our view

our view

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Harvest Time - A First And A Last

We had another bountiful harvest and we even had two more first for the season and a last.  We picked our first sweet potato and our first pumpkin.  I know it is a bit early for a pumpkin but the plant it was dying and I decided to save the pumpkin.  I am not sure how we can get it to last until Halloween and if we can't we will be finding out how to turn it into pumpkin pie.  We also picked the leaf lettuce for the last time this season, it has been good.  We also picked another huge watermelon.  I have no idea how much it weighs but it is heavy!  If this watermelon is as good as the last couple we are in for a real treat...and a lot of watermelon.  If you notice in the picture you will also see some more cucumbers!  Yup the pickle queens will return again!  How many quarts or pints will we make? Check back and see!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

More Tomato Fun And Pickles Too

We had some more fun playing with tomatoes yesterday.  We made 9 quarts of Pasta sauce and then we made some really delicious salsa.  I cannot handle really spicy food and most of the salsas I try are too spicy for me.  Last year Lisa made salsa but could only get medium heat which was way too spicy for me.  This year we found a mix that we did not know the spice level but I am happy to report that it was mild and the salsa has a really great flavor.  Once again I am not a fan of the fresh tomato and the fact that I got to pulverize the tomatoes for the salsa was disgusting due to the fact that I had tomato all over my hands, yuck, but I did it and it was worth it. 
The Pickle Queens were back and we got to taste our bread & butter sandwich slices that we made last week and they really were good.  So we decided to made some more.  Over all yesterday we made 10 pints of salsa and 13 pints of bread and butter sandwich slices.  I have updated the total on pickles but I am pretty sure we are reaching the 200 jar mark.  It was a good day!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Making Tomato Soup...From Scratch

We spent our day playing with tomatoes and creating something really yummy!  If you know me then you know I hate the fresh tomato but love all the by products from tomatoes.  Lisa has harvested quite a few tomatoes and so we needed to use them before they went bad. I found a recipe for Tomato Basil soup and it looked like an easy recipe to make so we decided to give it a try.  Thanks to all the equipment and ingredients Lisa had it was easy.  I found out how nice and kind of fun it is to have a food processor, something I never had, and a Ninja blender.  They did all the work for us in order to create the items for the soup.  I will share the recipe at the end of this blog.  We decided to double the recipe and we are so glad we did.  The soup it delicious and we will definitely be making more.  We are trying a new technique for storing the soup, we are freezing the soup in Jars.  Ball jars are freezable now so we had to try it.  If they freeze well, no breakage, we will definitely be doing it more.  It is too  hot outside for soup now but come this winter it will be a perfect dinner especially when have it with Grilled Cheese Sandwiches.

Tomato Basil Soup
Serves 6 to 8
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:
2 Tablespoons butter
2 medium cloves of garlic, minced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
8 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
A squirt or two of lemon juice, optional

Instructions:
1. In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in garlic, carrots and onions.
2. cook over medium-low heat until the onion is tender.
3. Add the chicken broth, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
4. Stir in the tomatoes and simmer for another 10 minutes.
5. Remove from heat and use a hand held mixer ( we used the Ninja blender) to blend soup smooth.
6. Stir in the basil and parsley.
7. Add salt & pepper to taste.
8. If the flavor is flat, add 1 to 2 squirts of lemon juice to taste.

Give it a try, it is good!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Star Trek Beyond

We went and saw the movie "Star Trek Beyond" yesterday and it was good.  It is action packed from the very beginning and does not quit until the end.  It also has some great humor in it.  If you are a Star Trek fan you will love it but if you are not I think you will still enjoy the movie.  We went to the movie with George & Lisa and Linda & Larry.  Linda hurt her knee a few days ago and was in a leg brace, ace bandage and crutches; such a trooper.  After the movie, we all went to Ruby Tuesday for dinner. For the past few weeks Ruby Tuesday has offered coupons for their email members and they have been great,  Buy one entrée get one free.  Last night's coupon was buy one entrée get a burger free so we took advantage of it.  Thanks George & Lisa and Linda & Larry for joining us.  It was a fun day out!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

It Was A Fruity Day!

We have fruit!  We picked another watermelon and this time is was ripe, huge and delicious!  The first watermelon that we picked, if you remember, was not ready yet.  When I cut that watermelon it was still yellow inside.  Yesterday's watermelon was red and juicy and had a lot of taste.  There are two types of watermelon growing in the orchard one is sangria and the other it a round version that has little seeds.  We also have two type of cantaloupe growing.  One is the standard one and the other is called small sweet.  The small sweet grow to be about 12 inches in diameter and are called "personal cantaloupes".  They were delicious too and perfect for just one person.  Their flesh is a deeper orange than a standard cantaloupe but juicy and sweet, yum!  So for the next few weeks we will be able to eat fresh watermelon and cantaloupe, my favorite!  We also made 31 half pint jars of grape jelly making the grand total so far of 47 and there are more grapes to be picked!
On the raccoon count, George trapped three yesterday in the corn field.  That makes a grand total of 8 so far in 6 days.  If the raccoon were not destroying all of our corn, 11 rows gone already, we would not be doing this but since they think the corn is theirs we have to take these drastic measures. George and Tim take the raccoons and release them at the river.  No raccoon has been hurt as far as we know.  I will begin a running tally on how many we trap!  Remember, we do this to Save Our Corn!  So, as you can see, it really was a fruity day!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Making Grape Jelly

We had another successful harvest and caught another raccoon.  That is 5 in 5 days!  We are hoping eventually the raccoons will stop coming but so far we keep trapping them.  We did pick a few more grapes so it is time to make some grape jelly.  Last year our jelly turned out pretty good and kept us supplied with Jelly for most of the year.  So this year we will be making a bigger batch of Jelly.  It takes two days to make jelly.  The first day you wash, de-stem the grapes (thanks George) and then crush the grapes.  Then you add some water and cook the grapes.  One the grapes are cooked you strain the juice into a container with a lid and set it in a cool area to sit overnight.  On day two you have to strain the juice again but this time we use a grape strainer and cheesecloth.  Then you add sugar, we are going to try a batch using stevia too, and cook it to a rolling boil.  After it is boiling add pectin and boil for another minute.  Now it is time to fill the jelly jars.  We made 16 half pints of jelly and we will be making more today!
We did have success with our stevia bread & butter pickles.  The first batch we made were awful but this batch was perfect and tasty too.  It is also the reason we want to try a batch of jelly using stevia instead of sugar.  Check back and see how all the jelly turned out!  It was a sweet day...literally!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Freezing Green Beans

We have had a bumper crop of Green Beans in the orchard and they are delicious but we cannot eat them fast enough so Lisa and I spent a couple of hours prepping and packaging the green beans we picked to be enjoyed well into the winter months. It is not a hard process it just takes time.  First we wash the beans then cut the ends off the beans.  While this is happening there is a stock pot on the stove boiling water.  After the ends are cut off the beans they get placed into the boiling water for three minutes.  While the beans are boiling an ice bath is made in the sink.  After three minutes the beans are quickly taken from the boiling water and placed in the ice bath where they sit for a few minutes.  They are then strained and placed on paper towels to get as much water off the beans.  Lisa has a sealer machine so she the packages up the green beans into a two person serving size and seals the bean packets so they are air tight.  Once completed the beans are placed into the freezer for future use.  It will be nice to enjoy the green beans that were picked in July during the winter months.
We also started the two day process of making grape jelly but we will save that for another day!  We also trapped another raccoon, that makes four, so Tim and George took the raccoon to the river and released it.  A busy but fun day!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Harvest & Pickling

We had another great harvest and this time we picked a over 20 pounds of grapes.  We also picked over 100 cucumbers which means it was time for the pickle queens to make some more pickles.  We did have some excitement down in the orchard before we started harvesting.  George went down to check the traps and we did catch another raccoon but the other two traps were empty including the honey buns that were left for bait.  George took the raccoon to the river and released it. 
Lisa and I spent the rest of the day making 24 quarts of pickles: 6 quarts of whole dill pickles, 5 quarts of sugar free bread & butter pickles and 13 quarts of bread & butter pickles. We have it down to a regular routine that we just know what to do and just do it.  While Lisa and I were busy with the pickles George volunteered to de-stem the grapes.  We also shelled some fresh peas that were picked and we cut into our first cantaloupe.  It was a successful day and another day from orchard to table.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Battle Continues

The raccoon is sometimes called a bandit and even looks the part, see the picture to the right.  It is cute but this one was a bit nasty.  The first raccoon that was trapped was small and looked like it regretted eating the corn.  This one is twice the size and was just mad.  He was so mad that when George went to release it kept hissing and lunging at him that he could not open the trap to let it out.  So he took the trap to a local farmer that hunts and trains coon dogs.  The local farmer gave George some extra traps so now we have four traps and when we go down to harvest this morning it will be interesting to see what will be in the traps.  We are not trying to hurt the raccoons we just want to keep them out of our corn.  So, that battle continues!

Friday, July 22, 2016

We Are At War Again!

We are at war again.  We went down to harvest a few days ago and discovered a very sad sight.  Something got into our corn.  We were just getting ready to pick it and instead we saw that it was picked clean by raccoons.  They did not leave even one piece of mature corn for us.  Now if it was an ear or two like the deer have been doing with our lettuce that would be one thing but to take it all?  That is not happening!  So it is on raccoons.  George set a couple of traps a couple of nights ago and when Lisa and I went down to harvest yesterday we had caught a raccoon.  We set the traps using Honey Buns and it worked with one trap.  The other one did not work and the honey bun was gone.  George came down and took the trap, drove it to the river away from the farm and released the raccoon. One down who knows how many more.   We do not want to hurt the raccoons we just want them to leave our corn alone.  We have heard a couple of other things we can do to hopefully stop the raccoons coming into the cornfields.  We heard human or dog hair scattered on the ground helps and also putting down cat droppings from the kitty litter box. We do have dogs and a cat so we may be giving that a try.  If you have any other suggestions please share.  We did have another nice harvest and we picked our first grapes.  However, we want our corn so raccoons heed this warning:  Stay out of our corn or we will look for you, we will find you and we will trap you!  You have been warned!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Pickle Queens Have Been Crowned!

It is official!  Lisa and I have officially been crowned Pickled Queens.  Last night we had dinner with Larry and Linda at Ruby Tuesday and Linda made Lisa and I pickle crowns.  They are great!  She even made the pickles on the crown.  It was a wonderful gift and I want to thank Linda so very much for the crowns and the title!  I think the other people in the restaurant thought we were crazy but I didn't care.  I put the crown on and took a picture because it was a great gift!  The next time Lisa and I make pickles you will see these crowns on our heads with our pickles! 
One side note, we had another casualty with our pickles.  The sugar free bread & butter pickles we made were terrible.  We did not put the right amount of stevia in the pickle mixture and instead of being sweet they ended up being very salty and dill.  We threw them out.  We will attempt another batch now that we know the correct amount to place in the mixture. Check back and see if it works!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Barn Has Been Raised!

It took three men, Tim, George & Larry, 5 days to raise a barn and it looks good!  Way to go guys!  The Barn is now double the size with a ton of storage for Hay, a covered feeding area for the horses and donkey so they can eat and not get wet on one end of the barn and on the other end a big shelter for the horses and donkey to get out of the weather.  The horses and barn cat have already checked out their new home and it seems that they like what has been done.  The barn is owned by our neighbor Cheryl and she really appreciates the new barn.  It will help her in taking care of the horses and it looks pretty cool along the road too.  The original barn was not really seen until you were just about past it but now you can see the top of the red barn as you are driving up Quail Way.  It really does look good and with Tim, George & Larry building it I know it is well built and will last for years.  That is good around here because looking at the other barns along Quail Way they look rough but they are still standing!  Great Job Guys!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Pickling Queens

I have decided that with all of the pickles Lisa and I have processed so far this summer that we can officially call ourselves "The Pickling Queens".  Yesterday we had a marathon session of making pickles and doing some experimenting with them.  We picked over 100 pickling cucumbers on Saturday and Monday and we knew we were going to have to process them.  I decided to run a little contest on Facebook asking how many jars of pickles would we make with over 100 pickling cucumbers.  If you did not see the post then take a quick guess as to how many jars. We ended up making 35 jars of pickles.  We made three new varieties, 5 quarts of sugar free Bread & Butter pickles,  4 pints of bread & butter sandwich slices and 9 pints of dill sandwich slices.  We also made 13 quarts of bread & butter pickles, 3 quarts of dill hamburger slices and 1 quart of cucumber salad for total of 35 jars of pickles.  We did have our first casualty during the canning process.  We lost a pint of dill sandwich slices when we put the jar in boiling water.  The bottom of the jar broke off in the water.  We knew this could and would happen eventually and at least we only lost one jar.  So, after 8 hours of making pickles Lisa and I are will gladly accept our new title as "The Pickling Queens".

Monday, July 18, 2016

A Barn Raising - Part 2

The barn is coming along really well the addition on the front side of the barn is all framed out, the wall has been moved to the back of the new addition and on the other side of the barn another area was framed out for a place to feed the horses so the hay and horses won't get wet when it rains or snows.  Tim, George and Larry have been working hard everyday and looking at the barn it shows.  Cheryl, the barn owner, has been making sure the guys are hydrated and fed while they are working.  Today they have to order the tin for the roof and sides of the new additions.  If progress keeps going this well they may be finished with the barn in a few days!  Great job guys!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

We Won The Battle But Lost The War

A couple of weeks ago Lisa and I tried a technique on some of the pumpkin plants hoping to save them.  There is a grub that gets into the stem of the plant and if you catch it early enough your can get rid of it by using a straight pin.  We followed the directions and it looked like we won the battle because the plant continued to thrive until it died and the two pumpkins died too.  So we ended up taking up two Pumpkin plants, a zucchini plant, almost all of the acorn plants and a couple of butter crisp plants which means we lost the war.  However, we have become expert cucumber growers.  We had another bumper crop yesterday  and we will be pickling today.  We are going to try sugar free bread and butter pickles.  Lisa's brother is a diabetic and so we are going to try and make them with stevia so he have some. Another update, the bites that I received when I was planting the beets a few days ago were not gnats but chiggers so now I hate chiggers, ugh!  Check back tomorrow for an update on the barn, it is coming along.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

A Barn Raising

Yup, there is a barn raising going on at our neighbor's barn.  Our neighbor decided she wanted a bigger barn so she could store her hay for her horses and not have to use another neighbor's barn.  So Tim & George and another farmer are helping build her barn bigger.  They cleared away some tree limbs and Larry, the other farmer, brought his tractor up to clear the land and some horse poop too! They started yesterday by adding the addition to the existing barn and got quite a lot done.  If they keep going at this pace they will be done with the barn pretty soon.  Stay tune for updates!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Sunflowers In Knoxville

Last Sunday I saw a post in Facebook about  Sunflower fields in Knoxville.  My daughter Jenny loves Sunflowers, it was her wedding flowers, and because of her I have learned to like sunflowers.  So now that I have an opportunity to go see some fields I wanted to make sure I took advantage of it.  I asked Lisa if she was interested and we also invited our neighbor Cheryl and her sister Janet.  We went yesterday to check out the fields.  There is a field in south Knoxville that is owned but TWRA, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and it is in a Wildlife Management area.  It was originally planted more than 15 years ago to attract doves, bees and butterflies but now the TWRA says it is also attracting happy people.  July is the best month to visit the fields of sunflowers.  When we got to the fields it was raining so we waited it out and I am glad we did.  We only waited a few minutes but the rain also worked to our advantage in chasing some people away.  There are 5 fields of Sunflowers and it was great to be amongst the tall sunflowers.  It was fun to see something so rural in the city of Knoxville.  If you are ever in Knoxville in July check out the fields; it does make you happy.
After we left the fields of sunflowers we headed to Puello's Grill for lunch.  It is a favorite restaurant with good food.  We had a nice lunch then headed back to Parrottsville.  Thanks Lisa, Cheryl and Janet for joining me on our little advantage.  We will do another advantage soon!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

I Hate Gnats!

I HATE GNATS!  Yes I do especially after yesterday.  I was attacked by gnats as I was planting beets.  It was a vicious attack and they truly were out for blood and got it.  A gnat is a tiny flying insect that are usually in swarms and for the most part are just annoying.  From what I read it is only the female gnat that bites.  For the most part, the males just swarm.  Well let's just say that female gnats are mean and if I could I would personally get rid of each one.  We had gone down to harvest and I wore my typical long sleeve tshirt, shorts, gloves and rubber boots.  The only skin that was exposed were my face and knees.  Well it was the back of my knees that were attacked and now all those bites are driving me nuts.  I have welts all over my legs and they itch like crazy.  I took a Benadryl and put Benadryl cream on the welts and it helps but I get really drowsy.  After researching how to treat the bites I am already doing it.  Ok, enough complaining.  We did get a good harvest and yes we made some more pickles.  So, even with the bites, we were still productive and even tried a new recipe usually zucchini but...I still Hate Gnats!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

"The Secret Lives Of Pets"

We went to see the movie "The Secret Lives Of Pets" yesterday.  Since I saw the trailer a few months ago it was a movie I had wanted to see.  It is a fun movie and it makes you see what might possibly happen with your pets when you are not around; sort of.  It was cute and I am glad I saw it.  Lisa and I went to the movie where we were meeting our neighbor Cheryl and her sister and bil.  We went to the Newport Cinema where we can see first run movies for $5.  Along with the $5 ticket, anytime, you can also purchase a popcorn bucket that you can bring back for a year and get a large popcorn for $3.50 and refills that same day are only $1.  If you buy a large soda you can get a free refill.  So a day at the movies will only cost $13; the price of a regular movie ticket at other theaters. The real reason I am telling you this is because yesterday was the first time we have ever had to stand in line to buy a movie ticket and to get concessions at the theater.  I am happy for the theater because we want it to thrive.  Back to the movie, if you want a fun movie to see and forget about things for a couple of hours then definitely go see this movie.  It is cute!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Picking To Pickling

We began yesterday in the orchard harvesting and by the afternoon we were pickling.  Lisa and I processed 100 pickling cucumbers into 9 quarts of zesty bread & butter pickles, 7 quarts of bread & butter pickles, 4 quarts of whole dill pickles, 4 quarts of dill pickle slices and 8 pints of dill slices.  That was a lot of pickling and the first time we made 4 different types of pickles; we were determined to get through every pickling cucumber and we did.  It was a long day but being that productive and getting so much done felt good.  Anybody need any pickles?  I can make you a deal and give you the family discount!
While harvesting we picked our first watermelon and cantaloupe.  We cut into the watermelon and had fun doing it, okay I did, but we picked it a little too soon, like the corn, and will wait another couple of weeks.  As for the cantaloupe, we are waiting for it to ripen.  To celebrate some more of our firsts yesterday we had watermelon with dinner; store bought.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Walking Sticks

Since we have been here at the farm I have wanted a walking stick.  Tim said he would find the right tree to make one and he finally found two trees that were perfectly straight and make good walking sticks.  He cut them down, removed the bark and started cleaning up the sticks.  A couple of hours later the sticks were created and drying out.  All he has to do is attach a strap at the top of the stick and we will be ready to go.  We can get around without a walking stick but around here, on occasion, it may come in handy while walking helping to protect yourself especially with all the animals that we can come in contact with.  There have been times on walks when a friendly dog may react weird or you may have to help move a cow.  Either way, the stick will come in handy.  Thanks Tim!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

From The Garden To The Table

We had a bumper harvest yesterday after three days of rain and not only did we get the usual, cucumbers (98 of them), yellow squash, zucchini, green peppers, okra and tomatoes.  We did get some new crops carrots, leaf lettuce and Corn. We had a BBQ last night with our friends Larry and Linda who are back up here for a few weeks.  We love getting together with them when they are in town. Everything we had at the BBQ was from the garden except the meat.  Lisa and I spent a couple of hours cleaning and cutting up all the veggies and it was so worth it.  Lisa made her famous cucumber salad.  We shucked the corn on the cob and wrapped in foil to get cooked on the grill.  We cut us squash and zucchini added grape tomatoes and onions and placed in a foil pack.  We also cut up the fresh carrots and the green beans for another foil pouch.  Tim had the honors of grilling everything and did a good job.  Everything was delicious.  We had a great time with great friends and great food!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Door Prizes, Door Prizes, Door Prizes, Door Prizes

This week end is my sister Pam's SAS event that she holds every other month and I am sure it will be another success.  I made the door prizes for her event and I used all new stamp sets, dies, colors, punches that are from the new Catalog.  Pam has made some great cards for this event and I know all the participants will enjoy making them and being together.  It really is a great bunch of ladies and getting a chance to do a hobby you like with other people who also like doing the hobby makes it even a better time.  Plus, you can pick up tips from one another.  I know it would be a lot of fun and I am hoping to be at Pam's November SAS.  Until then, I will continue to make the door prizes.
Today the Vanderwilts are going over for a BBQ.  We have not seen them for a few months so it will be good to get together again.  Check back tomorrow and see how it went.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Our Day In Pigeon Forge, TN

Lisa and I enjoyed our day in Pigeon Forge.  We have been there before but never really did much.  Yesterday, one of my best friends, Jean, came to Pigeon Forge for a family reunion.  We made a plan a couple of weeks ago to meet up in Pigeon Forge and I am so glad we did.  It was so good to spend the afternoon with Jean, her sister Linda and her husband, and their cousin Betty.  We met them at their hotel then went to the Apple Barn in Sevierville for lunch.  The Apple Barn is the place to go if you want or need anything apple.  It is an apple farm that also has a nice retail store, two restaurants, ice cream shop and bakery, a candy store and a winery all based around the apple.  Lisa and I had visited the Apple Barn before Jean arrived, we did not know at the time we were going to have lunch there, and it is a very cool place with some great things happening.  While strolling the Apple barn grounds you can watch apple pies,  taffy, cider, bread and wine being made. There is anything and everything dealing with apples in the gift shop.  We ate at the Applewood Farmhouse restaurant and once you are seated at your table you are treated to fresh apple fritters, apple butter and their special apple julep drink.  All were delicious.  The food was also very good and is simple home cooking. They give you plenty to eat so you will not leave the restaurant hungry.  It was a nice way to spend the day with good friends, good food and good fun! 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Experimenting With Pickles

Since we have been fortunate enough to be having a bumper crop of pickling cucumbers it has given Lisa and I a chance to experiment with some different kind of pickles.  We already know that our bread & butter pickles are delicious and have turned out well and so have our dill spears.  Yesterday we decided to try making whole dill pickles and dill pickle slices or sometimes referred to as Hamburger dills.  It will be a few weeks before we will know how the whole pickles turned out but we will be trying our slices later today.  We will be doing some more experiments by making zesty bread & butter pickles soon but not today because today Lisa and I are headed to Pigeon Forge to visit a very good friend, Jean, who will be in Pigeon Forge for a family reunion.  While we are in the Pigeon Forge area we are going to check it out since we have not really had a chance to yet.  Tim and George will be golfing so it will give Lisa and I a chance to check out things that the guys would not care about doing.  Should be a fun day!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

A Visitor To The Farm

We started the morning off down in the orchard harvesting and while Lisa and I were busy picking cucumbers  Lisa began taking her basket of cucumbers to the gator and she looked up and saw a visitor to the garden.  She called to me and I looked up and saw our visitor, a deer.  The deer was in the bed of leaf lettuce having breakfast.  Of course we were both surprised to see that a deer was only about 10 yards from us eating away and not really caring that we were both standing there watching it.  It was a very cute sight and we took pictures with our phones and a video that we both posted on Facebook and then realized that the deer was eating our lettuce and Lisa shooed her off.  So, now we know who has been eating our lettuce and sweet potato greens.  We thought it might be rabbits and the cow that once again went between the fence and got into the corn and then left us a few cow patties as a thank you but now we really know.  Thank you to all who gave advice on how to distract deer from the garden.  We will give it a try and seeing the deer was  still a cute sight.  Oh well, on another topic I picked another 54 pickling cucumbers so guess what is in our future...more pickles!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Working On The 4th

Lisa and I worked on the 4th because being farmers now, okay maybe a bit of an exaggeration, we have to do things even on holidays.  Actually, we had picked so many pickling cucumbers, 54, we had to get them pickled before they went soft.  After making terrible pickles, we thought they were good, last year we have finally figured out how to make pickles that stay crisp and taste good.  We even have the dills down.  So, last year, if you were nice enough to eat our mushy pickles I promise if you get some this year they will be so much better. Just return the jars so we can use them next year.  Lisa and I make 20 quarts of bread & butter pickles and cut up 30 green peppers for freezing.  After all of our pickling work we did enjoy a fun happy hour with our hubbies and neighbor, Cheryl and some delicious burgers too.  We had a nice evening talking and I even agreed to join a bowling league; it should be fun.  Thanks Tim, Lisa, George and Cheryl for a fun evening.  When we got back to the RV we did watch a few fireworks from the deck and all the fireworks in Washington DC, New York City and Boston on TV.  It was a nice 4th of July.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy 4th Of July

Happy 4th of July!  I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and a safe one too!  We are going to be relaxing at the farm, grilling burgers for dinner and catching the fireworks from our deck.  Last year we saw 6 different firework shows.  Before we start celebrating Lisa and I have a small task of making some more pickles, squash muffins, and figuring out what to do with a huge crop of slicing cucumbers.  My 4th of July picture this year is the best one yet.  Rory is so cute in her 4th of July outfit and so I just had to post it.  Happy 4th of July!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Greeneville Astros

The Greeneville Astros are a minor league baseball team of the Appalachian League and a Rookie-level affiliate of the Houston Astros.  They are located in Tusculum, TN and play their home games at Pioneer Park on the campus of Tusculum College.  The Astros have lead the Appalachian League in average attendance every year since their move to Pioneer Park.  In 2007, the first former Greeneville Astros made it to the major leagues.  Four players from the 2004 Greeneville team were called up to Houston late in the 2007 season.  They were Juan Gutienrrez, Felipe Paulino, Troy Patton and J.R. Towles. All together their have been 36 players, 1 manager and 3 coaches that started their major league baseball career with the Greeneville Astros.
Pioneer Park is a very nice ball field to play at.  The stadium is well maintained and has comfortable seating and I don't think there is a bad seat in the house.  We sat along the third base side just in front of 3rd base about 5 rows from the field.  It was close enough to the field to follow the action but far enough not to worry about getting hit with too many foul balls.  We really enjoyed the game and the best part is the Greeneville Astros won; the score 6-2.  It was a great way to spend a night out during the 4th of July weekend participating in America's pastime.  Way to go Astros!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Baby Bird Update

It is time for our baby bird update!  We ended up with five baby birds in the next in our grill.  The mother has been very gracious about us looking in on them.  We simply open up the hood of the grill and there are the baby birds with their heads up and their mouths wide open saying, " Feed Me!".
We do see mother bird fly in and out of the grill and we are eagerly awaiting the day the birds "fly the coop"or two reasons. 1. There is a lot of snow and blowing winds here in the winter and that grill will not be very warm and 2.  So we can get our grill going again.  We do appreciate George and Lisa allowing the use of their gall to cook on for the time being.  It really works out well since when we grill we all eat together anyway.  Keep growing baby birds!

Friday, July 1, 2016

What To Do With Summer Squash

As the Summer Squash started to pile up Lisa and I had to do something with it.  So yesterday was devoted to processing summer squash.  We sliced up quite a few of the squash and then blanched them, laid them out to dry and then packaged them up, sealed them up and placed them in the freezer for future use.  We also shredded a few squash and made squash muffins.  I have never had squash muffins before but they were good. Lisa found a great recipe and within about 30 minutes we went from shredding squash to eating muffins. 
We did taste our processed dill pickles and they were delicious and the best part they were not mushy.  Yay, we finally made crisper pickles.  We did have a few jars that did not seal correctly so now they become refrigerator pickles and have to be eaten within four weeks.  That should not be a problem since we all love pickles; except Tim.