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Dee's Country Journey


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4 hours ago, Dee said:

rural Iowa is where there are no neighbors for 1/4 mile, and that's our son and his family.  There's no hustle and bustle.  The only noise is the honking of geese, the pigeons cooing, coyotes off in the distance, nature sounds, etc.  There are deer and turkeys in the pasture or walking down the gravel road. 

 

I know exactly what you mean. I'll never forget the first time my awareness of that smacked me flat in the face. I was up at by Kangal breeder's farm and had woken up really early in the morning. I had gone out on the front porch and in the deep dark night, before the sun began to rise, I heard roosters crowing, chickens clucking, goats noisily conversing between themselves. 

 

I was amazed as I realized I was surrounded by life. That was my exact thought, "Wow, I'm surrounded by life!" as I listened to those sounds and it etched itself on my heart forever. I had never experienced that kind of 'life' before and it stunned me.

 

These days, I often sit on my front porch (as I am right now), working and listening to the sounds of life that surround me here. A little bit ago I heard my 5' wind chimes clanging in the winds of the storm that was moving in. The other night I was on the phone with a friend who asked, "what is that noise". It was the orchestra I have around my pond...the bull frogs and tree frogs and all kinds of creatures that sing to their hearts content about Lord knows what. I even have my beloved livestock guardian dogs, who upon hearing a siren or a pack of coyotes howling, will join their voices together and howl into the air for several minutes at a time. I even have it on video.

 

Nature's orchestra. Nothing beats that for sure.

 

4 hours ago, Dee said:

I have many friends BUT I'm still withdrawn into myself most of the time. 

 

I'm like that too. I've been wondering if there's something wrong with me because I enjoy interacting with people, especially face to face but the need to is not the same as it was years ago. Am I finally settled? I dunno but I like the balance I have living rural...the same stresses and pressures in life, but surrounded by a simplicity that brings a balance I never knew before the farm. If I want to venture out, I can and do, but I don't need to.

 

I can't say I understand it, but it is what it is.

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Posted (edited)

Darlene...exactly!  We don't have the year-round sound of frogs and toads but in the spring, I listen for them.  When I hear them, I know the joy of spring being near.  The same for when the Canadian geese start flocking in with their loud honking, bickering and just all around being wonderful.  The robins, our harbingers of spring, make my heart sing.

 

I don't think there's anything wrong with you.  I think you've grown up and can enjoy your own thoughts, space, silence.  As young people we always wanted someone to do something with, to go places with, not be alone.  Later there was the noise and chaos of raising children.  We've found that's no longer necessary.  Alone, when we're in the mood, is a good thing.  A peaceful thing. A time to meditate and speak to HIM.  Of the good, the bad and the joys.  Be calm, old friend, and enjoy this special time of life.  In time, it too shall pass!:hug3:

 

I was just out on my golfcart and went to the old house to check on rhubarb.  I took this video and will show you and others my view of the world.  It's a gorgeous time of year and today was the first day to really be out and be comfortably warm.  It's a glorious day!

 

Sorry for the noise but the wind affected the mic.

 

Edited by Dee
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Dee, I know how it is. I can relate to both you and Darlene. I don't live in the country any longer as the town has been dumped on us. And I do miss those country back roads that now have houses, apartments and more stores that are mostly useless stores. Mostly restaurants. I don't eat out hardly ever. I do have neighbors that are friends as I live in a neighborhood, but they all are doing their own things, and most are much younger than me with kids. So, they stay pretty busy.  I lost another friend yesterday and just found out today. So that makes 2 friends lost. I have another friend that is not doing well, and I am very concerned about her. Things are not looking good for her right now. She found out she has colon cancer and had surgery but refuses chemo. She's in rehab now and she has a high fever, and they don't know what from yet. Hope it's nothing to do with the surgery. I do enjoy just being home and reading and meditating on the blessings I have had over the years. I watch the rabbits in the back yard. We have 2 baby rabbits. Haven't seen the mother in over a month now. I do have my grandson here with me now and he has turned out to be a blessing over the 2 weeks he has been here. Garden is almost fully in, and he had an interview today by phone and an in-person interview on Thursday. Only thing is that it is 12-hour days and off on Friday and Saturday. But he is young and needs the money. Benefits are great as well as the starting pay. So, I am thinking if he saves his money, he should be able to get his own place in at least a year. Needs money for furniture and just starting out on his own he needs a lot. I can help him with some of it and hoping his mother will help with things also. And the ducks are back. :hapydancsmil:They all disappeared a couple of years ago. Thinking someone had them removed from neighborhood. So, though I am in what used to be country and now urban, I can still enjoy some wildlife here. Even had a fox running through the yard a couple of nights. So hopefully in a year or so, I will have my house back and no kids again. Love my grandkids but they are adults now and this is the youngest one and just needs that guidance to get on his feet. He will get there. And he is really wanting to get land and move to the country. He loves the mountain area. Maybe one day if he puts his mind to it, it will happen.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This was from 2013 but it was a typical time of calving.  Something always happening to keep it interesting.........................Cow needed help having her baby. When the calf arrived both Galen and the calf ended up in the water. The calf clear under and Galen on his knees.  Both of them twice. I don't think Mama is really sure about herself yet, but Galen and the calf are fine. Galen's phone however is in a bowl of rice. Must be an Engstrom thing as last week it was Crystal's phone in the rice after being in the water. Who said there's no excitement on the farm?.

cow and calf.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

That is beautiful, Dee.  Like a painting.  

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Posted (edited)
I talked about canning chicken and here are some pictures of the process. I filled 2 stockpots with chicken and veggies. Most of these vegetables had been past their prime so I'd saved them in a plastic bag, in the freezer, just for times like this. I even freeze the peelings from carrots, the parts of the celery you toss when you clean it, etc. If I need more, I use fresh.
 
I cooked the chicken, filled the jars and enjoyed the final product. It's not a lot of actual work but it does take HOURS from beginning to end but well worth it.  If you've never canned, you can't imagine how pretty all the jars look in your pantry.
 
The last picture is the chicken broth I cooked down from the first picture.  I cook it down to about 1/2 of what I start with and can the broth.  It's the best tasting broth you'll ever find.  I love, on a cold winter evening, opening a jar of broth, warming it and drinking it plain.  
 
 
BE SURE YOU FOLLOW REPUTABLE INSTRUCTIONS.  i RECOMMEND THE BALL BLUE BOOK!  YOU KNOW IT IS SAFE.  YOU DON'T WANT TO BE UNSAFE...IT COULD KILL YOU....LITERALLY!!!
 
 
 

Chicken soup 2  6-16-07.jpg

Chicken canning7.jpg

chicken canned.jpg

Chicken canning 6.jpg

Edited by Dee
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@Dee    Is this pint jars stacked 2 layers deep? The lid actually closes on that canner? It looks like they would be touching the inside of the lid, and possibly interfering with the vent pipe!  :puzzledsmile:

 

I have 2 :canning: :canning: canners that can handle 9 pint jars or 9 pint&a half jars; or 7 quart jars.

I can barely get them onto the stove anymore, and even that is by putting the pot on the stove and then using a pitcher to add the water! Once processed, I either have to just turn off the stove and let it sit there - which increases the cooling time because the heating element has to cool down before the pot can start to cool - or struggle to move the full canner over to the next burner so I can get the second one going. I don't usually process two loads in the same session, but it can be done if I really need it to be done!

1708192580_Chickencanning7.jpg.333abf9a1101f7c056b2781269007332.jpg

 

 

 

5 hours ago, Dee said:
I talked about canning chicken and here are some pictures of the process. I filled 2 stockpots with chicken and veggies. Most of these vegetables had been past their prime so I'd saved them in a plastic bag, in the freezer, just for times like this. I even freeze the peelings from carrots, the parts of the celery you toss when you clean it, etc. If I need more, I use fresh. 

 

 

I learned this trick from Mary's Nest, but, I am not so sure I will repeat it. I used the ends of some celery stalks, the peelings from some carrots, and the ends and skins from some onions. My broth came out looking "dirty" instead of the golden color that I am used to seeing. I don't remember if the taste overcame the visual, but probably not since I've decided to not do it again. :blush:

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6 minutes ago, Dee said:

That wouldn't be good.  I wouldn't do it again either MM.  Did you strain it?

I'm sure I ran it through a colander to get rid of the solids, but I don't think I ran it through any kind of a filtering element like a coffe filter or cheesecloth. 

Can't remember if I dumped the whole pot or used the liquid in my dog's kibble. :scratchhead:

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Posted (edited)

MM, I don't know why I didn't see the first part of your post earlier.  Sorry!  My canner holds 20 pints or 7 quarts.  Twenty pints is what is in the picture.  Yes, in the picture the jars seem too tall but they're fine and don't touch the lid at all.  Must just be the angle.

 

I know what you mean about hardly being able to lift the canner.  It weighs a ton!  I have the canner on the stove and add each jar as I get it filled.  Like you, I usually have to leave it sit on the burner to cool.  Takes more time but saves dropping the whole batch on the floor.

 

I have one canner and don't can enough any longer to have a 2nd but it sure would have been nice when I did a lot of it.

 

I'm glad you have a dog to make kibble for.  It would be awful to have to just toss it!

Edited by Dee
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I am getting ready to pull out my canning supplies and start canning from freezer again. Need to get that done. I just can't wait for the house to be finished any longer. It has been over 4 months now. This job started just after New Year's and here we are beginning of June and still not done. That Chicken and broth looks good. I am going to start pulling out the beef soon to thaw and start getting it canned. Hoping tomorrow I will be able to get it started. 

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Love the canning pics Dee! I'm a huge canner and have many different side canners all the way up to one (I actually have 2 of this size but only use one) that will can 19 quarts and 32 pints. It really makes it nice to be 'one and done'.

 

And yes, it does take hours and days to preserve the foods through canning. I made some strawberry rhubarb jam a few weeks ago. I had alot of fruit, but it made very little and I only ended up with about 8 half pints. The flavor is so through the roof that I really want to make a bunch more.

 

I'm not looking forward to the summer canning because I never do anything on a small scale, but it's one of those things that you'll be glad you did down the road. I'm looking to process 300lbs of tomatoes in various ways - sauces, salsa, ketchup, plus alot of other things. I wish produce harvest would space itself further apart lol. It seems to all come in around the same time. And then this fall, I'll go on an apple binge when it's apple season and can up a variety of things with those.

 

Last year I made some apple butter that was to die for. I use brown sugar instead of white, added vanilla bean paste, some grated lemon rind and fresh lemon juice to the batch. I was unbelievably good!

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Posted (edited)

Broken wrist hack:  Anything that is too heavy because of water, use some tubing to siphon it into the sink.    Yes, redneck gas borrowing style.   If you are worried about heat and suction, use a baby nasal aspirator to start it.  

 

Amazon.com: 10 Feet - 8mm ID 10mm OD Clear Vinyl Tubing Food Grade Multipurpose Tube for Beer Line, Kegerator, Wine Making, Aquaponics, Air Hose by Proper Pour : Everything Else

 

If it is dumb but it works...it ain't dumb. Dh says I remind him of the cricket in Mulan and he is the dragon.   Mushu:  "You are a lucky cricket.  You sit here next to me."

Edited by euphrasyne
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Littlesister, did you get started on your canning?  We had our garage moved from our old place and a 12x25 addition added on to it.  This has been going on since March and, like you, they still aren't finished.  I was nice about it all this time but now I've had it.  It will only take them a weekend to get it finished if they'd just get to it.  :tapfoot: They best get back to it next weekend or I'll blow, I'm sure.  I want to get another freezer as soon as possible to start filling and can't get it until the electricity is hooked up.  Grrrr!

 

Darlene, I plan on doing a lot of tomatoes too.  I'll also do green beans if I must or if I can talk myself into it.  I'll wait and see how the world is behaving before I decide.  I do have them planted though, so will probably not let them go to waste once they're ready and waiting on me.  I just can't turn my back on food. I saw a recipe on Facebook the other day for rhubarb butter.  I've made apple butter for years but never heard of rhubarb butter.  You?

 

Euphraysne,  good idea.  I'd never thought of siphoning off the water.  The baby aspirator idea is also cool.  So many things to come up with when we all work together!

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Dee, I did not get to the canning like I hoped. Just love when kids come in from out of town unannounced. Love to see them but they need to let me know they are coming ahead of time. But it is what it is. So, I had SIL put up curtain rods for me instead of doing the canning like I hoped. So going to hopefully try again tomorrow since I have no idea when the contractors will be out to finish up this house. Said they would finish up when the shower door comes in. So how long that will take is anyone's guess and I am tired of just sitting around not being able to get house back together. 

 

euphrasyne, I like the idea of siphoning the water from pots. Not getting any younger, pots get heavy and with my arthritic hands that is a safer option. 

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Dee, I’ve never heard of rhubarb butter but now I want to try it. I’m going up to the Amish market this morning to pick up some rhubarb so I think I’ll try a batch and see. From the recipes I looked at, it’s just rhubarb, sugar and lemon juice. I think I’ll substitute with brown sugar and add some vanilla bean paste and will see how it comes out. 
 

I’ll let you know!

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Littlesister, hopefully the shower doors will be in soon.  Being in a mess gets so old!!!

 

Please do Darlene.  After finally getting some rain and with the warmth that's to come in the next few days I should have more rhubarb to pick.  I've been thinking about making it too.  I have 28 bags in the freezer but hoping not to have to use it until winter.  I know there's tons of rhubarb around that people don't do a thing with but I'm a coward and won't ask them for it.

 

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Never heard of rhubarb butter before. Very interesting. I will have to try that. 

 

Dee, found out today that it may be sometime next week before the shower door comes in. The tub and shower have been in for 2 months so he should have ordered the door long before last week. Now I also found out that the fireproof mat the wood stove will be sitting on that we talked about, and I picked out a month ago, he has not ordered that yet either. He just does what he wants and when I call him down on it, he puts it like no we never talked about that. And of course, I just let him know that I have it all in text and the picture of the mat as well from a month ago. No comment. The man is losing it. He can't remember one day to the next on what has been decided. 

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Big sigh LIttlesister.  Like the garage he moved it from the old place April 16th and we're still waiting for him to finish.  Gets awfully old!!!

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Dee, I made the rhubarb butter today with the ingredients i mentioned above. It’s awesome and full of flavor and tart but not too tart with the added brown sugar. I think

my dad will go crazy over it. 

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