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Archive for the ‘Farm/Garden’ Category

This morning the sun is shining on all the snow and ice and it is just beautiful!

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A second major storm of the year granted us a snow day on Friday. Beginning late on Thursday night with a wintery mix of rain and sleet it switched over to snow in the early morning and we were awoken by an automated call from the superintendent informing us that school would be cancelled.  We slept late, stayed in our pj’s and lounged around the house all day and watched the snowfall.  I have never seen snow fall in Arkansas like it did yesterday.  It was so beautiful! BIG, heavy snowflakes and it lasted ALL day! When it was all said and done we got about 6-8 inches.  It is a little difficult to measure because it is very powdery snow and it was windy so there are some spots where there are drifts over a foot deep!!!  But overall I would say the total is around 6-8 inches. 

We had hoped to get to Searcy today but the roads are impassable so we stayed home.  We slept in again and then made chicken fried rice which was super yummy.  We rode around in the four-wheeler and played in the snow.  We checked out the conditions of the highway and the roads which were awful and will likely be even worse tomorrow as the temps drop WAY below freezing and into the teens.  We tried to make a snowman but the snow was too powdery.

We know we wont be able to get out for church tomorrow and it remains to be seen if we will even go back to school monday.  There is going to have to be a MAJOR warmup before most of these back country roads are passable!

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I won a blue ribbon at the county fair for my Butternut Squash.  The coolest thing is that it grew by accident. I had given my chickens some butternut squash seeds last winter.  They must have left a few behind cause I had a few plants growing. I got about 12 squash.  This one won a blue ribbon!

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My baby chicks arrived today! 26 tiny chicks packed in a little box at my post office.  Chicks in the mail!  I got 20 buff orpington females, 5 males and 1 mystery “rare breed” chick which you get free when you order 25.  All the babies are doing great.  They are eating and drinking like crazy.  They sure seemed glad to get food after their long trip across the country.  The are boxed and mailed the same day they hatch.  According to the box mine hatch around 10am on Tuesday, September 15th.  It is so hard to believe that 26 chickens take up such little space!  It wont be long until they take over my yard!

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Unless you have been accused of a crime I think most people enjoy seeing themselves in the paper. I have been in the paper quite a few times in my life.  My birth announcement was probably the first time, then as a small child I appeared in the paper trying to choose between two Easter dresses.  In high school I was in the paper several times for band, soccer and musicals.  I even was in the paper after I received a Rotary Club award.  Two summers ago I was filmed for the HGTV show That’s Clever.  The show still hasn’t aired but I was still interviewed by the local paper and had a nice article written.  My highlight of celebrity in the news was the year my picture appeared in TIME magazine! YUP!  That was REALLY cool.  But this summer my picture made the paper twice! I thought I would share these.

Here I am at the Farmers Market in Searcy.  During the summer I helped out at the CAFM booth every Wednesday.  Now that school is back in session I cant anymore and I miss it terribly! (I’m the one in the pink Certified Farmgirl t-shirt!)

This picture appeared in the Statewide paper on Thursday.

I am the one in the Blue Dress.  The Chesapeake Energy Company along with the Thea Foundation donated $1500 worth of art supplies to 19 high schools in our area.  This is the second year my school has received a donation from Chesapeake.  Working in a small rural school district makes adequate art supplies hard to come buy.  The annual art budget is very small and I often end up spending much of my own money to purchase things for my students because many of them cant afford to buy it themselves.  This donation will help minimize that need this year so I am extremely thankful.

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I didn’t forget! I swear! Yesterday and Today have been bizarre days to say the least.  My project for yesterday was another food project but I didn’t get started on it until after 8:00 last night.

Richie and I decided to go to Little Rock yesterday to do some clothes shopping for the upcoming school year.  Monday was our first “teacher day” of the year.  We don’t have to go back again until next Tuesday but when we do we are in it for the long haul so Monday was a stark reminder of why we look forward to summer break and that it was once again coming to an end!

So after hitting the gym we hit a few highly-overpriced boutique stores and then the mall.  We grabbed lunch at BlueCoast Burrito where I DEVOURED a Veggie Burrito! YUM!  I had to pick up something at Micheal’s for my day 5 bit of creativity and then we stopped at Sam’s Club.  We also needed to stop by Walmart to pick up a tube for my bicycle tire and some canning jars.  We finally made it home around 5.

Did I mention that after a summer of unseasonably cold temperatures(80’s) and amounts of rain for Arkansas that we finally hit upper 90’s with typical high humidity? Well it was a scorcher and I was ready for the pool when we got home.  I spent about an hour floating around before it was time to get out and take care of my farm chores and fix my bike.

Well it turns out the problem with my bike is the actual tire and not the tube so that project is tabled until I can get to a bike shop!  It was just after 8 when I finally went inside to relax.  And then I remembered 30 Days of Creativity/Trying something new and realized I had yet to do anything for the day.

I wracked my brain and all I could come up with was Zucchini Bread.  I know, LAME!  But I have 4 HUGE Zucchini left over from the farmer’s market that I need to use.  So I perused the internet and found a suitable recipe for two loaves which called for TWO CUPS of grated Zucchini.  I thought “GREAT, this’ll get rid of my Zucchini!” HA! Think again!  My huge zucchini are so huge that ONE alone yielded 3CUPS OF SHREDS!!!! Yeah!  So now what?

Well I made the bread and threw in the extra cup of shreds which proved to be fine.  The bread is delicious.  I ate a piece last night and one for breakfast.  I froze the extra loaf.  But now the dilemma is what to do with the 3 remaining gigantic zucchini!

But my night didn’t end there.  I’m finally relaxing on the couch and there is NOTHING on TV!  Finally Richie puts it on the WE network which is airing some bizarro show about Mail Order Brides.  The show end and a new episode comes on this time about “Free Love”.  TOTALLY WACKO!  Had to be the weirdest thing I have ever watched!

Anyway, 12:00 rolled around and it seemed like going to sleep was the thing to do.  Only when I got in bed I couldn’t sleep.  The moon was full and right outside my window and even with the shade down it was seemingly light enough to read a book.  After tossing and turning for and hour I went into the living room to sleep on the couch.  I watched a rerun of Friends and two reruns of That 70’s Show only it was the dumb ones after Eric leaves.  Finally around 2:30 I got back into bed.

5 seconds after I fell asleep I was awoken by my dog Lily nudging at my feet.  Now here is the thing about Lily.  She HATES thunderstorms.  But as long as she is inside and not out in the storm she is content UNLESS there happens to be a Tornado Warning.  She is like our own personal Doppler radar unit!  Seriously, every time I wake up with her nudging my feet there is a warning. 

The satellite was already on the fritz from the torrential rain so I pulled up the Weather Channel App on Richies iPhone and discover that there where TWO Tornado Warnings piggybacking our area until 4 AM! SO, I am back out of bed, gathering pillows and blankets to put in the bathroom, consoling, the dogs and cats, looking for shoes and flashlights, and trying to convince my husband to get out of bed and come “cuddle/huddle” in the tiny bathroom with me.  He opts to stay in bed stating that he should have time to make it to the bathroom if he starts to hear the ROAR! MEN!  So I “cuddle/huddle” with the cat and play games on Richies iPhone until just after 4 when the storm finally slows down.  I crawl into bed now realizing that it is Farmers Market day and I have to get up at 5:50!

At 5 am I am awoken once again to torrential rains and thunder.  Lily isnt at the foot of the bed so I figure I am okay so I toss and turn until the alarm goes off at 5:50.  I shut it off and decide to lay in bed for two more minutes.  Well as you can imagine that didnt happen and I didnt wake up again until 10:54!

I’ve missed the market, I slept horrible and I cant breath.  I decide to go blog about day 4 when I come in to find that DSL is down due to widespread power outages in most of the state.  So instead I veg on the couch for a few hours.

And that brings me to now! I know I live such a sad pitiful life!  My camera battery is dead so I have no pictures yet of the Zucchini Bread (day 4) or of my wine glass charms which are the project for day 5. 

I knew all of you mysterious people out there in cyberland were just dying to know what happened to me.  I have reported and HOPEFULLY later I will be back with pictures!

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Well for today’s activities I am trying something new!  In my garden this year I planted some banana peppers.  Mine are mostly small and my crop hasn’t been very good, but a friend was OVERLOADED with them and passed a big plastic bag full of them to me.  So I decided I would can some pickled peppers!  I love gettingbanana peppers on sandwiches at deli’s but they just aren’t something I would think of to buy for at home. I figured, I have jars, I have vinegar, I have peppers, why not?!

Last night, in preparation, I surfed the internet for a pickled banana pepper recipe.  Let me tell you there are HUNDREDS of them out there!  A lot of them called for sugar but I wasn’t really looking for a sweet pickle.  A lot of recipes were similar to one you would use for bread and butter pickles.  A lot were similar to recipes that you would use for dill pickles.  I just wanted something plain old pickle-y.

Finally I came across the site Canning Pantry where there was a recipe for Grandma’s Pickled Banana Peppers.  It was just the recipe I was looking for!

Grandma’s Pickled Banana Peppers by Jerry Ziehm

Sliced Banana Peppers
1 tsp. salt per jar
2 tbsp. olive oil per jar
1 quart white vinegar
3 quarts water

In a large sauce pot add water and vinegar.  Bring to a boil.  Slice peppers and add peppers, salt and oil to each jar.  Pack tightly.  Add hot liquid to jars.  Process jars 5 minutes in a boiling water bath.

*I added a glove of garlic to each jar for a little extra flavor.

So – only time will tell if this is a good recipe or not.  I canned 6 pints.

Also – I just picked up the lasted issue of Mother Earth News.  I love this magazine.  It is one of my favorites.  I really need to subscribe.  I was flipping through the pages and saw a tip for making homemade grape juice.  My husband loves grapes and I had an extra quart of Mars Table Grapes on hand from my friend Joy at the farmers market.  I decided to give it a try. The tip is on page 38 and is sent in by Suzanne Mullins of Charlottesville, Virgina.  She says that you can put 2 cups of grapes into a quart jar, add a cup of sugar, fill with boiling water and process 10 minutes in a water-bath canner.  After six weeks you strain out the liquid and mix with an additional quart of liquid for 2 quarts of juice!  WHO KNEW! So I gave this a try too! I will report back in about 6 weeks to let you know.

Here is a picture of todays bounty!

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