The family on Cedar Lane Farm

The family on Cedar Lane Farm
These are the people I love! That's my sweet mama in the middle. I wonder what she's thinking.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Christmas "Ah-ha" moment.

As I study the scripture this Advent season, I dwell on one particular aspect of the story this year.  During a devotional time at my women's group a couple of weeks ago, the text mentioned "swaddling clothes".  We talked about what we thought swaddling clothes were in those days.  Being a group of women ranging in age from 45 to 82, we had all read the stories hundreds of times and we have all decided in our minds what swaddling clothes were.  We came to the conclusion that they were strips of cloth wrapped around the newborn child, probably a little firmly (like a newborn blanket is wrapped tightly around a baby in the hospitals today). 

Strips of cloth.  His mother wrapped Him in strips of cloth.

We finished our devotional, went on to our yearly Christmas dinner and then finished up with our gift exchange.  I received a nice cookbook from my secret pal and a pretty ornament for my tree.  But, during all of this holiday celebrating, I couldn't put the thoughts of the "swaddling clothes" out of my head. 

When I arrived home, I picked up my Bible and looked up the burial of Jesus' body after He was crucified.  They wrapped His body in strips of clean linen cloth.  "Ah-ha!"  The Lord was wrapped in the same way at His birth that He was wrapped at His death. 

Strips of cloth.  I have no doubt that His mother, Mary, helped wrap Him in strips of cloth, once again.

I'm sure most or all of the people in those days were wrapped the same way as Christ was, but for the Bible to put this picture in my mind, at this time of year, leads me to once again think of why Jesus came.  He was born to die.  He was born for me, to die for me.  The parallell of the "swaddling clothes" brings the Birth story full circle again.  I always knew this.  But, just having it justified once more, in scripture, in a new way, gives me another reason to really again celebrate Christmas this year.

And while we will have gift exchanges on Christmas morning and a trip to the extended family's home an hour away, lots of food and visiting, my Savior will not be far from my thoughts.  As I unwrap my gifts, and as I watch my family unwrap their gifts, I will think of Jesus as my Savior that was "gift-wrapped" for all of us.  Twice.

Merry Christmas to the Christ child.  Happy Birthday to my Lord and Savior. 

Good tidings of great joy to all of you.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Another favorite! GRANOLA!!

I am going to share another of my favorite recipes with you today.  Homemade Granola.  John and I eat this with milk in the morning for breakfast and in the evenings for a quick snack before bedtime.  It's so good.  But, the best thing about this granola is you know what you're eating!  Here goes........

Begin by adding the butter....YUM!!  Real butter, not that fake stuff.  Melt it in a medium-sized sauce pan, very slowly.  When it is completely melted, add the honey and salt.  Do not boil this mixture.  Set aside.

In a bowl, mix the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon/sugar, wheat germ and nuts.  I prefer pecans and almonds, but you can use what you love the most.  Tonight, I just used pecans. 

Mix this together and add the butter/honey mixture.  Stir well.  All of these ingredients are gonna get to know each other very quickly.  Pour this wonderful-smelling concoction onto a well-greased (I spray with canola spray) cookie sheet pan.  Spread it out evenly and try to pat down with the back of the spoon. 

Bake this for 10 - 15 minutes, until it looks like it's browning a bit, remove from the oven.  Using a spatula, press down while hot.  Let cool, remove from pan and store in air-tight container.  Remember, to prevent the granola from sticking to your pan (and having to pry it out with a hammer and other barn tools), remove from the pan when it's cooled enough to touch.


Homemade Granola

3 cups of uncooked oats
1 stick and 1Tbl butter
2/3 cup honey or sorghum
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tbl salt
1 Tbl cinnamon/sugar mixture
1/2 cup wheat germ
3/4 cup nuts, any type

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Follow directions above. 


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

As I spend the day before Thanksgiving preparing the pumpkin for the pumpkin pie, making the cranberry jello salad, pecan pie and cherry cobbler, I am reflecting on the things and people that I am truly thankful for.  It's been a tough year for me spiritually...within the walls of my home church....but I remain faithful to my Savior.  I am thankful that He is with me in times of trial and in times of joy.

Today, I also reflect on the other things for which I am thankful; my loving family.  No doubt, second to my Savior, my family is truly my rock.  They are the ones I crave companionship with and they are the ones I depend on for advice, love and support.

My job has been faithful to me as well.  I have a great job that allows me to support three thriving families.  I am thankful that He put me there at the right time. 

I am thankful for the good health of my loved ones.

Then, I can't help but think of those who are hurting.  My sister's stepchildren are about to lose their grandmother.  Cancer is an ugly thing.  I pray that she knows her Savior too. 

Pat lost her brother this week after a long illness.  Bill will face a surgery in the coming days.  Sharon lost her dad this week.  Willie struggles with her faith.  Bill has found a new church family, but his wife attends a different one to support her mother.  April leaves her job and faces a new journey.  Anita still searches for her father.  My father struggles with lonliness, one that we cannot fill.  Two families lost their sons to suicide last week in the community in which I work. 

These folks will be in my thoughts for a while. 

I rejoice that an older man, without family, will join our family for the big feast tomorrow.  Boy, is he in for a trip!  But, I also pray that he sees our love of family while he visits with us.

So, to anyone who might read this.  Give thanks for the important things, things you cannot buy.  Open your heart to someone who needs you.  Give thanks around your Thanksgiving dinner table, one person at a time. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Leave it alone! Get rid of 'em! Stop it! Shut up! I feel better.

This time changing stuff that happens twice each year really gets to me.  I hope that one day they just leave it alone, one or the other. 

This political stuff that's going on right now is disheartening to me.  They all are self-serving.  They all want credit.  They all want the glory. In the meantime, everything is going to %^&*.   They all need to go.

High school bullying is everywhere.  I want it to stop and I want respect for all kids.  I want the school administrators to grow some balls (did I really just say that??) and take a stand against it.  I want them to get this problem taken care of.  Now! 

I want cancer to get cancer.  We can send a man to the moon.  We can create human life artificially.  We can create a phone that talks to us.......but we can't cure this.  I want it gone too.

And, I hope that someday I can make a difference in this world.  I hope I can be just one half of the woman my mom is.  I hope that I've done a good job raising my children to love their fellow man and the Lord.

That's all.  I feel better now.


Monday, November 7, 2011

No-Shave November

It's that time of year.  John is preparing for his two-week-long deer camp with his closest friends.  Each year, they all get together (weeks ahead of season) to sight in their deer rifles and have "discussions".  Then, they cut firewood, pack the campers, load the food, buy the beer, stockpile the ammo............and they stop shaving.  They talk about things they don't talk about all year long, until this time of planning, generators, deer sausage, and......they stop shaving.

Well, you know what?  He leaves on Thursday.  And, for the next two exhilarating, wonderful weeks, I'm not going to shave either. 

The guys think we wives are miserably lonely while they're out there sitting around a campfire, drinking with other stinky men.  (Did I mention that NOT bathing while at deer camp is considered camouflage?   Deer aren't stupid, they can smell stench. 

Well, we wives are really on vacation during this blessed time of year.  I, for one, plan to sleep in the middle of the bed, with the dog.  And, the fan will be in the OFF position.    :)

I also plan to throw a few things away while cleaning up in a certain person's area.  This happens on a yearly basis during No-Shave November. 

I think I'll keep the house a nice, comfortable temperature.  And, I'll put the sauce ON the the same pot, if I so choose.

I'm gonna have Cream of Wheat and toast for supper.  Maybe every night. 

So, after making him promise to call home every night to check up on me, I'll happily answer the phone ( at the agreed upon time) and tell him how much I miss him.  I'll tell him how quiet it is at home, ask him if he's having fun.  He'll tell me who killed  a deer today, who's was the biggest, and what he's having for supper.

Then, we'll give our kisses goodnight over the phone, say our "I love you's" and hang up. 

Days of our Lives on the DVR.............priceless.

"No-Shave November" is really "Dear" Season..............get it?   *wink wink*


Monday, October 17, 2011

An evening in the lower 40

The many years of parenting are slowly coming to an end at our house.  Danny is 26, Becky is 24 and they both live out on their own.  Our youngest, Kelly, is now 16 and a Junior in High School.  She is in sports, has her drivers license and a part-time babysitting job.  So, John and I have a lot of alone time. 

 Tonight, we enjoyed a four-wheeler ride down through the farm, crossing the creek,  and we ended up in the lower 40 (acres).  We recently purchased this part of the Century-old family farm from the estate of my beloved Uncle Buddy. It joins our property and we are honoring the lease that he had with a man who farms alfalfa hay, cane, pumpkins and corn.  We "keep an eye on the place" about once every 2 weeks or so.  Tonight was nice.  We slowly made our way to the lower 40, walked up the wooded hills and then back down to the fields.  It's beautiful down there. 

The lower fields which are leased out.  The sights are breath-taking.

More than 100 years ago, this beautiful pond was an iron ore mine.  Now, we can sit by it and dream of the life of Grandpa Marsh.  I think he would really love this place.

As we came back up, we stopped at the old barn, that was (about 120 years ago) fully utilized as a dairy barn, sheep barn, hay loft, etc by my grandfather.  The old barn is nearly falling down, but we love to walk through it and pretend that we know exactly what it was used for, and I imagine grandpa milking "Butter" in there.   

We will soon be taking the old barn down, as there isn't enough to save, and building a newer one for our small herd of beef cows.  We plan to bulldoze the old brushy fields and make them workable again.  I'd love to have the farm be a working farm once again, just like grandpa used to have it.

This is an old dry creek bed.  It's so gorgeous this time of year. 

We will plant a nice orchard, raise some beef, cut hay, and fish in the old pond.  When the old house just can't be lived in anymore by renters, we'll probably take it down too.  I might just have to build a little farm house where the old house stands now.  I think Grandpa Marsh would like that.

I don't want to wish my life away, but retirement sounds so good........


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Hot pepper hands

Today, I learned that you should never EVER chop jalapeno peppers without gloves.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Comfort food

When the seasons change from the hot and humid days of summer, to the cool and rainy temptations of autumn, comfort food comes to mind at my house.  I knew when I woke this morning to the sounds of a steady rain, lightning and thunder, that I would have something simmering all day.  I take every Wednesday off of work to be a mom, a wife, a volunteer, a daughter.  I use this day, in the middle of the week, to prepare a hot, nutritious meal for my family.  I get my laundry caught up, I dust, I sweep.  Sometimes, I get a nap. 

Well, today is no exception.  I got up and made my bed.  I had a bowl of Cheerios and began the pot of ham and beans.  I prefer white navy beans.  That's what my sweet mom made for us when we were growing up.  John likes the brown beans.  So, I switch it up now and then so that he's happy.  Today, it was my turn.  I washed the beans, took out some ham that I had put in the freezer from a previous meal, added a little salt and pepper and then let the stove do the rest of the work.  The beans have been simmering all day, and I've cooked them down so that there is a rich, thick gravy.

The cornbread, probably my favorite part of this meal, is baked in my old iron skillet.  The cookies, (Hillary Clinton's recipe) is my family's absolute favorite cookie. 

So, in less than an hour, we will sit down at the table on this cool rainy September afternoon, and enjoy a delicious, healthy, comforting and home-cooked meal. 


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Am I a Homesteader? I sure hope I am!

Millions of Americans have joined the band wagon in getting back to the land, growing their own food, (or at least knowing where it came from) exercising, and just "doing the right thing".  I am no exception, except the exercising.  For the last five years, or so, John and I have made strides in creating and building our homestead here in Central Missouri.  In the past, we've had sheep and goats.  We have moved on from those two species due to them not being a good fit for us.  Now we have beef and dairy cows.  We also have chickens for meat and eggs. 

In addition to our livestock, we have been working on building an orchard.  So far, our orchard sports a peach tree, two apple, one pear, two cherry and three plum.  The late frost got all of my apple tree blooms, so it was bare.  My peach tree found the same fate.  Our cherry tree gave us a handful of fruit,  and our pear tree will give us about 10 pears.  But that's ok!  Our orchard is only about 3 years young.  We also planted four blueberry bushes last fall, and they don't seem to be growing at all.  This fall, I will heavily mulch them with seasoned manure and a layer of mowed leaves. 

The garden gave us corn, green beans, okra, cucumbers, tomatoes, green peppers, jalapeno peppers.  We canned that bounty.  Hopefully, next year will be bigger and better.  But, I'm satisfied and thankful for what we did get.   I also processed two bushels of peaches from the local farmers market. 

The milk cow gives us more than we ever imagined.  Fresh milk, heavy cream.  With that, we make our own butter, cheese, whey.....and I can my excess milk.  That canned milk can be used for gravy, pancakes, and other recipes calling for milk...even pumpkin pie!

Fall is coming soon.  We will soon be working on the wood pile.  We bought our hay for the winter and have it under cover.  We might even put a few of the older hens in the freezer.   I feel good.  We feel good.  I'm thankful. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

New to the family......

Meet Bambi!  Bambi is a 13 month old jersey heifer and she will be joining our farm on Tuesday.  I am very excited to have found this gem.  While in Houston MO, at my daughter's high school softball tournament, I called the number on the ad.  The advertisement was enticing...."13 month old.....gorgeous....ready to on is extraordinary..."  And, being that close to the owner, I had to go look.  Boy, am I glad I did.  Bambi is a fantastic-looking heifer.  See for yourself.....


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Homemade "Rotel" tomatoes

During the cold winter months, we eat a lot of hearty meals such as chili with cornbread and taco soup.  It just sticks to your ribs and makes you feel all happy inside.  Last summer, a friend of mine shared with me her recipe for homemade "rotel" tomatoes.  You can buy Rotel tomatoes in your grocery store.  That is the brand name.  They're very good, but they're not homemade.  And, when I can make something myself, I try to do so.

Today, my countertops were covered (and I mean covered) with jalapeno peppers and tomatoes from my garden.  Since I ran out of rotels last year, I decided to make another large batch.  Here's how I do it.

1 gallon tomatoes, peeled and chopped
3 green bell peppers, chopped
7 to 10 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped (7 for medium or 10 for hot)
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 Tbl canning salt

How 'bout a few pictures?

Chop all of your peppers and onions in small pieces.

I like to peel my tomatoes by scalding them in boiling water til the skins begin to crack.  Then, the skins peel off easily!

 Put all ingredients into large pot and bring to a boil.   Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently.

Look at all of those delicious colors!

After 30 minutes, everything just comes together.
 Put rotel mixture into prepared jars.  I use the 8 oz jelly jars, as it is the same size as the store-bought cans which are used in my recipes.  Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.  This recipe will fill  approximately 12 of the small 8 oz jars.  Sometimes more, sometimes less.    I guess it depends on how juicy your tomatoes are? 

Look at that!
Now, all of those tomato peels can either be dehydrated and ground into a powder for use in stews and soups, be fed to the chickens, or put on the compost pile.  See, no waste!  Now, if you're like me, you didn't read the entire recipe before you began.  If that's the case, your fingers will be burning about now because you didn't wear gloves when you chopped the jalapenos. 

Enjoy, my friends......


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Another lesson learned, the hard way

My sweet Cinnamon ( my Jersey milk cown) is sick.  She hasn't been feeling well for two days now.  Yesterday morning when we went out to milk, she had no milk.  The calf (June) was spry and happy.  We figured June drank it all and was letting us know it by her antics in the field.  Cinnamon wouldn't come in to the barn.  We thought it odd, but figured we'd just chalk it up to the calf needing more. 

We took a trip yesterday afternoon to the local feed store to stock up on her dairy feed, and for the second time this week, they were out.  Once again, they sent us home with a beef cattle mix.........ok then.

Yesterday afternoon, Cinnamon was looking like she wasn't feeling well.  She wouldn't eat, the water trough wasn't missing any water, and she hung her head a bit.  We all have days when we don't feel well, right?  I felt her ears, no fever.  She seemed as if she had worked all day and just wanted to be left alone for a good long nap.  Well, for John, that's ok.....for a dairy cow, it's not.  It's a sign of illness.

Upon checking in with her again last night, we knew something was not right, and decided to call the vet first thing this morning if she wasn't better.  So, after a long and sleepless night for me, this morning she was worse.  It took me a long time to get her up.  After an hour of prodding, and waiting for the fog to lift (I thought I'd just throw that fog comment in), she finally got up around 7:00 am.  She wouldn't eat or drink.  She had no milk.  I called the vet. 

Well, he just left.  He gave her a calcium drench.  A calcium drench is basically shoving a tube down a cow's throat and pumping in gallons and gallons of a white chalky substance that looks like milk of magnesia.  Two grown men vs a 1000 pound sick cow.   Get the picture?  Mr. vet says that Cinnamon should be feeling much better by tonight. 

Changing her feed, to a second-rate feed to tide her over until her good stuff came in, proved to be the reason for her calcium deficiency problem.  Dairy cows with a calcium deficiency will show signs of joint pain (which she had), milk production decrease (which she had), along with the not eating/drinking/feeling well.........

The vet also "pumped her full of antibiotics" due to the raging pasture pneumonia in our area....just as a precaution.  So, we were told to "dump the milk for 3 days."  I can do that.  What I will NOT do is feed her anything but the best grain, ever again.  We have always given her the best grain, the best alfalfa hay, and the cleanest water.  To have the healthy, happy cows...we must do this.   If the feed store runs out again, down the road I will go.


Friday, August 12, 2011

Another year goes by

Yesterday, I celebrated my birthday, as well as my 27th wedding anniversary.  Yes, I got married on my birthday!  My husband and I had dinner last night together, just the two of us, and we really enjoyed it.  I love being with him.  We never hesitated for anything to say.  Yes, we talked about the kids.  Yes, we talked about the cow, the chickens (and what's eating them), and our day at work.  It was nice.  We laughed a little and really enjoyed each other's company. 

I often think about the numerous dinners we had with all three kids.  Those were the days!  Crying, fighting, puking and just being noisy.....  Now, as we get older, and the kids are growing up and moving away, it's different.  Different in a good way.  It's our time.  I'm looking forward to 27 more wonderful years with him. 


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Back to Skool

School starts here next week.  We live in a pretty poor county here in Missouri, and a lot of our families depend on assistance.  Traditionally, our county has held a "back to school fair" of sorts, whereby children of low income families can get free school supplies.  Well, this year with budget cuts, the "fair" was part of the cuts that the county had to make.

So, I challenged my church family to purchase $20  in school supplies.  I emailed everyone that I could think of, attached the school supply list which was on the school website and made the challenge. I promised that I would deliver the supplies to the school a couple of days prior to school starting.  Within minutes, I started receiving email replies.  "I accept your challenge!" or "Count me in!"  and even "I am mailing you my check, you do my shopping!".  I couldn't believe the results! 

This week, my Sunday School classroom (which is where I asked them to deliver their supplies) was filling up with bags and bags of pencils, glue, paper, rulers, backpacks........ 

I'm not telling you this to "toot my own horn".  I'm telling you this in hopes that you will do something for someone in need.  The need is great.  As Christians, we should not just talk the talk, but rather walk the walk.  If you are able, give.  Inspire others to give.  Most of the time, people are looking for a way to give.  But, they don't know what to do.  By only asking, my church family has really come through.  I will be so proud to make that delivery to the school! 

Other things you can do; Take dinner to an elderly couple who might be struggling with their health.  Go visit someone who is lonely.  Mail a letter to an inmate, be an encourager. 


Friday, August 5, 2011

Paying attention

I'm a few years away from the half-century mark, so naturally I'm beginning to pay close attention to my health.  For the last five years or so, my husband of 26 years and I have been nurturing the long process of building our homestead.  Our idea of this is mostly producing our own food (as much as humanly possible), because I want to know where our food comes from.  In this process, we garden, can the harvest, raise our own grass-fed beef.  We have a Jersey cow, so naturally we have our own fresh milk, butter and cheese.  Our chickens give us fresh eggs.  And, if you read my last post, we are trying to raise our own chicken for the freezer, but the coons just wiped our  hopes for this year. 
Farm fresh, free-range, delicious eggs!

Lately, my blogging friends have been giving me some really good information as to healthy food choices, and how we can use our raw milk (and the by-products) to enhance our goals.  I find "The Healthy Home Economist" quite interesting.   A couple of days ago, she said to use the leftover whey, in pancakes!  Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought to save this cloudy, watered-down liquid.  But, now that I know what is in it, I'm in!  Check her website out!

This is me with two beautiful Peruvian women from Huancayo.
Last Summer, I traveled to Peru with four other women from my church.  Our mission was to learn about the Peruvian struggles and be advocates for them back here in the states.  One of their struggles was Monsanto  and their genetically modified seeds.  Surprise, surprise.  (can you feel the sarcasm?)  Peru doesn't want them either!  Since returning, I've been diligent in choosing foods that are Monsanto-free!  That means buying heirloom seeds, saving them, reading labels and educating myself as to what the labels mean.  It also means NOT buying certain things, right?

Hopefully, I am making a difference in my life and the lives of my family, by growing, tending, preparing and consuming healthy farm-fresh goodness....the way God intended. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

The circle of life?

We have been letting our 6 week old chicks out a little every day to get used to free-ranging.  They've been doing really well!  They all stayed together, all 15 of them.  The adult hens were even beginning to accept them into the herd.

Saturday evening, John and I attended a surprise party for a couple to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary.  We were about an hour after dark when we got home.  We headed straight out to the coop to lock up all of our birds and were met with a sad situation.  Something, probably a coon, killed all of our chicks except two of them.  One of our adult hens was also injured.  I was devastated!  All of these beautiful, sweet birds were just bit in the head and left on the ground.  Thirteen birds....gone.....just like that.

After a few choice words, John was digging out the lucky predator met his maker this morning.  Hopefully, another one tomorrow.   It's a lot of work to hatch your own birds and care for them until the time to turn them "out".  To lose them like this is sickening. 

Ok, I've vented....I guess it's just the circle of life, eh? 


Tuesday, July 26, 2011


This dog!  This misfit cross-bred dog!  Oh how I love him.  *sigh*  But, he's still a DOG!  Dogs make messes!  This is the same dog that ate a pound of ground beef that I had browned, drained, cooled (on the counter) and saved for another meal.......while I was feeding the chickens one evening.  You'd think I would learn!

Tonight after returning home from work, having dinner, cleaning up the supper dishes, I decided it was time to clean out the refrigerator.   I do this about once a year (wink) and thought it was the perfect time to do it.  When I clean the fridge, I go shelf by shelf, emptying the mystery contents of each tupperware bowl into a large garbage bowl to go to the chickens. 

Tonight, we had molded jello, roast from who knows when, old yucky pickles (and the juice), molded mac & cheese, half-eaten yogurt cup and some leftover green beans.  All of this once-wonderful food was piled into the garbage bowl on the counter.  Then,...................someone drives down the driveway.................I go out to greet them............I'm out there five, ten minutes being cordial..............finish the conversation...........return to my kitchen. 

The end of this story is this.  Niko, who now smells like pickles and jello got into trouble (use your vivid imagination here), went to time out (his kennel).  I got to spend 30 minutes cleaning up my floor.    The good news?  My fridge is clean and so is the floor.  The bad news?  Use your imagination again.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Keeping cool on a Hot Summer day!

Keeping farm animals cool in weather like this (100 degrees +) is difficult.  My Jersey cow, Cinnamon, looks for shade, manure piles, the best breeze.  The past week has been brutal on her.  This morning, while watering my garden, I noticed Cinnamon hanging around the sprinkler.  I got close to it and realized that the cool mist, along with a gentle breeze, was refreshing her senses!  So, when my garden was nice and watered, I moved the sprinkler over by her favorite shady spot and turned it on!  She hesitated for a second, and then just stood there, basking in the coolness of the experience. 

I set her up 30 minutes ago, and she hasn't moved a muscle.  I think she deserves that sprinkler for a while anyway, considering all the love she gives to us every morning at 7:00 am.  The weather is supposed to "give" in a day or so, and I'll pamper my sweet cow til then. 

Niko, on the other hand, is having no trouble staying cool.  He's in the house, every day, napping away in the 75 degree A/C.  What a life!

Take care of yourselves during this hot time of year.  Think snow!  Then, slap yourself really fast! 


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Harvest...coming soon.

I'm on vacation this week.  I tried to plan this week off to coincide with the harvesting of the garden vegetables.  Well, it's Wednesday, and it's slowly coming together.

I'm getting a handful of okra each day, and when I have enough for a canning, I'll have those pickled okra on my shelf as well.   This year was our first try at okra.  To my surprise, it's gorgeous!

Isn't Okra a cool vegetable?  Look how it grows!  Always clean.

The jalepeno peppers (which I use in my Rotel recipe) are being so productive, they are weighing my plants down!  I'm very happy with this crop too!


Now, my tomatoes are my prize crop!  I have nearly 25 plants in the garden.  The majority of them are Roma, as I can lots of spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, salsa and "rotel" tomatoes.  My plants are completely covered with tomatoes, but they're still all green.  I hope that they ripen while I'm on vacation, because this crop takes most of my time to store.  Take a gander at these puppies!  They're so nice this year. 

So, in the meantime........while I wait for my favorite crop to ripen, the cucumbers have my attention.  Yesterday, I picked about 25 cucumbers and canned the pickles.  I used the Mrs. Wages, polish dill pickles envelope from the local grocer.  They turned out nice.  What do you think?

I hope your garden is blessing you with a lot of good, wholesome food for your family.  I'll share the "rotel" recipe if any of you are interested.  Just leave me a comment!


Thursday, July 14, 2011


It's happening.  Right before my eyes.  My children are growing up and moving on to adulthood.  It's exciting and sad (for me) all at the same time.  Becky will be moving into her own place, in a little town about 30 minutes away from us.  And next month, she will begin her career as a high school English teacher.  The kids that she will have in her classroom don't know it yet, but they are going to love their new teacher. 

So, early on Saturday morning, Becky and her daddy will be traveling to purchase some gently used livingroom furniture that she found on eBay.  Then, they will deliver it and set it up in the new place.  I will do my best to let her put things where she wants them. :)   This is a big step and an exciting time for her, so I want her to enjoy this!

I'll try not to cry.  But, no promises.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Strawberry syrup!

One of my favorite magazines in recent years is "Backwoods Home".  Jackie Clay writes several articles in each and every issue and has published several books on canning and gardening.  I have to say that I'm a proud owner of her book entitled Growing and Canning your own Food as well as her very new The Pantry Cookbook.  I have tried so many recipes of hers, and I've yet to have one that I don't like.  The latest idea from Jackie is strawberry syrup.  Jackie writes about it in this month's magazine, but doesn't give a recipe.  All she says is, "it's basically just jelly without the pectin". 

So, I googled it and found something with only strawberries, water and sugar!  Tomorrow morning.......pancakes and strawberry syrup!  Maybe I"ll try peach syrup next!

Growing and Canning Your Own Food by Jackie Clay'Visit:          Jackie Clay's Pantry Cookbook


Wednesday, July 6, 2011


The beginning of July through mid August is prime peach season here in Central Missouri.  In recent years, I've driven nearly 2 hours to pick my own peaches right from the orchard.  Now, we have a couple of older gentlemen in our community who do the driving and bring them right to Main Street!  So, I buy from them and save my gas money!  They're not as big as "my" orchard peaches were, but they're just as delicious.

This is a great start to my canned peaches.  When this photo was taken, they were one day away from being ripe enough to slice and can.  I got 12 pints out of these, and I'd like to have twice as many more!  We eat these peaches all year long.  They are so delicious right from the can at dinner, in a fruit salad or in a fresh breakfast quick bread.  Best of all, I know what is in that can when I pop open the lid.  That's why canning your own food is so satisfying. 

This is just the beginning of this year's canning season.  My green beans are days away, my tomato plants are full of green tomatoes and the corn is close to tassle.  With my "luck", it'll all come ripe and ready the same week!  But, that's's all going to taste so good this winter and beyond. 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Number three

This is Kelly, recently turned 16, recently got her drivers license....hasn't recently cleaned her room.  She is the most independent child I have....bull-headed is a better adjective.  But, she is also beginning to experience compassion for others.  Kelly just returned from a mission trip this summer.  During the trip, she  got to see human situations that are not familiar to her.  Kelly is a very fortunate girl.  I think she is beginning to realize that. 

 Her friends mean the world to her.  Her siblings mean more.  I have no doubt that Kelly is in the process of leaving the child behind and becoming a beautiful, caring, loving, compassionate young woman.  This is her in all her cuteness.  I think she's beginning to like me, too.  :) 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


This is Becky, my oldest daughter, the middle child.   

Becky has this fantastic dimple, just one.  It's as deep as they come.  I don't know where she got it, but it's lovely.  She spills things....quite often. 

And this is her in all her cuteness. 

Tomorrow, number 3.


Monday, June 27, 2011

The many faces of us.

Ever have family get-togethers and get in silly moods with cameras and cell phones?  Well, as you can see from my home page photo, my family and extended family does this often.  If I ever need to provide official photos of my husband and/or children to anyone, it will be difficult because most of my photos are with tongues out, eyes crossed and hair whipped!  I treasure these photos though, because they display the great love and fun we have when we're together.

This is Danny, my oldest.  He's got great eyes.  And, he can make them do about anything.  This one makes my eyes water when I look at it.  He's really a cute young man when he just gives a normal smile.

And this is him in all his cuteness. 

 Tomorrow, number 2. 


Sunday, June 26, 2011

June is a week old

June is a little over a week old.  Wow, how she has grown in barely 10 days!  She is going to be such a great addition to our herd.  And, the fact that she is a Jersey/Angus cross, she should be a good mother too.

 This evening, as I checked on the farm animals, I noticed June out pestering her mother.  She wanted mama to play, but all Cinnamon could think of was eating the green grass. 

 She tried to get Shirley to run a bit, but Shirley just looked at her.  So, she played.  She played by herself.  And as she played, she bucked, squatted, snorted (that is new today), and jumped!  Oh, the fun she had playing alone.  And, oh the fun I have in watching it all.....right here, on my little piece of of the family farm. 

Until next time, peace.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Look how my little pasture is smiling at me today.  It's just a small patch of tiny little daisy-like flowers.  I sat down to take this photo and was happy in how it came out for you to see.  A few days prior, I'm sure I just walked right by this, not noticing.  But, not today.  I stopped, looked and smiled right back at it.  I hope that you have something, that you love, that is smiling back at you today. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

Today is Father's Day.  This man is the father of my three children and my husband for almost 27 years.  He is the greatest person that God could have given me to spend my life with.  He is patient, kind, giving, compassionate, hard-working, smart.....very smart, faithful, friend to so many, funny, stinky at times, dirty most of the time, a great cook, a great small engine mechanic, a great honey-do-lister, terrible dancer, sharp as a tack..sayitlikeitis, wonderful man.  He'll most likely never see this, but you will....and now you know.

Happy Father's Day, John.  I adore and love you.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Vet on speed dial

Cinny (Sweetie, Cinnamon, Christmas) is struggling with a sore udder.  Her left front and back quarter are terribly swollen.  We have milked her out this morning, and again this evening.  We called the vet early today and expect him sometime this evening.  We don't see any signs of mastitis: the milk is clear and clean.  The bag, however, is ultra large.  It's swelling at it's best.  The right side is fine, lovely, normal and June is taking good care of it. 

I'm not a vet, but I am hopeful that he has a treatment for swelling that will instantly make everything normal for Cinny and us.  All we can do is keep her milked off for now and keep her comfortable. 

June is having a blast, hanging out with mom in the barn.  The hens come in and she moos at them, jumps and kicks her back feet.  A very healthy little heifer.  I'm thankful for that.  I also have no doubt that our care and the vet will get Cinny back to perfect health very soon too!

In the meantime, 5 of our 25 eggs have hatched.  We have 3 yellow and 2 black baby chicks peeping in the basement.  Happy happy joy joy!  Springtime on Cedar Lane Farm is wonderful, even if there are bumps along the way.  Kind of like life, eh?



Sweetie did it!  My morning barn visit at 5:30 proved to be a successful one.  They were cuddling together out in the pasture.  Mama did a great job!  A little heifer calf.  Mom seemed to be doing ok.  After running back to the house to alert my sleeping husband, we returned to the pasture, camera in hand.  Sweetie loved her already.

John and I got the calf up and wanted to see her nurse.  She was a little uneasy on her feet, but finally got up.  She couldn't find the spigot! She was sucking the top of mama's leg instead of the udder, which was terribly swollen.  We tried and tried, but this little stubborn girl wouldn't locate the bottle.  All the while, I became more aware of just how tight mama was. 

We lured both of them to the barn, and milked out enough colostrum to feed baby a half gallon bottle.  Mama's left side was so swollen, she wouldn't allow us to touch her.  Long story short, baby was caught nursing a couple of times throughout the day, and John and I were able to milk mama out later on, to make her more comfortable. 

Tomorrow will bring a new day, hopefully an easy one on mama, maybe some new chicks too.  Oh, and the baby's name is June.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


When we were little, my mother used to go "to club" each month with all the other little old ladies.  In "club", they met, ate, had a meeting, raised money from selling cotton candy at the Harvest Festival parade, and other old-lady stuff like that.  "Club" is a county Extension group of local women, and now I are one of the "club ladies". 

I joined "club" nearly 3 years ago, because my mother (now 81) was becoming very uncomfortable driving at night, and she asked me to take her and join.  Now, 3 years later, I attend the monthly "club" meetings and I transport myself, my mother and aunt.  It's a hoot!  I'm the baby in "club". 

Last night, after calling the meeting to order, reviewing and approving the minutes and treasurer's report, we read the Club Collect, aloud and in unison.

Keep us, oh God, from pettiness; let us be large in thought, in word, in deed.
Let us be done with fault-finding and leave off self-seeking.
May we put away all pretense and meet each other face to face, without self-pity and without prejudice.  May we be never be hasty in judgement and always generous.
Let us take time for all things; make us to grown calm, serene, gentle.
Teach us to put into action our better impulses, straightforward and unafraid.
Grant that we may realize it is the little things that create differences, that in the big things of life we are as one.
And may we strive to touch and to know the great common human heart of us all, and oh, Lord God, let us not forget to be kind!  (Mary Stewart).

This is why I enjoy "club".  These older, mature ladies have taught me a lot about grace, love, patience, and the right way to grow old.  These ladies are the very best of our community, always looking for someone to help, something to support, some way to earn money and sharing their best recipies!

So, as my children poke fun at me for going to "club", I just smile at them the same way my sweet mother use to smile at us. 


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sundays; Tea, Family & Rest

Sunday is my favorite day of the week.  It is filled with leading my adult Sunday School class, Worship and then a day with my family.  Today is an especially lovely Sunday.  The temperature is in the low 80s and it's delightful to be outside on my screened porch sipping some mint flavored tea.  I hear a quail in a nearby tree and the locusts are finally gone.  I have a load of clothes on the line, I watched a movie this morning, Double Jeopardy, and baked two loaves of fresh honey wheat bread.  The tea is especially delicious because I made it with fresh mint.  Makes me smile.  Soon, we will join the rest of my family (see the family photo at the top of my blog) and celebrate my dad's birthday.  Then, we'll end this perfect day with a fish fry...fresh crappie caught this morning.  

Boy, this makes my life seem perfect, doesn't it.  Well, I think it is.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Weeds? Yes. Lots of 'em.

Last night, after returning home from work, I attempted to weed a little in my garden.  Well, it was so hot, that lasted a whole four point two minutes.  I knew a nice shower was due, so I chose to enjoy my air conditioning and wait til morning.  Well, this morning, I hit the weeds around 6:00 am and successfully weeded 3 rows.  I got more newspapers down (to kill the weeds from now on) and put the sprinkler on it to wet them down.  I'll give it a hefty layer of clean straw later on today.  The newspapers and the straw will naturally break down and become "one" with the earth.

Still, no calf.  Sweetie is so uncomfortable.  I remember those days!  Not that I'm a cow or anything....but I have given birth to three!  Maybe the change in the weather will bring some action this weekend.  In the meantime, she is lazily enjoying the cooler temps.  I'm cutting down a little on her feed until the calf comes. 

The hens are lovin the soft, moist ground this morning.  I'm guessing the quiet grazing means lots of worms have made their way to the surface.  All I hear as I sit on my porch this morning are the hummingbirds squeaking at the feeder, the dog's toenails hitting the porch as he paces (watching the hens), and a cool breeze rustling in the trees.  The locusts are gone.  We'll see them again in about 13 years. 

Now, off to the barn to finish the head stanchion!  He's motivated, so I'm outta here!


Friday, June 10, 2011


I can't tell you how much I love Fridays.  It's been an unusually long week for me.  First of all, my youngest daughter, Kelly, has been gone all week.  She traveled to Kentucky, along with other youth from our church and surrounding churches, on a week-long mission trip.  I miss her.  A lot.  Secondly, my other daughter, Becky, has been gone all week as well, house sitting for my sister who is on vacation.  I am used to not seeing my oldest, Danny, because he lives 90 minutes away.  But, to rip my other two girls away for such a long time is rather tough on this mommy.  Luckily, it's Friday and Kelly will be home tonight and Becky will be back home tomorrow.  And, we will celebrate!

But, in the meantime, the farm must go on.  Last night's egg collection was nice.  A good basketful to wash and pack for those lucky family members of mine.  All of our excess eggs are sold.  The hens seem to feel good this morning, after their dusting yesterday.  I also expected to wake up to a newborn calf this morning, but still nothing.......we continue to wait.  Today, John is setting the posts in the barn for the head stanchion.  Things are coming together......

John and I planted our three new fruit trees, 2 cherry and 1 pear.  We also pulled some weeds out of the garden, put down newspaper and straw, then gave the garden a good watering.  The crops are looking really good, but we need rain.  The weatherman is calling for some showers tonight and tomorrow.  I hope he's right. 

Thank Goodness it's Friday! 


Thursday, June 9, 2011

We're getting close!

Again, I jumped right up about 5:30 this morning, started my coffee and proceeded to go check on Sweetie.  She's due to have her calf on June 20th, (the same date our 24 eggs are supposed to hatch), and I'm very excited and anxious about it.  I also hope to avoid things such as difficult birth, mastitis, etc.  I'm hopeful that all will go well.   

Upon opening the barn door, she was lying down, chewing her cud and swatting flies with her tail.  She was very comfortable, cool and happy.  It was around 68 degrees this morning and she was loving it.  Soon, however, the temperatures will rise to the high 90s.  I gave her the normal generous scoop of feed, rubbed her nose and told her that I'd be hanging out the wash in a little bit.  We talked a bit about the hens that graze alongside her and Shirley in the pasture, which she doesn't seem to mind at all.   She's getting close.  Her bag is about to burst, or it seems.  And other signs are begining to appear.


So, we wait......................

John gave the coop a good dusting last night with sevin dust, after the hens were on their roost.  Let's face it.  These are birds, they get cooties too.  So, this morning when I let them out for the day, they flew out with little poofs of dust flying off of them.  I'm sure they feel better.  They followed me around while I filled their water can, Sweetie's water trough and hung up the laundry.  I enjoyed our conversations.  I'm sure they did too. 


Wednesday, June 8, 2011


I was up with the chickens again this morning, around 5:30.  I'm still awaiting the arrival of our precious calf.  Sweetie was just napping in the barn again  with Shirley (our hereford/charolais cross heifer calf), so I gave her a generous scoop of grain and rubbed her nose.  The chickens were up and at 'em in the coop, so I opened it up and let them roam for the day.  They are free-rangers here, eating up the ticks and other insects we have.  I've been getting between 8 and 12 eggs each day from my girls.  After filling up all of the water troughs, I headed to the porch.

My coffee in hand, I sat down to read a little bit of the Bible and watch the sun come up.  The chickens are clucking and the locusts are beginning to buzz.  It's going to be a wonderful day.  I'm reading in Titus today (even though the photo shows Thessalonians)  It's a short book, but a good one.  Titus tells us how we should act, to teach what is good and speak evil of no one.  Avoid quarreling, be gentle and show every courtesty to everyone.  So, this is my goal to practice for the day.......peace.