden. We are almost done and when we're finished, I am going to lay down straw and see how that works in helping to keep down the weeds.

Check out what other gardener's harvested this past week over at Daphne's Dandelions!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Transparent Apples


The Apple Harvest has officially begun!
Yesterday our Transparent apples were ready for harvest. Our one Transparent variety tree gave us just shy of 2 bushels this year. (Some trees we can get 4 or even 5 bushels from!)

Both bushels very promptly sold to an anxious customer waiting for the Transparents to ripen.


Transparents are a very soft variety, and, if you ask my opinion, almost rather tasteless ;) People like to use them for Applesauce because of their texture - they mash up nicely.

Here is some neat information on this variety! I always enjoy researching the variety of apples we have and learning all I can about them.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Farm Friday - Around the Farm...




In the Orchard


Apples


Garden


 4-Wheelers in your PJ's


Sunrise Grazing

Happy TGIF!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Blueberry Cobbler


Fresh Berries of all types are in season now - yahoo!
Over the weekend I picked up some Blueberries from the Farmer's Market. I was going to do a Blueberry butter or jam or something, but after the debacle that was my Raspberry Jam, I opted for a time out and went with a favorite - Cobbler! I love any kind of fresh fruit cobbler...with Vanilla Ice Cream of course!

This recipe was from Erica at Cooking for Seven. I halfed the recipe since it was just hubby and I.


And you can see we had no problems finishing it off...in one sitting.


What is your favorite thing to make with fresh Berries?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Can It Forward






A month from today, it is National Can It Forward Day!

Are you going to participate? Anyone having a Canning Party?

What's your favorite thing to can?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Raspberry Jam

As I mentioned yesterday, we picked 7 cups of Raspberries from a friends house. He wasn't using them and I was anxious to make some jam with them. I have never made Raspberry Jam before. I found this recipe and was anxious to give it a try.


The berries looked so good. And as they cooked down with Sugar, they smelled DEVINE! A couple taste tests and both hubby and I were in heaven!! He even took the spoon when I was done canning the batch up. We were both eager to have some for breakfast the next morning.


But, this is what we found ! In case you can't make it out, I am holding the jar of Raspberry Jam with a fork stuck in it .... the fork is holding the jar of jam :( My conclusion is that I cooked the jam down too long and it is now, in the words of my husband, Raspberry Candy....taffy is probably more accurate! So, I had to microwave it for 15 seconds to get it to a spreadable consistency.


You live and you learn. And now I need to learn what to do with 3 eight ounce jars and 3 four ounce jars of 'Raspberry Taffy'!


I linked this post up to Tuesday Garden Party over at An Oregon Cottage!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Harvest Monday, July 10


Last week I had nothing! Nothing to participate in Harvest Monday with over at Daphne's Dandelions.
This week, I have something. Not much though! But, a harvest is a harvest, right!

We picked one Hungarian Wax Pepper which went on Homemade French Bread Pizza's and, since we were doing Pizza, we also picked some Basil to go with it.

During the week I picked Cilantro for a few different dished, but did weigh it out.

Saturday we picked 7 cups of Raspberries from a friends house and I made Raspberry Jam....more on that tomorrow. We also picked some of his Zucchini's since ours are not ready yet and I am going to attempt Michael's Symon's Zucchini Fritters.


One thing is for sure though, I'll be 'harvesting' weeds all season long!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Pears are Coming...


It's hard to believe, but at the end of this month, we *fingers crossed* will have some harvesting to do in the orchard! The picture below is of our Red Bartlett Pears; the are usually ready by mid-August...sometimes sooner. We really have to be on top of them because if you let them go past their prime, you've lost! They don't last long and they are oh so good!


These next two photos are of our Yellow Transparent Apples. They will be ready in another 2 weeks or so! Again, like the Red Bartlett Pears, you have to harvest them at the exact right time. They are a very soft apple, best for sauce, and they don't store well. It is best they are used up shortly after being picked.

The first year on our property, we didn't know this about this variety Apple and both my mom and I let some sit out on our kitchen counters...only to see them explode, literally, after a few days!



And now that hubby has his 4-wheeler going again, I can cruise through the orchard rather than walk it, which, when it is mosquito season, is a good thing!


Saturday, July 9, 2011

The [Happy] Veggies


After I devoted a post to bashing my vegetable garden, I figured I should at least leave myself one glimmer of hope and showcase a few things that are looking 'decent'!


This is our first time trying our hand at growing corn and it looks to be doing well!


We have a few of these Big Boy Bell Peppers coming along.


Jalepenos...it seems I never need one when I have them. And when I don't have them, I always need one!


Kung Pao Pepper; I am excited for these to use in stir-fry's.


Blooms on my Soy Beans [to be used for Edaname!] I don't know if they are taking extremely long, or if I am just very impatient!


And the KY Wonder Pole Beans I planted around the light post, along with a volunteer squash or pumpkin of some sort! They seem to be coming along nicely, but I would sure like to start seeing the actual beans!

So how about you - do you have a veg or flower you are particularly happy with this season?