Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween Fun

Becky pulling the candy. Ben and Jacob in their costumes.

We had a fun Halloween this year. Larry took the boys to town to go trick-or-treating and Rebekah and I stayed home for our own fun.

I couldn't believe how much candy the boys got! It's nice, because they are very kind to share with the rest of us.

Rebekah and I had a "Little House on the Prairie" night. We tried to make old fashioned treats, we dressed up old fashioned and then we watched a scary Little House on the Prairie episode.

We tried making Molasses Pulled Candy. It was so fun! We cooked it, then when it cooled a little, we pulled and folded and pulled and folded. Until we couldn't anymore. Then we put it on a platter and scored it for breaking later. It all worked great, but unfortunately, I burnt the candy somehow and it tasted yucky.
Then we make old fashioned popcorn balls. This recipe calls for kettle popped pop corn, which we did. Then the sugar coating to be cooked to hard ball stage and mixed with the pop corn and formed into balls. Now, these were good, but they nearly broke my teeth! Oh well, it was fun.

The boys came home at this point and we had a fire to roast wieners for supper. When everyone was off to bed, Rebekah and I watched the episode of Little House on the Prairie where Laura thinks Mr. Olsen cut off Mrs. Olsen's head. I've never let Becky watch the whole thing before, but I did that night and she laughed at how corny it was, but again, it was fun.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

2010 Pumpkin Patch

Well, we have had our 3rd annual pumpkin patch here at our place. This year we only had a few kids come from our homeschooling group, but it was still lots of fun. We had a beautiful, sunny day. Which was a bit different from the blizzard we had last year. We started off with a wagon ride to the patch. Then everyone picked their pumpkins and then we went back to our house for snacks. We had pumpkin spiced doughnuts and pumpkin cookies with some of my homemade rhubarb lemon aide. After our snack, we took the kids out to our barn so that each one could look for an egg (which they got to take home) and they all got to pet our pig, "Aunt Bea". Jenny, the donkey, was tied up for pets too.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Great Buy of the Week

I wanted to pass on a great deal that is on at IGA this week. I know a lot of my friends don't look at flyers very closely, (or at all), but I take my time looking and note all the good sales. I try to be as frugal as I can in our grocery bill, because it can get very large if I don't. And because I don't work outside of the home, I feel it is my contribution to our finances. Anyway, Pork Roast is on sale this week, until Thursday, at IGA for $1.00/lb. These roasts cook up great if you season them, then sear them on all sides and throw it in a crock pot for the day. (Thanks to my brothers for this recipe.)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fall is in full swing

Well, Fall is here early in Ponoka and I love it! This is my favorite time of year (next to Christmas). I love to decorate inside for this season and it's so nice to burn yummy scented candles again.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

My Humble Garden

This year I have enjoyed the best garden I have had yet in my 4 years of gardening.

I planted Crooked Neck Squash, Purple Haze carrots and lots of beets. Also, potatoes, corn, peas, beans, lettuce, onions, herbs, tomatoes (which are still very green) and other squashes.

My mom bought me an amazing weeding tool last year. I used it faithfully this year until it didn't stop raining and when it did, it was too late. The weeds had grown and the ground was hard packed. But in the midst of it all, I am able to harvest some yummy produce. So far, I have pickled 80 lbs of beets and still have about 100 lbs more to go. I would like to can some in my pressure cooker for borscht. I still need to harvest all my carrots, which I will dehydrate.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Little One's Thoughts

I just have a little story I would like to share about Ben today. A few months ago, I had the privilege and joy to lead Ben in receiving Jesus into his heart. I can't tell you what pure joy it is to be apart of this decision with your children. Anyway, Ben is very thoughtful and today we were talking about hearts. Ben said to me, "Is Jesus knocking inside our hearts to get out?" I said no, he just stays there. Ben then asked, "Is there blood in our hearts?" I said yes. Then he said, "Doesn't Jesus get blood all over him?" So, at that point I tried to explain that Jesus is really a spirit and when we say He lives in our hearts, it actually means that Jesus is apart of our lives and we fully trust in Him. I'm sure with his faith and thoughtfulness that Ben will understand this concept in no time. Praise the Lord!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Newest Farm Yard Addition

SO.... I was checking out the freebie ads on Kijiji and came across an ad for free pot belly piglets. I knew from the area, which was very near to us, that they were probably the same piglets that were at the County Fair. Sure enough, they were. They had 3 girls left. That was great because we wanted a girl. When Becky, Ben, Jacob and I got there, it was hard to pick which one to take. Ben wanted the little tiny piglet and I kind of agreed. She was so adorable, but she was all pink and we like to get interesting animals if we can help it. So Becky right away fell in love with this one. She has some grey and pink areas and her nose is black along the top. We brought her home, sitting on Becky's lap the whole way. Now she is in a stall in our barn next to Mommy and baby chick. We called her "Aunt Bea" from Andy Griffith. Which doesn't really suit her now, but when she is a big, old sow, I think it will be perfect.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Mystery Chick (An amazing story)

Today while picking raspberries near the barn, I heard what sounded like a baby chick. After raising 54 chicks in our basement, I really got to know their sound. BUT, I thought, how can that be? We don't even have a rooster and we collect the eggs everyday. Well, when the kids finally got out to the barn at suppertime, they came running to tell me there was a chicken with a baby chick walking under it! Supper was ready, so we scarfed back our spaghetti and ran out to the barn. I couldn't believe my eyes! There WAS a chick with a chicken. Not only any chicken, but a chicken (Princess) that went missing about 3 weeks ago. Exactly the amount of time it takes to hatch an egg. This was the kids favorite chicken and she has a little bit of different markings on her neck so that we can tell her apart from the rest. Now the mystery stands as to how Princess got her hands on an fertilized egg and where she went to brood it. There were no chickens like her sitting on eggs in the barn and like I say we scour the barn everyday for eggs. Also, we found her outside, which would mean she hatched her chick outside, because that chick could not jump up into the barn.
We could see that the mommy and baby were stuck outside, so we gathered them up and put them in a stall in our barn. Now I feel scared that the mommy won't be able to look after the chick, but we'll keep our eyes on them and keep you posted.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ponoka County Fair

We had the most wonderful time at the Ponoka County Fair last weekend. The fair was all day Saturday and Sunday. This year they added a Cowboy Rodeo. In this rodeo the cowboys had to separate and load cattle, doctor cattle, "brand" cattle and other events too. It was really neat to watch how they worked together. There was one family with a little cowboy that was 9 years old. He did so amazing. They also added stock dog competitions and dog agility races. Of course, they still had face painting, jumpy houses, sumo wrestling, sheep shearing and Rainbow the Clown. Sunday morning we had a community church there as well. It was really special because it was our pastor who spoke and what a message of unity he gave! Then we stuffed ourselves with the pancake breakfast.

This is Ben holding a pig that I was THIS close to buying. They were so cute.

Here is Jacob with his balloon hat. The next day he waited for an hour for another balloon creation. The whole time he just watched Rainbow the Clown so closely. When we got home, he was twisting and squeezing his balloons so that they did different things.

Here is Rebekah holding another sweet little pot bellied pig.
These are some of the items Rebekah entered into the bench show. She won lots of ribbons. It was a long week for Becky and I, because we entered so many things. We had to get them all tagged and they had to be there by 11:00am Friday so that they could judge them. I can tell you we ran straight to the bench show Saturday morning to see if we won! It was so exciting.

Here are the items I entered. I entered 9 things and I won 6 1st place ribbons and 3 3rd place ribbons. I always like it when my baking and canning win 1st because I sell those things at the Farmers Market and it kind of confirms that they are good quality.

Well, another County Fair has passed and we are looking forward to next year's fair.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Well, I can't believe it has almost been a month since my last post. Time flys by so fast lately. Right now I am baking bread to sell tomorrow at the Farmer's Market. I have already baked banana bread and a rhubarb pie that I will use as an example of the frozen pies I sell there. I have been busy in my garden and pumpkin patches, going to the farmers' market, and Larry has been quite busy with his new job of selling vehicles. We took a spur of the moment trip out to British Columbia to pick up a truck he bought there and on the way home, we went to my Mom's for a couple of days. That was so nice to hang out at the beach and enjoy summer. We also had Larry's parents here for 3 weeks, I had an operation and my Mom and niece came for a couple of days. So I must say that July went by very quickly!

So Jacob continues to be a very busy little boy. He loves to work with tools, so that is him in his swing set in the picture at the top. He had taken out half the floorboards and he took off the ladder. That's a big smile on his face as he is quite proud of himself. And the other picture is of our lawn tractor after Jacob raised up the back end with our car jack. He put the jack exactly where it needed to be to raise it up with out damaging it or himself! He's always walking around our yard saying, "I've got lot's of work to do."
Today as we were driving way out in the country, and Jacob was looking out his window. He said to me, "Mommy, the clouds are moving very fast. They are playing tag."
I have started some fall craft projects and I hope to post them very soon. So I will see you all again then.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Jacob's Encounter With a Golf Club

Jacob has had his first big injury in his 3 year old life. On Thursday, the 15th, him and Ben were shooting some golf balls around our property. It seems Jacob got too close to Ben from behind and Ben smashed him in the face with his golf club. It was obvious throughout the day that it was getting worse, so we packed everyone up and headed for the hospital. The doctor put Jacob to sleep and gave him 3 stitches on the outside and I'm not sure how many on the inside. I must tell you that Jacob is loving all this attention though. We had to go back to the hospital last night and he was singing, "Yippee! Yippee! I'm going to the doctor." and he loves taking all the medicine.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Swimmin' Hole

After being stuck inside for 2 whole days of non stop down pours, the sun finally came out. My boys saw a chance to have some fun outside for a change. The rain had made huge puddles around our farm. So, Ben and Jacob put on their swimsuits and out they went to go swimming! They were splashing and running and having such a great time. My favorite part was the looks on the peoples' faces as they drove by. A couple on quads went by and the wife was saying, "Look, look!". Then my boys said "Hi" and the couple said "Hi" back. It was quite hilarious.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Left - Rhubarb Pie Filling, Centre - Pink Lemonade, Right - Stewed Rhubarb

Last night I canned some more rhubarb yummies. First I canned 10 quarts of rhubarb pie filling. I use this to make rhubarb pies to sell as I need them.
Then I made 4 quarts of "pink lemonade". To make this I boil enough rhubarb with some water to make 10 cups of rhubarb juice when strained. Then in a stock pot, I cook the juice with 10 cups of sugar and a whole bottle of Real Lemon. Then I can and process. This makes a concentrate. Add about 1 1/2 - 1 2/3 cups to 2L of water to make pink lemonade. It is so good and you can't really taste the rhubarb. It really tastes like pink lemonade.
Then with the rhubarb left over from the juice, I made stewed rhubarb. I just mixed in some sugar and canned in 3 pints. I had read on All Recipes.com that a lady used to always eat this on plain yogurt for a treat. Well, I make my own plain yogurt and I tried that this morning. It was so good! Now I have to make more lemonade so that I can make some more stewed rhubarb.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Larry's Birthday

We celebrated my husband, Larry's, birthday yesterday. Dairy Queen opened up in Ponoka 2 days before his birthday. Just in time to buy him his favorite cake - an ice cream cake! (Please don't mind the "0" candle on the cake. I couldn't find any regular candles.)

Dog Days of Summer

Jacob, our 3 year old, has used his savings to buy a inflatable water slide. The kids have been playing on it for 3 hours now. As I type this, I can hear squeals of joy.
It looks like fun! They can also use the slide with no water on cooler days. Our water comes from our well which is about 285 ft deep, so it is extremely cold.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Butchering Day!

(This is Rebekah - below)

(This is Vivian - above)

(This is me - above and that is the finished product in the top right corner)

(These are the roosters we butchered. Rhode Island Reds)

We did it!!!! We actually butchered 26 roosters. George and Vivian did most of the work, but Rebekah and I were helping the whole way through. I know now that I never want to butcher chickens again. BUT, I am happy to know I could if I had to. It was even more disgusting than I thought it would be. I am so glad George killed them all. I just couldn't do that. For the most part Rebekah and I plucked. I singed the skin with a blow torch to get the pin feathers off. My husband even helped, even though he said he was going to go out somewhere while we were doing it. Larry went to the barn to get 4 birds at a time as we needed them. That saved us a lot of time running back and forth. I was very grateful to him for that. Vivian gutted them. I thought that gutting would be the worst part, but I got brave and cleaned the last one, and do you know what? It wasn't bad at all! In fact, I wish I had been doing that instead of plucking. It's not slimy and gross in there like I thought it would be. It was, for the most part, dry and warm. I liked the warmth after having my hands in the cold water as I put the cleaned roosters in it.
We started at 6am sharp and finished at 10am. I spent another 5 hours cleaning the skin more and putting them in bags and finally, in the freezer. I didn't know what the brown spots were all over the skin. I finally looked it up on the Internet and found out that with dark feathered birds there will be a "ink" left in the skin, but disappears when it is cooked. And it supposedly doesn't change the taste. I spent 45 mins on 1 bird trying to get it all off. I wasn't so picky after I found out what it was.
All the birds weighed between 2.5 - 3.25 lbs, with the drumsticks removed. My family likes Shake-and -bake drumsticks, so that is why we took them off. I was happy with their size. I was aiming for 3-4lbs and including drumsticks and that's what we got.
All in all it was a huge learning experience raising roosters for meat. I will let you all know how the meat tastes - in about 6 months when I can hopefully bring myself to eat them!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Wild Daisies

We have just come back from the Ponoka Stampede Parade. It's really fun and the kids, of course, love the candy.
I did great at the Farmer's Market this week. I sold the message board I made plus all my bread, eggs, cookies, rhubarb pies and lot's of preserves.
I am taking a moment before I go outside to set up for tomorrow. Tomorrow morning at 6am I will be butchering my roosters! I am trying to be excited, but it's so hard. I have been looking at pictures on the Internet again to try to desensitize myself. It actually worked a little. I will post pictures when we are done.

Larry and Ben came home the other day with these beautiful wild "daisy's" the other day. What a wonderful surprise! My husband doesn't think of things like that very often. But it makes me REALLY appreciate it when he does. These are my new favorite flower.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Message Board completed!

I finished one of my message boards already and I know I have a busy day tomorrow, so I will show you now.

I used a cookie sheet and scrap booking paper. I used the embellishments and clothes pins as magnets. I painted the cookie sheet brown first. Then rubbed wax on the areas I wanted to sand later. Then I painted it ivory. When that paint was dry, I rubbed the edges to give it a worn look. I cut the paper to fit. And because I don't have one of those handy corner cutters, I used the plastic scrapers that come with all Pampered Chef stoneware. I used the corner that fit in the corners of the cookie sheet as a guide to cut the paper corners. I glued it down with spray adhesive. Then I glued the ribbon on and tied ribbon at the top to hang.
The other one I make will be the same colour scheme, but different patterns.

Be Careful What You Say to Little Ones

Well, I am sad to say I didn't find anything wonderful at the auction. But the kids were great the whole day. That Suburban came in handy. They played games, ate and rested all in the back.

I am spending my days weeding my pumpkin patches and my garden. I am also getting ready for the biggest Farmer's Market I will be in. Ponoka has a huge stampede next week and they have a Stampede Farmer's Market. About 70,000 people go to the Stampede, so I'm hoping to have an awesome sale!

 I am finishing up another apron, I made some apricot chutney to sell along side of my rhubarb chutney and I'm hoping to have some cookie sheet message boards finished tonight. If I do, I will post pictures.

I really have nothing to exciting to post, so I will share a conversation I had with my 3 year old, Jacob. He told me he was growing because his tummy was full of food and that will make him grow. (He is in the picture showing me his stomach another time.) I said to him, "Oh no, you can't grow." and he said "Why?" I answered, "Because you won't be my little Jacob anymore." Jacob looked thoughtful for a moment and replied, "I won't eat anymore." I shouldn't say things like that to him, because he likes to please so much. But I told him, "Sweety, you have to eat so that you can grow and be big and strong like Daddy. Then you will be my big Jacob." He is still eating, but I have to be careful what I say because he is so thoughtful.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I just took 6 loaves of bread out of the oven and I am taking a coffee break, so I thought I should make my first post. So far I have had an uneventful day. Our septic guy came this morning to pump out our septic. He told my husband he should dig out around our septic and pump and build wood walls around it. That way if we ever had to access our pump in the winter, we wouldn't have to dig through frozen ground. So that is what my husband and step son are working on now. We have been in this farmhouse, in Central Alberta, for 4 years now and it seems there is always something to work on.

My 3 and 6 year old sons came with me to collect eggs and check on our chickens, roosters and donkeys. (that is a picture picture of Rebekah and Jacob collecting eggs up in the left corner) My roosters are almost butchering size. Which scares me. I am trying to be self sufficient, so I ordered mixed chicks this spring with the thought of raising all the roosters for meat. Out of 54 chicks, we have 27 roosters. I am the type of person who gags when the chicken I buy from the store has pin feathers on it. But a wonderful older couple from church have offered to help me butcher. I just pray I don't pass out!

After we left the barn, my 3 year old, Jacob, helped me pick lamb's quarters to use as spinach. We picked a lot and I have only stripped half. Of course, it is just like spinach, it cooks down to basically nothing. I will steam it and freeze it. Then I can use it in spinach dips, or pasta or whatever. I love to use everything I can get for free. The picture of lamb's quartes is up on the right top corner. This is a weed that probably grows everywhere.

I am so excited to be going to an auction tomorrow. Usually only my husband goes, but I am interested in some things, so we are packing up the kids and heading out first thing. I will pack our cooler as full as I can with sandwiches, pop, water, cheese and crackers, snacks, etc. That way the kids can sit in the back of our '77 Suburban and feast. Larry, my husband, has been driving truck for 30 years and is looking for something else he can do. So he has been going to auctions and trying to get good deals on things so he can resell them at a little profit. I like his thought on the matter; It is better to sell lots of things at smaller profits, than to sell a few things at bigger profits. That way he can sell things at reasonable costs to the buyer and we have the money sooner. So far he hasn't really been able to find any great deals, but the Suburban we are driving turned out to be one. He had bought it for $175 and had planned to sell the engine. I thought he bought it for us to drive and was disappointed. He almost had it sold, when he found out his friend does car inspections for $50, so Larry brought in the truck, it passed with flying colours and we sold our 2003 Dodge Ram for really close to what we were asking 2 days later. We just love the Suburban way better than the Dodge. I hope I can post all our good deals tomorrow.
Have a wonderful day.