Thursday, January 31, 2013


Just a few more hours until the deadline ends to enter this month's book giveaway contest.

Two books! 

Deadline midnight!

Drawing will take place this weekend, results Sunday!

Good luck!


Rustic woodland fence, photo courtesy of Eden Design
Anyone who has read the blog for any length of time knows of my love of fence designs.  Which one we end up with at the farm and where?  Only time will tell.  

Until then, I'll collect images of styles I like and someday, I'll be able to look back through my blog and go "oh yeah, I want this type of fence or that type of fence."  As for this one, I love the use of rustic timber and the it has the mesh screening/fencing to keep animals out.  Of course the flowers certainly add to it as well.  Check them out!  I don't think we have any straight timbers like that on the farm, but I suppose it could be trucked in.

Hope you are having a good week.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Here is something we got recently.  We ordered two of them.  With all the fresh eggs that 2nd Family gives us at the farm (when the hens are laying), we wanted something more durable, something that is easy to clean, and something lets us take the eggs and easily carry them to the counter in the kitchen (the fridge is out in the mudroom).  Another benefit is that, quite frankly, they are kind of stylish (hey we can be in the country and have style, right?).  I have seen them in various shapes and configurations, but having one that holds a dozen was the best choice for us and we liked this one as it looks like an egg carton.  Here is the link to where we found it:

These will keep the eggs in the fridge, safe from bumping around and take up the least footprint of space. 

Here is one that seems to be the other popular style, 

it's called the Kikkerland Ceramic Egg Rack.  This one is glazed ceramic as well and holds a dozen.  

They even have the one above, BIA Cordon Bleu Egg Tray - 6, another ceramic glazed tray that holds half a dozen eggs.

We decided on the first of course, but they are all pretty neat and all would look great in any kitchen.

Monday, January 28, 2013


The other day, I posted about HERE about our amazing results with coughing and the Vicks Vaporub cure.  Many of you suggested other uses so I decided to see what was out there.   

So, I've been scouring the Internet and have found all sorts of interesting uses.  I can't reference one specific website that I found all of these on because I gathered them from a variety of places.  I did the hard work for you and pulled them together from posts and even comments on other websites.

So, in no particular order, here are some of the many uses I found for Vicks
(most as yet untested by me):

Rub a dab on your temples or forehead.

Splinter, paper cut or small cut, scrape?
Clean the wound and rub some on to prevent infection and speed up the healing process.  Small cuts/scratches only.

Want to keep a dog or cat away from a certain area?
Place an opened jar in the area you don't want the pet to be in and they should stay away as they don't like the smell.

Rub some on the potential bruising area to prevent it from turning purple and black and blue.  It will help break down the blood that causes the bruise.

Nail fungus?
Rub some on the nail and the nail bed, several times a day, fungus should turn dark and as nail grows, you can eventually cut off dark area.  This technique supposedly works very well but it does take a while as nails grow so slowly.
Don't give up right away.

Bug repellent?
Rub some on the back of your neck, behind your ears, the backs of your knees and elbows.  These are pulse points that will release the aroma continually and can repel mosquitoes.  An open jar on an outside table can drive them away as well.  Not sure about your dinner companions though, ha.

Bug bites and stings?
It helps to relieve the itching and pain of stings and mosquito bites.

Cover the tick with Vicks and it should work it's way back out.

Stretch marks?
Rubbing them with Vicks is supposed to help fade them.  I'm guessing this is another long term use.

Cracked heels and rough feet or elbows?
This one I can attest to, even if you don't need it for coughing, rubbing some on your heels and feet and putting on socks before bed for several nights can leave you with smooth feet.  Dry elbow patches can also be treated this way (minus the socks of course, hat tip to Granny for pointing that out, LOL!)

Chapped lips?
Obviously, a bit rubbed on your lips is supposed to help them heal faster.

Cold sores/Fever blisters?
Again, a dab rubbed on them will dry them and heal them faster.

Athletes foot?
Goes back to putting it on the feet and wearing socks before bed.

A dab several times a day is said to clear them up.

Poison Ivy?
Rubbing some on the irritation is supposed to relieve itching and speed up the healing process.

Leg cramps/Sore muscles?
Massage into muscle and cover with warm cloth up to three times per day.

As always, there is nothing on here that is scientifically proven, and Vicks is never intended for internal use or use on 'sensitive areas'.  I left off a couple of remedies that dealt with that, I'm not EVEN going to go there.
Otherwise, I think a jar (or two or three) is an essential in any farmhouse medicine cabinet.  Never hurts to be prepared!

Sunday, January 27, 2013


Vintage ICE is Needed poster, image courtesy of US National Archive

Here's an interesting poster I found online and with the widespread Winter cold across the nation, it seemed appropriate.  It was sponsored of course by the National Association of Ice Industries, so I'm sure they had a vested interest as well.  This one is from WWI, about 1917.

Food was the most important aspect of the war, having enough for everyone and in the days before widespread refrigeration, "ice" was just as important as most anything else because it prevented spoilage of the valuable food resources that were needed.

Hope you are having a good weekend (and staying warm if you are somewhere cold).  I'm feeling better and will start catching up on comments and blogs.

Saturday, January 26, 2013


Here is the latest photo of Seda the FFA pig:

Seda the Pig
He's a good looking pig huh?  This is the pig we are sponsoring for a family friend's son who is in the FFA

His current weight is 245 lbs (he was 60 when we first met him!)
He stands 30 1/2" high
His belly is 45" around
And he is 57" long from snout to tail

The auction comes up February 1st.  We're hoping he and the young man who is raising him, "T", do very well.  So far, all signs point to that possibility!

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Blue Adirondack chairs in grove of trees, image courtesy of
Here's this dang color that keeps haunting me in my inspiration posts, ha.  What I like about this picture is how you can take a seemingly unusable space and turn it into a focal point. 

While we don't have any huge trees like this, we do have a few that could use some cleaning up around the base and then perhaps a few chairs and a potted plant would be a nice addition.

Enjoy your day!  Be inspired!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Still trying to get over the crud here.  I've got the sleeping and coughing part taken care of, now I need to find a daytime solution, ha.  

Fortunately, I already have the Inspiration Thursday post set up and ready to post automatically.  I hope to be back among the blogging sometime on Friday or Saturday, replying to comments and catching up on other blogs.

Be well!

To keep you occupied:

Don't forget to enter the book giveaway here.

And, since there are quite a few new friends of the farm out there, here is a post you might have missed.  For those who've read it already, feel free to enjoy it again.  Click HERE to read of my battle with a mouse, I don't mind the laugh at my expense.  That's why I posted it.  :-)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Bags of pecans
Here is a gift from a person in the country.  They have some Pecan trees and said "hey, we have too many, do you want some?"  Um, YEAH!

That's the reason I bought our own pecan trees last season.  Someday, we hope to have so many pecans that we too can say we have "too many"...but really, is there such a thing as too many?  I suppose if you don't like pecans yes, but we happen to love them, especially in that Southern staple, Pecan Pie.

Pecan Pie, photo courtesy of
These are full one gallon bags, total weight about 6 lbs.  It's my understanding that you can expect about 50% in actual meat once they are shelled.  So we'll have a shelling party soon and end up with about 3 lbs.  That should give us a few pecan pies and best of all, they are going to gather some more for us.
Any favorite pecan uses you have?  I know we can freeze them once shelled and use later in the year.

Monday, January 21, 2013


Well, I just had to post about a 'home remedy' that has worked wonders for us.

2nd Man and I caught a cold a few weeks ago.  We always try to start taking Vitamin C and Zinc at the first sign and we did.  But then we stopped when it felt like it was gone but alas, it wasn't completely gone.  It came back in the form of a lingering cough.  You know, that cough that is worse when you lay down and keeps you up all night?  You have coughing fits so bad that they give you a headache or hurt your ribcage?  Well it's been keeping us up so we broke down and got some cough medicine.  That didn't really help.  Sure it probably relieved some of the congestion but the cough was still there
(so much for "truth in advertising")

Vicks VapoRub
Flash forward to the other day when my dear friend Dawn suggested a home remedy:  Vicks Vaporub...on your feet before bed...and socks.  HUH?  For a cough?  Sounds crazy but hey, we had the Vicks, we have the socks and we definitely have feet, LOL.

Now growing up of course, my Mom always put Vicks on my chest when I was sick.  I even asked her to put it on Tommy the Tiger, my constant stuffed animal companion as a child.  But I had never heard of the feet thing.

*Not my feet

So the other night, I got home and decided to do it.  I slathered it on while I was up watching TV and then put my socks on over it.  Sure I was a sight to see in red and green plaid flannel pajama pants (hey, don't judge, it's been below 30 here at night, ha), white socks and black Crocs.  I figured that was the best way to a) not get Vicks all over the hardwood floor, and b) not mess up my regular shoes.  2nd Man waited until bedtime to put his on.  Apparently, there is something about being horizontal that helps as well.  I coughed a bit while I was up but then before bed, I put it on again and let me tell you, we both slept like a baby.  No coughing in the night, and slept right up until the alarm went off to get up and go to work.

I've also noticed today that my cough is different, it's somehow released the congestion in my chest and broken it up.  I didn't even take the cough syrup last night and I slept without needing it and without coughing.  I will be doing this again tonight and every night until it's gone.

A nice side effect is that my feet are soft and smooth too, ha.  I'm not sure how it works.  Power of suggestion?  Some sort of aromatherapy-ish thing? The essential oils being absorbed into the body?  Something like reflexology since the feet connect to other parts of our system?  I've still coughed during the day but that's just because there is no real way to put this on and go to work, but for sleeping through the night, it's wonderful.

I have never heard of this home remedy before but wow, I have to say,
"color me impressed!"

I wonder what ELSE Vicks can do??

Buy Vicks Vaporub 3.53 Oz here at Amazon if you can't find it near you.

UPDATE:  Several of you have written to say it works best with wool socks.  I believe the socks I used were wool, but I will make sure if I have to do this again, I will buy a special pair of wool socks "just in case", ha.

UPDATE 2:  I posted a list with more uses for Vicks that I culled from around the net.  CLICK HERE to read the post.

Sunday, January 20, 2013


Lick the Platter Clean, vintage poster circa 1943- image courtesy of US National Archives

Here is a poster that I believe was aimed at children during WWII.  I'm guessing that the use of cartoon like nursery rhyme characters might have been to appeal to children.  Since WWII conservation on the home front was all about not wasting food, saving food for the troops and the war effort, they needed everyone in on that effort, adults AND kids.

And really, isn't it just as important today too?  None of us need to waste food and I often see so much food wasted at restaurants.

Enjoy your day!

Saturday, January 19, 2013


Ah, it's that time of year.

Outside, there's only cold, damp, and gray Winter weather...depressing to say the least.

Depressing that is check the mailbox.  And there it is.  Peaking out from between the electric bill and the grocery sale papers and the envelopes addressed to occupant.  Those ubiquitous 5 letters somewhere on the cover:

"S E E D S"

Then you see another and another, and the next day yet another one comes and then the cycle is repeated for the next week or two.  Suddenly your table is filled with dreams of Spring.

The images remain dancing in our heads.  The colorful and fragrant flowers.  The delicious and tasty vegetables.  The sweet and luscious fruits.  The strange and exotic plants.

Flower beds.
Endless Possibilities!

I have gathered all of mine (plus some that didn't make it to the photo op) into a pile, made a nice hot drink to counteract the cold and took out my marker.

You can plant seeds anywhere you have dirt and want to try to grow something.  Seed catalogs are the ultimate in hope for the future.

Let the planning begin!

P.S. Don't forget to enter the book giveaway this month.  Only 15 entries so far, and we're giving away TWO books so your odd are pretty good! 

Friday, January 18, 2013


Those of you that follow the blog know that I have a penchant for naming some of the trees on our property.  "Barnabas the Party Tree" and "The Two Sisters" were the most recently named trees.

A couple of weekends ago, I was walking the property and noticed this tree.  In the Spring and most of the Summer, it is covered with leaves so that you can't really see its shape.  But now, with Winter rapidly approaching, most of the leaves have dropped off and that has revealed this shape.  When I looked at it from this angle, it reminded me of a dancer, quite graceful in it's growth, with her arms outstretched.

So henceforth (I love that word!), this tree shall be known as;
"GINGER"  (after Ginger Rogers of course)

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Zen Garden, photo courtesy of: forum
Is it weird to have a zen garden on a farm?  I don't see why not.  I've always wanted one and usually I only see big, elaborate designs.  I'd just like something simple and something that makes a statement.  So when I saw this on a gardening forum, I said to myself "that's it"!

It's simple, circular (more or less) and just has a nice layout.  I mean really, anywhere we could find a blank spot, it wouldn't be that hard to recreate something like this.  On our property of course, the boulders/stones would be impossible to locate, just not that kind of 'terrain'.  I'd have to have those brought in.  Then some gravel and a rake and I could get off my Big Green Zen Machine and into my Little Green Zen Garden, LOL.

Enjoy your day, see you back here tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Seeds of the Month for January 2013

Got this month's batch of seeds from the Seeds of the Month club right on schedule.  It is a fun day when I get them in the mail after a long day at work.  It brings my mind back to the future and planning.  This month, at least I know what they all are as opposed to some past shipments.
For this time, they are:

Okra, "Burgundy"
Cucumber, "National Pickling"
Chives (no variety)
Celery, "Utah"

Anyone grown and used these particular varieties of each of these vegetables and herb?  I'm very familiar with okra, it's a staple down here in the South and I love it, but in this case, I can honestly say I've never had this purple variety.  As for the cucumbers, I'd love to have a good variety for pickling.

Thanks as always for any tips and suggestions!

Seeds rule!!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


reCAP lids
Here is a great new product I recently discovered.
They are called "reCAP Mason Jars".

It's a wonderful invention that I didn't realize how much I'd use until we had them.  I got two, they are made in two different sizes, one for the standard size opening of a jar and one for the wide mouth opening.

reCAP lids on jars
We are experimenting with making our own salad dressings in a jar.  It's a great way to just put our ingredients in and then screw on a standard lid and ring and shake it up.  Nothing wrong there, but then when you unscrew that ring and pop off the lid, it's a mess to pour.  This eliminates that.

Here is a batch of mason jar dressing we made up for dinner.
It's our "Farmhouse Vinaigrette".

reCAP jar dressing before mixing
First I put in the olive oil, then some red wine vinegar, and then a batch of seasonings and screwed on the reCAP lid.

reCAP jar dressing after shaking
Snap the flip top down (I kept my thumb on it just to be safe) and then I shook it up for about 30 seconds.  Voila!  Homemade dressing.
Then came the fun part, pouring it out.

I flipped up the top and poured the dressing onto the salad.  It came out smoothly and cleanly.  Best of all?  When I was done, I snapped the flip top down and put it in the fridge for storage.  No mess, no fuss, no leaks.  It's ready for the next salad and all I'll have to do is shake it up and pour it out.

These jar lids are made of BPA-free, recyclable plastic and replicate the vintage  look of the American zinc cap.  They are top rack dishwasher safe, though they recommend hand washing.  Oh, and they can even turn your favorite canning jar into a beverage container (i.e. an adult sippy cup!).

Please visit the reCAP website HERE for more information, or, they have an Amazon storefront that you can visit at: reCAP Amazon Storefront.

This is my own independent review, not done in exchange for product.  It's just something I found that is very useful and thought I'd share.

Monday, January 14, 2013


I'm all about the deal, and recently, I was at a local grocery store and found turkeys on sale.  It was just after the holidays, and they still had a few left that were fresh (not frozen) and had a "sell by" date of a few days later.  Sure, if I was buying one for a dinner a week from then, no, not a good idea, but after our success of the Thanksgiving turkey we roasted, I figured, why not buy two and go home and roast them and put them up?

So are you ready for the price?  $5.00 each! 
TWO 14 lb turkeys, for $10.00!

So below is how we did them:

 We started by removing the giblets and rinsing the turkey.  Then we rubbed it down, both under the skin and on top of the skin, with olive oil and our "farmhouse seasoning" blend of spices.

Then it was put on this Beer Can Turkey Rack, on a foil lined baking sheet in the oven.  We put it on the bottom level rack and roasted it for 1 hour at 450 deg. We didn't use a beer can or anything liquid, we just used the rack as the means to make it easy to keep it upright for the vertical roasting.

Here it is about midway through the roasting process.

And here it is finished, in all its golden glory.  A 14 lb turkey done in an hour.  

After that, we just let it cool and then simply cut it up.  Here is one of them, cut into the appropriate pieces, and then vacuum sealed.  We put them in packages of two legs, two wings, and then, because they are so large, we put one breast per bag and one thigh per bag.  That way, later on we'll have choice of using white and/or dark meat depending on whatever recipe we want to use. 

So remember to check your grocery store after major holidays, you can stock up on meat at a great price, just be ready to cook and/or freeze it within a few days.  We've gotten ribs and briskets for deals like this after other holidays, such as Memorial Day or 4th of July or Labor Day.  Heck, you can get some great deals on ham after Easter too!

Sunday, January 13, 2013


I love this image of "Barnabas", our party/dinner tree.  He's an old
(over 100 yrs we believe) Mesquite tree next to the house.  In the Spring, he's covered in soft, green, fern like leaves.

But in the Winter, as seen here, he's stripped bare in all his nekkid glory.

I've always thought that he looks like a tree from the set designer on a Steven Spielberg or George Lucas movie.


Save Seed for Victory poster, image courtesy of US Natl Archives
Here's a good one and in light of the recent seed gift I received, it seemed appropriate.  This is from WWI, circa 1917 or so.  The Government was urging people to save the good seed, the valuable and well growing seed, because that could be a key to victory.  Unknown seed could be defeat.  In other words, they wanted citizens to save the seed from good and prolific crops to reuse for the following season.  This could help guarantee future good crops.

Perhaps a bit over the top as when it came to the war effort but the message is still pretty relevant today.  There is one line on here I love most of all:

Good Seed Wins

True then, almost 100 years ago, and perhaps even more so today.

Heirloom and organic can be the key to victory in 2013!

Don't forget to enter the giveaway here

Saturday, January 12, 2013


We missed the December giveaway because of the holidays.  Thanksgiving and then of course getting ready for Christmas.

So now we're in a new year and we are starting our monthly book giveaway and for this month, we're going to have two books!

Two books = two winners!

Here is this month's giveaway.  For all the gardeners out there it is:

Green Guides, What to Do When in Your Garden

It's a great book that shows step by step what to do each month in the year.  For example it reminds you which bulbs to plant in Fall to have color in Spring, when to weed your flower beds so that you have less weeds later, and when to take cuttings later in Summer to plan it all again.

Copyright 2011, the book is 256 pages long and filled will lots of color photos.

As always, and for those new to the blog, the rules are as follows:

You should be a "friend of the farm" (follower) and leave a comment here on this thread that you want to be entered (after all, it might be a book you have).
The contest will run until midnight at the the end of the month at which time I'll randomly pick TWO names as winners.  Open to everyone, even those in other countries and those who won last year.

One entry per person.

Thanks and good luck!


Friday, January 11, 2013


Cracker jars on pantry shelf
Last Friday, I posted HERE about some cool jars we found at Ikea.  Well this Friday I thought I'd share some more of our storage plans.  I've been collecting these cracker jars (also called biscuit jars) from various stores or online as I find them (on sale) for about a year.  The link I posted is to Amazon, where they always have them and frequently at great prices.  They aren't vintage of course, but they do have that vintage look that we like so well.  I also find them at other local stores and big box retailers in town.

These are the shelves in the mudroom/pantry.  I took one shelf and set it at this level to maximize usage below and then figured out how many I could fit in the space.  Turns out the magic number is twelve...three rows of four jars!  

Set of Cracker jars on pantry shelf
They come in three sizes, 1 quart, 2 quart and 1 gallon, so that was a perfect way of setting up the shelves to give us a uniform look while giving us different sizes for the things used more of and less of.
Cracker (or biscuit) jars, image courtesy of
There is another shelf next to it the same size, so I set it at the same level and I'm going to do one more and replicate this on that one.  If I do that, it would give us at least two dozen jars for storage.  With 2nd Man's love of cooking, that would be about right.  Rices, grains, sugars, flours, beans, and everything else in between.  Obviously we'll end up having more jars elsewhere in the pantry and kitchen as we use the space and figure out what works best for us, but for now, this should work out perfectly.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Rustic Arbor, photo courtesy of Fox Hollow gardens
I'm not even sure what this is but when I saw it, I decided that someday, I want one!  I believe it's an arbor, made of found wood branches.  I can imagine relaxing under it after a long day, or just sitting and reading a book on a cool afternoon.  I love how it's kind of hidden amongst the greenery.

I wouldn't even know where to begin to make something like this, but that's why I post these photos every Thursday, to share something I see that inspires me to want to someday do something like it on the farm.  This blog and my inspiration posts are like my own "Pinterest", LOL.

Enjoy your day, we are finally enjoying a sunny day after several days of gloomy, rainy weather.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


We've had quite the rainfall the last couple of days.  2nd Family, who lives at the other end of the driveway, sent these pictures to me while I was at work. She said that 4.5" showed in the rain gauge and it was still raining.  This doesn't count the rain from yesterday which was probably an inch or two more.

So it's most likely the farm has received almost 7 inches of rain over the last two days.  These are the kind of rains we usually get in Spring around here so it's kind of unusual this time of year.  It's because of a warm front backing up from the Gulf of Mexico and bumping into a cold front coming from the other direction.  Warm+Cold=storms and rain

These are views from their yard and porch.  It was far too much to ask her to drive the quarter mile up to our house and snap a few pictures.  I'm sure we'll be out there during a monsoon and I'll get some firsthand pictures, ha.


A little seed love!
Anyone who follows the blog knows that I love when I get my "seeds of the month" shipment in.  Imagine my surprise when I got home recently and found an unexpected package of seeds!

But these beauties came courtesy of "Bee Girl", Melissa, author of the always inspiring blog, Sky Minded & Ever Growing

The fact that these were hand gathered and even hand packaged in homemade seed packets by her, means more to me than any seed I could ever get from the store.  So now, I'll have some more great seeds to use in planning our garden in the Spring.

She sent organic and even heirloom varieties of the following:

 Radishes - Cherry Belle
Kale - Red Winter and Red Russian
Turnips - Purple Top White Globe
 Beets - Early
Tomatoes - Yellow Taxi

When we (hopefully) eat some fabulous meals featuring these veggies, we'll have her to thank for it.  In exchange for her seed love, we're sending some blog love her direction!

Thank you "Bee Girl".
Everyone, check out Sky Minded & Ever Growing.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


I mentioned in one of my pre-holiday posts that we were making several of our gifts.  Well, since the gifts have been given, I thought I'd share some pictures of what we did.  I'm sort of known among my friends and family for the mix in a jar recipes.  Most of the ones we use are our own recipes that we have tried out and made to use just for the jars.  Here is the dessert jar we made, it's a jar of chocolate chip cookie bar mix...dump the jar in a bowl, mix with some wet ingredients and you end up with a giant chocolate chip cookie/brownie hybrid.

This one is our version of I guess what you could call something similar to hamburger helper.  This one is actually a goulash mix.  Just add hamburger, some tomatoes, water and this jar of mix and you've got a great meal ready to eat.  The one with the bow tie pasta in it was a special request from a dear friend who loves it, it's a turkey pasta dish.

Once we got them done, we got them organized.  These ten (we made sixteen total), represent dinner and a dessert and so that's how we packaged them.

Here they are with their labels on, and some other decorative elements, along with a small jar of sugar scrub that I made as well.  Details on that one coming in a separate post.  I put them on a cardboard circle, and then we filled them with paper shreds and wrapped them up with basket wrapping.

Finally, they are almost finished in this shot, just before we put a big red bow on each one.  We ended up with eight gift "baskets" like this to give out.  I believe everyone we gave them to enjoyed them. They were certainly made with lots of care and love, and really, that's what it's really all about, right?