Friday, April 22, 2011

It's the Little Things

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When I got engaged the women in my family passed around a blank recipe book, filling it with their favorite/ most well known recipes.
I went through it the other day and found some of these recipes and helpful hints.

The recipe below is a HUGE favorite on my dad's side of the family.  My grandfather said that he wouldn't eat anything after he'd had Gram's Cherry Soup.  After all, if you've had the best, why eat anything else?
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This was my Gramps' favorite
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The ingredients include tallow and cans of lye
This soap recipe was written on a scrap of paper by my great-grandmother.  She passed away when I was only a few months old, but I feel like I have a part of her with this recipe.

The last "goodie" I found was a collection of helpful hints for the blushing bride.  My grandmother had been married to my grandfather for 61 years when I got married; I figure she knew what she was saying.  She is gone now, but her advice still stands.

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According to Gram, we should:  
1. Make him chocolate chip cookies
 2. Don't go to bed angry at one another
 3. Remember our vows
 4. Keep the check book

It's time to head into the kitchen and remember the wisdom of a fabulous woman.  
Sending love and the smell of warm cookies from the farm.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Saying Goodbye

There has been a feed store in our town since the 1890s.  As is typical of feed stores, it is located next to the train tracks, where it would be easy to load and unload products that were to be sold at the store.  My folks'  small town has a feed store. As a child I loved walking in there and imagining what I would buy if I ever owned a farm or some kind of livestock.
Unfortunately, as is common in growing towns old buildings must go.  There was talk among our town's Historical Preservation group to try and have it registered as a landmark, but the cost was prohibitive.  So, as I drive to my various destinations I look at the building as it is slowly and meticulously dismantled and wonder what it must have looked like in it's hey-day.
Who shopped there? What did they buy? Did they run into old friends and spend some time catching up with each other?
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The large grain bin can be seen in the "heart" of the building
Fortunately, a salvaging company has been hired and is taking great care to make available almost all of the building materials.  If you drove by the site you'd see the sign with contact information.  I have been trying to find legitimate reasons to buy some of the wood flooring, or posts, and bricks.
I hate "progress" like this. I felt the same way as I watched a company come in and dismantle my grandparents' centennial farm for hotels and restaurants.  I know it can be a necessary evil, but somehow it still feels just evil.
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The lumber waiting for a buyer
 Take a look around your town, what would you miss seeing if it were dismantled?  Take a picture of it, smile when you see it, and if possible frequent the business.  It might make a difference to someone, even you.
Until next time, love from the farm.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Another Day, Another Boy Adventure

slingshot |ˈsli ng ˌ sh ät|nouna forked stick, to which an elastic strap (or a pair of elastic bandsconnected by a small slingis fastened to the two prongs, typicallyused for shooting small stones.
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Arliss' slingshot
• [often as adj. the effect of thegravitational pull of a celestial body inaccelerating and changing the course ofanother body or a spacecraft.verb ( -shotting; past and past part. -shotor -shotted)forcefully accelerate or cause to acceleratethrough use of gravity [ intrans. the car would hit the first dip, then slingshot off thesecond rise [ trans. Jupiter's gravity slingshots the fragments toward Earth.

Travis and Arliss are among the most lucky boys I know.  They have BB guns, pellet guns, fishing poles, rope swings, forts, 160 acres, and now they have slingshots.  My dear mother, who knows her boys well, and is the mother of the ultimate Travis/Arliss combination, found the slingshots.

Before church this morning, the boys were outside testing the distance of the slingshots.  I made the rules clear before the first stone went into position.

1. no hitting your brother
2. no hitting the cows or any other animals
3. don't aim toward the house
4. SMALL stones out in the field only

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Travis goes for height
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Arliss goes for distance

The boys have been outside so much lately that the freckles have really come out.  Each boy has that cinnamon sprinkle across his nose. As a mother, there is nothing like seeing those freckles across my child's nose; it makes me want kiss each one.  But the boys will have nothing of it.

Arliss and Travis have disappeared again, taking their slingshots with them. I can only imagine what they will target, then again, maybe I don't want to imagine.

 Sending blessings from the farm.  Call before you visit though, I may have to confiscate items so you aren't caught in the crosshairs of the boys.  oxoxo

Monday, April 11, 2011

Running, Rushing, Whew

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Rocky (note her black eyes) and her calf
Spring is one of the busiest seasons on a farm and ours is no different.  Over the past few weeks things have been very busy and I haven't had the chance to sit and write it all down.

So, we have seven cows and seven calves now.  One Hereford, Bossie (formerly known as Daisy Mae),  and five more Angus/Hereford mix.  I have had to get pretty creative with naming them since they look a lot alike.  Our newest cows are Oreo and Rocky; their calves are all black, so I haven't even tried to name them.

Item ThumbnailEach morning after I put the dogs on their running line, I go check on the cows.  Arliss and Travis have been working hard to clean up the loose hay in the barn.  They drop it through the holes in the floor to the cows below, or out of the side door that looks out over the barn yard.  The side door has homemade finger holes to help pull it opened and closed.  The cows think the hay is a treat.
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looking out on the cow yard

Arliss took some boards from the storage room in the barn and made a bridge from one pine tree to the other.  He did a great job and even put in a rope railing for safety.  Item Thumbnail

This past weekend we had unseasonably warm temperatures so I started my herb garden.  After planting all of the seeds and watering them well, I put a sheet of plastic over them to create a greenhouse effect.  Our weather here can't make up its mind in April, so it's better to be safe than sorry.  I also made a sign proclaiming my plan.
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The chives have already taken off.

The E. brothers have been taking out the old fencing that leads from the cow yard to the back pasture.  The new posts and barbed-wire are waiting to be put in.
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shiny new barbed wire

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new and old fence posts 

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All in all, we have been busy, busy.  I am hoping to get things in the ground soon.  I am waiting for Mr. H. to come over to turn over my garden one more time.  In the mean time, I am enjoying my flowers as they begin to bloom. 

 I hope to be able to sit soon and appreciate it all.  But first, there is much to do.  

Sending love from the farm.  I'd send hugs, but my hands are dirty from digging in the dirt.  oxox

Friday, April 1, 2011

Company Comes

Item ThumbnailToday being Friday means it's Laundry Day.  As my dear hubby was at work, Travis and I took over the kitchen.  He made peanut butter thumbprint cookies with my homemade jam in the print.  I made sourdough bread and chili.  Our weather today was "fooling" with us as we had sun, rain, and snow--perfect weather for warm, fresh, bread and chili.
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About the time my mother-in-law and I finished prepping the peppers, onions, garlic, etc. for the chili she got a call that her sister was coming for a visit.  I was so grateful to have picked up the house earlier this morning!

Item ThumbnailWithin a half hour sister P. and her daughter A, arrived.  Travis and Arliss were playing a game in the TV room so we went into the "book room."  With hot tea and Travis' peanut butter cookies to nibble on, it was time to catch up with each other.

Occasionally, I would get up to check on the loads of laundry and the simmering chili while the ladies visited. I joined them later with my knitting in hand so I could continue working on a new scarf.

While my mother-in-law sat in the rocker and crocheted, she and her sister told family stories.  I felt honored to listen in as they remembered different things about their "Little Grandma."

When dear hubby came home from work, we all sat down together for dinner.  It was a great way to end the day.   By the time the ladies left, there was only 1 peanut butter cookie remaining.  I hope we can get together again soon.   Until then...

Sending love from the farm.