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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Give Me Them Baby Backs, Baby Back Ribs

This blog is dedicated to Travis and his baby back ribs.  I cannot tell you if they were good or not but from the recipe it seems like they were.  Travis is visiting his mom and dad, Lisa and George and he fixed them baby back ribs but not just any baby back ribs.  He fixed Hickory Smoked Baby Back Ribs. I will include the recipe below.  To go along with the baby back ribs Lisa fixed Amish Broccoli salad, baked beans and corn on the cob.  You know they ate well.  Travis is allowing me share the recipe so here it is:

Recipe:
• Marinate baby back ribs in apple cider vinegar for 2-3 hours
• thin coat of olive oil (any oil is okay) and cover with dry rub on both sides
• wrap with foil and refrigerate for 1 hour
• 30 minutes before putting on the grill, soak hickory wood chips (or your favorite smoking wood) in water for 30 minutes
•  turn one section of your grill on max temperature
• either use your grills built-in smoker box or wrap the soaked wood chips in foil and poke multiple holes on the top side to allow the smoke to come out.
• place the wood chip package over the section of the grill that is on max temperature (they need to be on direct heat)
• close the lid on the grill and keep on max temperature until you see smoke coming out of the grill
• remove ribs from the refrigerator and the foil
• after the chips are smoking, place the ribs on any section next to the direct heat but not over it. The ribs need indirect heat.
• reduce temperature to 230° F
• cook at 230°F with the lid closed for 4 hours (note: if you are cooking spare ribs or anything with higher fat content, this would be 5 hours)
• every 30 minutes baste the ribs with apple cider vinegar. If you are using a brush versus a spray bottle, then reapply dry rub.
• if you want to baste with BBQ sauce (Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce or your favorite), then very quickly lift the lid, baste & close the lid approximately 15 minutes before they are done.
• To check for doneness, pass a toothpick through the meat. If it goes through easily, then they are done.

Enjoy!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Happy Memorial Day

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the military men and women who served protecting our country and gave their life doing so.  I did not lost any immediate family during any of the wars and we know how fortunate we were.  I do want to take this day and realize the sacrifices that were made by a few to protect us all. So on this Memorial Day please take a few moments and pay your respects to someone who gave their all.  Thank You to all who did!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

There Goes TMT Again

TMT, Tennessee Mountain Time, has struck again at the farm.  The dump truck has been broken down and stuck on the side of Quail Way for quite some time now; about a month now.  The garage that "fixed" the truck in the first place is handling these repairs also but it all revolves around TMT. Quail Way is narrow road so the truck being stuck to the side is kind of in the way especially if anything large has to pass it.  Yesterday George had to endure an entire day waiting for the repair place to show up.  He called every few hours where he was assured they were on their way.  Finally around 7:45 pm they called and once again said they were on their way to fix the truck. At 9:00 they called again and said there were on their way.  All I can say is TMT works for some people but not all people.  Hang in there George; it may happen!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Happy Birthday Jenny!

Today is my youngest daughter's birthday, Happy Birthday Jenny!  It is hard to believe that 20+++++++ years ago we were living in Philadelphia, PA, actually Lansdale, and you came along on this date.  You are one of the greatest blessings I have ever had.  You actually looked like you were born with a smile on your face and that set us up for the rest of your life so far. You are a beautiful, loving, talented and intelligent woman and I am so happy and proud that you are my daughter.  Your dad and I love you so very much.  Happy happy Birthday Jenny!

Friday, May 27, 2016

A New Family On The Block

We had a new family move in, the Duck family.  Lisa was driving off of Quail Way and  she came upon a mother duckling walking her 10 ducklings down the road to get to a culvert that leads to a creek.  Barger has a tiny creek along it but I don't think we have seen ducks in it until now.  The mother duck was walking all those ducklings a long way before hitting any water. I guess she was making sure she and her ducklings got their steps in!  Thanks for the picture Lisa!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Corn Has Sprouts

It was a good day at the farm regarding the orchard.  The corn is finally showing and it looks good so far and the sweet potatoes that we were afraid we lost due to rabbits are showing signs of life again.  The sweet potato sprouts were eaten by rabbits last week and we were not sure whether or not that would prohibit their growth going forward.  Well we have our answer and it looks like they will be just fine.  On to the next crop, and probably one of the most important crops, the corn.  It is looking good.  Number one you can tell it is corn growing and number two it is looking healthy.  Now all we have to do is keep all the deer, cows, raccoons and any other critter that may want to have it for dinner away from it.  Wish us luck!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

It's Deck Sealing Time

Tim and George spent yesterday sealing the deck and garage that they built over the winter.  It is one step closer to completing the garage.  Then it will be on to the next project that you will have to wait and see what it is.  We had some sad news today our neighbor who lives just a little up Quail Way passed away.  He was suffering from problems that began after having a routine surgery that went wrong.  Reg and Cheryl were the first to welcome us to the mountain and we were just starting to do things with them.  Rest in Peace Reg; you will be missed.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Crafty Cottage Got An Upgrade

Tim has been back at the farm for nearly a week now and so he decided to upgrade the Crafty Cottage for me by putting an air conditioner in it.  Last summer I had a circular fan that I used to stay cool along with the ceiling fan but on really hot or humid days it just wasn't cool enough.  This year will be totally different.  Having an air conditioner will also help keep the supplies in better shape and might even keep some of the bugs out.  Tim purchased a window air conditioner but did not set it up in a window or the door.  Instead he cut a hole in the back wall of the cottage, then supported the hole with 2x4s to aid in holding the weight of the air conditioner and then placed the air conditioner in the hole.  Once it was in place and working he placed trim around the air conditioner both inside and out then painted the wood to match the walls both inside and out.  There was a discussion as to what color to paint the trim.  Inside the Crafty Cottage all the trim is painted to match the walls except the loft area but we decided to paint the trim around the air conditioner to blend in with the walls.  On the outside all of the trim is green but once again we decided to paint the trim to match the walls.  Thanks Tim for making this happen;  it looks great and it will feel great this summer!  WooHoo!!!

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Lilies Have Bloomed

I received a couple of pictures from Lisa yesterday of some lilies that she and George planted in their bird sanctuary by the house.  Lilies come in many varieties and colors.  They grow from a bulb that can be planted in the Spring or Fall.  Lilies will bloom mid Spring and the blooms will last for 2 to 3 weeks each year.  They only bloom once a year so once they bloom enjoy them.  The lilies in the bird sanctuary are really quite pretty.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

We Have Tomatoes

The tomato plants are starting to show some fruit, yes the tomato is a fruit not a vegetable.  There are three variety of tomatoes this year, beef steak, roma and grape.  Lisa and George really like tomatoes and last year we discovered that the romas make the best tomato sauce.  It looks like the plants are going to be plentiful and so we will be ready to get busy canning and eating some goodies soon.  We still have a little while to go before we start harvesting but so far so good!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Rabbits Like Sweet Potatoes?

Rabbits like sweet potatoes?  Yes, yes they do and they decided they really liked the ones in the orchard.  When George had gone down to the orchard yesterday he noticed that green leaves of the sweet potatoes were all gone.  It appeared that the rabbits decided it was a tasty meal.  Since potatoes grow under the ground we are hoping that eating the leaves did not damage the growing plants in the ground.  Time will only tell.  Now it's time to figure out how to keep the rabbits from the rest of the crops.  Hmmm, any ideas?

Friday, May 20, 2016

A War Against The Weeds

There is a new weapon to fight the war against the weeds.  Last year the weeds in the orchard around the beds and between the rows in the beds were out of control.  We tried weeding but it seemed after cleaning an entire row we would go down the next morning to a whole new crop of weeds.  Here enters the weapon that hopefully will combat the weeds and not choke the crops.  George has purchased a small tiller/cultivator that will fit between the rows of crops and we can till up the weeds that will hopefully help kill a lot of them off.  We are trying not to use weed killer because we do not want to take the risk of losing any of the crops.  So, fingers crossed, the new weapon will work and we will get rid of the weeds.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Straw On The Bed

One of the beds in the Orchard has been planted with potatoes.  If you have been following this blog, especially the last few weeks, you know to grow potatoes you plant seed potatoes.  Potatoes need a lot of dirt to grow and mounds need to be formed and as the potatoes grow so do the mounds.  We don't have enough dirt to build up the mounds, one of the mistakes we made last year, so this year we are experimenting with straw.  50 bales of straw were purchased to help mound the potatoes as they grow.  George used 10 bales to mound the potatoes yesterday and will continue to use the straw as needed.  We realize that we are probably not saving a thing growing our own potatoes but we are hoping that these potatoes will taste so much better than the ones bought at the grocery store that it will be worth all the work. If all works out well we will be able to share the results.  Tim is back at the farm and with the exception of some idiot drivers the drive was uneventful.  Glad he is home safe and sound.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Fruit Trees Are Showing There Stuff

It was just about couple of weeks ago when I toured the orchard with Lisa and looked at the fruit trees showing some fruit.  Well, I am happy to report that now that it is a couple of weeks later the fruit is really growing and it makes it easier to identify the kind of fruit tree it is. I know Lisa and George know but now I can go and figure out which trees are which.  We are all just hoping that the fruit on the trees continue to grow and that they don't get attacked by cedar dust which took most of the fruit from the trees last year.  Fingers crossed and praying for good growth and a healthy harvest.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

It's Planting Time Again

After the terrible rain storms that hit last week the week end was nice with sunny skies and brisk winds that helped dry out the soaked beds in the orchard. With the beds dry it was time to plant again.  The pea fences were put up so when the peas start to grow it will have something to connect to. Another row of peas were planted along with another row of bush beans.  Over where the corn is being planted, done in two week phases, another 11 rows of corn were planted using 660 seeds.  Let's hope when the corn begins to grow and we start seeing the ears of corn that we can make sure the deer and raccoons stay away from the corn.  Last year we lost the entire corn crop to the deer and raccoons so this year we are trying to figure out a way to keep them away short of placing a security fence around the perimeter of the corn field.  I think we may try a scarecrow or two but if you have any suggestions we are wanting to hear them.  Nice job George and Lisa. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Happy Birthday Rory!!!

Today is my granddaughter Rory's second birthday!  I cannot believe my sweet little princess is turning 2.  I am so fortunate that Jenny, Nate and Rory have moved back to the mainland.  As nice as it was going to Hawaii for family visits I have been enjoying these past 9 months being able to drive eight hours and spend time with Rory.  She kills me every time I hear her call me Gamma followed by her saying " I love you".  Wow, what a feeling!  Rory actually celebrated her birthday with a party yesterday and I heard it was a great success.  Tim and I spent the day driving from Branson, MO to Dothan, AL especially since it was a 13 hour trip.  Since it is for Rory we don't mind!  Rory Gamma and Bumpa will see you later today, Happy Birthday Rory, we love you!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

A Nice Wedding

Tim and I attended Rick and Kelly's wedding yesterday in Springfield,! MO.  Rick is Tim's brother and he, along with their brother Bill,  stood up with Rick.  It was a nice ceremony and reception at the Boathouse on Lake Springfield.  Springfield is Tim's home town.  Mom C was the proud Mama and grandmother with her boys and several of her grandchildren and great grandchildren. It was a nice day and was great to be with family and catching up with everyone.  Congratulations Rick and Kelly!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

May Showers Bring Soggy Beds

The night before we left for Missouri we had a really heavy rainstorm, note the picture, and I guess it decided to keep raining while we have been gone from the farm.  I got news from Lisa yesterday that planting, or anything else, will be put on hold for a little while due to the amount of water that is down in the orchard.  I guess the ground is saturated and won't hold much more.  A third of the sawdust that George had put down around the blueberry bushes has washed away.  So, the six week plan for the corn and other crops will be put on hold for a few days while it dries up a bit.  I can just imagine how big the weeds will get.  On a positive note, the baby birds we had just discovered flew the nest yesterday; life goes on!

Friday, May 13, 2016

The Tennessee Iris

In the area of the farm that we call the cul de sac George has planted several irises.  The iris has several varieties and in the Tennessee area the purple cultivar is also the State flower.  The iris grows mostly in the northern hemisphere of Europe, Asia and North America.  The flower grows well in dry, semi desert or colder rocky mountainous areas.  The name comes the Greek word iris meaning rainbow and it was called that due to the variety of colors of the flower. There is an Iris festival held annually in Greeneville, TN.  There are two colors of irises in the cul de sac purple and a pale yellow.  They seem to be a hardy flower and last year blossomed twice which is unheard of.  They are a pretty sight on the farm.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Parrottsville Is Getting Dangerous

Parrottsville is a quiet farm community and not a lot happens until we leave.  Last night there was an attempted child abduction.  A man in a gray hoodie with a young female with him attempted to abduct  two children, ages 8 and 6.  He pulled up to their house where they were playing in the front yard around 6:30 and lured them to the car then took off with them.  The car had to pull over because it was having mechanical issues.  The man and the child got out of the car and went to the back.  Meanwhile the two kids ran from from the car into a big field of tall grass and hid.  The vehicle then took off.  911 was called and the children were found in the field around 9:30.  This is pretty scary stuff especially with the Carlie Trent Amber Alert that is going on; that happened in Rogersville about an hour from Parrottsville.  As for the attempted abduction, I am just glad the kids got away unharmed.  It is just really hard to believe it happened in Parrottsville; so sad.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

We Have New Babies

We have new babies at the farm.  At the tool shed there is a bird that, for two years now, has built a nest on top of the security light and yesterday Lusa discovered that there were babies.  We saw two beaks ar least and they must of been around a while because they were a pretty good size.  We cannot figure out why the bird builds the nest on the light we can only speculate that the light keeps the nest warm and it is out of the way from people and other animals.  Welcome little birds!
Today Tim and I are headed for Branson,  MO to see family and attend Tim's Brother's wedding.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Signs Of Life

Lisa and I took a little ride around the orchard checking out the crops.  She had been down there on Sunday and told me about seeing some life in the beds that were planted.  So I decided I would like to see it too and Lisa was kind enough to take me down in the Gator to check it out.  Shadow and Roxy came along too!  The beds are doing well and there are definately signs of life.  The pumpkins, squashes, cantaloupes, peppers and tomatoes are doing great and so is the Okra and corn but best of all is the zucchini!  Last year there was so much zucchini grown that we were putting zucchini in chocolate cake just to help get rid if it.  This year there will not be as much but there will be zucchini!  It is very exciting to see life in the orchard and realizing, if all goes well, in a couple of months we will be busy harvesting and canning!  Bring It On!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Marvel Civil War

I had a very nice Mother's Day.  The only thing that would of made it even better is to spend it with my kids.  Maybe next year!  My day started with a wonderful Facebook message from my daughter Jenny and then Tim made me breakfast.  We had a lazy morning then headed to got see the movie Marvel Civil War.  It was a good movie and it introduced a new Marvel character along with bringing in some more Marvel heroes. I won't go into any details but if you want to see an action packed film then check out. Make sure you stay through all the credits.  After the movie we went to have dinner at Andy's.  We wanted the guys to give it a try; they liked it!  We then came home where we watched another Marvel movie, Ant Man.  It was good.  When the first Avenger movie came out I really knew nothing of the comic book heroes but since then we have enjoyed all the movies that have come out from Marvel,  It was a good day, a good Mother's Day!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there!  I hope you all have a wonderful day!  This is my first Mother's Day with my mom in heaven and I know she knows how much I love and miss her.  I want to say a very Happy Mother's Day to my other mother, Mom C!  I love you very much and I am looking forward to being with you in a few days.  To my daughter Jenny, Happy Mother's Day!  You are a great Mom and I love you!  To all my mom family and friends; I hope you all have a great day!  I am one lucky Mom to have two wonderful girls, Carrie and Jenny, and my beautiful little granddaughter Rory, I love you all so much and I really am the luckiest Mom and Gamma in the world because I have you.  Happy Mother's Day to all the fur baby mothers out there especially to the fur baby Moms in my family Carrie, Pam and Karyn! Today Tim and George are taking Lisa and I to see the movie, "Civil War" and then to dinner even though we are not their mothers  but because we are the mothers of their children!  Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Some Excitement At Walmart

The Walmart in Newport had some excitement when a car decided to take out a section of the Garden Center at Walmart.  The car never hit the building but it did take out an eight foot section of plants that were displayed in the front of the store.  Surprisingly, the display did do some damage to the car tearing off the front bumper.  I don't know if anyone was hurt because by the time we got to the Walmart a tow truck was already there getting ready to tow the car away.  It was raining at the time and the pavement might have been slick but otherwise I am thinking that it was another mistake of hitting the accelerator instead of the brake.  I hope all that were involved are okay.

Friday, May 6, 2016

A New Place To Eat In Newport

We have found a new place to eat in Newport that is locally owned and run.  It is called Andy's and it is a nice place, locally, with good food at very reasonable prices.  Lisa and I met our friends Larry and Linda for lunch yesterday. Tim and George were suppose to come but they were waiting for a mechanic to come and work on the dump truck.  It was TMT again ( Tennessee Mountain Time) the mechanic said he would be at the farm in the morning and when we got back from lunch he hadn't shown up and called around 6:00 saying he would be by this morning...TMT.
Andy's opened up in November 2015 and had it's grand opening in January.  It is located on a side of Newpot we seldom visit but we will be by more often especially when we are hungry.  We tried their pretzel bites and cheese for an app and it was huge. Five nice size soft pretzels and a cheese sauce that was absolutely delicious.  Next time I will either try their fried cawliflower or fried pickles.  They have daily lunch specials and have 5 or 6 choices of an entre with two sides for $7.00.  I thought it would be lunch portions but it was a full portion.  If you are in or around Newport and want a good meal try out Andy's. We will be back!  Thanks Lisa, Larry and Linda for a nice lunch and a great time together.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Checking Out The Orchard

Lisa drove me down to the orchard to show me all the work she and George have done in the orchard while we were in Florida; it looks great!  What a difference from last year and I am in awe of the knowledge they both have with crop placement, the use of chemicals, etc. that will aid in the growth of the crops.  Several of the fruit trees have signs of fruit and hopefully they will not be infected with the red cedar dust that attacked the trees last year.  There is a bed just for corn with a quarter of it planted.  Every two weeks another quarter will be planted until it is full.  This will help during the harvest.  The blueberry bushes have been moved and expanded.  Last year we picked blueberries from about three bushes, which produced a lot, but several of the bushes had to be replaced this year.  If they all take there will be a bumper crop of blueberries!  The other crops have been rotated to different beds to aid in the growth and all four beds have been planted.  This year the crops consist of two kinds of pumpkins, four kinds of squash, two kinds of cantaloupe, lettuce, peppers.  There will be zucchini, cucumbers, carrots, lettuce, beets, four kind of tomatoes, three kinds of potatoes - red, Yukon gold and sweet, peppers, onions, okra, beans, peas and eggplant.  I may have forgotten some but there will be a variety.  The grapes are coming in nicely and this may be the year we try to make wine; more on that later in the year.  There is even a few almond trees with fruit so if we get to harvest the almonds it will be a brand new experience for all. George and Lisa have really worked hard on the garden this year and it shows.  I was very impressed with the layout and all that was completed - Great Job!
Lisa made a delicious meal last night, Sheppard's pie with broccoli/cauliflower salad and rolls and for dessert strawberries and whip cream over angel food cake...yummy!  Thanks Lisa!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

We Are Back At The Farm

We are back at the farm after being in Florida a little over two weeks.  We originally were only going to be there until the end of April but due to my stupid little accident it got delayed a few days but we have finally come home to the farm.  Those two weeks certainly allowed nature to really let Spring sprung especially the trees that were just getting their leaves just before we left but in our absence they have fully "leafed out" and are a beautiful green.  The view is beautiful as always but in a very green way.  We came home to cooler weather.  It was only 72 degrees when we got home; I say only because in Florida the temperatures were 90 plus every day. We sat on the deck with George and Roxy, Lisa was at Bible Study, and enjoyed the cool air.  It got down to the low 40's last night and the high today is only suppose to be in the high 60's and we are very happy for it.  I am hoping to be able to tour the orchard today and see the progress and hard work George and Lisa have been doing. I do miss being with my kids and Rory but it is good to be home!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Fruits Are Starting To Grow

George and Lisa have been busy working on the beds and fruit trees in the orchard.  While George was tilling another corn bed and spraying weed killer between the beds Lisa was busy putting nitrogen around the fruit trees.  Lisa was happy to report that the apple, peach, pear, cherry and almond trees were already showing signs of fruit which means the recent freeze did not hurt the trees.  Unfortunately the apricot, plum and peach trees that blossomed early have not shown any signs of baring fruit.  I guess the early freezes did damage those trees. Great job once again Lisa and George. 

Monday, May 2, 2016

May Flowers

Lisa sent me a beautiful picture of the irises blooming at the farm.  April showers bring May flowers is apparently true.  The phrase in like a lamb out like a lion for March was true this year too.  I hope this doesn't mean we are going to have an extremely hot summer.  The picture of the iris is really quite beautiful.  Thank you Lisa!
Today I find out just how badly the break on my foot is.  I am seeing an orthopedic surgeon so hopefully it won't too long.  Since I am seeing him at the base it means all Active Duty will have to go first.  We have no idea how long it will take.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Blueberries Get Sawdusted

George and Lisa were busy getting a couple of truckloads of sawdust to spread over the blueberry beds.  Sawdust is a common material used when planting or maintaining blueberry beds because it helps cover and protect the roots of the plant, maintains moisture for the plant and helps with nutrients for poor soil.  Unfortunately now that. housing markets are down sawdust is harder to come by and not free.  They still have three more loads to go to complete the bed.  Great job George and Lisa.
I was looking forward to helping with the planting but it will be a bit of a delay for me.  I had an accident over the week end and sprained my ankle.  Because of the swelling and pain level we went to the ER to check it out. At that time the Dr said there were no broken bones.  Last night I got a call from the same ER Doc who informed me that I did break a bone in my foot.  I have an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon on Monday.  WooHoo!