Sunday, August 25, 2013

Mummy Apple experiment

This year we are studying Anatomy and one of experiments we have done so far is the "Mummy Apple". We didn't wrap it in rags, but used a few basic ingredients that you probably have in your cabinet.

2 bowls
Baking soda

-peel an Apple and cut in half
-place each half in separate bowls
- cover one Apple with a mixture of 3 parts baking soda and 1 part salt. The other Apple is your control Apple.
-wait a week without peeking

The results in a week are interesting, the water from the Apple absorbs into the mixture and you get a dry apple. Try it out and mummify your own apple.

control apple

mummy apple

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Pear Sauce

We use apple sauce in our granola bars and waffles. I can't wait to try them with our pear sauce. When I made ours, I added no sugar or cinnamon, but maybe next time. Also, the recipe only stated to "chop" pears. I suggest chopping them in a food processor or blending it after cooking for a smooth sauce.


* 40-50 pears (chopped)
* 1 cup water
* 2 tsp lemon juice or citric acid
* sugar to taste (optional)
* cinnamon to taste (optional)

- put pears and water in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer for about
20-30 mins with lid on...until pears are soft. 
-Add lemon juice or citric acid, sugar and cinnamon ( if using). Simmer for about another 50 minutes without the lid. 
- you can either refridgerate your pear sauce or water bath can them. 

- use pint or quart jars. sterilize your jars and prepare the lids. 
-add pear sauce to jars. wipe rims clean and screw canning lids on jars.
- put jars in boiling water bath. process 20 mins for pints and 25 mins for quarts.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Pears in the Air.....or on the

We got up this morning like any other day and started our schedule. My mother called and said she had a branch break on her pear tree and wanted to know if we wanted any. Hard to turn down yummy pears and the company of my mother for the day!

Elsie and i quickly fed the chickens and started some school before Mimi (my mom) arrived. As soon as Little Young was down for his nap, we got to work with the pears.

Mimi and I both have a device called an "Apple peeler, corer, slicer" and it does just that. The pears don't have to be cored l like an apple, but this labor saving device is worth the little bit of waste. Chuck ran one and Mimi ran the other, then everyone started noticing how fun it was. Wasn't long before the two controlling the crank we're racing. If you didn't know this already, when there are children involved, the way to get work done really fast is a race! I collected the pears that were done and started two pots of pear sauce (like Apple sauce....I'll share the recipe tomorrow). After the pots were full, we still had 3 gallon bags for the freezer and a huge bowl to dehydrate. And Chuck put a bowl under each device to catch the boy :)

What a great day! I love my schedule and would not be able to function without it, but you have to leave room for unexpected events. We will miss out on a blessing or a chance to bless someone else if we don't stray from the schedule sometimes. I am so thankful my mom came today, what a blessing.



Mimi and Posie

Snail snacking on a non-conformant pear


Chuck and Mimi


The huge tub of pears, this is after a third was already done!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Meet Chuck

Chuck 's birthday is in April and he is currently 11 yrs old. He was a difficult baby, but the most compliant and caring young man.
Out of all the children he looks the most like my family, not necessarily like me, but my family.
Chuck is in charge of snack everyday
He loves to read....yay....and researches anything that sparks an interest with him. Currently he's reading, The Hobbit.
Chuck loves anything to do with science. He has his own flower garden and can name just about any flower or bug around. While we're weeding I frequently ask him " Is this a good bug or bad bug?" And he always knows!
He also enjoys shooting his BB gun archery, knife throwing, legos, climbing trees, anything to do with wars. And hunting....he is hoping to get his first deer this year. Elsie killed her first deer at 11, so the pressure is I forgot fishing, he wanted me to come back and add it.
Chuck has decided that he wants to be a carpenter by trade and "build things with my hands". I have tried to encourage him to go to college, but for now he isn't interested.
He raises modern game bantams and Blue fawn call ducks.
His favorite food is cheese. He loves buying different kinds he has never tried. His current favorite is Smoked Gouda.
Most importantly, he ask God into his heart when he was 9.

Chuck and his first call duckling

Jawbreaker that the candy store have him

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Meet Elsie

I decided to write a short blog about each child. They are all so unique and interesting.....going oldest to youngest.

Elsies birthday is in November, she will be 14.
Elsie is such a kind hearted child, I could write pages about her. She enjoys cooking and frequently makes up her own recipes....most of the time it is yummy. Her current favorite recipe is carrot cake.
She also crochets.....better than At one point in time she was selling wash clothes and hair flowers. Even her and her sisters dolls are decked out in crocheted items.
Elsie loves reading, babysitting, and even housework! Yes, you read right. She said she loves getting done with a chore and admiring her work :) But, most of all she has a heart for horses. Her daydreams about them are endless.  Elsie is looking forward to the horses in heaven. We bought pancake, so she can learn how to care for a small pony before we take the plunge and buy a huge horse. She can be just as tuff as the boys, going down the zipline, hunting (yep, killed her own deer). But, she is a lady through and through.
I don't like thinking about her getting older, but its bound to happen. I know when she does get married and move out, we will still spend time together. I get weepy just thinking about it. She says, "Mom, I'll come over everyday and we can have tea and talk." Waaaaaa, where did my baby girl go. She plans on becoming a dental hygenist.....if she hasn't met her future spouse by then. She is wise beyond her years. I so love  our quiet times together.
The three oldest children have their own breed of poultry, Elsie raises standard sz (big) Polish and Magpie call ducks bantam (small).
Elsie's favorite food is Buffalo Lasagna.
She asked God into her heart when she was 8.

Elsie and her prize winning Polish @ the poultry show

Elsie and my nephew

Elsie and her pet lizard Larry....she had him for 1 day
She got stitches in her knee

A stick bug getting some sun while we were weeding the garden

One of her Polish chickens

Elsie and Little Young

Wild Bunny in the Bush

While looking for ripe figs, Posie spotted a wild rabbit under our overgrown fig trees. I feared it was dead, because normally they scramble way with any movement or noise near by. As I looked under, pulling back branches and pushing myself closer in, there it was not dead or even sleeping! The poor little thing looked scared to death. I snapped a pic before it vanished......

Oops, not a bunny. This is Princess our guard dog.

Cute little bunny

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Everyone wants to be a mommy

Three of our hens decide to go broody, so they can be mommies again. Betty, was the first to start. She snuggled down on the soft hay and got down as flat as she could on her one egg. We collect eggs everyday, so she only had one. We realized she meant business, so we gave her 5 eggs to sit on. Broodiness is contagious and it wasn't long before Picalily and Winky decided that they needed more children also. They too got 5 eggs each. All three of them hatched chicks together about 3 months ago. Their 3 month old babies just look up and watch their mother's, wondering whats doing on. Now we have a lot of chicks running around motherless. Our bantam rooster, Fresno, has taken the mothering job and is doing well. He also has taken in Wilma's chicks (the hen that was killed).

Betty is a Calico Cochin, Picalily is a black Japanese bantam, and Winky is a white
Japanese bantam.

Stay less than 21 days we will post pics of the chicks that hatch. ( chicken eggs incubate for 21 days)



Friday, August 9, 2013

Bye, Wilma

Our sweet chicken Wilma got killed by a predator yesterday. She was a wonderful mother and left behind a few chicks. When she was killed Wilma had 7 chicks she had sat on and hatched. Those poor babies are still peeping for their mother.  Of course, she was a farm favorite ( thats the only ones the varments take) and she is greatly missed.

One of the advantages and disadvantages of a farm is you get to learn about life and death
Wilma is on the left, with her mate Fresno.
at a young age and frequently. But one of the big questions we get asked by the children frequently is,  will our dead animals go to heaven? Well, animals don't possess a soul. Man was created superior to animals and have the chance for eternal life. But, we never know. There are animals in heaven, maybe Wilma is up there laying heavenly

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Auntie Sandy Dill Pickles

This pickle recipe came from Big Buck's "Auntie Sandy"


*8 pds cucumbers
*4 cups white vinegar
*12 cups water
*2/3 pickling salt
*8 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved (16 cloves for the quart jars)
*fresh dill sprigs and heads


- wash cukes and cut in coins, spears, or leave whole, soak in ice water for 2-8 hrs, but no longer.
- meanwhile, in a large pot combine vinegar, water, and salt. Heat over medium-high heat until the brine boils. (if canning wait until your cukes have soaked, as the vinegar mixture needs to be hot). Let the brine cool if cold packing.
- prepare your jars. If using quart jars add a garlic clove, dill sprig, and head to each jar. We use an old gallon pickle jar and a half gallon jar, so I add 3 cloves of garlic and some dill sprigs and heads in the bottom of the gallon jar and 2 garlic cloves in the bottom of the half gallon jar.
- add your cold cukes to your jars. Then, ladle your room temp vinegar mixture into your jars (hot liquid, if canning)
- add your other garlic clove and more dill sprigs/head to your quart jars. gallon jar...2 garlic cloves and more dill sprigs/heads and 1/2 gallon....1 clove garlic and more dill.
- If cold packing, your done! Stick your jars in the fridge and and let them sit a month or two....i know, i know....super hard. ( canning- wipe rims and place lids on jars. process in the water bath for 15 mins for quart jars)

** We love to edit this recipe by adding 1-2 cups sugar to the brine**


please leave a comment if you have any questions or i have confused you

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Fresh coconut water

We bought a young coconut, when we went shopping a couple weeks ago. I love coconut water and I figured I'd give it a try. When we think coconut, we think brown, hard exterior, white in the middle, and a small amount of "water" inside. Well, a young coconut hasn't fully
ripened and has a white soft exterior, has a hard shell forming around the water, and it is full to the top with coconut water! I took a butcher knife and jabbed it into the top, it hit the hard shell in the center and wouldn't budge, so I grabbed a meat tenderizer and gave it a few wackos. I repeated until I had cut a square in the top. I then stuck the knife into on of the cuts and pooped it open. I was amazed at the amount of coconut water in it!  And to top it off, it was the best tasting coconut water I have ever drank....and I've tried them all. After everyone tried some and I finished it, we scraped the white flesh out. It was very soft and thin.....not like a mature coconut. All in all it was worth the $1 I spent. Next time we go I'll get more than one and dehydrate the white flesh.

I heard falling coconuts kill more people than cancer, so your safest beat on getting one of these bad boys is going to the grocery store. We went to the Dekalb Co Market "World
Market". If you have never been there it is worth the trip!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Whole Wheat Bread

Basic dough recipe
adapted from Bread Beckers cookbook

* 1 1/2 cup hot water
* 1/3 cup olive oil
* 1/3 cup honey
* 2 tsp salt
* 1 egg
* 2 Tbsp Rice Bran
* 1 tsp gluten (optional)
* 5 cups flour ( we use Kamut or a mix of Kamut and hard white wheat)
* 1 Tbsp Yeast

We have a bread machine that we use for the kneading only. We add the ingredients in the order listed, when adding the flour, make a small well in the top and put your yeast. Also, we check on the dough to make sure it is making a nice smooth ball, this is when we add extra flour if needed. When the bread machine is done kneadng the dough, we turn it out onto a oiled surface. Split the dough in half and roll one of the halves out into a rectangle, about the size of a small pillowcase. Then, roll the dough jelly roll style the make a nice loaf. Press your seams closed and put in greased pan. Repeat with the other half of the dough. Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled in size. Then, bake at 350 degrees for about 16-20 minutes depending on the oven. Turn out onto a cooling rack at once. 

We love to experiment with new things, we have put cinnamon and apples on the dough before rolling it up. Garlic and butter, parmesan cheese and italian spices. Also, we have found that an electric knife works the best at cutting soft fresh bread.
Elsie rolling the dough out.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Hubby's offical name

 Those that did leave a comment all agreed that......Drum roll please......... BIG BUCK is the name for by beloved husband!

Wheat Grinding Whoas

We love fresh baked bread, so when Elsie asked if she could make some, of course the answer was "yes"!

Several years ago, I listened to cd called " Do Not Eat the bread of Idleness" by Sue Becker and that really made me think about how when making white flour all the good stuff is taken out (and given to animals) and whats left is bleached and turned into white flour. If you can get ahold of a copy of that cd its worth listening to. Shortly after, I asked my husband if we could get a "Nutrimill" grinder. He of course had sticker shock and suggested we get a hand-crank wheat grinder. All I could do was laugh. "Do you have any idea how long it would take for me or the children to grind enough wheat by hand to make bread?", I asked. "I'll grind all the wheat you need", my dear husband said. So, we purchased a hand grinder off ebay. We were ready to start eating bread that was good for us!  The grinder was a retangle shape and had a long lever, like a meat grinder, it hooked to the counter top. And you fed the wheat into the top. There was a swirling grinder wheel inside and it forced the grain out through a small cirlce in the front. He filled the grinder with wheat and went to town turning the lever round and round. The flour sprinkled out the front of the grinder and onto an awaiting plate. After about 20 minutes he  called me over and declared that we was done. "Ha", I said, "thats only 2 cups". "Well, how much do you need?", he asked. "5", I said. With some coaxing he finished grinding my five cups and i made my bread. He of course swore he would never grind that much wheat again and told me to start saving for the "Nutrimill" automatic We saved for a year to get the Nurtimill and in the mean time the oldest two children took turns grinding wheat for pancakes and waffles (it took too long to grind for bread). During that time we still bought bread from the store and the family would joke and tell each other "we're eating the bread of idleness!" When we finally got the Nutrimill we all appreciated how fast and effortless it grinded. We still have the hand crank, just incase the power goes out (my husbands idea). You never know, our power does go out frequently. I may want to make some bread and cook it.....hmmm.....on the I'll post the bread recipe we use tomorrow. Little Young says its time to pay attention to him.