our view

our view

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Bowling League Today

So it is only the second week of the bowling league and I am already being substituted.  Lisa and George joined the Pin Busters as subs, which I appreciate very much, since I will be hit and miss a bit in November, January & February.  Lisa will be subbing today and I know she will do great.  So even though I am not there in body I am there in spirit!  Go Pin Busters!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Not On The Farm

We have now lived on the farm for two years but have not been able to celebrate during our anniversary because we have not been on the farm when it is time.  Last year Lisa and I were in Jacksonville, FL attending a wedding of a good friend's daughter.  This year Tim and I are in Lake Geneva, WI attending a celebration of life and family reunion.  Who knows where we will be next year but if our track record has anything to do with it I am guessing it won't be at the farm.  I guess we will just have to wait and see.  Until then keep checking in as I continue the daily happenings at the farm.  It could be fun!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Missing Our Boy

We are having a great time at Lake Geneva, WI and even though we have stayed very busy we still have our moments when we miss our dog Shadow.  He is still at the farm and I know being well taken care of by George and Lisa.  There are no dogs allowed at Barr Camp so we had to leave him at the farm.  This is the first time that we have traveled without Shadow.  It seems strange not to have our boy with us.  Shadow, we will be home soon.  Thanks George and Lisa for taking care of him.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Diamond Delema

While Tim and I are with family in Wisconsin Lisa and George are taking care of Shadow for us.  They also have visitors at the farm; their kids and their fur babies.  So they have their hands full this week end.  They all started their week end by Lisa losing the diamond off her wedding ring set.  Luckily for her it fell in her sock drawer.  There is one small problem in getting the ting fixed.,.getting it off Lisa's finger,  They all headed to Newport to find a jeweler to cut off her ring.  There were none in Neeport so they headed for Greeneville where they did find a jeweler who successfully cut off the ring and will be fixing it.  Diamond delema solved!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Celebration of LIfe

Today we are celebrating my Mom's Celebration of Life.  My mom died last September but we knew in order for the whole family to attend we had to plan it at a much later date.  We are holding her celebration in Lake Geneva, WI at Norman B Barr Camp where we use to live every August for several summers until 1967.  That is the year my Dad died and we stopped going to Barr Camp.  My brother Ford, as an adult, continued to go to Barr Camp and eventually got his own cottage.  So, we decided as a family that is where we would hold my Mom's celebration of life especially since she was born and raised in Wisconsin.  The service should be nice and I know we will do every thing we can to honor my Mom.  We love and miss you Mom!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Pin Busters

I have joined a bowling league at the bowling alley in Newport.  We play every Wednesday morning in the Coffee League.  The teams each have three members and the team I am on, Pin Busters has been playing for quite awhile.  They needed a new member and asked if I would be interested.  I have never been a great bowler but I do enjoy it so I figured why not.  Lisa and George have also joined the team who will sub in when I or any other member of the team cannot bowl.  So, since it has been about four years since I bowled how did I do on my match?  I bowled a 77, a 75 and a 91.  I have a lot of room for improvement.  My team was not too disappointed so and did not kick me off so I think I am in.  It was fun and I think I am going to enjoy the league.  Go Pin Busters!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Happy Two Year Anniversary!

Today is this blogs two year anniversary so Happy Anniversary Just Another Day At The Farm.  I remember writing the very first posting announcing this blog and I basically that it was life at the farm and it pretty much has been.  I have posted every day for the past two years and although not all of the posts have been great I think I have had a few entertaining ones.  I will continue to post every day which is not too hard since something usually does happen here at the farm.  So Happy Anniversary Just Another Day At The Farm and here's to another great year!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Pickle Queens Are On Hiatus

With the cucumber crop now at an end the Pickle Queens are officially on a break until next summer.  It is hard to believe that we are done with pickling but we still have all of the pickles we made to remember our best season yet.  I do not have the exact count of how many jars of pickles that we put up this year but I know it is well over 200 jars.  We got a little creative with the pickles by making four different flavors: bread & butter, zesty bread & butter, stevia bread & butter and dill. Then within those flavors we made a few different styles of pickles: slices, whole, sandwich, spears and relish.  The best part of this year's batch of pickles is that they are crisp.  Anyone who received our pickles last year I am sorry for the mushy pickles they had good flavor but they were mushy.  This year, if you receive them, they are so much better and crisp.  It was a good pickle season and we will be enjoying the pickles we made all through the year. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Christmas For Crafters

If you have walked into a Michael's, Joann's, Hobby Lobby or A.C. Moore you have probably noticed that Fall is in full swing and Christmas is getting set up.  Many people think it is ridiculous how early the holiday merchandising is going up but from a Crafter's perspective it is perfect.  I am already in the Christmas holiday mood since the past couple of days I have been making Christmas cards for a future SAS.  Pam's November SAS (Stamp and Stack) is always her biggest SAS and I get to be there for it, Yay!  I was lucky enough to receive from Pam a bunch of new Christmas stamp sets and other items to play and create with.  So, while it is sunny and 90+ outside inside the Crafty Cottage is it cool, thanks to the air conditioner, and there were even Christmas tunes playing on the iPad to keep me in the Christmas mood.  For crafters we need supplies early if we are going to be making gifts or decorations in time for Christmas.  So thank you to all the craft stores that have our crafting backs so that we can get our Christmas gifts and decorations done before the holiday.  It is Christmas time for crafters.  "Deck the halls with boughs of holly...fa la la la la fa la la la!"

Monday, August 22, 2016

Thank You Rio!

Thank you Rio for hosting the 2016 Olympic games.  You did a good job and even though there were some difficulties through out the games over all it was a great experience.  Like I said a couple of weeks ago I am an Olympic junkie and that is what I watch and this year it was well covered.  NBC broadcast, over the air, Olympic coverage from basically over 12 hours a day during the week and even longer on the week ends.  That is just the network on cable or satellite there were 7 other stations that also had Olympic coverage so basically from about 8:00 am until well after midnight you could watch some Olympic event and I did!  Thank you NBC.  It was a good Olympics with a lot of great victories along with the agonies of defeat.  We saw it all and we cried with the winners and the losers.  I am not sure how I will function the next few days without having the Olympics to watch but I only have to wait two years for the Winter Olympics in South Korea.  To all the Olympians, congratulations for making it some really great games and for the part showing what good sportsmanship is.  So, way to go Rio and thank you!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Raccoons, Corn and the War

For the past few weeks we have been battling raccoons and trying to keep them out of our corn.  As you can see by the Raccoon counter (to the right-->) we have been at 25 for about a week but the Opossum count has gone up.  So, did we win the war with the Raccoons and have they stayed out of the corn?  NO!  We were thinking we have not had a raccoon in a while so we must of got them.  There were little signs of destruction in the corn and we even picked 7 ears of corn that we had for dinner last night.  Well, our illusion of winning the war was just that.  As Lisa and I were finishing up the harvesting a couple of days ago and we were heading up out of the orchard and what runs in front of our path but a mommy raccoon and three babies.  Where were they heading?  The orchard!  So, do we continue the battle or do we end the war, that is what General George has to decide.  If I can put my vote in and after eating the corn last night I say continue the war because the corn was delicious! 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Farmer's Daughter...It Really Does Exist!

For almost two years now I have heard about this restaurant called The Farmer's Daughter in Chuckey, TN but had never seen it nor seen anything about it.  I really thought that George and Lisa were just teasing me with this place where the food is all homemade southern cooking that your southern Grandma would have served on her table; even northern Grandmas too!  All I was told about was how wonderful the food was and they had gone several times, even Tim went once without me, and anytime family came to town they would go.  I didn't think it existed.  Well I was wrong and I finally went to this "mecca".  The Farmer's Daughter is a family run restaurant that only takes cash or checks and serves their food family style.  Each table choses two meats, the selection of meats for the day are written on a chalk board.  Along with the two meats you also get a fresh basket of rolls and corn bread and about 12-14 sides.  Lisa and I went to the Farmer's Daughter with our neighbor Cheryl, her sister Janet and our other neighbor Linda.  Only Lisa had been to the Farmer's Daughter so the rest of us were going to experience it for the first time.  I was hesitant about the whole thing until we actually arrived at the restaurant and sat down at our table.  It is a huge restaurant that can handle seating for 2 up to 22.  We saw the choices of meats for the day on the chalk board and decided upon the fried chicken and bbq pulled pork.  As we were seated at our table we were served with our choice of drinks and a basket of fresh and hot rolls and cornbread.  When lunch was served it was brought out on a huge tray that had the chicken and pork and about 15 sides.  Our sides were potato salad, cole slaw, cornbread salad, mashed potatoes, carrot soufflé, cooked cabbage, broccoli, cowboy beans, cucumber salad, fried green tomatoes, mac & cheese, strawberries & cream and a few more.  The food was all really good and I had tasted a couple of things I had never had before but were absolutely delicious; the cornbread salad and carrot soufflé, YUM!  You get all this food and your drink is included for $16.00 a person and it is all you can eat, including the meat, as long as you clean your plate.  So, the Farmer's Daughter does exist and I enjoyed my visit to it.  Needless to say you will not leave this place hungry! 
Right next store to the Farmer's Daughter is a marketplace.  Mountain View Bulk Foods is a family run market that stocks specialty foods, bulk foods, housewares and gifts.  The bulk foods are plentiful and is the place to buy so many fresh seasonings, candy, flours, pastas, and fresh home made breads and desserts.  They have a huge deli offering several types of meats and cheeses along with fresh eggs and butter.  The best part, it is all reasonably priced and priced for the locals not the "tourists".  I will be shopping here more often now. 
We had a nice "ladies day" out and hope to do more of these kind of things with some pretty nice ladies to hang around with.  Thank you Lisa, Cheryl, Janet and Linda for a nice day!

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Shed Addition Is Complete...Outside!

The addition to the tool shed is complete on the outside.  The roof is on and the entire tool shed has been repainted so that the addition looks the same as the original shed.  George and Tim did such a good job on the shed that you would never know there was an addition added.  The inside still needs to be completed but that will be done in the next few days.  For now, the addition is done and all the tools inside the shed are protected from the elements.  Now that the addition is up it has created a large wall that could stand to have some kind of a decorate item on it.  It is big enough for a good size barn quilt or it could have a nice looking metal sculpture.  It could even have a mural but why have a mural when if you are looking at the shed all you have to do is turn around and see the beautiful view we have here at the farm.  In time we will figure that out.  Great job George and Tim!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

A New Canning Toy

While I was busy on another project Lisa got to play with a new canning toy, a pressure canner.  Our neighbor Cheryl had one so Lisa borrowed it to try her hand at canning stewed tomatoes.  There are several veggies that can be canned but needs to be done with a pressure canner.  It is like a pressure cooker but for canning. We use a canner in a boiling water bath for foods with high acid like pickles, jams, jellies, tomato sauce, etc.  For fruits and veggies that are low acid foods a  pressure canner needs to be used.  With a pressure canner you can use it to can carrots, beans, squash,, etc.  So Lisa wanted to can some stewed tomatoes and learned how to use the presser canner and ended up with 7 pints of stewed tomatoes!  Way to go Lisa!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Roof Is On

The Tool Shed know has a roof, well it had one but it was shingled and the new addition needed to have a roof so it was big decision time...keep the shingles and add them to the new addition roof or remove all the shingles and replace with a tin roof.  The tin roof won and the past couple of days George and Tim have been busy putting the new tin roof on.  It looks good but I was shocked on the color.  All of the other tin roofs on the farm are green but on the tool shed it is silver.  When I questioned George he said he would rather place a neutral color on the tool shed that matches most of the paint scheme and not have to redo everything.  There is still some trim work on the roof to be done but it is looking pretty darn good.  Way to go George and Tim, good job!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Just A Little Bit OF Grape Jelly

How much grape Jelly does 31 pounds of various grapes make?  Well let's just say that we won't be running out of Grape Jelly soon.  Lisa and I made 35 half pint jars of jelly.  Now this jelly does look a bit different due to the kind of grapes we used.  The grapes that Lisa and I picked were a mixture of several brands: Niagara, concord, etc.  This time we had more of the red and green grapes and less of the dark purple grapes so the jelly looks more like a rose wine color that the dark purple grape jelly.  Mixing grape types may not make any sense but it sure does make good jelly.  So after spending a couple of hours destemming the grapes, what a sticky mess, we continued with the two day process in making the jelly and we were successfully made just a little bit of grape jelly!

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Shed Addtion Is Dry

The addition to the tool shed is up and is completely finished as far as keeping the weather out.  All four sides are up along with the roof and the door.  Now all the contents of the tool shed will still dry if it should rain.  We were lucky last week when George and Tim started the shed that it did not rain and get the open end of the tool shed's contents wet.  The floor is down and the tar paper is on the roof waiting for the tin to get cut so what George and Tim can go get it and put it on the shed. The tool shed had a shingled roof that was fine but with the addition and the fact that everything else on the farm has a tin roof George decided to make the entire roof of the tool shed tin.  It should look good when it is up.  George and Tim are doing a great job!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Dandridge, TN

 For our 33rd Anniversary we wanted to go out and have some fun so we decided to check out the town of Dandridge, TN. Dandridge is known as the second oldest city in Tennessee; Jonesborough is the oldest city in Tennessee.  Dandridge was founded in 1783 and became the county seat for Jefferson County in 1793.  The town was named after Martha Dandridge Washington, the wife of George Washington the first President of the United States.  There was a Civil War skirmish that occurred in Dandridge on December 24, 1863 between  Confederate General James Longstreet and Union General Ambrose Burnside both trying to gain control of Knoxville.  A detachment of Longstreet's army intercepted the Union brigade just north of Dandridge and forced them to fall back to New Market. 
In 1942 Douglas Dam was constructed and some of the best farmland was flooded.  The historic town of Dandridge was going to be lost because it sits below the water level of Douglas Lake but the city petitioned then-First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt to save Dandridge especially since it was the only city in the United States named for Martha Dandridge Washington.  A saddle dam was built between Dandridge and the lake.  The dam rises almost directly behind the Town Hall and run roughly parallel to Main Street; it is known as the Million Dollar Dike.
There is an American Revolutionary War cemetery that is interesting to walk through.  The buildings in downtown Dandridge are well maintained and is a great downtown historic area.  There was a farmer's market going on so we checked it out.  Fresh bread, produce, honey and some local made crafts were some of the items at the farmer's market.  There is an old drug store, the Tinsley-Bible Drug store, was established in 1911 and has been a drug store ever since.  It also has a lunch counter, like many drugstores did back then and when I was a little girl, and so we had to have some ice cream.  Tim, Lisa and I had rootbeer floats and George had a banana split.
The town of Dandridge is really below Douglas lake and when you cross the lake and look at the million dollar dike all you can see of the town of Dandridge are the church steeples.  It was a nice town to visit and when walking around it you could sense it's history and having some ice cream in the drugstore you kind of felt like you were walking around a "Mayberry".

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Happy Anniversary Tim!

Happy 33rd Anniversary to my husband Tim.  We have had a great 33 years of marriage together and we are ready to do another 33+ years.  I feel very blessed to have you as my husband and father of our girls and grandfather to our Rory.  The last 33 years had their ups and downs but the important thing is that we went through them together.  So how do we celebrate our 33rd Anniversary? We are going to start with breakfast out and then take it from there.  Check back and see what we do!  Happy Anniversary Tim!

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Tool Shed Part 2

The addition on the tool shed is really coming along.  George and Tim have been doing a great job and are coming close to having the addition all closed in and protected by the weather.  The amount of room the addition is going to give the tool shed will be amazing.  The tool shed, like the Crafty Cottage is built over the side of the mountain so while one side is on  the ground the rest of the shed is on stilts.  The one "weird" thing about the shed is when it was originally built by the company George purchased from there was a tree that ended up being in the way so they used it as a support of the building.  The tree is still going strong and so is the building and now with the addition will continue to be.  I mentioned about the shed being built over the mountain because when you have one side that can not really be used you have to plan how you will do things so that you do not have to work from a challenging area.  We learned this while we were doing the Crafty Cottage too.  Keep checking back and see the progress. 
Olympic Update, or "In My Opinion", I have been enjoying it and even with some of the issues it has been a great one especially with Team USA doing so well.  Way to go swimmers, both men and women, and women gymnastics, WOW!  Beach volleyball, volleyball, soccer, basketball, field hockey, cycling, diving and more the USA is still going strong.  Tonight the sport that I know very well begins and I am hoping Team USA will do well... Go Team USA in Track & Field!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Tool Shed Addition

The Tool Shed here at the farm is getting an addition.  What was once a tool shed with storage before George and Lisa built their home here at the farm is now going to be truly a tool shed.  Right now several of the big tools are stored down in the barn and that is not always convenient when needing a tool especially in winter.  Right now the tool shed is 12 foot by 16 foot but will soon be 12 foot by 24 foot and will have ample space for all the tools.  George and Tim have already started the addition and what makes it a bit easier is where the additional room is going it was once a deck so the flooring was there to begin building on.  George demoed the deck and began the addition with Tim helping.  It is going to be a great space and it will make it easier for me to try my hand on wood working.  I know, all I need is another hobby but we can discuss that in another blog.  Keep checking back to see the progress of the addition on the tool shed.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Harvests Are Lighter

As we go through the month of August we realize that the growing season is slowing down and some of our crops have stop producing.  The harvests are a lot lighter because of this.  We still have plenty to harvest especially as some of the winter produce begin to mature but we do know that we are coming to the end of the cucumbers and green beans.  We still are picking but the quality and quantity are not like they were in June and July.  The tomatoes are beginning to die down a bit but the okra, eggplants and green peppers are still going strong.  The watermelon is going great and we continue to keep growing big ones.  Same with the cantaloupe.  We will be picking a bunch of grapes again tomorrow which means more grape jelly in our future.  We still have corn and George is fighting the battle of the raccoon very valiantly; he has trapped and released 23 raccoons so far.  The butternut squash is still thriving although I don't know how and we are hoping the potatoes, a couple of different kinds, are growing.  We will be checking those soon.  So even though the crops that have kept us busy canning are starting to die down there is still so much more the orchard still has to offer. Speaking of canning, the pickle queens were busy again yesterday making 6 more quarts of bread & butter pickles.  We are making more b&b pickles than dill for two reasons, 1. we really like them and 2. so does everyone.  By the way, while making the pickles Lisa and I have gotten so good at it we don't even have to think anymore; we just do it!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Spring Cleaning In August

I spent most of the day yesterday doing some spring cleaning since I did not have a chance to do it in the Spring.  Between my parathyroid surgery and breaking my foot spring cleaning in the Spring was shot.  Then there was only a week or so before we started harvest the orchard and since then harvesting and canning has pretty much been the priority.  Yesterday was the perfect day for me to finally get some major cleaning done.  Tim went golfing, we did not harvest which meant we did not need to do any canning and since the Olympics were on I decided not to do anything in the Crafty Cottage.  I did get to catch some great Olympic coverage while I cleaned and I have to admit it is nice to get things looking good again. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

A Quiet Olympic Watching Day

It was a quiet day and one I enjoyed because not only did I get some things done around the house but I got to watch all of the Olympic coverage.  This may seem to be a waste of time for some but for me it gives me the opportunity to see sports I would not get to watch and learn about the world.  The human interest stories are always good.  Now, if you have been watching any of the coverage on NBC you may have seen the road races for the men on Saturday and the women on Sunday.  First of all, WOW, they do cover some miles and terrain but the biggest thing were the crashes.  Yesterday I got to experience the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.  Watching the women's road cycling and feeling so happy for the USA having a rider in the front then watching the number one rider crash and crash hard.  It was scary because after she fell she did not move; you knew she was hurt when you saw her fall.  Our USA rider was on her own and almost won until three other riders worked together and had more energy at the end then our USA rider. Team USA is going well and lead in the medal count so far.  GO TEAM USA!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Pickles, Pasta Sauce and Rio 2016

What does Pickles, Pasta Sauce and Rio 2016 have in common?  It is called a Saturday to us.  We started our day down in the orchard harvesting another and the surprise crop of the day was eggplant.  We thought we had two maybe three growing but when I checked the eggplant plants I ended up picking six eggplants.  George has always  liked eggplant but for Lisa and I it is a new thing and we like it as eggplant parmesan but am not sure what other ways we may like and we are too chicken to try so what happens with all the eggplants picked?  Make eggplant parmesan and freeze it!  I did pick more pickling cucumbers that I thought I would so after the harvest and getting cleaned up we made another 7 quarts of bread and butter pickles and then made 5 quarts of pasta sauce.  During all of this canning we did have the Olympics on and even though I was not impressed with the opening ceremonies the games have been great.  Watching the USA first gold medal being won while watching shooting is not something I would ordinarily watch but because it is the Olympics I loved it.  Same with the cycling road race; that was one tough course and the finish was totally unexpected. Even better the USA teams are getting off with a good start winning their games in Beach Volleyball, Volleyball, Soccer, Field Hockey and Basketball.  All in all the first day of the Olympics were fun to watch and we even accomplished some farm stuff too!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

The Rio Olympics Begin!

I am an Olympic Nut!  I am one of the those people that will try and watch every minute of coverage.  I even watch the sports I really don't care about because I just love the Olympics.  I have always been crazy over them since I was a little girl.  So last night was the opening ceremonies to the 2016 Rio Olympics and I was ready.  We watched it with George and Lisa and after all the waiting for it to begin I have to admit I was a little disappointed in the number of commercials in the first half hour.  I think there was more commercial time then Olympic coverage.  It did seem to get a little better but not much.  Over all, the opening ceremonies were okay and with Rio's money issues it was better then I thought it would be.  Now let the games begin! WooHoo!

Friday, August 5, 2016

The Harvests Are Getting Smaller

As the summertime enters into August we have noticed that our harvests are not as big as they were through out the month of July.  This post will be a little update on what is going on in the Orchard.  We have been so fortunate so far with most of the crops that were planted.  This is the second year of having a  garden and we are still in learning process.  This year we have seen the effort that George put in at the garden during the winter treating the beds with horse manure.  Fertilizing the beds all winter was huge and one of the reasons the crops did well.  We did have some failures and we had some battles to fight, still at war with the raccoons, but all in all the orchard has produced for us.  Our successes are definitely cucumbers, tomatoes, green peppers, green beans, peas, okra, cantaloupe, watermelon, eggplant and grapes.  We did have some success with zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, leaf lettuce, beets, blueberries and corn.  We are still waiting for results on the sweet potatoes, red potatoes and Yukon potatoes as we have not dug them up yet.  Unfortunately we did have some plants that just never either grew or were attacked by bugs.  We just lost our pumpkins.  We had some great looking ones but a grub got into the vine and started eating it's way out.  This also happened to all of our acorn, butternut and buttercrisp squash and is the thing that killed off our zucchini and yellow squash.  The onions, head lettuce and a few other items never even grew.  We are still learning as we go and we have to learn and we are.  I know next year's orchard will be toned down and we will cut back or even give up on growing some veggies but that is part of the process.  Even though it is work we have enjoyed it and it is good for us to get dirty and sweaty sometimes.  To quote a line from the movie "God's Not Dead" and " God's Not Dead 2", " all the time God is good and God is good all the time".  So true!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Animals Are Everywhere!

We have had a few visitors to the farm lately.  Of course the war is still going on with the raccoons and if you have been following the Raccoon count on the blog then you know that George has trapped 19 raccoons through yesterday.  He has even trapped two at a time in one cage twice.  Yesterday he got two babies that would not stop cuddling to each other, even when released.  Since George has begun setting the traps he has caught something everyday but not always raccoons.  He has now caught to Opossums too.  We do not mean any harm to these animals even though they have destroyed almost three fourths of the corn.  So, it is a war over corn and so far the raccoons are winning but we have not given up the fight and have new plans made to get them where they are coming from.  Let's hope it works!
We have also been visited by some deer lately.  Now we have deer on the farm we know this because of the Game cameras that Lisa and George have placed on the property.  On occasion we will see deer in orchard but a couple of days ago we had a deer right behind the RV and then it walked along our driveway.  This is the first time we have had a deer so close to where we live.  Shadow was so good with the deer.  He did not bark or try to scare it off.  Instead he just stood on the deck watching the deer walk along the driveway.  So now you know why there are animals everywhere!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Tomatoes, Pickles And A Surprise

The harvest yesterday was just a tad smaller than what we got use to.  The cucumbers, both slicing and pickling are starting to slow down now and so are the green beans.  We did have quite a few cantaloupes and tomatoes.  The watermelons are looking good and we are about to have a few here and not sure how fast we are going to be able to eat them but will give it a valiant try.  After looking at what we picked Lisa decided we would work on tomatoes and then pickles.  She had a new recipe for just making tomato sauce, not pasta sauce.  It seemed pretty easy, all we had to do it wash, de stem and quarter the tomatoes. Cook them for a few minutes, put them through a processor and cook and reduce them.  Sounds like a piece of cake!  It was except we did not realize that reducing the tomatoes would take so long.  During the reduction process we cleaned up, had lunch, I worked in the Crafty Cottage and about two plus hours later we were ready to ladle the sauce into jars and process them.  We thought it would only take about 8 pint jars but we were wrong.  The sauce made 14 pint jars.  After the sauce was jarred and waiting for processing we started working on making some more bread & butter pickles.  We have the pickling process down so well that Lisa and I don't even have to think; we just do it.  After the pickles were done we were still processing the tomato sauce so we took care of the green beans and processed them for freezing.  It was a busy day. 
When we were done I went to check the mail after dinner and got a wonderful surprise from my daughter Jenny.  She gave me a Fitbit last year and I have been using it faithfully but it acted up last week and I could not get it to sync.  Well I had mentioned it to her but then I got it working again.  Yesterday Jenny sent me a new Fitbit Charge.  This is a major upgrade for me.  The charge does so many more functions then my Fitbit did.  It tracks steps, distance, calories burned and active minutes like my fitbit does now but the Charge also measures floors climbed, tracks your sleep, has an alarm and tells time; it is a watch too!  Thank you Jenny, I love it!!!  Now it is time to get it charged and synced so I can start wearing and using it!  WooHoo!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

A Fun Day In Abingdon, Virginia

We celebrated George and Lisa's Anniversary by having a fun day away from the farm.  We headed to Abingdon, VA about 90 miles northeast of Parrottsville.  I have been wanting to go to Abingdon for quite awhile and I am glad we took the drive.  It is a historic city and county seat in Washington County, Virginia that was founded in 1778.  The downtown area of the city has several historic buildings including the Barter Theater, Martha Washington College now the Martha Inn & Spa, the Hardware and Sinking Springs Cemetery.  The Virginia Highlands Festival is going on in Abingdon.  This is one of Abingdon's biggest festivals that was started in 1948 by Robert Porterfield, founder of the Barter Theater, to showcase Appalachian arts and crafts.  What was once a week long festival has now grown into a 16 day event offering various venues, food and entertainment.  After walking through the festival and downtown area, visiting lots of Antique stores, we decided to have lunch at the BoneFire Smokehouse restaurant.  This restaurant is located in a historic building that was once a Hardware store.  The food and atmosphere was great but the service a bit slow but that was okay because we had plenty of time to sit, relax and enjoy our meal.  After lunch we took a stroll through the Sinking Springs Cemetery where several of the founders of Abingdon have been laid to rest.  It is an interesting cemetery to visit and walk around.  The oldest grave is from 1776 before the town was even founded.  We then headed over to the Barter Theater that was founded in 1933 by Robert Porterfield.  He started the theater because during the depression it was tough to see show and there were also a lot of out of work actors who just wanted to perform.  Patrons who could not afford the 40 cent ticket could barter for it with food, livestock or other goods.  The actors were also paid sometimes with food and livestock.  One of the most famed actors that got his start at the Barter Theater was Gregory Peck.  We had a great day in Abingdon and I would highly recommend a visit to this historic city if you are in the western Virginia, eastern Tennessee or western North Carolina areas.  There is a lot to see and do and I will be returning for more fun soon.  On our way home we did take a side trip to Bristol, VA/TN to have a treat from the Blackbird Bakery, they are famous for their donuts, but their desserts are good too.  It was a great way to spend a day with good friends and celebrate an Anniversary.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Peach Jam and Pickles Too

We tried something new yesterday, making Peach jam using the crock pot.  Linda and Larry were kind enough to give us over 10 lbs of peaches before they left for Florida.  They have a peach tree in their yard and it obviously is doing well.  Lisa and I started early yesterday peeling and slicing the fresh peaches for jam.  Lisa found a recipe for it so we gave it a try.  We decided to use stevia instead of sugar and a no sugar needed pectin.  It was a very easy recipe to follow and total, including washing and peeling the peaches, was about 30 minutes plus 8 hours.  When the slow cooker was done Lisa mashed the peaches and we pour the jam into the prepared canning jars.  While the peach jam was cooking the Pickle Queens decided to make another 9 quarts of bread and butter pickles.  I know it seems like we are making a lot of pickles but this year they are really good and they will make great gifts. 
Today is George and Lisa's Anniversary so I would like to take this opportunity to wish them a very Happy Anniversary!  29 years and counting!  WooHoo!